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Posts tagged "women"

A fantastic new piece written for women of all stripes (and spots!) by intern Samantha Benac, with some rad illustrations by Isabella Rotman to boot. Score!


Via @being_feminist on twitter 

(via renegadeblog)

On the patriarchal side, there’s this idea of the body belonging to the community. Virginity is an interesting example of this because the woman is seen as a marker of family boundaries, a symbol of the community. She’s viewed as both the source of the literal, as well as, in the more figurative sense, the source of the continuity of the community. That sounds like a privileged status, but in fact what evolves from that is the notion that she needs to be under the control of men — of fathers, of husbands, of brothers. The stress on virginity reflects the imperatives of the larger society: promising society’s continuity through marriage and children. So the woman’s consent is irrelevant, since her purpose transcends herself.
David Jacobson, at Salon, here.

Mitt Romney’s “close” relative died of an illegal abortion (which is why he used to say he wouldn’t force his beliefs on you).

In 1963, Mitt Romney lost a “dear” and “close” relative to an illegal abortion. Ann Keenan was the sister of his brother-in-law, Loren “Larry” Keenan, husband to Mitt’s sister, Lynn. By all accounts, her death at age 21 “deeply impacted members of the family.” Romney’s sister, Jane, explained, “‘She was a beautiful, talented young gal we all loved. And [her death] pretty much ruined the parents - [she was] their only daughter. You would do anything not to repeat that.” The Keenan family asked for donations to be sent to Planned Parenthood in her name.

Ann Keenan apparently “was very close” to Mitt personally and he, too, appeared moved by the loss explaining, it “obviously makes one see that regardless of one’s beliefs about choice, that you would hope it would be safe and legal.” During a debate with Senator Ted Kennedy in 1994, Romney pledged, “It is since that time my mother and my family have been committed to the belief that we can believe as we want, but we will not force our beliefs on others on that matter. And you will not see me wavering on that.”

But Romney’s dear young relative seems to have disappeared from his memory (as has his promise to not waiver.) He no longer “exhumes” her body to serve as proof of his pro-choice credentials as he did routinely when running for governor of Massachusetts. These days, he’s promising to overturn Roe v Wade. Indeed, he seems eager to reinstate those laws that drove his close relative to fatally take matters into her own hands.

Read the rest from Christina Page here.

When I discovered masturbation (quite by accident) at the age of 12 and the intoxicating end result of it, the hypochondriac in me naturally thought I was experiencing the first signs of a stroke. Leaping up from the bath from whence I’d been rubbing myself, I glared at the porcelain accusingly. ”YOU HAVE KILLED ME!” I thought. ”I HAVE BEEN DOING THE DEVIL’S WORK, AND NOW GOD HAS FORSAKEN ME!”

I was a religiously troubled child. It took years to overcome the sense I was doing something wrong, but I’m proud to say now that I’m a firm advocate of being the master of your own domain. I only wish I’d had someone tell me that when I was young, embarrassed and filled with uncertain shame about what it was I was doing.

It saddens me to think that this might still be the case for girls today. We seem to be reluctant to discuss sex in relation to girls at all, terrified that we’ll be perceived to be sexualising them. Typically, ‘expert’ commentators on sexualisation (particularly those regularly sought after in Australia, most of whom seem eager to institute a nationwide distribution of chastity belts and clutchable pearls rather than any kind of sound advice) bristle at the mere mention of sex and teenage girls in the same sentence. Sex for girls is viewed as predatory, emotionally destructive, overwhelming and dangerous — a responsible, moral society seeks to protect its most vulnerable citizens from it, lest they be ruined forever, their fragile psyches crushed amidst discarded condom packets and whatever tawdry metaphor is supposed to represent their sullied virginity.

Unfortunately, girls are still the casual victims of a society that views sex as a rigid binary — something that boys are empowered to do, but that they must have done to them. Jokes about 13-year-old boys spending too much time in the bathroom are de rigeur, because we have no discomfort with the idea of boys touching themselves. It’s natural, they’re boys - everyone knows that they’re biologically predisposed to want sex ALL THE TIME. Don’t you know they think about it every seven seconds?

And so forth.

But teenage girls… they’re a different story. Our hesitation to discuss the real fact of young female desire and sexual awakening is spawned from our hysteria over sexualisation. Because sex is something that ‘happens’ to girls, discussing it taps into that fear that others will think we’re preoccupied with it. That in the discussion of it, we are ourselves exhibiting unnatural and predatory desires.

It’s impossible for some people to believe that girls can actually engage with their sexuality, can seek out sexual experiences willingly and responsibly and without risk of permanent psychological damage.

Read the whole (fantastic) piece from Clementine Ford here.

Florida’s Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll has been accused by Carletha Cole, a former administrative assistant to Carroll, of being involved in an inappropriate sexual encounter with a female subordinate. Cole is a grandmother and a minister, who took a lie detector test regarding the accusations and passed.

When Carroll decided that she was going to defend this matter publicly, she stated that her accuser is not only attacking one person but is attacking her entire family. Her actions that followed demonstrated that she needed to transfer her pain.

In an attempt to seek public sympathy for her personal and professional matter, Carroll decided to insult every black woman who is a lesbian, bisexual and/or single. She decided that her personal status as a wife and mother with a long-lasting marriage to her husband was somehow superior and above reproach for inappropriate, extramarital relations. She further decided to insult my beautiful black sisters by comparing her life situation to those of longtime single women, and imply that women who engage in sexual relations with other women could not possibly look like her.

I am so furious and frustrated by a black woman of power trying to bring other black women down to save face. Jennifer Carroll, the core of your character is at stake, and you are showing your true colors. Leadership requires grace and dignity under fire, and you are showing that your character includes misguided superiority and poor judgment.

Read the rest at HuffPo Gay Voices here.

“There’s nothing to giggle or be shy about; there’s no shame in it. It’s important for us to learn about these things. Be totally bindaas (carefree) and ask me questions,” says Aparna Bhola, with a wide smile.

It’s a hot Sunday afternoon, but the stifling Mumbai summer air does nothing to curb the enthusiasm of the girls surrounding her. Aparna, a spunky 16-year-old, is in the midst of giving a group of her peers a candid sex-education class, and today’s topic is pregnancy. She leads the class confidently, dispelling superstitions with funny stories and apologizing disarmingly for her chalk drawing skills.

Women’s declining condom use during their freshman year at college may be connected to instability in their grades and alcohol consumption, reports a new study.

The study, involving 279 freshman women at Boston’s Northeastern University, found that those with lower grade point averages (GPAs), and a tendency to binge drink more often, reported up to a 10 percent decrease in condom use.

"College women often engage in serial monogamy, resulting in multiple partners during the college years, and they are often unaware of their partners’ risk," said study leader Jennifer Walsh, a researcher at Rhode Island’s Miriam Hospital Center for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine. "This makes continued condom use important for women’s health.

To assess the behavioral health of college freshmen for the National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, researchers questioned the students monthly on their condom use. Usage was measured on a five-point scale from “never” to “always.” Additional information was gathered on students’ socioeconomic status, substance use, and GPAs.

The data demonstrated a shift in condom use — irrespective of how diligently the students started off. Birth control pills also were shown to contribute to lowered condom use, even though they do not guard against STDs.

The report found Caucasian women and those with fewer sexual partners were more apt to use condoms from the beginning than African-American women and women with multiple sex partners. Some women who believed alcohol led to unsafe sex still were generally less likely to use condoms.

The study, “Changes in Women’s Condom Use over the First Year of College,” was published online in the Journal of Sex Research.

From The Body here.

Noticed a comment on a reblog of this from someone who stated that she enjoys wearing low-cut shirts, but she and her boyfriend are both concerned about it because she (they?) feel that that way of dressing puts her in greater danger from other men.

If that concern is about sexual assault — from that person or anyone else — please know that the social belief that’s so is just that: a social belief, and not one backed up by reality.

In reality, when women are sexually assaulted, most of them are either wearing pajamas — the kind you actually sleep or hang out in, not lingerie — or casual daily clothes like jeans and t-shirts.

In reality, women get the cue that “dressing sexy” puts them at higher risk of sexual assault as an attempt at social control of women, not an attempt at earnestly helping women keep themselves safe. In reality, “dressing sexy” is often presented as an apparent enticement to rape as a way to blame victims: and one that works really well so long as anyone holds it up or believes the myth.

It’d obviously be great if there was clothing that protected us from assault, because we’d just be able to chose clothing that kept us safe.  It’s also often pretty tough to let go of a pretty comfortable idea that if we just choose how we dress carefully, we can avoid being assaulted. But there isn’t a way of dressing that protects us from assault, nor is the way we dress ever an enticement to assault or something that makes assault more likely.

P.S. We don’t actually have stats on sexual assault and suits of armor, so it’s entirely likely, just like any other way of dressing, that wearing one of those doesn’t make rape less likely, either.