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Current Posts

Author of The Pornographer's Daughter providing commentary on pornography, life and much more.

Filtering by Tag: writing

Going Back to Where it All Began

Kristin Battista-Frazee

My Teacher Rick Walter

My Teacher Rick Walter

It’s always good to reflect back to the beginning. It gives you a chance to see how far you have come and gives clarity for future plans. On Sunday, March 22 I presented at The Writer’s Center and it was wonderful to recall the start of my writing career.

I first came to The Writer’s Center in 2006, and I didn’t have grand plans to be become a famous writer (although it would be nice) I just wanted to become a better writer for work. I enrolled in a business writing course where I met Rick Walter, teacher extraordinaire and perpetual optimist. Rick was the catalyst for me embarking on this crazy endeavor to get published. He took a genuine interest in my efforts to improve my writing and even after the workshop ended, we would meet to review my work. Most importantly Rick believed in my writing potential. 

Read full blog at First Person Plural.

Five Things I Learned as a Social Worker

Kristin Battista-Frazee

I’m a marketing professional and author, but also a social worker.  I earned an MSW degree from Columbia University and since graduation my career has taken many interesting turns. I was a geriatric social worker who moved on to marketing and communications roles in Washington, D.C., and this fall I will publish my memoir, The Pornographer’s Daughter.  I have always relied on my social work skills to move forward in my career.

Social work is not confined to working for the government or counseling. It’s a multi-faceted profession with many different opportunities within your grasp.  In honor of Social Work Month (a little late), here’s the top five things I learned as a social worker.

  1. The world is a big place. We don’t exist in a vacuum and realizing just how diverse the world is will bring you needed perspective in your career and life. Understanding the importance of cultural competency in social work practice is also applicable to functioning effectively in a growing global economy. Cookie-cutter approaches don’t work and a better understanding of how someone’s culture impacts their beliefs, behaviors and viewpoints makes products and services more accessible to a boarder audience.
  2. People are complex. Understanding the complexities of human behavior will give you the upper hand. Learning clinical skills and the impact of mental illness, culture, trauma, addiction, divorce, discrimination, socioeconomic status and host of other things will help you better recognize someone’s underlying motivations and actions.
  3. Small things make a big difference. A smile. An understanding gesture. Writing to your Congressman.  Signing a petition. It’s these types of small things that can develop rapport with a challenging client to move a project forward, build a counseling relationship or even start a movement to right an injustice. Do all the little things you can, they add up.
  4. Things are not always what they appear to be. The world is unpredictable and situations are inevitably various shades of grey. And not just black or white, good or bad, right or wrong but a mixture of everything in between.  The more comfortable you are with uncertainty the better. 
  5. Take a risk and bend the rules. As a social worker, someone else’s well-being is often dependent upon you taking a risk or advocating on their behalf.  This skill applies any type of career and bending the rules, if done ethically, has value.  If you want to learn something new, don’t wait for someone to teach you. If you see an opportunity, take it. If someone needs help, do something to help them. It’s quite simple, social work, or any great career, has always been about getting your hands dirty, jumping in with both feet, doing something you feel passionate about, and just plain fighting for what you believe in.

These are skills social work has taught me and so far, they have served me well. I hope you thanked a social worker in the month of March for all the fantastic things they do.

A Few Words

Kristin Battista-Frazee

While working on my memoir, The Pornographer’s Daughter, there have been a few words people have said to me that have made a big impact. It’s hard to believe a collection of small phrases shaped my path to publishing but it did.  Some things weren’t easy to hear and invaded my thoughts with doubt, but others words made me believe anything was possible. All the words were valuable and necessary.

Read More

Happy Father’s Day to the Pornographer

Kristin Battista-Frazee

I know my life is too busy when I just realized today is Father’s Day. There was no card in the mail for my dad, so feeling very guilty, I sat down and wrote this blog.  As you may know, I’m writing my book, The Pornographer’s Daughter, in large part because of my dad’s incredible story about distributing Deep Throat in the 1970s.  But apart from his 35 year career in the porn industry, he’s just my dad. I learned a lot from him about persistence (he fought his case to the Supreme Court) and about social justice (which prompted me to earn a Masters degree in Social Work). And a million other little things that positively shape my political views, work ethic and parenting philosophies. So for this, I thank him today.

I also wanted to give you a glimpse of the eccentricities and qualities about him, besides his job, which make him so unique to me. Like how he thinks going to the grocery store is an exciting outing and that he has a strange concern about whether or not I have enough plastic containers for leftovers. He makes great pancakes and gravy and meatballs.  Every election he drives people to the polls to vote who can’t get there themselves. Of course he only gives rides to Democrats since he says he wouldn’t want the Republicans to have any advantage. He lives in Florida so every vote counts. On Election Day in 2008, he volunteered for the Obama campaign office in Philadelphia. Like so many others, when the results came in declaring Obama would be the next president, he gleefully took to the streets like a teenager to celebrate. 

My dad has to wear shirts with a front pocket so he can carry a pen. I have no idea what he might desperately need to write down, but any shirt given as a gift without a pocket is promptly returned.  He hates the bright sunlight, but as previously mentioned, strangely he lives in Florida. He loves big cities, Broadway plays, and he thinks becoming a grandfather is his greatest achievement. He loves his Gracie girl! He is generous to a fault sometimes, and takes great joy in gathering his friends and family together by planning a huge reunion party in South Philly every year.  My dad is a hard worker, yells at the TV when he is watching political shows and reads stacks of newspapers every day. I’m so proud to call him my dad. Happy Father’s Day!

Is There Still a Witch Hunt Against Pornography?

Kristin Battista-Frazee

My father once said, “It’s a witch hunt and I’m one of the few people who knows what those unscrupulous, publicity seeking authorities are doing to free speech in this country.”  This was a quote of his from an article that appeared in The Inquirer Magazine in 1977 and he was referring to his indictment on obscenity charges for distributing Deep Throat.  His words are just as relevant today. Recent letters urging Attorney General Eric Holder to prosecute pornography distributors have made me wonder if it’s possible to prosecute today’s porn industry with the same fervor it was subject to in the ‘70s.  The latest letter was signed by 43 Senators on April 4th and seems to echo a letter sent by Reps. J. Randy Forbes (R-Virginia) and Mike McIntyre (D-North Carolina) back in February. This all comes shortly after the John Stagliano indictment and his acquittal in July 2010, which was the first serious legal action against porn in over 25 years.

Although these proceedings got me speculating about the possibility of another witch hunt going after porn, I concluded it’s unlikely we’ll see another obscenity case like Deep Throat again and here’s why.  History seems to be a good predictor of the future and in the last 35 years no one has successfully prosecuted obscenity to thwart the spread of pornography.  Not one single win.  In these types of cases the argument to protect free speech has been effective and endured because of an underlying fear that banning porn could lead us down the wrong path of limiting our liberties. I also think those who vigorously stood up against pornography unknowingly created a tipping point that made porn culturally acceptable and consequently turned it into a multi-billion dollar industry. Raising such a fuss obviously inspired everyone’s ogling curiosity.

Also, anti-porn advocates typically use incoherent arguments to state their case against pornography. They rely on unfounded claims and scare tactics to make people believe pornography inspires horrible crimes, and this obvious deceit undermines any credibility for their cause. If research were available to prove porn harms people, like the kind that proves smoking causes cancer, then this debate would be very different.  

Lastly, the Obama Administration has more important problems to deal with than America’s libido. Terrorism, the war in Afghanistan, revolutions in the Middle East, and let’s not forget the myriad of domestic problems: reducing the deficit, homelessness, lack of healthcare, hunger, taking care of the mental health needs of our veterans returning home from war.  These pressing issues crowd the top of most voters’ agendas.  The insidious danger of porn isn’t even on the list.

But the recent letters from legislators do highlight a problem that’s worth talking about — pornography addiction. There is a body of research that supports that a person can become addicted to pornography just like food, gambling, drugs, alcohol, shopping, etc. The April 4th letter notes pornography addiction will be listed in the next version of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual and in my opinion it rightfully belongs in this bible of mental health disorders.

Pornography addiction can be a serious problem. But I would emphasize here the word “addiction,” not “pornography” and suggest that this is truly a mental health issue and not a case of a specific type of media egging on aberrant behavior in normal adults.  To scapegoat porn will not solve the problem of addiction (which some even see as a physiological problem). What troubles me most is the fact that legislators who sign letters calling for legal action against porn could instead use their influence to provide adequate funding for addiction treatment and research. But the real services needed are consistently underfunded, and the chosen path is grandstanding to the conservative reaches of politics on this polarizing and “sexy” social topic. It’s a sad commentary about how Washington works.

I’ll always wonder why porn is still cast as such an evil in society and why we keep having these same conversations over and over again.  The “witch hunt” against pornography, I suspect, will forever remain a threat.

Senators ask Holder for more pornography prosecutions

Why I Write

Kristin Battista-Frazee

The Movable Type Literary Group (that reps for me) is promoting this clever Twitter hashtag  #WhyIWrite to encourage people to share why they have a burning desire to write. It's an interesting question since I believe everyone has a story to tell. So I joined the conversation @porndaughter and posted "I write so my family's rich history and fascinating story never dies or fades away."  This also got me thinking about all the reasons I wrote before I started my memoir Daughter of Pornography. Writing has been such an important part of my life and career. 

  • As a social worker I wrote to advocate for my homebound elderly clients.
  • At the National Mental Health Association (@MentalHealthAm), I wrote to raise awareness and give hope that mental illnesses are treatable.
  • At the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare (@nationalcouncil), I wrote to give mental health providers valuable information so they could provide mental health services to their communtities.
  • At 2tor(@2tor), currently, I write to tell the world about an incredible online Master of Social Work program available through the University of Southern California School of Social Work.

I know I'll always write.  I would love to hear more about why you write. Share your thoughts on my blog, on Twitter at #WhyIWrite and Daughter of Pornography Facebook page. I look forward to hearing from you.