Elevate Difference

Rad Dad #18: Sex & Love

After a promising introduction I was ready to absorb the essays that lay before me in Rad Dad #18: Sex & Love, a short zine concerning radical parenting with narratives exploring issues of sex and love. Needless to say, this zine made me feel a range of emotions: offended, entertained, informed, and bored. Some of these essays do not concern love or sex or are only very loosely related to the topics in an abstract way.

Rad Dad himself falls flat in his own personal essay. Using movie script queues, he rambles from one point to the next about memories and experiences that are loosely related or not connected at all. The author's entertaining writing style, passion, and experience are worthy of better organization and editing.

The third essay in the zine, entitled “Making Love,” was bad. I'm still reeling from reading a man's recount of a newly polyamorous relationship. When his wife comes home from an arranged date with another man, the jealous husband thought about sexually assaulting her and “not caring how she felt.” Though he didn't act on these thoughts ("I didn't want to look aggressive"), it was completely unexpected and terrible, especially when it was so graphically detailed. There was no warning; just an in-your-face, deal-with-this description of how he would rape someone. He also goes into detail about cheating on this same woman, years prior. The writer's colorful writing when recounting these gross experiences only cheapens them more. For a few days after reading this, I felt nauseated whenever I’d recall the author's words.

There's also an essay about child nudity and another about a person "breaking up" with the anarchist community. Many of the writers talk about their preference for polyamarous relationships. Some even insult monogamy, which I found unnecessary and misguided. There are a few essays by radical parents who talk about sex, love, and dating in relation to being a parent. I feel that these authors truly understood the zine's topics, while offering their own personal knowledge and experiences. This compilation would have benefitted from more essays like these.

My favorite part of this zine was the last section, “An Interview With Dr. White.” The interview was engaging and interesting and I wish it went on longer and was featured more prominently.

While I am against censoring voices, I feel this zine would have benefited from basic editing. A simple "trigger warning" before graphic material would be a great start. A few snips and cuts to a rambling essay would help the reader understand the authors' intentions and sticking closer to the zine’s topics would be a major improvement.

Written by: Jacquie Piasta, April 9th 2011