Category Archives: sexuality

Do yourself a favor….

Take nine minutes out of your day and watch this video. Then think about it. And react

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Implications

Today in Writer’s Seminar II, we made a list of all the things to consider when making an argument. One of the things on the list was implications. I use this word a lot when I talk about critical thinking: “what are the implications of the issue you are arguing? What does it mean?”

In the case of our list, however, we noted that the author of the argument needs to consider the implications if the argument was effective, proven true. I found this video tonight that asked these questions about abortion:

“Should abortion be illegal?”
“If so, what should the punishment be?”

The responses are awfully interesting.

Guest Blogger: Sarah Canavan

Dear Virgins,

How are you? Are you feeling sad? Lonely? Unfulfilled? Apparently, that’s what the world assumes you must be feeling. Because obviously any college student who has not yet lost their v-card must either be (a) waiting for marriage, (b) a nun, or (c) a failure at adulthood.

A friend at Boston University recently sent me a picture of this poster:

I admit, when I first got the picture, I thought it was pretty funny. Turns out, it’s a poster for a movie (although I don’t know which one—I’m a bad blogger, I know). But before I discovered that it was an advertisement for a movie, I started thinking about what the poster was really saying, particularly as it is posted on a college campus. It’s saying that being a virgin is bad. And, not only is it bad, but that if you are still a virgin by the time you get to college, there must be something wrong with you. And you must need help by calling toll free to 888-743-4335.

I’m not arguing for or against virginity. I have nothing whatsoever against people who choose to wait for marriage or choose to not. I think it’s a personal choice when and with whom you choose to have sex. However, my question is when did it become a bad thing to be a virgin? When did it go from a private personal choice to a public joke? Not too long ago it was a bad thing if you weren’t a virgin, and there are still plenty of examples in the media (and real life) in which girls are ridiculed, ostracized, and called sluts and whores because they choose to have sex.

But don’t overlook the fact that many of these constructions are specific to girls. I’m not exactly sure what guys’ take on virginity is, but I’d be willing to bet that being a virgin as a college guy is not nearly as accepted as being a virgin as a college girl—and it’s not all that accepted for girls to begin with… This raises all kinds of questions about why it’s worse for guys to be virgins, which I assume has something to do with masculinity. When we talk about virginity itself, we generally tend to talk about who we lost our virginity to, rather than just that we lost it. Taking a girl’s virginity is a big deal. And obviously we can’t bypass the language here. A man takes virginity. He takes it from her. It’s language of power and dominance. When girls talk about taking a guy’s virginity, we tend to say things that are more along the lines of, “it was his first time,” or we just don’t talk about it at all (because we would never want to emasculate you, guys).

This poster seems pretty gender-neutral to me, though, so it could be intended to be talking to either gender. Which means, as I said before, that college society labels virginity bad no matter who you are. But again, there are all kinds of contradictions. On this campus (and I’m guessing most other campuses), if you’re a virgin you’re a prude, but if you sleep around, you’re a slut. So which is it? Is it bad to keep your pants on, or take them off?

Women’s Collective Presents!

Monday, November 8p in the Geneva Room:

The SPARK Summit

From the SPARK Summit on the sexualization of women and girls in the media and its effects on young women:

Guest Blogger: Emily D’Addario

Female Athletes: With Fame Comes Nudity

I’ve always been a huge fan of UConn women’s basketball because of their ability to consistently perform at such a high level. As back to back national champions in 2009 and 2010, they remain at the top of women’s college basketball with a NCAA-record winning streak of 78 consecutive games. Diana Taurasi, a standout at UConn from 2000-2004, led the team to three consecutive national championships. In addition to the national recognition she received during her college career, Taurasi was held in celebrity status by many young girls and teenage athletes. We were her biggest fans! We continued to follow our hero as she was selected first overall in the 2004 WNBA Draft and went on to win a Gold medal at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.

But most recently, you can spot Taurasi on the cover of the magazine ESPN, Body Issue.

Her nude picture has shocked many of her fans who once looked up to her as a role model. Getting naked once you’re famous seems to be the norm for most successful athletes, but why must the media go there? The media shows so few women playing sports, and the small number of images that we do see are intentionally sexualized. Women look quite strong and independent in their uniforms, but the media purposefully accentuates the sexier, feminine portrait off the playing field.

Many others came before Taurasi; the most well known seductive pose was of Brandi Chastain in Sports Illustrated wearing nothing but a soccer ball.

How do children make sense of these images? Today, girls are forced to compete with what they see in the media. The message to young girls is that to be any kind of athlete and to get any form of attention, they need to be beautiful and thin. While it’s acceptable to participate in a variety of activities at a young age, image is everything and it’s better to be an attractive, athletic super star above all else. Girls who play sports are most noticed and talked about when they look good.

Diana Taurasi claimed to have fun doing the photo shoot and said afterwards,

I am who I am…whether I have clothes on or off.

Taurasi’s agent echoed her with,

Every woman is multi-dimensional and Diana’s strength isn’t constrained to her undeniable athletic resume. Her photos are fearless and beautiful and the shoot was a challenge that she embraced.

I understand that such a decision is a personal choice and can be argued both ways. In the end, I am most disappointed that rather than continue to pursue her own identity, she let the media create one for her. My role model is just one more athlete that can be added to the list of Olympians who have made the choice to pose as nude models. As Audrey Brashich said in her article on girl power,

The universal message for girls becomes that it doesn’t matter how you start out – you’ll end up becoming a sexy, ultrafeminine woman.

Guest Blogger: Brooke Nasypany

Toot it and Boot it!

Rap lyrics are pretty notorious for degrading women and being explicit. When I stumbled up the song “Toot it and Boot It” by YG I thought it was pretty funny.

When I listened to the lyrics it wasn’t as funny as I realized what toot it and boot it meant—fucking a girl and kicking her out. The some of the lyrics include

I asked her name and then I said I wanna fuck / and I’m YG and you know I fucked /
and she fucked back like a little slut / and she fell in love ya /
and she felt stupid cuz you know / I toot it and boot it

I don’t know why this particular song bothers me because most of the songs I listen to are similar to this. But I guess this is part of our culture now, with songs like this and TV shows like Jersey Shore provide examples of “Toot it and Boot It”. Every episode Mike and Pauly bring home “DTF” girls and kick them out soon after smushing. It’s interesting because I laugh at these episodes and listen to all these songs but when I think about the concept of it, it is pretty nasty. Are these types of things acceptable? Are these behaviors acceptable?

Whoa, Noah! Hold the boat!

Well, I know you all know Miley Cyrus. Let me introduce you to her little sister, Noah Cyrus:

Cute, huh?

She’s an aspiring actress, having already appeared on a few eps of Hannah Montana and taking the lead voice in last year’s English version of Ponyo.

She is a pro at walking the red carpet.

Of course, many child actors are, so I suppose this is not a big deal. Until she walks the carpet dressed like this on Halloween:

No, I don’t suppose this is a big deal to anyone. It’s a costume, right? I mean, really. She’s cute!

I mean, it’s no big deal that she poses with a bunch of other girls—that’s her on the left, in the back—hanging onto a stripper pole.

If you are still struggling with this notion about how problematic it is when we sexualize our little girls, you need to start getting critical, fast.

It should make you uncomfortable to watch a little girl singing Akon’s “Smack That” in front of a group of adults. Encouraged by a group of adults.

Especially with lyrics like this:

smack that all on the floor / smack that give me some more
smack that ‘till you get sore / smack that, oh-oo

Or dancing to Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok” and posting it to You Tube:

And yeah, I got those lyrics, too:

Before I leave brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack

You should wonder where her parents are when she leaves the house dressed like this:

That would be Noah in the middle. Wearing the push-up bra that is peeking out from under her shirt. And to be fair, I shouldn’t make you question where her parents are since I have given you the answer. Yeah, that’s Tish Cyrus, Noah and Miley’s mom right there on the left. Oh, I’m sorry. Did I mention that Noah is 10 yrs old?

She was only 9 when she made those videos. And posed on the red carpet. But hey, isn’t this how all 9 yr old American girls are behaving today? Think again.