Recent posts

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 →

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 →

How A Misogynist Changed His Mind

What makes people change their core beliefs about how the world works (a.k.a. their worldview)? This question intrigues me, as I note in this post about how Canadian health care converted a self-identified conservative to support universal health care. In this blog post, you can read about a similar sort of thing happening: a guy who used to be a real misogynist explains how, over a period of years, he slowly began to change his mind about the feminist conspiracy to oppress men and keep “nice guys” like himself from getting laid. What would it take for you to change your mind about a deeply held belief regarding gender or sexuality? Continue Reading →

Geek Culture, Misogyny, And Harassment

Geek culture seems to have a love-hate relationship with women. On the one hand, where would so many classic science fiction and fantasy tales be without a princess to rescue? But on the other hand, as soon as women try to involve themselves in geek culture, asserting their right to be there as fans of the multifaceted culture, there’s a lot of pushback from the men. A LOT. In Defense of Lady Geeks argues that while women are “appreciated for our decorative qualities, we certainly shouldn’t expect to be welcomed beyond that as active participants. Continue Reading →

The Dark Side Of Belly Dance

As longtime MSP readers know, I’m a belly dancer in addition to a scholar and blogger. I’ve written posts about belly dancing and sexiness, the stigmas associated with belly dance, and the body acceptance that comes from belly dancing. I know, from doing academic research on the American belly dance community, that my perspectives are not wholly unique; many Western women find solace in the belly dance community, rediscover a sense of embodied pleasure, and feel greater self-esteem and confidence due to the dance. However, it’s not all sunshine and roses in the belly dance community. This very important (but potentially triggering) blog post by Charlotte Desorgher relates her experience visiting Cairo as a young belly dancer. Continue Reading →

Men And Women, Sex Drives, And Misogyny

We are still trying to understand what differences, if any, exist between men’s and women’s sex drives, and how these differences might impact social differences. The problem gets trickier because it looks like social expectations impact how often men and women will report feeling aroused, as discussed in this Kinsey Confidential report. Researchers found that men reported thinking about sex quite often (though not as often as the “every 7 seconds” stereotype), while women reported thinking about sex pretty often too… but they might’ve under-reported because of social norms that are more permissive about men thinking about sex than women doing so. Why does this matter? Continue Reading →

Liking Sex Doesn’t Make You a Slut

That’s right ladies, you read me correctly: You can still be crazy about sex and have a good reputation. I know this may seem like a huge shocker—but after reading Chris Jones’ latest piece in Esquire (titled, Ladies: You’re Not as Good as You Think), I feel so much more enlightened on how to be good in bed—I feel as if I could teach a college course on it. So to share my newfound knowledge on what makes women the ultimate hook-up , let me give you the breakdown on the top five lessons I learned from CJ. Continue Reading →

Sex-Selective Abortions And The Value Of Girls In India

It is poignant to note as I originally wrote this post on International Women’s Day that South Asian women face incredible challenges. As noted in The Himalayan Times, South Asia “is at the bottom of a global ranking of gender inequality using the five indicators of maternal mortality, adolescent fertility, parliamentary representation, education and labor force participation.” Millions of girls are estimated to have been killed in infancy, in childhood, or aborted after ultrasounds that revealed the gender of the fetus, leading to a not insignificant population imbalance. In India, for example, it is estimated that there are eight girls for every ten boys due to these practices. This video report provides some cultural context for the reasons for sex-selective abortions in India, showing some heart-rending interviews from unwanted girls and women who were pressured into aborting their female fetuses. Continue Reading →

Being Ironically Sexist Is Still Sexist

A lot of advertising is, no surprise, rather sexist and regressive when it comes to gender roles. But if the advertising demonstrates an awareness of sexist tropes, is it still sexist? This analysis on Youtube says yes, defining “retro sexism” as “Modern attitudes and behaviors that mimic or glorify sexist aspects of the past, often in an ironic way.” The TV ad examples may appear innocuous at first glance, but watching them add up is rather striking. Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor. Continue Reading →

Gender, Gaming, And Safe Spaces

Gaming and geek cultures are increasingly a part of contemporary people’s hobbies, lifestyles, and social options. Notice that I said “people” and not just “guys,” because, as it turns out, many gamers are also women–around 42% according to some studies. However, a lot of these women don’t feel safe or welcome while playing in large online games, so they hide their gender, or otherwise try to downplay their real-life identities. Why? I’ve been reading posts by Lesley, a blogger who’s also a gamer, on this topic in an effort to understand. Continue Reading →