Archive for July, 2011
“Why Men Should Join SlutWalk” by Hugo Schwyzer (Sex and Culture, Gender Socialization, Sociology, Psychology) 5/24/11
One of my favorite points in this piece is one I feel Hugo stresses repeatedly: the falsity of the pernicious (and vicious, it seems to me) myth that human male “biology” makes it so that men are uncontrollable when aroused and/or that they only respect what they don’t lust after, and vice versa. The idea strikes me as ludicrous and dangerous, and I like Hugo’s offering around it in this piece, as well as the other perspectives he delineates.
“Male Self-Pleasure Myths” by Hugo Schwyzer (Masturbation, Gender Socialization, Sex Toys) 5/16/11
Especially since I agree with the perspective(s) I interpret as offered in this piece that male sexuality has traditionally been perceived in an oversimplified way, I really appreciate explorations that recognize the complexity of it. As a side note, I have not usually featured more than one piece by the same author in a RR post, but on the subject at hand, I like very much what Hugo has to say in both of these pieces (this one actually quotes Charlie too, so it’s like combining the authors of the other two pieces together :)).
“The Performance of Masculinity” by Dr. Charlie Glickman (Gender Socialization, Sociology) 5/6/11
I found this a riveting and insightful expose on our culture’s expectations and perceptions of masculinity with an overall tone (that I immensely appreciate) cognizant of the detriment of rigid (and, as far as I’m concerned, arbitrary) gender socialization.
I am delighted to say that I have a brand new story, “Release,” up at Good Vibrations Magazine today! I am such a fan of Good Vibrations Magazine and continue to find it an honor to be published there amongst the extraordinary bloggers and fellow authors regularly featured on it.“Release” is live now and may be found right here! :)
I remember when I first found myself attracted to you, moments after I met you on one of the first trips I made to your city. I almost brushed it off, thinking in perhaps even a condescending way that sexually, you weren’t likely to understand or be willing to give me what I wanted.
The degree to which I was wrong still surprises me. You, who seemed so unlike that outside of sex, so quiet, so polite, so demure—you understood right away. I didn’t even have to explain it to you. I just had to let you know.
“California School Claims Its Own Yearbook is Child Porn” by Thomas Roche (Youth, Sex and Culture) 7/17/11
As usual, I find Thomas’s writing on a topic of interest to me both engrossing and entertaining. That the yearbook photo in question is referred to as child pornography seems to me an extraordinary demonstration of the sexual hysteria to which this week’s Recommended Reading is devoted. I particularly appreciate Thomas’s pointing out that “[C]alling the material ‘child porn’ is killing a mosquito with a howitzer. It’s insulting to any child or teen who’s been the victim of actual exploitation.” Indeed—one of the risks of our cultural hysteria around sex, it seems to me, is that our understanding and perception of true cases of assault, exploitation, or coercion may decrease in the context of the frivolous conflation of so many instances not being these things but being labeled as such.
“Melissa Farley and the US Government Want You to Stop Buying Sex” by Laura Agustin (Sex Work, Government, Sex and Culture) 7/19/11
This reportage by Laura Agustin seems quite indicative of the hysteria in which this culture seems (to me) steeped around sex. In this case, adults rather than minors are the concern, with the target purportedly being sex trafficking. What I find disturbing, of course, is that no reference to or apparent allowance of consensual sex work is included anywhere in the supplied (U.S.) governmental diatribe. The theory seems to be that eliminating “demand” for commercial sexual services will eradicate sex trafficking. I wondered as soon as I read the first sentence of the government statement if there are plans in the works to reduce demand for farm labor, manual labor, and domestic work (all areas in which human trafficking also occurs).
“Sex laws: Unjust and ineffective” at The Economist (Law, Sexual Abuse, Politics, Sex and Culture, Youth) 8/6/09
The laws around what are purported to be sexual offenses and the corresponding system of compulsory registration of sex offenders is, to me, rife with evidence of our hysteria around sexuality. In some cases, I feel the laws for “offenses” represent inappropriate governmental intrusiveness (see the line about men procuring the services of prostitutes being required to register as sex offenders, as well as those who engaged in consensual “underage” sex because they were below the governmentally-applied age to be able to consent to sex ), making the, in some states, lifelong registration as a sex offender an astonishing sign of something quite amiss. In addition, as the article points out: “If there are thousands of offenders on a registry, it is harder to keep track of the most dangerous ones.” (Which seems to somewhat defeat the purported purpose of the registry.)
Emerald I expected to feel nervous, anticipated the adrenaline as I stood in Hayden’s bedroom. But as my eyes locked with his as he stood near the foot of his bed, all I felt coursing through me was the unadulterated desire I had felt every time I’d looked at Hayden. My body shuddered as I took a deep breath.
-from “Then” in Obsessed
“Can America’s Attitude Towards Sex Get Any Worse? (Or, What Happened When My Son Said ‘Breast’ in Pre-School)” by Tinamarie Bernard (Sex and Culture, Sex Education, Youth, Parenting) 7/8/11
This article speaks of a gamut of societally-perceived authority figures, from parents to teachers to policy makers. In short, the piece speaks to the astonishing projection, ignorance, and squeamishness with which such authority figures commonly deal with speaking to or children’s exposure to information about sexuality. It seems to me worth remembering/recognizing that as parents/caregivers/educators/simply adults, we are often seen as authority figures and do have a lot of potential influence over children’s understanding of sexuality—their own and as a subject—and sexual development. I certainly appreciate the offering I interpret here that speaking openly with youth about sexuality and being available to do so seem some of the most important antidotes available for encouraging and developing healthy sexuality in a less-than-so society.
“Consent in the Doctor’s Office” by Susan Miranda (Memoir, Health and Body, the Medical Field) 7/11/11
Doctors/health care practitioners are another set of professionals it seems to me have historically been regarded as authority figures in this culture. I found this personal account a powerful exposition on, as the title suggests, consent in the doctor’s office and the author’s perspective of the implications thereof and her own experience, both past and current.
“Sex and the Supremes” by Timothy Egan (Politics, Law, Public Policy, Sex and Culture) 7/7/11
The only thing I don’t like about this article is the statement that “the United States of America will always make an exception for sex” [bold mine]. Just because the Supreme Court has done so historically and certainly seemed to do so recently in the case about which this article was written does not to me mean it will “always” be that way. (We know not what the future holds.) And thank goodness…I intensely appreciate everything else this article offers. I appreciate the recognition of the First Amendment considerations around the case—indeed, I don’t necessarily disagree with the verdict itself; I simply find what the author of this article maintains a very important line of consideration. Our societal issues around sexuality—which, in short, seem to me to manifest right now as our tending to act perpetually pubescent and, to use the author’s word, “skittish” around the topic—seem to reach all the way to the highest law of the land in the U.S.; to me, the importance of our recognition of this seems paramount, especially if we as a culture want to evolve beyond it.