Women haven't always gotten to play a big role in the scientific advancements, studies and cultural conversations concerning sexuality. […] But numerous powerful women have elbowed their way in, taking control over female sexuality and introducing innovations that actually what women want and need.[more inside]
bell hooks calls Beyonce a "terrorist" and a "slave" At a panel discussion at the New School yesterday, bell hooks raised eyebrows in a conversation about the controversial Time magazine cover seen here, saying that Beyonce "colluded in the construction of herself as a slave," going on to say “I see a part of Beyoncé that is in fact anti-feminist — that is, a terrorist, especially in terms of the impact on young girls.” [more inside]
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 Fueled by outdated ideals of gender roles and the sense that female sexuality is somehow shameful, there seem to be certain pernicious myths about girls and sex that just won't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]
"We can go to science fiction for its sense of wonder, its power to take us to far-off places and future times. We can go to political fiction to understand injustice in our own time, to see what should change. We may go to poetry — epic or lyric, old or new — for what cannot change, for a sense of human limits, as well as for the music in its words. And if we want all those things at once — a sense of escape, a sense of injustice, a sense of mortality and an ear for language — we can read the stories of James Tiptree, Jr.," the reclusive, award-winning author whose vague biography started out in the Congo, routed through a period as a painter, then service as a photo intelligence officer in WWII, and finally a researcher and teacher of "soft" sciences before getting to writing science fiction. There was another facet that was only guessed at by some, dismissed by others: the fact that "Uncle Tip," and his reclusive friend, the former school teacher Racoona Sheldon, were the same person. And they were Alice Bradley Sheldon. [more inside]
David Gaider, senior writer at Bioware, delivers a talk on sex, sexuality, and sexism in video games and the gaming industry at the 2013 Game Developers Conference. (single-link 49-minute video)
"I think Twilight is one of the best things to happen to young female sexuality in the same way that I think that Fifty Shades of Grey is one of the best things to happen to adult female sexuality. We live in a culture that is overwhelmingly sex negative, particularly for women. If the only porn that women will consume is “abstinence porn” and its fan fiction, that is okay with me." -- Emma Vossen argues that Twilight allows young women to fullfill "fantasies of sexual and supernatural empowerment" and that's why so many people hate it. [more inside]
The New York Times asks seven 'experts': Does makeup ultimately damage a woman’s self-esteem, or elevate it? [more inside]
The Hairpin's Jia Tolentino holds three interviews with virgins. (Trigger warnings on the second and third stories.)
One thing I am going to do differently as a parent is go easy on the ‘save sex for someone special’ rhetoric with my kids – both with my daughter and my son. Feminist and mother Blue Milk on the downside of encouraging young girls to "save themselves."
Softening and sexualizing Lisbeth Salander: David Fincher's casting for Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo examined.
"We get a very clear and detailed shot of her butt in black latex before we ever see what her face looks like."
"The problem stems not from there being 'too much' casual sex on campus but from the overall dissatisfaction with sex on campus and the lack of alternatives."
So suddenly, everyone was talking about hookup culture, and they wanted to know: "What is this thing? What is it?" And they were afraid that somehow college was some alcohol-fueled Bacchanalian orgy.The Promise and Perils of Hookup Culture: a talk by sociologist Lisa Wade (previously).
"The so-called Victorian conception of women's sexuality was more that of an ideology seeking to be established than the prevalent view or practice of even middle-class women."
"Some enjoyed sex but worried that they shouldn't. One slept apart from her husband 'to avoid temptation of too frequent intercourse.' " Standford Magazine on the accidental discovery of an unpublished sex survey of American women made 55 years before Kinsey . (via)
If you had to pinpoint today's problem that had no name, what would it be? In answer to that question, Linda Hirshman launches an attack on tabloid feminism prompted by last summer's spirited appearance on Lizz Winstead's show, Thinking and Drinking by Jezebel contributors Tracie Egan, a.k.a. Slut Machine (second link possibly NSFW) and Moe Tkacik. Jezebel's Megan Carpentier responds. Is this the future of feminism?