Whether it's the constant fretting over Miley Cyrus' influence on school girls or the growing (and troubling) tradition of Purity Balls, it's clear that society has a fascination with young women's sexuality — especially when it comes to controlling it. But what are we actually teaching today's girls about sex? Fueled by outdated ideals of gender roles and the sense that female sexuality is somehow shameful, there seem to be certain pernicious myths about girls and sex that just won't die. That sex education in America has gaping holes in its curriculum hasn't helped much, either; in a recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report just 6 out of 10 girls said that their schools' sex ed program included information on how to say no to sex. This lack of personal agency was reflected in a forthcoming study by sociologist Heather Hlavka at Marquette University as well, which found that many young girls think of sex simply as something that is "done to them." Knowledge is power, and we can promote a healthier relationship with sex by encouraging a more open dialogue, teaching girls to feel comfortable with their sexuality and, most importantly, emphasizing that their bodies are theirs and theirs alone. [more inside]
Words, Words, Words: On Toxicity and Abuse in Online Activism: "There was a time in my life where I took pride in being a 'social justice warrior' on Reddit, ticking the boxes of others' mistakes, missteps, and misspoken words, cruelly scolding people, looking for those who were 'doing it wrong' as a means of validating my own sense of integrity as an activist, as if each person I roasted would be a talisman against the same thing happening to me ever again. It was only when I discovered that I had made someone cry for hours that I took a long step back and asked myself if I was really making the world a better place by doing this." [more inside]
In July 2007, NPR published a two part series (direct links: 1, 2) about a four year old uninvestigated rape case at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Sparked in part by a 2006 report (pdf) from Amnesty International that included a startling statistic: "One in three Native American women will be raped in her lifetime," NPR's investigation led to the reopening of the case and Congressional hearings. In February 2011, Harper's published an update of sorts: Tiny Little Laws: A Plague of Sexual Violence in Indian Country (Via)
Writer Cath Elliot, recently nominated for the Orwell Prize for political writing, posts about what are, sadly, often the occupational hazards of being a political woman online. (NSFW language; author has tagged post with a trigger warning fwiw)
A Spokane woman trying to divorce her estranged husband two years after he was jailed for beating her has been told by a judge she can't get out of the marriage while she's pregnant. Is this another example at an attempt at "moral values?"
Men have rights too. Granted, a lot of the "pro-men" movement is whining saber-rattling by men upset by "feminists". But in some cases like accusations of abuse, divorce settlements, child support/custody and allegations of rape have we swung so far in favor of women that the system is no longer fair to either party?