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How Are You Raising Your Voice in 2013?
We’re in the second week of 2013, and during the first days of every year we evaluate what took place last year, and develop resolutions or goals for things we want to get, where we want to be, and experiences we want have. In doing this, we focus mostly on ourselves and how we want some aspect of our lives to change for the better.
And that’s totally great! But how are you raising your voice in 2013?
2012 was one of the worst (if not the worst) years in women’s health. While major wins such as the United States Supreme Court ruling the Affordable Care Act as constitutional and the birth control mandate beginning in August were exciting, 2012 had the second-highest number of abortion restrictions ever made at the state-level. Not only that, health disparities also continue to run rampant in low-income communities and communities of color, and the politicizing of women’s bodies shows no signs of slowing down.
While fighting for women and girls (especially women and girls of color) to have access to the services that can improve their health and lives can oftentimes feel discouraging, we shouldn’t feel undaunted. Let’s make 2013 the year where huge strides are made in sexual and reproductive health. Not only when it comes to reproductive justice, but for women and girls’ mental, spiritual, and emotional wellness.
How do you want to raise your voice for women and girls’ health in 2013? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
So very important! You may be hearing in the news or on tumblr about a lot of people who are being arrested and even dying because they are trying to get medical help during pregnancy or searching for an abortion. This is an issue that has always been present in low-income communities and communities of color (you’re much more likely to survive a pregnancy or find a way to get an abortion if you are white or upper to middle income), but now it’s getting more press as it’s happening to more and more people. We need to fight back and make sure everyone gets the medical treatment they deserve.
28 reasons why Australian’s shouldn’t support Tony Abbott
- “The problem with the Australian practice of abortion is that an objectively grave matter has been reduced to a question of the mother’s convenience.”
- “If half the effort were put into discouraging teenage promiscuity as goes into preventing teenage speeding, there might be fewer abortions, fewer traumatised young women and fewer dysfunctional families.”
- “Why isn’t the fact that 100,000 women choose to end their pregnancies regarded as a national tragedy approaching the scale, say, of Aboriginal life expectancy being 20 years less than that of the general community?”
- “Since 1996, contrary to poltical correctness, the Australian parliament has overturned right-to-kill laws and (almost) banned gay marriage. Perhaps a political constituency may even be starting to emerge to ban abortions after 20 weeks. “
- “The problem is backyard miscarriages if unscrupulous doctors prescribe these drugs for desperate women. “
- “If an application did come to me, I would have to satisfy myself that compelent doctors would administer the drug in safe circumstances to women who had fully considered the alternatives and understood the risks”
- “Even if dispossession is taken to mean that government has a higher responsibility to Aborigines than to other Australians, the production of beautiful art and connectedness to the land does not warrant the maintenance of a way of life also characterised by unemployment, substance abuse and domestic violence. If people choose to live in difficult to service places, that’s their business.”
- “…we just can’t stop people from being homeless if that’s their choice…”
- “I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons”
- TONY JONES: So are you making a case against teaching in indigenous languages? Is that what – I’m trying to get on top of the point you’re making. TONY ABBOTT: Well, I am making that case.
- “You don’t have to be a Catholic to be troubled by the current abortion culture”
- “…Jesus didn’t say yes to everyone. I mean Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it is not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia.”
- “Now, I know that there are some Aboriginal people who aren’t happy with Australia Day. For them it remains Invasion Day. I think a better view is the view of Noel Pearson, who has said that Aboriginal people have much to celebrate in this country’s British Heritage”
- “The Government accepts that some 14 and 15-year-olds might prefer that their parents not know about the medical procedures they have had or the prescription drugs they are on. But children should not be presumed to be the best judges of their own long-term interests and should not have the right to go behind their parents’ backs… The real issue here is whether 14 and 15-year-olds can make informed decisions about what is right and wrong for them. And if they don’t have that capacity, should they be allowed to operate in a moral and ethical vacuum?” - On Howard legislation giving parents access data about government benefits provided to their teenagers (for example, young women’s Medicare claims related to contraceptive advice), June 2004.
- The point I make in the book is that a society… is surely capable of providing additional recognition to what might be thought of as traditional marriage…. Something akin to a Matrimonial Causes Act marriage ought to be an option for people who would like it.”- On the reintroduction of at fault-divorce, July 2009.
- On queer people being members of a Catholic congregation: “…if you’d asked me for advice I would have said to have – adopt a sort of “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy about all of these things…”
- On aid to the ‘third world’ funding abortions: “I just think that surely there are higher priorities for Australia than funding things like that.”
- On whether a national celibacy campaign would be helpful to counter the rise in teen sexual activity, sexual infections and pregnancies:“I think that it’s very important that we empower people to reject this kind of rampant sensuality.”
- “Turn the boats back” -On immigration
- “It’s the responsibility of government to try to put policies in place which over time will allow people to improve their situation. But we can’t abolish poverty because poverty in part is a function of individual behaviour. We can’t stop people drinking; we can’t stop people gambling; we can’t stop people having substance problems; we can’t stop people from making mistakes that cause them to be less well-off than they might otherwise be. “
- “Western civilisation came to this country in 1788 and I’m proud of that…”
- LIZ HAYES: Homosexuality? How do you feel about that? TONY ABBOTT: I’d probably I feel a bit threatened…
- LEIGH SALES: What was “threatened” referring to? TONY ABBOTT: Well, there is no doubt that it challenges, if you like, orthodox notions of the right order of things…
- “I’d always been against the death penalty but that contemplating the enormity of certain sort of crimes I sometimes thought that some crimes were so hideous that if the punishment were to fit maybe we were left with no alternative but the death penalty.”
- “Mr Speaker, we have a bizarre double standard; a bizarre double standard in this country where some-one who kills a pregnant woman’s baby is guilty of murder, but a woman who aborts an unborn baby is simply exercising choice.”
- Racism used to be offered as the complete explanation for Aboriginal poverty, alienation and early death. Racism hasn’t disappeared. Still, if racism caused poverty, why hasn’t poverty declined as racism diminished.
- “What the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing is that if they get it done commercially it’s going to go up in price and their own power bills when they switch the iron on are going to go up, every year….”
- “I think there does need to be give and take on both sides, and this idea that sex is kind of a woman’s right to absolutely withhold, just as the idea that sex is a man’s right to demand I think they are both they both need to be moderated, so to speak”
It feels like such a privilege to not be in an abusive relationship.
TW: Talk of sexual abuse
I was just standing in the kitchen with Pax after we’d unpacked, Pax decided it was a good time to take the bin out but he fumbled with it all trying to separate the cardboards from the plastics. I was just standing there giggling, he had a laugh too and as he walked out the door with the rubbish, i thought “It feels like such a privilege to not be being hurt right now”.
Then it hit me how fucked up that actually is. Craig (biological father) was abusive towards my mother and i. My mum copped sexual, physical, verbal, emotional and financial abuse, i copped physical, verbal and emotional abuse. We left him when i was 15 and 6-8 months later i was in a relationship with a man and living with him. Then he raped me. Then there was a drug addicted girlfriend who regularly threw big tantrums and got in fights two years later a girl who said “No i will never try to treat you right….i am committed to being abusive”. I’ve had relationships between these abusive ones that weren’t abusive but they usually also weren’t safe or sane.
For the first time i am in a relationship where i feel completely respected, loved, accepted, satisfied and happy. I don’t feel afraid of talking in case something i say sets off an angry outburst, i don’t feel afraid that one day during sex he won’t stop, i don’t feel afraid when he runs his hand over the back of my neck, i don’t feel manipulated or lied to, i feel equal. It feels completely new to not be in a loud, shouting, crashing, scary household with a man. This is what it always should have been. This is what is fucking always should be for everyone though namely in this post, i am referring to women.
In America, 25% of women have experienced domestic violence in their life time. 85% of domestic violence victims are women.
In Australia 40% of all women have experienced violence since the age of 15. Since the age of 15, 33% of women have experienced inappropriate comments about their body or sex life, 25% have experienced unwanted sexual touching and 19% have been stalked.
Historically women have been victimised by someone they knew. So going by these statistics and many many many many many many many many many more, women are pretty fucking lucky not to experience some kind of relationship violence or abuse in their life time, to not be abused in some way really is a fucking privilege.
Yesterday while checking my facebook, i came across a joke (i mean..a “joke”) from an adult comedy page; i’m not going to repeat the joke for not wanting to spread it but it was a rape joke. I saw it and felt myself go red. I saw how many likes it was getting and the “haha” comments and i made a comment calling them out. A few people agreed with me but what i was shocked to see was women were the main people laughing at this joke (or rather the main ones commenting) and defending the joke even though the joke was one made about a violent sexual act being performed against another woman. I felt like i was surrounded by a great pit of social brainwashing. We have been programmed and pushed down so much when it comes to speaking up about and against sexual violence that the very act of raping someone is now a joke. And not just that, but even if the joke had been made and the victim was male, he would be put down for his lack of “masculine” or “manly” response…so he’d be called a pussy or a girl. Now just being female is an insult.
This shouldn’t all be normal. It shouldn’t be expected for a woman or girl to be assaulted. It shouldn’t be an exceptional thing to have a relationship that isn’t abusive. Women shouldn’t be the butt to every insult or degrading, dehumanizing joke. I guess what i want is for people to think about this. Think about what the people around you are saying, what they are doing. Think about what you are saying and doing because from the above statistics, if you’ve met say…10 women, you know at least one woman who has been assaulted or abused. Are you helping create an environment that is supportive, safe, active, fun for everyone or are you telling the rape jokes your sister might get nightmares from?
Pay It Forward: 10 Women of Color Making the World a Better Place for Girls
Young girls of color are resilient, creative, and powerful. And they grow up to become resilient, creative, and powerful women who go on to do whatever they can to make the world a better, more fun, and safer place for young women of color. Anything can provide a catalyst for change—a tragic event, an everyday occurrence, or a seemingly small question—. While many people will allow for life’s circumstances to get them down and keep them there, there are plenty of women of color who inspire our young girls, make them think, and help them to raise their voices.
This list of 10 amazing women of color is just a small percentage of the countless women of color who are doing big things. Some I’ve known for years, some I’ve recently met, and some I’ve admired through their work with the intention of meeting them someday. All of them I (and many others) are inspired by. Check out their work, connect with them, share ways that you can work together, and become inspired. Last but not least, share what you’ve learned in this post with the women and girls of color in your lives. The more women of color we have making a difference in the lives of young girls of color, the more young girls of color will grow up and pay it forward.
These women really are infusing passion and creativity to improve the health and lives of women and girls of color. Read more about them and be inspired:
A report out of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine found an instance of fetal engineering in which doctors are using a steroid to prevent traditionally masculine traits from appearing in female babies.
The paper’s authors used FOIAs to research a process by which doctors give a particular drug to pregnant women who are at risk of having a child born with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), “an endocrinological condition that can result in female fetuses being born with intersex or more male-typical genitals and brains.” The drug is administered before doctors know the sex of the baby or whether it has CAH.
More medical details from the Advocate:
The paper claims that this off-label intervention does not prevent CAH, but in fact just targets sex normalization. Like DES, a drug widely given to pregnant women in the 1970s which has shown to cause cancer and reproductive abnormalities in children and is now banned, dexamethasone is a synthetic steroid. The researchers say that the dose reaching the fetus is 60 to 100 times what the body would normally experience and almost 90% of fetuses exposed do not benefit from it..
The researchers claim this is a dangerous experiment on pregnant women and their fetuses that may turn into a tragedy like the one experienced with DES. In addition to reproductive abnormalities (that extend to second generations as well) and higher rates of certain cancers, male fetuses exposed to DES in utero have also been show to have higher rates of gender dysphoria than in the general population. Research on DES continues.
How scary. We absolutely need to find where this happens and stop it. This kind of intervention is just uncalled for.
Kerry Howley (via thenewwomensmovement)
An older lady overheard my friends and I talking about my poly life. When we could feel eyes on us, we turned around and stared at her. She told me “well that sounds fun, honey, but you’re getting to the age where settling down will give you lifelong security. If you stay on this path, sweetie, you’ll regret it when you get to my age.”
I’m 26 and I regret all the years I wasted listening to that slut-shaming.(via sexpositiveodyssey)
70% of women* CAN’T orgasm through penetration alone.
So if you’re one of those people who just happen to think you’ve only been with the 30% of women who can, let me tell you something:
Women’s bodies aren’t these terrible, mysterious things.
There is a button called the clitoris, and if you play with it enough, good things will happen.
Women, you are not abnormal if you can’t achieve orgasm through penetration alone. You are not abnormal. You are not abnormal. You are not abnormal.
Sex in tv and movies and porn almost always always always get it wrong.
*I acknowledge that not all those who identify as women have vaginae or clitorises.
Hookups are sadly cunnilingus free
While looking at college dating and sexual behavior, it is easy to see that hook-ups are a major form of intimacy and dating between people. There have been studies about how hook-ups relate to alcohol, sexual assault, sexually transmitted infections, and sexual pleasure. Most recently, a study is looking at oral sex satisfaction among college age women. The results are in:
In study recently published in Journal of Sex Research, sociologists Laura Backstrom, Elizabeth A. Armstrong, and Jennifer Puentes interviewed 43 college women (including 15 from Indiana University) about their experiences hooking up with men. In these interviews, most noted that they viewed cunnilingus (oral sex performed for a woman) as intimate and emotional, thus more desirable within a relationship But, among those who desire it with men they hook up with, they are often frustrated to find that cunnilingus is not a regular part of the routine for hookups. In fact, some noted the common disappointment they face when they performed oral sex for their partners that was not reciprocated with cunnilingus.
There’s an inequality in hookups, and it seems that while men are receiving oral sex, women are sadly not receiving oral sex in a reciprocal manner. Hook-up culture can lead to an unbalanced satisfaction, since generally if both people know it’s a one night deal, they focus on getting the most pleasure out of the experience, and not taking the time to learn what it is that their partner desires, since they may not sleep with them again.
However, if women feel empowered enough to ask their partners for oral sex, these numbers may rise. And to men who would like to perform oral sex on their hook-up partner, ask and go for it! Let’s not aim to have disappointed sexual partners!