Sex In the News

Recent posts

Implications Of The Net Neutrality Ruling For Sex Education

If you haven’t heard much about what the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled on net neutrality recently, this New York Times blog provides a clear run-through of the ruling. Basically, the ruling states that internet service providers (like Verizon) are not required to handle all internet traffic equally. Internet content creators can pay the service providers to move their content through the channels more quickly, thus providing preferential treatment to those internet content providers who have more money. The implications of this for sex education – and for the internet world of sex in general – are disturbing. If certain sites are loading faster, that might dissuade internet users to go out of their way to find other sites. Continue Reading →

A Politician Implies That All Military Men Are Potential Rapists

You may not be a single-issue voter, but surely it’s worth noting when a politician characterizes rape as inevitable, and further describes it in ways that makes it seem like he expects rape in the military to continue happening. GOP Congressional candidate and current Virginia senator Richard Black has called military rape “as predictable as human nature.” He further commented: “Think of yourself at 25…Wouldn’t you love to have a group of 19-year-old girls under your control, day in, day out?” His implied “you” addresses a male audience, hinting that all men are incapable of resisting the power dynamic of having young women around them in a hierarchy and will inevitably give in to temptation and rape someone. I don’t know about you, but I’d be pretty mad if someone implied that I was a probable rapist. Continue Reading →

Decoding Trans-With-A-Star

Perhaps you’ve seen the word trans* tossed around on the internet, and perhaps not. Either way, it’s good to be aware that it’s not a typo, but rather, as this Slate article explains, a more inclusive way of referring to identities that transcend the gender binary. This linguistic convention borrows from computer coding: “the asterisk stems from common computing usage wherein it represents a wildcard—any number of other characters attached to the original prefix.” So rather than having to explain that one is attempting to be inclusive of transsexual, transgender, and genderqueer people, one could simply say trans* to refer to the spectrum of non-cisgendered identities. Good to know, right? Continue Reading →

Understanding “White Feminism”

Depending on how much of the online discussion about feminism you follow, you might’ve run across the term “white feminism.” Batty Mamzelle gives a great description of the term here, explaining that it doesn’t just describe feminists who happen to be white. Rather, it’s “a specific set of single-issue, non-intersectional, superficial feminist practices…that doesn’t consider race as a factor in the struggle for equality.” The post also suggests that when white feminists feel affronted by the term, and want to enter discussions saying “please recognize that I’m not like those other white feminists,” they should remember what it feels like to try to discuss feminism with men who say, “but I’m not one of those men who benefits from male privilege.” It’s totally frustrating to have someone miss the point of a systemic critique of oppression, right? Continue Reading →

Clearing Up Misconceptions About Trans Women

This blog about myths and misconceptions about trans women, in parts one and two, resolves some fundamental misunderstandings about transgender women. One of my favorite (and by favorite I mean annoyingly common) misconceptions is that transgender people are simply reinforcing stereotypical gender norms. In fact, this view is a typical conflation of gender identity (an internally experienced reality) and gender expression (how one behaves/displays that identity). Even cis-gendered folks usually don’t have a perfect one-to-one correlation between these facets of how gender corresponds to biological sex (which is itself a complicated matter, nowhere near as binary as we make it out to be). I’d urge everyone to read up on these issues so that we can be more informed about the complexity of gender, sex, and sexuality, as well as less ignorant about the lives of those who conform less to these standards. Continue Reading →

Sexuality and Tenure

An assistant professor at Indiana University Northwest reports that she has been denied tenure because she is out as a lesbian. Her publishing record is excellent, and thus she suspects discrimination. This isn’t surprising, given how we’ve seen transgender professors denied tenure. I don’t think it’s fair to ask academics with non-mainstream gender/sexual identities to remain closeted. But that’s essentially what these actions are doing: enforcing a heteronormative ban on behavior that is different. Continue Reading →

Dear Indiana: Please Recognize Federal Laws About Same-Sex Partners

As an Indiana resident, I’m upset that not only is gay marriage still not legal in my state, but that the federal law to extend visitation rights to same-sex partners is not being recognized here. Recently, a woman living in Indianapolis was hospitalized while unconscious, and her (female) partner has been banned from visiting her bedside because the unconscious woman’s mother disapproves of their relationship. A 2010 federal law specifies that even in states where gay marriage isn’t yet legal, hospitals that accept Medicare and Medicaid must extend same-sex partner visitation rights. But that clearly hasn’t happened here. That needs to change. Continue Reading →

Let’s List How Feminism Hurts Men

I’m a fan of satirical role reversals in rhetoric, as with this list of how to end sexual assault by limiting men’s freedom. Now there’s a list of all the ways in which feminism hurts men. We see examples like “Because of feminism, all birth control is covered for women without question or debate, while men have to fight to get insurance companies to pay for their Viagra prescriptions” and “Because of feminism, it’s hard to find a movie with a heroic male lead anymore.” It really makes you think, doesn’t it? Since all of the examples are so obviously exaggerated… Continue Reading →

Media Misrepresentation – Where Are The Boys?

I recently introduced the 2011 documentary Miss Representation to the 12th grade Health and Wellness class I teach. The film touches upon (well, hammers, really) some themes that are near and dear to my young feminist heart: objectification, media representation, gender stereotypes, and the like. As I expected, they ate it up. Each new disturbing infographic that flashed over the screen garnered a heavier sigh, a snarkier chortle. And with good reason. Continue Reading →