Who is The Sin City Siren?
If there’s a blogging equivalent to being a girl with a guitar, The Sin City Siren is it. My name is Emmily Bristol and I started my nationally syndicated feminist blog in Las Vegas while sitting on an overturned trash can in a junk room, balancing an old keyboard with a couple broken keys on my lap.
Little did I know how much I was going to do with it and because of it — protests, documentaries (Fagbug), being slut-shamed by the publisher of the largest newspaper in the state, being the pregnant plaintiff against a personhood ballot initiative (Bristol v Personhood). UFC President Dana White called me “some busy body mom” in 2011 when I led the charge to get the Vegas-based sports franchise to enact a code of conduct – which they did in April 2013. That same month I went viral with the #fierceflores hashtag after I broke the story of Nevada legislator Lucy Flores receiving death threats for telling her abortion story during a public hearing, with organizations like NOW and Planned Parenthood tweeting in support as media outlets including CNN, Huffington Post, and Ms. Magazine took the story worldwide. I also signed on to a nationwide campaign with 40 organizations asking Facebook to remove pro-rape pages in 2013.
A funny thing happened while I was pouring my feminist outrage into the internet. I found my authentic voice. I found the stories I was meant to tell, including my own. Because of The Sin City Siren, I told my own rape story for the first time. And through that, I found a part of myself that had been buried inside myself in a box, wrapped in chains. I broke those chains, one link at a time.
The very thing I had tried so hard all my life to hide, was suddenly the source of my power, my purpose. Becoming The Sin City Siren healed me in ways I could never have done on my own. Patriarchy and the internet being what they are, there are those who ask me why I talk about rape. Give it a rest, they say. I tell my story because in the absence of anyone telling their rape story, there is silence. That silence allows others to define me, others to tell a story about me that is not real or right. That silence allows rapists to act with impunity. The pillars of the #MeToo moment were built by everyday people like me and you and our restless courage, our unbreakable bravery. And we’re not done.
I tell my story because now you can’t say you don’t know a rape survivor. Now you know me.
You may know Emmily from her award-winning work as a journalist for publications including Vegas Seven, Newsday, Maxim,Desert Companion, the now-defunct Las Vegas CityLife, or the Washington DC-based blogging consortium Fem2.0. She’s appeared on Nevada political news shows including Ralston Reports and The Agenda, as well as NPR. Her work frequently gets media attention, including from DailyKos, CNN, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, ThinkProgress, Ms. Magazine, and Bitch Magazine.
She won the Nevada Press Association’s Outstanding Journalist of the Year award in 2005 as well as multiple awards for writing throughout the 2000s including first-place awards for investigative news and features. She received the Community Partner Award from Safe Nest in 2006 and was nominated for a Margaret Sanger award in 2012. Nevada Advocates for Planned Parenthood Affiliates gave her the Voice of Truth award in 2013.
Emmily’s career – and her marriage to her high school sweetheart – began while she was finishing her degree from the University of Oregon in a bygone era before Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and most of the internet was invented. Having grown up in a radio family, she actually got her radio license before she could drive. These days you can tweet her @TheSinCitySiren and chat about raising a Star Wars princess who slays STEM, why pie makes everything better, and growing up in Wasilla, Alaska. (Yes, that Wasilla.)
The Sin City Siren was established on May 6, 2007 and ended on Dec. 31, 2018.
- Jessica Brown, Nevada NOW
- Vicki Cowart, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Rocky Mountains
- Natalie Everett, SCS intern (2007-08) turned media professional
- De’Liza Galimidi, SCS summer intern (2013)
- Jane Heenan, transgender activist
- Genese Jones, social worker
- Kris Hill, journalist
- Annette Magnus, activist
- Kate McGuiness, author and blogger
- Maggie McLetchie, civil rights attorney
- Julianna Ormsby, lobbyist
- Christina Parreira, sex worker rights activist
- Lazara Paz, Latina activist
- Diana Rhodes, Asian-American activist
- Julia Seymour, Lutheran pastor
- Joshua Todd, social worker and gay father
- Elizabeth Wolf, veterinarian