Early sex education

Is the vocabulary to properly talk about our own bodies too sophisticated a topic for children to be introduced to as early as kindergarten? Bill O’Reilly seems to think so, at least in regard to the word “uterus”, which apparently the mere knowledge that a woman has one is enough to “blast” a child out of their childhood.

It’s interesting how taboo words get rationalized by terms like “sophisticated” and stigmatized as being harmful for kids, especially when a basic knowledge of the term (that babies come from a part inside a woman called a uterus, for instance) is something that can help build a strong foundation for us to know our own bodies and what they do.

What do y’all think? Should we introduce children to the correct terms for their bodies, even the taboo parts, early on, or should we use/invent sanitized words that mean the same thing (like “wee-wee” instead of “penis”)?

Via Iris forums.

Theory Link for the Academically Inclined or Interested.

For those who may be interested in academic journals and and don’t already have access for other reasons, Sage Publications is currently offering some Free Trial Online Access, which includes free access during February to all online journal archives, and free access to selected other journals for longer periods (including their ‘Gender Studies’ collection). With journals like Men and Masculinities, Indian Journal of Gender Studies, Race and Class, and Games and Culture among a long list, I could be here for days. I’m so glad I cleaned out my hard drive recently.

Full List of Journals can be found here. Details of the Free Trial Access can be found here.

Male responsibility in ending the cycle of discrimination

A real life example and another reasons why men need to call other men out on their shit. This is an area that women cannot make any progress in because we’re not part of the male homosocial group.

In her post, Distinguished Schmuck Visits, Misbehaves, Zuska relates an incident of sexual discrimination that happened to a female science professor while her male colleague looked on in horror. The guy, of course, only waited until after the discriminator had left to say something about it. Zuska says that it isn’t good enough and gives an example of how it should have gone down.

She then goes onto say this:

Sadly, few men think like this. They need training. They need training to the effect that THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR INTERRUPTING THE CYCLE OF DISCRIMINATION. It’s not all on our shoulders to figure out the solutions. They have to figure out how to re-socialize each other. They are plenty good at socializing each other how to be Real Men and How To Be Macho and How Not To Be A Wimp And A Pussy. They are perfectly capable of letting each other know when one of them has Behaved Like A Faggot, You Wuss. They are good at reminding each other Not To Cry Like A Little Girl. Clearly, they do have this mechanism built in for communicating to each other expected norms for male social behavior. So I don’t think it’s asking all that much to expect the more enlightened among them to start using that mechanism to pressure the dolts, schmucks, and morons to start acting like decent human beings, even if they can’t be made to think like such.

So, to all you would-be REAL Nice Guys (TM) out there (and this can go for REAL Nice People (TM) too — whites, straights, cisgendered people, etc), take heed of this. You want to be a REAL nice person? You gotta do your part to mold socialization because if seeing discrimination makes you feel uncomfortable, think how the person being discriminated against feels.

Via She’s Such a Geek! Blog.

Glamour: The new lies about women's health (No, really?)

In a move that is surprisingly good, Glamour has published an extensive and well written article that covers the governmental assault on women’s health. From the FDA to government funded abstinence only ed, the article is a long read, but well worth it.

An excerpt:

“Abstinence is a laudable goal,” says Deborah Arrindell, vice president of health policy for the nonpartisan American Social Health Association, an STD-awareness group. “But it is not how young women live their lives—the reality is that most women have premarital sex. Our government is focusing not on women’s health but on a moral agenda.” Consider this a wake-up call.

[From The new lies about women’s health by Brian Alexander]

Now I just want to know why the editors thought that a naked woman’s backside was the most appropriate picture they could think of for a health related article. I mean, maybe it’s just me, but when I think “assault on women’s health” I just don’t think “woman butt.”

Via Ragnell.

The best drug you'll never take

Instead of finishing my rant on another one of those stupid “gifts for her” list, writing on gender in Indigo Prophecy, or finishing the essay I want to submit to She’s Such a Geek, I’ve been hit with the creative writing bug. I don’t question this, and neither should you. Plus, Buffy will be happy that I finally finished this round of editing on CoS.

But this isn’t about me and my laziness, this is about the new miracle drug, Panexa:


Pregnant women, or women who plan to become pregnant, should avoid taking PANEXAor handling broken tablets. Or intact tablets. Women considering some day becoming pregnant, who have ever been pregnant, who have had a pregnant friend or pet, or who have seen other pregnant women, naked or otherwise, should also follow these precautions:Do not handle PANEXA tablets, containers, or related literature. If a PANEXA product nears your field of vision, avert your eyes. Try not to say the word “PANEXA.” If you do happen to pronounce the syllables, spit thrice and soak your hands in iodine. If you hear the words spoken, live or via recorded medium, cover your ears and immediately see a specialist to try and staunch the bleeding. Try not to think too hard about PANEXA. In fact, don’t ever even think about it at all. Pretend you never heard of PANEXA, and never will. Drop this magazine immediately, and get the hell out of here as fast as you fucking can. Go on, get out of here. You’ll thank me.

If you should be aware of a pregnant woman who has handled PANEXA, attempt to warn the peoples of earth of the mind-numbing horror that is about to unfold. Also, drink plenty of liquids.

If that’s not a poignant critique on legal drug culture, I don’t know what is.

New Contraceptive May Save Lives

A new form of contraceptive (microbicides) is under development, one that looks like it might be able to strike a serious blow against the epidemic of STDs, HIV in particular.

It comes in the form of cream, gel, or capsule and has the power to save over 2.5 million lives over a period of three years, as estimated by the Rockefeller Foundation. […]

With 14 different versions in the works and 5 already proven safe enough for scientists to begin testing, microbicides are expected to hit the market at some date in the next 3 years.

Perhaps the most significant benefit is the product’s ability to empower women. Rather than negotiating the use of a condom, women would be able to apply the cream with disregard to the sentiment of their partner.

Over at feministing, Jen asks one question that the article fails to address:

I wonder…the article referenced doesn’t touch on whether it would be usable for gay men. I’d presume that lube would be helpful for anal sex, and a lot of gay men I know would rather not use a condom if they didn’t have to (a lot of straight men too, for that matter), so this could potentially have a huge impact on the gay male community and the impact of AIDS on them. Is this only a vag-friendly cream, or could it be used elsewhere?

Hopefully when this medication gets closer to a possible release date, issues such as these will be addressed. Even if it’s vaginal only, however, if proven safe to use, this medication could save a lot of lives. Of course, with the Christian Right all up in arms in the United States about the potentially life-saving HPV vaccines, because, you know, the women “may see it as a license to engage in premarital sex” (says Bridget Maher of the Family Research Council), I expect microbicides will also come under fire eventually. I just hope that, when the time comes, that neither medications will be denied simply because some religious nutbags think that premarital sex is a greater “risk” than saving the lives of women and men.

Via feministing