Monthly Archives: August 2012

A pretty fantastically done “PSA” about Street Harassment.

Oh, Toronto

Once again, Toronto is making headlines across the nation for slut-shaming.  As you might recall, last year, a Toronto police officer sparked a firestorm of criticism and outrage when he said  “women should avoid dressing like sluts not to be victimized” during a speech.  That outrage turned into a movement that has swept across the US and Canada: The Slutwalk.

But apparently that wasn’t enough.

Now, shortly after Toronto police held a news conference to warn women in the area about a series of sexual assaults, Krista Ford, the niece of Mayor Tom Ford, and daughter of a Councillor, sent an awful tweet (screenshot courtesy of Gawker media):

Some People Just Never Learn

 

Don’t dress like a whore?  Really, Ms. Ford?  Guess what?  My clothing is never an excuse for someone to sexually assault me!  It’s never an excuse, period!  People of both sexes, all ages, professions and styles of dress have become victims of sexual assaults.  It’s not just the drunk girl walking home by herself after dancing at a club all night, it’s the girl wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, it’s the guy rushing for a frat who is getting hazed, or anyone who finds themselves in a vulnerable position.

With all of this in mind, I have signed up to attend San Francisco’s Slutwalk, occurring next weekend, September 8th, at Dolores Park.  I hope that all of my readers in the Bay Area will join me.  For those of you who are not in San Francisco, I’ll be taking some pictures!

Book Review: The Choice Effect

To be honest, I don’t remember purchasing The Choice Effect by Amalia McGibbon, Lara Vogel, and Claire A. Williams, for my Kindle, but I just finished reading it two nights ago.  I wasn’t impressed.  On one hand, I commend the authors for writing a semi-sex-positive book about dating (except they portray men as completely disposable), and some of the interesting problems the Millennial generation faces.  On the other hand I finished the book feeling vaguely insulted by some of the ways they characterize my generation, and I became increasingly annoyed by the constant pop culture references.

Their term for the ladies currently in their 20s, “choisters” is an interesting portmanteau created from the word “choice” and the phrase “the world is your oyster”.  The entire book revolves around their hypothesis that because, as a generation, we are more mobile and more connected to the world, we are paralyzed by the plethora of choices available to us and refuse to commit to anything.

When it comes to jobs and a place to live, the economy and ever changing job market are the main factors in my generation’s inability to “settle down”.  By and large, companies are no longer promoting from within and rewarding loyalty and increase in job responsibility with higher titles or compensation.  I read articles all the time bemoaning how it doesn’t pay to invest in Millennial employees, because they leave the company in a few years anyway.  It’s become a self-fulfilling prophecy.  It no longer pays off to be a “company (wo)man”.   When you’re looking for a new job every two or three years in order to experience career growth, it becomes difficult to put down roots.

Likewise, with such volatility in the job market, it is difficult to make what is ostensibly a lifetime commitment to a partner unless one or both of you have a mobile career, or an agreement to move if the other person is presented with an amazing opportunity.  The latter can lead to an imbalance in the relationship if one partner is unable to find a job in the new area, or cannot contribute to the household finances as they did previously.

While it is true that my generation is delaying marriage and family life to a much later age than previous generations, I disagree with the authors’ assertion that it is because the women of my generation are constantly looking for someone “better” than the person they are currently dating.  The notion that we are all a bunch of commitment-phobes who just can’t choose a partner, or a job, or a city to live in rings false to my ears.  I’d argue that my generation’s hesitation to commit to a partner, job, or city is born of intelligent caution, and is a legitimate choice, in and of itself.

In the end, it is hard to take a book seriously when the authors are constantly dropping pop culture references to songs, movies, TV shows, and even mobile applications left and right.  I sincerely hope I didn’t pay anything for this book (I can’t find the receipt, I looked), because it wasn’t worth the e-ink it was printed with.

The Nice Girl’s Guide to Fellatio

Ooh!  A saucy and sexy topic to start your Monday off right.  Today’s post is most definitely Not Safe For Work, so for those of you who read Nice Girls at work, you might want to either switch to your mobile device or hold off until you are at home to read this one! Read the rest of this entry

I’m Overwhelmed

There is so much talk going on right now regarding Todd Akin’s ridiculous comment about “legitimate rape” that it is actually making my head spin.  Of course, that also could be the cold medicine I am taking too.  But seriously, I tried opening all of the pages I bookmarked and I actually managed to crash my Google Chrome browser.   Bear with me, there are a lot of links in this post.  Oh, and the images are gifs.  I’m not sure why they aren’t animating on my blog.

If you’ve been under a rock (or curled up in bed and sick like me) and haven’t seen the clip, here it is in all its facepalming stupidity:

So, Todd Akin actually has spoken to a “doctor” who believes that a woman can’t get pregnant due to rape.  Here is a direct quote from Dr. Willke, via the New York Times,

“This is a traumatic thing — she’s, shall we say, she’s uptight,” Dr. Willke said of a woman being raped, adding, “She is frightened, tight, and so on. And sperm, if deposited in her vagina, are less likely to be able to fertilize. The tubes are spastic.”

Someone, please, take that man’s license to practice medicine from him.  He clearly didn’t attend his anatomy or human reproduction classes.  Spastic tubes?  Really?  Of course, every doctor with any sense is denouncing Dr. Willke.

As every politician who makes a controversial remark, Akin has attempted to backtrack, to “clarify” what he “misspoke”.  First by saying that he didn’t mean “legitimate” rape, he meant “forcible” rape.  Of course, this is the same language used by Mitt Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, in the legislation he co-sponsored with Akin!  (Psst.  Romney also was pretty proud when the quack Dr. Willke endorsed Romney as a presidential candidate!)  When Romney and Ryan started distancing themselves from Akin, even denouncing his remarks, Akin “clarified” further, by saying he only meant “false” rape.  Honestly, at this point, he’s just digging himself further and further into a hole.

Now, even though Romney and Ryan have denounced Akin’s remarks, when the GOP drafted their Party Platform earlier this week, they refused to add wording that would allow a woman to have an abortion in cases of rape and incest.  Congratulations, Republicans.  The official stance of your party now says that a woman should be forced to have any child she conceives.  Do you include the mentally challenged 10 year old who was raped by her uncle in Kansas?  Yep.  According to GOP policymakers, that little slut had it coming.

Honestly, at this point, I’m ready to just throw my hands up in disgust.  Just like this Jezebel writer.

Oh, and some pretty awful people at American Vision are comparing the backlash against Todd Akin to “political gang rape”.  I just…  I can’t even begin to describe how much that blows my mind.

Comprehensive Sex Ed? Not in Clovis USD!

Hey everyone, I am still very sick, so I apologize again for the short post.

I am very proud of California’s commitment to comprehensive sexual education in the school systems. A law passed in 2003 requires that sexual health education in California’s public schools be comprehensive, medically accurate, bias-free, and appropriate for students of all sexual orientations.

Unfortunately, the Clovis Unified School District is now being sued for their abstinence-only and heavily religious leaning sexual education curriculum.  They are now being sued by two parents, the American Academy of Pediatrics California District IX, and the Gay-Straight Alliance network, with the ACLU providing free legal assistance.

Students were being taught that HIV could be spread through kissing, and that getting “lots of rest” was an effective way to prevent STIs.  Both of these statements, of course, are ridiculously inaccurate.  There were also passages in the textbook “Lifetime Health”, published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston, comparing a woman who is not a virgin to a dirty shoe, and states that men who are aroused are unable to control themselves.  Oh, and there are no mentions of condoms.  Anywhere.  At all.

Congratulations, Clovis.  You have now handed these young men the mental excuses they need to rape someone: “But I just couldn’t control myself!  Besides, she’s not a virgin, so she’s dirty anyways.  Condoms?  Eh, those don’t work anyways.”

Fresno County has had one of the highest teen pregnancy and birth rates in California for over a decade now. The Central Valley area also has one of the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases.  Why, then, are the schools barring their students from medically accurate information?  It almost seems like they are proud of these statistics.

My First Planned Parenthood Experience: Part 4

Today’s post is super short, and for that I apologize.  I am actually pretty sick (complete with fever and headache), so this is really all I have energy to write today.

 

I received a final phone call from my doctor at Planned Parenthood.  The results of my culposcopy have come back, and it looks like there is absolutely nothing for me to worry about.  I don’t have any growths, and they actually couldn’t find any abnormal cells.  While I do have to go back for another pap smear next year, it certainly seems like my body has shed most of the HPV that I was exposed to.  I’m pretty happy about that.

A Call to Men

I recently came across this video on the TED talks website.  It features Tony Porter, the founder of A Call to Men: The National Association of Men and Women Committed to Ending Violence Against Women.

His eloquent 11 minute speech is a work of art.  It was definitely worth the standing ovation he received at the end.

To my male readers: what is your experience with stepping outside the “Man Box”?  Do you believe it is real? If so, what can we do to raise the next generation outside of this “Man Box”?

To my female readers: what are your reactions after watching this?

Thursday Links

Short post today, dear readers, but some great links for you.

After introducing the pill to the “abortion capital of the world”, the ladies of Georgia are no longer having quite as many abortions.  In other news, water is wet.

Carrying condoms can get you arrested, and are being used to profile women, both cisgender and transgender, as sex workers. As someone who used to carry condoms in my purse when I was going on a date, this is disturbing.

We already know that our elected representatives don’t like to hear the word vagina especially when they’re trying to regulate yours, but they’re grossed out by menstruation too.

One of my followers on Facebook was awesome enough to tag me when linking this blog post by Carsie Blanton.  It’s a fantastic read, and of course, I agree with all of it.  Take a look, tell me what you think!

My First Planned Parenthood Experience: Part 3

You can read Part 2 here.

I had my follow-up appointment following my HPV diagnosis yesterday.  I was scheduled for a culposcopy and possible biopsies if the gynecologist found any abnormal cells.  Until yesterday morning, I had a pretty ambivalent attitude towards the appointment.

My thoughts went something alone these lines:  I have an STI.  Unfortunately, my STI is not one that I can just take an antibiotic and it will go away.  HPV is a virus.  I have no control over which strain I was exposed to.  I was concentrating on being as healthy and stress-free as possible so that my body could fight the virus better.   I thought that I had reached a point of acceptance.

Even though I had spent at least 8 hours researching HPV, reading about statistics, and learning as much as I possibly could about it, I woke up yesterday morning and was terrified.  I know that several women on my mother’s side of the family have had complications due to cervical cancer.  While I know that cervical cancer is caused by particular strains of HPV, I couldn’t help but wonder if there is a genetic component to the cancer as well, if there was some way to be more prone to HPV turning into cervical cancer.

I spent at least an hour crying in bed, with Fiance comforting me.  He has really been amazing through all of this.  I expected him to be just as stressed as me.  After all, we haven’t used a barrier method in a long time, and if I have HPV, it means that he does too.  Instead, he took the diagnosis in stride, and focused his efforts on comforting me.  My dear friends wrote uplifting and encouraging things when I confessed my anxiety.  Thank you, girls, it really meant a lot to me.

The culposcopy was similar to a really long pap smear.  Unlike with a pap, the gynecologist did not use any lubrication when inserting the speculum, and the speculum was opened a bit wider than normal, which was uncomfortable.  The gynecologist cleaned my cervix with a saline solution, and then she placed a cotton ball soaked with vinegar against my cervix.  The cotton ball was so cold!

The vinegar will apparently react with any abnormal cells, and make it easier for the gynecologist to see if the virus is creating warts, or, worse, cysts and pre-cancerous growths.  She then used a culposcope, which is similar to a microscope, to examine my cervix.

I am sure you can imagine my relief when the gynecologist told me that she didn’t see any abnormal cells, and I didn’t need to have any biopsies performed.  She was pretty surprised herself, and told me that this only happens about 1 in 20 times that she does a culposcopy.  She did, however, take a sample of the cells inside my cervix, which will be tested.  I’ll receive the results in about two weeks.

I want to reiterate that without Planned Parenthood, I wouldn’t have been able to receive this sort of screening without basically going hungry for a couple of weeks.  Please, if you have the chance and the liquidity, consider donating to Planned Parenthood.  Your donations help women and men receive vital sexual health care and information.  It certainly helped me.

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