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 →

Thoughts On The Porn Sex Vs. Real Sex Video

Some of you may have seen the porn sex vs. real sex video going around recently. By using fruits and vegetables to stand in for human genitals, it cutely addresses some of the misconceptions about sex that people may be getting from watching pornography. But the video is worth discussing for the assumptions it embeds, too. As blogger flexibeast points out, the video doesn’t define porn (so it could include amateur as well as professionally-produced entertainment), and assumes that only people with gender identities matching their genitals are involved. Continue Reading →

Condoms, Anyone?

Earlier this week, I overheard a rather disappointing conversation as I was sitting in the waiting room of my gynecologist’s office. It went something like this: A young woman—I’d say, early twenties—enters the waiting room to discuss an issue she has with the secretary. The twenty-something is extremely upset because—due to changes in her health insurance—she’s no longer going to be able to receive the NuvaRing (for free, I assume?), and now has to switch to an alternate form of birth control that will now cost her upwards of $50 a month. As the secretary was trying to calm her down, she was mentioning cheaper forms of protection. And when she brought up condoms, the younger woman cut her off and said she’s looking for “protection that will actually work.”

Sigh. Continue Reading →

Systemic Racism, Systemic Sexism

The consequences of racism, sexism, and other intolerant attitudes are far-reaching and deep in America, and yet they also result in everyday acts that wear us down, battering at our sense of self-worth and value as a human being. Many of these acts are systemic, meaning that they are the results of a social system that has been in place for a long time and goes largely unquestioned. These daily acts of racism and sexism mirror each other in strange ways, and yet each brings with it unique circumstances. When I read Michael Twittty’s open letter to Paula Deen (regarding the accusations of her racist speech and acts), it resonated with me. Not because I am African-American; no, my ancestors were largely European, and I recognize that I come from a place of privilege. Continue Reading →

The Pill Vs. The Pullout

Hormonal birth control is something that works for some women, and not for others, which is okay. Yet as Jill discusses in this Feministe article, the author of a new book called Sweetening the Pill takes her own awful experience on the pill as evidence “that the Pill is terrible for all women.” Generalizing from one person’s experience to everyone’s is, of course, a bad idea. As Jill writes: “And most of my friends who are on the Pill don’t have the same side effects that I had, and are perfectly happy relying on it as their primary means of contraception. Also, one friend feels like she gets in her best shape by running, another by doing Barre classes and Pilates, whereas I prefer yoga. Continue Reading →

The “F*ck Yes” Attitude To Courtship

In the realm of dating and courtship advice, there’s tons of material out there on how to convince someone they want to be with you. However, as Mark Manson advocates in his blog post Fuck Yes Or No, maybe you should only pursue people who respond to you with enthusiasm (the titular “fuck yes”). As he puts it: Why would you ever be excited to be with someone who is not excited to be with you? If they’re not happy with you now, what makes you think they’ll be happy to be with you later? Why do you make an effort to convince someone to date you when they make no effort to convince you? 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 →

Gender Roles And Sexual Roles

In one of my posts in the informed consent series I wrote, I explained the idea behind the Zimbardo prison experiment: that in a normal population of college students, roles were randomly assigned so that some students became prison guards, and others became prisoners. The guards quickly began acting abusive, as though the roles became their identities. I was discussing this experiment with a friend in the BDSM scene, and she pointed out that maybe the same thing is happening with American gender roles and sexuality. That is, because so many men are conditioned to become aggressive and forceful, this could be one reason why there is both anecdotal evidence and statistical evidence for there being many more men than women who prefer the dominant role in sexual encounters. If mainstream society is molding men to express their sexuality (indeed, their overall identities) in terms of acquisition, conquest, and violence, then perhaps that also accounts for the sexual roles that many men prefer. 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 →