Sep 21 Jina commented on Savage Love.
Ricardo @73 "What is not valid here is you using your personal experience to vouch for all her future decisions."

Actually, I didn't say anything about my personal experience. My comment was based solely on the impressions I got from her letter. Out of curiosity, what exactly *do* you know about my personal experience? (not being sarcastic, you've really made me curious about just how much I've revealed about myself here)

Would you be happy if SNIP showed up in the comments and said that, if her husband asked her to, she would get her tubes tied or a hysterectomy or whatever it takes to render her infertile? Is that the kind of "guarantee" you're looking for? And frankly, I'm not even sure why you addressed that comment to me. I was just trying to provide an alternate explanation to "she's clearly a gold-digger" for why the inheritance is relevant to her pushing her husband to get a vasectomy. Not sure how that turned into "you're advocating the double standard she's forcing on him."
Sep 21 Jina commented on Savage Love.
I'm kind of puzzled that a lot of people are jumping to the conclusion that SNIP is a gold-digger because she mentioned her husband's inheritance. I thought she put that in there as an additional reason to worry that some woman will get "oops" pregnant by her husband, then use the inheritance to argue that she deserves huge child support payments that are, uh, yeah, *totally* for the child. That's a valid concern - look at how much Paul McCartney, or any other celebrity, has to pay in child support to ex-spouses who had their kid, in order to "maintain a comfortable lifestyle for the child." She doesn't seem concerned about keeping the money for herself, just that her husband has an extra target painted on his back for actual gold-diggers who aren't above getting pregnant for a free ride, like what happened to his father *three* times.

Personally I think she just needs to sit her husband down and have a talk about what's going on, why he says one thing and then doesn't follow through, etc., but I guess she wanted reassurance from Dan first that she wasn't totally nuts for seeing this as such a big issue.
Sep 16 Jina commented on Savage Love.
Oh, I didn't think anyone would actually want to hear it, heh. :) My sexual preferences and experiences are pretty vanilla, so I usually don't have as much insight to offer as most of the other commenters here.

I'm a cosplayer, and have cosplayed at almost every anime/video game convention I've been to for the last ten years. I'm your fairly common or garden variety cosplayer - I do it mostly because I like to dress up, and it's fun when people recognize my character or compliment me on my costume. I enjoy making my own costumes, and I generally cosplay as characters that I physically resemble, to make the overall cosplay as accurate as possible.

I mention all this to explain that I'm fairly popular at cons, so I'm very accustomed to being stopped by random strangers for a photo or a hug. I know there's a lot of controversy about female cosplayers being harassed at cons, but I've never had any problems with this myself. So even though I'm normally very asocial and don't like people touching me, I'm pretty comfortable with strangers asking me to pose for them or giving them a hug when I'm cosplaying. And if I meet someone dressed as a character from the same series, I enjoy hamming it up and role-playing with them.

But there was one time I got squicked out by someone who asked for a photo. I was dressed as a popular video game character, and an older man asked if he could take my picture, a pretty standard request. I posed for him, just like I would any other con-goer - nothing incredibly sexy or anything, just a standard video game girl pose. Afterwards, he reached over to take my arm (my costume was sleeveless) and asked me "So what anime are you from?" and my blood ran cold.

You see, whatever I may do at a con - letting randos take photos, giving out hugs, etc - has little to do with Jina, and more to do with the character I'm cosplaying as. Fellow con-goers call me by my character's name, they don't ask for my real name. This person had absolutely no clue who I was cosplaying as, which told me that he didn't want a picture of my character, he wanted a picture of Jina. And that was a violation of my boundaries, because it was no longer about my character, it was about me as an individual. I'm sure plenty of people have masturbated or worse to the photos they've taken of me, but it doesn't bother me because what they're really whacking off to is my character. In this guy's case, though, if he did anything with my photo, it would be because he liked *my* physical appearance, and that's what made it feel icky. I spent the rest of the con making sure I didn't cross paths with him again. It didn't help that I realized afterward that he had just come out of the cosplay porn vendor's booth when he stopped me.

And that's why I think the woman in PHOTO's letter was creeped out by PHOTO's request, no matter how polite he was. Much like the characters I cosplay as, she probably likes having an online persona that gets attention, and whose photos are appreciated by guys, but is separate from her personal life. The moment PHOTO asked for a personal item of hers, it crossed that boundary, because it was no longer about sexy fantasy girl on a monitor, it was about her as a person. It made shit get real. She probably knows in a vague, general kind of way that guys are 'bating to the fairly-harmless-sounding photos she posts, but she doesn't want to specifically be able to picture what they're doing with them. When PHOTO requested a used pair of panties, she probably formed a mental image of him sniffing her panties, or rubbing it on himself, or doing gods-know-what-else with it. I certainly did; I immediately had visions of the guy at the con masturbating to my photo, because why else would he have wanted it? And I even posed for him! It made me very uncomfortable, like I had just become his own personal little porn star, even though he was perfectly polite. That's why I avoided him afterwards, and why I think this woman blocked PHOTO from her Instagram account as well.

Anyways, just my perspective, colored by my own experience. Way too long, I know, but I hope it at least wasn't boring. :)
Sep 15 Jina commented on Savage Love.
@79 "If we believe that there's nothing wrong with sex work (and I'm not sure I agree), why the difference?"

There's nothing wrong with sex work in and of itself (I'm assuming you're leaving out the obvious problems of sex worker exploitation and mistreatment), but that doesn't mean everyone *has* to feel comfortable doing it. I personally love feeding giraffes at the zoo, and I don't mind at all when they slobber all over my hands (they have long tongues and are very grabby), but there are many people who find this icky or get alarmed at the way the giraffes butt each other out of the way when they see a human waving lettuce at them (seriously, I've watched the adults shove babies out of the way for a few leaves of that sweet, sweet lettuce). Just because it's a perfectly legal and/or safe activity doesn't mean everyone is required to do it or be okay with it, and propositioning a stranger out of the blue and offering them money is assuming that everyone is okay with it. That would be like the zoo tying lettuce to every visitor and pushing them towards the giraffes, regardless of whether they want to be slobbered on or not.

Another complication is that, for many people, sex is an intimate and personal act. Translation work or retail work is generally not. It's highly unlikely that someone is going to hold you at knifepoint to make you translate L'Etranger for them or mow their lawn, because their objective doesn't center on you, it centers on understanding a novel or having a nice tidy yard. But when they offer you money for sex, their objective does center on you and being intimate with you. That's why you feel upset, threatened, and that they're skeevy, because *you* are their objective and you don't know what lengths they may go to to get it (see Alison Cummins's example @83).

As an aside, I have another personal anecdote that might explain why PHOTO's request was skeevy even if he asked politely, but since I'm already prone to writing Great Walls of Text, I'll only tell it if anyone wants to hear it.
Sep 14 Jina commented on Savage Love.
@28 - I defer to your knowledge of video production, but I don't think time is the only issue here. It's also resources and plain 'n' simple math. It may only take a "few hours" to edit the clips, but that's still a few hours of working on something with little potential to make money, when he could be spending that time and energy on something that is in higher demand. When I talked about production costs, I was thinking in terms of paying people to film, set up, or whatever else it is they choose to do for these things, since I assume Small Hands isn't going to want something that looks like a cheap selfie video in his store, alongside his more professional work.

I cut a lot of details from my papercraft commission story so I wouldn't get too long-winded, but the initial product is actually the only one I made myself. Since it was a very delicate item and difficult to ship, after that first one, I simply made a PDF of the plans, wrote out detailed instructions for putting it together, and made it a downloadable purchase. So I don't really spend any extra time or effort on the replicas either. :) But my point is that, unless there's a lot of people clamoring for it already, when you make something for a niche audience, it's not likely to have the same general appeal as your other work, and therefore it's probably not going to be very profitable. The customer in my story contacted me specifically because I had a papercraft item in my shop from a video game series that I sold quite a lot of, and he wanted a lesser-known object from the same series. The commissioned item hasn't been nearly as popular as that initial item that got the customer's attention in the first place, because it's not nearly as cool an item in the game as that first one was. Likewise, when Small Hands's customers are buying his movies for the girl butt shots, it's unlikely that a video featuring mostly his face will sell nearly as well, or even offset the production costs. That's why I think it's a bit of a gamble that it will be even worth spending time on in the first place.

Sorry for the long post again. But I do agree with you that that was most likely Small Hands's way of politely saying "we don't do special requests." :)
Sep 14 Jina commented on Savage Love.
Should clarify that the point to my story in the first paragraph of #23 is that, the amount of money I've earned from selling the replicas wasn't nearly enough to justify the work that went into creating the first one. If the customer hadn't offered to pay for product development, I would have lost money on it.
Sep 14 Jina commented on Savage Love.
@19 - as someone who does freelance art commissions and runs a couple of small online shops where I sell my artwork - I agree with #16. You're assuming that Small Hands has masses of fans who want to see the same things as you, and will make it worth his while to do a clip specially for you. That's a pretty big assumption. I once had a customer who contacted me specifically to ask me to create something for him, and even gave me permission to sell replicas in my shop. That customer paid me for the extra design work on top of paying for the finished product, so it was worth the hours of time and energy I spent researching and designing his piece for him. Since it was just a papercraft item, it didn't even cost me much in production costs (definitely a lot less than a professionally-edited film, even a short one, would). That item has been in my shop for almost two years now, and the amount I've earned from selling the replicas is a small fraction of the initial commission. The replicas have gotten plenty of attention, but since it was an item that one customer specifically wanted and asked for, they didn't have a huge customer-base to begin with and there isn't a high demand for them.

In the same way, it's pretty clear to me that Small Hands isn't seeing a huge demand for clips of mostly his face. You're asking him to gamble his time, resources, and money for a pay-off that may not happen, when he could be using those time/resources/money to make something that is far more likely to be profitable. Unless you're willing to pay for the production costs and time involved, can you really blame him for not wanting to take that gamble?
Sep 13 Jina commented on Savage Love Letter of the Day: Your Pussy Had a Plan.
@79 - actually I had a nice chat with God, over a cup of tea and biscuits, and He told me that He doesn't know what this "God'sHonestTruth" you're going on about is. He's puzzled that people keep invoking His name in stuff that has nothing to do with Him, instead of taking responsibility for their own words and deeds. It's not like He has time to dictate TheTruth to every individual all the time, He has other things to worry about, you know? Like keeping fruitflies out of His prize-winning tomato plants.

He also shared His recipe for absolutely divine vanilla shortbread that is completely healthy and non-fattening (sorry I can't share it here, He made me promise I wouldn't because He's planning to enter the local baking tournament incognito), and then we went halfsies on a giant box of chocolate almond biscotti I got on sale at CostCo.

He did give me some good parting advice, though: Trolls are like fairies. If you don't clap for them, they die.
Aug 17 Jina commented on Report: Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Students Subjected to Appalling Levels of Violence.
Being bullied is a "rite of passage" now? Why? What does it prove, that you survived school? Shouldn't that be a given? That attitude reminds me of a Family Guy episode that really pissed me off, where Lois drops Chris off for his first day of high school, screams "FRESHMAN!!!" and drives away while older bullies converge on him. And then she's puzzled when he runs away from home. What kind of parent wants and expects their kid to be beaten up?

@14 - but you *are* part of the problem if you consider bullying to be a "rite of passage." It means you think it's completely normal and okay for a child to be bullied, and that they should just suck it up and get over it. Putting long torturous hours into a school project, or even getting hazed, isn't a good analogy, because those are activities that you choose for yourself to some degree. Being bullied is not something you choose, it's someone else deciding for you that you should be a victim.

No one else may have stood up for you personally back in your day, but that doesn't make it right that it happened or that it's okay for it to happen to other people.
Aug 17 Jina commented on Savage Love.
@8 - no one person in the world has all the knowledge and experience of all of humanity. Even advice columnists have limits to their experience and wisdom, so their advice may not necessarily consider all possibilities. For example, if you've never been in an abusive relationship, you may not recognize a letter writer's situation as one and therefore give faulty advice. The comment section (for this column, at least) often fills that gap, since it is composed of a much broader spectrum of people and experience, so it can supplement the "professional" advice or even offer alternative solutions that may suit the letter writer better.

@25 - perhaps #8 is one of those people who likes to mock people who write to advice columnists, and came to the comment section expecting to find kindred spirits, only to be sadly disappointed.