- The teen booklet that Madeline and Suzanne over at Lunapdas have been working on for years with my help, as well as help and contributions from Inga Muscio, Sarah Mundy, Emira Mears and Dr. Jerilynn Prior is finally done, and is a gorgeous, fantastic, radical, groovy slice of awesome. Yay! You can order a copy of it or a PDF file here. I'm really excited that this is finally out, and think it's going to be a great thing for girls and young women to have for themselves.
- The Our Bodies, Ourselves blog yesterday reported on a disturbing piece in the New York Times about a "medical spa" in Manhattan described as the first facility "dedicated to strengthening and grooming a woman’s genital area." The facility's own website refers to its services as addressing "feminine fitness." The physician running the "spa" stated, "If you can vote and you have a vagina, you should do these. It’s the dental floss of feminine fitness.” To be clear, "feminine fitness" is a made-up phrase with no standard medical meaning, and the definition of physical fitness in general can be variable and subjective. Never mind that, though - I'm still hung up on "if you can vote and you have a vagina."
Read more here.
- gURL's sed ex blog reports on a not-terribly-surprising but still creepy issue where "a Salt Lake City teacher with over 30 years experience under her belt, is currently on paid administrative leave and may be fired, or even charged with a crime, for answering students' questions. That's because the questions asked were about oral sex, masturbation and homosexuality." They add that, "Republican politician Carl Wimmer announced his intention to introduce legislation specifically making it a crime for a teacher to stray from state guidelines on sex education. Additionally, his law would prohibit, "promoting or encouraging sexual behavior. The bill also would create a registry to record the names of teachers who violate the law."
Pretty scary stuff for those of us who are sex educators to think about. And speaking of educators in trouble for...well, doing their job, have a look at this bit of rubbish.
- Debra Haffner reviews The Secret Life of the American Teen. It's an understatement to say that she wasn't impressed.
"I think I've just watched the WORST television show on adolescent sexuality that I've ever seen. Broadcast for the first time on the ABC Family Network, the "Secret Life of the American Teen" has every bad stereotype of teenagers dealing with their sexuality that I think I have ever seen in a single hour. Every one of the boys is obsessed with having sexual intercourse. The boy with the multiple partners is the victim of repeated and implied violent incest by a father. The girls are either portrayed as sluts, down to revealing clothes and too much eye make up, or as clean scrubbed virtuous innocents, including the heroine who gets pregnant after one night at band camp which sounds almost like a rape situation. The possibility of abortion is dismissed out of hand. The portrayal of the one explicitly Christian family, with the girl with the purity ring, was beyond offensive, as this beautiful blond in the tight cheerleader outfit throws her legs around her suffering boyfriend and tells him they will need to wait until she finishes medical school. The attitude of the other students towards this Christian girl is offensive beyond reality."
- Sarah Seltzer at RH Reality Check has some marvelous reminders about body image, women and where to look for more positive messages.