Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.

February 18, 2011

More college poly doings, south Texas to Stony Brook

"The largest and leading newspaper in South Texas" gives splashy feature coverage to a self-confident, 19 year old, un-Texas-like Texan at the University of Texas Pan-American:

UTPA student could be America’s Next Top Model

Sara Longoria rarely shaves her legs. It’s just not something she thinks about too often. When she got her first modeling gig at a vintage resale shop, which was little more than a friend calling for a favor, she was a bit surprised....

...She’s been chosen as a contestant for this season’s “America’s Next Top Model,” which premieres at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 23. There’s no telling how far the college sophomore will go on the reality show, especially since she may be one of the most controversial models-to-be on the popular CW network program....

...“America’s Next Top Model” has had its share of controversial contestants.... The subject of Sara’s own sexuality comes up often during the show, she said.

“I am bisexual and polyamorous, so I have a boyfriend, and as a couple, we date our girlfriend April,” she said.

Polyamorous couples usually date others, with permission from their partners, and have more than one romantic, intimate relationship.

For the most part, Sara’s family and friends are accepting of her alternative lifestyle.

“ … It’s not like we live together — my boyfriend and girlfriend both live at home (and) I just recently moved out — so it’s not like we’re trying to figure out how to pay our taxes or anything like that; we’re all very young,” Sara said. “My mother knows about it. I don’t really talk to my dad, so it’s not an issue. My siblings know.”

Controversy aside, Sara was chosen out of tens of thousands of girls vying to compete in photo shoots, model challenges and runway walks with the final goal of becoming “America’s Next Top Model.”

Sara was confident she would be picked as one of the 16 semi-finalists who bunk together in a swanky mansion.

“… There’s always one short-haired weird girl in every cycle. And when I got to L.A., I saw that the weird short-haired girls’ numbers were very low,”....

Read the whole article (Feb. 17, 2011). The paper goes on to note that she'll soon be acting in a local production of The Vagina Monologues as a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood.

The show was filmed late last year. The first episode airs February 23rd on the CW Network.

More from a University of Texas press release:

"...What I wanted to do, even more than winning, was to make sure that while I was there I remained true to who I was. I didn't want to change or become fake, I just wanted to be able to convey my feelings and have my decisions understood."

In addition to modeling, Longoria has an unconditional passion for education, women's reproductive rights and helping her family get ahead. She intends to take what she has learned from being a contestant on the show and use it toward her education at UTPA, where she is considering changing her major to political science to better understand and help solve the struggles concerning reproductive rights.

"I've always considered myself a feminist and I felt very unusual about it in high school because I was so passionate about it, but at UTPA I met like-minded people who took pride in it," Longoria said. "I am now involved with VOX (Voices for Planned Parenthood) and we work on campaigns and projects that have made me realize the importance of being involved in politics."

...Longoria plans on traveling to New York City this summer to pursue modeling, but will keep one thing in mind.

"Eventually I'm going to get old and wrinkly, and nothing external will be left, but I'm still going to have my mind.; so, I'm going to get an education and earn a degree," Longoria said. "Really the ultimate goal for my life is to better the living situations for women in the Valley and reduce violence against women internationally. I want to know that I helped women around the world."

On the cover of the newspaper supplement, in her full model get-up, she looks inhuman. In her real-life pictures with the article she looks wonderful. What's wrong with our culture that the fashion industry takes fine-looking people, artificializes them beyond recognition, and convinces women that this is the standard they should aspire to?


Elsewhere... at the State University of New York/Stony Brook a few days ago, sex-ed lecturer, poly-activist leader, and all-around happy puppy Reid Mihalko did his shtick before an appreciative student audience. I've seen Reid at work and at play — including leading two all-day meetings of the Polyamory Leadership Network very effectively — and they don't make sex-positive spokes-guys any better.

Apparently a reporter for Stony Brook's THiNK magazine ("Stony Brook University’s first progressive campus publication") thought so too:

A Non-Conservative Presentation on Non-Conservative Sex

By Trevor Christian

Reid Mihalko delivered a fascinating sex education seminar entitled ‘Non-Conservative Sex’ on Thursday in the Student Union, just in time for Valentine’s day. The world-famous founder of ‘Cuddle Party’ was invited to Stony Brook by the LGBTA because of his all-inclusive, humorous lessons on a subject that can be hard to talk seriously about.

Mihalko is upset because non-conservative sex — even sex in general — is considered taboo in our culture....

The culture that Mihalko is describing isn’t that of primetime TV where sex comes in all forms all the time. It’s the culture found in churches, families, and health classrooms. It’s the culture that makes it hard for someone different to feel good about themselves. But his seminar was also for kids with parents that would support them no matter what.

To that point, he made a lot of jokes about “being anything he wanted when he grew up,” something his mother would say to him as a kid. Even the most supportive parents can have issues with what “no matter what” means, especially if it’s cuddle parties.

The talk wasn’t all serious. Mihalko is a master of using humor as the spoonful of sugar to help the serious talk sink in. When students giggled at one of his favorite sex activities, he made them say it aloud. “Say it with me: ‘Strap-on gang-bang.’ ”

Mihalko’s “elevator sex-speech” strategy grabbed a lot of attention. He told attendees to give a brief summary of their sexual history and preferences to potential partners on the elevator, or way back to their room. According to Mihalko, this shocking honesty may be intriguing or endearing if the person is up to it.

The same principle should apply to non-sexual relationships, Mihalko said. “Your real friends are the ones who don’t run.”

After taking a few anonymous questions, Mihalko decided to molest a cupcake. [Photo.] He did this to simulate the proper way of fingering someone. Throughout the demonstration, he stressed the importance of respect and acquiring permission to go further, especially in the early stages of a relationship.

...The self-described polyamorous queer slut values respect. And honesty. And safety. Molesting a cupcake with a Finger-cot.

What made it non-conservative was the emphasis on accepting others, being comfortable and “feeling good about liking what you like.”...

Read the whole article (Feb. 15, 2011).


Another item, in the Daily Northwestern:

Facebook expands relationship status options

Facebook added two new relationship status options Thursday: "in a civil union" and "in a domestic partnership."... The changes drew praise from students associated with Northwestern's LGBT Resource Center and the Rainbow Alliance.

...Still, Garcia said he would like to see Facebook represent relationships with multiple partners, especially considering many college students are polyamorous....

The whole article (Feb. 18, 2011).

Update, March 19: So Sara Longoria didn't make it to be the top model; she was eliminated on the fifth round. After that segment aired she was free to talk about lots of things — including, says Reality TV World, "how she felt the sexy coffee commercial contradicted her own personal feminist beliefs, what the producers chose to edit out of the show about her sexuality...." Here's the interview.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

As for the facebook relationship status, you can hide your actual relationship status, make a group, name it "in a relationship with" or "Is in a relationship with..." and add your partners. Not the same as actually allowing, but functions well enough.

February 19, 2011 2:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG I love Sara Longoria. Those "tens of 1000s" of Texas beauty queens she beat out must be spitting nails.

February 19, 2011 8:06 AM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Doesn't FB have an "In an Open relationship?" Still, there should be more options.

Reid's awesome! He helped me a great deal during an Authentic Man weekend a few years back. Great energy and caring.

February 23, 2011 4:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aw yeah! I'm glad my college made it on your blog. I'm the Secretary of the LGBTA at Stony Brook and I helped bring Reid over. It was a great event.

April 12, 2011 10:30 PM  

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