Sex In the News

Recent posts

Red Pillers: Pickup Artists Plus Mens Rights Activists?

In case you haven’t heard of the Red Pillers, they’re an internet community that is “an overwhelmingly male population advocating unpopular opinions on females, but it is almost entirely focused on attracting and seducing as many of them as possible.” This is in the words of a Business Insider column that describes the group’s goals and interactions. Many of their strategies sound like those of pick-up artists, while many of their complaints about how women are actually manipulative gold-diggers sound like those of men’s rights activists (or MRAs for short – check out some of their crazy logic over at Manboobz). I think discourse about gender is usually a good thing…but discourse built upon sexist stereotypes? Not so good. Continue Reading →

The Double Bind Of Sexual Harassment

Author Jim C. Hines nails it with this comic on how reporting sexual harassment at conventions tends to go down. As we’ve covered previously, geek culture is notoriously misogynist at times, and the handling of sexual harassment is but one manifestation of this general trend. Unfortunately, we see plenty of these attitudes in the rest of contemporary culture as well. Continue Reading →

Simple Ways To Be A Male Ally

Michael Urbina’s blog post 101 Everyday Ways for Men to Be Allies to Women contains a lot of great suggestions for men who want to become aware of and cut back on sexist behavior that they might be unconsciously modeling. I like most of the ideas, though I don’t think that a guy having nude pictures of women is automatically a no-no when it comes to being an ally. But then, I hang out with a lot of artists, and we’ve got an artist in my family, so I’m pretty de-sensitized to nude images. What do you think – is the list missing anything? Could any of the suggestions be tweaked or improved? Continue Reading →

Dealing With Harassment – Again

It seems that I keep returning to the topic of harassment, in part because it continues to be present in our culture, and in part because it just keeps happening to me. I’m not particularly special or attractive, I just have the poor luck of being a woman who spends a lot of time in public places. Like, ya know, a lot of people tend to do these days. In my most recent instance of harassment, though, I managed to keep a level head and defuse the situation in a way that seemed to work, so I thought I’d share a bit about the experience. I was at a street festival, dressed in my belly dance costume – not that this is a particularly relevant detail, as it wasn’t skimpy (which is totally not a justification for harassment anyway!), plus I was surrounded by other belly dancers so it’s not like I really stood out. Continue Reading →

Taking A Stand About Sexual Harassment At Conventions

Novelist John Scalzi has announced that he will not attend conventions without strong sexual harassment policies. This is an important step in combating the misogyny present in geek culture, but also that which is present in mainstream culture. I completely agree with author Rosenberg’s analysis of the situation: “Scalzi is saying one of the most important things men who want to be feminist allies can say: that sexual harassment affects and offends him personally, even if he’s not the subject of it, that if someone he cares about is hurt or humiliated, he’s going to be offended on their behalf, and stand with them as they report their experiences and look for ways that things could be different.” We need more feminist allies, not just in subcultures, but everywhere. Taking a stand publicly is a wonderful way to demonstrate that you support making a space safe for women (and in doing so, making it safe for all). Continue Reading →

On OkCupid, Cheating Women Win

Not having as much luck as you’d like with online dating? I definitely had some issues when I went with online dating, especially OkCupid. Time’s Newsfeed reported that on OkCupid, women who are cheaters tend to get the most messages, and men who are cheaters rule amongst male users of the site. Mind you, this is a rather small sample group of 40 (fake) profiles so anyone who is intrigued by this study should take that into consideration. Image courtesy of Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

The study was done by Recovery.org ,and Chris Matyszczyk reported the results on CNET. Eighty percent of the male cheaters’ inboxes messages weren’t necessarily someone looking for love. Continue Reading →

Gender Studies Via The Powerpuff Girls

A friend pointed me toward this amusing link: The Powerpuff Girls Could Have Replaced Your Gender Studies Class. In it, the author describes the show’s subversiveness, thinly veiled under a cutesy cartoon. Cross-dressing and questioning normative gender roles abound, and the show even makes a critique of the cult of manhood. Pretty advanced gender studies ideas for a children’s show, eh? Continue Reading →

The Wallet Metaphor

Humans communicate in metaphors. They’re useful for expressing abstract concepts in concrete terms, even if the metaphor doesn’t 100% map to the concept being expressed (the point is that they’re not supposed to be literal representations). My post on the puzzle box model of sex shows one example of this, and this blog post using a lost wallet metaphor demonstrates another. According to the wallet metaphor, “just because you left your wallet someplace doesn’t make it right that someone took your money” and, similarly, “We set the stage for ‘date’/'acquaintance’ rape when we imply that when a woman’s body is ‘left out in the open’ in some way — because of a short skirt, or too many drinks — it’s in any way acceptable to engage in any type of sexual contact without her explicit consent.” Think about it. Continue Reading →

The Real Threat Behind Same-Sex Marriage

Everyone who keeps saying that same-sex marriage threatens “traditional” marriage is doing two things:

Pissing off every anthropologist, folklorist, and cultural scholar who knows that there’s no such thing as “traditional” marriage, because marriage practices vary in every culture, region, and time period. Reinforcing the rigid gender roles that modern Western marriages are founded upon. Because, as Nursing Clio states in this excellent blog post, same-sex marriage is a threat to “traditional” marriage… once you realize that “traditional” marriage means patriarchal marriage, which is hierarchical and gender-essentializing. If you are in favor of things like married women having access to birth control, or single parents making their own parenting decisions, or any number of personal rights issues, then you, too, are a threat to “traditional” marriage as defined above – and you should be proud of it. Continue Reading →

The Problem With The Texas Senate Tampon Confiscation

Those following the saga of the anti-abortion laws being passed in Texas likely saw that tampons were being confiscated from those entering the Texas capitol. Without even getting into the strange irony that guns were still allowed inside (because how are tampons more dangerous than guns?!), I’d like to talk a bit about the dissonance between an abstract idea and the concrete reality that follows. The idea here, of course, was to prevent protestors from using tampons as projectiles or launched items within the capitol. The concrete reality of that idea being enforced, however, went beyond implementing that idea and in fact revealed a lack of regard for the consequences for individual women. What if a woman were on her period that day and actually needed a tampon? Continue Reading →