AZ Ed Supe Diane Douglas, of all people, demonstrates how Republicans can be sensible about sex

05 May 2015 09:30 am
Posted by: Donna

A bawdy little tempest is brewing over a website run by an aide to AZ Superintendent Diane Douglas.

Michael Bradley, who is in charge of day-to-day operations at the Arizona Department of Education, runs a website featuring items of general interest, including pictures of dogs and quirky news items, as well as thousands of photos of scantily clad women in costumes, and sexually suggestive images and humor.

It’s the racy imagery, including an image of one woman touching another woman’s breasts and women eating phallically-shaped foods that has caused concerns.

Bradley, also an author of “PG-13 and R-rated” science-fiction books, defended the images posted at and on a separate social-media site as typical of the popular hobby known as “cosplay,” or costume play where women and men dress as characters inspired by popular culture. He says his website is a “re-post website,” and that most of the content is sent to him by those who want their images shared. He said similar images are also available on social-media sites such as Facebook.

“You see more at a nightclub,” Bradley said of the images on his site. “It’s really harmless.”

The only things I see as what could be legitimate concerns about this would be: 1. Are any underage people involved? 2. Are there any non-consenting people involved? 3. Is Bradley behaving inappropriately toward anyone, in the workplace or out? If the aforementioned are false then there is nothing here and Douglas, who says she is not planning to fire Bradley, is correct. At most, it might be judicious for Bradley to voluntarily ixnay on the sexxxay blogging while serving in his current role with the state since the pearls, oh the pearls, they are going to be clutched!

Former schools Superintendent Jaime Molera says he supports freedom of speech, but that given his position, Bradley’s online activity crosses a line for parents and teachers.

“If he’s a private guy and this is his genre of writing, that’s his decision, and certainly there’s a whole lot of people who are into that,” Molera said. “At the same time, he’s the chief of staff to the state schools superintendent and there is a standard that they have to portray to the public — particularly schoolkids.”

Rebecca Gau, executive director of Stand for Children and a former gubernatorial education policy adviser, said she learned of the website weeks ago. She said the content is “offensive.”

“There are pictures of women’s breasts, there are pictures of paraphernalia related to women’s breasts, there are comments about women’s breasts,” said Gau. “I take my children’s digital footprint very seriously, I would expect state leaders to do the same thing.

“When you’re paid by taxpayers … there’s a certain expectation that you’re going to conduct yourself at all times in a respectable way.”

Oh brother. Molera and Gau are setting up an arbitrary standard of “respectability” for public servants here and it’s highly unlikely that Arizona schoolchildren would even be interested in the after-work activities of employees of the Superintendent’s office unless their parents were making a big deal of it (hint: stop making a big deal of it!)

That said, there is an obvious issue of hypocrisy here. One would hope that Michael Bradley would do some self-examination about his choice to align himself with the GOP, which has made into an integral part of its platform the intention to codify into law harsh punishment of some people (LGBT, women, poor) for their personal lives. I’m doubting that self-searching will happen since Bradley told Yvonne Wingett-Sanchez (the reporter of the article I linked) that he feels his critics are motivated by his and Douglas’ stances on education policy. That’s surely true to some extent but it’s still a gaping failure on his part to grasp the irony of his situation.

(The other thing is, of course, the double standard. Bradley is a man so it’s no surprise that he remains employed despite his website being known about for months. A Michelle Bradley of either party, who wrote PG-13 and R-rated novels and put up countless pictures of scantily clad men with commentary about their specific body parts on her website, would have been jettisoned long ago.)

You may wonder why I would want to defend Bradley at all. Here’s why: I’m dead tired of grown ass adults pretending that sex is this shocking and awful thing that only degenerates engage in and OMG WE MUST PROTECT THE CHILDREN FROM KNOWING ABOUT IT, while the vast majority of said grown ass adults do engage in it and consume a ridiculous amount of entertainment related to it. The gender double standard is especially pernicious here, since women are constantly lambasted for being in violation of sexual mores simply for doing what 95% of women do (use contraception) on one hand, while expected to be alluring and available sexpots on the other.

And I frankly have no patience for OMG SEX!1! histrionics from anyone even putatively on my side while conservatives are redoubling their efforts to punish sluts in the wake of their recent failures to block same-sex marriage rights.

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