The board and judges of the Sex-Positive Journalism Awards are proud to announce the winners of the 2009 Sexies. Selected from about 100 entries (not counting multiple nominations of the same piece!) submitted by both writers and readers, the winning entries cover subjects from teen pregnancy to conjugal visits, vaginal plastic surgery to prudish responses to public art. The winning articles come from all across the United States and Canada, and represent a range of genres, from news to advice columns.
What they all have in common, however, is that they succeed in embodying the Sexies criteria for sex-positive journalism far better than the vast majority of their counterparts, helping to improve the quality of dialogue around sex and create a more well-informed reading public. "Without clear-eyed, informed journalism about sexuality, the public runs the risk of seeing sex-related issues through a murky scrim of ignorance and biased attitudes. The Sexies help show the media—and the citizenry—how it can and should be done," says Carol Queen of the Center for Sex and Culture.
Definitely check out the full list of winners, but here are some of our favorites:
“Plastic Surgery Below the Belt,” Laura Fitzpatrick, Time Magazine
Judges said: “Balanced, fair, well reported and well-written - I actually wanted to read the whole thing even though I find the topic - vaginal plastic surgery - depressing. Love the conclusion! This story reflected a strong feminist perspective, which is sometimes lacking even from the most admirably sex-positive journalism.”
“Growing Up Gloucester,” Rachel Baker, Boston Magazine
By unanimous acclaim. Judges said: “This piece looks closely and sympathetically at working/lower-middle-class teen American girls to show their passivity AND their agency in having babies while unmarried. While laying that groundwork, it goes on to show how vulnerable these girls and their desires are to being used as sex-panic grist by the mass media. I loved how the piece described the making of a nationally publicized sex panic, using all show and no tell to do so. Refreshing, creative, poignant, infuriating, educational.” “The story also reveals corporate media's role in fostering a conversation that exploits teen sexuality for adults' guilty kicks rather than supports their healthy development and expression.”
"Red Sex Blue Sex," Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker
Judges said: “An intelligent compare and contrast of the sexual cultures in the red vs. blue states that reminds you that 'family values' are often more aspirational than actual descriptions of daily life among evangelicals. Professed abstinence often leads to teen pregnancy, STDs, early marriage-and early divorce. And lots of shame. Talbot is too much the mainstream journalist to come out and say it, but her article shows us that religiously motivated sexual repression leads not to happy families but instability and sadness.”
The Sexist, Amanda Hess, Washington City Paper. Winning entries: "Yes, We Have No Birth Control," "Electoral Dysfunction," and "What the Fuck Is a Peter Meter"
Judges said: “There is an indulgent quality to these long pieces (they seem almost too longwinded to be 'columns'), but they're funny, creative, well reported, and the topics well chosen. A reminder of why we still need alternative weeklies-pieces like this take time and can't be done by unpaid bloggers, and won't be done by the mainstream because it's too bold and too quirky!”
“A Poverty of Solutions,” Judith Levine, 7 Days
Judges said: “As Levine points out, challenging child molestation laws is the real taboo. But she nonetheless offers an articulate and forceful reframing of the real threat to children: our social neglect of the poverty in which too many live. Excellent.” “Tells the truth about a problem society likes to be hysterical about rather than solve.”
“In Partial Defense of Eliot Spitzer,” Tristan Taormino, Village Voice
Judges said: “Taormino rightly calls complete fidelity a 'fairy-tale notion' and seeks to explore why a high-powered, highly-public man like Spitzer might stray, with a prostitute. She doesn't just speak for herself, but interviews actual sex workers about why we shouldn't only feel pity for the woman then known as 'Kristen.' At the same time, she doesn't let Spitzer off the hook for lying to his wife, but questions the entire paradigm of monogamy as something everyone should strive for.”
They're already accepting submissions for the 2010 Sexies, so if you see a great piece of sex-positive journalism out there, check the criteria and then submit it here. And of course we're hoping to bring you a great year of sex-positive journalism right here at Evil Slutopia as well. Happy reading!