Wednesday, September 30, 2009

let's talk about

brief history of college sex columns

At its core, the sex column phenomenon is a radical progressive movement in the sense of pushing against traditional silence and the status quo, which is a source of concern for many administrators, parents and even students. Challenges to the columns stem from a conservative mindset--whether that be political, religious or cultural. Given that the Republican Party has become increasingly dominated by the religious right and the issues of the conservative culture wars, with sex smack at the forefront, these columns become politicized in a way the columnists themselves don't necessarily intend. With abortion, abstinence programs and same-sex marriage making up three of the right's key issues, the statement that "sex is OK" becomes even more politically charged when the sex in question is generally unmarried and occasionally queer.

Heather Strack asserts in the (Dartmouth)Free Press, "A sex column is a significant statement of female rights. Not only am I a female columnist, but I am writing about a topic considered taboo and improper for a woman." Women are the main target of abstinence/purity movements; thus, even if most columnists do not state this as unambiguously as Strack, the campus sex column is not only about students seizing control but about hearing underrepresented voices. Though men are readers in equal numbers, the sex columnist is a (straight and queer) female-dominated profession, with a small minority of queer men.

(ok so they say queer a lot, but good points are made)

Sex columns vary widely and don't always include feminist motivations; some focus on love and relationships, while others have more casual concerns. They can promote exploration of gender and sexuality, or reinforce a heteronormative mentality. However, by and large, student sex columnists have higher standards for inclusive, woman-positive sex journalism--and better access to a venue willing to publish this material--than their off-campus counterparts. Isabel Murray, feminist columnist for the Free Press, takes Cosmopolitan to task for its heteronormative, male-pleasure-oriented approach, while pointing out that it and similar women's magazines are nonetheless the only noncampus media addressing female sexuality (explaining why until recently it was the most read magazine among college women).

also (deep sigh)

A Senate committee voted Tuesday night to restore $50 million a year in federal funding for abstinence-only education that President Barack Obama has pushed to eliminate.

The 12-11 vote by the Senate Finance Committee came over objections from its chairman, Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana.

Two Democrats – Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas – joined all 10 committee Republicans in voting "yes" on the measure by Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah.

The measure would still have to pass the full House and Senate.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Caster Semenya

"If it is the goal of the media and IAAF to destroy the life of a young, talented female athlete by outing her as potentially intersex then they are not simply pitiless; they are socially repugnant."

from the nation