Pickup Artistry In Denmark

We reviewed Clarisse Thorn’s book on pickup artists here on MSP a while back, and based on that look at the “culture” of pickup artistry, it’s intriguing to note that it doesn’t go over so well in Denmark. According to this account of a frustrated pickup artist’s visit, Danish women aren’t receptive to pickup artistry because… socialism? Apparently Danish women don’t put any energy into learning to please men “because the government will take care of her and her cats, whether she is successful at dating or not.” It’s interesting to consider that certain courtship techniques might succeed or fail based on how the rest of the social system treats individuals. Continue Reading →

Rape In Southeast Asia

(Trigger warning for descriptions and depictions of sexual assault)

Thanks to a long-term study conducted by the UN, we now have some numbers on the prevalence of rape and sexual assault in southeast Asia. On average, one in four men included in the study (of over 10,000 total men) admitted to raping at some point in their lives. One of the key aspects of this study was that researchers did not intentionally use the word for “rape” in their questions. The questions instead described forcible sex acts. Additionally, the researchers distinguished between forcing sex with intimate partners and with strangers, and found that rape between married partners was more prevalent than between those not involved in a relationship. Continue Reading →

Tips For Male Allies In Academia

Don’t be that dude: handy tips for the male academic is a lovely post aimed at male professors who are sympathetic to the sexism and gendered micro-aggressions that many women in academia face. I like that the post recognizes the importance of collaboration in achieving gender equality, and I think a lot of the tips are applicable outside the ivory tower as well. Continue Reading →

California Permits Children To Have More Than Two Legal Parents

Governor Jerry Brown of California just signed a law permitting children to legally have more than two parents. The rationale for the law is that ”Courts need the ability to recognize these changes so children are supported by the adults that play a central role in loving and caring for them…It is critical that judges have the ability to recognize the roles of all parents so that no child has to endure separation from one of the adults he or she has always known as a parent.” Of course, the recent legalization of same-sex marriage in California may also have something to do with the bill, which has conservative groups up in arms, claiming that it will harm children (I’m unclear on how that would work, but okay). Blended heterosexual families, too, will benefit from this law. There are also implications for polyamorous families, wherein multiple adults might inhabit the same household or at least share childcare responsibilities. Continue Reading →

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 →

When Abstinence-Only Sex Education Is Against Your Religion

This Patheos blog post by Sunweaver discusses an uncommon dilemma: we’re very accustomed to people objecting to sex education because they say it’s against their religion, but what about people who object to abstinence-only sex education citing the same reason? She points out that “to use fear and shame to intimidate children into avoiding sex until marriage is to vilify something I see as sacred.” Further, she cites studies of abstinence-only education demonstrating that it is based upon religious belief, leading to this problem: “Abstinence-only is a religious teaching and it isn’t my religion they’re teaching.” We know it’s impossible to please everyone, but this is yet one more reason to embrace a fact-based approach to sex education. In an ideal world, at least, it’d be harder to alienate people with facts, but especially with sex, it can be (unfortunately) difficult to disentangle fact from belief. Continue Reading →

Why Telling Women To “Just Close Your Legs” Isn’t Good

Every so often, I run across arguments about women in poverty or other difficult situations who should just, like, stop having babies already. The message “just keep your legs closed” is a prevalent one… but I don’t think it works, or that it’s remotely a good idea. First, until we get closer to universally accessible (meaning affordable) contraception, it makes no sense to berate women for their choices. Any “choice” made within an oppressive environment is not really a choice at all, or at least, not a freely-made choice. Continue Reading →

When It Comes To Sex Or Religion, Intent Doesn’t Excuse Bad Behavior

In a recent conversation, a friend mentioned that she was upset about about a pattern she noticed. She described how when Christians tried to convert her, her attempts to describe how hurtful it was were met with their disbelief – after all, everyone involved had good intentions! This set off bells in my head. Because when it comes to discussions of aspects of rape culture like street harassment or those supposedly-innocuous-but-possibly-threatening flirtation attempts that get labeled as “creepy,” intention is often invoked as a cure-all. “But he didn’t mean to be creepy!” Continue Reading →

Dealing With Sexual Harassment As A Professor

GracieABD blogs about an experience being sexually harassed in her college classroom, when a student wrote on a mid-semester evaluation that her teaching would be improved if she taught naked. Her reaction – to use it as a teaching moment to educate her class about what sexual harassment is – was brave and inspired. I received one comment like that while I was assisting with a class; one student responded to the end-of-semester evaluation question “What did you like least about the class?” with something along the lines of “That I wasn’t dating the instructor.” GracieABD’s remarks about feeling humiliated and objectified resonated with me. Continue Reading →

Messages To Teenage Girls (And Boys)

Those of us who spend a lot of time on the internet will have seen this “letter to teenage girls” that has been circulating. The author, a mother, is basically telling teenage girls to stop taking sexy-looking self photos and putting them online, because it’s not good for the innocent eyes of her chaste sons. Or something like that. There’ve been a number of responses, pointing out that this upholds the idea that women are responsible for managing men’s sexuality (which they are most certainly not!), or the notion that girls need to be modest (an idea that varies by time period and culture) while boys do not. Personally, I was struck by how much the letter demonizes sexual self-expression, arousal, and, well, sexual stuff in general. Continue Reading →