Sep 062017
 

If you go to any stock photography site, free or paid, you’re going to find a lot of sad, uncreative results for “sex toys”. Existing photos most often feature outdated jelly sex toys; if there are people in the photo, they are thin/fit and white. If there are any decent images they’ve probably been used a hundred times by other companies. So what is a sex toy industry business to do?

Ideally, they take their own photos. Unless your entire inventory is drop-shipped, surely you have nice sex toys readily available for a photo shoot, right? Sadly we too often see companies, especially new companies, using Google Image (or Bing, whatever) as their “stock image” pool with the mindset that “if it’s on the Internet it must be free for everyone to (ab)use”.

And before we get too far, it’s not just sex toys. We’ve seen companies grab images of people for their social media persona. We’ve seen companies use images of people on their business website! That shady, gross UK glass seller used a commercial image of Jennifer Lopez for years. Years! We’ve seen Charlize Theron’s Dior image used by the first owners of sex toy brand Dorr. 

Hot tip: Your ignorance on Intellectual Property / copyright law does not give you a free pass, an excuse, or the right to do as you please. You are a business, for fucks sake. Behave professionally! 

There are three ethical and legal ways to use images on your social media account or website:

  1. Take or create the image yourself
  2. Purchase from a stock photo site or download from a Creative-Commons free stock photo site
  3. Pay for limited use rights to an existing photo and include attribution links to the content creator

That’s it. It’s that simple.

So let’s say you just can’t find a cool photo that fits your style and you don’t have the means to create the image yourself – how about finding the owner of the image you yoinked from Google Image search and ask for their permission to use it? You should expect to pay them and/or provide an attribution link. If you are a truly ethical company you will insist on paying them and giving an attribution link. Many bloggers take amazing sex toy photos and some may be very open to an ethical business proposition!  It is not hard to find the original owner – there are a number of good Reverse Image Search tools to use – even Google will do that!

Recently one new company tried to use an image of Epiphora’s that contained a one-of-a-kind item which friends and avid readers will recognize: the sex toy bouquet Aerie made for her. When confronted on Twitter about their random use of this image they claimed that they “found this cool image as stock online and used it for a quick tweet!”. Five minutes and two reverse image sites later proved that Piph’s photo was never on a stock website and, in fact, seems to only have been on her site (and visible in Google Image search) –  I couldn’t find evidence that it was used elsewhere without attribution.

Copyright and Instagram

While we’re on the touchy subject of copyright and photo use, let’s also talk about Instagram. You see, Instagram doesn’t have a built-in feature for “re-blogging” or sharing someone else’s post the way Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr do. Yet folks have created add-on apps to break this and get around it. Some re-gram apps will add the original owner’s Insta handle to the photo itself. Some will also/instead add a link to the original account in the image description. Other apps do none of this and do not give attribution to the original owner of the image, relying on you to do that – and many of you do not. 

The simplest fix here is this: Use only re-gram apps that heavily attribute (in the decription, not a comment) AND ALSO ASK PERMISSION FIRST. When you set out to use an app in the way it was never intended it is just good ethics and good business to ask before you put someone else’s photo on your Insta profile. Ideally, though, you should just create your own content – that’s the entire point of Instagram.

If you use other people’s images and don’t obtain consent you could end up losing your Insta account and users can file takedown requests when they find their stuff being used.

Watermarks are Not Attribution

Many bloggers will add a copyright watermark to their images – I do for most of mine. This does not count as “attribution”. Unauthorized use of these images still counts as copyright violation and image theft and, if the owner reports you to your hosting company, will end in the hosting company forcibly removing the protected content from your site. If you do this too much your hosting company will shut your site down.

Attribution is Not Permission

You may be thinking here that the key to being a good, ethical company is to use our photos but tell people they’re ours. It’s not and content owners can still file (and win) DMCA takedown requests with your hosting company if they don’t consent to their photo being used for your gain.

Permission, or let’s call it a word you may hear more: consent, is crucial to ethically using other people’s work. They may say no. They request payment. But you absolutely must respect that. If you can’t respect copyright and simple consent how is a blogger or customer supposed to trust you?

Creative Commons

The idea behind Creative Commons is to have free, legal content of all types on the Internet for people to use. One key tenet of Creative Commons licenses is that the person using the thing must give proper attribution to the creator. They don’t need to ask permission, because the Creative Content license note on the person’s website acts as the permission. Many bloggers choose not to use this, however, and that is their right.

The content creator needs to go to the CC website and decide how “open” their content is going to be. CC explains it:

Creative Commons provides a range of licenses, each of which grants different rights to use the materials licensed under them. All of these licenses offer more permissions than “all rights reserved.”

Does This Apply to Me?

While the subject of my ire here is aimed at businesses the etiquette and law of copyright, attribution, and permission applies to anybody on the Internet. The incorrect assumption that because it’s “on the Internet” it’s free1 for the taking is not just wrong, it’s illegal. Copyright is real and enforceable. The copyright owner needs to do nothing but show first publishing to prove ownership. Web hosting companies are required to take this seriously and most do.

 

  1.  Quick litmus test to know if someone is an asshole: They’ll tell you a version of “If you didn’t want people to use it, you shouldn’t have put it on the Internet”.
 Posted by at 8:51 am
Aug 292017
 

I’ve finally made it?

I’m taking a few days off social media (unrelated to this) so my hope is that prospective retailers do their legwork. There is an Australian person claiming to be me, writing to retailers using the email address “dangerouslillyreviews@gmail.com”. This isn’t my email address, I’m not the person contacting you. 

I cannot do anything on my end; I can’t get Google to get rid of the Gmail account. They’re trying to scam YOU, not me, so please report them for that to your local authorities.

 Posted by at 10:33 am
Aug 212017
 

16 bloggers giving Screaming O the fingerLast week The Screaming O put out a factually-incorrect press release to pat themselves on the back for an imaginary job well done with regards to a panel session at Woodhull’s Sexual Freedom Summit 2017 titled “The Truth About Body-Safe”. In addition to falsely claiming that the “sponsored” session was a “resounding success” presented to a “packed hall” they released the full, unedited video recording of the session on YouTube and their own website. This recording included the voices of Summit attendees who were in the audience and asking questions or making comments loud enough to be captured in the audio portion of the recording.

In an official statement released by Woodhull Foundation, Ricci Levy denounced multiple points of their press release:

An article appeared claiming that a recent Woodhull Summit workshop had been “sponsored” by a toy manufacturer, Screaming O, and including a link to a video of the workshop. We want to make it clear that when the workshop was selected there was no indication that it was a sponsored workshop. In fact, Woodhull does not permit sponsored workshops, and Screaming O had refused all invitations to actually be a visible sponsor of Woodhull’s 2017 Summit. We have spoken with Anne Hodder who had, unfortunately, been ill from shortly after the Summit and had no knowledge of the false sponsorship claims being made by ScreamingO.

When questioned about filming the panel, we gave permission ONLY if all attendees were notified, signed releases and were willing to be captured on film and audio. That did not happen and no one in the workshop gave permission to be filmed. Despite this violation, Screaming O posted a video of the workshop on its website.

I’ve been sharing blogger insights and information with Ricci over this past week, and have talked to Anne Hodder-Shipp, the now-former publicist who had worked with Screaming O since 2009 but resigned on Friday following their handling of this debacle. For full transparency, Ricci has shared with me (so that I, in turn, can share with you) the correspondence between herself and the COO of The Screaming O, David “Hui” Newnham. Other than the press release which was not written or discussed with Anne before its release, the public hasn’t seen any comment from Screaming O. We’ve pinged their username on Twitter and Facebook and some have emailed them. Some, like myself, left them a message on Facebook Messenger last Wednesday when it was noticed that they were listed as “online and active”. Not surprisingly, I didn’t get a response but they saw it:

Anne made a public statement on Twitter last Wednesday but has included a larger, more updated statement here:

I learned of Screaming O’s Woodhull PR at the same time Ricci did and was sidelined. It did not come from me and did not accurately reflect my involvement in the panel. At my urging, Screaming O temporarily moved the video offline but it is not clear what will happen now. I went on leave for an illness on Aug. 6 and have not been privy to Screaming O’s plans, and now I’m left reeling that months of independent research (and years of hard work) has potentially lost all credibility because of a bad attempt at PR.

This was a difficult role to play and I learned a great deal throughout. I stand by the independent research provided during the panel and am proud that I survived the stress and anxiety that came along with it. But I do not support Screaming O’s actions and feel sad and disappointed by them. To be clear: the panel was not sponsored; I was not paid to do the work, I attended the conference on my own dime, and Woodhull did not accept financial support from Screaming O this year. Screaming O was 100% removed from the process and had no involvement or influence over what was discussed during that panel.

I was responsible for Screaming O’s PR and marketing for more than 7 years; they were my first and longest-running client and a lot of positive change happened from the inside out, including the lab-testing initiative that eventually inspired me to work directly with a polymer testing lab and a molecular biologist to learn more. As a sex toy fan, industry journalist-turned-publicist, and sex educator, this subject has been near and dear to my heart for almost a decade and I was excited by the opportunity. However, it seems my intention for the panel and the video recording did not match that of Screaming O’s and, following recent events, I decided that it was time for me to move on from my role.

Ricci and Anne worked to get the full, unedited video removed on Wednesday and were successful….at the time. But because the press release contained further inaccuracies, Ricci emailed The Screaming O and urged them to ammend their press release. Ricci writes:

We appreciate that you took down the non-consensually-filmed full workshop video and replaced it with a shorter “highlights” version. I would like, now, your assurance that the longer video will never be shown or used for any purposes.

Additionally, I’d also appreciate you clarifying the fact that ScreamingO did not sponsor the workshop, both in the article and in the introduction to the video. We do not permit sponsored workshops at the Sexual Freedom Summit any more than we allow filming or live streaming without the permission and knowledge of all attendees at the workshop.

The following is the full response from Mr Newnham, COO.  This response shows absolutely no remorse. They are denying any wrong-doing and have a gross misunderstanding of “transparency”. Bold emphasis my own.

Dealing with your second point first we are more than happy to work with you and your team to issue a joint clarification as to the role of Screaming O in the presentation of the panel. If “Sponsored By” might imply that Woodhull accepted payment in consideration of including the panel in the program, which is not true; then I am sure we can clarify that while the panel was included in the program solely on its merits, Screaming O facilitated its presentation by compensating the professional panelists for their time and expenses, which is true.

On your first point alleging that the workshop was filmed without authorization, I can only deny your assertion.

You, yourself helped arrange the recording on March 20, 2017 by introducing Anne to Rick and Ted, noting that she would be arranging a videographer to videotape the workshop. All attendees in the room would have been aware the event was to be recorded by the prominent placement of 3 cameras, a microphone and by seeing Gideon working as a camera operator. Finally, Woodhull clearly anticipated that certain parts of the show would be photographed by asking each registrant to affirm or decline their authority to be included in pictures by the wearing of either an Orange or Green lanyard.

The workshop was recorded with the full knowledge of all participants and without objection.

We have, and will continue, to make a full unedited version of the workshop available online so that those interested parties that were unable to attend Woodhull might benefit from the information presented. This is entirely consistent with our values of providing open, honest, evidence based information related to body safety that will allow a better informed public to make their own decisions.

Indeed, I am completely surprised at the apparent controversy surrounding this and the inference that this transparency is somehow a bad thing. I cannot see how it could be anything but good.

The response from Ricci, part of which I’ll share here, doesn’t mask her anger and disgust at Summit policy being violated and audience consent being violated.

As for the video itself, we’re not going to debate with you or, in fact, even explain Summit processes, rules and agreements. The leader of the workshop was aware of our rules. And while interaction was offered with our tech people, there was no follow through from Anne Hodder or anyone at Screaming O after an initial inquiry.

Transparency? At no point during the workshop did anyone share with the attendees that Screaming O was videotaping and would be using the tape for their own purposes. Nor did anyone share that Screaming O had paid the expenses for the two experts on the panel. Transparency is a good thing, Hui, but not when you betray the words and hide behind them as an excuse to expose people and put them at risk in their personal lives.

~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~

They may have taken the video down, for now, but as of Friday showed no remorse and no intention of keeping that video out of the public eye. Whether or not they edit out audience members’ voices before they put the video back online remains to be seen and I’ll update here when that happens. 

As someone who was in the audience (and in fact right behind Gideon who was tucked away against the wall, unobtrusive) I can assure you that there was no “full knowledge” and no chance to “object”. Did some of us notice the recording cameras? Yes, absolutely. But because most of us knew Woodhull’s policy due to experiencing it already in other sessions, we assumed that the recording was happening for private use only, perhaps by Woodhull, perhaps by Anne Hodder – but certainly not by Screaming O. Their name wasn’t even brought up, and no one knew who the man in the corner was. NO ONE gave consent, NO ONE had the chance to object.

Mr. Newnham used, incorrectly, the fact that Woodhull passes out color-coded lanyards as proof that “photographs are expected” of the “show” and I can’t even tell you how infuriated that makes me. At least one person who spoke up was wearing a lanyard that meant “no photographs” and furthermore that still doesn’t absolve them from obtaining consent and alerting everyone about their intentions. He is also using the logical bullshit of “implied consent” to absolve them of any wrong-doing. My reaction to that last sentence isn’t something that I can type in words, it’s a sound akin to a really mad Howler Monkey with a face of pure thunder.

I refuse to support a company who lies and violates privacy and consent with abandon. I can’t trust them on ANYTHING anymore. I am absolutely disgusted at Screaming O’s attitude and their actions from Wednesday on. Even if they don’t publicly re-release that video, even if they remove the audience voices if they do re-release it, the point is that they don’t give a shit about privacy and don’t understand consent. As a blogger who is partially anonymous, I can’t ever work with them again due to privacy concerns and my own ethics. I can’t condemn their words and actions harshly enough. I’m frankly so disgusted and enraged that the words coming out right now come off stilted, clinical, and don’t seem to portray what I’m feeling well enough. It’s because I’m so focused right now on getting this information out there so that everyone else can decide for themselves with full knowledge, that I am not letting my own emotions fly too high.

After I suspected their material claims were false/inaccurate for years I was ready to re-think my opinion of the company after Anne and a few others got them to lab-test their “SEBS” material and then publicly “admit” that it wasn’t the “silicone blend” they’d insisted it was. Other industry people that I trust told me to trust in Anne and by extension the Screaming O. While I don’t agree with everything Anne and others said in the panel, I still have respect for her and I don’t lay any blame on her for this mess. But now my support for The Screaming O is pulled. I won’t recommend their products.

Fuck you, Screaming O. You are putting people in danger unless you obfuscate the audio of all audience members.

This post doesn’t even begin to touch on how I felt about the contents of the session. That may come later, but I can assure you it has sparked a renewed interest in the flame test. The words from one of the scientists about the flame test talked about things I’ve never even mentioned as a “result that will give you answers”. But I digress. You can read the transcript of the session here, read Ruby’s rant here, Sarah’s rant here and see tweets from the session here.

Comments from audience members are especially welcome here, as I’d like to know if I’m alone in not knowing the truth about those recording cameras.

2:00pm EST – as I’m writing this post I’m notified that TSO changed the wording on their press release, removing the wording that lists them as the sponsor. You can compare this new version to the original.

September 15th – The original press release from Woodhull has been replaced with a much more tempered, legal-sounding press release that notes that Screaming O has removed audience voices from the video and will never release that full, unedited video again. If it appears on third-party sites, they will remove it.  The press release is noted as a “joint statement” and seems to be literally all we’re going to hear from Screaming O on the matter. They do not apologize for their actions, but merely “any confusion that may have resulted” from “miscommunication”. At the bare minimum this result lays to rest most fears of outing from those who were non-consentually included in the original video but I don’t see Screaming O taking any responsibility, expressing any remorse or regret – at least publicly and that’s a big deal. This bare minimum outcome doesn’t remove them from my Blacklist.

 Posted by at 3:19 pm
Jun 032017
 

In just a few months I will be heading to the annual Sexual Freedom Summit put on by the Woodhull Alliance, thanks to SheVibe. It’s a few days of bonding and learning. This post is a big pile of info: a favor to ask of my readers; information on how you can get to the Summit if you’re low on funds; and information about a fun event for all the digital content creators who will be at the Summit.

Thanks to SheVibe being my sponsor again I’ve got my funding taken care of so I’m able to pay it forward for SFS17 – I’d like to get more bloggers to attend!

Help Two Trans Bloggers Get to SFS17

Sugarcunt set up a fundraiser to help send two trans bloggers to SFS17 – Taylor J. Mace of Feisty Fox Films and Insert Trans Here. We have gotten them over the 50% funded hump, but still need more help. Even small amounts can add up to a big help so if you’re able I know they would appreciate it. The community support, and learning, is so essential right now.

Blog Squad Scholarships

Last year when I was named Kinkly’s #1 Sex Blogging Superhero1 it came with a $500 prize which I was reluctant to accept – until I found that I could redirect it to Woodhull and create a few small scholarships. Woodhull very graciously is giving free registration to the winners of the scholarships. In addition, another member of the Blog Squad contributed $250 to add a THIRD scholarship to a blogger in need. One scholarship is earmarked for a blogger of color.

We’ve asked folks to write a short essay about “How do you use your blog to advocate for the fundamental human right to sexual freedom?” What should you write? Tell them about you and your blog, give examples of your social justice work on your blog, and tell them what it would mean to you to be able to attend with the help of the scholarship. The Blog Squad created this scholarship fund because we know that not everyone can get sponsorship for many reasons. Sponsors these days expect a return on their investment and often require more followers or traffic than many newer bloggers have. We hope that these scholarships will make the difference for you and turn a “I really wish I could come” into a “Yay, I’ll be there!”. 

No blogger will be responsible for choosing the winners – all essays will be read by the Woodhull panel. Go here to enter!

Free Registration  from Chaturbate

Chaturbate is hosting a giveaway for THREE free registrations which starts June 2nd! You can get more details about it here.

Digital Content Creator Meet n Greet

“Blogger Meet n Greet” rolls off the tongue a little better but we wanted to be more inclusive and reach out to those who are creating content in all ways – vloggers, podcasters, etc.  If you’re on the precipice of creating a space online for yourself, you should also attend! Not sure if you’re eligible? Email me or Suz/comment here. So many of us are creating content online – from sex toy reviews to social justice editorial pieces on Medium. And it seems like so many of us are also socially awkward / anxious / introverted. It’s hard to reach out – whether you’re the new person or it’s old hat but new-to-you people still intimidate you. My hope is that this will bridge the gaps.

A few months ago I had this idea and with Blog Squad help & input the idea has come alive. On Thursday, August 3rd, starting at 4:30pm, we’ll all gather for some relaxed hang-outs, networking, and skillshares. Because of the timing, we’ll be providing snacks and pizza — this is why we are asking you to RSVP. Registering for the Meet n Greet is not to keep people out but to help us plan and ensure there’s enough food. If you are late registering for the Summit and want to attend, just shoot me an email and we’ll make sure your attendance will be noted. Because the Meet n Greet is happening in Summit space we must restrict this to folks with a Summit ticket.

The skillshares (topics will be voted on soon by attendees!) are quick little 15-minute super-informal huddles – you can listen on the outskirts, actively ask questions, share your own related tips or ignore the whole thing and carry on with your conversations on the other side of the room. We want you to be comfortable!

I’ll be providing some blank business cards (limited supply) if you forget yours or cannot afford any but need to hand out your contact info. Retailer and manufacturer reps will be welcomed at 6:30pm for the last hour of the Meet n Greet to help you make connections that may grow into site sponsorships or sex toy reviews, or more!

We’ll also facilitate sign-up sheets for things like meals or evening events to make sure that you’re not alone if you don’t want to be. If you’re new and super anxious about all of this please reach out and we’ll assign you a “blogger buddy” to stick by you at the Meet n Greet and introduce you. 

How to RSVP: Use the Woodhull Eventbrite page to grab your free “ticket” and let us know you’ll be there!

If you’re attending: There will be five 15 minute skillshares throughout the evening. The topics are up for vote here. Please pick 1-5 topics.

Companies: I’m looking for a little help!

  1. Have any branded pens laying around? I’d like to have a small pile of pens for the blank business cards I’ll be setting out.
  2. I have a partial sponsor for pizza, but would appreciate a little more sponsored help for the packaged snacks, paper plates and napkins I’ll be bringing. If you’d like to help out with a sponsor amount of $100 please let me know ASAP! Got it covered! Thanks to Split Peaches!

 

YOU! YES YOU! Are you going to Woodhull? Will you be attending the Meet n Greet? Comment and let me know!!

 

  1. goin out on top – due to the extreme presence of Lelo on their site and their condoning the Hex condom, and I some other bloggers asked to be removed from their list so I won’t ever be a Sex Blogging Superhero again!
 Posted by at 6:01 pm
May 162017
 

A topic that I’ve been really up front and vocal about for ages is my weight and how that factors into sex toy use. It can’t be overlooked (but boy can it be mocked) and many readers over the years have appreciated my candor. A lot of factors come into play when using sex toys and your body size is one of them – something most thin people don’t think about because it’s not their lived experience. The same can be said for using sex toys as a disabled person – most sex toy creators are able-bodied so the ease of use by a disabled person is usually not thought about. It’s a mostly-ignored market so when a sex toy literally is called “plus size” it feels like a game changer.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sex toy made for – or marketed specifically towards – plus size folks1.  In the absence of a specialty product, we have to try a little harder to find a product that will work better for us. There are attributes we can look for – different handles/bases on dual-stimulation vibrators, handles on dildos, or simply using a g-spot vibrator as a clitoral vibrator. There are attributes we can try to avoid – poorly placed buttons is a big pet peeve of mine along with long handles that point away from my body. But a few months ago Womanizer/epi24 started advertising their newest model, the +Size (or Plus Size, if you prefer). I don’t think it was a stretch to assume that this was a calculated move and would be marketed, in some part, towards plus size folks. This assumption is especially based on the stock images they chose – slightly plus-size femme folks alongside Womanizer’s traditional images of thin femme folks. 

Screengrab of the marketing images from the Womanizer site for the Plus Size model - 2 photos on the left show artistic photos of thin femme bodies, the product image is next, and then there are two artistic photos of plump or slightly large femme folks

The current language on their site talks about the +Size having an extended handle which measures 8.5″ long and intensity buttons at the end of the handle. This handle is 2.3″ longer than their PRO40 model and 1.5″ longer than the largest (but poorly made) Satisfyer, the Satisfyer 2. I am not certain on the measurements but it also appears that there’s more depth from the tip of the nozzle to the backside of the body.  The elongated handle has a slight curve which is more ergonomic for rounder bodies and disabled folks. With the exception of the poorly-placed power button, the buttons are in a great spot. Just by looking at the Womanizer +Size I feel like it was made more with my body type in mind than nearly all other sex toys on the market are.

The Womanizer Plus Size is disappointing me heavily in their marketing choices, though. Despite absolutely loving the Womanizer PRO40 and W100 in use and supporting the Womanizer brand over the Satisyfer brand I’ve always been turned off by the name, their prices, and the stereotype images they’d chosen originally for all their different design themes of the W100. I won’t pretend that, despite the name, the Plus Size is meant only for plus-sized people but you certainly can’t ignore the fact that it IS great for larger bodies. As a plus-sized woman, I felt, briefly, like I was finally being “seen” in this industry. Briefly. The fact is that beyond a couple of photos on their site of slightly larger femme folks they have been using thin folks in their marketing images on social media so far. The brand’s marketing seems to have completely ignored the subtly stated target market of larger folks or disabled folks. Where are the images representing those people? Where is the marketing that would give validation to people of size from an industry that largely ignores us? 

The only Womanizer + Size marketing image so far on social media shows a thin femme person

 It’s still early so epi24 can still decide to embrace a marginalized portion of the population that is grossly under-served in the sex toy market by respectfully portraying and marketing to plus-sized people AND disabled folks. I would love to feel like a legitimate person with a legitimate set of particular needs in this market rather than invisible or fetishized.  I’ve long wished for sex toy manufacturers to acknowledge the not-insignificant portion of the population that is considered “plus size” and create more ergonomic sex toys with that in mind – but like any wish you have to be specific and I didn’t think I had to specify that said sex toy would also be marketed to and portray images of the target market. I do, so I am: Epi24, please let the Womanizer Plus Size be a truly Plus Size sex toy.

To be clear, this isn’t my review of the Womanizer Plus Size and I don’t even have one quite yet. I plan to review it in the near future; this issue is something I wanted to talk about outside of the review space because this isn’t just about the Womanizer Plus Size or epi24 – it’s about the fact that 99% of the sex toys on the market ignore plus-size folks as a specific niche of end-user AND the fact that sex toy marketing is mostly devoid of larger bodies.

Update: A representative for Womanizer contacted me and had this to say:

I realize that our European site has not been updated with the new naming convention, but we have launched this product with being all inclusive in mind, so it is actually called Womanizer Plus (+) not Womanizer +Size as it appears online currently. 

Our intention is to offer a product with the ease of use that customers get from a wand styled item. We realize that our customers come in all shapes and sizes and want to be all inclusive with all of our products, and with all of our marketing, we use all shapes and sizes. We also want to market a product and not ignore the fact that the size and shape of Womanizer Plus(+) offers an ease of use for bigger bodied people, just like many wand style items. 

My response includes a re-iteration of my point here:

It seems that many retailers and early reviewers have been calling it +Size or Plus Size, so I imagine there will be confusion on the name for quite some time now.
 
And while I can understand that you intend for this to be for all people it’s a great marketing opportunity to be unique and gain favor by specifically creating marketing that speaks to the Plus being particularly well suited for larger bodies and disabled people.  I don’t feel that embracing niche users will alienate anyone else, especially if you have marketing that covers everything. As a plus-sized woman I’ve never seen manufacturers use images of someone my size and haven’t seen anything made with us in mind – I’ve seen a photo or two of a very slightly plump person, as on the Womanizer Plus site, but so far that seems to be it. 
  1. Please do correct me if I’ve missed any
 Posted by at 9:19 am
Apr 182017
 

Depression and #45

I never used to be very political; when I finally registered to vote in my home state, I registered as Independent because I had no real care either direction. I think I knew I was more Democrat, but I never was very bothered by elections. All politicians seemed “the same” and it felt like “choosing the lesser of two evils”. I remember feeling slight apprehension on election night for Obama, hoping he would be voted in, but I didn’t worry. I felt like his becoming President, and then staying President, was a foregone conclusion. 

And then our most recent presidential election happened, and I couldn’t not be political anymore. I stood in line to vote and felt fear. I cried pretty much the whole time in line due to fear and anxiety. Our 45th President, whose name I will not use here, scares me. Sickens me. And was the trigger for a still-ongoing season of depression for me, the likes of which I haven’t seen in a long while.

I think that I held out some warped hope in November and December; hope for a re-count, hope for the electoral college to do something historic. Or perhaps it was denial. The hope/denial was gone when he was inaugurated.

Depression and Turning 40

Two things about this year are hard for me: I’m turning 40, and this year is the 20th anniversary of my father’s death. 

This is the last year where I can say I’ve lived life without him for slightly less than the time I’ve known him. Living in a world where my father has been gone for longer than the time I’ve known him is weird, cruel, and just plain unfair. We were close, especially in what would be his last years. He was the “cool” parent, the one I got along well with, the one I was just like. His sudden death truly broke me and still has me fucked up to this day. I don’t think I would have ever wanted to show him this blog, but I’d like to think that, eventually, I would have told him about it. He would have happily helped me with my experiments; he would have gotten me equipment, or found new testing methods, or helped me research and understand. He was a chemist and fostered my love for “experiments” and learning.  His influence led to the 2 majors I tried in college that have become useful for my blog: (photo) journalism, and computer tech. Even my strange way of typing is because of him – I don’t use two fingers on my left hand, and only recently realized they are the same two fingers he was missing. I was never taught how to type the “correct” way, but learned as I grew up with a computer and learned by watching him. It’s a strange connection that I cherish.

And yes, I’m turning 40 in a month and taking it hard. I don’t feel 40. I know that my father’s death was incredibly traumatic for me and the mental repercussions are many and deep. I feel like in many ways I didn’t “grow up” and mature; I don’t feel 40. But at the same time, 40 is making me aware of my health and the fact that time is marching on. I am middle-aged. Time is slipping away. I wonder if I’ve done “enough” in my 40 years, if I’m “behind”. Should I have accomplished more, by now? My last few birthdays have been “okay”, and some have sucked. I’ve not had a birthday party since my teen years, and I don’t plan to start up again now but I also feel like 40 should get more attention, more pomp and circumstance, more … something. I don’t know if I’ll get that, though. My anxiety on turning 40 features a lot of fuzzy, unformed fears that can’t really be voiced and don’t have defined parameters.

Depression and Blogging

So, yeah. I’m depressed. To add insult to injury, I tried going back on an old medication for a little while, to get a bit of a boost. Prozac had never been a wonder drug for me but it had been the only anti-depressant that didn’t give me terrible hazing side effects – until now. I couldn’t stick with it and outlast the hazing period, so I lost nearly a month to terrible side effects from going on the drug and then going off the drug. And all of this is to explain why you haven’t seen many posts from me. I’m trying.

My ability and desire to use sex toys has gone down the drain. My ability to write about sex toys has plummeted. I have reviews to write that, when I try really hard, come out as dry and flat as toast. My depression has seeped into my feelings on blogging, on this blog, and my ability to write anything decent or relevant. My depression is telling me that I shouldn’t go to Woodhull; that I won’t enjoy it and I’ll just bring others down. I also have a lot of guilt about the backlog of review items, and there’s nothing anybody can say to erase that. Sure, I could take time off to take care of myself, and I’m sure many will continue to suggest that, but I can’t. Not really. I feel like it’s either quit or stay, nothing in the middle. I’m trying to understand/remember that Depression Lies, but it’s also a word-stealing bastard thief.

 

 Posted by at 10:28 am