women’s personhood is on the ballot

women’s personhood is on the ballot

Somehow or other, this presidential election has become a referendum on whether it’s acceptable that the president of the United States – sometimes called “the leader of the free world” – believes women’s bodies are in the public domain, for him to touch and comment on as he likes. And the evidence so far is that about a very strong third, or maybe as much as 45% of the American electorate is saying, “Yes. Yes that seems fine.” Or at least, “It doesn’t matter as much as WHICH EMAIL SERVER SOMEONE USES.” Which is actually pretty encouraging, from my point

what to teach your boys – prevent violence with one simple idea

what to teach your boys – prevent violence with one simple idea

In addition to the horrorshow that is the news of the United States these days, recently a friend of mine called in a panic. He was supporting a friend of his, who had just been sexually assaulted – a woman, assaulted by a man. Once we got through the basics – how to support a survivor; going to the police; going to the hospital; calling a crisis line; etc – we gradually got to the crux of his experience: He is a good man, and his is the father of two young boys. So he wanted to know what to teach

“they don’t want to hear that from us!”

“they don’t want to hear that from us!”

I finished “Girls and Sex.” It was a lot harder to read than I expected – which is to say, it was really, really important. The book ends on the note of “what we need to do to change the mess.” More than anything else, as I telegraphed in my last post, is talk to girls (and boys) about pleasure. The author writes of talking with a mom like herself – progressive and feminist – about talking to her daughter about mastubration and orgasm, to which the mom replies, as so many adult caregivers would, “They don’t want to hear

talking to girls about their own pleasure

talking to girls about their own pleasure

I can’t wait to read Peggy Orenstein’s new book, Girls and Sex. I was looking forward to it before I listened to this interview on NPR’s Fresh Air, and now I’m champing at the bit. And. The interview makes clear to me something someone who has already read it told me: “Girls & Sex is a deep dive into the problem. Come As You Are is the solution.”   The interview – and the book – comes to the conclusion that the problems girls face in the midst of porn culture, rape culture, patriarchy, and all the rest of it,

what we call it (all the content warnings in the world – sexual violence)

what we call it (all the content warnings in the world – sexual violence)

A lot of people in my social media have posted this New York Magazine article about the failure of feminism in the cultural dialogue about consent. The article – titled “The Game Is Rigged: Why sex that’s consensual can still be bad. And why we’re not talking about it” begins with this example of, one supposes, bad but consensual sex: “I have so much to drink my memory becomes dark water, brief flashes when I flicker up for air,” Gattuso wrote. “I’m being kissed. There’s a boy, then another boy. I keep asking if I’m pretty. I keep saying yes.”

National Coming Out Day

National Coming Out Day

Fifteen years ago, in Indiana, I participated in GLSEN’s “Day of Silence.” What you do is: you don’t talk. You don’t say anything. It’s to raise awareness around bullying and harassment of LGBTQ folks.   Two things happened that day that I remember every year on National Coming Out Day:   1. I went to the hardware store. I forget what I was looking for, but I remember that I couldn’t find it. And because I was being silent, I couldn’t ask for help.   I couldn’t ask for help.   2. I met someone new who struggled to pronounce

the one reason I haven’t shared that tea/consent thing

the one reason I haven’t shared that tea/consent thing

Lots of people have shared it with me, the “Consent: not actually that complicated” thing, including the little video. Summary: you wouldn’t force tea on someone who doesn’t want tea, and the same applies to sex. It’s funny and true and great. I haven’t shared it. It’s not that I don’t like it or agree with it – I do (though I’m still looking for evidence that consent education actually prevents sexual violence. I know it sounds counterintuitive at first, but think about it: the problem is not that the majority of sexual perpetrators DON’T KNOW what consent is; it’s that

this was the best thing that could have happened to me on International Women’s Day

The Sunday Times ran six letters to the editor about my op ed about how responsive desire is not a disease. Only one of them agrees with me. But that one letter? It was from Judy Norsigian. If that name doesn’t send chills of feminist fangirling down your spine, it should. Judy Norsigian is one of the founders and Executive Director of the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, which is responsible for Our Bodies, Ourselves, and a cultural leader in the idea that women’s best source of wisdom about their bodies is their own body. Our Bodies, Our Blog is an outstanding