Recent posts

Stereotypes About Kink And Alternative Sexualities

Molly Ren’s post at The Frisky about the ridiculous assumptions people make about BDSM/kink got a chuckle out of me. Yes, a lot of folks assume that practitioners of BDSM (short for bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism) are sex-crazed deviants… but that’s generally not true. In fact, if anything, practitioners of alternative sexuality lifestyles such as BDSM/kink and polyamory tend to have a heightened sense of consent and boundaries (arguments have been made about BDSM being a sexual orientation, but for now we’ll go with lifestyle). If anything, the insights and communication strategies from queer, poly, and non-normative relationships offer many benefits to straight, monogamous, and vanilla folks. Continue Reading →

Disproving Myths About The Differences Between Men And Women

Have a minute? Good, go read this. The author, an anthropologist, tells us that while gender is an important factor in people’s lives, it’s not as hardwired or innate as we tend to think it is: “It is the strength of the societal myths about sex that fool us into thinking that men and women are so different by nature.” (I practically whooped out loud when I read this, because it is SO TRUE)

Male and female brains aren’t as different as we’re led to believe; differences in sexual desire and hormones aren’t that extreme either. If we can’t fall back on static old beliefs, how then do people justify treating men and women so differently? Continue Reading →

Resources On Asexuality

We’ve touched on asexuality here at MSP before; Dr. Debby has linked to a Salon article on the topic, and I’ve linked to a blog post explaining some of the basics. Now, however, there’s even more stir in the media, thanks to a recent episode of House, MD that featured asexuality… in an overly medicalized, stigmatizing way. To combat negative stereotypes of asexuality, check out this Feministe post on where asexuality and sex-positive feminism can, and should, overlap. It’s an interesting topic, and one that I think people should educate themselves on, regardless of their orientation. Continue Reading →

Dualism And You: Part Two

In a recent post, Dualism And You, I discussed what dualism means and how it impacts contemporary Western ideas about sex and gender. I’m sure nobody will be surprised that I have more to say on this topic, specifically about sexuality. In that last post, I touched on ideas like mind-body dualism (which is super-inflected by gender) and the slut/stud dichotomy, which describes women’s and men’s sexual behavior in diametrically opposed terms. Yet there’s another huge way in which dualism impacts our ideas about sexuality: the very notion of heterosexuality vs. homosexuality. Think about it. Continue Reading →

Bald Is Just As Beautiful As Blonde

Over the past few days, a new campaign has been spreading like wildfire over the Internet — and that campaign is for the creation of ’Bald Barbie’.  The movement began less than a month ago, when two friends decided to make a Facebook page in order to catch Mattel’s attention (the maker of Barbie), in hopes that they would consider making the toy. The “Beautiful and Bald Barbie” Facebook page reads:
We would like to see a Beautiful and Bald Barbie made to help young girls who suffer from hair loss due to cancer treatments, Alopecia or Trichotillomania . Also, for young girls who are having trouble coping with their mother’s hair loss from chemo. Many children have some difficulty accepting their mother, sister, aunt, grandparent or friend going from a long haired to a bald. Continue Reading →

Dualism And You

As I finish writing my dissertation on gender and the body in Western European fairy tales, I’m reminded of why I’m doing this research in the first place: yeah, fairy tales are fun to study and all, but they’re also really important in Western culture. Kids are exposed to fairy tales in the form of films, toys, coloring books, theme park experiences, various forms of literature, plays, art, and so on. The gender roles espoused in fairy tales are often quite restrictive, and these messages matter. One of the topics I touched on in my dissertation, which I think is also quite relevant for discussing gender and sexuality, is dualism. Dualism describes two things that are opposed to one another and can never be reconciled. Continue Reading →

Judgmental (And Inaccurate) Misconceptions About Non-Monogamy (Part I)

The opening sentence of an article titled Non-Monogamy: Do Open Relationships Work? is “Non-monogamy is about one thing–sex.” If that’s true, does it mean that monogamy is not about sex? Or that non-monogamy can’t be about things other than sex? Sadly, this poorly written article continues with the sex-negative rhetoric, lumping all non-monogamous (also called polyamorous or poly or open) relationships into one nymphomaniac category that the author, working on assumptions rather than research, opposes to The One True Way, Monogamy. Continue Reading →

Media And Your Love Life

The other afternoon I decided to take a breather from studying  and break for lunch. As I’m enjoying my lunch and flipping through the channels - I stumble upon an episode of “VH1 News Presents: Celebrity Cheaters”. The next thing you know my 20 minute break turns into an hour long obsession with this show, and once the program came to an end – I found myself feeling completely paranoid. Continue Reading →

“Well, Don’t Tell Them You’re A Belly Dancer”: Stigma And Sexiness

Before moving to Bloomington, Indiana for my Ph.D. in folklore, I met with my mentor, Professor Alan Dundes, in his office at UC Berkeley. He had also done his Ph.D. in Bloomington, and he was giving me advice about relocating to the Midwest and adjusting to grad school. Among other gems of wisdom that he dispensed, he told me:

“Well, don’t tell them you’re a belly dancer. Continue Reading →