October 24, 2011

When a Warped Fear of Pedophiles Turns to a Shaming of Girls

The potential presence of pedophiles has been the recurring argument against my plea that we do not shame young girls into thinking they need to cover up but boys don't. But consider this: 90% of the time the child knows her/his abuser. Do the men (and women) who argue that little girls need to cover up--"because pedophiles don't go around wearing a sign"--worry about how they themselves might react to topless little girls? And if so, how do we respond to the argument that what kids wear (or don't wear) in their own families' backyards is one thing, as opposed to what they "ought" to wear at a public pool?
Despite the stereotypes of a stranger in a trench coat hanging around the playground, the sex offender is most likely someone the child knows and trusts. Sexual abusers are fathers, mothers, stepparents, grandparents, uncles, cousins, neighbors, babysitters, coaches, and spiritual leaders.
I quote the above from a brochure I picked up at the local fire station on "Child Sexual Abuse" (published by The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR). The brochure also states that the best way to protect a child is by education:

October 17, 2011

Hotel: A Sexy, Soulful Short from Feminist Sex Shop Smitten Kitten {featured video}

The Uptown-situated woman-run sex shop Smitten Kitten in Minneapolis has released this promotional short film, which highlights the slick and sexy feel of shopping at a progressive sex shop like theirs:

Hotel: A Smitten Kitten Short from Smitten Kitten on Vimeo.

Writes high-profiled sex-positive pundit Violet Blue about this "sexy, soulful short:"

October 10, 2011

The Real Thought Provoking Meaning of Men-Ups {featured news}

Pictures from a new Men-Up calendar available for preorder from the artist have been floating around online lately. At his own site, the artist Rion Sabean, a 26-year-old photography student, explains his work as follows:
My works range between two different ends of a spectrum, both of which are held as just as important as the other. One half is overt social commentary, with most works focusing on gender and sexuality, wherein I attempt to bring light to the scrutiny and judgments of society and the nature of said society to define human beings under rigid, and closed-minded terms. My other half is rooted in deeply personal subjects relating directly to myself and my shared experiences with others, sexual or otherwise, in both an attempt to release and cope, but also to demonstrate an emotional side that exists, but is rarely seen by others.

I find Sabean's statement poignant, capturing his work in a way that is so much more meaningful than the "fun" to which, say, The Huffington Post reduces his male-up pictures:

October 3, 2011

Real Men Blame the Rapist, Not the Rape Victim

I attended this weekend's SlutWalk Minneapolis with my three-year-old daughter, because I want her to grow up knowing nobody has the right to tell her avoiding rape is her responsibility. Or that she needs to police her look and behavior but a boy does not. As another mother said, she brought her six-year-old daughter (pictured in below video) because "she wanted her daughter to know that nobody has a right to her body." Her body is hers and no one has the right to do anything to it that she doesn't want.

Heading to the walk, I told my daughter SlutWalk is about celebrating girls and women. She said we should celebrate boys too.

Photo: Mari Milewski
Indeed. We need to foster a culture where boys and girls respect and trust each other. Where girls' and boys' fears and insecurities about sexuality--including when it comes to their own budding bodies as well as those of the opposite sex--are addressed. Through positive sex education that equips both girls and boys to approach sex with knowledge, respect and integrity.

Boys who "can't help themselves" are boys who've been shamed into wrongly thinking this is in fact so.