Want a more thoughtful, smarter approach to sexuality and culture? Tune in on some Sundays at 8 PM Eastern, 5 PM Pacific.

Councilors mull virginity as criteria for enrollment | The Jakarta Post

Posted: September 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Councilors mull virginity as criteria for enrollment | The Jakarta Post

A seriously misguided Indonesian legislator, Bambang Bayu Suseno, has proposed that access to public education be restricted only to girls who’re virgins. I wish I were exaggerating, but I'm not. According to a report by Jon Afrizal, Suseno asked, "Why are girls who lose their virginity allowed to go to public school?" Clearly, Mr. Suseno is suffering from a poor education in the matters of basic human rights, which guarantees every human being the right to access public education whether they are a virgin or not.

His rationale? "Parents are obviously afraid of their daughters being deflowered before the time comes, so [girls] can undergo the virginity test and automatically protect their dignity." Um. What about boys? And, human rights violations aside, exactly how virginity will be determined is unsurprisingly undefined. This is yet another example of the harm caused by sexist notions of purity.

Read brief source…


Abstinence program partners Chinese officials with U.S. evangelicals

Posted: September 8th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Abstinence program partners Chinese officials with U.S. evangelicals

In case you needed more proof of Christian evangelical's worldwide cultural colonization attempts, William Wan reports on a four-year effort to provide abstinence-only education in China's Yunnan province. "In Yunnan schools this year, teachers are being trained with a sex education curriculum created by the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family. […] Chinese authorities, despite the country's official atheism, want help with controlling population growth and managing the society's rapidly shifting values."

Well, the suckered Chinese officials will be in for disappointment. The IWHC's Audacia Ray points out that "abstinence-only programs do not raise the age of first intercourse, and that young people who receive abstinence-only sexuality education are more likely to practice unsafe sex that puts them at risk of sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy."

Read brief source…


Miss. lesbian student sues over rejected tux photo – Yahoo! News

Posted: August 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Miss. lesbian student sues over rejected tux photo – Yahoo! News

Ceara Sturgis has been wearing masculine clothes since ninth grade, but her High School denied her the opportunity to wear a tuxedo in the yearbook photo and opted, instead, to flat-out omit her name. Now Christine P. Sun, the ACLU lawyer who represented Constance McMillen in a similar case earlier this year, "filed a federal lawsuit for Sturgis, claiming the Copiah County district discriminated against her on the basis of sex and gender stereotypes," Shelia Byrd reports. "It's unfair and unlawful to force students to conform to outdated notions about what boys and girls should look like without any regard to who they actually are as people," Sun said. Sturgis said she cried when she saw the yearbook and felt punished "just for being who I am."

This new filing comes weeks after McMillen reached a settlement against the Itawamba County School District. McMillen credits Sturgis, whose own legal battle has been going on far longer, with giving her the inspiration for her own challenge.

Read brief source…


Victory for Free Speech: Third Circuit Strikes Down University of Virgin Islands’ Speech Codes – FIRE

Posted: August 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Victory for Free Speech: Third Circuit Strikes Down University of Virgin Islands’ Speech Codes – FIRE

Can you be punished for saying something that made others uncomfortable? Stephen McCauley was, after speaking with a college rape survivor. But this week, the Third Circuit court of appeals struck "down unconstitutional speech policies maintained by the University of the Virgin Islands…on First Amendment grounds."

The case, brought against the University's "regulations prohibiting 'offensive' or 'unauthorized' signs and conduct causing 'emotional distress'" and provisions in the University's Code of conduct prohibiting "any act which…tends to injure or actually injures, frightens, demeans, degrades or disgraces any person" was ruled overbroad, affirming prior legal precedent distinguishing college students from lower education students as having greater First Amendment protections than their counterparts. "[L]et me be clear," Robert Shibley explained. "Maintaining speech codes [in public institutions] violates the law."

Read brief source…


Love makes teen sex less academically harmful, study says – CNN.com

Posted: August 17th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Love makes teen sex less academically harmful, study says – CNN.com

A new study has "raise[d] some doubts about abstinence-only education programs that link all types of adolescent sex to a wide variety of problems for teens." The study, conducted by Eric Grodsky and Bill McCarthy and released at the annual American Sociological Association's meeting, found that teen sex is not inherently a bad omen for educational achievement. "The authors say students who have sex only with romantic partners have generally similar academic outcomes as students who abstain from sex," CNN reports. The study highlights the reality that the context of sexual activity greatly affects the outcome, positively or negatively. It revelaed "students who describe their sexual activity in terms of 'hook-ups,' 'friends with benefits' or 'bed buddies' are more likely to suffer a negative impact on their education," such as an increased chance of dropping out of school or a lower overall GPA. In other words, sex isn't the problem, lack of mutually rewarding relationships is. Duh!

Read brief source…

Update: We learned thanks to Heather Corinna that, as the media is wont to do, this study was severely misrepresented by journalists all over the place. In her analysis, Heather writes: “Some reporting and discussion of the findings suggests that big differences were found with academics for young people who had sex in non-romantic contexts and those who either have not had intercourse or who have done so in romantic contexts. But the study and the authors’ comments don’t appear to make that statement at all.” There’s a lot more, such as the fact that despite media reports to the contrary, the study never uses the word “causes” to indicate any harmful connection between teen sex and academic achievement, nor does it actually ever use the word “committed” to describe the relationships studied. Poor media reporting about sex and young people, and about young people’s sexuality in particular, is incredibly—infuriatingly—common.


Little Women: Early puberty and what it means for girls

Posted: August 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Little Women: Early puberty and what it means for girls

No one denies children are entering puberty at younger and younger ages but, predictably, many deny the obvious ways to prepare them before and help them through the transition. As Melanie Abrahams writes, "In the spirit of 'protecting girlhood,' there’s been a lot of brouhaha over naming the culprit of early physical maturation of girls, with both obesity and environmental factors under scrutiny. But instead of pointing fingers, we need to face the facts and focus on the changing needs of girls in our lives and around the world." She goes on to offer suggestions few others have the ovaries to do.

"One of the most obvious things we need to offer to girls is early, age-appropriate, and comprehensive sexuality education. Regardless of when they hit puberty, children should know about their bodies and their rights. … Further, early puberty illuminates the crucial need to fight child marriage on a global scale." Amen at that! "[We can't] afford to simply stick our heads in the ground."

Read brief source…


Porn Star Aurora Snow Goes from Barely Legal to MILF – The Daily Beast

Posted: August 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

There are some massive, gaping, dirty fucking assholes in the porn industry—and no, I'm not talking about the models' bodies. I'm talking about the greedy scumbags who routinely display unwarranted sexism, ageism, and any number of other "isms" you can shake a stick at (and they do). That's why Aurora Snow's story, retold in her own words, is such a worthwhile read.

"Ten years ago, I was one of adult film’s hottest stars. Now I’m 28—and dismissed by directors as over the hill. How did I go from 'barely legal' to 'older woman' so fast?" she asks. The answer? She says "producers would read my age on paper and pigeon-hole me without even bothering to see what I looked like." But rather than cry foul, Snow is embracing new opportunities: "I have been pleased to discover that thanks to the Internet, what might be bad for the industry is good for me." Now she's studying business, being approached for mainstream roles, and wants to become a lawyer. She says porn helped her find her goals.

Read brief source…


ACRJ Blog: Guns N Genitals

Posted: August 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on ACRJ Blog: Guns N Genitals

Lisa Russ knows more about the National Rifle Association that you might expect of a writer at a reproductive justice blog, but she makes a brilliant comparison between the treatment of guns and genitals by folks in many parts of the United States. Gun rights, she reminds us, tend to be held most dear in the same states that are most likely to throw comprehensive sex education out the window in favor of the abstinence only variety. But the NRA has it's very own gun safety course, which teaches kids that guns are neither good nor bad, but a fact of life that they should learn to handle responsibly. Lisa wonders (and we wonder with her) – what's the difference between guns and genitals?

Read brief source…


Pushing ahead with sex education (via NewStraitsTimes)

Posted: July 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Pushing ahead with sex education (via NewStraitsTimes)

A pilot program for a new sex education curriculum in Malaysia is moving forward with hopes that it will prevent unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and lower STI rates. The program, called "I'm In Control," is a big step forward in the country, as its "public is ultra-sensitive about this subject, and some would rather sweep it under the carpet," according to Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, a government official and a proponent of the new program. "Once upon a time it was a taboo subject," Shahrizat said, "but today it's on the Net. So, we really have no choice—it's either our module or the pornographic materials available online."

"Through the pilot programme, Shahrizat hoped the teaching of sexual reproductive health would gain general acceptance," Aniza Damis reports, insisting that the programme, funded by the UN's Population Fund, isn't intended to promote promiscuity or even experimentation, both common fears in his country.

Read brief source…


More Women Without Children – Pew Research Center

Posted: July 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on More Women Without Children – Pew Research Center

"Nearly one-in-five American women ends her childbearing years without having borne a child, compared with one-in-ten in the 1970s," according to a recent Pew Research report. Childbearing and rearing is arguably the most telling indicator of attitudes towards gender, and this report is full of interesting tidbits of that sort: "children increasingly are seen as less central to a good marriage. […] About half the public…say it makes no difference one way or the other that a growing share of women do not ever have children. Still, a notable share of Americans…say this trend is bad for society."

The authors write, "social pressure to bear children appears to have diminished for women and that today the decision to have a child is seen as an individual choice. Improved job opportunities and contraceptive methods help create alternatives for women who choose not to have children." The issue is partially classist, as white, well-educated women are still the most likely to be child-free.

Read brief source…