Why is it easier to invent anti-rape nail polish than find a way to stop rapists?

Originally posted here.

You shouldn’t expect women to wear modern chastity belts or a real-life vagina dentata to be safe from sexual assault. by 

There are a lot of things I expect nail polish to do: dry fast, chip infrequently and make me look halfway put-together. Something I don’t generally depend on my manicure for, however, is warding off rapists. But the members of the all-male invention team behind Undercover Colors – four students at North Carolina State University – say that, with their new polish, “any woman will be empowered to discreetly ensure her safety by simply stirring her drink with her finger.”

I’m appreciative that young men like want to curb sexual assault, but anything that puts the onus on women to “discreetly” keep from being raped misses the point. We should be trying to stop rape, not just individually avoid it.

If it were truly that simple, previous iterations of this same concept would have worked. Remember “anti-rape underwear”Or the truly terrifying “Rapex” – a female condom that would insert tiny hooks into an assailant’s penis? You can’t really expect women to wear modern chastity belts or a real-life vagina dentata in order to be safe. That’s not trying to stop rape - it’s essentially arguing that some people getting raped is inevitable.

Even if a woman were to wear special nail polish or anti-rape underwear, or if she listens to common – but misplaced – advice about not getting drunk and always walking home in a group, all she’s supposedly ensuring is that she won’t be attacked. (And even then it’s not real security, because women who do all the “right” things get raped too) What about the girl at the same party who decided to have a few drinks that night? So long as it isn’t me isn’t an effective strategy to end rape.

Prevention tips or products that focus on what women do or wear aren’t just ineffective, they leave room for victim-blaming when those steps aren’t taken. Didn’t wear your anti-rape underwear? Well what did you expect?

That’s a familiar refrain. In a Bloomberg article last week, for example, one Stanford student compared women who get raped to unlocked bicycles:

‘Do I deserve to have my bike stolen if I leave it unlocked on the quad?’ [Chris] Herries, 22, said. ‘We have to encourage people not to take on undue risk’ that might make them targets of the criminal conduct of others,’ he said.

The problem is that simply being female in public remains an undue risk. Do we really believe that half the population should be required to avoid parties, socializing, drinking, cute clothes and walking alone if they don’t want to be raped?

As former Israeli prime minister Golda Meir said after a cabinet member suggested that women be given a curfew to curb a spate of sexual assaults: “But it’s the men who are attacking the women. If there’s to be a curfew, let the men stay home, not the women.”

If we want to stop rape – not merely avoid it – we need to hold rapists accountable and stop blaming victims.

Much like its tagline (“Choice Matters: The First Fashion Company Empowering Women to Stop Sexual Assault”), Undercover Colors’ polish and products like it only offer the veneer of equality and safety. And that’s simply not good enough.

Tuesday Aug 26 11am  1 note

 
 

Lies About Female Genitals

I stumbled upon this post in the Huffington Post by  and simultaneously laughed and emphatically nodded my head to each of her points. Stop shaming women into thinking their genitals are disgusting. Everything she states here, while a little graphic, are 100% the truth. 

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WARNING: This post contains sexually explicit language. Please read on at your own discretion.

This unfortunately crossed my desk this morning, and now my pussy is sad.

"[W]ouldn’t you prefer to be that girl who smells and tastes a treat down there?" this incredibly irritating and offensive blog post begins.

Here we go again: women being told their vulvas and vaginas aren’t good enough in their natural state. They have to be scrubbed and waxed and have food products shoved inside them. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

How to Make Your Vagina Smell and Taste Delicious,” the post is titled, because of course you have to make it that way because A) it isn’t that way already, and B) you somehow owe it to the world to do that.

All of this pussy shaming is exhausting. It leaves women — even women-loving women — feeling like there’s something wrong with us, that we’re not worthy, that our sexuality hangs in the balance of other people’s approval of our naturally lacking body parts. Argh.

"Wash it!" this blogger begins. "The obvious first step to having fragrant, delicious private bits would be to thoroughly wash down there at least twice a day."

Nope. Your vulva and vagina do not need to be scrubbed clean twice a day. It is not dirty. I repeat: Unless you just ran a marathon, sat in the sun for hours, or rolled naked in the mud, your nether regions are not inherently dirty. The vagina creates a very particular, balanced environment for itself. There’s no need to mess with it.

Language like this adds to the vulvar and vaginal shame that so many women already feel. And, sadly, despite the presence of two vulvas and vaginas, this shaming and self-loathing can still exist in lesbian relationships. Your pussy is perfect. It looks perfect. It smells perfect. And it can cause you to feel perfectly wonderful things. Barring an infection — yeast, bacterial or otherwise — all it needs is some lovely, warm water run over it when you shower. Period.

Yes, as the blogger explains, pussies like fresh air, and they do not like to be sprayed. But, once again, neither she nor anyone else should be dictating your undergarment or laundry-detergent choices. I don’t know what kind of detergent she’s using, but mine has never left a Downy-fresh smell on my pussy. (Note: Don’t put dryer sheets in your vagina.) And my lacy thongs are cotton or have a cotton lining. So I’m all good, thank you.

"Wax it! Sweat cause odors and pubic hair retains sweat. By waxing, the chance of odor caused by sweat is significantly reduced and in my opinion, a waxed vagina is visually more appealing."

The only thing I really want to say to this is, quite simply, “Fuck you.” First of all, you can’t wax a vagina. It has no hair. The vagina is the internal canal.

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Wednesday Aug 20 11am  2 notes

 
 

Having Sex as a Little Person

Although I don’t specialize in sexual health education regarding disabilities, it’s obviously just as important to discuss it as everything else I talk about here. Sex is important to many people, and being able to help those who want to experience a healthy and satisfying sexual life regardless of disability status is a remarkable thing.

Which is why I love this article from The Atlantic, The Challenges of Having Sex as a Little Person. 

[Dr. Marylou] Naccarato is the first in her field to extensively study the sexual needs specific to the Little People community on the physical, emotional, and psychosocial level. “She is really a true pioneer in her own right,” says Dr. Patti Britton, a mentor to Naccarato and the co-founder of Sex Coach U. “She is the first person I know of in the Little People community who has had the courage and the wherewithal to design and implement programs and materials designed specifically for the Little People community around their specific sexual needs.”

As a little person herself, she clearly knew there was a need to understand how little people have sex, as well as give information on best ways for little people to adapt to positions that were physically easier but also satisfying.

Married to an average-sized man at the time, Naccarato and her husband adapted their sex lives because she had issues with her hip—like most Little People do—leading to issues with straddling. “Most of us will have hip implants and knee implants for mobility due to bone degeneration,” she explains. They adapted a side-by-side position to cope with her pain. “So when I saw the program on TV I thought, ‘Wow, I wonder what other people are doing in our community because no one is talking about it.’”

Sixty-seven percent of the Little People in Naccarato’s studies who could not reach their genitals felt that sex was very important. “This is so critical,” Naccarato explains, “because it tells me that Little People do want more satisfaction in their sex life even if they are physically limited, and are receptive to change and education.”

I’m pretty much obsessed with the fact that not only did she quit her job as an IRS agent and became a well-known, credentialed sex educator, but the entrepreneur in her also soared because of her ability to market products specifically for little people to have better sex.

In addition to the comprehensive workshop and manual basics, her website boasts a long list of tools in the shopping section, ranging from her patented Love Bench, which Jacobs and Dorren are the models for, to vibrators for women who can’t reach their genitals and pillows with “fleshlights” embedded inside for male masturbation when their arms are not long enough to reach their penis. She also sells other tools, like condoms that are easier to put on for people with limited dexterity, and special pillows to assist in repositioning.

We could all learn something from this special lady. As she puts it:

“Life is short,” she says. “And so am I.”

Monday Aug 11 12pm  152 notes

 
 

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Posted Thursday Aug 7 2pm  2 notes

 
 




Over 100,000 UltraViolet and CREDO Mobile members have signed the petition demanding that the NFL treat domestic violence as a serious crime. It’s time for Commissioner Goodell to take action. http://bit.ly/UxcPmO

Over 100,000 UltraViolet and CREDO Mobile members have signed the petition demanding that the NFL treat domestic violence as a serious crime. It’s time for Commissioner Goodell to take action. http://bit.ly/UxcPmO

View HD • Posted Friday Aug 1 11am  4 notes

 
 

This Is What Sex-Positive Parenting Really Looks Like

YES AND MORE YES. I get questions all the time about how to talk to kids about sex. It’s so much easier than you think. And it’s completely and totally necessary. It’s not optional, parents. Read below for more.

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Post was found here. Written by .  

It happened yet again. As I was sitting at the table for dinner with my children, I noticed my daughter’s hand fishing around under her skirt.

"We don’t play with our vulvas at the table. Go wash your hands and finish your food," I scolded. She nodded, ran off to wash her hands, and resumed picking at her dinner instead.

Small children, they touch themselves. A lot. It’s fascinating to them. And when you’re a small child, you have no sense of shame or disgust or fear of your body. Your body is what it is. It does what it does. And everything that it does is kind of amazing, because you’re not old enough for lower back pain. It’s not sexual, it’s just… fact.

The first time I caught one of my kids playing with their genitals, I said absolutely nothing. I was momentarily paralyzed with indecision. One thing I knew for a fact I did not want to do was to shout, “No!” or “Stop!” What good could that possibly do? Sure, I would be spared the awkwardness of catching my child playing with her genitals on the living room floor, but what kind of lesson is that? To fear or ignore your own vagina?

I thought about it almost constantly for two days, and of course she gave me a second chance to react.

"Sweetie, we don’t play with our vulvas in the living room," I said. Which sounded ridiculous and strange, but nonetheless true. Why is everything with little kids "we" statements? "It’s OK to touch your vulva, but people are private, and it’s a private thing. The only places where you should touch your vulva are in the bathroom or in your bedroom. If you want to play with your vulva, please go to the bedroom."

And she smiled and did, without question, because compartmentalizing where you do certain activities makes sense to little kids.

"We don’t eat in the bathroom, and we don’t touch our vulvas in the living room," became the new mantra. And yes, eventually it became, "We don’t touch our vulvas at the table."

I’m what some people call “sex-positive.” That doesn’t mean I talk with my 4-year-olds about how great sex is and how good it feels. It means I don’t pretend it’s something other than it is.

As parents, we lie all the time. About the Easter Bunny or Santa or the Tooth Fairy, about how long 10 minutes is, about whether or not we remembered they wanted to have grilled cheese for dinner again… We lie a lot. But one thing I never lie about is sex.

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Wednesday Jul 30 1pm  20 notes

 
 

Know Your Money!

It’s super sad and depressing to think that still to this day, women are being held hostage by money. Not because they are greedy, but because they simply didn’t take control of their finances when entering a relationship.

I cannot stress this enough: financial education is JUST as important as any other type of education. Don’t let anyone control you because they control your money.

“Financial abuse, whether you’re talking about ruining her credit, getting her fired or hiding the money, is just as effective in controlling an abused victim as a lock and key,” said Kim Gandy, president of the National Network to End Domestic Violence. “If your credit has been ruined, you can’t get an apartment. If you’ve been fired twice because your abuser harasses you at work, you can’t get a job. Women are literally being forced, because of financial dependency, back into abusive relationships.”

Many women who are in abusive relationships name finances as the number one reason they can’t leave. Start early and start young. Know how to work your money, how to save, how to build credit, and don’t let anyone else run those things for you.

[T]he Rutgers University School of Social Work released the results of a 14-month study that evaluated the most commonly used financial education program for domestic violence survivors in the U.S., called the Moving Ahead through Financial Management Curriculum

The study found women who received the financial curriculum significantly improved financial literacy, attitudes, intentions and behaviors, and reported less financial strain than the women who did not receive the training. On every single financial variable, the women who received the training did significantly better over time than the women who did not.

Love NEVER looks like someone telling you when and where you can spend your money. Love NEVER looks like someone destroying your credit so that you can’t get a job or a place to live. Love is NEVER any of these things.

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Friday Jul 25 10am  284 notes

 
 

HIV Diagnosis Rate Fell by a Third in U.S. Over a Decade

This is wonderful news! This drop could be due to a number of things:

  • fewer new infections are occurring
  • most infected people already have been diagnosed so more testing won’t necessarily find many more cases
  • education and outreach is working!

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"HIV is the virus that causes AIDS, which destroys the immune system. The World Health Organization estimates 35 million people globally have the virus. In the United States, 1.1 million people are thought to be infected, though many don’t know it." (more info here)

Young gay men and bisexual men are still at the greatest risk of new infection than any other group however, so we haven’t won yet.

In any case, this makes me hopeful that we can continue to make great strides towards helping others achieve a meaningful and healthy sex life without putting others at risk. Keep it up!

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Tuesday Jul 22 3pm  6 notes

 
 

'Stop The Beauty Madness' Brands Ads With Brutally Honest Messages

Originally seen on  | By 

It’s a psychological itch that the most enlightened, successful and even beautiful women still tend to scratch: if I look better, I am better.

Now one campaign is trying to convince others to break free from that line of thought. The Stop The Beauty Madness campaign wants you to “feel like you’ve been socked in the gut” when you see its jarringly frank ads, says its founder Robin Rice.

Stop The Beauty Madness is a series of 25 advertisements branded with honest messages that highlight the true “madness” involved in creating and meeting beauty standards. Rice, an author and the founder of Be Who You Are Productions, started the campaign to challenge an internalized belief that a woman’s beauty determines her value.

Rather than attempt to fit more diverse types of women into an already narrow definition of beauty, Stop The Beauty Madness questions the value we place on beauty in the first place. “My main mission is to say if women are worried about their weight and their looks to the point that they’re not actually putting themselves in the world, then we’re missing out on some really extraordinary individuals and some really important conversations we need to be having,” Rice told HuffPost. “Women need to be helping the world move in a more beautiful direction — a genuinely beautiful direction.”

Beauty, Rice reminds us, can be both meticulously arranged or totally accidental. And yet, we privilege “effortless” beauty free of the true effort (and anguish) often required to achieve it, while criticizing those who happen to be very thin for succumbing to beauty standards. “Even if you fit the mold, you get in trouble for fitting the mold,” Rice said. “You can’t win.”

This double-edged sword is why Stop The Beauty Madness takes a broad approach, addressing all elements of a woman’s appearance from race, to age, to weight, to several at once. “Naturally thin women, or women who choose to work out and have really buff bodies, or elderly women, are not excluded from this conversation. They get their own backlash,” Rice said.

The campaign intentionally uses stock photos, the type of images used to illustrate many glossy magazine articles. “We wanted to use what was out there,” Rice told HuffPost. “There’s not lot of stock photos of African-American women compared to white women. There’s not a lot of edgy photographs of women. There were countless pictures of women on scales trying to lose weight. That shapes our conversation,” she said.

Attaching a brutally honest inner monologue to an image typically used to sell things — whether it’s a product, a lifestyle, or romance — reveals their true costs. Ultimately, Rice hopes the campaign will provide a corrective lens for how women perceive certain images.

"We look at beauty magazines and fashion photographs and whether we theoretically believe in them or not, we’ve seen so many of them and they’ve been put into exactly the right light and ratio that something inside of us has said ‘That’s beautiful,’" Rice told HuffPost. "Whether or not we believe in it intellectually, something deeper has set in and we compare ourselves to that."

Changing beauty culture won’t happen overnight. But for now, Rice hopes women can rely on themselves not to fall victim to it.

"Maybe the next time you look at a magazine, you may have a split second in which you question whether or not that gets in your head again," said Rice. "We want to create that split second where you think, ‘Wait a minute. Do I really believe in this?’"

The campaign also features audio and video series, a slam poetry contest and blogs. See some of the images below and visit Stop The Beauty Madness to see the full campaign.

Wednesday Jul 16 10am  1 note

 
 

Obsessed with this cover. Not because he’s nude (although that helps), but because you NEVER see this type of body on a cover, nude, representing a very body-conscious population like athletes, particularly males.
We all look different, but that doesn’t mean we’re not all capable of achieving greatness.
bedsider:

“You don’t have to look like an Under Armour mannequin to be an athlete. Just because you’re big doesn’t mean you can’t be an athlete.”
—Prince Fielder making us all tingly with so much body love in ESPN the Magazine’s 2014 Body Issue. 

Obsessed with this cover. Not because he’s nude (although that helps), but because you NEVER see this type of body on a cover, nude, representing a very body-conscious population like athletes, particularly males.

We all look different, but that doesn’t mean we’re not all capable of achieving greatness.

bedsider:

“You don’t have to look like an Under Armour mannequin to be an athlete. Just because you’re big doesn’t mean you can’t be an athlete.”

—Prince Fielder making us all tingly with so much body love in ESPN the Magazine’s 2014 Body Issue. 

View HD • Posted Saturday Jul 12 10am  413 notes

 
 
 
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