No Girls Allowed: graphic novel of inspiring historical women who overcame societal limits by dressing as men

Susan Hughes and Willow Dawson's graphic novel No Girls Allowed: Tales of Daring Women Dressed as Men for Love, Freedom and Adventure tells the story of six real-life historical woman heroes who defied the limits society put on them because of their gender, dressing as men and kicking ass (there are seven stories in total, but one of them, Mu-Lan, is likely mythological).

It's a great and inspiring read intended for young adults, and it runs from 1470BCE (the Egyptian Pharoah Hatshepsut) to the mid-1800s, and the stories will appeal to anyone who revels in tales of people who overcome the unfair limits others place on them. No Girls Allowed ties the quest for gender equality in with stories of racial and economic injustice, as with the amazing story of James Barry, a woman who lived her whole life as a man, becoming a young army surgeon who went on to lead controversial reform movements in South Africa and Canada, standing up for what was right in the face of punishment and even though she had so much to lose.

This is a great companion volume for Dignifying Science, a great graphic novel collecting the true-life stories of pioneering woman scientists. I'm putting it away to read to my daughter in a couple of years.

No Girls Allowed: Tales of Daring Women Dressed as Men for Love, Freedom and Adventure

Update: Tate sez, "Just saw you posted No Girls Allowed! Great book, thought you might be interested in the YouTube video we did on it--posted just last week as part of Whazamo--part of the same thing as the TCAF 2009 video."

Science of orgasm video

Mary Roach's TED Talk, "10 things you didn't know about orgasm," will have you scratching your, um, head, in amazement as you learn the particulars of pig-wanking, the delicate matter of explaining foreplay to royalty, and the business of measuring the human penis's muzzle-velocity.

Mary Roach: 10 things you didn't know about orgasm (via MeFi)

Apple says no Project Gutenberg for iPhone because some old books are dirty

Apple has rejected Eucalyptus, an ebook reader that facilitates downloading public domain books from Project Gutenberg, because some Victorian books mention sex (many of these same books can be bought as ebooks through the iPhone Kindle reader or purchased as audiobooks from the iTunes store). It's amazing to think that in 2009 a phone manufacturer wants to dictate which literature its customers should be allowed to download and read on their devices.
Thank you for submitting Eucalyptus -- classic books, to go. to the App Store. We've reviewed Eucalyptus -- classic books, to go. and determined that we cannot post this version of your iPhone application to the App Store because it contains inappropriate sexual content and is in violation of Section 3.3.12 from the iPhone SDK Agreement which states:

"Applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or materials that in Apple's reasonable judgement may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users."

Please view the attached screenshot for further information.

Remember, Apple is also petitioning the government to make it illegal to install any application on your phone that they haven't approved.

Whither Eucalyptus?

Cthulhoid genitals of the 1940s sex-guide industry

Jen sez, "Amusing scans and illustrations from a 1941 guide to sex. For some reason, most of the glands and body parts they illustrate look like Cthulhu monsters. There's also an amazing chart of comparative clitoris sizes, with each sample sketch life-sized but looking like Popeye chins."

So, Dr. Keller claims his images make sex better. This one shows how nerves and glands dance the maypole around the brain.
Studies in Crap Unveils Picture Stories of the Sex Life of Man and Woman (Thanks, Jen!)

Rampant boobies to reign at Disneyland!

Disneyland and Walt Disney World will no longer pay dedicated toplessness-checkers to examine the photos snapped of riders and displayed at the end of the ride. Not enough flashers these days, apparently.
Disney confirmed Tuesday that it has reassigned employees at Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure who watched for breast-baring riders because "actual inappropriate behaviors by guests are rare."

Disneyland spokeswoman Suzi Brown says the changes took effect Sunday at Splash Mountain, Tower of Terror, Space Mountain and California Screamin'.

Riders are photographed on the attractions and can then buy souvenir copies. Some have exposed their breasts in hopes that the picture would make it onto a photo preview screen at the ride's exit.

Disney Parks Stop Scans for Topless Riders (Thanks, Dan X!)

Bettie Page Art Show in LA, curated by Lenora Claire


Yes, Dorothy, it is true: the image at the top of this post is none other than the Queen of All Media, the controversialicious Perez Hilton, in drag as Bettie Page (photographer: Austin Young). Click on this link, if you dare, and ye shall see false bewbs exposed in the full, uncropped image (NSFW).

The lovely Lenora Claire, whose talent and bodacious curves were introduced to us by recent guestblogger Richard Metzger, shares word of an art show opening this weekend in LA in appreciation of the late Bettie Page. The image above is part of that show.

Lenora tells Boing Boing:

For me and for many women (and a few men) I know, our discovery of Bettie Page during our adolescence shaped our beauty aesthetic, as the black-banged beauty was our first introduction to the world of corsetry, sky high heels, and other important elements of our sometimes painful personal style. Over the years my tastes (and cup size) have evolved, but it's been joy to watch Bettie rise from counterculture cutie to full blown legend. After the nationwide success of my Golden Gals Gone Wild show which featured erotic art based on the Golden Girls and was featured on everything from NPR to National Enquirer, I knew I needed a follow up with some serious knockout appeal.

I'm thrilled to present Bettie Page: Heaven Bound which opens with a gala opening reception Saturday, May 2nd at the World of Wonder gallery in Hollywood and runs until May 29th.

The show features over 20 years of Bettie-inspired work including stunning new watercolor images by the queen of pin-up Olivia (who I still can't believe I had the opportunity to pose for let alone work so closely with on the dream project) as well as Bunny Yeager who shot many of Bettie's most iconic images; Austin Young who shot beautiful images of myself and of celebs including Perez Hilton, Cassandra Peterson aka Elvira, and Jane Weidlin from the GoGo's as Bettie; Colin Christian who just completely blows my mind; and a slew of other artists I'm so proud to present. Since Bettie wasn't a traditional gal and neither am I, the opening night reception will feature a spanking machine complete with costumed cuties dressed as Nurse Betties to help you after your turn on our weapon of ass destruction, a photobooth by PoliteinPublic.com, celebrity guests such as Dita who will be attending but not performing, as well as Bettie's actual high heels on display and other exciting surprises. Hope to see you all there.

Below, Lenora spanking herself dressed as Bettie Page. (Thanks, Richard Metzger!)


Science Question From a Toddler: Insect Sex

Maggie Koerth-Baker is a guest blogger on Boing Boing. A freelance science and health journalist, Maggie lives in Minneapolis, brain dumps on Twitter, and writes quite often for mental_floss magazine.

My friends' 3-year-old son, Will, asks, "Do cockroaches have a penis?" This turns out to be a surprisingly difficult question to answer.



First off, most basic sources will just try to give you some fluffy answer about how to tell a boy cockroach from a girl cockroach, which doesn't have anything to do with penises (or lack thereof) at all. In fact, apparently, the easiest way to sex your cockroach is to count the number of of segments on the underside of its abdomen, according to roach expert Joseph Kunkel, a biology professor at the University of Mass., Amherst. Girls have more segments. Boys have fewer

Second, there appears to have been a lot more research done on female cockroach reproductive anatomy. And for good reason: It is more noticeably freaky. Female cockroaches carry their fertilized eggs around in these pod-like sacks called ootheca. Some cockroaches will tote the ootheca around attached to their bodies until the babies hatch. Other species, however, simply drop the ootheca off in some hidden corner, where the babies can incubate safely while you beat their mothers to death with a shoe. Stumble upon enough ootheca in the basement, and its liable to be the first thing you take to the lab.

But, while useful, this information does not answer the young man's question. For that, I had to turn to Cockroaches, a 2007 book by William J. Bell, Louis Marcus Roth, Christine A. Nalepa, and (yes) Edward O. Wilson. Their description of the male cockroach junk helpfully explained why I'd been getting so much confusing (and conflicting) information from other sources. To wit:

A number of intromittent structures in the male cockroach have been called a penis ... Although these structures may be associated with the ejaculatory duct ... penis-like organs function in some capacity other than to convey sperm directly

So there you have it. Cockroaches: They have no penis. But they do have a lot of things that are frequently called a "penis". Many of these bits and pieces seem to actually be used for cockblocking, so to speak. Let me explain. Instead of the familiar-to-us method of copulation, male cockroaches produce a hard, little packet full of sperm, called a spermatophore, which they transfer into their favorite gal. But, unless it's her first time around the block, there's a decent chance that somebody else's spermatophore is already in there. A male cockroach has a better chance of passing on his genes if he can get rid of the competing sperm. Whether hooked, whip-like, barbed or spiny, those not!penis structures are likely used by male cockroaches to clear out rival spermatophores, according to the august authors of Cockroaches, the book.

Beach-bunny cockroaches provided by kthypryn.

Throbbing Gristle: What A Day. (Boing Boing Video shoot notes)

(Snapshots from the BBV Throbbing Gristle shoot by Chris Cooper).

Boing Boing Video and Richard Metzger shot an interview with art-damage/industrial music godfathers Throbbing Gristle in Los Angeles. They're on a limited tour of the USA, with a show tonight in San Francisco, and dates scheduled in Chicago and Brooklyn (info on dates, venues, and tickets here).

The resulting BB Video is yet to come, but I wanted to share some notes, photos, and ephemera from the experience.

Metzger is a super-mega-otaku fan of TG, and covered their legacy extensively through Disinfo publications and video releases. My knowledge is nowhere near as comprehensive as his (he's even stumped TG members with knowledge of early songs they've forgotten!). But I have been fascinated with them since I was a teenager, when a friend in a punk squat loaned me a beer-stained copy of V. Vale's 1983 RE/Search book about industrial culture.

When I phoned TG's manager Paul Smith on Monday to ask for permission to shoot for Boing Boing Video, I explained that I believed TG were the cultural ancestors for much of the "mutant" culture we explore here on Boing Boing. Sappy but sincere. Without their early experiments in nihilistic machine song we would not have "industrial music." The projects that split off when TG first disbanded -- Chris And Cosey, Coil, Psychic TV -- only expanded their cultural footprint. Countless acts owe them a huge genetic debt -- everyone from Einsturzende Neubauten to Skinny Puppy to NIN to Aphex Twin to Radiohead to every other act you're likely to type in the comments.

COUM Transmissions, the experimental performance art collective which preceded Throbbing Gristle, was responsible for legendary shock-events so extreme, they'd make Tubgirl, Goatse, and the Two Girls with One Cup blush.

The TG show we witnessed (and shot for BBV) this week reflects less of that shock, anger, and taboo-bombing, and was almost entirely instrumental. More moody, doom-y, Faustian. But the physically overwhelming sounds "took the meat off the bones," as Metzger put it. And it was fucking amazing.

Tuesday night's performance was a reprise of a live, improvised soundtrack TG composed for the 1980 Derek Jarman film In the Shadow of the Sun (you can watch a snip of the original version here).

"These people are the wreckers of civilisation", said conservative Member of Parliment Nicholas Fairbairn back in 1976. He was talking about Throbbing Gristle. During the BBV interview, we talked about what it's like to go from being "wreckers" of culture to being celebrated as cultural heroes. We talked about Twitter and Flickr. Gen asked what the difference is between blogs and websites, and announced s/he'd recently acquired her first Blackberry.

Ruth has some snapshots of the shoot and the soundcheck here. TG member Chris Carter is on Twitter here, and his photos are on Flickr here -- don't miss this incredible photoset of historic "lost and found" TG photos. TG member Cosey Fanni Tutti is on Twitter here. Genesis Breyer P-Orridge is here. And Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson is here.

Some archival interviews I've been reading and re-reading, as we edit the interview: This one with Cosey, about her art and her explorations of the sex trade (for her, one and the same). And this amazing interview purportedly from 1978, by an Australian reporter for NME, which was apparently never published in NME. This article in Artlurker by Federico Nessi. And this review of a box set in Artforum.

Thee Boing Boing Video episode(s) are "coum-ing" soon.

(Special thanks to Richard Metzger, to Boing Boing Video's production crew, and friends who helped along the way: Ehrich Blackhound, Ruth Waytz, Chris Cooper, Jason Louv, Suzan Jones, and Greg Chong, to name a few. Very special thanks to Paul Smith, and to the members of Throbbing Gristle).

Chris Carter of Throbbing Gristle: Illustration of Twitter/Flickr/BoingBoing recursive meta-bombing

Christian fundamentalists hijack Singaporean feminist group

AWARE, a 25-year-old Singaporean women's right organization, recently found itself in turmoil after a coup orchestrated by conservative fundamentalist Christians who signed up in large numbers just before the annual general meeting, then elected a new executive that immediately purged the organization of all its traditional leadership down to the subcommittee chairs.
AWARE held its annual general meeting (AGM) on 28 March 2009. There were over 100 people present. Of them, about 80 had only joined the organisation between January and March, one to three months before the meeting. Nine out of 12 executive committee (EXCO) places, including four Office Bearer positions, went to newcomers, who were voted in by wide majorities. There are wide-ranging suspicions that this "leadership grab" has been orchestrated by a well-organised group who do not share AWARE's values and who are seeking to use the name and the resources of a well-respected institution to further their own agenda. These concerns have been expressed not only by onlookers, but by older members of Aware...

# The new president, Josie Lau and 5 other Exco members belong to the same church, Church of Our Saviour. Given this, it is very likely, in our view, that they have acted in concert to take over AWARE. We do not know why as they have refused to disclose their reasons to either members of AWARE or to the press and this makes us even more worried. They, or persons whom they have been associated with, have written homophobic letters to the press. While that is their personal conviction to which they are entitled, we do not want AWARE to be made into a vehicle for any hidden agenda.

# Josie Lau, was in charge of the DBS Charity Drive in support of Focus On The Family, US-based Christian organisation that is opposed to abortion and equal rights for sexual minorities. This created a controversy last year which was well-documented.

# 160 members, including former AWARE committee members and founder members, petitioned for an extraordinary general meeting to consider a vote of no confidence in the New Exco on the basis that the New Exco has not acted and is not acting in the best interest of AWARE; does not appreciate or share the values of AWARE and does not have the requisite experience of carrying out AWARE's work or is otherwise inadequate to further AWARE's objectives. An EGM will be held on 2 May 2009.

WHAT HAPPENED (via IZ Reloaded)

High School Teacher Recounts "Sexting" Ordeal That Ruined His Career

danah boyd tweet-points to this "chilling story of educator in a sexting mess," and says "We should all be horrified by the prosectors' obsession with 'sexting'." Ting-Yi Oei, the Virginia high school teacher in question, is male. All charges against him have since been thrown out of court. But as in the case with Julie Amero, that final acquittal doesn't erase the personal and professional damage caused -- nor does it make up for the reckless tech-stupidity of prosecutors and school officials involved in the case.

Ting-Yi Oei's "sexting" witchhunt story begins about a year ago, when a fellow teacher told him about a rumor that some teens at the school were texting naked self-portraits around to one another.

I called a student I thought likely to have such a picture into my office. In the presence of the school's safety and security official, he quickly admitted that he did. He pulled out his phone and showed us an image of the torso of a woman wearing underpants, with her arms crossed over her breasts. Her head was not in the picture. The 17-year-old student claimed not to know who the young woman was or who had sent him the photo.

I immediately took the picture to the principal, who instructed me to transfer it to my office computer in case we needed it later. Being unfamiliar with camera features on cellphones, I asked the school's technology resource teacher for help, but he didn't have an immediate solution. The student then said that he could text the picture to my cellphone. That left the problem of getting it to my computer, whereupon the boy said that I could send the picture to my school e-mail address.

In hindsight, of course, he could have sent it directly to my computer himself. But it never occurred to me that my actions could be regarded as suspect: I was conducting a legitimate school investigation with children's welfare in mind, and I did so in the presence and with the full knowledge of other school officials.

I interviewed more students with the security specialist, but we found no more pictures and were unable to identify the woman in the photo. We concluded that she probably wasn't a student at the school. I reported our findings to the principal and assumed that the matter was closed.

I left the building quickly that day -- the start of spring break -- to join my wife, Diane, at a doctor's office to discuss her upcoming surgery for a potentially malignant tumor. I told her about the sexting photo, but we had other things on our minds. When I returned to school two days after break ended, I confronted a new problem: The boy with the photo on his cell was now in trouble for having pulled a girl's pants down in class (another teen phenomenon known as "flagging"). I informed his mother that I was suspending him, and in the discussion I also told her about the earlier incident. She was outraged that I hadn't reported it to her at the time. She called me at home that night at 10 p.m. and again at 7 a.m. the next morning, agitated and demanding that the suspension be revoked and threatening to involve an attorney. I told her as calmly as I could that the suspension was for the deliberate act of pulling down the girl's pants. A couple of days later, after an appeal hearing with the principal and me, she shouted at me, "I'll see you in court!"

The story quickly takes a turn for the surreal. Soon, the teacher who claims he sought only to protect the kids he taught was himself charged with possession of child pornography. Read the rest of the saga here: My Students. My Cellphone. My Ordeal. (Washington Post)

BB Exclusive: John Waters on the Origins of Teabagging.

There's been a lot of talk of "teabagging" lately. Conservative anti-tax advocates in the United States have been organizing "tea party" protests, fashioned after the colonial-era protests of British rule. In doing so, they and the right-wing TV punditards who cheer these spectacles on for ratings have ranted about "teabagging," and the desire to "teabag Barack Obama" and such, without apparent knowledge of the word's more common street use.

More recently, news anchors and bloggers have giggled knowingly over that sexual reference, but nobody has acknowledged how the word first entered popular American slang.

I'll tell you how. John Waters.

Here is the email exchange:

XENI: Dear Mister John Waters: We at Boing Boing are devoted fans of your work, and we consider you one of the greatest heroes of the "happy mutant" culture we celebrate. Where does the term "teabagging" come from? Is it true that the term was first popularized, or originated, in one of your films? Also, what is the deal with right wing nutbags (if you'll pardon that term, too) appropriating a perfectly good term for a sex act in such an offensive manner? Your humble devotée, -- Xeni.

JOHN WATERS: "Teabagging" is by my definition the act of dragging your testicles across your partner's forehead. In the UK it is dipping your testicles in your partner's mouth. I didn't invent the term or the act but DID introduce it to film in my movie "Pecker." "Teabagging" was a popular dance step that male go-go boys did to their customers for tips at The Atlantis, a now defunct bar in Baltimore. Hope this helps. -- John Waters

* Yes, this is an actual transcription of an email exchange between Boing Boing and John Waters.

Below, the clip from his movie "Pecker" that started it all. (YouTube Link).


Mr. Waters' work in sculpture and photography is currently the subject of an exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery in Los Angeles: REAR PROJECTION. Snip from show description.

"Rear projection" is a movie term for the process whereby a foreground action is combined with a background scene filmed earlier to give the impression the actors are on location when they are, in fact, working inside a studio. In Waters' latest work, this artificial and outdated visual effect is embraced, attacked and taken to extremes.

Glorifying the struggle, humiliation, and wild excitement of a life in show business, Waters uses an insider's bag of film tricks and trade lingo to celebrate the excess of the movie industry. Rewriting and redirecting existing film imagery snapped off the TV screen, he assaults, elevates, subtitles, and startlingly alters these one time classic, respected, even honored movies to attain a new kind of equality: a cult film that only needs one viewer - John Waters himself.

And finally: below, a rare John Waters short praising the merits of smoking in movie theaters.


(Special thanks to Mr. Johnny Knoxville and the incredible Richard Metzger, who you really ought to be following on Twitter instead of Ashton Kutcher or CNNBRK.)

Marilyn Chambers, RIP


The adult film legend died at age 56 on Sunday. She was found in her mobile home by a family member.

Chambers' death was a "total shock," [fellow adult star Ron] Jeremy said, because they had been scheduled to sign a contract Monday to perform together in an off-Broadway "tongue-in-cheek" re-enactment of the porn classic "Deep Throat." "What's strange is that she was at a stage where she was totally happy and totally content with her life," Jeremy said. "Her life was falling together, and she was doing really well."
Above, an interview with Ms. Chambers from 1977 on a NYC public access cable TV show. The porn title for which she is best known: The Mitchell Brothers production "Behind the Green Door."

Oregon Passes Bill "Too Gross to Talk About"

The newspaper headlines around this one are funny: "House passes bill too gross to talk about," cringes the Oregonian. Bottom line seems to be that they've outlawed bukkake. Here's a pretty straightforward wikipedia entry about the act, popularized first in Japanese pornography, then made famous through American titles.

Today's Oregon ruling was sparked by a really awful non-consensual crime that involved a single perp and a single intended victim. Not funny, and I'm all for the maximum possible penalties there. But the language of the bill appears to cover the consensual but equally icky Porn Valley phenom, which typically involves lots of multiple participants, some of whom are paid as performers:

The proposed new law nobody wants to talk about would make it a second degree sex abuse crime to propel "a dangerous substance at another person." That substance being semen or other bodily fluid flung out of sexual desire.

Yep. Apparently such behavior is part of a gang initiation rituals.

The proposed law follows an incident last June when a man threw his semen on a mother in a Portland area Target store. Her little girl saw it first.

(via Susannah Breslin)

Jobriath Boone: Rock's Fairy Godmother

Richard Metzger is the current Boing Boing guest blogger.
jobriath.jpg
If you've never heard of Jobriath Boone, don't worry, you're not alone. Obscure even by "rock snob" standards, Jobriath was the first really openly gay rock star. David Bowie and Lou Reed flirted with bisexuality, nail polish and make-up, of course, but Jobriath was in his own words, "a true fairy." He wasn't just "out of the closet" he was out like a police siren with the volume turned up to eleven! I've been a Jobriath freak for about 20 years when I stumbled upon his first LP at a New York City flea market. "What is THIS?" was my initial reaction to the cover, obviously influenced by the artwork for David Bowie's "Diamond Dogs." Clearly from the image on the cover, Jobriath was a 70s glitter rock wannabe. Make that perhaps a "neverwas," for aside from a massive advertising campaign that saw his image on 250 New York buses and a 40 foot high poster in Times Square, two solid LPs (recorded with the likes of Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones and Peter Frampton) and a memorable "Midnight Special" performance, Jobriath was a massive flop at the time. Too gay for mid-America in 1974? For sure, but that hasn't stopped Jobriath's Broadway showtunes meets glam rock oeuvre from being rediscovered by fresh ears this decade. Championed by Morrissey, Neil Tennant from the Pet Shop Boys and singer-actress Ann Magnuson (who once told me that I was "the only straight guy in the world who's ever even HEARD of Jobriath" back in the early 90s), the tiny cult of Jobriath got a lot of new members when the CD compliation "Lonley Planet Boy" was released in 2004. His life was also a major part of the inspiration for Todd Haynes' "Velvet Goldmine" although few people realize that fact (the Maxwell Demon album covers are direct homages to the original Jobriath records). Admittedly, his music isn't for everyone --some people just HATE it-- but for those of you who embraced the equally obscure Klaus Nomi, you'll probably love Jobriath. "I'maman" on The Midnight Special "Rock of Ages" on The Midnight Special "I'm Ready for my Close-Up" an informative Jobriath article from MOJO. Why You Should Like Jobriath

Artist paints herself having sex with each president of the USA

Artist Justine Lai's new project is a set of oil paintings of her having sex with every president of the USA, in order.
In Join Or Die, I paint myself having sex with the Presidents of the United States in chronological order. I am interested in humanizing and demythologizing the Presidents by addressing their public legacies and private lives. The presidency itself is a seemingly immortal and impenetrable institution; by inserting myself in its timeline, I attempt to locate something intimate and mortal. I use this intimacy to subvert authority, but it demands that I make myself vulnerable along with the Presidents. A power lies in rendering these patriarchal figures the possible object of shame, ridicule and desire, but it is a power that is constantly negotiated.

I approach the spectacle of sex and politics with a certain playfulness. It would be easy to let the images slide into territory that's strictly pornographic–the lurid and hardcore, the predictably "controversial." One could also imagine a series preoccupied with wearing its "Fuck the Man" symbolism on its sleeve. But I wish to move beyond these things and make something playful and tender and maybe a little ambiguous, but exuberantly so. This, I feel, is the most humanizing act I can do.

NOTES ON JOIN OR DIE (Thanks, Frank W!)