Show 565: Feminist, Atheist Comedienne, Kate Smurthwaite

Feminist, Atheist Comedienne, Kate Smurthwaite

Kate Smurthwaite is a left-wing feminist & atheist stand-up comedian and political activist. She preforms all over the UK, and around the world at major clubs including The Comedy Store, Soho Comedy Club, and The Stand, and she also writes for publications from Cosmopolitan to both The Guardian and The Independent and is the Vice Chair and Media Spokesperson for campaign group Abortion Rights UK.

Kate is often a guest on news and debate shows and is well known for her forthright opinions and campaigning work. Appearances include the BBC’s flagship political debate show Question Time as well as BBC Breakfast, BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour, and BBC Radio 4 The Moral Maze. In 2012 Radio 4’s Four Thought series included a 15-minute program written and performed entirely by Kate about sexist humour and sexism in comedy.

Audio can be found here!

Show 391: Women & the End of War? w/ Kathleen Barry & Judith Hand

Women & the End of War? w/ Kathleen Barry & Judith Hand

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What affect does militarism have on men? Are men – or humans in general – naturally warlike, aggressive, and violent? What role should woman play in modern society when it comes to leadership roles, and can women’s impact on power structures reduce violence and war in any way?

Sunsara Taylor will speak with sociologist Kathleen Barry and evolutionary biologist Judith Hand on these questions on the next Equal Time for Freethought – part one of an (unofficial) two part series on human nature, what we can expect from humanity in the future, and how we can secure a progressive, humanistic future society.

Show 348: More Sex!

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This week Equal Time for Freethought continues it’s examination of how healthy sexuality might be expressed in a society that wasn’t dominated by shame, puritanicalism, and sexploitation.

As we envision becoming a society of people who are happier, healthier, and more empowered, our anachronistic attitudes about sexuality an…d bodily pleasure will have to change. Last week we examined the many ways that various forces in our culture inhibit healthy sexual expression with founder of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF), Susan Wright. In this, our second of two programs on this topic we will discuss push-back from the left and the need to distinguish between the abuse and exploitation, which seems symptomatic to our hierarchical, domination based culture, and passionate, diverse and healthy sexual expression.

We will also be examining the emergence of today’s body pleasure positive culture as it is being expressed by both progressive enterprises and in new social groups and organizations.

Joining our discussion will be two of the co-founders of “The Pleasure SalonSelina Fire, and Mark Michaels, and CEO and cofounder of Babeland, Rachel Venning. Babeland is the award winning premier purveyor of sex related merchandise, workshops and events. The Pleasure Salon is a monthly gathering in New York City of sex positive activists.

Show 347: Sex Under Humanism

Sex Under Humanism

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What would healthy sexual expression look like in a society that wasn’t dominated by shame, puritanicalism, and sexploitation?

We may never know, but surely exploring this question is essential if we are to become a healthier, freer and, happier society.

Helping us examine the way strong forces in our culture inhibits healthy sexual exp…ression will be Founder of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF), Community Activist, Media Spokesperson, Writer and Published Author, Susan Wright.

Show 340: Sex, Love & Marriage

Sex, Love & Marriage: What We’ve been Doing Wrong (and Right) for 8,000 years!

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The Judeo-Christian traditions, and others over the last 6,000 years or so, have turned human sexuality and romantic love on its head.  For 98% of human existence (of which 8,000 years is but a blink of an eye), humans lived in small communities ‘where everybody knew your name.’  Our ancestors led very egalitarian lives compared to the dominance based, often patriarchal societies of so-called modern civilization.

Today, ‘unnatural’ (as in, not part of the social evolution of humanity until very recently) emphasis has been put on competition with its Hobbesian attitudes of a selfish, brutish, cold human existence.  This has, in part, let to inherently self-centered economic systems like Capitalism (based on the artificial notion of Private Property) which has, among other problems, demanded sexuality be considered almost inhuman, scarce, and hierarchical, and thus championing the supposedly moral virtues of monogamy and the “nuclear family.”  Any  real attempts of returning to our basic human natures has been faced with threats from the State, Church, and even from the Sciences (particularly from the field of evolutionary psychology).

So, how can humanists and other freethinkers better understand the nature of human nature with regards to Sex, Love and Marriage in such a society as ours?  On this 2-hour special, we turn to two researchers in these areas to try to get a better handle on what and who we are, and where we may want to venture in the 21st Century.

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Show 272: Rethinking “Traditional” Marriage w/ Stephanie Coontz

Rethinking “Traditional” Marriage: Stephanie Coontz on her book, Marriage, A History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage

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From Publishers Weekly:
When considered in the light of history, “traditional marriage”—the purportedly time-honored institution some argue is in crisis thanks to rising rates of divorce and out-of-wedlock births, not to mention gay marriage—is not so traditional at all. Indeed, Coontz argues marriage has always been in flux, and “almost every marital and sexual arrangement we have seen in recent years, however startling it may appear, has been tried somewhere before.”

Based on extensive research (hers and others’), Coontz’s fascinating study places current concepts of marriage in broad historical context, revealing that there is much more to “I do” than meets the eye. In ancient Rome, no distinction was made between cohabitation and marriage; during the Middle Ages, marriage was regarded less as a bond of love than as a ” ‘career’ decision”; in the Victorian era, the increasingly important idea of true love “undermined the gender hierarchy of the home” (in the past, men—rulers of the household—were encouraged to punish insufficiently obedient wives). Coontz explains marriage today as a way of ensuring a domestic labor force, as a political tool and as a flexible reflection of changing social standards and desires.

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Show 259: Dagmar Herzog – Sex in Crisis

Sex in Crisis: The New Sexual Revolution and the Future of American Politics

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From the Publisher:

“The Religious Right has fractured, the pundits tell us, and its power is waning. Is it true – have evangelical Christians lost their political clout? When the subject is sex, the answer is definitively no. Only three decades after the legalization of abortion, the broad gains of the feminist movement, and the emergence of the gay rights movement, Americans appear to be doing the time warp again. It’s 1950s redux. Politicians – including many Democrats – insist that abstinence is the only acceptable form of birth control. Fully fifty percent of American high schools teach a “sex education” curriculum that includes deceptive information about the prevalence of STDs and the failure rates of condoms. Students are taught that homosexuality is curable, and that premarital sex ruins future marital happiness. Afraid of sounding godless, American liberals have failed to challenge these retrograde orthodoxies.

“The truth is Americans have not become anti-sex, but they have become increasingly anxious about sex – not least due to the stratagems of the Religious Right. There has been a war on sex in America – a war conservative evangelicals have in large part already won. How did the Religious Right score so many successes? Historian Dagmar Herzog argues that conservative evangelicals appropriated the lessons of the first sexual revolution far more effectively than liberals. With the support of a multimillion-dollar Christian sex industry, evangelicals crafted an astonishingly graphic and effective pitch for the pleasures of “hot monogamy” – for married, heterosexual couples only. This potent message enabled them to win elections and seduce souls, with disastrous political consequences.”

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Show 239: Alisha Price of the One Taste NYC Center

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Michael O’Neil continues his series on “Ecstatic Humanism” in a conversation with Alisha Price of One Taste NYC. Since opening their first San Francisco center in 2004, the OneTaste movement has explored radical ideas of relationships, intimacy, pleasure and community. Now operating on both coasts, OneTaste offers a “post-New Age” vision of “Connected Living” that relies less on mysticism and more on psychology than some of their shamanism-chic contemporaries.

But what can humanists learn from these practices? Have we rejected superstitious institutions only to blindly continue aping their rigid mores and perpetuate a society of “sensual scarcity,” when healthier arrangements are possible?

Show 153: Naturalism and Bodily Pleasure II w/ Eliyanna Kaiser and Audacia Ray

Naturalism and Bodily Pleasure II w/ Eliyanna Kaiser and Audacia Ray

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This Sunday evening at 6:30 PM Equal Time for Freethought continues with part 2 of its two-part examination of how a culture that rejects the precepts of religion might regard bodily pleasure and sexuality.
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