One-Way Wantonness [nytimes.com]

by Frank Bruni / nytimes.com

Hussy. Harlot. Hooker.

Floozy. Strumpet. Slut.

When attacking a woman by questioning her sexual mores, there’s a smorgasbord of slurs, and you can take your rancid pick. Help me out here: where are the comparable nouns for men? What’s a male slut?

A role model, in some cases. In others, a presidential candidate.

“Gigolo” doesn’t have the acid or currency of “whore,” and the man with bedpost notches gets compliments. He’s a Casanova, a conquistador.

The lady is a tramp.

Nearly two weeks since Rush Limbaugh let loose on Sandra Fluke, equating her desire for insurance-covered birth control with a prostitute’s demand for a fee, the wrangling over how awful that really was and whether it will truly haunt him continues.

Advertisers bolted in protest; advertisers come and go all the time. It was the beginning of his end; it was ratings chum. He lost his way; he was Rush in Excelsis.

One especially robust strand of commentary has focused on whether Limbaugh, a god of the far right, was smacked down for the kind of thing that less conservative men routinely get away with.

Click to continue reading the article at the NY Times…

 

Sexual Harassment In Schools Is Frighteningly Common [jezebel.com]

by Anna North / jezebel.com

A new study has found that over half of girls, and many boys, experience sexual harassment in middle or high school. And although some might claim that’s just “kids being kids,” victims suffer many ill effects.

According to the Times, the study of almost 2,000 kids in seventh through twelfth grade found that 56% of girls and 40% of boys had experienced sexual harassment at some point in the previous school year. Forty-six percent of girls and 22% of boys reported “unwelcome sexual comments, gestures or jokes,” while 13% of girls and 3% of boys mentioned unwanted touching. Three and a half percent of girls and 0.2% of boys were forced to perform a sexual act, and an equal share of boys and girls — 18% — were called gay in a derogatory way. Students said “pretty girls, ugly girls” and “girls whose bodies are most developed” were most at risk for harassment — so basically, girls who have a physical appearance. Also at risk were boys perceived to be feminine.

Many adults remember middle and high school as a time of rampant bra-snapping, boob comments, so-and-so-is-gay accusations, and all-around assholery. And though much of this may have been extremely hurtful — many carry the shit they got in middle school with them for a long time — there’s long been a sense that it’s just part of growing up. I can’t say I was surprised by anything in this study, except perhaps for the relatively low rates of harassment against boys, whom I remember being the primary targets for “pantsing,” in which the perp yanks the victim’s pants down and runs away laughing. In middle and, to a lesser extent, high school, my peers and I viewed this and various other assaults on our dignity as painful but normal.

The study makes a persuasive argument that this is the wrong attitude. Thirty-seven percent of girls and 25% of boys said harassment made them want to avoid school — 22% of female victims and 14% of male ones reported trouble sleeping. Those numbers jump even higher among kids who were harassed both online and in person — 46% of these victims didn’t want to go to school anymore, while 44% of them felt sick to their stomachs and 43% had trouble studying. Clearly, harassment isn’t something kids just shrug off — it affects not just their school performance but also their health. Given this, it shouldn’t be treated as a normal rite of passage.

The study authors point out that unlike non-sexual bullying, sexual harassment is actually prohibited by federal law. Title IX is supposed to protect students from harassment that interferes with their education, but not every school makes this clear to students. According to the AP, the study authors have recommendations for the enforcement of Title IX:

The [...] report said all schools should create a sexual-harassment policy and make sure it is publicized and enforced. It said schools must ensure that students are educated about what their rights are under Title IX, with special attention paid to encouraging girls to respond assertively to harassment since they are targeted more often than boys.

Students also had some ideas — a majority wanted “systematic punishments for harassers and [...] a mechanism for reporting harassment anonymously.” Whatever action schools end up taking, they need to understand that students deserve a learning environment where harassment is a punishable offense, not something they’re just expected to deal with.

http://jezebel.com/5857000/sexual-harassment-in-schools-is-frighteningly-common

Psychology and the Development of the Sexual Fetish Criteria [io9.com]

or “Do you really have a sexual fetish?”

by Annalee Newitz

Ever since the term “sexual fetish” was first used over a century ago, there’s been a raging scientific debate over what it means. Why does one person get off on shoes, while another gets off on certain large body parts? Are these erotic feelings signs of illness, or simply preferences that are as inexplicable and harmless as liking spaghetti more than sausage?

Though sexual fetishism started out as a fairly neutral term over a century ago in early psychiatry, it’s become one of the most contested ideas in medicine. Here’s why.

The term “sexual fetish” was first used in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by psychiatrists like Magnus Hirschfeld to describe — in a neutral fashion — the many ways that people experience sexual desire. Specifically, Hirschfeld and his contemporaries defined fetishism as the act of eroticizing any non-living object or body part. It wasn’t a mental illness, but a description of a mental state. However, in a world where wanting even the most ordinary kinds of sex can be difficult and embarrassing, having a fetish could make people neurotic. As a result, psychiatrists like Richard von Krafft-Ebing, author of the influential 1886 book Psychopathia Sexualis, often associated sexual fetishism with mental illness.

Derangements of the Sexual Instinct

Most of the people writing about sexual fetishes before the 1930s were psychiatrists dealing with people who had come to them because they were uncomfortable with their lust for rubber aprons, bondage, fur, machines, and hundreds of other sexytime items that are listed exhaustively in books like Psychopathia Sexualis, Havelock Ellis’Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Wilhelm Stekel’s The Sexual Aberrations, and many early essays of Sigmund Freud. Each of these researchers took a slightly different view on sexual fetishism, though Freud is perhaps most famous for his idea that neuroses can arise when people desire any deviation from heterosexual sex where the penis goes into the vagina and stays there for a reasonable amount of time.

Given that many of their patients were no doubt neurotic, many doctors dealing with sexuality at that time were surprisingly supportive of a variety of sexual choices. Havelock Ellis, who wrote about homosexuality extensively, was in an open marriage with a lesbian and championed women’s right to choose their own sexual paths.

Hirschfeld, who deals with fetishes in his book Derangements of the Sexual Instinct, was perhaps the world’s first gay rights advocate. Through his Institute for Sexual Science in Berlin, he published a number of essays, and made public health films, about how homosexuality was a legitimate lifestyle and not a sickness. You can see excerpts from one of the movies he made, Different from the Othershere. The film depicts a romance between two men, and was made in 1919.

Even Wilhelm Stekel, credited with inventing the term paraphilia for “extreme” sexual fetishes, also noted in his work that there are many “normal” sexual fetishes — including bondage and domination — that are perfectly healthy and that are shared by many people without any detriment to society or themselves.

Though the Nazis destroyed Hirschfeld’s Sexual Sciences Institute, and burned most of the books and art in its collection, the work he had begun was continued in America by researchers like Alfred Kinsey. A zoologist who studied wasps, he turned to studying human sexuality in the 1940s and published two books — dubbed the “Kinsey reports” — which were summations of thousands of interviews he and his research team conducted with Americans about their sex lives. Though Kinsey never advanced any theories about whether fetishes were normal or not, the fact that he presented the whole range of sexual interests (from Missionary position and homosexuality, to piss fetishes and bestiality) from a detached, non-judgmental perspective was fairly remarkable.

Given that so many of the scientists describing sexual fetishes did not consider them to be pathological, how did the term “sexual fetish” come to be so strongly associated with sickness and perversion?

Click to continue reading the article…

U.S. to Take Another Look at Gay Blood Donation Ban [nationaljournal.com]

By Maggie Fox, National Journal

A policy that bars gay men from donating blood for life is “suboptimal,” advisers to the Health and Human Services Department said on Tuesday, and needs another look.

HHS asked a committee of experts on blood and tissue donations to reexamine the policy and see if there is a way to let at least some gays donate blood.

“If the data indicate that a change is possible while protecting the blood supply, we will consider a change to the policy,” HHS said in a statement.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, an HHS agency, has banned blood donation by any man who has had homosexual sex because of the risk of the AIDS virus. Soon after the AIDS pandemic began in the 1980s, people such as hemophiliacs who received frequent blood transfusions or blood products began to become infected with the deadly and incurable virus.

Men who have sex with other men, including gay and bisexual men, have an HIV infection rate 60 times higher than that of the general population, the FDA says.  They have an infection rate 800 times higher than first-time blood donors and 8,000 times higher than the rate of repeat blood donors. Tests cannot pick up a new HIV infection in the blood with 100 percent accuracy; because blood is often pooled, many people may be at risk from a single infected donor.

But the Red Cross, always struggling with blood shortages, and other groups such as gay-rights organizations oppose the blanket policy. They say that there are other ways to screen out donors at high risk of HIV infection. Sen. John Kerry, D–Mass., has also been pushing for a change in policy.

“We’ve been working on this a long time in a serious way, and I’m glad Secretary [Kathleen] Sebelius responded with concrete steps to finally remove this policy from the books,” Kerry said in a statement. “HHS is doing their due diligence, and we plan to stay focused on the endgame – a safe blood supply and an end to this discriminatory ban.”

“This announcement by HHS means we’re moving in the direction of finally ending this antiquated and discriminatory policy,” agreed Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill.  “Senator Kerry and I will continue to push for a behavior-based screening process both in the name of fairness and a safer blood supply.”

Some of the questions the Blood, Organ, and Tissue Safety Working Group will ask: What motivates a man who has had sex with other men to donate blood? Can men understand what puts them at high risk of HIV infection? Will donors answer honestly?

“It is anticipated that the described studies will yield data for reevaluation of the current deferral policy and potentially establish safety of blood collection from a subset of men who have sex with men or other currently deferred donors (e.g. men with a history of abstinence from MSM behavior for a defined time period),” HHS said.

Other people with potential but unknown exposures to infectious diseases are banned from giving blood in the United States, such as people who lived in Britain in the 1980s, when bovine spongiform encephalopathy, also known mad-cow disease, was sweeping dairy herds.

http://www.nationaljournal.com/healthcare/u-s-to-take-another-look-at-gay-blood-donation-ban-20110726

Copyright 2011 – National Journal

The Complete Guide To Stupid Sexual Harassment Defense Arguments [jezebel.com]

Jezebel.com’s Lauri Apple has provided an interesting, and, inevitably, sad article about the state of sexual harassment defenses in today’s USA.  Perhaps it is not surprising that old defenses and new are still both outlandish and craptastic. Worse still is that some men still behave badly and feel no remorse about it.  Behavior doesn’t change for some… unfortunately.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 — Recently Lisa Beauchamp sued her employer, the Teamsters Local 150 in Sacramento, for sexual harassment after a union official said not-sexy sex things to her, touched her inappropriately, and traded massages with a group of “office party girls” during workplace functions. A jury found for Beauchamp, but dang—she lost on a legal technicality. Now the Teamsters’ lawyer is saying dumb things … as lawyers involved in these cases sometimes do.

What kind of dumb things? Well, The Sacramento Bee reports, the Teamsters’ lawyer believes the jury’s finding “doesn’t really mean anything, and that his client is completely exonerated.” Oh?

“There is a finding there was some harassing conduct, but they never reached the issue of whether it was severe or pervasive, or whether a reasonable person would have been offended,” attorney John C. Provost said. “So none of those issues were really reached.”

Whoa, wait: Provost’s client won because of a statute of limitations issue. The “11-woman, one-man jury” found that Beauchamp had, in fact, experienced “unwanted harassing conduct” during her employment with the union. Maybe the jurors’ decision doesn’t mean anything to Provost, but it probably means something to Beauchamp. And that should count for something, right?

The Teamster lawyer’s statement is dumb, but it’s not the worst one ever made by a defense lawyer in a sexual harassment (or sex discrimination) suit. So, what is? I don’t know! But I have found several possibilities. These 14 “defenses,” culled from the deepest, darkest corners of Google’s archives, don’t always win over the hearts and minds of juries, but they do succeed in causing nausea, outrage, and hives.

The 14 cases include:

  1. The Crybaby Defense
  2. The Nuts and Sluts Defense
  3. The “Not a Slut, Let’s Go with a Nut” Defense
  4. The Icy Bitch Defense
  5. The No Supply Closet Defense
  6. The Close Friend Defense
  7. The Juicy Emails Defense
  8. The Self-Absorbed Feminist Defense
  9. The Nosy Nellie Defense
  10. The “Silence Equals Consent” Defense
  11. The “That’s Just the Way He Is, Take It or Leave It” Defense
  12. The “Height” Defense
  13. The “Too Ugly” Defense
  14. The Greedy, Bored Cheerleader Defense

 Read the 14 cases here at Jezebel

Men March In Heels For Anti-Rape Message [jezebel.com]

by Lane Moore

In an effort to raise awareness for sexual assault against women, men in Alaska walked in heels for the fourth annual “Walk A Mile In Her Shoes” event at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

The group of men walked a mile-long route in order to raise money for local non-profit Standing Together Against Rape, with all proceeds going toward “banishing sexual assaults and other acts of violence against women”.

Vashon Hilliard, whose work involves helping the disabled, stuffed his feet into a colleague’s black patent leather pumps. The shoes were a snug fit, but Hilliard didn’t let that stop him.
“I just decided it’s for a great cause, and why not?” he said.

“Men want to make a public statement that they detest sexual violence,” said Kelley Olson, STAR’s program manager. “A lot of them have told me that they walk for their sisters, they walk for their mothers, they walk for their daughters. They walk because they care about women.”

Despite the “amusement factor” of watching men walking around in “old lady shoes” (as you all know, men wearing something women wear=HILARIOUS lol), everyone involved said they were taking part in the fundraiser because “the issues of sexual assault need to be highlighted”.

Walt Monegan, a former head of the state troopers, said:

“Sexual assault for some folks is still kind of a sensitive, dark issue,” he said. “By bringing this in a humorous light, it eases the acceptance and discussion of it. So, any way we can bring it to the surface is a good thing.”

While this fundraiser could potentially send a mixed message —that sexual assault happens, but it doesn’t happen to men— any increase in the attention paid to such issues is good news for everyone.

Men in heels march for anti-rape message [The Daily Caller]

On Men and Women: “We’re Equals Aren’t We, 007?”

JAMES BOND SUPPORTS INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2011

http://www.weareequals.org / http://www.weareequals.org/blog

The two-minute short, specially commissioned for International Women’s Day, sees 007 star Daniel Craig undergo a dramatic makeover as he puts himself, quite literally, in a woman’s shoes.

Directed by acclaimed ‘Nowhere Boy’ director/conceptual artist Sam Taylor-Wood, scripted by Jane Goldman (‘Kick Ass’) and featuring the voice of Dame Judi Dench reprising her role as ‘M’, the film will be screened in cinemas and streamed online in a bid to highlight the levels of inequality that persist between men and women in the UK and worldwide. It is the first film featuring Bond to be directed by a woman.

Director: Sam Taylor-Wood. Producer: Barbara Broccoli. Scriptwriter: Jane Goldman. Director of photography: Seamus McGarvey. Featuring the voice of Dame Judi Dench.

Editor: Mel Agace
Post production: Michael Sollinger
Post production coordinator: Harriet Dale
With thanks to all the team at Ascent, including Patrick Malone, Dean Harding,
Grading: Robin Pizzey
Deluxe grade production: Rob Farris
Effects fix: Emily Greenwood
Sound producer: Hannah Mills
Sound: Simon Diggins and Peter Gleaves at Goldcrest

The EQUALS partnership and Annie Lennox would like to thank all the production team, cast and crew that donated their time, vision and energy in the hope of a more equal world for women and girls.

TS Factoid of the Day: Sexual Attraction

a rose by any other name...

If you are straight before SRS (sex reassignment surgery) , and you are gay/lesbian after SRS, the attraction is actually the same; it is just the label that has changed.  True and weird.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 43 other followers