Talking Heads


Submitted by ludd on January 27, 2010

This, the seventh issue of Processed World, is the first to be created in our new home—a basement in a Victorian in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district. Previously PW's production facilities were housed in one of the staff's apartment, but roommate hassles and the need for a more accessible location has put us out on our own, with an additional $275 monthly overhead to worry about. A number of PWers, with the invaluable aid of skilled friends, renovated a run-down basement, and a January 16 Open House christened our delightful new HQ. Thanks to all who helped, made donations toward the $1,500 cost of the move, and came and had a good time at the Open House. We will probably be having another one soon.

As indicated on the cover, this is our Special Sex Issue, with the themes of sexuality, sex roles, and the sex/work connection appearing in a number of articles. (Also check out Issue #18) The opening article by Stephen Marks, "Sex Roles/Social Control" details the changing relationship between sex role mythology and work roles, how sexual insecurity is used to control us, and shows how the advent of the gay male clerical worker and the female manager has actually validated the traditional patriarchal hierarchy in the office. Michelle La Place's article, "The Dead-End Game of Corporate Feminism," discusses how capitalist values have absorbed and distorted a once radical opposition movement, and punctures the myth of women's liberation through career advancement.

Going right to the heart of the sex/work connection, one of our regulars, Linda Thomas, "bares" her past in "Toiling Tails: "It's A Business Doing Pleasure With You." In a poignant, often humorous style, Linda makes the link between her eight and half years as a nude model, hooker, and stripper, and her more recent past in the S.F. office world, concluding that in most respects she was robbed of the same things by the ostensibly different experiences.

Maxine Holz, in her article "Porn: Turn On or Put Down?...Some Ideas on Sexuality, " recounts her inquiry into the controversy surrounding pornography and rejects the politics of both the "left" Women Against Violence and Pornography in Media and the "right" Moral Majority-types. Critically examining the claims of WAVPM activists in literature and the film "Not A Love Story, " Maxine counters the emotionally-charged arguments in favor of repression but continues beyond the constricted borders of that debate to analyze the sexual poverty and sexual commodification that permeates modern society. She condemns a sexuality bound in by the "pole-in-hole" banality of pornography, and calls for one which is not categorized and separated from the myriad of daily human experiences, and a life in which we are free to experiment, to fantasize, and to play with sexual and emotional desires.

The short story "Through The Tinted Glass, " loosely inspired by Linda Wiens' cover graphic, and Sally A. Frye's "Tales of Toil: Stuck in Stocks" round out this issue, an issue we hope will satisfy both our regular readers who appreciate our unique emphasis on the office/ work-a-day world, and those critics who insist we break out of that "narrow" focus. As always, we have a large Letters section following this introduction, in which several discussions are continued and some new ones broached.

Now that we have finished the arduous task of moving and renovation, our attention is once again turning toward strategic questions of how we can raise the stakes. We hope to convene an open assembly to air different ideas, tactics, and goals in the relatively near future if you're interested please write to us. As always we are anxious for your comments, criticisms, and contributions to Processed World. Our mailing address remains: Processed World, 41 Sutter Street, #1829, San Francisco, CA 94104, USA. Let us hear from you!