Sex ed

Wednesday, 8 January 2014 08:50 pm
elettaria: (Sloth debauchery)
One of the things which I sometimes end up lying awake thinking over at unholy o'clock is what I think sex education should be like. Mine was somewhat mixed. My parents didn't really bother, unless you count my mother muttering a few things just before I turned 22. My school was a case of "blink and you miss it", and I think I was off ill that day. I got most of my sex education from the uni LGBT society, which meant that I had a great knowledge of safer sex but knew squat about contraception. It also resulted in my sitting in the Family Planning Clinic, looking up at all those leaflets depicting a woman gazing up soulfully at a man, thinking, "That's a bit heterosexist...oh, hang on."

Most of what I've learned about sex has been since then, from reading on the internet, talking to friends, and the experiences I've had with partners, both good and bad. There's no substitute for really widespread reading and lots of good conversations, but I think that a lot of the things I've learnt should have been covered at school at the basic level at least. So here's my wishlist, in no particular order.

Read more... )

The nicest story I've heard about sex education: how a friend of mine was sat down by his parents when he was a child so that they could explain that sadly, some people are homophobic. It says so much about where they were starting from.

The funniest story I've heard in a while: we were talking about this in the pub the other week. After reminiscing about the putting-a-condom-on-a-banana lesson, someone was talking about learning to put a condom on with your mouth. R (my partner, who is, for the record, a straight cisgender man) said in surprise, "But I couldn't reach!"
elettaria: (Sloth debauchery)
I've just written such a long comment to an article by Ava Vidalon FGM that I may as well copy it over to here. The article is excellent, go and read it. The comments are full of racism and will probably make you headdesk repeatedly. Here's what I put.

I've noticed that when FGM comes up, sooner or later someone brings up male circumcision, and there's a lot of anxiety about talking about the two together. Read more... )
elettaria: (Sloth debauchery)
A friend of mine spent many years working with sex workers, and is still very much involved in sex worker rights. I've ended up learning a great deal from her, and from sex workers who write on this topic. When we’ve discussed sex workers, I’ve often noticed the number of parallels between prejudice against sex workers and prejudice against people with disabilities. (For the record, I’m a disabled woman myself, with no personal experience of sex work, and I'm not trying to speak for SWs here.) Here are the ones I've thought of so far.

1. Multiple attempts at silencing.

2. Telling sex workers/people with disabilities that they are “not representative”. Read more... )
elettaria: (Trans-friendly equal marriage symbol)
Louise Mensch turns out to be quite the interesting read. In her recent Guardian article trashing intersectionality, she thoughtfully provided a link to her series on What Men Want. As expected, I found many of her viewpoints highly problematic. Much of it was about how women should mould themselves to men's desires. Now, I've seen this approach before. It's just enough out of favour these days to give the impression of being new. When the "Surrendered Wife" movement sprang up around a decade ago, I coined the term Nouveau Doormat to describe it. Suffice it to say that I've never had a high opinion of this way of doing things. I think it's harmful to women and insulting to men.

Then I read her article What Men Want: Relationships. TW for discussion of rape )
elettaria: (Trans-friendly equal marriage symbol)
Twitter is currently ablaze about an outrageous article by Louise Mensch, in which she complains about "intersectional bollocks" derailing feminism. I have a few observations.

1. "Mensch" is literally Yiddish for "man". Metaphorically, it means "decent human being", as in, "He helped the family out enormously when Granny was ill. He's a real mensch." Let's all savour the irony there.

Intersectionality affects various aspects of being human... )
elettaria: (Trans-friendly equal marriage symbol)
In the wake of the Woolwich murder, I've been reading a few people who are horrified and alarmed at the strongly racist response that's occurring, both in the media and amongst the general public. This IS my home, you racist swine is an article by a woman talking about her experiences of "'my difference' or to put it in correct terms 'other peoples' racism'". She's Asian British, and I've also been reading responses from people who are black British, or immigrants who are white British.

All this has made me think about racism, ethnicity and identity politics, and how they affect me. Read more... )

To return to the Woolwich situation, I also want to say that I too am absolutely horrified at the amount of racism coming out in response, and concerned about the safety of people of colour and Muslims. I'm thinking of you, and I hope you stay safe.
elettaria: (Trans-friendly equal marriage symbol)
Apparently it is Blogging Against Disablism day. I am pretty tired today, so you are going to get random witterings. But hey, it's not as if there's a shortage of material.

Dignity )

Scroungers? Not so much )

You want benefits? I hope you've worked for years to earn them. )

As for "disablism", it's not a word I use myself. It sounds odd. People usually don't know what it means. It's not universally accepted. This shows just how bad the situation is: we don't even have the language to describe the hatred we face. I wish I were exaggerating when I said "hatred".
elettaria: (Trans-friendly equal marriage symbol)
I've been reading an excellent article about white privilege and feminism called This is white privilege by Reni Eddo-Lodge. After a much-needed discussion of racism and transphobia within the modern feminist movement, she goes on to relate her experience of trying to explain what it feels like to be discriminated against to a white woman.

I told her about a recent experience of being passed over for a job I’d interviewed for and finding out through mutual friends that the job had gone to a white woman my age with almost identical experience to me. Read more... )
elettaria: (Trans-friendly equal marriage symbol)
In the light of the benefits scandals, the BBC has published an article pondering How little money can a person live on? It mentions that some people on benefits have to live on £53 a week, and then goes through the "essential" costs, but neglects to tot them all up. I presume this is so that you come away thinking that it's perfectly easy to live on £53 a week, anyone can do it. Plus it waves around the magical £350 week per single adult that you can supposedly claim on benefits. I'm on ESA and high-rate DLA, and I don't get anything like that, and I now have to cough up over £100 a month to pay for support workers who are variously homophobic, don't meet basic literacy standards, and keep on wrenching my arm painfully due to lack of proper movement and handling training.

Let's have a look at their maths, shall we.

Read more... )
elettaria: (Trans-friendly equal marriage symbol)
If you're anything like me, you will have recently noticed that there is a pink-equals-sign-on-red-background doing the rounds at the moment. You will probably have enquired about it, been told that it represents equal marriage, thought, "Excellent idea," and adopted it.

The snag is that it's not just an American-centric equal marriage symbol, it's one created by a specific organisation, the Human Rights Campaign. And they are not particularly popular in the transgender community. There are various articles you can find if you search, and apparently they have come right out and said that "Marriage equality is not a transgender issue", telling transgender activists to take down their flag at a rally. To be honest, I hadn't even heard of the HRC until yesterday, being on the other side of the pond, and I'm not going to get into who said what and whether it can be proven. It's enough that the whole thing is making me profoundly uneasy, and that I do not wish to use a symbol which excludes transgender people. And come to that, I don't mind the idea of a symbol which is a bit more international. Equal marriage is a big issue in many countries, including the UK.

So I created a new one. It continues the idea of the equals sign, which is simple and catchy, but I've used a rainbow on black background instead, as rainbows are a traditional symbol for the LGBT community. I'd be honoured if people could start adopting it.

elettaria: (Snail)
There have been some horrifying cases recently of people being prosecuted for failing to reveal their status as transgender to sexual partners in Scotland. It's been prosecuted as "gaining sexual intimacy by deception", under fraud legislation, and apparently they're the only known examples of this. No one has ever been prosecuted for, say, lying about being married on a dating site. The reporting has been thoroughly muddled and transphobic, and who knows what's actually going on with the court cases but that sounds very odd as well.

There is a very well-written petition being run by the Scottish Transgender Alliance. Please sign it and tell other people about this.

Fanfic challenge

Tuesday, 10 July 2012 08:27 pm
elettaria: (BNC)
[livejournal.com profile] elfbystarlight and I were recently discussing this charming passage from the end of Patrick O'Brian's The Surgeon's Mate. If you haven't read O'Brian's legendary Aubrey-Maturin series, then run along and do so. Here is an example to tempt you, in which Jack Aubrey is visiting HMS Oedipus.

"That family was not really quite the thing, you know." )
elettaria: (Default)
I have run into a lot of atheists online who annoy the buggery out of me. Not all, of course, and I would never dream of assuming that a noisy minority should be taken as representative of an entire group. But enough to be worth posting about.

These particular atheists sometimes seem to me as if they are treating atheism as another religion, and a fundamentalist one at that. They're evangelical, uncompromising, feel free to treat anyone who disagrees them with enormous disrespect, and they have simply replaced God as an object of worship with Richard Dawkins. They talk of all "theists" as if they are idiots, sometimes as idiots who have not yet seen the light, and see no problem in being outrageously rude about the lot of them. It's the rudeness that gets me, as I happen to believe in treating other human beings with respect as a general principle. I think the thing which makes them closest to religious fundamentalists, however, is a tendency to massively oversimplify very complicated ideas.

Read more... )

iTunes problem

Monday, 7 May 2012 04:01 pm
elettaria: (Default)
As of yesterday, the "remember playback position" function in iTunes has suddenly stopped working. The files still have that option ticked, but whenever I go to a file, it returns to the start. Since I only use iTunes for audiobooks, this is something of a problem. I cannot see any other settings that could be relevant, and I've tried it with different files and also with a slightly older copy of iTunes. What can I do? I'm using Windows 7 x64.
elettaria: (Default)
There's a man in London who has been unfairly incarcerated in a mental hospital and who would very much benefit from some sympathetic visitors. I've kept it simple, but I appreciate that this may be triggering for some people )

Random thought

Wednesday, 29 February 2012 12:23 pm
elettaria: (Default)
Is it my imagination, or does adultery turn up in literature these days a lot less than it did a few decades ago? Would anyone care to theorise about why this might be the case?
elettaria: (Keep calm)
How a Patient's Understanding of Their Illness Impacts Health Promoting Behaviours in Patients Living with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

No, don't fill it out. Go and read it over, make sure you don't click "continue" from the page which asks what info was provided by your doctor as that will automatically submit the form, and then write to the student and her supervisor to explain why this is a really, really bad attempt at a study which will be highly misleading and could cause quite a lot of harm.
elettaria: (Default)
You know how Cedric in Love in a Cold Climate has been called "the first happy homosexual in English literature", because he gets his man, isn't mentally ill, and doesn't get killed off or forced to part with his lover? When do we get the first happy adulterer, and in particular the first happy female adulterer? I'm currently reading the Norton Critical Edition of The Awakening, one of those novels where a woman commits adultery and isn't allowed to live happily ever after (see also Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina), so it's been on my mind. Incidentally, the number of critics who simply Did Not Get what Kate Chopin was saying, even into the later half of the twentieth century, is quite mind-boggling. One of them actually snarks at her for describing her protagonist's sleep on a few occasions, because a protagonist who sleeps, and even sleeps during the day (hello, siesta culture?), evidently can't be taken remotely seriously. And then we get the ones who consider children entirely symbolic creatures, and misses the memo that some people just aren't interested in parenting. Hmm, maybe The Awakening is the first childfree novel?

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