sex

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Is That an 'Honor Killing' In Your Pocket Or Are You Just Happy Not To Be Me?

There are some crimes that are just gut wrenching to think about.  "Honor" killing, the murder of a someone (usually a woman or girl) by family and friends over sex / marriage is an awful thing. 

I object to it personally.  as a father of a girl, I shudder to think what could bring a father or brother to slaughter their own kin.  It cannot end soon enough for me.

There are some great resources committed to ending 'honor' killing, listed at the end of this post.  If you know of others not listed here, please leave them in the comments field.

What has my mind today is not the 'honor' killings themselves but how the topic itself is discussed, presented and marketed in western societies - the EU and US.  The news reports and accounts of these killings reveal these deaths in terms of the way they are carried out, along with details of religious and cultural practices that seem primitive, cruel and that fly in the face of any rule of fairness, reasoning or legal structure.

Sure, we get upset by such murders, but are these 'honor' killing being used to reinforce a "single story" about the populations where these killings occur?  As Chimamanda Adichie illustrates well, repeated and dramatic negative images about a culture other than one's own, can reduce our own awareness to a "single story" of who those people are.  It lumps people into one-dimensional creations, not as complex and alive in our minds as we hold ourselves.  It strips individuals of identity and reduces people to "one of those people".

Chimiamanda talks about people being framed in a  "patriarchal, well-meaning pity" by holding them in a "single story of catastrophe".

arvan's picture

Talking About the Taboo: 2nd CSPH Annual Conference

CSPH 2nd Annual Conference

October 10th

1:00-5:00 Pm

Yes, folks, it’s that time of year again, The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health welcomes you to our 2nd annual conference, “Talking About the Taboo, Discussing Difficult Issues in Human Sexuality.”

For the first time ever, The CSPH will provide sexuality education to adults in a safe and open environment. By bringing together all aspects of sexuality, the pleasure, education, advocacy and medical worlds, we hope to take subjects that are traditionally “taboo” and elucidate them, showing that the taboo can be fun, interesting and educational and most importantly, able to be discussed in thoughtful, provoking ways.

Talk to an Expert:

“Talking About the Taboo” will feature many sexuality experts willing to share with you their work in the field of sexuality. From medical providers, rape crisis counselors, to dominatrixes, you are sure to find someone to teach you something new! Listen to our panel, take a small group class or chat it up with our experts throughout the event.

Play with a Toy:

Check out our vendors, who will be showing off the latest and greatest in sexual aids. These top of the line, 100% safe toys and products can help to enhance your sex life in many ways.

Hear our Panel:

This year’s conference brings us some of the most noteworthy participants in the realm of sexuality. Be sure to stick around for what is sure to be an informative and lively panel addressing current issues surrounding sexuality. Our guest panelists will include:

Dr. Charlie Glickman,

Princess Kali,

Audacia Ray,

Sinclair Sexsmith,

Dr. Logan Levkoff

Anita Hoffner

arvan's picture

Men's Group Champions "Diverse Masculinities"

By Dalia Acosta

HAVANA, Sep 22, 2010 (IPS) - Men representing an array of sexual identifications have organised in Cuba to defend sexual rights and promote respect for "other masculinities," with the belief that greater visibility is needed to achieve true social change and acceptance.

Hombres por la Diversidad (HxD, Men for Diversity), a group "for the right to free sexual identity," promotes social transformation and "works along the lines of education and advocacy for sexual and reproductive rights," coordinator Alberto Roque told IPS.

HxD stands out in this socialist-run Caribbean nation for spreading the human rights focus to other associations and groups dealing with related issues.

The group tries to maintain a balance between the institutional world and autonomy, which can be a challenge for citizen initiatives in Cuba.

Although it has offices at the government's National Centre for Sex Education (CENESEX), making the most of "organisational support and space provided by the institution," HxD maintains its own objectives, said Roque.

The immediate goals, he went on, are to consolidate as an organisation, become a presence on Internet-based social networks, participate in the annual events of International Day Against Homophobia (May 17), and organise a national symposium on sexual rights, which would involve individuals and groups with similar aims.

arvan's picture

Spark Summit - Challenging the Sexualization of Girls

Friday, October 22 · 12:00am - 11:30pm

New York, NY- Hunter College

On the heels of APA’s task force report that found the sexualization of girls so pervasive that “virtually every media form studied provides ample evidence,” a coalition of organizations is taking action.

SPARK stands for Sexualization Protest: Action, Rebellion, Knowledge

Current SPARK partners include:

Women's Media Center
Hardy Girls Healthy Women
TrueChild
Ms. Foundation
ASAP Initiative at Hunter College/CUNY

The SPARK Summit will bring together girls and media professionals, thought leaders and funders, researchers and activists – and will serve as a national call to action and campaign for change.  As a first step towards building a broader coalition, a convening was held in May, thanks to generous funding from the NoVo Foundation. Participants included the Ford Foundation, Girls Inc, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, and the APA, which will be a part of the summit’s policy/research committee.

Who: girls, girl-serving organizations, activists, media professionals, researchers, funders, thought leaders and allies

The SPARK summit is an exciting day-long event with the purpose of igniting a movement for girls' rights. Participants will have the opportunity to speak out, push back on the sexualization of girls, learn, and have fun with one another!

An interactive website is being developed for participants to take action in the months leading up to the summit.

If you are interested in partnering with us, supporting our work, or promoting the summit, please email SPARKsummit@gmail.com

For updates, follow the summit on Twitter: @SPARKsummit.

lilith land's picture

Making Peace with My Body

This afternoon, I experienced "the moment".

arvan's picture

On Rape, Safe-Words and Choice

In the span of 24 hours recently, I came across several vastly different experiences of women regarding feminism, choice and the question of women's control over their bodies.

I saw this post by That Ghoul Ava where she disowns feminism if it means being forced to switch from her identity being defined by men to that of being defined by women - with both excluding her own voice and choices for their own agenda.  Her framework for articulating this, is her experiences in the work force and the rest of her life.  Her point is that she is a woman because she says she is and not because she meets someone's definition.  In her life, she wants to be judged on her merits and that is how she defines herself.

Before you start screaming discrimination, make sure actual qualified people didn’t get denied. Wouldn’t that bother you, knowing you got hired or promoted because the company was required to get women and wasn’t based on your qualifications? That would piss me off. I’m not good enough, but my tits are!!! YAY!

Ava claims to write when she's drunk, pissed off and sarcastic.  Much like Liberating Porn, she expresses herself with a foul mouth and a sense of humor that is not universally shared.  Many could debate whether her language helps or hurts her point.  She clearly states that she's talking about her own experience and there is no debate in that.

arvan's picture

Gov’t Hems and Haws Over ‘Honour Killings’

By Sujoy Dhar

NEW DELHI, Sep 9, 2010 (IPS) - Instances of ‘honour killings’ in Indian communities still steeped in traditional beliefs continue unabated. Yet the government has not enacted tougher laws that will deal a decisive blow against this societal scourge.

For bringing dishonour to the family, couples defying time-honoured traditions in many orthodox Indian villages must flee for their lives lest they become victims of ‘honour killing’ committed by kin or members of their own caste.

Some of the couples on the run were either caught unawares or hounded out and killed by their families who were determined to restore honour to the clan.

"Young couples live in fear. They are often driven to suicide, if not killed," Nishi Kant, who runs Shakti Vahini, a non-governmental organisation researching honour killings in India, told IPS.

Marrying outside one’s caste or within one’s lineage (‘gotra’), or outside one’s religion is still tabooed by many Indian families, who believe such "aberrant behaviours" deserve the most brutal punishment, often in the form of death.

Over the past months, horrific reports of honour killings have been pouring in. About 45 people have died as a result of such killings in the past 19 months, according to Shakti Vahini. Despite the spike in honour killings, the state remains a mute spectator, said Kant.

The ruling United Progressive Alliance has condemned the killings but has not acted decisively on the sensitive issue, fearing a dent in its traditional vote banks.

maxattitude's picture

Passing Lies

 While trans theorists such as Jack Halberstam

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  • rabbitwhite's picture

    The No Make-Up Week Experiment

     

    http://rabbitwrite.com/no-make-up-week/ where you can see my nakedface photos

    “Yeah, but I don’t wear much….”  were my first thoughts, when I thought of running this experiment. No Make-up Week:  the idea was good, I thought, but my heart raced a little as it sank in. “But I don’t wear much.”  And I realized I was a little quick to run to the defense of my palettes and powder.

    It’s not about taking a week off  because make-up is somehow bad or because not wearing it is better. It’s that by taking a week off, I should be able to understand my relationship to cosmetics more clearly. Why do I feel I need to sketch on eyebrow pencil before going to the grocery? To shellac my face before seeing a friend? And if I am going to a networking event or party, can I feel comfortable in anything less than  contoured cheeks and caked on lashes?

    When I think about not wearing make-up for a week, a voice inside of me screams, Noooooooooo! And this is exactly what I want to explore. I mean, the thing is this: Make-up is a powerful tool, it has the ability to transform, to incite imagination and creativity. But, when an option turns into a necessity,  I don’t know it it’s still a tool. At the least, it loses it’s spark.

    And then, there are the social reasons that push us to wear make-up. A study online claims that 8 out of 10 women prefer their female colleagues to wear makeup and the same number of women said they would rather employ a woman who wore makeup than one who didn’t. Because of these expectations, I think it’s hard for any woman to have a good relationship to make-up.

    For me, a good relationship with make-up isn’t a given, but it is something to work towards. Because of these strong social ideas about make-up, it seems most women could not naturally have a healthy relationship with our cosmetics. Whether you wear make-up or not, there is a story there. I often feel like I *need* make-up. And when there is not a real feeling of choice, this needs to be explored.

    THE EXPERIMENT AND WHERE YOU COME IN

    The experiment is to go entire week without make-up. To do the naked face to work, meetings, dates, networking events and all in between without a balanced complexion or darkened lashes. The idea is to explore why I wear make-up and my relationship to it.

    I’m asking you to conduct your own experiment. To go a day or a week without make-up, to upload a no make-up photo online or simply explore the relationship through writing or whatever feels right. Make it your own.

    I’ve asked some bloggers to make the experiment their own, but I want to shout from the rooftops that everyone is invited to join in, the more of us out there doing this, the better.

    It should also be said this isn’t just for people who wear make-up daily, or who don’t wear at all. This is for everyone. I think everyone can find some personal depth in the question: how does make-up impact you? What personal care products do you use, why?

    When we start unraveling the threads, we see a lot of issues are embedded. There is the input of our families and friends–we all have a history with make-up, some not as pretty as others. There is the feminist question of why and for who? Who are we trying to impress? And in many offices, it’s scary to consider, what the reaction would be if one showed up sans-make-up. There is also the issue of toxins in our make-up. Carcinogens that are laced into many mainstream products.

    These issues and more are the things I’ll be tackling during No Make-up Week.

    I am inviting you to explore your relationship to cosmetics. To explore why you wear it, what it does for you and maybe, to rediscover some spark about yourself, your looks and your cosmetics.

    The Official Home for No Make Up Week is http://rabbitwrite.com/no-make-up-week/This is where I will be updating all  No Make up Week happenings and is a good resource to point people to, so check back often!

    arvan's picture

    Call for Papers: Asexuality Studies

    Asexuals are commonly defined as “a person who does not experience sexual attraction” and research estimates their prevalence at 1% of the population. Asexuality has been the subject of increasing media attention, with some high profile television and popular press coverage. This attention has stimulated academic interest in asexuality and considerable research is being conducted in a number of disciplines.

    This volume will be an edited book focusing on all aspects of asexuality and the asexual community. It will collect cutting-edge research across all areas relating to this topic with the intention of constituting the foundational text for the burgeoning field of asexuality studies.

    Papers are welcome from any discipline and on any topic relating to asexuality.

    Possible topics include:

    - Identifying as asexual
    - Experiences of living as asexual
    - Social history of the asexual community
    - Diversity within the asexual community
    - Asexuality and the Internet
    - Asexuality and romantic relationships
    - Asexuality and wider sexual culture
    - Medicalization of a/sexuality

    If you have any questions or would like to discuss a submission, please contact m.a.carrigan@warwick.ac.uk

    Submissions Due May 2011

    Up to 8000 words

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