Media Review: Savage Love
February 3, 2012 § Leave a comment
Please be aware that the blog is intended for an adult audience and uses mature language to discus mature topics in an informative and entertaining way.
Dan Savage began writing his advice column “Savage Love” in 1991 as a founding part of the alternate Seattle news paper “The Stranger”. It has since expanded into a call in radio show and blog. “Savage Love” focuses on answering relationship and sex questions in a sex positive and reasonable way. It has also been a starting point for several campaigns working towards equality in sexual orientation and gender identification.
The blog is updated weekly with a new series of questions submitted by readers. There is also a weekly podcast posted on the blog that occasionally features guest commentators ranging from NPR’s Ira Glass to transgender adult film star and activist Buck Angel. “Savage Love” is somewhat unique in the type of questions normally discussed and the attitudes taken in the responses relative to most advice columns. The questions are answered normally in an intelligent and entertaining way if somewhat caustic. There are often small asides to address important issues at the time or to lend to support to a project he believes strongly in
For anyone interested in issues of sexual or gender orientation Savage Love can be incredibly interesting. It often addresses issues that are almost never addressed in other formats. In any week there may be letters on undersexed individuals trying to deal with difficulties of finding the right partner, polyamory, fetish lifestyles or a parent struggling with the best ways to support their gay child. Often these questions have strong gender components and address the unique issues encountered by men women when participating in non-traditional relationships. It highlights how the inresecting identities of individuals make situations and the appropriate solutions very different. This creates a blog with a good blend of entertainment, education and discussion of serious topics.
The blog has been the jumping off point for several national campaigns. The most well known is the “It Gets Better Project” (http://www.itgetsbetter.org/). This is a growing collection of videos aimed at helping LGBT teens deal with the extra challenges of being in high school and struggling with the complex issues of their sexuality. It was founded by Dan Savage and his husband after a series of suicides among LGBT youths who were the victims of severe bullying. It generated a massive amount of media attention for the issue and currently has over 40 million total views.
The second campaign that originated from the blog was the re-definition of Rick Santorum’s name. This has come up several times over the last several months due to Mr. Santorum’s run for president. The re-definition was inspired after Mr. Santorum made comments comparing homosexuality to among other things adultery, polygamy and incest. In response to those comments a reader of the blog suggested that the name Santorum be given a new definition in protest. This quickly went from an offhanded joke to becoming an issue for the current election cycle.
I strongly recommend this blog to anyone who has the least interest in the topics it discuses. If nothing else it encourages people to think about their relationships, orientation and identity. The questions asked give very good insight into the thought processes and concerns of many groups of people. Often the questions are about issues within larger topics that I had never considered.