September 26, 2011

Support SlutWalk Minneapolis! {featured news}

SlutWalk was launched after a police officer in Toronto earlier this year advised students they dress less like “sluts” to avoid sexual assault. Within months it became a global phenomenon uniting women who had enough of being told that they are the ones to blame—of being taught to police themselves instead of men being taught not to rape—of being labeled sluts as if this label justifies their mistreatment. SlutWalk has now come to Minneapolis with events this week leading up to Saturday's SlutWalk Minneapolis.

SlutWalk has empowered women to reclaim the slut word on their own terms, proving conservative professor Gail Dines wrong when she warned that “the word is so saturated with the ideology that female sexual energy deserves punishment that trying to change its meaning is a waste of precious feminist resources." Comments the feminist magazine Ms. on SlutWalk’s “reclamation of the slut label:”
Uncannily it is this very label that fuels the movement. It seems that in the reclamation of the slut label, the word has been alchemically transformed into an elixir for change.

September 19, 2011

What a Vaccine Has to Do with Sexual Shaming

Village Voice
The attacks from conservative hold against the HPV vaccine have gotten vaccine advocates in a tizzy. But the wider reaching problems with the attacks is how they pertain to the belief that vaccines and education about them lead to promiscuity.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection and the cause of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is on the rise, yet efforts to inform about HPV and get girls vaccinated against HPV are faced with opposition.

In response, Village Voice launched a campaign to promote information about HPV and provide support for the women at risk:
In an effort to increase communication about a virus most people don't know enough about -- and many women are too ashamed to talk about, even though pretty much every woman we know has dealt with it at some point in her life, maybe more than once, and even though it can cause cancer, and therefore we should know as much as we can about it -- let's open up a little on Twitter. Because if we all come out and say it, how ashamed can we possibly be? We're talking about the sexually transmitted virus HPV, which has been in the news a lot lately regarding a certain vaccine that Michele Bachmann is very much against.

September 12, 2011

Sex in the Classroom {featured news}

During the hormonal rage of puberty; what's best for girls and boys: co-ed or same sex classes? Without students of the opposite sex in the room, "We can just act like ourselves," says an eight-grader at a middle school in the Twin Cities where single-sex education has been introduced. Comments a school's teacher:
One key benefit of separating boys and girls is that "they act more age-appropriate." Girls in her classes are more relaxed, she said, while in the co-ed classes she used to teach, "It was always about who's trying to get a boy." (Star Tribune Sunday Sept. 11, 2011, B7)

September 5, 2011

Let's Talk About Sex {featured film}

Our culture is saturated by sex, yet we don't know how to talk about it. Launched this spring, the LET'S TALK ABOUT SEX documentary and campaign has set out to do something about that. New York-based photographer James Houston was inspired to make the film after traveling the world, and realizing that, while American teens live in a society that uses sex to sell everything from lipstick to laptops, they are rarely afforded opportunities to discuss sex in an open, honest way. Explains Houston:
Youth in the United States are facing a health crisis of high rates of pregnancy and STD’s nationwide. We are failing our children by not having healthy, productive conversations with them about sex. It is my hope that ‘LET’S TALK ABOUT SEX’ will be both the catalyst and the tool we need to start those conversations in family rooms and classrooms across the country.