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Thinking Sex Forum


Comments are posted in the order in which they are received, with earlier postings appearing first below on this page. To see the latest postings, click on "Go to last comment" below.

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Welcome!
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-08-27 14:11:41 :
Link to this Comment: 2461

Welcome to the course forum area for "Thinking Sex"; I'm glad you are here. This is a place for continuing the conversations we'll be initiating in our class sessions: not in "formal" writing, but as a form of "thinking out loud" so others can learn from your thoughts in progress, and you from theirs. This is also a place where people beyond our classroom can find our conversations useful. I'm looking forward to hearing what everyone has to say, learning from all of it, and hope you are too.

Let's start in thinking together by telling one another what we think of the range of images we saw in class today. What did you think of when you saw them? Try making up, or sketching, a story about one or both of them.


Watercolor/Vigeland Sculpture
Name: Chelsea Ph
Date: //2002-09-04 19:07:36 :
Link to this Comment: 2499

Hi everybody! Ok, the first thing I'm looking at is the watercolor. The thing that comes immediately to mind for me is a kiss. I see each shade of blue as a figure caught up in the act of an embrace. There is not a lot of, well, not passion, but violent passion. The colors seem not to represent the lustfulness of infatuation, but the simple joy and intamacy that comes from a secure, deeply rooted love between two people. I like the way they meld in the middle...it is an acknowledgement both of their individuality and the harmony produced when they are together. The next thing that I see as I look at this watercolor is a double helix separating. It still goes along with the overarching idea of separate identities within a whole, but I can see each color as a new page of life stretching out and bursting with energy waiting to be written into a...something. Of course, there is a flip side as well...maybe it is coming together and not separating, becoming whole rather than growing apart- probably says something about the way my mind works.

The sculpture is...interesting. I know that's a vague term, but it's really the only thing I can think of for it. I see these figures as mother and child, which then makes it more diffucult for me to think of them as sexual. Perhaps the mother is trying to heal the damaged caused to a son by trying to compensate for an inadaquate father and husband. Or perhaps the pain comes from rejection by the father? The fact that the figures are naked places no overt sexual tone on it for me...perhaps because I think of sculpture as being routinely nude. The female figure definately seems older to me, though I can't honestly back that with anything other than my own impressions. In a sexual way, it would remind me of the relationship between Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon (or any similar situation)...as she aged more quickly and failed to produce a son, I wonder if this could be a typical scene- her conjoling, asking for patience, or begging Henry not to despair and to keep trying. He at first still loving, not yet willing to cast her aside out of loyalty, but frustrated and frightened, like a child. Ok, those are my thoughts- looking forward to reading others!

Chelsea


Unrav/Vigeland Sculp.
Name: Sarah Mend
Date: //2002-09-04 20:44:03 :
Link to this Comment: 2500

I tried hard not to, but in all of Burgmayer's work so far, I've seen a woman. The woman featured in "Unraveling" is wild--not necessarily demonic but surely full of some intense emotion she is unable to control. I see very clearly her body which is full of curves and motion, as well as her hair blowing wildly about in the torrent of wind she herself creates. I also see very clearly a plane or desert, some flat piece of land slanted in our eyes only because the one who is capturing this sight has been knocked at an angle from her powerful command of the elements. The watercolor at the bottom of the painting and specifically the bottom right hand corner is blurred and appears larger as do all objects appearing in the camera of an onlooking photo journalist. When I look at this piece I feel very much like a journalist documenting a natural disaster, knocked down and banged around from what seems like a twister (which coincidentally or not looks very much like the woman's body). While the scene does strike me as being wildly out of control, the woman seems to be very much in control of what is going on and simply seems to prefer things in a state of chaos and upheaval.

The first time I looked at the Vigeland Sculpture Garden I became very tense because it strikes me as a depiction of a love not reciprocated. At first I saw the two figures as lovers but upon closer inspection I decided they must be a mother and her son. This made me uncomfortable as I began to think about Oedipal theories whatnot. After steering myself away from these thoughts, I started to look closely at their positioning--at how the woman leans into the man and extends herself towards him and on him--at how he turns from her and seems to ignore her. Take him away and her positioning makes no sense. Take her away and he could be3 sitting underneath a tree musing. There seems to me nothing sexual in this picture perhaps because I associate sex with positive feelings and there seem to be only negative/sad/solitary ones in this. Their expressions seem much too serious and her look too all-around quaint for anything sexual. What I see is more of a conversation where son seems distant yet refuses to talk and mother expresses her wish to be there for him and for him to tell her how he is feeling. So I'm coming away with alot of feeling in this one but very little sexual feeling.


Unraveling/Vigeland sculpture
Name: Monica Loc
Date: //2002-09-04 23:50:33 :
Link to this Comment: 2503

As I observe the first image (Intimacy), I see passion-two beings uniting as one in a kiss. The explosion of pastel colors gives the portrait a calm and vibrant effect. Lust and deep affection is embodied in the image which is shown in the colors running wild. I also see the image as a penis entering a vagina which is in a vulnerable state. The blue represents the penis while the green, pink, and purple dabs represent the sacred vagina. The pink and red blots in the vagina symbolize the woman as loosing her virginity and little red spots which symbolize blood are seen on the penis. This is a very emotional and physical portrait in a sense that the passion is uncontrollable and the act of having sex is simple and at the same time joyous.

The second image gives me a stiff feeling. Maybe it is because it reminds me of one of those solid greek statues. Actually, it reminds me of the remains of Mount Vesuvius. As the volcano erupted and the people of the city tried to flee the place, some residents of the area decided to stay in their homes and die. In this image, I see an old lady leaning on a man who looks confused because he does not know whether he is going to live or die and at the same time, he has no expression because he is overwhelmed with the situation. It seems like the old lady and man are not acquainted with each other but they happened to be at the same place and time during the eruption of the volcano so they had no one but each other to hold on to.


Unraveling/Vigeland Sculpture
Name: Bea Lucaci
Date: //2002-09-05 01:21:46 :
Link to this Comment: 2505

From the first moment I saw this watercolor, I interpreted it as a kiss between two people. It seems to be a deep, loving moment experienced only by the lovers. The pastels make it seems almost dreamlike. It depicts how it is possible to become so lost in an intense moment that one becomes unaware of surroundings. The simplicity of the painting, along with the focus set upon the close-up of the two, demonstrates how feelings can be both basic and enthralling. The overlapping colors represent the unity between the individuals. The blending shows how they can become one person for at least a moment, though they are two different people.

When looking at the sculpture, I get feelings of frustration and sadness. I see the pair as mother and son. The woman is trying to console her son. She is trying to help/fix a problem over which she has no control. I also get a sense of desperation from her. It looks like, though he's a grown man, she is having a hard time 'cutting the apron strings.' However, her son appears very dissatisfied with her efforts. Judging by his body language, it seems as though he's wishing she would stop trying. This sculpture conveys a sort of alienation. It's as though he refuses to open up to her, to share his fears or concerns. The mother looks to be trying earnestly comfort him, though he blatantly ignores her while looking very tense. I get much more feeling from the mother than the son. He looks very cold, very removed from the situation (or wishing he was).


Impotence
Name: Jill Neust
Date: //2002-09-05 12:26:47 :
Link to this Comment: 2510

When I look at the two images, the sculpture draws my eye first. I look at the picture and I am instantly struck by the expressions on the faces of the man and the woman. The sculpture tells me a story of difficulty. The man (Fred) looks impotent and powerless, while the woman (Wilma) is both strong and comforting. She plays both of the roles, masculine and feminine, and Fred is unable to cope with his lack of power. He feels stripped of his identity and is stubbornly pouting. Wilma wants him to feel engaged and is willing to strip herself of her power in order to make him happy.

I think that part of the reason I feel that Fred is powerless stems from his lack of a direct gaze. He is the object being gazed upon, which is a role traditionally associated with women. Wilma, instead, utilizes the power of the gaze and takes on the traditional masculine role.

The scene reminds me of an attempted sexual encounter wherein the man finds himself unable to perform. In this situation, the woman becomes the power figure and the man inadequate. In order to maintain the normal "routine", women in this situation generally give up their power. They work to remain feminine so that the men can continue to be powerful and masculine. (This is not a practice that I feel is the right thing to do, but I do think that it is common.)

The watercolor painting does not speak to me as much as the sculpture. In it, I see a flow of shared energy, like two people's auras comingling. There is a give-and-take situation, with shared middle ground. The painting represents what I think should happen in an ideal relationship--the power is equal and both members have their own identity but also shared ground. This is very unlike what I see in the sculpture; almost the exact opposite, in fact.


response (or lack of...)
Name: Elisa
Date: //2002-09-05 12:27:50 :
Link to this Comment: 2511

In my attempt to interpret Burgmayer's watercolor, I am struck with the sense of fluidity that emerges from the piece. I see the representation of the coming together of two groin areas,(sorry, I couldnt think of a better word to describe that-- esp. considering that I cannot visually assign a gender to any of the pair), and the fluid that is produce in response to simultaneous stimulation and pleasure that is shared between the two. It is a piece about bodies responding to one another--- about communication--- and, from the gentle, warm colors that the artist used to depict the act, I think that Burgmayer is telling us that this is a beautiful act that is not to be feared but enjoyed.

The sculpture however, is a prime example of communication gone wrong. The piece to me is obvisouly gendered--- the figure on the left being an older woman, while the one on the right is that of a young male. I echo what my classmates have written already in saying that the pair seems to be that of a mother and son (what marks that for me is the emphasis placed on her stomach which appears to be sagging from having given birth to children). He is about to grow up--- leave the house, become a "man." But he does not want to leave the comforts of home. He ignores her; furthermore, he is frustrated by his mother's attempt to console him. The more she tries to communicate, the more he is distant. There is no joy or pleasure shared between these two.


Unraveling/Vigeland sculpture
Name: Masha Shar
Date: //2002-09-05 14:48:19 :
Link to this Comment: 2515

I think the interpretation benefits from connecting these two images, not because I am running late and trying to minimize my effort, rather it is my vulgar need for some sort of causality; sheer emotion, however powerful aesthetically, does not satisfy my rationality.

Once juxtaposed and treated as complimentary, these images offer a broad range of possible interpretations, from widely explored in folk wisdom "once together – now apart" to something of more complex aesthetic bent, like Euripides' Fedra, where the woman is filled with sexual desire and it is through this desire that she makes sense of the world, while for the man sexuality is not instrumental in his sense-making process, for him it is a moment of self-denial, of giving-in to some foreign force; that is why the inter-sexual dialogue is never complete and both sides remain at a loss.


adding to my comment on Unraveling/Vigeland sculpt
Name: Masha
Date: //2002-09-05 15:13:10 :
Link to this Comment: 2517

I am afraid I have left out the age notion. Of course, the woman is older as she represents old earthy desire (knowledge or blindness depending on the viewer value system), while the youth of the man suggests his breaking free from the old world and searching for a new truth (illusion or enlightening).


Response to 'Unraveling' and Vigeland structure
Name: Maggie
Date: //2002-09-05 17:28:48 :
Link to this Comment: 2520

It is odd to me that this piece is called 'Unraveling' because when I first looked at it, I saw it more as a coming-together picture. I also did not immediately see the image as very sensual/sexual. But upon reconsideration of the artwork and the title, I could see it both ways. If the gray object at the top is a penis, we can interpret the 'Unraveling' title as both literal and figurative. Perhaps the woman was a virgin, and it seems to her that she is literally, physically unraveling. Or perhaps, for any number of reasons, the sex she is currently experiencing is causing her to unravel emotionally.
I also did not see the Vigeland sculpture as very sexual. In our society, nakedness is almost always associated with sex, and these two statues were naked, but other than that I didn't see it as sexual. I saw it more as a sad time for both of them, and that their relationship was more about companionship than sex. The woman was older, and appeared more concerned for the man than sadness. The younger man seemed worried or upset about something also, but was clearly not responding to the woman's comfort.


Unraveling/Vigeland sculpture
Name: Iris Dicke
Date: //2002-09-05 18:27:36 :
Link to this Comment: 2521

Unraveling: I see...
Two beings: closed, private, individuals. They allow themselves to be poured from their separate containers. They spill their vulnerability openly upon each other. Together they create a pallet of colorful experiences and ideas. Eventually they are able to mold into each other. They not only meet, but overlap. Taking parts of the other person as their own until they are too entangled to be easily separated. Still they have so much more that they can give to each other.


Vigeland sculpture: I see...
Two lovers battling against their own internal safety mechanisms that tell them to be careful, not to share too much of themselves to the other for fear of loosing their own identity. One man ponders how to explain these feelings to his partner, while his partner patiently encourages him to open him to open himself.



Name:
Date: //2002-09-06 16:37:36 :
Link to this Comment: 2533

Sharon Burgmayer asked me if I'd created a forum for you to record your initial responses to "Safe Haven" and so I've done so. She and I warmly invite you to write here what you noticed when you first saw the cover of our course packet. What did you feel? What did you think? What did you think about what you felt?


safe haven
Name: Anne
Date: //2002-09-06 16:38:46 :
Link to this Comment: 2534

Sharon Burgmayer asked me if I'd created a forum for you to record your initial responses to "Safe Haven" and so I've done so. She and I warmly invite you to write here what you noticed when you first saw the cover of our course packet. What did you feel? What did you think? What did you think about what you felt?


Gayle Rubin/Oral Sex
Name: Anne
Date: //2002-09-06 16:46:20 :
Link to this Comment: 2535

The scribes for our Thursday afternoon role plays about middle school oral sex were also asked to record here what happened and what you learned in your discussions. This is also a place for all of us to record, more generally, any of our reactions to Gayle Rubin's essay on "Thinking Sex."

The three articles I quoted from in class were

You can also find some recent conversations, in which Rubin has participated, about cross-generational sex at



Name: Lauren Hil
Date: //2002-09-06 19:14:15 :
Link to this Comment: 2536

Right now I am looking at the water color and I am trying my hardest to sexualize it and its just not happening for me. I guess because the class is called, "Thinking Sex" I assume I really am supposed to be thinking sex. Though I don't find the water color sexual there is something undeniably feminine about it. The colors are soft and translucent and I associate those things with femininity. For me it looks like two oceans conversing into one.

I am definitely more intrigued by the picture of the statues. The man looks frustrated, annoyed, bored, sad, angry.. I am not sure which one but he's definitely feeling something and it isn't pleasant. And the woman is attemting to get his attention and he just isn't being receptive. He doesn't seem to want her around. I really feel they are romantically involved in some way. Others spoke in their postings about how they seem to be mother and son, but I wasn't feeling that. I do think the woman is being maternal but I don't think its in the same way we think of a mother/son relationship. It seems like women automatically "mother" those who appear to be in need of mothering, but those people don't necessarily have to be children.


Forum 1 & 2
Name: HY
Date: //2002-09-07 13:26:04 :
Link to this Comment: 2538

Image #2: He is the thinker. Worried over a triviality that only a man would waste his time over. Just as men seem not to worry about what we think are the important things. They muddle their minds with concerns that we "wouldn't understand" and we are left to the corners of rooms, edges of beds, or worse, to cajole them, coax them, seduce them out of their self absorbed trance. She is strong and wise, laying her hand on his shoulder gently. She'll make a real man out of him. Actually she may even be his mother. Her body is lax in comparison to his taught rudeness. Her eyes hollow in her face - wisened by the atrocities unseen in every day life. I actually want to walk around this sculpture. The desire to is overwhelming. Otherwise I cannot continue painting this picture.


Forum 3
Name: H
Date: //2002-09-07 13:35:46 :
Link to this Comment: 2539

Forum #3: Is it possible to "put sex into" language? Is it . . .
I think to ask whether it is possible to put sex into language is a useless question. This may very well be a Saturday morning cop out on my part. But I feel that the "policing" that we are trying to understand as well as overcome concerning sex and sexuality, has affected this very question. Why do we need, or fell the need, to put sex into language? Is it so that we may open an intellectual, theoretical question? Why can't we let sex be, language less, or rather, natural in its own language. No, today I do not feel that we can put sex into language because sex IS a language and has a language all its own. Translation is futile. Of course I do not disapprove (if I may speak so haughtily) of the desire to do so, I myself am, after all, enrolled in a this course! But I am willing to relinquish to the idea that I, we, are studying something to which there is no end, no solution, no neatly packaged, all encompassing thesis. We cannot begin to understand the language of sex, which our bodies, emotions, etc. create and succumb to. Why not just revel in it for a day?


Intimacy and Unraveling
Name: Deborah So
Date: //2002-09-07 15:00:44 :
Link to this Comment: 2540

Intimacy‡ This piece has a lot of movement in it, and intimacy of joining bodies. The blue seems masculine to me, with the orange/pink more feminine. I don't know if this is because of cultural proclivity to associate male with blue and female with pink...the blue seems to have a shocked expression, and seems more enthusiastically inclined toward the nether regions of the piece, in my perception, the genital area of the figures. The orange figure has a bit of physical separation at the breast, and though she is protruding into the blue, it seems that she's being penetrated. It's funny that I immediately view this in light of heterosexual intimacy, perhaps because that is what I have been most exposed to personally? The figures are rushing toward one another, happy, joined but separate, like sexual not emotional intimacy.
Unraveling‡ I can find a lot of sexual images when I view this piece. It looks like the top gray vee is a vagina with pubic hair...the darker blue on the right looks like a flow of seman getting though the skin...lipid bi-layer from biology enters my mind in the middle helix-like section. Its hard to use words to describe these visuals...when I was first writing my impressions down, I realized I was drawing what I was trying to say! This ties really well into can you put sex into language, cause so much about sex is visual impression. The top of the piece seems more ordered, and as the gaze moves down, the colors and figures become more chaotic, immediate, almost...climactic?!


Safe Haven
Name: Sarah Mend
Date: //2002-09-07 15:23:28 :
Link to this Comment: 2541

I'll leave out my initial reaction to the course packet cover "Safe Haven" because it was generally all about women and vaginas. What I saw after closer inspection was the birds eye view of a brain, disected so as to allow the viewer to see the male and female forces competing against each other. I was thinking of Woolf's idea that every person has a male thinking side of the brain and also a female thinking side. I know a lot of people saw the bluish green portion of the piece as a single form but I saw it as two--as two forms in some sort of duel, perhaps working together at times, but in general working antagonistically. The piece didn't necessarily comfort me or make me tense--it just made me think. And while I never used the word "sex" to describe my thoughts on it, there is something inherently sexual about the idea of the brain and the forces within.


"Intimacy" and Vigeland's sculpture
Name: Jenny Wade
Date: //2002-09-08 14:39:28 :
Link to this Comment: 2551

The two images "Intimacy", the blue and orange watercolor piece, and Vigeland's sculpture of a man and woman really inspired me to tell a story. To me, the images seem to be linked, the sculptures remaining the outer appearance of a man and woman while the watercolors dramatically illustrates their inner emotions. I chose to interpret these images by telling a story in the voice of the woman who is represented by Vigeland's sculture and whose imagination is represented by the watercolors:


Melting

I sit and gaze at your face, my arm gently cradling your shoulder, remembering the last moment before we became "stone", before our emotions hardened forcing us to remain stiff and marbled without soft flesh. Sympathetic and patient, I hold my jaw steady as I note your stiff awkward position with one arm heavy and rigid, positioned awkwardly against your body, the other arm visibly pressed against your mouth to physically trap words inside.

I remember the moment when your lust faded, when my intimacy became more than you could handle and your adoration for me ceased. You used to tell me that my soft, pink touch felt like sunlight filtrating through your body as you caressed my lips. You always liked the way my hair fell across my face, but then something changed; maybe it was the loving way I looked at you that scared you away, stopped you from pursuing true intimacy. Questioning me with shifting eyes, looking anxiously out of one corner, you pretend to look into the distance. I imagine my own face the way you used to describe it: lit by an angelic glow, seductive and mysterious. Now I watch your shifting eyes and imagine your mouth hanging open in pure terror, and your face is blue, frozen and blurred around the edges, so cold and distant that it's worse than stone. Your face is like ice frozen over in that horrifically terrified expression. In my mind, my own face is how you described it, but the angelic glow is deeper, almost orange in color, and I wish my passionate warmth could gently penetrate that frozen exterior and melt your fears away.


language of sex
Name: Jenny Wade
Date: //2002-09-08 15:14:15 :
Link to this Comment: 2553

The subject of whether "sex" can be put into language is extremely interesting. Sex is inherently based upon personal experience, both physical and emotional, embracing such intense experiences in both that in remains difficult, and rather frustrating , to put them into language. The "language of sex" seems concisely specialized, incorporating "language" in not only spoken word, but in the forms of color, visual images, other vocal articulations, body language, and music. It is a fusion of these (and many other) languages which incorporate not only description, but experience, to form the "language of sex." To me, music seems the most closely related language to sex, sexual desires, and variation. While music is written with a specific formula and notation, every performer of a specific composition alters it and makes it his/her own allowing room for various changes/additions in dynamics, style, and emphasis throughout the piece. Therefore, no two performances (experiences) are the same from individual to individual or for a specific individual. In fact, two performances of the exact same composition may finish in two very different spots and barely converge at all. Also the constant movement and inability to immobilize any given moment in a musical composition parallels the inability to capture and easily analyze a sexual experience, desire, etc. This is just one thought on the "language of sex" which seems to be so complex that the possibility of only one possible explanation or viewpoint is impossible.


Intimacy
Name: Kathryn Mc
Date: //2002-09-08 16:06:23 :
Link to this Comment: 2554

In the watercolor, ¡°Intimacy,¡± I see the full body profile of a woman on the orange side. Her face looks like it rests on the shoulder of her lover, a figure I can discern on the edge of the blue side. I see the orange woman¡¯s face, breasts, stomach, and the pseudo-controversial tongue/penis element looks more like her foot to me. Within each color are blots and shapes that come together for me in the shape of a face on each panel of color. There is a strand of hair falling over the eye of the orange face, and they both face the left, same as the figures. The blue face looks upset, and very vocal, whereas the orange face looks calm and collected as if she is listening to her partner¡¯s words. For me this piece is very emotionally intimate within the context of a sexual relationship, but it does not strike me as being sexually intimate. In other words, I don¡¯t see a sex act represented in this watercolor. At least not yet. There is a lot of suspense in this painting, perhaps they are just going through the preliminaries before they engage in sex itself. I also don¡¯t think these figures necessarily have to be male and female or that the orange figure even is female. Maybe the orange figure is male, and it is his arm or elbow protruding, rather than a breast. I see the two colors as two distinct personalities rather than sexes/genders.



Name: Kathryn Mc
Date: //2002-09-08 16:56:24 :
Link to this Comment: 2555

Ironically the following was in an ad that popped up on my computer screen as I was getting ready to post my comments (capitalization is mine):

Is There Pornography on Your PC?

"I knew that my teenage son had a pornography PROBLEM but he told me that he was over it. I believed him until I found "ContentAudit." With this proof, I was able to confront him and get him the HELP he really needed."

-Thanks ContentWatch!

Yikes! This is exactly why it is necessary to put sex into language. Right now language is coded (to use Delany's term) to be anti-sex. Pornography is this teenage boy's "problem." Not interest, or curiosity natural to every teenager (or just boys, as some believe). The boy is curious not just about sexual information that – if he's lucky – he might be able to get from his parents and/or his high school sex education program, and he is curious about his own sexual desire. The ad did not state what kind of pornography the kid was looking at; whether it was of women and men having sex, women masturbating, lesbians, gay men, children, animals, S&M, etc. It could have been any number of things. We don't even know if it might have been "sexist." To lump all possibilities together presents a front that sex is bad as a whole (though we know that within this attitude exists a realm of sexual hierarchies). A simple description not only would have alienated consumers, but it also would have been over the top and impolite, for in polite speech sex is frequently talked about indirectly. To acknowledge the existence or absence of it in everyday life could offend others and leave one vulnerable for attack. Silence is currently the best stance on sex, while secretly the most unpopular. Thank you, Puritanism. The language that we do use regarding sex is alternatively dirty or sterile, vulgar or abstract. It is private and rarely made public unless it is used to uphold social "norms," such as sodomy laws or make an example of someone, i.e. Bill Clinton. Sex is viewed as impure; it is animalistic and uncivilized to discuss. Sex is an "adult" activity that adults are made to feel uncomfortable discussing. At best, we dismiss sex, taking it for granted that (married) couples "do it." At worst we use a passive voice (this may be in correct, I was never formally taught grammar): "they HAD sex." And, in fact, this dismisses the topic. It sounds disassociated from the people who performed the act. If you say "they fucked," it adds an entirely different dimension, one of passion and desire. Primal urges are supposed to be overlooked by civilized people. We need to use active language with sex; we need to call it what it is. We need to link sex with desire in our speech and thoughts and not be so clinical or removed. Having sex (fucking), eating, sleeping, talking, etc. are activities that humans engage in and are activities that the human body has evolved to do. Personal prefrences aside, we were meant to do it. To remove sex from language, with language being a component vital to humanity, is an attempt to remove it from the human experience. And that is absurd, unless the idea of human reproduction relying solely on in vitro fertilization appeals to you. It means that if we cannot communicate about sex, we cannot learn about it from one another, appreciate each other's different tastes, or find others who have similar tastes. In this case ignorance is far from bliss. The teenage boy, crucified in the ad above has no problem that I can discern from the ad, except a strained relationship with his parent, and a far from accurate introduction into healthy human behavior.


Role playing
Name: Chelsea
Date: //2002-09-08 21:38:33 :
Link to this Comment: 2558

Hi everybody! Here are some comments/observations that we discussed in our role-playing exercise...first the cast: Tommy (the boy, hereafter T), Jenny (the girl, hereafter J), Mrs. Potter (the mother...for BOTH, hereafter MP), Ms. Senorita Margarita (the counselor, hereafter SM). The situation: Tommy and Jenny found having oral sex in the middle of gym...

First observations are that SM has J explain to her mother, not T and that she merely prods J toward a full explaination, rather than doing any explaining herself. MP takes this very calmly- wanting to discuss any actions with the father before speaking to the children. SM then speaks first with MP, then with J by herself, trying to find out why this happened. J is asked if she ever feels neglected at home, if her father has ever done anything to her (touching her, etc) that made her feel unsafe or bad about herself. J says that she doesn't really know why, but that a lot of her friends were also doing this, so it didn't seem like a big deal. SM then asked if she were aware of STD's, consequences, etc, which J says she was not.

Biggest questions: Why did no one ever speak with Tommy? It was assumed that he initiated all of the behavior, though he was never asked why. They never focused on him, he is ignored, almost as if this situation doesn't really involve him- he is incidental, not actaully a part of what happened. We also discussed the debate about how detailed do you get when you explain sex to a young person? Do you leave things like oral sex out, placing the real focus on avoiding an unwanted pregnancy? Why is this? Do we assume that once it's out of your mouth, they've done it? But if knowledge is power, than we should explain all that we can so they can make the most informed and adult decision and we've done everything we can to make them safe. The point is, if they really want to have sex (oral or otherwise) they will, no matter what you do, and your job should be one of informing rather than yelling or scaring.


Response to Safe Haven
Name: Maggie
Date: //2002-09-08 22:50:57 :
Link to this Comment: 2560

Here's what I wrote in class on the third:
I see a flower. The beautiful, large, delicate red flowers with petals that open and then bend backwards. Inside is where the petals proctect the flower's pollen. This part is the most important part to the flower, the part that ensures reproduction and survival.

I see a woman's vagina, similar to the flower in its beauty and delicacy. Inside is the dark part, the most private and protected part, that can release feelings of relief, guilt, joy, passion, sadness...

I see a woman's heart. Beautiful and delicate with petals surrounding it, protecting the inside from the world. The inside is the most precious, where the strongest hatred, deepest love and darkest secrets can stay. Inside, they are safe.

Looking back at what I wrote, I was surprised that I wrote that without knowing that the title was Safe Haven. For the other pieces that we responded to I knew the titles, and I think it is more interesting if you don't know what the title is. Because, at least for me, if I knew what the artwork was called, I immediately tried to understand why the artist called it that, instead of just responding to how I saw it.


Role-Playing observations
Name: Maggie
Date: //2002-09-08 23:21:45 :
Link to this Comment: 2563

The actual conversation that we had between the boy, the girl, themother of the boy, and the guidance counselor wasn't that revealing. Mostly, the adults asked questions and the children were pretty reticent. One interesting twist that we added to our situation was that they had used a condom. So while a focus may have been that the children weren't aware that oral sex could still give them diseases, now it was turned into a more moral situation. If the adults were mad at the kids now, it was because they were judging that they were too young to be having oral sex, instead of being able to hide that anger behind concern about them getting a disease. If the kids were safe about it, and both willing to do it, then should the adults be allowed to punish them for it?

One piece of information I picked up while talking to a friend about this class... The girl who she baby-sits goes to a private Episcopalian school for upper-middle class to wealthy kids, and there was a out break of gonorrhea of the throat in the fifth grade.


Sex in Old Age
Name: Anne
Date: //2002-09-09 10:02:40 :
Link to this Comment: 2566

The experience of a friend of a friend... has gotten me thinking about sexual experience @ the OTHER end of the life span from the middle school experiences we were discussing in class on Thursday. I've got the (belated) notion that an excellent praxis site for us would be a home for the aged. What sex happens there and how is it talked about? If you'd like to be thinking about this (and perhaps have your eyes opened to some aspects of experience you haven't yet thought about....?) check out At Elders' Home, Each Day Is Valentine's Day and Sexually disinhibited Behavior in the cognitively Impaird Elderly ...and let us know what you think....


Is it possible to "put "sex into language?
Name: Anne
Date: //2002-09-09 12:01:52 :
Link to this Comment: 2567

Several of you have already anticipated/begun to offer some answers to "this week's" range of related questions, which are these:
Is it possible to put sex into language?
Is it necessary?
If so, what use does it serve?
(Of what use was it, for instance, to "put into words," first in class, then on-line, your feelings and thoughts about Sharon Burgmayer's paintings?)


the "role play" with oral sex among middle schoole
Name: Lauren Fri
Date: //2002-09-09 20:25:18 :
Link to this Comment: 2571

In my group, we put first put a twist on the situation by deciding that the oral sex would take place between two girls, therefore somehow doing away with any implied or assumed power dynamics in the boy-girl oral sex situations. When they speak individually with the "school therapist" each girl makes excuses for the sex. The first girl claims that she did it because the other one encouraged her to do it if she wanted to make varsity soccer. But the second girl insists that the first girl threatened that she would beat her up if she didn't partake. When the second girl speaks to her very open-minded, level-headed mother about the situation, it becomes clear that both girls were lying. She admits to her mother that they're "buds," and that it wasn't the first time they'd had oral sex. In the end, it seemed that both girls felt that there was not necessarily something inherently wrong with the sex act, but rather with the fact that they were only doing it because it was fun, or pleasurable. They both lied to the school because they thought it would be less bad if they pretended their motives were anything other than purely erotic.


thoughts on "Inside/Out" by Diana Fuss
Name: Lauren Fri
Date: //2002-09-09 20:43:20 :
Link to this Comment: 2572

I thought one of the most interesting and important points Fuss makes in her essay is that a sexual preference, by its very definition, must be in opposition to something else. Because the system of sexuality is presented, at least linguistically, as binary, one choice is naturally pitted against the other. The very roots of "hetero-" (other) and "homo-" (same) are opposites. Without blackmarking homosexuality as inherently deficient, people would be more inclined to dig up all the deficiencies of heterosexuality. Clearly, a new way of expressing different sexualities linguistically is necessary if different sexualities are ever to be equally respected.

This past weekend, I heard a new term in the vocabulary of sexual orientation. My friend met a girl who identifies as "flexual." I think this word is an interesting rejection of the automatically binary implications of the language of sexuality usually employed.


Blue kiss
Name: Nancy
Date: //2002-09-09 20:45:50 :
Link to this Comment: 2573

The blue painting reminds me of a kiss. Not just any kiss, but the most passionate kiss ever; so passionate that everything else disapears and energy flows back and forth and the two individuals become one (sigh). More on topic, the figures are pretty ambiguous (androgynous, I suppose), no defining sexual characteristics, just the inherent message of expressed sexuality and love (lust?). I think this is the most important characteristic. Just two people expressing emotion, something everyone can relate to.


Safe Haven
Name: Monica Loc
Date: //2002-09-09 21:55:07 :
Link to this Comment: 2574

Every year during the first week of classes I am used to buying books or getting some boring thick binder full of papers. However to my surprise it was different for this course and this made me eager to learn what the course entailed. The cover is calm and gives me a feeling of peace. The colors are gentle but at the same time loud. I like the contrast because it gives the painting more definition and mystery. Thinking of the course title made me come up with a picture of an embryo and a baby inside waiting to be brought into this beautiful world.


Sex into language
Name: Monica Loc
Date: //2002-09-09 22:36:16 :
Link to this Comment: 2576

Sex can be put into any language. However it is difficult for one to explain how. I am having difficulty actually. For me besides doing the act of sex, there is much more to sex. Without having passionate and deep feelings for a person, sex is not sex. Emotions is what I believe drives the act of having sex besides the fact that raging hormones do play a role in having sex. It is not really necessary to put sex into language, I think that actions are more necesarry than actually having to articulate feelings on sex.I might not make sense to some of you but this is the way I at least see it.
The article "Aversion/Perversion/Diversion" is what made me think that sex can be put into language. When I say language, it does not necessarily mean talking, but communicating in other ways such as gestures and touching.In this case, sex was not thought of a passionate rollercoaster that landed in bed but rather a intense sexual attraction. In this matter, this contradicts my definition of the act of sex but that is okay. In the part where the narrator says that the Hispanic man had a fetish for playing with feet, he did not go into detail on how the Hispanic man and the narrator got it on. Because there was no talk between them, they would just nod at each other and before they knew it, they were both enjoying each other.This is how I believe that sex can be put into body language.


Comments on Pictures and Questions
Name: Jessica Tu
Date: //2002-09-10 00:31:57 :
Link to this Comment: 2579

When I first looked at "Safe Haven" my response correlates to the name of the piece. I recieved the impression of something warm, soft, and loving. Looking at the picture further, I feel almost as if I'm looking at womb with some kind of vibrant life growing in it. When I study the picture even more, it seems to me like some of the walls of the womb are made up of lip stick mouth marks, like loving kisses.

re: the questions...

I think it is possible to put sex into language. I think it's done all the time between lovers, and in pornography. But I also believe there are great social constructs that make it difficult to put sex into language in every day lives, because there is a great concern over what is appropriate. Unfortunately in the search for appropriateness, many just agree to avoidance of puting sex into language because it's easier not to have to figure out how to speak about sex. However it is necessary to put sex into language not only to deal with emotions and desires, but more importantly for health issues. By putting sex into language we can be come more self aware, but also create a forum for dialoge.

(Because I joined the class late, my response to the first two pictures:)
The first blue picture is very aquatic and seems almost like to bodies of water flowing into each other. But the two waters seem to have the silloette of faces, faces kissing. This picture to me seems like two lovers kissing and their souls following into each other.

The second image does not seem to be as sexual to me. The man with his hand over his mouth seems to be grieving. The women who is leaning over him slightly appears to be trying to comfort him. I recieve the impression that she is older than him. I feel as if I'm looking on as a mother comforts her sons grief.


forum #1
Name: michelle m
Date: //2002-09-10 00:52:07 :
Link to this Comment: 2580

I am particularly intrigued by the statues. The woman is distinctly older than the young strong man. The woman's focus is on the young man as they sit, almost embraced, naked together. Yet the man seems to ignore her completely, or else he is simly deep in thought. Is their relationship supposed to be sexual? the age difference and desexualization of the elderly makes me try to come up with a non-sexual explination. It is difficult to capture the gazes and all they express in words. The visual input tells more than can be expressed verbally.


sex and language
Name: michelle m
Date: //2002-09-10 01:06:56 :
Link to this Comment: 2581

By asking if we can "put sex into language" we in a sense have just answered part of our own question - we just did it. Of course we can put sex into some type of language if only so that we each have a common reference point. I think the more relevent question is "to what extent does the discourse capture the experince?" Perhaps it is the same question posed in a different way. At any rate I think that language may be an inadequate symbol system to capture the intracacies of sex, or any set of intense sensational experiences for that matter. There is no word or string of words that can capture the experience of an orgasm for someone who has never had one. Language allows us to help understand our sexual experience in a more intellectual and public way, yet I do not think it adequately captures the experience itself.


Rubin
Name: lindsay hi
Date: //2002-09-10 02:21:46 :
Link to this Comment: 2582

ok..so this is a little late...but i was re-reading Rubin this evening...and thinking about oral sex and stuff...thus i find myself on this tangent.. mostly string of conciousness i suppose.

In the beginning of her piece, Rubin discusses, the "educational and political campaigns to encourage chastity, to eliminate prostitution, and to discourage masturbation, especially among the young." (p4) she goes on to talk about the consequences of such educational campaigns: "The consequences of these great nineteenth-century moral paroxysms are still with us. They have left a deep imprint on attitudes about sex, medical practice, child-rearing, parental anxieties, police conduct, and sex law." (p4).

This is exactly what we were talking about in class last thursday. The fact that so many children are growing up under black and white definitions of what "sex" is, and more importantly what "virginity" is, is probably one of the single contributing factors to why children are giving each other meaningless blow jobs in the locker room and such.

The idea that oral sex, is not real sex, is something that is perpetuated throughout society via the media and politicians, though i am sure the list could go on. By disregarding oral sex in the safe sex lectures, we are basically punishing ourselves in the long run. Uneducated teenagers, grow up into uneducated adults, spreading STI's and not even realizing it. There is no reason why my 24, 25, 26 year old friends, should be ignorant to the idea that they need to use a condom when going down on his/her boyfriend/fling or visa versa that their girlfriend/boyfriend should be using a dental dam on them. By holding onto the notion that people aren't having oral sex or that we might be corrupting our children, we instead are letting them learn for themselves by dr. diagnoses that oral sex is SEX and that it does have its consequences.

On the flip side, a sex education focusing on preservation of virginity also leads to those who do know about oral sex, to think that it is perfectly ok, becuase it is in no way "breaking the hymen," thus they will still be a virgin. I think most of us can recall a Cosmo or two reading something like this: "dear cosmo...am i still a virgin?" Such an emphasis is placed on virginity as being something only taken during heterosexual vaginal intercourse, that all of a sudden oral sex, and sometimes even what we may label as "homosexual acts" are all thrown out as not being legitimate forms of sex. While as adults we might be able to argue that the whole concept of what is sex is perhaps more fluid, leading us to our own definitions, for the sake of education we have to have some common definition of what sex is, if we are going to be teaching children/teens anything about it.

Rubin had commented earlier on children's first impressions of sex and how we introduce children to it. Some have argued the harshness of male circumcision, because in order to perform the operation the boy has to be erect, thus is first "sexual" experience is one of pain rather then pleasure. A common feture among 4(and sometimes 11) year olds is to find their hands in their pants, how do we as a society interepret this behavior? react to it? is the child reprimanded and given a smack on the hand, or told that this is something that they do in private? What messages are we sending our youth about pleasure? pain? sex? what mixed messages are they getting from us? role models? ect. When "Two-thirds of all prisoners [1996, state prisons]convicted of rape or sexual assault had committed their crime against a child," [Available: http://crime.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ojp.usdoj.gov%2Fbjs%2Fpub%2Fascii%2Fcvvoatvx.txt ] it is not shocking to hear that for many children sexual violence is their introduction to what can be a beautiful thing...so in addition to educating our children, we need to find out better ways to protect them as well.

Thus the comment Rubin makes about us condeming that which we have helped to create comes full circle. Now we are trying to point the finger at our children sexual acts, when we are at fault for the most part by not educating them and more so educating them in a negative, unproductive manner.


Role Playing In Class
Name: Sarah Hess
Date: //2002-09-10 12:30:44 :
Link to this Comment: 2586

In the role playing we did in class last Thursday, unlike other groups, our group stuck with the original plan of having a parent, counselour and 2 children, one of each sex. Interestingly, Monica, the parent, chose to be the parent of the female child. The counselor, Jessica, started off the conversation by making a general comment about wanting to talk. However, the conversation became increasingly specific as the questions became more focused on Hanan, playing the girl. She was asked questions in an accusatory manner that implied guilt on her part, such as "Are you aware of teh consequences of your actions?" and "Why did you do this?" The boy, Lindsay, sat silently for most of the discussion. The parent and teacher had a conflict over who should be responsible for regulating the behavior of the children, of which no resolution was reached. Finally, the boy was confronted with a question by the counselor: "Doy ou think its ok to do this?" He responds yes, adn nothing more is said of it. The last question is about STDs, directed at both children, of which the girl claims complete ignorance of. Neither the parent nor the counselor asks the boy where his parent(s) are. The children are not asked about how their relationship escalated to this point, or if either felt pressured into it. Sex was never mentioned in a positive light during the conversation either, only in this context which was perceived as bad by both counselor and parent. The children were not told whether they would discuss the matter again, or if asked if they would like to discuss it privately, without the presence of the other. These seem to be just a few points of the conversation that were missing and may have been beneficial had they been present.


Asking the Same Question Again--on a Larger Scale
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-09-10 15:08:05 :
Link to this Comment: 2598

At the end of our discussion today, about whether/how we can put sex into language--and what the use of doing so might be--I read you the invitation from Paul Grobstein to participate in the (reactivated) forum for 11 September. That invitation starts w/ the presumption that putting experience into language IS useful, that conversation among us in a web-based forum can be a force toward movement in a postive direction, a means for all people to feel a stake in common stories. I join in Paul's invitation to you to say what you think about these matters here:
11 September On-Line Forum


What's the reason that we don't view children and
Name: Kathryn Mc
Date: //2002-09-10 15:40:11 :
Link to this Comment: 2600

Anyone who has ever read the book, "Cunt," by Inga Muscio, might remember her writing about an old Japanese print titled "A Family at Home." It depicted children playing a game while their parents had sex in the background. In this culture at that time it was typical for children to witness their parents' sexual acts and to learn by their example. This occurs in cultures where family members all sleep in the same room. Sex is literally out in the open rather than behind closed doors. It isn't a secret and children aren't kept or assumed to be naïve.
In our culture and many others, sex has traditionally only been acceptable for married heterosexual adult couples who want to have children. This sexual ideal limits the adult population to those of childbearing age. This means that children should not be involved in sexual activity (or witness to it) and neither should people of an older generation who are past the age when they can reproduce. One group is too young compared to the sexual ideal, while the other is too old. When young children engage in sexual activity, such as "playing doctor" (really, did anyone ever call it that?!), it might not be sexual intercourse, but it is still sexual. If these children are discovered, then their budding libidos are ignored, laughed off, or punished and stifled.
In our culture older adults who are past the age of the sexual ideal are assumed to no longer be of use to society (ie the perpetuation of it), and therefore have to reason to procreate. And so we (try to) deny them the wish to do so. We have been socialized to fear the aging process and to fear the stereotypes that accompany it, such as having sexual desire denied to us. The sentiment is being old is bad, sex is bad, and old people having sex is REALLY bad.
As far as children are concerned, they are deemed too innocent to know what they are doing, or to know what their sexual body parts are even for. While this could certainly be true of some children, to assume it implies that children who do understand that they are sexual beings (however unconsciously) are therefore abnormal. It is safer to delegate the possibilities of sexual desire only to the group who is socialized to be prepared for it: married heterosexual adult couples of childbearing age. If anyone is going to have sex, it should be them.


Role Playing Activity
Name:
Date: //2002-09-11 17:02:18 :
Link to this Comment: 2627

In my group for the role play investing oral sex among middle scholars, I found the responses of the boy and girl extremely interesting when the school psychologist asked, "What exactly is the relationship between the two of you?" Although both pre-teens admitted to acting in a drunken state of mind while engaging in oral sex on the playground, the girl referred to it very casually, as an experience to satisfy curiosity, investigate "maturity", and follow the "norm" while the boy referred to it as communication of his deeply intense feelings for the girl. While the boy thought he was in love, the girl did not even consider the two of them to be in any relationship at all. Although the girl did not express regret, she admitted to wanting to express herself freely and that she was frustrated that her mother was never around due to her busy schedule. For the girl, the topic of oral sex was not the focus in the larger scheme of things. On the other hand, the boy's view varied greatly from the stereotypical idea that a male pre-teen is not emotionally mature and aware of the full responsibilities and experience (in every dimension: emotional, physical, etc.) of oral sex (or any other sex). Furthermore, the boy referred to the experience as "a mark of friendship", comfortable about characterizing it as artistic and completely unashamed of the great pleasure it brought him. The individual viewpoints of the boy and girl (and contrasts between both their two views and between stories in the media) illustrated an entirely new dimension and scenario, revealing the importance of the public to not make assumptions as to the role, reasons, etc. for middle scholars (and the individual's personal reason) for engaging in oral sex (or any other sexual activity for that matter).


Role Playing Activity
Name: Jenny Wade
Date: //2002-09-11 17:02:34 :
Link to this Comment: 2628

In my group for the role play investing oral sex among middle scholars, I found the responses of the boy and girl extremely interesting when the school psychologist asked, "What exactly is the relationship between the two of you?" Although both pre-teens admitted to acting in a drunken state of mind while engaging in oral sex on the playground, the girl referred to it very casually, as an experience to satisfy curiosity, investigate "maturity", and follow the "norm" while the boy referred to it as communication of his deeply intense feelings for the girl. While the boy thought he was in love, the girl did not even consider the two of them to be in any relationship at all. Although the girl did not express regret, she admitted to wanting to express herself freely and that she was frustrated that her mother was never around due to her busy schedule. For the girl, the topic of oral sex was not the focus in the larger scheme of things. On the other hand, the boy's view varied greatly from the stereotypical idea that a male pre-teen is not emotionally mature and aware of the full responsibilities and experience (in every dimension: emotional, physical, etc.) of oral sex (or any other sex). Furthermore, the boy referred to the experience as "a mark of friendship", comfortable about characterizing it as artistic and completely unashamed of the great pleasure it brought him. The individual viewpoints of the boy and girl (and contrasts between both their two views and between stories in the media) illustrated an entirely new dimension and scenario, revealing the importance of the public to not make assumptions as to the role, reasons, etc. for middle scholars (and the individual's personal reason) for engaging in oral sex (or any other sexual activity for that matter).


Putting sex into language
Name: lindsay
Date: //2002-09-11 19:27:26 :
Link to this Comment: 2632

Subconsciously and consciously, we put sex into language every day. The most common references to sex in everyday language serve no purpose but that of amusing each other with innuendo or flirting. People find comfort in common interests, and everyone can relate to some form of sex because we are all influenced by sexual hormones. It is common for people in sexual relationships to question whether the act of sex has the same "meaning" to both parties. We communicate about our perceptions of different levels of intercourse by using terms like "fucking" or "making love." Although these words have varied meanings for everyone, the term a person chooses to describe the act says a lot about their attitude toward that relationship. But as to whether we can "capture" the experience of sex in language, I think not. Language is too arbitrary to fully capture any experience; our words can only serve as signifiers to whatever we are referring.


Sex in Language
Name: Chelsea
Date: //2002-09-11 23:18:36 :
Link to this Comment: 2638

Putting sex into language seems to be something that, at least for my generation is a way to amuse ourselves, add some shock value to a conversation and feel clever about all the different and colorful innuendo we can think of. But it does go beyond that, as we were discussing on Tuesday. Language has always been the means by which we connect to each other. Whether it is body language, verbal language or merely looking into someone else's eyes and just knowing you understand them. Words truly do inhabit the entire spectrum from being everything to being asolutely unnecessary, even unwanted. I do think sex has a language of its own; and while verbalizing in a well-lighted classroom in the middle of the day isn't, perhaps, *the* language, there's nothing wrong with making these attempts to put sex into language. Listen to someone long enough, and eventually all the little pearls of wisdom will come pouring out and maybe, just maybe, we'll all get a little clearer picture of what sex means to that person, and that would certianly be worth the time.


Field Site Guidelines
Name: Anne
Date: //2002-09-12 17:07:15 :
Link to this Comment: 2646

A reminder that four of you offered to function as scribes, and record her the "field site guidelines" which we generated in class today. Thanks! Anne


Field Course Guidelines: Safety
Name: Lindsay Hi
Date: //2002-09-12 19:30:30 :
Link to this Comment: 2648

Safety

two big things we felt were reason to point out were

1. Transportation

make sure you know where you are going, when you are going, how you are going. it starts getting darker earlier as we get closer to winter so make sure you give yourself plenty of time. don't be afraid to ask someoen from your placement to walk you to your car or wait for a bus with you.


2. Site

know the precautions/safey procedures your individual site may have, if any, and adhere to them. If you feel threatened in anyway be sure to tell prof dalke and nell anderson, so that they are aware of the situation, they may have helpful advice about making the situation less comfortable


Field Site: Job Etiquette
Name: Sarah
Date: //2002-09-12 20:23:44 :
Link to this Comment: 2649

A few things to do with job etiquette at our field sites...
1. Dress appropriately--look at other volunteers for examples
2. Show up on time
3. Treat the organization and its members with respect. Keep in mind the ideas and practices of the org. when expressing your viewpoint--some may be radically different than your own.
4. Keep work life seperate from personal life in necessary instances. For example, giving kids your number (and i know this from personal experience...) is a generally bad idea. If they need to get in touch with you, tell them to go through the administrator/supervisor who can dial for them.
5. Call as much in advance as possible if for some reason you are not able to make it that week.


Language.
Name: Lindsay Hi
Date: //2002-09-13 09:46:41 :
Link to this Comment: 2656

Is it possible to put sex into language?
Is it necessary?
If so, what use does it serve?

Language, i would argue is an insufficient means to convey human experience, but that rather we settle because its what we do have, and what allows us to communicate our thoughts, expressions and feelings with others. In so many ways language limits us and our abilitiy to convey the most intimate feelings and reactions, to something so enjoyable and sometimes violent experience of sex. Words/language can attempt to capture a rape victims story of abuse, and they can no doubt move the reader, but it is still an inefficient means of articulating such an experience.

When you study foreign languages you realize that there are different usages of words and sometimes when you translate languages you realize that there is no equivalent word in english that captures the meaning of the native tongue. in this example we can see how limiting language can be. If we don't have a word for it, we find the closeset word, but sometime making all these exceptions simply diminishes the purpose of the work to begin with.

Going back to the debate brought up in class, which came first language or experience, it reminded me of Hellen Keller, deaf and blind, who though as much as her teacher, Anne Sullivan, tried to teach her sign language it seemed rather hopeless. And then we remember the famous day at the water pump, when Anne ran keller's hand under the flowing water and signed "W-a-t-e-r" into her hand. At that moment it seemed that experience is what allowed language to flourish for her.

As a society we become so caught up in language, that sometimes we forget to simply experience the moment and try not to articulate it to others or ourself but just feel it. In this case language is a handicap we impose on ourselves, why we would do such a thing is still something that can be discussed. I would argue, that in a way we hold onto language as a means of proving our existence to ourselves and others.


Can sex be put into language?
Name: Tamina
Date: //2002-09-13 11:52:22 :
Link to this Comment: 2658

I think that in order to find an answer to this question, one must look at language as a form of art. For instance, let me expalain this notion in terms of painting. Painters try to persent a picture on a canvis that represents their own interpretation, emotion, and personal style. Since no artist is the same, there are various types of art (impressionist, modern, classical, etc) that often represent the same idea but in a different way. Even if a painter is trying to create a photographic image that is an exact replica of ther subject, is it ever really exactly the same? Even photographs themselves (taken with a camera) may spark emotion in a viewer, but is it the same emotion that is felt when one is actually witnessing and present in the real situation. Finally, is it fair to ask: Is one form of art is considered more true than another?
Let me connect this ponit back to the presented question. A writer, similar to a painter, is creating his/her own articulation of sex. Whether or not we empathize with their connect or style, often reflects our own personal taste. Also like painting, it is a recaptured image and not the real thing. I find however, it is still an art that is too be appreciated.


Fond Memories
Name: Jill Neust
Date: //2002-09-13 13:18:45 :
Link to this Comment: 2659

I think that it is necessary to talk about sex for the same reason that it is necessary to speak in general. People talk in order to express themselves but also to fortify memory. When I have said something aloud, it is much more likely that I will remember it far into the future, just as when I have heard something that someone else has said, I am much more likely to remember it. The act of acknowledging something with speech makes it seem more real, more tangible.

When I went home for a break a year ago, I had a chance to catch up with a friend of mine from high school. The conversation, however, immediately turned to our sex lives. Although she had not seen me in over three years, the common ground that she felt necessary to explore was of sex. She told me stories of sex that she had enjoyed and loathed. Because they were spoken aloud, I have not forgotten them. In fact, I have since gagued my experiences against her descriptions.

Sex is an act that most adults and teenagers share. It gives them something to discuss when conversation is otherwise lacking. Beyond that, however, the discussion of sex helps people to validate and acknowledge the experience. The act that the two (or perhaps more) people have shared was not a dream but instead a real, orgasmic experience.


Putting sex into language
Name: Nancy
Date: //2002-09-13 13:59:52 :
Link to this Comment: 2661

Can we put sex into language? I believe we can, but the reasons we do so are more complex than the actual act of 'speaking sex'. We are all curious about sex, but the stigma that sex is 'bad', 'dirty' etc is hard to escape for ,any people. Putting sex into language allows one to live vicariously through the heroine in the romance novel at night, without forsaking their daytime "morality".
The question does remain whether or not putting sex into language comes before or after the sex act itself. I think after. We all wish to be understood, to find a similar chord in those we interact with, and, since sex is such an emotionally charged aspect of life, we desire to have someone understand our sexual selves. The knowledge that language cannot fully express sexual intimacy comes after we have heard the stories and then experienced for ourselves, finding the act far beyond description.


is it possible to put sex into language?
Name: Masha
Date: //2002-09-13 20:34:49 :
Link to this Comment: 2666

"Is it possible to put sex into language?
Is it necessary?"

Is it possible not to put sex, or for that matter any experience, into language? It is not a question of necessity or personal choice, rather an inevitable reality of human mind. Sure, we are equipped with other coding systems but they are limited, either in their accessibility (not every one feels comfortable using colors) or capacity (language seems to be the only coding system potentially applicable to any type of experience). However, all this is trivial.

What seems to be more interesting and is suggested by the question, is how and why some modes of language accept the status of cultural norm for "speaking sex" and others are marginalized. As our class gathering show, this is an endless discussion as it involves taking into consideration all culturally significant contexts, the speaker's intents and her cultural/linguistic proficiency.


Sex is for everyone!!!
Name: Emily
Date: //2002-09-13 21:12:18 :
Link to this Comment: 2669

The most progressive sex ed cirricula I've seen (the ones that some of our classmates will be working with at PPSP) have just recently included images of not only man & woman, but of different men and women of all different races, ages, body types, and hairstyles. Even the cartoony versions force students to remember/realize that there is more than one version of the human body. Difference is something so rarely allowed for; not usually in body type and not yet in my experience, with differences in sexual response.
Part of the reason that it's completely necessary to not only attempt to put sex into language (to attempt it not only with each other, but perhaps with our parents and siblings) is so there exist alternitives to the bodies available in mainstream media, and the limited information that is increasingly dissappearing from the classroom.
Whether or not we communicate effectively about it, we establish a community where difference is acceptable.


do a little dance, make a little love. get down t
Name: Lauren Hil
Date: //2002-09-13 21:22:53 :
Link to this Comment: 2670

As I read Samuel Delany's piece I kept thinking about sex and the way he described it. I felt his stories were missing something. I have an image of Carla and the sexual encounter they had, but I am missing something. I feel a connection with the emotions he is bringing to our attention, but I don't know if the connection is real. He didn't give me enough details, emotional or physical, for me to put together an entire story in my head. So I wonder if I just want to relate to him. I think its part of our nature to want to feel connected to people? It's probably the reason we have some sexual encounters. Who hasn't done something with someone just to feel, and I mean really feel, that person? I admittedly am one of those people who needs to tell my good friends when I have a sexual experience. When I tell the tales I want the person I am talking with to feel what I was feeling the night before, but I can't adequately explain it. I had a recent sexual experience (I figure it's alright to talk about this in this particular class) and the next day a good friend of mine came over and I told her about it. I didn't really want to give her the gory details, I just wanted her to know what had happened, and she asked me questions about it. I couldn't answer any of her questions. And they were basic questions, such as "how did it start?" and "do you see yourself with her again?" There were just no words for me to describe it. But I wanted to.

On the other hand there have been people who have had a sexual experience and told me about it the next day and just seemed totally in lust at the moment. And they get really excited about it. Waiting for the call.. We all know the drill. And then they never hear from the lover. And then the friend comes to me and will say things about how sweet s/he was and how generous and sensitive and caring that person was. I just want to say "wake up and smell the casual sex baby, cause that's what you just had." But then that doesn't make much sense to me. I guess I am wondering how much a person is really showing of her/himself when s/he says and does these amazing, beautiful, romantic things but all s/he wants is a one night stand. I don't know if I am describing this well.. (you know the problem of putting sex into language...) but I wonder if in that moment when your bodies are rising and sweating and you are caressing each other and saying things which you wouldn't say to a person in a bar, even after tossing a few back, do you really mean it. Do you really feel love or lust for that person or is that person a commodity to you? And just because you had one beautiful night, does that mean you will have another? Or that you need or want to have another? What makes us attached to sex? If the person is good in bed? Or is sweet to you? Or says s/he will call? So there is a tangent for you....


putting sex into language
Name: Jenny Wade
Date: //2002-09-13 21:53:02 :
Link to this Comment: 2671

Whether or not language is sufficent in terms of explaining/recreating sex or why we feel a need to put sex into language are not really questions as much as inevitable outcomes to our own sexual experiances. Sex becomes language along with our many other emotions and experiances, and the language of sex is not an easily distinguishable category, but instead an addition to communication that has become intertwined within everyday language. Perhaps this is what makes it so difficult to put a single sexual experiance into a concise explanation: the sexual experiance has already had such an incredible impact that it is no longer a single explanable thing, but instead an experiance which can only in part be put into immediate words, leaving the rest of the experiance to still be understood in language, but in a more subtle sense
(perhaps of which we are unaware)revealed in smaller fragments through responses pertaining to other personal experiances (perceived by us to only partially, or perhaps fail completely, to relate to sex at all). This is just a theory (I myself am not sure yet whether it makes complete sense or if I agree with it), but the inability to relay a sexual experiance without these later fragments imbedded in other responses, is perhaps what makes language seem so incapable of describing sexual experiance.


sex lang
Name: sheri
Date: //2002-09-13 22:14:19 :
Link to this Comment: 2672

Although it is necessary, language in regard to a topic so sensitive as sex and sexuality makes me nervous. It reminds me of when the United States was called 'the melting pot,' people had the impression that all the different cultures should be mashed into one, to show that all citizens are the same. It was the new label, 'salad bowl', that gives people the idea of holding on to what makes them different. I worry that language and sex, especially labels, can cause limitations. Limitations in the language of sexuality can force people into becoming something that they are not simply because there is not a word for what they are.


The importance of putting things into language...
Name: Jess Tucke
Date: //2002-09-13 22:27:57 :
Link to this Comment: 2673

I've been thinking a lot about whether it is important to put sex into language and I just now I realized that I'd already made this decision along time ago, in the 9th grade. I had a friend who was very naive and even ignorant about sex, boys, and her body. (Her family had kept her extremely sheltered.) At the time it was a great fear that because of her lack of knowledge, she would somehow be taken advantage of and end up being hurt. I made a point to be open and honest about sex with her, so that when she was in sittuations where she needed to make those decisions she would be informed.

Perhaps sex can never fully be put into language (while lanuage seems sometimes inadequate capture anything --- and maybe it never should be), but even a limited discusion is valuable. I think as a community, either small or large, we are doing a great disservice to others by not communicating honestly and opening. Not only do we have to worry about someone being taking advantage of. There are issues of couples being uninformed and therefore making very risky decisions. (Like middle schoolers having oral sex because its a "safe alternative" and you're still technically a virgin.) Not only are there issues of health and safety, but there is also the very important issue of understanding your own body, desires and emotions.--- A lack of conversation about both of these can leave someone feeling ashamed and alone.

In class the idea of putting Sept. 11th into language was brought up and it kind of helped to reinforce my impression of the importance of putting sex into language. I think it goes with out saying that what happened last year was very emotional and painful for many people and especially for those who lost loved ones. On the anniversary, I tired to avoid most of the coverage, but I happened accross a "town hall" forum type show. During which a mother became quite upset and started ranting--- letting her feelings, emotions, hurt, pain, and even hatred flow into language. It was one of the most powerful things I've ever watched on TV and I believe it added another deeper dimension to my understand of the effect of 9/11. It seemed to me that if I ignored her (turn her off), ignored the emotions she was putting into language, then I would be harming her just as much as the people who originally violated her (or that she feels violated her).

I think we do this when we don't talk about sex--- or we reject or condemn the sex that is put into language. Expression is a way of working through something (perhaps emotions or pain). Maybe (for some people) the sexual act (like the act of grieving) isn't complete until it is expressed and released. (Language is the one of the most abundant forms of epression.)

---- (I don't really know, just trying to work through this.)


Sex, Narrative and Language
Name: Sarah
Date: //2002-09-13 23:17:12 :
Link to this Comment: 2674

I was reading an assignment for another class and came across a Toni Morrison quote describing the importance of narrative: "I have always thought it was the most important way to transmit and receive knowledge." I've read about narrative in the literary and historical context that constantly reiterates its neverending significance but I've never really understood why, what exactly it is about narrative that we use it in almost every aspect of our lives. Why can't we live without it? I started to think about this dual sided notion of transmission and reception of narrative and the symbiotic relationship that makes the existence of one impossible without the existence of the other. Then I thought about Delaney and his decision to use narrative in his speech in order to convey the importance of articulation and the danger of code in language (among other things). This process of considering seperately the role of narrative in language and sex in language left me wondering about the relationship between narrative and sex. Is it possible to put sex into language without using narrative? Reading sex manuals in an office the other day, I got the distinct feeling that I was reading about medicine and technicalities, certainly NOT sex. And any poem I've ever read that I consider "good" and to do with sex is written in terms of personal experience, some short, long or cut up piece of narrative. I feel that to accurately describe something sexual is to get as close as possible to the actuality--to the lighting in the room, the touch of the sheets, the feel of wetness on the lips, to who this partner is and to how he/she got in your room--to the story at its core. To cut any part out is to become part of the highly coded language to which Delaney refers and makes the transmission and reception of sex through language impossible. So maybe the reason we can't live without narrative is because we can't live without sex.


Ranging Across Language
Name: Anne
Date: //2002-09-14 15:29:46 :
Link to this Comment: 2677

This week we will be exploring the range of (academic) languages available to us for thinking/talking/teaching about sex: those of science, of social science, of literature...as well as the language of humor. How effective is each, what does each tell us, invite us to feel/think/know/do? Which do you find most effective, for what reasons? Which speaks most clearly to you? Teaches you the most? Speaks most evocatively to you? Puzzles you? Draws you on? Are there some languages representing sex that you think we might be better off without? Do some impede rather than facilitate understanding? What other languages might we draw on, aside from those listed here? There's film. Jenny mentioned music. And there are Sharon's watercolors....) Are there other languages for representing sex which we should be sure to include in this course? (What "counts" as a language, anyhow?)


"Safe Haven", Sex & Language
Name: ngoc
Date: //2002-09-14 17:29:55 :
Link to this Comment: 2678

when i first saw "Safe Haven", i instantly recall something that was said in "Memoir of a Geisha". i think it goes like this... once, there was a client who asked her (the geisha) if she knew why japanese men like the classic peach hairdo. she didn't know until he told her how the peach hairdo is symbolic and can give rise to thoughts and desires of intimacy. this little recall can demonstrate how an image, a sculpture can be a powerful injection of emotions. an image or a particular shape, can be a language by itself...

speaking of which, i do believe that sex should be put into language. my definition of language, however, defines in more than written form. it includes anything that's beside actual experience (for sex itself is its own language). any other language use to communicate, share, explain the actual experience can be benificial...it can both simultaneously individualize and connect our experiences, emotions.


sex & language
Name: Bea
Date: //2002-09-14 21:11:21 :
Link to this Comment: 2679

I also believe that it's necessary to at least attempt to put sex into language. Each person may relate better to a different medium. That probably contributes to the varied opinions about what best conveys sex. I agree with Jenny about music being a language for sex. I feel that, even in certain music, there are various aspects that make it seem sexual. Sometimes the words themselves don't matter, and we're led to consider the music sexual simply by the instruments, arrangements, or rhythm. Being a music junky, this is something I've thought about often. Again, I agree with Jenny that "no two performances are the same." The musicians almost become storytellers. If they have no emotional connection to the story, then that becomes apparent. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that the medium as well as the "storyteller" are important when attempting to put sex into language.


Joking About Sex--The Language of Humor
Name: Anne
Date: //2002-09-15 13:26:28 :
Link to this Comment: 2695

Another way to contribute to the forum this week? Post a joke about sex. Then let's see if we can figure out what makes it so funny (or not): what insecurities it points to, what securities it tries to destabilize...?


Confidentiality: Field Site Guidelines
Name: elisa
Date: //2002-09-15 22:19:42 :
Link to this Comment: 2704

Some quick things to keep in mind:

*understand that at your placements, people may be sharing PERSONAL stories and information with you.

*remember that the people you will be working with have to be at the placement longer and more frequently than you will be there. therefore, confidentiality rules should apply both within your placement and outide of your placement.

*keep in mind your own rights to confidentiality. you dont have to answer anything or share information about your personal life that you are uncomfortable sharing.

*if you choose to share a story, please refrain from using specifics, esp. names, that would reveal a person's identity.

***ABOVE ALL: if you are unsure as to whether something is "confidential", ALWAYS ASK. for example, feel free to ask the individual if it would be ok if you shared their story (no names, no revealing specifics) with the class and explain why you think it is an important and valuable story to share with others. tell the story based on the person's resopnse.


Sex and Language and Sex Joke
Name: Deborah
Date: //2002-09-17 10:54:10 :
Link to this Comment: 2716

I just wanted to quickly say that I think it's a biolical imperative to have language between people, our brains and learning patterns have specific and complex systems for language developement. I also think that sex is one of the more thought-about subjects of our species. Put the two together...there you go.
My joke is: Q: What are the 3 words you dread to hear most when you're having sex?
A: "Honey, I'm home" !


cold-hearted slut??
Name: Maggie
Date: //2002-09-17 15:52:04 :
Link to this Comment: 2730

I just came from Tuesday's class, and the comment that someone made referring to all the emotional attachments and problems that frequently result from having sex, especially for the first time, stuck with me. I was thinking about my own experiences, and at the risk of sounding like a cold-hearted slut, I don't remember becoming emotional, or growing closer, or really thinking it was that big of a deal after the first time I had sex. And I especially didn't have any difficulty when I ended the relationship. I know that stereotypically, we tend to think of the girl and how attached she will become after having sex, and that one of the silences in sex-ed curricula is that they don't talk about the 'emotional side effects' of sex. I almost felt guilty that I didn't think I experienced them, and so I asked around. Turns out, the first three women I discussed it with felt more like I had than what might be expected.

To make us sound less heartless, my friends and I all agreed that caring about the person and trusting them was important before having sex. I am sure that none of us fall into a category of people who would have sex casually. Which makes me curious about the disparity between expected reactions and, thanks to my spur of the moment and extremely limited research, the reality. Are the women who I happened to talk to unique in that they are strong, independent and secure in themselves? (For the record, they didn't ALL go to Bryn Mawr.) So are other girls/women who are not so self-confident the ones who have emotional issues after having sex? Or does that lack of a strengthened bond reflect how my friends and I felt about the individual person we were with at the time? Because, at the risk of being too personal, I know that right now I have feelings (sexual and otherwise) for someone and thinking about sexual activities with them is certainly a big deal, and I think that it would be extremely emotional and meaningful. Unfortunately, I can't remember if I thought the same thing before my last relationship or not. So I'm not sure if I just think that it will be a big deal and when it happens it won't be, or if is dependent on the partner.

I was just intrigued by the differences between what I felt like was expected of young women in our situations, and how we really reacted. If anyone has comments, explanations, ideas, etc, I'd be interested in reading them.


Jokes.
Name: lindsay hi
Date: //2002-09-17 19:58:55 :
Link to this Comment: 2737

as a disclaimer. i do not find all the jokes on this website amusing. but it has a few good ones. please do not judge my charachter as a result of this post. Dykesworld: Jokes


Language
Name: Lindsay
Date: //2002-09-17 20:06:40 :
Link to this Comment: 2738

i was in class the other day and we were watching a movie about art...and it was sculpting, and the dialogue went somewhere along the effect of "the building was then erect..." and people broke out into hysterical laughter. what is it about words that make people respond in such a way? is it the way the word is socialized in society? is laughter a way we cope with personal insecurities on some level? hmm...just interesting....


One common language?
Name: lindsay hi
Date: //2002-09-17 20:11:59 :
Link to this Comment: 2739

[sorry for multiple posts, but i think they go in multiple folders]....

on another note...a group of students from all the cultural groups were meeting last night to discuss communication within and among cultural groups and how to gel this process. and what we came up with was that as a campus we have a multitude of ways to communicate with one another about events, flyers, mailbox stuffers, emails, postings, announcements, today@brynmawr, white board in campus center, word of mouth. instead of agreeing on one common language to communicate events we spend all our energy trying to speak 2-10 different languages, and in a way such energy seems so counterproductive and more so very frustrating.

thought this was interesting, especially in light of todays discussion regarding which is right/most appealing: biological, social or humanity approach...because it seemed like what was being said was that they were all necessary.....maybe what is not needed is seperate disciplines, but the formation of a language that encompasses all the aspects we discussed.


musicdrumsex
Name: Michelle
Date: //2002-09-18 03:13:10 :
Link to this Comment: 2744

I've been considering the idea of music as a wonderful language for sex. Just this second it occured to me that drums drive sexual energy for me. This summer i did a lot of traveling in a musical enviornment and danced to countless drum jams performed by fans in drum circles after shows, and by professional drummers doing a rythm section for 15min+ in the middle of the set at a concert.

As i learned to lose my body to the rythm of the drums i began to feel a connectedness to earth, engery and sexuality. I would be reminded of a song lyric "drums keep the rythm of the human race, you see only reflections of your own face." Leaping, swinging my arms, waving my torso, in a rythmic flow, they all made me feel sexy, and sexual, occasionally even turned on. I always feel the pounding of the drums as centered in the middle of my torso between my belly button and gentials - about where my uterus is located. There it would drive my hips to movement.

As the lyric alludes to, rythm and sex are common to all the human race, something we all feel on some level. The drums bring out a sexual facination/connection with everyone participating and even with oneself. I included the "reflections of your own face" because perhaps in a way the practice is even masturbatory - dancing until you reach the orgasmic moment where there is no distinction between self, body, drums, hands, skin (on bodies and drums), sweat, heartbeat, rythm or nature. The orgasm is you and within you and in front of you and you see "only reflections of your own face."

For me at least, the drums speak a very particular kind of sexual language, perhaps my favorite. I have found the expereince difficult to express verbally so hopefully this hasn't been too abmiguous or far out. I think i have at least succesfully *hinted* at what the experience is like for me.


Tiefer's Article
Name: Sarah H.
Date: //2002-09-19 00:23:59 :
Link to this Comment: 2764

This third article fascinated me most of these 3 on humor. She seems to cover such a broad range of topics in regard to feminism -how humor is useful to the women's movement, how people view feminists (as humorless), what is contructive or non-constructive man-hating, and the many ways in which women have been oppressed -humor included. Weisstein's quote "when people tell us we've lost our sense of humor...[i]t means that we may actually be changing our social roles, that we have stopped trying to please." rung true for me especially in the context of how others see feminism, and how it threatens our society. Society in general talks about feminists as butch, pushy, aggressive, "man-haters," but what these sterotypes seem to emerge from is the fear of disruption of historically accepted social patterns here pointed out. THe confusion, as she also points out, is uncomfortable -there is tension btwn. the sexes over changing roles. Humor not only strengthens the movement but it also dispels the gravity of such a task -uprooting however many years of male domination and female subversion. It also seems to me to link all women -whereas many women would not dare call themselves feminists, those same women can probably appreciate a good male-bashing joke. Feminist jokes serve to subvert the old social standard of female submission and bring about a new thought pattern of female liberation that can be received by a broad audience in a lighter way rather than the more ill-received serious approach.


Sex Languages
Name: Sarah H.
Date: //2002-09-19 00:45:46 :
Link to this Comment: 2765

OK, first i'd like to say that i just posted something about a reading and then read everyone else's comments and realized that the postings aren't centered around the readings. My apologies. So now for my posting about sex as language...

I like body language when it comes to communicating about sex, and dance. Body language, when carefully stated (no mixed signals!) seems to communicate desire to other people better than awkward verbal confessions of "I want you" or "Let's do it!" As for expressing sex to others, or communicating experiences, I think dance is one of the strongest mediums for this. For example, anyone who might be in hip hop class right now, or has ever seen someone on a dance floor really break it down... The sheer physicality of the art of dance seems to draw it closer to what its trying to represent. It's kind of like the idea that you can get a better understanding by really going through the motions rather than hearing about, or seeing about it, more passively. Anything that grabs sex unabashedly and throws it onto the bed for close examination, and perhaps even a domination of understanding, seems to capture its essence most readily.


Response to Fine
Name: ngoc
Date: //2002-09-19 09:53:50 :
Link to this Comment: 2767

Fine's article consistently speaks of the lack of discourse of female desire in sex education today. In class discussions are also concentrating on the missing pieces and the need for us to alter focuses in sex education. I truly feel that although we are criticizing today sex's ed we're forgeting to explore why and how we've arrive at this state. While the bio paper allow us to acknowledge the biological function of sex, Dorthy Allison demstrate to us our potential as sexual being. If and when our emotions and beliefs are free to roam in the sexual realm...how far will we go? Are there limits? When, where , how will we define these limits? Will sex be the focus of our lives? In reality, I don't think that it is. Sex should be something natural...as natural as the act of breathing... It is true today's sex ed seem to concentrate on too many negative aspects. There is a reason to this, however. Even though we don't say it or acknowledge it, there is a fear of letting sex go free. People fear of the blur lines, dangers, accidents, etc...that could happen as a side effect. We don't yet know of when the day where all would be responsible enough, care for each other enough, understand one another enough to not to let accidents, violence, etc happen... therefore, the little that can be done in sex ed today is to give out warnings... it maybe true that certain group may be jammed w/ warnings (which may lead to oppression) than other group. But that's the least that can be done. It would be great if we somehow eliminate the bad and retain only the good in life. But until that day, sex edu is legitimate in addressing this fear.


Sex Jokes
Name: ngoc
Date: //2002-09-19 09:56:04 :
Link to this Comment: 2768

1. Q: Why don't men fake orgasm?
A: Because no man would make those faces on purpose.

2.Q: What is the difference between medium and rare?
A: Six inches is medium, eight inches is rare.


3. A young couple on the brink of divorce visit a marriage counsellor. The
counsellor asks the wife what is the problem. She responds " My husband
suffers from premature ejaculation." The counsellor turns to her husband and
inquires "Is that true?" The husband replies "Well not exactly, it's her that
suffers not me."

***thanks to my friend***


sex & langauge
Name: Elisa
Date: //2002-09-19 10:49:01 :
Link to this Comment: 2770

so, i was a villian last week and didnt post. it wasnt intentional. i have just been having such a hard time with this whole "can sex be put into lang.?" the good news is that i am starting to break into something in terms of my thoughts on this (finally!)

can be put into language? my stance on it right now is: "at least the attempt is there." think of the success of romance novels! and if you doubt them as effective in their purpose, think of how many people's sexual lives are changed just by reading them! even if it doesnt improve their sex lives literally, romance novels open people up to a world of fantasy and imangination regarding sex that they might not have access to elsewhere. they teach people that it is ok and fun to fantasize about sex and sexual acts (even something as simple as holding hands can become charged and exciting in these books!). though i dont read them myself, i think the consistent sales of romance novels show that sex being put into language CAN be effective for some people.

furthermore, i think there should be an ongoing attempt by people to put sexinto language. think of language as a sex toy. they are both there to enhance pleasure, help you think outside-the-box in regards to sex. though communication between people may fail sometimes, the times where people are able to communicate--- sexual experience, desires and/or dislikes--- to one another can in turn improve the pleasure of the experience overall.


sex and language
Name: Elisa
Date: //2002-09-19 10:51:18 :
Link to this Comment: 2771

as for the langauge that speaks to me personally, i would have to agree with sarah and say body language.

i think body language is a very tough language to decifer and interpret. but, at the same time, i see it as unique and expressive because it origniates from an individual. no two people move their bodies the same way. we may be taught different techniques by magazines, friends, etc.--- (for example, winking or when youre sitting next to someone you like, turn your body in toward them so that you communicate you want to be close to them)--- but no matter what we are taught, they are never executed the same way by people or with people. the way i hug is different then the way you hug. the way i hug you is drastically different than the way i hug the person i am dating.

even then, body langauge becomes a marker of the progression of time and the change in emotion. the way i hug the person i am dating when i am in a happy mood will be completely different than the way i hug if i want to be intimate, or if i have had a bad day, or if i am upset.

difficult, ever-changing and transforming--- i like the energy i have to put into both interpretng others actions and communicating my own desires.


jokes
Name: eespirit@b
Date: //2002-09-19 11:09:58 :
Link to this Comment: 2772

in regards to sex jokes, i dont know any. in fact, i dont know any jokes at all. i get so caught up in laughing i just forget!

because of my lack of knowledge, i went online and typed in "sex jokes" on google. every site i looked at was created by a man. every joke a saw was in regards to either:

a) sexual preference that differed from heterosexual sex

b) if it was about heterosexual sex, it poked fun at the functioning (or lack of funtioning) and/or size of sexual orgrans. i assume this stems from some dumb notion that there is a real standard of normality for size, shape and functioning of sexual organs.

and c) i noticed that there were many jokes that centered around older individuals having sex. (this is something that has come up in our class conversations) why is it so gross and humors to think that senior citizens have sex?!

one more thing i noticed was that all the websites, and i mean ALLLLLL, had links to pornographic sites. i check out the sites and the only type of people on them were women. of course there were different types of women--- you got to choose what woman you wanted: young/old, smaller/thicker, black/white/asian/etc. but, there was only women... no males. NONE.

this makes me think:

-is sexual humor inherently based on those sexual interactions that deviate from what we are taught to precieve as "normal" herterosexual acts?

-or, is it based on those awkward/embarassing sex moments that happen to people, therefore encouraging us to learn to laugh at these occurance rather than be traumitized by them?

-furthermore, why do these websites directly link (literally and figuratively) sexual humor with the desire to look at naked women?


sexual joke
Name: Masha
Date: //2002-09-19 15:12:57 :
Link to this Comment: 2776

This joke is intended as a battle story of some famous Russian Civil war heroine. So, she goes:" I remember once, I was lying in the trench preparing my machine gun for the upcoming battle, when suddenly I heard that someone is being raped right behind my back. I turned around, and guess what, this someone was me!" However obscene this joke might sound, in fact, it is nothing but a political statement and not that of sexual liberation of women, rather of humorous acknowledgement of the lack of civil worth of all Russian people.


Sex Jokes
Name: Anne
Date: //2002-09-19 17:46:25 :
Link to this Comment: 2779

Lots of fun telling sex jokes today, trying to figure out whether each one exemplified Gershon Legman's notion of a psychological signature/unwitting unveiling of one's neurosis, or demonstrated Leonore Tiefer's and Sarah Friedman's ideas about humor enabling political change--or at least opening a space for new ways of thinking. Were the jokes we were telling preservative or revolutionary? Particularly striking to me was the way in which the jokes which worked best seemed to turn on the surprise of word play (this language thing!). Less clear to me was how we might (or whether it might be useful to) group the jokes we told: there was certainly a category of lesbian jokes, others of gay jokes, of male pratfall jokes and of scatalogical jokes. Any others? What patterns did you see in what amused you (or us as a group) and what didn't? Where do you/did we draw the "fine line" between a joke which delights and one which offends? One which confirms stereotypes and one which unsettles/destabilizes them? How do you see that line moving, depending on teller/listener/context....? (Did it make a difference, for instance, when Jill turned off the lights?) The story Mia asked at the very end--the one w/ blood on the teddy bear--is still troubling me. NOT funny, NOT a joke, I think....? At least not to me....

Anyhow, here were my jokes, all compliments of my funny friends. All penis jokes. The first one amuses me so, says a friend, because I am insatiable. The second, according to another friend (who supplied it), is a political commentary on aggressive Israeli military culture. The third is probably also susceptible to a Legmanian reading: it indicates my dis-ease w/ the notions of decline, of disease (of my family disease in particular), of mortality....

Here goes:

Do you know the one about the guy w/ 5 penises?
His pants fit him like a glove.

How do you know Jews are the world's biggest optimists?
Even before they know how big it's going to be, they cut half of it off.

This older couple meet in a nursing home, and they start to court. At this point they can't do much sexually, so he just asks her to hold it, and she readily complies. So everyday they go to the park and sit next to each other and she holds his dick in her hand.

But suddenly, he stops coming around, and she begins to see him with a new resident of the nursing home. Feeling hurt and confused, she goes up to him crying, pleading, and asks.... "what does she have that I don't have???" ....to which he replies...
"Parkinson's."



Name: Chelsea
Date: //2002-09-19 20:02:13 :
Link to this Comment: 2783

Ok, so I am going to post my joke, but I was just thinking about Sarah (H)'s comment about body language...it's so true!! I mean, at least for me, the need that some men (maybe women too) feel to verbalize an act before they do it is just frickin annoying and ruins the mood. I want to be romanced, I want to be so irresistable to someone that they can't even speak, they just kiss me!! I want PASSION for the love of all that is good, not "so, um, yeah, i was wondering if you maybe wanted to fool around for a little bit" How romantic. Wahoo. Oh baby oh baby. There is a point when the emotions choke out the words and two people look at each other and feel like they might explode and the only thing to be done is to make their own language, like music. I just want to be there, don't you?


joke
Name: Chelsea
Date: //2002-09-19 20:07:07 :
Link to this Comment: 2784

Sorry, forgot the joke.

A banana, a penis and a cucumber are all sitting around one day and talking about life. Pretty soon, they get into a discussion of who has the hardest life. The banana says, "I definately have the hardest life, first they peel me, then they eat me slowly." The cucumber and penis protest. The cucumber says, "No way, my life is much worse than yours! First they wash me, then they peel me, then they cut me up, and THEN they eat me slowly." The penis is indignant. "Listen to this: every night some big hairy man takes me into a dark room, puts a raincoat on my head and bangs me against a wall until I throw up."


jokes
Name: Maggie
Date: //2002-09-19 21:21:27 :
Link to this Comment: 2786

After today's class, and the readings that we did, I am having trouble with classifying the jokes. I think that quite a few of the jokes we told today didn't fit in either the unifying feminist category or the psychological signature category. It seemed like some of the ones that we liked the most were plays on words more than just uncomfortable situations or political commentary.
So the joke that I brought to class, but didn't have to share, was:

The seven dwarves walk up to a convent and Dopey knocks on the door. The Prioress opens it and asks him what he wants. Dopey says, "Can you tell me if you have any dwarf nuns here?" The Prioress says that she doesn't. Dopey asks, "Well, are there any other convents near by that might have a dwarf nun?" The Prioress looks annoyed and tells him that they are the only convent for at least a hundred miles. Dopey kind of shrugs and turns around. As the Prioress shuts the door, she hears the other six dwarves singing "Dopey fucked a penguin, Dopey fucked a penguin."

I would also like to say congrats to Elisa because I absolutely LOVED her joke.


First Paper Assignment
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-09-20 11:45:38 :
Link to this Comment: 2791

Your first paper is due this coming Tuesday, September 24th. Please bring four copies to class, because we will be doing small group writing workshops w/ one another's essays that day. Plan to submit one hard copy to me when class ends; also e-mail me the essay as an attachment, so that I can hand post it on our website. Be sure that your name and the essay's title are on the first page of the text.

Your assignment is to choose a sexual sub-group w/ which you are familiar, and write a 3-pp. paper describing how this group uses language to talk about sex. Several of you have asked me what I mean by "sexual sub-group." What I want you to do is find an identity group you feel a part of, or can find out enough about to write an account of how they put sex into language (or not--it might be particularly interesting to have records of some groups where sex is NOT articulated linguistically.....) This can take the form of a report, an analysis, a narrative--you choose.

I'm very much looking forward to collecting this data!
Anne


jokes
Name:
Date: //2002-09-20 11:48:01 :
Link to this Comment: 2792

here's my joke-- (I'm glad you like it Maggie) :)
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Q: What do you call a lesbian dinosuar? *
A: Licalotapus. (say out loud) *
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I thought it took a lot of courage for everyone in our class to both share their jokes, and share why and how something is "funny" for them. Though it was a classroom full of a lot of laughter, I also felt it to be an extremely intimate and vunerable environment (in a good way). It was a good exercise in laughter and sharing. So--- and I really hope I don't sound condescending--- but thank you to everyone, because you all created a comfortable environment where everyone's opinions and tastes were shared and respected.

Anne, in response to your discomfort from Mia's joke, I will agree and say that it made me quite unfortable to hear it. I too was left with a feeling of "NOT funny, NOT a joke, I think....? At least not to me...."

However, Mia, I think that it took a lot of courage for you to say a joke like that. And, thinking back on the class, I think that it was the most important joke that I heard yesterday. I have a friend from high school that loves telling dead baby and/or child rape incest jokes. She thinks they are just plain hilarious. I have never understood why she finds these jokes humorous, but hearing your joke yesterday reminded me of her and really caused me to think.

What makes me more scared and distubed---
-the author/teller: the fact that there is someone out there thinking up jokes like this or telling jokes like this, thinking its "funny?"
-the laugher: Or is it that there are people out there that find this type of humor funny?

Furthermore, am I afraid that I have the capability to be one of those people, that, in a different setting, would have laughed at that joke and found it funny?

I think I might be a nerd and skim over the Legman and Tiefer texts again to see if there is more in there that speaks to all this...


Dirty Jokes
Name: Nancy
Date: //2002-09-20 14:19:30 :
Link to this Comment: 2795

First of all, I'll post my joke.
These two whales, a male whale and a female whale, are swimming in the ocean when the male whale spies the whaling ship that harpooned his father many years before. He is filled with rage and says to the female whale "Let's swim under the ship, blow air out of our holes and the ship will flip over and they will drown." The female agrees and they do, indeed, flip over the ship. However, the sailors jump off the sinking ship and begin to swim towards shore. The male whale is again filled with fury and says "Lets hurry and gobble them up before they escape!"
The female hangs back a minute and says adamently, "listen, I went along with the blow job, but I am not swallowing the seamen!"

For my own comment, I have been thinking about 'crossing the line' with sex jokes. One of the articles mentioned compulsive joke tellers, and how they accost innocent people. I think of this being relevent to our studies mainly in a workplace/school environment; in many cases, the telling of a sexual joke can be considered sexual harassment. I think this is indicative of the fact that sex can be put into language, and to such an extent that doing so can offend another person and have ramifications for the speaker.


so many languages
Name: Lindsay Up
Date: //2002-09-20 14:22:07 :
Link to this Comment: 2796

Body language, I think, speaks as the most honest of languages in communicating sex because we have little control over it. Our bodies make feelings known through movement and gesture subconsciously more often than not.
Humor, then, is a less honest, more indirect language when it comes to sex. It generally finds a way to communicate an idea without actually saying it point-blank or demonstrating it. Whether this idea was intended to offend or flatter is often left to interpretation. That is where the language of humor falls short, at least for me. In thinking about yesterday's class discussion about jokes, different things were brought to mind for each of us. I suppose this is because we all have different "senses of humor"; it would not be possible for all of us to relate to one another through a medium of humor.
When we lack the words to communicate a sexual feeling, we generally revert to making a noise. I'm not sure what this language would be called--the "language of noises" maybe? For some reason, this audible but wordless language is used almost solely between lovers--is this because when we feel close enough to someone, we don't feel the need to hide behind our often circuitous and veiled words?
And while we are on the subject of speaking without words--what about the things people communicate through their eyes? That can be a very passionate language, too, although I guess it qualifies as a very refined and intimate sort of body language. Now that I am thinking about it there is really no end to the number of ways to communicate about sex. Oh dear.


joke
Name: Kathryn Mc
Date: //2002-09-20 15:07:51 :
Link to this Comment: 2798

My joke: What did one lesbian frog say to another after they've had sex?
We really do taste like chicken!
I'll admit it; that's my favorite joke in the world and the only one I've bothered to memorize (mainly because it's short). I've always liked it because it while it's funny it doesn't make fun of the individuals involved: the lesbians who HAPPEN to be frogs. Instead it pokes fun at some people's discomfort with women being sexually pleasured, specifically by being eaten out. It challenges the socially accepted notion that women "taste bad." This attitude contributes to lesbian-phobia because it involves two women being sexually active with each other in a manner that is socially defined as "gross." I'd say that this is a revolutionary joke –and a feminist one at that– because when one of the frogs says that they "really do taste like chicken" it implies that going down on women is not disgusting even though it is reputed to be. The idea of eating frogs doesn't sound too appetizing to most of us, but some people who've actually tasted them report that they're not half-bad; that they actually "taste like chicken." So the message is: don't knock it 'til you've tried it. :)


ruminations or other postings, etc
Name: Deborah
Date: //2002-09-20 15:43:54 :
Link to this Comment: 2799

Well, first off I'd like to say that I had the best day yesterday, and class was by far one of the reasons I can so that. I cant tell everyone how much I enjoy discussing and our ideas on sex and language and laughter. As for catagorizations of jokes, it's interesting to think about it from and inside/outside perspective....if you put a joke in one catagory, does that mean you cant also catagorize it in another area? If a joke is "too much" or "over the line", does that mean that we judge or ostrasize those people who can find humor from those jokes? It always strikes me that I have felt weird in the past for finding situations or jokes about women very funny. I question myself for my humor, and I talked a little about it after class thursday walking to the campus center with Lauren and Chelsea...am I not a feminist because I laugh over jokes such as laurens, "Why cant men trust women? Because who could trust something that bleeds for 7 days and doesnt die" , or for some reason in movies (comedies, that is, not dramas) when women get beat up it highly amuses me! I cant explain or articulate why I laugh...I'm not sure if i laugh because, like legman said in his article, I have to laugh to slough off my feelings of uncomfortableness with the idea of women being beaten. As someone who has had a run-in with being beaten up by a guy, I can tell you it ISNT funny in the least in real life. I dont know, it was just interesting to think about....I mean, i feel like i have to go out on a limb to say that some anti-women jokes make me laugh, just like some gay jokes or whatever, but at the same time there is a line where I groan, such as pediphilia or necrophilia, etc. Should I have to charactorize what makes me laugh or not in terms of sex? Well, I did anyway.
Another thing that I thought was interesting was trying to analyze whether the jokes that I find most funny are my sexual psychological signiture...I can relate to that idea with my first joke, the "3 words most dreaded while having sex" joke...even though as a teller of the joke and as the audience, you identify with the person cheating on their spouse or lover, the idea of laughing at a sexual joke about poligomy (sp?) touches my own recognized fear of abandonment and fundamentally, a lack of trust that whomever I have sex with or am in a relationship will stay with me.
I wanted to quickly respond to Maggie...I have only had what I would deam one sexual partner (so far! I hopefor more....many more....!heheh) in my life, and that was in a 3 and a half year relationship, and I can honestly say that I was in love with that person. so when the relationship ended, and not mutually, I was devistated...and, not to get on a sob story or a soap box, or anything, but its very like a soapopera...that person very soon after breaking up with me started seeing one of my best friends...and a) that was very very hurtful, b/c I'd lost 2 of my closest friends at the same time, but b) it is the thought of them having sex that most upsets me to this day. What upsets me a LOT is the fact that the friend my ex started dating was a virgin before they got together, and I KNOW that they have had sex. And that is so upsetting! I guess to make a long story long, I was definitely emotionally attached to having sex with that person, but when the relationship ended i wasn't devistated because we'd had sex and now it was over, but more because the person i was in love with was out of love with me, and sex only came into the picture in the next relatioship he had. Phew...it has been 3/4 of a year now since I've spoken with them, so dont worry, readers! I am def recovered.
Finally, I'll leave everyone with one of the few dirty jokes I could remember but was an "over the line" joke that I didn't want to tell in class...be forewarned, this is a pretty disturbing joke. (by the way....isnt it interesting that any jokes having to do with sex are called "dirty jokes"? Is sex dirty?)

A man walks into a whorehouse, looking for a cheap thrill. He is directed to wait outside of a room at the end of the north corridor. As he walks down the corridor, he sees baskets of fruit outside of every door. He finally gets to the end and sits next to the door to wait. He is feeling a little hungry, so he startes to eat the fruit in the barrel next to him. These are delicious cherries! he thinks, and continues to eat. After about 10 min, the prostitute comes out of the door and as she sees him eating, shreiks in horror. "What's the hell?!" the man cries, a little juice dribbling down his chin. "why are you eating those?!!" exclaimes the women, horror-struck. "What, these cherries?" the man replies. And she says, "Those aren't cherries, those are abortions!"


more, more, more!
Name: Kathryn Mc
Date: //2002-09-20 15:53:16 :
Link to this Comment: 2800

I'm taking Anthro 103 at Haverford, which is an introduction to cultural anthropology. Recently one of the readings that we've done is by an anthropologist name Rosanne Stone and an excerpt from her book, "The War of Desire and Technology." There's a number of things that she discusses which I feel are pertinent to our discussion about putting sex into language. Stone looks at a group of lesbian separatist collective that ran a (heterosexual) phone sex business in San Francisco. To paraphrase Stone, the sex workers take all of the senses used in sex and compress them into audible form. They use taste, touch, smell, sight, hearing, etc. and "translate" the experience into speech, thus putting sex into language. Furthermore, she challenges the concept of what constitutes the physical body. Stone argues that what was being transmitted over the phone lines were bodies, just not existing what we normally call a physical form. While not present in the flesh, this interaction is still tangible, still physical, and only possible through language!
Later on, Stone also discusses the beginning of virtual reality communities, specifically "Habitat." Instead of approaching technology from the angle in "What is Sex?" such as the development of superorganisms, Stone looks at the inhabitants of this community, 1.5 million of them, who were unable to achieve "vanilla sexual positions" because there was no code to describe characters lying on top of each other, or any other intimate interactions. Therefore they had to be inventive. I am the most technologically illiterate person of my generation, but I think what she's saying is that these people had to create new codes for sexual activity because it didn't exist in the computer's language! I think that if it's possible for people to communicate sexual activity in such an innovative way, we can do the same in a language that is more commonly shared (although that means it's even more guarded), meaning a spoken language. In fact, I think we already do. Because we agree on so many codes for sexual activity, or we because we can infer them, we can read between the lines if something sexual is being censored. We hear what isn't "said." Some of the most titillating phrases are coded, as exemplified by blues music (and demonstrated in class by a song from Etta James). While the language might not be explicitly sexual, it is still sexy and sensual, and therefore still contains elements of sex. We hear the unsaid, so it is therefore still spoken, still communicated. Its absence IS its presence.


First Paper Assignment
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-09-20 15:58:30 :
Link to this Comment: 2801

Your first paper is due this coming Tuesday, September 24th. Please bring four copies to class, because we will be doing small group writing workshops w/ one another's essays that day. Plan to submit one hard copy to me when class ends; also e-mail me the essay as an attachment, so that I can hand post it on our website. Be sure that your name and the essay's title are on the first page of the text.

Your assignment is to choose a sexual sub-group w/ which you are familiar, and write a 3-pp. paper describing how this group uses language to talk about sex. Several of you have asked me what I mean by "sexual sub-group." What I want you to do is find an identity group you feel a part of, or can find out enough about to write an account of how they put sex into language (or not--it might be particularly interesting to have records of some groups where sex is NOT articulated linguistically.....) This can take the form of a report, an analysis, a narrative--you choose.

I'm very much looking forward to collecting this data!
Anne


Response to Jokes
Name: ngoc
Date: //2002-09-20 16:14:41 :
Link to this Comment: 2802

I honestly don't know how to react or what to say beside my instant reaction when I first hear the jokes. My lack of response or interaction with the class, I believe, is due to my limited exposure to sex jokes...but then think again..not only sex jokes...but anything relating to sex. It's not that sex is something so new ...so foreign...but rather it's something that I've never had a "real" conversation about it with anyone...friends or family...let alone forming and sharing my perspective about it. What I experienced, felt, or believed about sex have always remained my experience, feeling, and belief alone. Yet, I don't feel that I am missing out on anything...let alone feeling the need to speak about it. It is interesting, however, to see the importance of joke...and how individuals have chosen it as a mean to express their perspectives/beliefs. I, however, find humor serves better as entertainment then as seeds of revolution.


sexual music
Name: Iris Dicke
Date: //2002-09-20 16:58:56 :
Link to this Comment: 2803

I was sitting with someone whom I am extremely attracted to, talking, and listening to classical music. A piece began that was naked in its harmony and had only this exposed, beautiful deep cello playing. It was purely sexual and I felt as though it was screaming out what I was thinking. There is no doubt that music can be a profound language with which to communicate sex. Just think of some slow jazz and a sexy saxophone lazily meandering through the song. Music also has a wonderful way of incorporating the sensual and emotional nature into those sexual sounds.


joke
Name: Iris Dicke
Date: //2002-09-20 17:04:14 :
Link to this Comment: 2804

Why don't bunnies make noise when they have sex?
They have cotton balls



Name: sheri
Date: //2002-09-20 19:23:48 :
Link to this Comment: 2806

One of my favorite movies is Delirious, an hour long Eddie Murphy stand-up routine. It starts out with Eddie Murphy in a tight red leather body suit. After briefly making fun of oversensitive niggers, he continues to explain that he is pacing and constantly moving around the stage so that the faggots can't get a good look at his ass. The first time I saw the beginning of the movie I was shocked. My home friends whom had all seen it before were laughing. How could they laugh at that?
But then as the movie continued I almost wet myself laughing, and the next time I saw I laughed right along with everyone else. Murphy continues to poke fun at Asians with small dicks, poor blacks, beating woman, up-tight whites, his dysfunctional family, ready to masturbate Italians, and children on welfare with alcoholic dads who can't afford ice cream. I later showed my friends at Bryn Mawr and they had the same reaction as I did, shocked at first, then covering their mouths when laughing at things they should not laugh at.
I think once we realized that Murphy was going to make fun everyone, apparently not meaning any of it. For me at least, I could rationalize laughing when Murphy made his faggot comments because he made fun of black men, and my gay friend was laughing. That sort of proved that everything was in jest.



Name: sheri
Date: //2002-09-20 19:27:53 :
Link to this Comment: 2807

since my joke wouldn't post well, here's another:

what does a blond say after multiple orgasms?

Great work team!


more jokes
Name: Emily
Date: //2002-09-20 20:21:32 :
Link to this Comment: 2809

Q: what's the quickest way to a man's heart?

A: through his chest with a sharp knife.

heh-heh


What languages do we have for teaching sex?
Name: Emily
Date: //2002-09-20 21:04:43 :
Link to this Comment: 2810

I've been thinking about all possible Praxis sites and though it's a little late to get this one set up, I feel that putting a production of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues at a high school, coed or single sex, would be incredible. Even while twenty-somethings and college women are finding new liberation through new conversations and literature about female sexual satisfaction, high schools still seem so full of mystery. The confusion extends to not only to realistic portrayal (if there can be such a thing) of female sexuality, but homosexuality, and there seems to be some conflicting ideas on male sexuality as well. Though it's amazing to see college women discussing sex in a classroom, or performing with unrestrained emotion pieces about the evils of tampons, pubic hair, sexual abuse and birth, I feel that real growth in female sexual liberation will happen only with an overhaul of the sex-ed system. Good thing we're taking this class, huh?
But seriously folks, I believe that there is definite need for active encourage of young women to know themselves – their sexual desires, but also their expectations for their relationships- which will hopefully lead to a community of happy, secure, well-adjusted women of whom no one will be able to take advantage.
So that's my dream- I doubt that it would work quite that smoothly, especially at first- but I'm sure that there would be a few brave souls who would stick with it as a learning experience, albeit one with a curriculum that includes the word CUNT. Hopefully it would also include encouragement of hands on activities, meaning contraceptive fun day where everyone gets a purple baggie filled with condoms, dental dams, lube, gloves- the whole works. Perhaps a day would be to have the class each bring in a fruit as a method of learning actual proportions of internal organs, "Janice, that pear is about the size of your uterus right now..."
I don't know...it's not perfect yet, but it's a few ideas...hopes perhaps, that when we're finally comfortable with redefining sex-ed, we do it with more breadth than anatomy texts (perhaps I should turn to my classmates for suggestions). And by acknowledging that there's a certain amount about individual sexual response that parents and teacher won't be able to tell students. It may be an anxiety-ridden conversation, but that dialogue is necessary.


Sexual Experience:In/Outside Language?
Name: Nia Turner
Date: //2002-09-20 22:29:01 :
Link to this Comment: 2814

Is it possible to "put sex into" language? Sex is in itself a language, because individuals communicate through the senses. I believe that because touch,smell,taste,sound, and sight are an intergral part of what forms a sexual experience, that an alternative language fails to convey or recapture the reality of the sexual experience.Furthermore, because sex is its own language,no other language can articulate sex! However, it becomes necessary to attemppt to put sex in an alternative language,because as humans we desire to share the experience with other individuals.In addition we seek to understand our own sexual experience for ourselves, and an alternative language allows one to analyze, question,and explore sex.The unattainable goal being to fully comprehend sex.


joke
Name: Bea
Date: //2002-09-20 22:58:57 :
Link to this Comment: 2815

Q: What is the difference between a tire and 365 condoms?

A: One is a good year and the other is a great year.


reaction to jokes
Name: Bea
Date: //2002-09-20 23:11:13 :
Link to this Comment: 2816

For most of the class, I just sat back and listened, trying to figure out why I wasn't laughing at the jokes. I had heard some of the jokes before, and I remember laughing the first time I heard them. Maybe since the initial shock value had diminished, I wasn't quite so amused. Perhaps most of us would have laughed at some if they had not been told in a classroom setting. It was basically made clear that we were to share our jokes, so everyone was expecting to hear something really funny. In my mind, I instantly began to examine each joke, trying to figure out why it was humorous or offensive. Perhaps some of us didn't know if we should laugh. I enjoyed watching people's reactions, and I wondered if they would react the same way when hearing those jokes again some time.


A Range of Languages
Name: Nia Turner
Date: //2002-09-20 23:15:15 :
Link to this Comment: 2817

What languages do we have for thinking/talking/teaching sex? Sex is thought of,talked about, and taught in an array of communities. Communities can be subdivided into class, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation etc.Perhaps there are cultural, body, and artistic languages for thinking/talking/teachng sex.I have the tendency to tap into different language paradigms in order to effectivly provoke thought,conversation, and learning about sex, because the language(s) one chooses to use depend on the audience one is trying to reach.


The Language of Humor
Name: Nia Turner
Date: //2002-09-20 23:38:12 :
Link to this Comment: 2818

I have a comment in regards to a statement in Mikita Brottman's piece. The discourse of feminine hygiene deorderants prompted a question I have pondered for quite some time. Why is it that there are no male hygiene products on the market? Do men not have an obscure testical scent?

I had a discussion earlier with someone about humor, and the conclusion we reached is that what makes Black people laugh does not necessarily make Whites laugh and vice versa. Why is this phenomenon?

If I could create any day. The day would be International Male Menstruation Day. Just Imagine That!!


Sex Joke
Name: Nia Turner
Date: //2002-09-20 23:41:46 :
Link to this Comment: 2819

We Really Can't Win!
A woman was shaking out a rug on the balcony of her 17th floor condominium when a sudden gust of wind blew her over the railing. "Damn, that was stupid," she thought as she fell. "What a way to die."
As she passed the 14th floor, a man standing at his railing caught her in his arms.
While she looked at him in disbelieving gratitude, he asked, "Do you suck?"
"No!" she shrieked, aghast.
So, he dropped her.
As she passed the 12th floor, another man reached out and caught her. "Do you screw?" he asked.
"Of course not!" she exclaimed before she could stop herself.
He dropped her, too.
The poor woman prayed to God for one more chance. As luck would have it, she was caught a third time, by a man on the eighth floor. "I suck! I screw!" she screamed in panic.
"Slut!" he said, and dropped her.


Sex in the classroom...
Name: Jess T.
Date: //2002-09-21 00:22:30 :
Link to this Comment: 2820

Interestingly this week I came accross an article on the Detroit Free Press' website about limiting sex education in public schools. I thought it was quite timely that while we're reading fines article about the inadequacies of the language of sex in sex education (in Fine's article), in Michigan steps are being made to limit that language.

"Parents lobby for less sex in sex ed" explains the tendency towards abstinence in sex ed and that the possiblity of what these conservative parents want is not what's best for the kids or what the majority of the parents want. (I feel that this sentiment is supported in Fine's article with the statistics on the lack of parents pulling their children from sex ed classes.)

It seems as though, even in this time when middle schoolers engaging in oral sex as safe sex and in some schools its almost popular to get pregnant. That sex language is being narrowed even further.


jokes
Name: Jess T.
Date: //2002-09-21 00:37:41 :
Link to this Comment: 2821

Some Jokes:

A mangy redneck youth walks into the kitchen where his mom is fixing that night's dinner.

"Mom, I got a splinter in my finger. Can I have a glass of cider?" asks the slack-jawed youth.

"Are you sure you don't want me to pull it out?"

"No thanks, just the cider."

"Well sure," responds the youth's mother and gives her boy the cider and watches him trot contentedly off.

About fifteen minutes later the boy returns to the kitchen and again asks his mother for a glass of cider. His mother, not wanting to question his reasoning, gives him another glass and again watches him leave happy.

Ten minutes later the boy returns once again asks for a glass of cider. The mother complies with her son's wishes again, but her curiosity has been piqued to the point where she can't resist knowing why any longer. So she wanders into the family room and sees her son sitting in front of the TV with his finger in the glass.

"Why on earth do you have your finger in that glass?" asks the boy's mother.

"Well Mom, I heard Sis on the phone say that whenever she had a prick in her hand, she couldn't wait to get it in cider."


*****************************

A woman, getting married for the fourth time, goes to a bridal shop and asks for a white dress.

"You can't wear white.", reminds the sales clerk, "You've been married three times already."

"Of course I can, I'm a virgin!", says the bride. "Impossible", says the sales clerk.

"Unfortunately not", the bride explained. "My first husband was a psychologist. All he wanted to do was talk about it. My second husband was a gynecologist. All he wanted to do was look at it. My third husband was a stamp collector....

God I miss him"

*********************************


And an interesting variation on the joke we heard in class:


Three guys and a girl are marooned on a desert island. After one week, the girl is so ashamed of what she's doing, she kills herself.

After another week, the guys are so ashamed of what they're doing, they bury her.

After another week, they're so ashamed of what they're doing, they dig her up again.


This week's queries
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-09-21 11:12:46 :
Link to this Comment: 2822

Please post, this week, any insights you gain from writing your paper and/or--even more interestingly--from reading those of others in the class (I'll post all these in full before the week ends). You might also post your reflections on the upcoming readings about the necessity of using the language of sex in the classroom (IS it necessary?). Finally, I also invite you to reflect here on how we are doing in this class: what's working, what's not? What adjustments can you suggest/might we make before we get "in a rut"? (Oh, this sexual language...how can we HELP but use it?)
Anne


JOKES
Name: lauren hil
Date: //2002-09-21 11:15:56 :
Link to this Comment: 2823

So I'm a big loser and I forgot to post by Friday night. Forgive me please.

So here are my sex jokes....

What do you call a lesbian Eskimo?
A Klondike

Have you head about the new lesbian sneakers?

They are called, "Dykies" and you can get them off with one finger, but they had to be recalled because the tongues weren't long enough.


more
Name: lauren hil
Date: //2002-09-21 11:40:44 :
Link to this Comment: 2825

So I can't get the sex joke told in class, "how do you make a little boy cry twice?" out of my head. I don't even want to repeat the answer. It makes me so uncomfortable to think that rape is a matter one would joke about, especially entangled with pedophilia. Think about the reaction one would get if s/he told the joke to a person who had been raped? Which very well could have happened in class Thursday- I don't know.
We talked in class about the eating a vegetable joke and how that made some of us uncomfortable. But what kind of sick twisted person comes up with the bloody dick joke? That couldn't even be considered a play on words, like the eating a vegetable joke could be. And equally as disturbing, who would laugh at this joke? The vegetable joke crossed a line for me, but the bloody dick joke sent me falling off the edge of a mountain. The difference I suppose is that a woman who is sexually abused in a vegetable state probably won't recognize what has happened and therefore won't be emotionally traumatized. But the little boy will. I'm obviously not talking about jokes anymore. I don't think a little boy has anymore rights than an elderly woman, but because he has the ability to feel and put into emotion what is happening to him he is more affected. I think. But I've never been a sexually abused little boy or a "vegetable" taken advantage of in a nursing home, so it's hard for me to speak for them.


So here is where the line is crossed for me.
ANY Racist or sexist joke that does not criticize racism or sexism.
Jokes about rape/sexual abuse of anyone, but especially sensitive are children/elderly/ or mentally incapacitated people.

I love sex jokes. I can handle most of those assuming they do not fall in one of the two categories.

So if I had to categorize the jokes I recall from class these would be the categories...

Feminist
Lesbian
Penis
Jokes that uncover the ridiculousness of Homophobia
Plays on words
Just down right sick


More Randomness
Name:
Date: //2002-09-21 11:51:09 :
Link to this Comment: 2826

Okay, so after this I think I need to start focusing on the questions that Anne is asking, or at least the readings or class discussions. But yesterday in my Biology class my professor was talking about this concept of 'clumpy diversity'. It basically means that things evolved (or were created, if you prefer) with certain characteristics and that there are large gaps in between the different groups. I didn't really agree with that, and I was thinking that scientists just divide things that way to make it easier on themselves. Apparently, I was having trouble concentrating and my mind drifted to sex... heehe. But the thought occurred to me that people can't deal with the things that DON'T fall into those pre-defined 'clumps'. For example, there is a clump of males. People outside of that clump were ignored or worse for years, and still are. But even as a new clump develops, like females, and starts to become more accepted as legitimate, there are other characteristics that people don't allow an individual clump. For example, people still have difficulty giving transsexuals a clump of their own. I guess this kind of goes back to the inside/outside discussion, and how Fuss was complaining about the insides/outsides, but she herself was only listing two options, instead of trying to show how many 'outsides' there can be.


My joke and reaction to other jokes in class
Name: Monica Loc
Date: //2002-09-22 14:49:29 :
Link to this Comment: 2844

Hey everyone! Here's my joke, enjoy!

3 Sisters

Three sisters wanted to get married, but their parents couldn't afford it
so they had all of them on the same day. They also couldn't afford to
go on a honeymoon so they all stayed home with their new hubbies.That night the mother got up because she couldn't sleep.When she went past her oldest daughter's room she heard screaming. Then she went to her second daughters room and she heard laughing.Then she went to her youngest daughter's room and she couldn't hear anything.

The next morning when the men left the mother asked her oldest daughter, "Why were you screaming last night?" The daughter replied "Mom you always told me if something hurt I should scream." "That's true." She looked at her second daughter. "Why were you laughing so much last night?" The daughter replied "Mom you always said that if something tickled you should laugh." "That's also true." Then the mother looked at her youngest daughter."Why was it so quiet in your room last night?" The youngest daughter replied "Mom you always told me I should never talk with my mouth full."

I must admit that I laughed at most of the jokes said in class. To me a joke is supposed to be funny but when it comes to offending others and issues that should not be made fun of, I believe that the line is to be drawn between what is funny and what is not funny at all. Some of the jokes took me awhile to understand because I didn't know some of the slang used and it just took a while for me to figure it out. I made a comment in class saying that sometimes a joke may be funny in a certain language and once it is translated in English the context of the joke is not funny anymore. This actually happens to me a lot, and when asked what is so funny about it, it's so hard to explain!! Some of the jokes I heard in class were gross like the one about the two guys having sex with the dead body. I would have never guessed that was going to be the outcome of the joke. I thought that the two men would end up having sex with each other. I mean why couldn't the joke end up with the two men having sex? I guess the ending of this joke was a total surprise. It is always something unexpected that also makes a joke.



Name:
Date: //2002-09-22 20:37:20 :
Link to this Comment: 2852

On the topic of lang. and sex, does anyone know (or think there are) differences between fucking, having sex, and making love? My friend's boyfriend said you fuck a one night stand, have sex with the person you're dating, and make love to the person you marry. I don't know how I feel about that. Any thoughts?


joke
Name: Tamina
Date: //2002-09-23 12:24:20 :
Link to this Comment: 2858

How can you tell time in Michael Jackson's house?

When the big hand touches the small hand.



Name: Fritz Dubu
Date: //2002-09-24 01:34:26 :
Link to this Comment: 2865

Ok. My joke was: There was this Russian man and he found a genie. The Genie tells him he gets one wish and one wish only. So, the man decides and tells the Genie " everytime i take a piss I want it to taste like the best vodka I've ever tasted." The genie thoght this was a lil wierd but was like ok you have your wish. The man goes home pies in a cup and tastes it. It was indeed the best vodka h'e ever tasted. To make sure he calls his wife over and asks her to taste it. After tasting she commements " honey that was the best vodka i"ve evr tatsed." So the next day they do the same thing and the vodka was better than the day before. A couple of days later the wife walks up to the husband with her cup and asks when they are going to have their drink. The husband says "Soon, but you won;t need the cup." she goes "why?" He responds, "tonight you're drinking from the bottle."


Jokes
Name: H
Date: //2002-09-24 09:51:59 :
Link to this Comment: 2866

Joke shared in class: The Four Types in Bed
1. The positivist: "Oh Yeah! Oh Yeah!"
2. The Negativist: "Oh No! Oh No!"
3. The Pious: "Oh God! Oh God!"
AND
4. The Faker: "Oh Anne! Oh Anne!"

I thought about sharing another joke instead but ultimately chose the aforementioned one for abvious reasons. Here is the other one I considered. It is an old Bulgarian joke told to me by a good, old, Bulgarian friend:

Three women are sitting in a bar comparing how stretched out their pussies are. The first one says, "My husband can stick his whole fist up mine." The second one retorts, "Well, my husband can stick his whole arm up mine!" And the third one, well, she just slipped on the stool.


LONG Joke
Name: Jill
Date: //2002-09-24 12:31:15 :
Link to this Comment: 2869

A POW was just released from the war camp. He comes home as soon as possible, with one thing on his mind. All he wants to do is have sex with a woman.

When he gets to his home-town, he searches out the local pimp. The soldier tells the pimp his war stories, and he explains that he doesn't have much money, but he really wants to have sex with a woman.

The pimp tells the soldier that there is one woman he can hook the soldier up with for relatively cheap.

The soldier agrees, and the pimp directs him to a room on the top floor of the building.

When the soldier enters the room, the woman is already spread-eagle, naked on the bed. Assuming that this was the go-ahead, the soldier starts to do his business.

All of a sudden, this white substance begins to ooze out of every pore in the woman's body. This really frightened the soldier, so he ran downstairs to tell the pimp.

After a moment's reflection, the pimp yells to a guy down the hall... "The dead bitch is full again!"


Humor
Name: Jill
Date: //2002-09-24 12:38:12 :
Link to this Comment: 2870

In response to last Thursday's class, I left baffled. Jokes are integral to interaction, at least in my experience. I've maintained friendships on the basis of laughter. Also, at least from what I've observed, humor is part of what makes people attractive. Whenever I've been asked to describe my "ideal type", the ability to make me laugh has always been on my list. This is true for almost everyone.

It struck me as almost heartbreaking that most of our class had to search the internet for jokes. If people are too busy to be able to remember jokes, are they also too busy to laugh? What does this say about Bryn Mawr and Haverford?

It makes me sad.


Nun Jokes
Name: Jill
Date: //2002-09-24 12:52:07 :
Link to this Comment: 2871

#1
By some tragic accident, three nuns died all at the same moment. They arrived at the Pearly Gates, and St. Peter greeted them all cheerfully.

"Hello, ladies! Welcome to Heaven. There is just one thing that needs to happen before I can let you in. We've been getting some sketchy characters up here lately, so the Powers That Be have required me to ask each person a question before they can enter. I'm sure you'll all be fine."

With that, he turned to the first nun and asked her, "OK, so who was the first man on earth?"

She answered quickly and confidently, "Oh, that's easy! Adam!"

All of a sudden, an angellic glow descended, the gates swung open, and a gentle breeze carried her into heaven.

St. Peter then turned to the second nun. "Who was the first woman on earth?"

She also answered quickly and confidently, "Oh, that's easy! Eve!"

Again with the glow and the breeze and the swinging gates...

Finally, St. Peter turned to the last nun. "What was the first thing Eve said to Adam?"

This time, the nun did not answer quickly or confidently. In fact, she almost stuttered. "Oh... Gee... That's a hard one..."

All of a sudden, an angellic glow descended, the gates swung open, and a gentle breeze carried her into heaven.

#2
Four nuns were driving along in their nunmobile, out to do some community service. From out of nowhere, a huge mac-truck plows right into them, and the nuns all died instantly. St. Peter was there to greet them.

"Hello ladies! Welcome to heaven! Before I let you in, it is customary for me to ask if you have any final sins to confess."

The first nun stepped forward and embarrasingly admitted, "St. Peter, I saw a man's penis once."

St. Peter replied, "OK, that's no problem, what I'm gonna need you to do is just to wash your eyes out with some of this holy water."

The second nun stepped forward and bashfully admitted, "St. Peter, I touched a man's penis once."

St. Peter replied, "OK, what I need you to do is wash your hands in this holy water."

As soon as he was done saying that, he saw the other two nuns in an all-out brawl right in front of him. It was a mess, a total cat-fight. Habits were flying, hair was being pulled, the whole works.

St. Peter stepped in, "Ladies! Ladies! What's going on here?"

One of the nuns came forward, "St. Peter, I want to gargle with the holy water before that bitch has to sit in it!"


Sexual Humor, Continued
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-09-24 15:45:05 :
Link to this Comment: 2883

The "Sexual Humor" section got...too large (you can make out of this...whatever you like). So it...continues here.
Anne


Yet another joke...
Name: Chelsea
Date: //2002-09-25 18:12:13 :
Link to this Comment: 2897

Ok, so this was inspired by a class discussion we had in Biology and I think it relates well...especially to that "Universe in Heat" article we read:)

What came before the Big Bang?

Big Foreplay!

Hehe...


readings
Name: sheri
Date: //2002-09-25 21:16:06 :
Link to this Comment: 2899

Did anyone else have trouble with the Inquirer Article? It was not very two-sided. It simply said why some teens chose to be abstinent, not why it should be taught in high schools. We heard only why sex ed should be taught. I would have liked to hear what the kinds had to say about that form of education.


Language of Sex in the Classroom
Name: Sarah H.
Date: //2002-09-25 21:37:59 :
Link to this Comment: 2900

I actually wrote my paper in part about how the absence of sex language in the classroom made me skeptical of the amount of knowledge teachers actually had about what went on. In this way, I think it would bridge a generation gap and open discussion to introduce explicitly sexual terms in a classroom setting, or at least do an exercise where the kids list the ones they know. Of course, this kind of system would have to be age appropriate, but I think by introducing sex in a language kids can understand for their age is crucial to opening discussion between generations. Another question that comes to my mind -how realistic is this idea? Most of my teachers were uncomfortable with the topic altogether, and preferred to skim it as quickly as possible. Before it could be a real part of curriculum, it seems that the adults would need to be comfortable. However, beyond using a specific vocabulary or being comfortable with one's own sexuality, I think its most important perhaps that the language be positive and open.


heavy petting
Name: lauren hil
Date: //2002-09-25 22:09:22 :
Link to this Comment: 2902

This week's readings have made me think about my sex life quite a bit. So I want to share some stories that came to my mind when I was reading.

Story #1... I remember playing doctor... with my cousin. I have always thought that was perfectly normal, but I remember telling my mom I played doctor with him and suddenly he was not allowed to come over anymore. Now that we are all grown and I see him, he always brings up how he was not allowed to come over. On a side note... His girlfriend's name is Lauren. Coincidence?

Story #2... My mom used to baby-sit a little boy named Danny. Once we were in the kitchen eating macaroni and cheese (by the way I now hate mac and cheese) and Danny said he had to go to the bathroom. And then he looked at me and said, "you can watch if you want to." My mom said I couldn't watch. Strangely, she left the room and Danny left the door open. Danny went to an all male private high school and is now a marine.

What's odd to me is that my mom seemed to allow me to experiment with Danny but not my cousin. In both instances she said I wasn't allowed to participate, but with Danny she kind of let it happen. I'm not really sure if she did it on purpose though. My mom is a little scattered so maybe she didn't realize she was condoning my actions.

The Levine article is the one that brought a lot out for me when I was reading it. I dated this guy who used to take naps and cuddle with his mom when he was little. When he was 6 his mom died. I always wondered why he was so damn cuddly with me until he told me about his naps with his mom. I didn't know him well at all, ok so I didn't know him, when we got physical and I got very comfortable with him very quickly because we were so physically affectionate. Someone told me recently that when you cuddle with a person you release endorphins, which make you more attached to the person. Anyone know if this is true???

"Many women, and most teenage girls, don't get enough touching, kissing, or time to feel ready for intercourse, much less have an orgasm that way." Levine, 197... I think many women do not climax during sex because they aren't being caressed or touched enough. Touch is what makes you feel comfortable. Its what turns you on. Everyone wants to be touched (at least in bed). What ever happened to foreplay?

I think we need to hold a sex workshop at the end of this class for people who haven't gotten to talk about sex in a classroom setting for 3 hours a week. Anyone interested??

On a side note, I am pretty bothered that the sex ed curriculum we had to read had a grade on it as well as names of the students. And what is a "Vignette?" It is on page 3 of Amanda and Julia's project.


MoSex and the City
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-09-26 09:02:09 :
Link to this Comment: 2906


This is the title of an article in the The Philadelphia Inquirer this morning (9/26/02) which describes the opening of a new "sin-stitution" in NYC, in the Tenderloin (!) district: The Museum of Sex. You can check it out virtually @ their website . Whoever checks it out actually (it opens this Saturday) needs to promise toreport back to the class when she returns from her field trip--
Anne


Can we do it? (refrain from using sex puns, that i
Name: Nancy
Date: //2002-09-26 17:24:14 :
Link to this Comment: 2913

Today's articles have provoked a few questions. First of all, who says one type of "sex ed" can work for everyone. Even if we design a program especially for a certain group of people, who is to say it will be any more effective than the programs we have now? Emily already pointed out the flaws that come along with grouping individuals; within any group the differences among members is as great as the differences among members and nonmembers. So now I am beginning to question whether or not we can design an effective and specific program without presenting it in a 'utopian society''.

I also think that Sex Ed programs have been less effective mainly because of fear on the part of parents. While children and young adults may tend to be more liberal and accepting of the idea of a comprehensive sex ed program at a young age, many parents confuse informing kids about sex is in essence enabling them to have sex. This kind of thinking, pretending that if we wait until our children are old enough to be deemed (by adults) 'ready to learn about sex' , some teenagers (or children) will already have had sexual experiences.


I think it would be amazing to somehow workshop our class. I don't think i realized until today what an open dialogue we have and that, even in a college setting, that is probably rare.


Fairy Tale
Name: Nancy
Date: //2002-09-26 17:35:16 :
Link to this Comment: 2914

Once upon a time there was a Twibble and a Tweeble. They liked each other very much. They also looked very different, but they had a lot of fun together.

Whenever they played together, they were very careful not to hurt each other; they believed in safety first! For example, whenever it rained, they made sure to put on their raincoats before going outside. Sometimes, Twibble wanted to play but Tweeble didn't. And sometimes, Tweeble wanted to play but Twibble didn't. This was okay'; and lots of times, they just played alone.

One day, a new Twibble moved to town. This Twibble wanted to play with the other Twibble. But the first Twibble didn't know if they could play, because they looked so much alike. But they did play, and the first Twibble discovered she liked playing with a Twibble just as much as she like playing with a Tweeble.

The Tweeble saw how much fun the two Twibbles had playing together and wanted to play too, but the second Twibble didn't want to play with the Tweeble. This confused the first Twibble- she had fun no matter who she was playing with. But she was somehow able to reconcile this with herself and she had fun playing with whoever was most convenient!

(or they all played together if you have a penchant for a happy ending- or if you're just that kinky)


not so utopic?
Name: Sarah
Date: //2002-09-26 21:11:58 :
Link to this Comment: 2917

I don't know whether this is because Julia and Amanda's project was repeatedly introduced to me as utopic and I was therefore prepared for something outrageous, but did anyone else not find this THAT utopic? We've read and talked a lot about sex ed curriculums never working; we've joked a lot about the cheesy movies we had to watch and "just say no" plugs we've heard but what about those of us who had a better experience? I never knew the sex ed. that I received was at all unique but I think I'm aware of that now. Did anyone else have a positive experience? If so, I'd like to know about it since I tend to attribute anything I had as a result of an all girls school.


attitude
Name:
Date: //2002-09-26 22:46:59 :
Link to this Comment: 2919

Sorry about the late post.

The attitude one should go into praxis with.

Respect and know boundaries – know how t o approach people. Do not force things
Respect people you are working for
Keep an open mind **
Don't use it as your therapy session
Be available
Check your bad day at the door
Be a good listener
Remember you are there to learn.



Name: Chelsea
Date: //2002-09-26 23:48:40 :
Link to this Comment: 2923

I have to say I agree with Sarah, I think that the curriculum Amanda and Julia designed is much more feasible than we've been allowing. I mean, what's really stopping a school from trying it out, at least? If you found one school to do this , and used the (surely) positive responses to it from those involved, you could certainly then take it to more schools, and eventually it would get around; even if not always in its original form, I think it would go a long way toward revolutionizing the way sexuality is taught.

It was really funny, actually, becuase the classroom was set up very much like my senior english and humanities classes, and the teacher actually got in trouble with the administration for having couches. She was told it would "encourage sexual behavior among children in the classroom"- because she won't notice that they're having sex while she's teaching, right? I think it actually says more about our administration than the kids- I mean, who was it again that thought to have sex on the couches?


sex-ed for kids
Name: Kathryn Mc
Date: //2002-09-27 00:51:27 :
Link to this Comment: 2925

For the fairytale, we didn't get much beyond a title and focus for the story. We were going to call it "Goldilocks and the Three Hairs." We decided we wanted to show the changes that occur during puberty, which is happening in children at younger and younger ages. And we can't decide where to go from here!


Utopia of Amanda and Julia's project...
Name: Jess T.
Date: //2002-09-27 18:41:30 :
Link to this Comment: 2957


Both Sarah and Chelsea have commented on how they don't believe that a utopic environment would be needed for Amanda and Julia's curriculum to be used. I wanted to address these comments.

I understand completely why the two authors made the claim for a utopic environment for their project, because I cannot think of high school that would put this curriculum in place. The course deals with issues of gender roles, gender identities, sexual orientation, reproduction, masturbation, non-intercourse sex, abstinence, abuse and rape, contraception (history and options ), AIDS and other STDS and includes R rated movies like Boys Don't Cry. All of these are or can be hot topics in relation to sex ed. (I italicized options, because I believe this section of the course my have covered the topic of abortion, which is always an issue of great conflict.)

There are many reasons that this program could not easily be used. One of them is laws and funding. Different areas have implemented laws or decision by the education boards regarding what can and can't be done in sex ed classes. An example of this is some of the abstinence only decisions. If programs go against these guidelines they can lose funding (or for the people involved their jobs).

Also I earlier posted a link to the Detroit Free Press about how parents are blocking a video from being used in Sex Ed classes this year. (Another link to the article: Parents lobby for less sex in sex ed) Conservative parents all over the country are limiting sex ed and I'm sure that they would have huge problems with this curriculum.

My experience with private schools leads me to believe that they would also be very hesitant to the suggested curriculum. Private schools are very afraid of losing tuition dollars and even more so of being sued. I don't believe they would risk anything as controversial as this program.

(In my personal experience at a private high school, some very inovative stuff that dealt with controversial issues occurred. But there was no sex ed class. Of the things I sited above as hot topics I only really remember gender roles and sexual orientation being dealt with, but that was part of Diversity Day, not part of sex ed. We never had any class about sex, contraceptive, let alone anything like masturbation. Although I'm sure that if you needed/wanted to you could go talk to either the school nurse or counselors about these issues.)

As much as I think Amanda and Julia developed a good sex ed program, I just don't see it being implemented popularly. There might be a few schools who are willing to try something like this, but I believe an overwhelming number of them would be bound laws/rules, funding issues and parental approval. I understand why the authors made the claim of a needed Utopia for this program, because I don't think the class has a great opportunity to exist in the reality of the US.


Addendum to Forum #1: Reflection on Vigeland Sculp
Name: HY
Date: //2002-09-28 11:53:44 :
Link to this Comment: 2960

As I have gone back and read other peoples' comments, I am struck by the similarities in interpretations. This got me thinking about the apparent age difference between the two figures in the Vigeland Sculpture. Perhaps the artist has made the woman appear physically older, not to convey a mother - son relationship, but to convey her superior wisdom? Just a thought.


Combining Colors
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-09-28 11:57:33 :
Link to this Comment: 2961

The presentation of the kindergarten class in sex ed in which "red" and "yellow" learned to play together, to mix their colors into new combinations, put me in mind of another of Sharon Burgmayer's paintings, in which she put blue and yellow together to make white. The painting was inspired a passage from a poem by the Sufi poet Rumi:

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in the grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase `each other'
don't make any sense.

The painting is called "In the field beyond." Anne


Fewer High School Students Having Sex
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-09-28 12:29:25 :
Link to this Comment: 2962

The Philadelphia Inquirer had an article in Friday's (Sept. 27, 02) edition entitled "Fewer high school students having sex, CDC survey finds":

"Sexual intercourse among high school students has dropped significantly in the last decade, a federal health survey reported yesterday. The number of teens who remained virgins rose 16 percent in the last decade. In 2001, virgins outnumbered those who say they have had intercourse, 54 to 46 percent. In 1991, the results were just the opposite."

For more details go to www.philly.com


pattern-seeking
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-09-28 14:31:10 :
Link to this Comment: 2967

I was telling you guys this week about The New York Times Magazine (August 11, 2002) title story called "Coincidence in an Age of Conspiracy," which I think is very important essay. It says, in part,

"Human beings are pattern-seeking animals...[conspiring] to make coincidences more meaningful than they really are....our brains fill in the factual blanks.....optical illusions.....prove that our brain is capable of imposing structure on the world...One of the things our brain is designed to do is infer the causal structure of the world from limited information. If not for this ability...a child could not learn to speak. A child sees a conspiracy...in that others around him are obviously communicating and it is up to the child to decode the method. But these same mechanisms can misfire....It's why we have the urge to work everything into one big grand scheme..We do like to weave things together. But have we evolved into fundamentally rational or fundamentally irrational creatures?"


Forums #7 and #8: On sex and Humor . . .
Name: HY
Date: //2002-09-28 15:07:25 :
Link to this Comment: 2969

I had the privilege of taking Jane Caplan's college seminar, Laughter, last semester, and I was able to bring much of what we discussed in her course to our sharing and analysis of sexual jokes. This problematic and ambiguous "line" between what is a daring-but-good joke and a disrespectful and vulgar joke was an issue of discussion in our course. I would like to point out to Anne, who seemed so adamantly intrigued by this question of boundaries, that our discussions brought us no closer to understanding the subtle limits which are crossed in humor. Not that our efforts were in vain, although we (in Laughter) never came to a conclusive "definition" of this limit, discussing it was fruitful. However, similarly to our forum on humor, discussions in the Laughter course had a tendency to sterilize and remove the hilarity from jokes.
Nevertheless, I have some references that may be of interest to some or all of you. One is a book by a philosophy professor at the University of Chicago, Ted Cohen, entitled, Jokes: Philosophical Thoughts on Joking Matters. This is an easy and fun read that attempts to deconstruct the joke - and is filled with pretty good ones too. The last chapter, "Taste, Morality, and the Propriety of Joking" addresses the elusive boundary which perplexes us so.
The other reference is cultural. It is a study of the lexicon of a Western Apache tribe in modern day Arizona entitled Portraits of "The Whiteman": Linguistic play and cultural symbols among the Western Apache by Keith Basso. A portion of this book addresses the socialization of humor. Humor, among men especially, is a way of expressing intimate relationships that have reached a certain level of mutual trust, respect, and understanding. That is why elderly men are more prone to "risky" joke making than younger males - they have had more time to intimate their relationship. I found these two points particularly interesting during class when sharing jokes.


Forum #5: A Range of Languages . . .
Name: HY
Date: //2002-09-28 15:09:10 :
Link to this Comment: 2970

Sorry for the lateness of my response.
Our multi-disciplinary readings have set a nice back drop for the discussion of which type of language is best for expressing and communicating sex(uality). I have to agree with other students that one language is not better or more comprehensive than another. A combination of the languages of science, social science, and humanity are necessary (especially in the educational discussion on sex). What these three disciplines fail to leave out is individualized language and language that does not take a lexicon form (what of painting, music, touch, body language, etc.). We humans tend to forget that we are multifaceted - both different from others and different within ourselves. Along the lines of what Emily said concerning the sexual subgroups, attributing one language (or label) only underlies the differences within a group. To propose something tailored for education, a curriculum incorporating as many forms of language thinkable (science, social science, humanities, art, touch, music, silence, statistics, religion, so on and so forth) would be ideal. Amanda and Julia's curriculum comes close to that for me.
Personally I cannot say I have a preferred language for expressing or communicating sex(uality). Jenny and Bea mentioned music. I think it would depend on how I was feeling about the experience, who my experience had been with, who I am (or am not) communicating to, etc. I am a very physical person and on most days I can say that I really love touching in order to express myself - but NOT EXCLUSIVELY of course!
In sum, I think we have an infinite range of languages with which we can express our sexual selves. And my definition of language is very broad. It is a matter of openness - openness to discovery, to challenge, and to mistakes! But doesn't it sound like so much fun - if there are an infinite number of doors waiting to be opened, what are WE waiting for?


Forum #9: Language of Sex in the Classroom . . .
Name: HY
Date: //2002-09-28 15:23:48 :
Link to this Comment: 2971

I believe that not only should the languages of sex be put in the classroom, sexuality as a whole (through language or otherwise) should be found in the classroom from Pre-K to the end of the educational career (do we ever stop learning). And sex in the classroom should not be confined to a skimpy two week unit once every few years. The language of sex should permeate the classroom all year round. If the classroom is the setting where children grow both academically and socially, it should also be the setting in which the child can grow as a sexual being. We humans are sexual beings and removing sex from the classroom is only curtailing that healthy growth (do not ask me to define "healthy," I am being loose here). If we have spaces were children can learn the alphabet and long division, and places where children learn to "Play Safe" and mediate conflicts ("Conflict Management" groups is school, sports, etc.), why can we not have a place where children can "learn" to love. I do not mean here that one needs to learn to love rather "learn" the ways in which love and sexual feelings can be expressed?
The problem here is defining this space I keep eluding to. Many people think that sexual education should take place in the home. But the home is not always the most ideal space. Just as some children prefer home-schooling or single sex schooling or Montessori style schooling or private school schooling, some children may prefer to learn about sexuality at home, at school, in the tree house, or in the back alley. For a society that is supposedly overly-consumed by the individual, the United States is extremely conservative in allowing liberty and acknowledging differences for the individual.


Reflections on Course Thus Far . . .
Name: HY
Date: //2002-09-28 15:26:13 :
Link to this Comment: 2972

I love the course and have no reproaches! Sharing our sexual subgroup papers was wonderful! I was glad to see the diverse range of sub-groups.


Paper writing/Reflection of class
Name: Monica Loc
Date: //2002-09-29 01:42:36 :
Link to this Comment: 2977

I used my family as a sexual subgroup for my first paper. I did not think that it would be such a hard group to talk about in an essay involving SEX. To be honest, I was wrong.Writing this paper has actually made me learn more about my family and how we are so different from other people. Being part of this family, I feel like an outsider in terms of talking about sex because I am more accepting and I more open to new things. The second essay has been on my mind and hard for me to start. I really do not know where to begin! Having a family that does not talk about SEX at all makes it a challenge to write a sex ed curriculum for.

I have enjoyed the readings in class. The sex ed curriculum written by Julia and Amanda has served as a good example for us. Some of the readings have shocked me in the sense that it is okay for children to touch each other. I mean I am an open person but I guess from where I am coming from, it is not right. I did enjoy the little skits we did in class about children learning more about each others bodies but at the same time when I think of the fact that I might have children one day, I would not want that to happen.

I am enjoying and loving this class to death. I love the fact that everyone in class is open and willing to listen to each other with a lot of respect. I am glad to be a part of this class:)


Sex Ed by Betsy Sholl
Name: Nancy
Date: //2002-09-29 13:31:20 :
Link to this Comment: 2990

This is a great poem, and I think it is especially relevant to what we are discussing right now!

Sex Ed
Well-dressed, demure, jammed into those
            politely arranged desks, it's hard to be
            serious, but we are. No one even parts lips
            to acknowledge what used to drive us crazy
            in the back seats of cars, what kept us up
            half the night reliving the last slow dance,
            girl on her toes, guy bent at the knees
            to press in against her.

            The instructors speak precisely about
           the importance of our children knowing the facts,
          so surely none of us in our high heels and
          neck ties is going to admit how our first mistakes
          have suddenly blossomed so tender and lovely
          we've been forgiven a thousand times,
          a thousand times forgiven and repeated ourselves.

          But fingering the graffiti on this desk,
          I remember being braille to you, being read
          like a steamy novel, and how those lessons
          stayed with us, practical as driver's ed, those hours
          of simulation behind the wheel of a parked car.
          The truth is I don't regret having studied with you
          though I do feel inarticulate, like an athlete
          asked to speak in a room of kids, who has nothing
          to say except, "practice, practice."

          Once our daughter watched the cat in heat
          yowl and slither across the floor, and without
          looking up asked, would that happen to her. Sometimes
          it isn't shame that makes us speechless. It's not
          regret that makes me linger at the curb watching
          her toss back her yellow hair and yank open
          the heavy doors to school.
by Betsy Sholl


Fairytale Story
Name: Sarah H.
Date: //2002-09-29 14:50:29 :
Link to this Comment: 2992

Once upon a box, there were two crayons, red and yellow, who loved coloring. They loved the colors and the pictures there bodies were able to make. Then one day, the crayons discovered each other's pictures and really liked the other's work and colors. THey became good friends and loved to spend time with each other. One day, as they were drawing side by side, red got caught up in watching yellow color, and accidentally fell over onto yellow's paper! Red left a big mark on yellow's drawing. Red said sorry, but yellow liked the mark, and got an idea. "Let's draw one picture using both of our colors!" yellow said. Red liked that idea, so red and yellow used both of their colors to make one beautiful picture.


Where we are...
Name: Lindsay Hi
Date: //2002-09-29 20:42:20 :
Link to this Comment: 3002

I am really enjoying this class so far...i took a risk on an English class...and i am happy i did...The material is engaging. I am a little worried about having the back to back papers due this week but mostly because every other paper is due this week for me, and i feel like i haven't gotten a good enough sense of my feild site in order to write anything of substance.

I really enjoy the interactive nature of this class, i hate being in classes where the professor never encourages us to interact with one another....


new word!
Name: Sarah
Date: //2002-09-29 21:06:27 :
Link to this Comment: 3003

A new word for the class, and maybe Lauren in particular, if she ever gives up on flexual :)
"PoMoSexual: the queer erotic reality beyond the boundaries of gender, separatism, and essentialist notions of sexual orientation."
Just thought I should get the new vocab circulating.


utopia again
Name: Sarah
Date: //2002-09-29 21:18:40 :
Link to this Comment: 3005

I think that maybe what I said about the utopia of Julia and Amanda's project was misunderstood. Jess said that a utopia was needed to implement this program which isn't really what I meant; I only meant that the program did not seem so utopic. Also, while I understand that not many schools would implement a program of this nature, some may, and what I am attesting to is that mine did, maybe not exactly as it was outlined but pretty similarly. I think it'd be interesting to hear from anyone else who felt that their experience was also positive and why. And, to address Jess' concerns, how was it possible? Does a school have to be private to allow for that kind of utopic program or does its private status as dependent on parent funding deny any such program?


Fairy tale
Name: lindsay u
Date: //2002-09-29 22:34:21 :
Link to this Comment: 3009

Once upon a time there was a very nice, intelligent little boy named Bob, who happened to be overweight. On his first day of kindergarten, he asked a little girl to play with him.
"No!" she responded. "You're fat."
Her friends laughed at Bob and made fun of him. The next day, he asked the little girl to play with him again, and once again she and her friends said that they would not. That night, Bob went home and told his parents about his problems. They reminded him of his good qualities, and that he should only play with friends who liked him for his personality. He fell asleep peacefully between them. The next day, the little girl's friends were nowhere to be found, and she asked Bob if he would play with her.
"No, you didn't want to play with me yesterday," Bob replied. Besides, you make me feel bad about myself--I can find someone else to play with."


child sex
Name: sheri
Date: //2002-09-30 10:00:58 :
Link to this Comment: 3022

This iste had a counter to some of the topics we have been reading in classs,(like Judith Levine's book "Not Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Kids from Sex") I think it is good to read.

http://asp.washtimes.com/printarticle.asp?action=print&ArticleID=20020419-75530376


This Week: Post a Paper
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-09-30 11:15:28 :
Link to this Comment: 3027

This week your web posting should be the second "warm-up" paper you are writing for this course. Spend some time thinking about the sexual sub-group you "showcased" in last week's paper: 1) what do they know already and 2) what more, what else do they need to know about sex? What language should you be using to talk to them about these matters? Then do some web-based research (find 3 relevant sites) and some library research (3 additional sources, either scholarly journals or books). Drawing on these materials, sketch out 3 pp. of the sort of sex-ed curriculum you might imagine constructing for your group. Go to Post Web Paper for instructions on posting. Also bring one hard copy to class for me to review. Thanks--I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up w/! Anne


Educaitonal Posters
Name: Lindsay Hi
Date: //2002-09-30 11:57:53 :
Link to this Comment: 3028

I came across this website while updating one of the ones i work on...and i just think its a lot of fun.

Calition for Positive Sexuality runs the site, and has these posters they call "Girl Germs Posters" dealing with issues regarding women's sexuality. They don't hold back anything and are very forward in their views. i also like the fact that they are all bilingual.

The one that drew my attention and is one of the points i made in my paper about sex ed curriculum for my subgroup is the "The more we know about sex, the better our choices" one. If you click on the poster and maximize the screen you can see all the writing.

http://www.positive.org/Home/posters.html


New book
Name: elisa
Date: //2002-10-01 09:33:30 :
Link to this Comment: 3057

hey y'all

this weekend i was watching the news and one of the things that came up was the debate surrounding a new book called "misunderstood relationships between men and boys."

the book is about intergenerational love between men and boys (think back to rubin's essay). the news described the author's purpose in writing the book was about understanding loved boys or boylovers. it is supposedly being sold at borders or amazon .com. also, it is apparently published in philly (i think the publishing company is called "safe haven").

the united states justice foundation is suing amazon and borders: for
"directly promoting this activity that these books are about." Which bring up issues of freedom of speech, etc.

i didn't catch the author's name, so i thought i would go on amazon.com or borders.com, enter the title, and then get the author's name. but there were no matches found. which makes me think that the companies got scared and pulled out of selling the books. i dont know. just a guess.

i just thought i would put this on our forum so we could keep our ears out for duscussion on this book, and maybe have further discussion on books like this, should they be sold? not sold? what are the pros and cons of writing them? reading them? etc.


shy exhibitionism
Name: Kathryn Mc
Date: //2002-10-03 16:49:54 :
Link to this Comment: 3103

Alright, so I've been debating about whether or not to share this with the class, but I have a story about sex, children, and censorship. About a year and a half ago I submitted a personal essay for an anthology about girls (younger children) exploring sexual activity with each other. It focused on women looking back on themselves as girls who knew that what they were doing together was more than "playing doctor." However, my editor (who is terrific! don't think that she's not) found that she had to censor some of my writing in order to comply with publishers' guidelines, despite the fact that she was marketing this anthology to sex book publishing companies specifically, and that what I had written was true and not even particularly daring (in MY opinion). It wasn't graphic, but apparently I was too young and the context of my story was a little too shocking and a little too over the top, but I was floored that I was not allowed to be truthful about my experience, despite that being the whole purpose. The telling of my memory has become child pornography, even though it is not meant to be titillating (for me or the readers), or even artistic within the essay (besides the essay being an art form itself). It was reflective and emotional and empowering and really honest, but distant; there wasn't much room for erotic voyeurism. Still, it challenged a lot of wishful thinking that adults have when it comes to children and sexuality; even those who are aware of it, encourage it, and acknowledge it. When this book goes to print (the date hasn't been confirmed), the full meaning of this memory won't be intact because I was not allowed to tell the story that I wanted. I've been censored by a sex book publishing company! How many people get to say that?! I think it's funny, but sad. I think a lot of people would benefit from the truth, myself included. It doesn't feel too good to be told to lie about your past because your child self was wrong, but I still want to publish the essay because I think the issue needs to be addressed regardless, and maybe someday in the future I will be able to tell the whole story in print because I'm making it safer for my future self now.


porn and more porn
Name: Maggie
Date: //2002-10-03 17:32:16 :
Link to this Comment: 3104

First, I would like to say that I'm really impressed with Emily and Lauren being able to create their own porn AND bring it in to class. Not only were the pictures good -hehehh- I think it took a lot of guts. Way to go, guys = ).

The porn that I was originally going to bring to class was a paragraph from Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown. But then I decided that the love scene between the two women wasn't pornographic enough. It is descriptive, but not explicit or 'dirty'. I have since changed my mind again. I think that anything, classic art, high-quality literature, playboy magazines, etc, can be pornographic. The problem is that WE give pornography a negative connotation. Without that connotation, I think that porn is anything a person experiences that is not something done physically to their own bodies and that evokes sexual feelings. In my opinion, this includes visual art, written words, songs, etc. But I think this means that I'm ignoring the category of 'erotica' and just lumping it all together as pornography.

The only 'fear' that I think I had about looking for porn was that I didn't want to see something that I would find disgusting. I understand and accept that porn depicts acts that some people find sexually arousing, and I think it should be legal. But personally, I don't WANT to see pictures of huge penises, or people having sex with animals. This is similar to the fact that I don't like scary movies. It doesn't mean I think that they should be illegal, but I, personally, don't like them.

I agree that as long as the people in porn are acting, it should be legal to show any actions. But I have problems with saying that people acting out rapes should be allowed to create that for other people to get off on. That is extremely disturbing to me. But can we say people can't show rapes for sexual pleasure as long as we still let people show them for entertainment in mainstream movies? Which is worse? Rape as entertainment or as pleasure? I guess in my opinion, pleasure is worse, but I don't think that there is enough difference to draw a legal distinction between them.


Pornogra-tea
Name: lindsay hi
Date: //2002-10-03 20:35:46 :
Link to this Comment: 3106

Just a quick thought on fear and cultural influences of said fear.

Every year the women's center and Rainbow Alliance throw a Pornagra-tea. Now the idea may sound odd, but usually entails women sitting in a room watching porn, coloring in pictures from The Cunt Coloring Book, eating, and making arts-and-crafts projects with condoms. I remember freshmen year this whole idea baffled me...and i was so concerned that someone would label me if i ended up going (living a rather sheltered adolescence, i was quite curious). So i didn't go...then last year...i went. and oh my goodness....i think it was the first non class credit, group sponsored activity i went to where there were like 50 women at...i was blown out of the water. I mean the whole concept is so odd and new to us....in a room watching porn with other people, not even in the privacy of your own home....and i remember talking with people afterwords, like some people are totally into it, while others are like gagging in the corner of the room, and yet others are laughing hysterically...the reactions of everyone i feel were more culturally driven then one may think initially. Everyone was reacting this is true, but how many were reacting the way they did, because they didn't want their roomate next to them to think they were gay (by enjoying the gay porn) or their Hall Advisor to think they were "sick." Everyone was there for presumably the same reason, but at the same time....there was an overall sense of fakeness in the air...

what if someone saw me look interested? what if i didn't look interested? what if i squeamed? would that make me somehow less a woman? what if i laughed cause thats what everyone else was doing?

maybe i will write my thesis on this...hmm...


Porrrnn!
Name: Monica Loc
Date: //2002-10-03 22:34:29 :
Link to this Comment: 3107

I never thought that I would be this open in a class. I feel great though! Sharing the porn we brought to class was a fun and informative experience for me. I was too shy to print the picture in "Guild", "Dalton","Canaday" or "Carpenter", so I asked my friend to print it out for me. I was embarassed to print this out because I knew that people would think of me differently and probably remember me as the "porn girl". Now thinking about it, who cares if they think that of me or say that of me. I really dont know why I was so conscious about it. I mean it's not like no one knows what porn is. I guess the reason why I reacted the way I did was because "porn" is not exactly an open topic and is not accepted in the open public. Porn has always come with this "let's go in a room and masterbate while watching porn" connotation. It has never been classified as a subject to be spoken about in the open. People tend to drop their jaws when they first see porn or make remarks, but yet they want to look some more. This just shows how people are CURIOUS but are scared to express their feelings because they might be perceived in a different way. Props to Emily and Lauren for being original and artistic:) You guys rock!

Should porn be legal or illegal? Hmmm.. well let's face it, anyone has access to porn. I mean look at all the porn websites online and there is a possibility that older boy siblings share with their younger brothers (Middle school/high school age) even though they are not of age to buy porn. I know that porn is for pleasure and there is nothing wrong with having pleasure. Who doesn't want to be pleased? Even though I agree with these, I personally feel that porn should not be legal. Yes, I am outgoing but still a conservative at heart. I don't want porn material being used in teachign sex ed to my children. I mean if it is legal or if it is not legal, that does not bother me at all. But if I had a choice, I would not want it legal for the sake of children.

I told my boyfriend today about our class and he was appalled! He could not believe that such a class existed. For some reason he sounded uneasy when I spoke about porn. So I just dropped the subject. I think people should be more open with this because it's not like it doesn't exists.


hells yes
Name: lauren hil
Date: //2002-10-04 14:52:48 :
Link to this Comment: 3118

Saying "Yes:"
Sex Ed Curriculum for Young Victimized Liberal Activists

This sex ed curriculum focuses on women uncomfortable with their sexuality as a result of previous sexual abuse or rape. This curriculum is not meant to be a support group. This curriculum is meant for women who have gone through programs and/or have an outlet to vent. These women have a constant sense of victimization and fear intimacy. They are compelled to say "no" to sexual advances and have difficulty seeing sex positively.
The goal of a sex ed curriculum for these women is to help them become comfortable with their own sexuality. I want to teach them that it is safe to say "yes." These women need to understand that sex can be a beautiful experience that does not exist solely in victimization. They need to realize that every sexual advance is not a threat and they can accept wanted sexual advances.
Each aspect of the curriculum has no time constraints. We will not move on to another subject until all parties feel comfortable with the current topic. This way I can slowly reintroduce these women to their sexuality. Also there will never be a time set aside for each woman to tell her story. Rather than allocate time, if and when these women feel the need to share their experiences any activities we are presently doing will be set aside. I do not want to force or pressure these women into sharing anything until they feel compelled. If these women share their stories I want it to be from the natural progression of a conversation.
1. We will have a physical icebreaker. All the women will stand in a circle with their right side facing into the circle. I will tell them all to take a step in until their bodies are pressed against one another. Then I will tell them to slowly bend their knees. I will not tell them to stop until they are supporting their weight in a circle with each person in the lap of another. The goal is to break down physical and emotional barriers. The activity tends to make great conversation via the awkwardness it initially creates. It is also a metaphor for each woman being part of a whole that supports one another and will help create a supportive atmosphere.
2. The first objective will be for us to consensually decide the parameters of the lessons. For instance, knowing that most of these women have been sexually victimized, we will need to decide what kinds of information will remain confidential within the group.
3. Once these parameters have been decided upon we will tackle the question, what is sex? We will talk about the different possible sexual acts (heterosexual/homosexual/lesbian).
4. We will discuss different meanings of the words rape, victim, sex, crime, and comfort. We will specifically focus on the kinds "rape" which women have the ability to prevent, such as date rape or sex while inebriated. The goal will be for women to know that when they are at a party or on a date they can, for the most part, control what happens. Once this discussion is complete, they will be given a homework assignment to think about the different kinds of intimate relationships one can have. Intimacy is inclusive to close friends and family. This will be followed by a discussion about relationships of all sorts (friends, lover, marriage, boyfriend/girlfriend, family, etc.) The goal is to draw parallels between those you trust and love and emotional and physical intimacy.
5. After the relationship conversation is complete I will tell them to decide what their current objective stance on sex is by answering the following question: in what kind of relationship to you feel comfortable having sex with a person? In marriage, in love, in dating, as lovers, as friends, as acquaintances, with a person you just met, with a stranger? They will not be asked to share how they answered the question with the group; rather we will have a discussion about the different kinds of sex one can have. This will be followed by the question: what relationships incorporate these different kinds of sex?
6. Once I feel these women are more comfortable with sex in and out of relationships I want to have an activity similar to the first activity where all the women support each other in a circle, but more focused on touch. I would like to see these women develop more trust in touch and I think a group of women is the proper venue for developing this trust, because there is not much element of threat in this environment. The example Hanan gave in class about having a group of people close their eyes and walk up to a person and hold and explore her hands would be a good way to explore the realms of comfortable touch.
7. At this point in the curriculum I want to sit down with the women and talk about how they are feeling about the curriculum and where they want it to go from there. I do not want to push these women in a direction they are not ready for without their consent because the point of this curriculum is to open up the women to other options they have.

Works Cited

Angier, Natalie. Woman: An Intimate Geography. Great Britain: Virago Press. 1999

Bacon, Lisa. "Regaining Your Sexuality After Rape."
< http://www.improving sex.com/articles/abuse/regaining-your-sexuality-after-rape.htm >

Findlen, Barbara. Ed. Listen Up: Voices from the Next Feminist Generation. New York:
Seal Press. 1995.

Klein, Marty. "Censorship and Fear of Sexuality." 1999.
< http://www.sexed.org/arch/arch10.html >

Nightowl. "Sex Positive and Proud of It."
< http://www.widdershins.org/vol2issl/b9611.htm >

Planned Parenthood. "A Woman's Guide to Sexuality."
< http://www.plannedparenthood.prg/WOMENSHEALTH/sexuality.htm >

Roiphe, Katie. The Morning After. Boston: Back Bay Books. 1993.


hells yes
Name: lauren hil
Date: //2002-10-04 14:52:52 :
Link to this Comment: 3119

Saying "Yes:"
Sex Ed Curriculum for Young Victimized Liberal Activists

This sex ed curriculum focuses on women uncomfortable with their sexuality as a result of previous sexual abuse or rape. This curriculum is not meant to be a support group. This curriculum is meant for women who have gone through programs and/or have an outlet to vent. These women have a constant sense of victimization and fear intimacy. They are compelled to say "no" to sexual advances and have difficulty seeing sex positively.
The goal of a sex ed curriculum for these women is to help them become comfortable with their own sexuality. I want to teach them that it is safe to say "yes." These women need to understand that sex can be a beautiful experience that does not exist solely in victimization. They need to realize that every sexual advance is not a threat and they can accept wanted sexual advances.
Each aspect of the curriculum has no time constraints. We will not move on to another subject until all parties feel comfortable with the current topic. This way I can slowly reintroduce these women to their sexuality. Also there will never be a time set aside for each woman to tell her story. Rather than allocate time, if and when these women feel the need to share their experiences any activities we are presently doing will be set aside. I do not want to force or pressure these women into sharing anything until they feel compelled. If these women share their stories I want it to be from the natural progression of a conversation.
1. We will have a physical icebreaker. All the women will stand in a circle with their right side facing into the circle. I will tell them all to take a step in until their bodies are pressed against one another. Then I will tell them to slowly bend their knees. I will not tell them to stop until they are supporting their weight in a circle with each person in the lap of another. The goal is to break down physical and emotional barriers. The activity tends to make great conversation via the awkwardness it initially creates. It is also a metaphor for each woman being part of a whole that supports one another and will help create a supportive atmosphere.
2. The first objective will be for us to consensually decide the parameters of the lessons. For instance, knowing that most of these women have been sexually victimized, we will need to decide what kinds of information will remain confidential within the group.
3. Once these parameters have been decided upon we will tackle the question, what is sex? We will talk about the different possible sexual acts (heterosexual/homosexual/lesbian).
4. We will discuss different meanings of the words rape, victim, sex, crime, and comfort. We will specifically focus on the kinds "rape" which women have the ability to prevent, such as date rape or sex while inebriated. The goal will be for women to know that when they are at a party or on a date they can, for the most part, control what happens. Once this discussion is complete, they will be given a homework assignment to think about the different kinds of intimate relationships one can have. Intimacy is inclusive to close friends and family. This will be followed by a discussion about relationships of all sorts (friends, lover, marriage, boyfriend/girlfriend, family, etc.) The goal is to draw parallels between those you trust and love and emotional and physical intimacy.
5. After the relationship conversation is complete I will tell them to decide what their current objective stance on sex is by answering the following question: in what kind of relationship to you feel comfortable having sex with a person? In marriage, in love, in dating, as lovers, as friends, as acquaintances, with a person you just met, with a stranger? They will not be asked to share how they answered the question with the group; rather we will have a discussion about the different kinds of sex one can have. This will be followed by the question: what relationships incorporate these different kinds of sex?
6. Once I feel these women are more comfortable with sex in and out of relationships I want to have an activity similar to the first activity where all the women support each other in a circle, but more focused on touch. I would like to see these women develop more trust in touch and I think a group of women is the proper venue for developing this trust, because there is not much element of threat in this environment. The example Hanan gave in class about having a group of people close their eyes and walk up to a person and hold and explore her hands would be a good way to explore the realms of comfortable touch.
7. At this point in the curriculum I want to sit down with the women and talk about how they are feeling about the curriculum and where they want it to go from there. I do not want to push these women in a direction they are not ready for without their consent because the point of this curriculum is to open up the women to other options they have.

Works Cited

Angier, Natalie. Woman: An Intimate Geography. Great Britain: Virago Press. 1999

Bacon, Lisa. "Regaining Your Sexuality After Rape."
< http://www.improving sex.com/articles/abuse/regaining-your-sexuality-after-rape.htm >

Findlen, Barbara. Ed. Listen Up: Voices from the Next Feminist Generation. New York:
Seal Press. 1995.

Klein, Marty. "Censorship and Fear of Sexuality." 1999.
< http://www.sexed.org/arch/arch10.html >

Nightowl. "Sex Positive and Proud of It."
< http://www.widdershins.org/vol2issl/b9611.htm >

Planned Parenthood. "A Woman's Guide to Sexuality."
< http://www.plannedparenthood.prg/WOMENSHEALTH/sexuality.htm >

Roiphe, Katie. The Morning After. Boston: Back Bay Books. 1993.


ramming a penis into a vagina???? is that so bad?
Name: lauren hil
Date: //2002-10-04 15:01:42 :
Link to this Comment: 3120

I had a great deal of trouble dealing with the McKinnon article. It pretty much freaked me out. I suspect that she has never enjoyed sex, if she has ever had it. I really cannot deal with feminist who think heterosexual sex is submissive and violent. Though vaginal penetration may not always be the most ideal form of sex it can be highly enjoyable for many women and she doesn't seem to recognize this. Some women enjoy the submissive role in bed. Some enjoy the dominant role. So what does she want? Does she want women not to have sex? Or not have sex with men? I don't think its just pornographic sex that she hates. Also, does she think it's easy for men to film a porno? They have to keep it up for hours. Though I don't know what that feels like, I can only imagine its difficulty. The only message I get form this article is that we should hate the penis. Also bothersome to me is that she seems to only refer to pornographic snuff films. There is a big difference between snuff films and porn you get at TLA. Yes snuff films are violent. It's because they are illegal. They usually involve tricking or kidnapping women or men to make and that's a big difference from getting paid to have sex on film.


course commentary
Name: ngoc
Date: //2002-10-04 17:45:22 :
Link to this Comment: 3124

at first, i didn't know what to say about the course. actually, to be honest, i was very annoyed with the course at first...but now, i can really see that i am learning ... as for how this course should evole, i really don't know what to say ... i think that we can let things go as they will...and with an open mind, i am sure, we'll learn just as much.


that's right...PORN
Name: Emily Teel
Date: //2002-10-04 21:33:55 :
Link to this Comment: 3126

The Battnicks are at it again, talking about sex on a Friday night, sitting around studying, and doing preliminary planning on a Masturbation Tea. WHO would run it? Where on campus? Imagine the advertizing possibilities! You're all invited :-)

Anyway, I was speaking with one of my housemates about our porn discussion, about how we remove "porn" from all other forms of media, regardless of it's presence in so many forms: art, literature, photography, cartoon, and film....I made the decelaration that when I had my own little space complete with television & VCR, I planned on having lovely feminist porn right there on the shelf with Forrest Gump, Amelie, and Strictly Ballroom. Why censor it and tuck it away in some dark little closet? Perhaps my collection could serve as a conversation piece during dinner parties...If I have children, I'm not going to encourage them to watch it, but if my 12-year-old is curious, who am I to say no?
One of my housemates [not in our class] made the point that by hiding away images that we connect to, we hide a part of ourselves that we find shameful. And one should never be ashamed of what she loves, any more than she should be ashamed at who she loves....If you need to hide that person, or that part of yourself, perhaps it's time to turn around and take a good long look at what it is that you are afraid of and how you came to be where you are.
chew on that for a moment...


NYTimes article on College Sex Column
Name: Jess T.
Date: //2002-10-04 22:18:08 :
Link to this Comment: 3127

Hey everybody,

I just found this NYTimes article called Sex and the College Newspaper. I thought timely that this article was writen now. The article is about Natalie Krinsky and her sex article in The Yale Daily News. (The article mentions that sex columns have become popular at colleges.) Krinksy was mentioned in "The New Sex Scribes" article from The Chronicle of Higher Education, which we read for class.

I thought it was cool that NYTimes is giving coverage to the language of sex in colleges.

Also, the article mentions Go Ask Alice, which is a pretty cool site that I as a source for our sex ed class.

And I also thought it was interesting, given our discussion about Sexual Humor, that the conservative political columnist for the Yale Daily News, Meghan Clyne, who opposes the sex column says that "Sex is not something that should be joked about."

Personally I find the idea that sex shouldn't be joked about to be really stranged. I feel that anything that could can be communicate can (and possibly should) be used for humor.

anyway enjoy the article!

Jess



Name: sheri
Date: //2002-10-05 01:19:31 :
Link to this Comment: 3128

In Georgia, there is a state law that bans sex outside of marriage. A 16 yr old girl was sent to boot camp, and a 16 yr old boy (her partner) had to pay a fine and write an essay. I just thought this was interesting.
(November Playboy)


Fear
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-10-05 10:43:30 :
Link to this Comment: 3129

All our talk of "fear" (in particular, fear of expressing our sexual desires) on Thursday put me in mind of the by-well known passage Nelson Mandala used in his inauguaral address:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darknesss, that most frightens us....As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."


The Public Domain
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-10-05 10:59:50 :
Link to this Comment: 3130

I was also thinking alot, after our class on pornography on Thursday, about this matter of "public" and "private," and the degree to which pornography involves what we think of as "private activity" into some sort of "public sphere." Perhaps some of you have taken Jonathan Kahana or Jane Hedley's CSem on "Public and Private"; Jonathan passed on to me a fascinating article by Richard Sennett, called "The Public Domain," which speaks to these matters:

In the last four generations, physical love has been redefined, from terms of eroticism to terms of sexuality. Victorian eroticism involved social relationships, sexuality involves personal identity. Eroticism meant that sexual expression transpired through actions--of choice, repression, interaction. Sexuality is not an action but a state of being, in which the physical act of love follows almost as a passive consequence, a natural result, of people feeling intimate w/ each other...because of the way ideals of intimacy color the modern imagination, there has also been a reaction against the idea that physical love is an action people engage in, and like any other social action might have rules, limits, and necessary fictions which give the action a specific meaning. Instead, sex is a revelation of the self. A new slavery is therefore substituted for the old.

Sexuality we imagine to define a large territory of who we are and what we feel. Sexuality as an expressive state, rather than an expressive act, is entropic, however. Whatever we experience must in some way touch on our sexuality, but sexuality is. We uncover it, we discover it, we come to terms with it, but we do not master it. That would...put sexualtiy on an equal footing with emotions we attempt to mold rather than to submit to. The Victorians, who viewed sex in this latter way, could therefore speak of learning from their erotic life...We do not today learn "from" sex , because that puts sexuality outside of the self; instead, we unendingly and frustratingly go in search of ourselves through the genitals.

Think, for instance, of the different connotations of the 19th Century word "seduction" and the modern term "affair." A seduction was the arousal of such feeling by one person--not always a man--in another that social codes were violated. That violation caused all the other social relations of the person to be temporarily called into question; one's spouse, one's children, one's own parents were involved both symbolically through guilt and practially if discovery of the violation occurred. The modern term "affair" tamps down all these risks because it represses the idea that physical love is a social act; it is now a mater of an emotional affinity which in esse stands outside the web of other social relations in a person's life. It would seem illological now for a person conducting an affair, whether inside or outside the bounds of a marriage, to see it innately connected to parental relations, so that whenever one makes love to another person one's status as someone else's child is altered. This, we would say, is a matter of individual cases, of personality factors; it is not a social matter. Among freer spirits the same argument would be made of an affair in relation to a marriage. The very word "affair"--so blank, so amorphous--indicates a kind of devalution of sexuality, as an image which can be socially shared through speech. In rebelling against sexual repression, we have rebelled against hte idea that sexuality has a social dimension."


mckinnon, desire, rape
Name: michelle
Date: //2002-10-06 01:19:10 :
Link to this Comment: 3142

I wanted to agree with most of what lauren said about the Mckinnon article. I also really wished that we would have had more time to talk about it in class. While i am sympathetic to concerns about the exploitation of women in pornography, McKinnon takes this concern and uses it to further victimize women by treating them as passive subjects with no control over their situation and certainly without sexual desires.
Yes we must wonder how much "choice" a woman has when it is between allowing one's children to starve or to get paid to make porn, for certainly some pornography is made by women in this situation. Yet outlawing porn will clearly not fix this problem but merely drive it underground without regulation, futher hurting the most deperate of women. If she is concerned about the coersion of poor women then mckinnon ought to work towards changing the systemic conditions which create poverty, rather than bandaging a symptom of that poverty.

Furthermore there are parts of her argument where she uses snuff films as an example of something that has been protected under free speech. Her arguments here are blatantly misleading and in this case outright wrong. As for porn that borderlines simulation of rape for pleasure... is this really legal? I'm not going to take catherin mckinnon's word for it since she also seems to think that snuff films are legal. I'm not sure how i feel about rape porn. Although i would like to point out that i do think it is very different from a rape scene in a movie. In a movie the rape would usually be placed in the context of a storyline, there would be develped characters involved, and it is likely that in context the movie would show the rape as damaging or immoral or in the very least use it to make some larger point. In rape pornography the rape would be showed purely to illustrate that rape is a pleasure-filled experience and would be generally out the context of the two people's lives. Of course there are likely exceptions these generalizations, but i believe that on the whole they are accurate.

that's it, i hope that we can spend at least a few more minutes discussing this article.


course requirements
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-10-06 13:13:16 :
Link to this Comment: 3153

Before you head off on fall break, just a couple of reminders about course requirements you need to have met before you leave campus:

--pay me $18 (check made out to bmc) for the course packet

--review the archives for the two papers (1. how does your sub-group use language to talk about sex? and 2. what curriculum might you imagine to teach them what they don't yet know?) and make sure that BOTH of yours (or a summary of same) are posted. if not, send a copy (indicating clearly which group it belongs to) to jrichard@haverford.edu, the webmistress for serendip who is helping us all into the technological age....

--review the whole course archive and make sure that you have made a total of 6 postings (one for each week of the course so far; you can count your two papers (or summaries of your papers) in that total; if you are short, be sure to make the rest of the postings before you leave campus.

looking forward, on tuesday, to planning the remainder of the course w/ you all--
anne


Am I a Porn Star?
Name: Nancy
Date: //2002-10-06 13:14:10 :
Link to this Comment: 3154

I live in Pem West, on the first floor, on the side of the hall that faces the road. Every day, hundreds of people walk past my room. I bet someone knows where this is going...
Generally speaking, when I change clothes I don't really worry about whether or not my shade is down. It just isn't something I think about. Every now and then someone comes into my room and asks "where on earth do you change your clothes?" and I say that if someone doesn't want to see me, they should't be looking in my window in the first place!
This all changed, however, after our porn discussion. If at night, when my bedroom turns into a giant fishbowl, someone walks by and sees me and gets aroused, does that make it porn? Does that make me some kind of unwilling porn star? Or willing, because I know the possibility exists? I still dont know what makes porn porn. Is it the intention of the participant(s), or is it the audiences' reaction?
I think until we figure this out I'll change behind my door, or maybe not...


Dorothy Allison
Name: elisa
Date: //2002-10-08 10:15:29 :
Link to this Comment: 3200

A couple of us from class went to see Dorothy Allison tonight at Giovanni's room. I am sure that Emily, Nancy and Lauren will agree with me in saying that it was awesome seeing her speak and how fortunate we were to get to listen to her answer some questions and discuss her writing. :)

She read excerpts from "A Lesbian Appetite," which is a story in her book Trash. All four of us in the class echoed that the story reminded us of Nia's example of describing sex through food.

So, I recommend that if Nia or any one else wants to read further on this subject, Allison's story serves as a strong example of how people describe sex through food or sex using food (you'll see what I mean).

Also, there is a book about this subject in our library. It is called Carnal Appetites: Food Sex Identities by Elspeth Probyn. Here is the description from the book jacket (that can also be read on Tripod) and the call number: (enjoy!)

BD450 .P635 2000


"Probyn moves from analyzing eating as a social concern to eating as a new way of looking at power." "Why is there a new explosion of interest in authentic ethnic foods and exotic cooking shows, where macho chefs promote sensual adventures in the kitchen? Why do we watch TV ads that promise more sex if we serve the right breakfast cereal? Why is the hunger strike such a potent political tool? Food inevitably engages questions of sensuality and power, of our connections to our bodies and to our world." "Carnal Appetites uses the lens of food and eating to ask how we eat into culture, eat into identities, indeed eat into ourselves. Drawing on interviews, theory, and her own war with anorexia, Probyn argues that food is replacing sex in our imagination and experience of bodily pleasure. Our culinary cravings and habits express the turmoil in gender roles, in families, and even in the world economy, where famine coexists with plenty. Probyn explores these dark interconnections to forge a new visceral ethics rooted in the language of hunger and satiety, disgust and pleasure, gluttony and restraint."--BOOK JACKET


Porn
Name: ngoc
Date: //2002-10-08 12:58:39 :
Link to this Comment: 3204

although i don't think porn should be banned, i do believe it should be regulated somehow. i think that the question of what harm porn can bring to its audiences depend on the audiences' attitude and belief about responsibilities as human being. because people are living in a society where our action will produce a certain consequence or outcome, we need to be aware of what these possible consequences are. awareness, in case, is a responsibility. when we are aware of things around us, we will more likely to act with more thoughts and purposes...which may allow for more room to care others who may be effected by our actions.


Instructions for Posting Your Papers
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-10-08 21:11:53 :
Link to this Comment: 3219

This message to you all is from Jan Richards, the webmistress for Serendip, who has been managing this process for us, and asked me to send these instructions around as a reminder:

All of the papers that have been turned in so far are up on the website, I believe. There is now a link from the home page to the second set. I fixed errors in some of the papers, but there are a number that still don't look perfect -- e.g., no paragraph breaks, lines are too short, no title, two titles, odd symbols in place of other punctuation like " and --. Most of these problems arise from not following the procedure below when they post:

1) If your paper is in Word or another word processor format, first save it under a different name (e.g., paper.txt) in format "Text Only" (NOT "Text Only with Line Breaks"). You do this in Word by choosing "Save As" from the file menu, changing the name, and where is says "Save as type:" (may be slightly different in different versions) choosing "Text only" from the pop-up menu. If, after doing this, the file doesn't look any different (i.e., it still has formatting like bold, etc.), then close the file paper.txt and open it again. It should open up without any formatting. If there is no space between paragraphs, you'll need to put in carriage returns. But don't add any formatting because it won't transfer.

2) Then, select the whole text but NOT your name or paper title or date, and copy it into the clipboard (Ctrl-C or Command-C).

3) Go to the posting web page and fill out your BRYN MAWR email address (it will be used for choosing the filename, not for emailing you), your full name as FIRST LAST (unfortunately, it won't work correctly if you include a middle name) and the paper title.

4) Inside the big box on the form, highlight the sentence in uppercase that says "REPLACE THIS LINE..." and paste the text from your paper in its place. Do not delete anything above that line. You should only be pasting the text of your paper into the box, not the title, your name, etc. Those will be added to your paper when it is processed based on what you entered in the fields above the text box.

5) Where it says "Paper formatted as:", leave it as "Plain Text" UNLESS you have put in HTML tags where you want space between paragraphs and line.

6) Click the "Submit Your Paper" button. You should see a confirmation back. Remember, your paper will not appear on the website until it the papers are processed, which will likely happen after most of the papers have been submitted.


A few Other Reminders
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-10-08 21:13:46 :
Link to this Comment: 3220

Dear Thinkers About Sex--

A reminder that in class this Thursday we will be discussing our praxis sites: telling one another where we are, what is happening there or not, what frustrations/opportunities we're beginning to discover. Also due in class on Thursday (unless you've written me to say why not--AND what the details of your extension should be) is your third 3-pp. paper, introducing your praxis site (its clientele, its mission, its funding, its location, etc. etc.) to your classmates, and explaining what sort of language is used there to talk about sex (or not). This paper is intended to "lay the groundwork" for the next one, in which you will begin to sketch out a sex-ed curriculum for your site. You can't do that until you've scoped out the site itself, and what is already happening there (or not) re: the language of sex. Hopefully in doing this you will begin to articulate the sort of language that you will need to be employing in your final project.

Also: here's the schedule we worked out together in class today for the remainder of the semester (note to Bea, Nia & Iris: I need to know which group you are joining, and you need to let your group-mates know too)--

Th 11/7 SEX IN HISTORY/RELIGION--Lauren, Sheri, Sarah, Maggie
T 11/12 SEX AND THE LAW--Fritz, Elisa, Lindsay U, Jessica
Th 11/14 SEX IN THE MEDIA--Sarah, Emily, Chelsea, Hanan
T 11/19 MULTICULTURAL SEX--Tamina, Kathryn, Michele, Lindsay H.
Th 11/21 SEX IN ART--Deborah, Lauren, Monica
T 11/26 SEX IN ART 2--Jill, Nancy, Jenny

When I get a spare moment I'll update the syllabus on the course web site to reflect these additions.

Anne


Sexual Language in the Classroom
Name: elisa
Date: //2002-10-10 01:03:34 :
Link to this Comment: 3241

Hey Ladies. This posting is in response to the Sept. 26th class on the use (or lack of) sexual language in the classroom. Just to refresh peoples memories, our in class assignment was to split up into groups and come up with a fairy-tale story about sex that would be read to a kindergarden classroom.

Our group did not come up with a story. Most of our time was spent discussing what we thought was appropriate/inappropiate, effective/ ineffective to use for this age group.

In the end, we agreed on certain ideas that serve as a possible outline for a effective and appropriate children's story that could be used for an introductory level of sex ed.

Some thoughts that led us to our final outline:

*we must consider all the different family lifestyles and cultures that may be reprented amongst the group of children.

*we must respect the different "rules" and opinions each family may have regarding sex.

*we felt it was too inappropriate for this age group to deal with the subjects of touching, the body, etc. bc different familes due to different cultural and relgious practices have different ways of dealing with this (i.e. some families hug, others find it inappropriate)


Finally, we decided that the best way to prepare this age group for the subject of sex was to first teach them about family structure, and the different types of family structures that exist out there.

The book would have its setting in at a school "family day" picnic, where all the students and their families were invited.

The different representations of "family" would include examples of:

- heterosexual parents

- single parent

- homosexual parents

- interracial parents

- parent(s) that adopted a kid

- famliy in which a non-traditional relative is raising the child (ex. grandmother)


obviously, the story cannot encompass all the different types of families out there. but we thought it is important to show as much variety as possible.

hopefully, by showing kids the different ways people can love and be loved, and teach them to be tolerant of that, then hopefully they will be better prepared to walk into future sex ed classrooms a better view regarding sex and the different ways people choose to participate or not participate in the act.


tidbits
Name: michelle
Date: //2002-10-10 08:51:29 :
Link to this Comment: 3242

I am really glad that we were able to discuss mckinnon more in class on Tuesday. Some more issues were brought up that i think got glossed over before. To the people doing media - can we do a bit of a discussion on porn vs. erotica b/c that something that would be very useful to know and also give a bit more perspective on mckinnon.

I won't be in class today so i'll let you all know what is going on with my field placement. Orgionally i was at the attic but then i heard that the red light project (through prevention point) needed more help. I'll be working with lauren and katherine, doing research to put together information and eventually a hotline for sex workers in north philly.

Have a great break all!


Sex/Food
Name: Lindsay Hi
Date: //2002-10-10 09:15:30 :
Link to this Comment: 3243

a fun quote

The bed is now as public as the dinner table and governed by the same rules of formal confrontation.

Angela Carter (1940-92), British author. The Sadeian Woman,"Speculative Finale" (1979).


hmmmm...


Fairy Story
Name: michelle
Date: //2002-10-10 11:21:50 :
Link to this Comment: 3246

Once there was an elf child who love to play with the other elf children and frolic in the woods. One of the favorite games of the elf children was tickeling eachother with leaves. On this particular day in the woods our elf child found the leaf touching feeling especially nice. It decided to go off and play by itself.

A giant horse rode up so the elf child hopped on and rode away on the horse. Bouncing up and down on the horse felt very nice.... until they got to a scary part of the forest. The child jumped off the horse and ran away! But it soon found a peaceful river. It rolled around on the grass, opened its legs and let the waterfall trickle all over, and rubbed the log as it rode down the river.

Soon the elf child found that the river had taken it back to it's playmates. It smelled the flowers and began to play a game of kickball with the kids. They wondered where the elf child had gone. It told them all about the fun, feel good things it had done all day. They thought it sounded nice and were happy that the elf child had fun.

Next thing they new all the elf children were being called to dinner. And there's nothing that elf children like more than the taste of good food on thier tounges. They all rushed home with smiles on thier faces.


class planning
Name:
Date: //2002-10-10 11:37:49 :
Link to this Comment: 3247

I just realized that I need to have one more post before break and fortunately for me I thought of something else I wanted to say. :-)

On Tuesday i felt very uncomfortable with the whole process of deciding how to format the rest of class, and what the content will be. Since then i've been trying to figure out exactly what it was that bothered me so much. I think i was mostly concerned that the people who are more naturally vocal got to control the way the class would go - myself included in that group. It seems ineffective to plan with a group of 25 people in 45min and expect everyone in that group's voice to be heard and considered in even close to equal weight. Everything about the process felt very haphazard, rushed.

The least i can do here is offer a better plan but i can't really think of one. It seems that we can all bring to the class without having to all be a part of planning it. I worry about a lack of fluidity in the rest of the class. I'm supposed to be giving suggestions here.... I'll have to think about this over break.

I just wanted to express my discomfort with the situation and my worries about silencing people's voices. Perhaps i'm the only one who felt this way but just in case i'm not i thought i should share.

have a great break ladies! i'll miss your company!


oldly enough...
Name: Jess T
Date: //2002-10-10 12:44:25 :
Link to this Comment: 3248

Hi everybody,

I just read an article on yahoos' oldy enough section (they usually have very amusing short stories). This article was about the effectiveness of using lemon juice to kill sperm and the AIDS virus. I don't know how much I trust the info (personally I'd do a lot more research before I started using fruit juice as contraceptives). But the article also mentions that historical lemon juice has been used as a contraceptive and I was thinking that this is an interesting idea that either the people in history or anthropology group could look into. What did people use a contraceptives before modern medical contraceptives? (How effective were they or were they just "wives tales"???)

Here's the link to the article...


Sex with a Twist ... Lemons Provide Protection?


later

Jess


Lost posting
Name: Deborah
Date: //2002-10-11 13:29:31 :
Link to this Comment: 3259

Hey all, I had a posting that has been lost. It was about sexual humor, and it was a really cross-the-line sex joke that is one of the only ones that I still remember and still get grossed out; here it is.
A man goes into a whore house, and he is directed to go up to the top floor and the end of the hall. After climbing all the way up, the man was feeling very thirsty, and hungry to boot. He walks down the hall, and outside every door there are barrels of fruit. He gets to the end of the hall to his designated door, and is waiting and waiting for his turn. He finally turns to the barrel by the door and tries one of the fruit...he finds that they are delicious cherries! He keeps eating, and a few moments later the whore walks out to greet him. She stares at him in horror, and screams! "What the hell?!" exclaimed the man, "why are you freakin out woman?" ANd the whore can only gasp, "why are you eating those???" "What, these cherries?" the man replied. "Those aren't cherries, those are abortions!"


Sex Fairy Tale
Name: Deborah
Date: //2002-10-11 13:40:26 :
Link to this Comment: 3260

Back in the day, in an enchanted forest, a baby bear awoke in a field of snap dragons. It immediately realized that something was wrong; its favorite blankie was missing! Baby Bear decided to go on a quest through the forest to find the blanket. As Baby Bear got to the end of the clearing, it heard the sounds of someone frying behind a nearbye tree. TO be polite, Baby Bear went over toe the tree to see what was the matter. A Duckbill platypus sat sobbing on the ground! "Why are you crying?" asked Baby Bear. "I am lonely" replied Duckbill. Hugging the crying animal, Baby Bear says "You can join me on my quest for my blankie, only I dont know where to look for it!" "Why dont we ask the Forest Enchantress?" said Duckbill. "Great idea!" exclaimed Baby Bear. And they were off.
The two walked and talked all day and into the night, heading for the Enchantress' lair. It started to get very cold, and two were getting very sleepy, so they huddled for warmth under an enchanted tree smelling of lavender. The next morning, the pair awoke and discovered a beautiful enchantress standing over them...it was the Forest Enchantress! "I know what it is you seek," said she to Baby Bear. "However, for you to get your blankie back, you must give up your friendship with Duckbill...FOREVER"
"I really want my blankie...but my relationship with Duckbill is more important. I dont need my blanket when I have duckbill's friendship to keep my heart warm" Baby Bear and Duckbill embraced.
"I see you have chosen wisely, young Bear. You're heart and intentions are pure. Here is your blankie, now magically big enough to cover you and Duckbill!"
Overjoyed, the two beings lived their live out in warmth and happiness!


cosmic happenings
Name: Emily
Date: //2002-10-11 16:39:10 :
Link to this Comment: 3264

Hi everyone-
It was strange for me to re-read my last posting about our need to hide porn or hide someone or something that we love for fear that s/he or it will not be accepted, and then to contrast it with the Mandela quote from Anne: "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darknesss, that most frightens us....As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
To imagine being afraid of our own sexual power when sex acts, performed so casually in back seats, bedrooms, and middle schools across the country become elevated (or were they already elevated?) to a sort of cosmic dance of light and sound and energy...How does one go about liberating oneself from this fear? Why is it there in the first place? and of all the things to get mixed up with, why on earth did it have to be religion?
It's deeply reassuring to think of sex this way, as something so powerful that we cannot even comprehend it, so we make it base and assign guilt to the desire for touch. In doing so however, we make the task of explaining it through language nearly impossible....
I'm hoping that our further discussions can shed more light, until then:
everyone concieve of whatever sexual guilt or frustration you have (and I know that there's plenty of the second one :-) and push it until it becomes not so horrible. Parcel it off in your mind as energy, however that makes sense to you, and look at it as something powerful, full of light and potential. What does that do? And is it a good idea to do more? How do we share it....?


Sexuality and the City
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-10-13 22:25:04 :
Link to this Comment: 3269

Another book report, from this Sunday's (10/13/02) New York Times Book Review, of "Rereading Sex: Battles Over Sexual Knowledge and Suppression in 19th C. America," by Helen Horowitz (who wrote both MCarey Thomas' biography and "Alma Mater," about the founding of the 7 Sisters...). Those of you doing the section on Sex and History might want to check this out:

"she has established 4 frameworks w/in which people could imagine sexuality 'from a distinct cultural perspective.' ... a vernacular tradition rooted in oral culture; an evangelical Christianity suspicious of sex; a 'reform physiology' committed to spreading accurate information about sexual functioning, including birth control; and a view that 'placed sex at the center of life,' and whose proponents ranged from Mormons to women's rights leaders--became the basis of furious debates, scandals, witch hunts and crusades."

The reviewer's "only real disappointment is that Horowitz gives such a sketchy sense of what her research has led her to think about the ways in which these 19th c cultural battles still reverberate in our ears." Something for us to talk/think about....

while holding Emily's amazing invitation in mind!
Have a great break--
Anne


Welcome Back (to Writing on the Body....)
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-10-15 16:36:19 :
Link to this Comment: 3271


To all thinkers about sex--
Welcome back from fall break; I hope you return refreshed and ready for more talk about...
well, you know what.
This week I invite you to post in the forum all your (pre-and post-class) thoughts about Jeanette Winterson's Written on the Body: your initial reactions to the novel, and/or your later, more reflective ruminations about how and what this sort of romantic/imaginative/ philosophical text contributes to our thinking/talking/writing about sex.
Anne


Teens take up task...
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-10-16 22:22:02 :
Link to this Comment: 3275

Today's (10/15-02) Philadelphia Inquirer has an article entitled "Teens take up task of sending health messages":

"Through a program, they are producing public announcements and TV specials to frankly tell their peers about sex and other issues....Unimpressed by preachy messages made by adults, local teens have written, acted and produced health announcements that are designed to reach teens by not mincing words. Usually, adults try to oversimplfy things--'this is wrong and this is right'....So Children's Hospital of Philadelphia developed Teen Health Connections to engage teens in making the public service announcements....'Adolescents have the ability to develop independence. With independence comes risk.' But most young people never perceive themselves being at risk...and programs targeting this risky behavior are not well-received."

For more information go online to Teen Health Connections or call the health line @ 1-877-423-8336.

Anne


Sex Ed for Deaf Teens
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-10-21 11:54:54 :
Link to this Comment: 3296

Those of you whose praxis sites are Planned Parenthood and the Overbrook School for the Blind may have a particular interest in the article in the Inquirer Magazine yesterday (10/20/02), "Christine Gannon: A sex educator reaches out to deaf teens":
"For Christine Gannon, sexuality education is a hands-on matter. Part of her job at Planned Parenthood involves visiting classes...at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in Germantown and introducing them...to the mysteries of puberty, sex and reproduction....'there's a really strong need for general sexuality education in the deaf community....children may not get the same exposure to information that a hearing 9-, 10- or 11-year-old would have'....Now, w/ a master's degree in human sexuality from the University of Pennsylvania, Gannon hopes to see Planned Parenthood's Deafness and Sexuality Institute progam expand to other schools for the deaf....."
Anne


Winterson's _Written on the Body_
Name: Elisa
Date: //2002-10-21 23:02:29 :
Link to this Comment: 3303

It took me FOREVER to get into this book. Was I the only person to have this problem?! I hope not. Within my first encounters with the text, I found it to be confusing (switching from first narrative to second to ???) and poorly written. However, it did have some brighter moments for me--- I def. loved Winterson's more philisophical moments in the text... here are some of my favorite parts... (and I encourage people to write about the parts they loved most too!)

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
"Love demands expression. It will not stay still, stay silent, be good be modest, be see and not heard, no..." (9)

"When she bleeds the smells I know change colour. There is iron in her soul on those days. She smells like a gun." (136)

"'You'll get over it...' Its the cliches that cause the trouble. To lose someone you love is to alter your life for ever. You dont get over it because "it" is the person you loved. The pain stops, there are new people, but the gap never closes." (155)
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I was frustrated while reading most of the book... I think bc she had moments that I thought were written so beautifully (like the ones I have selected above) followed by text that was written rather awkwardly.

Don't know how I feel quite yet about the split in the middle of the novel... "the cells, etc.," "the skin," etc.... it remoinded me of what Toni Morrison does in _Beloved_, interrupting the flow of the novel's dialogue to write in shorter chapters containing prose... however, I didn't find Winterson's attempt to be as successful as Morrison's.

The thing that struck me the most was that when it came around to the ending of the novel, I thought that I kinda liked the book, (though, I think this might be bc it had a happy ending). Hmmm... I guess I will just have to wait and see how I feel after some discussions in class...

One more thing, I am curious to know what every one else thought about the non-gender-specific protagonist. Was Winterson successful in writing a character that had/has no gender? Was there a point in having the protagonist have no specific gender? Do you think that the story would have been aided in its quality if the protagonist had a gender?

Thats all for now. See you all in class! :)


Pre-class thoughts
Name: Jess T.
Date: //2002-10-22 12:50:26 :
Link to this Comment: 3312


For the most part I'd say that I enjoyed Written on the Body. (Although I did have some problems w/ the text which I'll mention below.) It was a quick read for me, where are I hardly wanted to put the book down. And there were several deeply and hauntingly beautiful and desperately passionate (perhaps passionately desperate passages) that I loved in the text.

Like:

On page 110-111:

"I don't want a pillow I want your moving breathing flesh. I want you to hold my hand in the dark, I want to roll on to you and push myself into you. When I turn in the night the bed is continent-broad. There is endless white space where you won't be. I travel it inch by inch but you're not there. It's not a game, you're not going to leap out and surprise me. The bed is empty. I'm in it but the bed is empty."

And on page 89 (the Written on the Body description):

"Articulacy of fingers, the language of the deaf and dumb, signing on the body body longing....She has translated me into her own book."

But I also had issues with the text. I couldn't stand the narrator for the first 1/3rd of the text. I found them to be pathetic and depressing, a character only defined by a series of failed relationships. Through the relationship with Louise I don't believe that the narrator was any less pathetic or depressing, it just became more bearable.

In fact while some of the language is quite sensual and beautiful, the text is mostly a deeply depressing story of misery. The narrator and Louise have about 4 monthes of happiness, which is covered in about half a page of text. And unlike Elisa, I didn't think the text had a happy ending. The last two paragraphs seemed disjointed and not fulling explained--- I took the apparence of Louise to be a hallucination of the narrators. I wanted the characters to be reunited, but the ending didn't feel real to me and it just seemed like the narrator was doomed to have the love of their life be another failed relationship and be depressed. (But then again with the shortness to which happiness is written about in the text, it could have been a happy ending.)

Elisa also asked about responses to the non-gender-specific protagonist, so I'm going to write a bit about that. I think that it was a very interesting thing for the author to do artistically, but it didn't work for me. Throughout reading the novel, either I felt like some where in the back of my brain I was trying to piece together the mystery of the narrator's gender (which was distracting from the story), or that I couldn't fully trust the narrotor because he/she was keeping secrets. I think the point of the character being non-gender-specific was to make the character more universally available for the reader to identify with, but I just found it adding more distance between me and the character, because I felt that I couldn't trust the character and I couldn't really understand them because of this. I think that if the character had a specific gender, my reading of the text and identification with the narrator would have been less frustrated. That being said, I think that reading a text with a non-gender-specific narrator was an extremely interesting and thought-provoking experience.

Well those are some of my pre-class responses to the text. I'm interested to see what other thought of Written on the Body and how my opinions might evolve w/ a class discucsion.

later

Jess


a very long comment
Name: Kathryn Mc
Date: //2002-10-22 17:43:16 :
Link to this Comment: 3321

I loved this book! I loved its gentle intimacy and I deeply appreciate Winterson's originality and playfulness. I didn't find the narrator's ambiguous sex to be distracting. Instead, I liked the game Winterson plays with us, the readers, by motivating us to read to see if we could discern the narrator's biological sex, which in the end is undeterminable. Although the novel was rich with the acts of sex, the narrator was sexless. I think it's important here to make the distinction between sex and gender. Sex is determined by biology, while gender is culturally construed. The narrator is depicted with an androgynous gender identity that incorporates both characteristically masculine and feminine traits.
The narrator doesn't tell us "who" or "what" s/he is; we don't even know his/her name or what s/he looks like and this prevents us from projecting any preconceived notions onto him/her. I found that this heightened the accessibility of the text and created a special intimacy between the narrator and the reader because we are forced to take the narrator as is. We go right to the narrator's thoughts and feelings without first experiencing any of the outside world, and for the much of the book we stay there. Although the novel shifts angles and perspectives, it is completely filtered through the narrator's mental states and his/her ups and downs.
This book is hugely sad, but beautiful in its purity of purpose. We see her/his obsession, Louise, through the narrator's gaze and his/her own contact with her. The immediacy of this is intense. We rub up against Louise's exterior just as closely as we rub up against the narrator's interior. We see Louise's person and personality through descriptions of her body and her behavior so that she as a character is completely externalized, while remaining internalized within the mind of the narrator and the context of the book. S/he consumes Louise just as the cancer has the potential to do. The purpose of the narrator is to speak his/her mind in its fullest capacity: to expel Louise onto the page and then show us how s/he swallowed her to begin with. This novel is about consumption: sexual, emotional, and by death and how these interact and play off of each other. Louise's body exists for us within the body of the work. By putting his/her thoughts and feelings about Louise into language (as opposed to non-verbal thoughts), the narrator lays claim to her and owns and creates her as she exists in the text. The narrator discusses this with Gail Right (does anyone else think that this allusion to "Ms. Right" is funny?): "'It's as if Louise never existed, like a character in a book. Did I invent her?' No, but you tried to,' said Gail. 'She wasn't yours for the making.'"
S/he doesn't own Louise in the physical sense or beyond the reality of the interior of his/her mind, but there does exist a space where there is mutual accessibility and privelege, which is the idea of an egalitarian monogamous relationship. This ideal does not exist for Louise and the narrator because the narrator makes a decision for Louise instead of standing aside and letting her do what she thinks is best for her. This conflict of "ownership" is played out in both the language of the story and in the reality of the story itself. The narrator owns the words that create Louise, and tries to carry this ability into the real world where things go wrong when s/he tries to "own" Louise by deciding that she is better off with her husband.
I love the way in which Winterson treats sex, love, emotion, bodies, imagination, reality, and time. Instead of seeing the book as fragmented, I see everything swirling together. She offers up to us the chance to look at love of a body for the sake of the body. How many times do we treat the mind as being of higher status than the body? In reality (our own), bodies frequently stand in for the people they contain. The body is the first boundary to the person that we encounter. It is also the determining factor of our mortality. The narrator remains constant so we do not see into Louise's mind although through the narrator we come in contact with her body and see into it with his/her imagination. I think it makes sense to focus on Louise as a body because it is her mortality that is at stake and this leads up to the conflict between her and her lover.
Louise is not simply objectified as an attractive woman; her body occupies four dimensions of space and time. Instead of existing two dimensionally on paper, we enter into her and explore her and observe her physiology and how her body would be affected by cancer. This linguistic intimacy with her body is a substitute for sexual contact. The separation of Louise and her lover is what causes the narrator to consume Louise via her body through language because s/he can no longer consume her sexually, although the fear of losing this privilege to the onset of cancer is what motivates him/her to leave in the first place. In this novel the narrator pursues his/her subject both sexually and with language by "putting her into words." Here language takes on a sexual nature of its own.


Written on the Body
Name: Fritz-Laur
Date: //2002-10-22 18:14:01 :
Link to this Comment: 3322

I found that the person who was the main character in this novel seemed to relish the pain rather than the actual relationships. As if the love was better or some how more gratifying because it held some bitter after taste. It was almost as if they needed to have this string of failed relationships, but then again were they really failures if the main character got exactly what they needed? I found it to be more sensual than sexual novel because it seemed to come from someone's personal thoughts and wanderings.That's the good part. Now the rest.. I found the book hard to read and liked the idea of the book better than the actual thing. I feel that Jeanette Winterson failed in creating a genderless character, leaving some who read the book feeling as if they are the ones who don't get it when the author seemed to have a very difficult time with creating and maintaining a genederless character too.


Reflections on Written on the Body . . .
Name: HY
Date: //2002-10-23 07:33:33 :
Link to this Comment: 3323

I really do not want to dissect this novel. It was excruciatingly personal and I feel a voyeur even though the narrator volunteers this herself. I want to keep this novel to myself and I want my experience of it not tainted by any discussion. I hated this novel and reading it was painful, but I LOVE this novel. I will reread it.

One question (that I will leave my comfort zone to ask): the back of the book states that Winterson "compels us to see love stripped of clichés and categories." I disagree. Although Winterson takes us (or myself) to explore love in an unprecedented way, I was actually shocked by some of the passages which were quite cliché. What do you think?

As I write this in class (I wrote this on Tuesday), I want to run out of the room in hysterics. Please! Don't ruin this book for me. I want its aftertaste to remain the same in my mouth, long after I have read and reread it utterly alone. I have never wanted NOT to share something so vehemently. Can't we let this one alone?


thoughts on Written on the Body
Name: ngoc
Date: //2002-10-23 13:11:45 :
Link to this Comment: 3324

when i first read this book, i didn't know what to expect at all... i came to the reading w/ a very open minded attitude. it's kind of funny that at first i thought the narrator was a male... my reaction could mean two things: 1) in my perspective, male can be as emotinal and sensitive as presented 2) i am stuck in this typical heterosexual relationship picture without even being aware of it. in either case, i gave up on identifying when the narrator is a female and when the narrator is a male later on in the novel. instead, i let the reading flow in term of "person" where the narrator is human being with emotions and flesh. this new way of reading is, i think, what the author intended for her readers to do. it's a valuable experience because it brings the reader to a different kind of awareness, challenging our belief of what composes intimacy and the idea that one needs to know or be able to identify w/ certain gender or sexual orientation before one is capable of experiencing intimacy... in other words, our biological make up, our sexual orientation and our preferences can be seen as tools in the process of helping us to achieve/arrive at a rewarding intimate relationship -- it should not have the last word in our experience.


Gender Issues and others
Name: Sarah H.
Date: //2002-10-24 00:52:10 :
Link to this Comment: 3333

Though I feel that Written on the Body was a quick read, and one that kept me interested and mostly entertained, overall I did not like the book. Most of my dislike stemmed from seemingly technical problems on the author's part. I thought overall it was not very well written, and I agree with Jess -the ambiguity of the narrator did not work for me.

First, the characters seemed very flat to me. I think it might be because the author seemed to approach the text not as a story about the characters but rather a story about the love life of a character. As a result, the reader only sees one side of the person and it makes it difficult to get to know per. I would say that the person seemed overly consumed with their love life, but I don't know if that's the intention or if the author just made her focus too narrow, thereby warping the character into a lovesick person.

Aside from the lacking characters, I also found the writing to be less than communicative. I don't think this is something I can pinopint too well, just a general feeling that it could use a final revision or two.

Lastly, the ambiguity of the gender was a novel idea, and I see several points it may have been trying to convey, but ultimately I think those points could have been conveyed through better, more succinct writing and further character development.

If the author was trying to convey the idea that love takes many forms or that the genders are really quite similar, I think this point would have been better demonstrated by giving an either masculine or femenine character both masculine and feminine qualities. This would have actually said, for example, "look, here is a female, but she is not reacting in stereotypical feminine ways. Ultimately, she is more a human being than a stereotypical woman."

Another thing I think was overlooked in the genderless narrator was the fact that although underlying feelings may be universal, the expression of those feelings and the journey a person takes to understand or uncover those feelings are very different. They are based on a person's many traits, one of those being their physical shape. I feel like the genderless character was sort of a shortcut or cheapskate for developing a REAL character with REAL qualities who could still be seen and understood universally. In the same way we are trying to create sex-ed curriculums for a real group of people, rather than ideal, I feel like the author should have opted for working through the difficulties of a real character rather than making one who could never exist.

Finally, if the idea really was to create a novel in which gender was not an issue by pretending the characters had no gender nor were shaped in complex ways by their gender, why do all the other characters have genders?! The only answer I can think of is that it would have been too hard, which points again to the failure of the author to really express the idea she was going for.


Romeo and Juliet
Name: Lindsay Hi
Date: //2002-10-24 10:03:37 :
Link to this Comment: 3334

ok. so i felt like i couldn't adequately articulate my thoughts in class on tuesday...but after talking them out with people, i think i might be able to articulate my two concerns with the text.

1) the ending of the novel is incredibly vague in order to allow the reader to interpret what they think actually is happening with the illusive Louise.


Gail: "don't you think its strange that life, described as so rich and full, a camel-trail of adventure, should shrink to this coin sized world....what else is embossed on your hands but her? you still love her"
Narrator: "with all my heart"
Gail: "what will you do?"
Narrator: "what can i do? what do you want me to say? that i'll get over it?

In this passage i feel we realize the true love that the narrator has for Louise. The narrator, once promiscuous in search of sex more then love, only learns to love, in the self sacraficing encounters she has with louise. The the author chooses to illuminate teh physicalness of louise, rather then the mental, the words that are used and how they drip of sensualness and care, lead me to believe that the narrators encounter with louise is more then just physical, more then just the physical ness of sex and a body. In the final months before the nerrators departure from louise, we see teh development of this love relationship. The narrators ability to leave louise, in order to do what is best for her, is an act of selflessness and one more example of how the narrator has undergone a transfiguration of sorts, in this environment of love. Before the narrator would not have done such a thing.

So i feel there was love between these two individuals, something that has been questionable amongst people. So the narrator, by this act of selflessness, causes theirself undo amounts of pain, heartache. It seems like their life is now ran by the "what if's" in life. they become almost obsessed with this notion of lost love. After searching all over for their love, to no avail, there is a sense of greater loss and moreso emptiness, seen in the passage above. I feel liek the author conveys through the narrator this sense of nothingness, a sense of incompleteness, emptiness, helplessness. The narrator talks about time being this great "deadener." The narrator says this in just, with sarcasm, not really believing in the potential of forgetting or moving on. thus i believe, this is wear we see plain examples of how this ending might be interpreted as one of suicide.

To continue. There is a break in the text, leading to the imagry of the narrator and louise, together. Then a break again. "This is where the story starts..." It is in this ending that an intepretation of suicide is indeed plausible. The idea of emptiness, depression, hopelessness leading to the narrator's suicide, and as a result allowing them to be in a greater space beyond the confines of the body or world. It is in this space that the story of love is really able to flourish, in this conclusion of rebirth into a greater place, where everything seems to be serene and celestial.

Taking one's life to be with one's love, is nothing new, and i think in a way gives this novel a deeply tragic romantic twist, that pulls at one's heart in a different way.


2. We call them gender pronouns, but why, they don't reference ones gender but rather an indicator of ones sex? this is where our class gets confusing? the gender of the individual is obviously androgynous as i think katie pointed out. but if what we really want to know is if it is indeed a boy or girl then that is a question of biological sex. Also i think winterson on some level might be inserting a social commentary, intentionally or not. The idea that we live in a 2 sexed society, that allows little acceptance or support for individuals who are biologically born inbetween our definitions of male and female, is certainly highlighted. Why can't this person be neither? why do we want to make them something (boy/girl) that they might not be? why can't we read the novel as fact, in the sense that the author wrote it in what might be seen as an intersexed androgynous individual as the narrator. Someone who chooses no gender pronouns to be articulated by...they are born into this world, with no language in order to account for their experience, and in the case of written on the body and our discussion with it...that is all to apparent.


UPDATE on Assignments
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-10-24 10:19:48 :
Link to this Comment: 3335

A reminder that your 3 pp. paper introducing us to your praxis site is due tomorrow, Friday October 25th.
If you have given yourself extensions either on this paper or its sequel, the first draft of your curriculum for this site, BOTH of these papers are due (no exceptions) by next Friday, November 1st.

By 5 p.m. on November 1st,
you also need to post AN ABSTRACT including
--a description your site w/ NO names/identifying markers
--an account of your initial reactions/issues
--a description of what you see as the problems/challenges in creating a curriculum for that location.

Anne


Written on the Body
Name: Jill
Date: //2002-10-24 12:35:34 :
Link to this Comment: 3336

This book has been one of my favourites since I first read it for C-Sem. I love the way that Winterson invites her audience into the text, and I have always been able to identify with the main character. We have had many different experiences, but I know exactly how s/he feels. The question of gender has never bothered me. I usually associate the main character with femaleness, but there are definite male moments. I have usually felt that way about everyone I've enountered. I have never been able to escape the culturally defined gender roles, so I use them in new ways, I guess.

Class on Tuesday was really depressing for me. I really did not feel like the book touched other people the way it did me, and it made me really sad. I thought that we dwelled far too long on the gender issues, which are really not as important as they would seem, and we merely did a surface scan of the book. I had questions about the ending, as well, but I did not feel like such matters should have devoured the entire class period. I sound all high and mighty, but this book really changed me, and I was expecting it to do so for others. I also do not know what kind of matters I would prefer to discuss, but I felt strongly that class on Tuesday could have been better spent.


Written on the Body
Name: Nia Turner
Date: //2002-10-25 02:37:54 :
Link to this Comment: 3344

Language, Love, and Loss are central themes of Written on the Body, by Jeanette Winterson. The language the author uses to express the narrator's thoughts are related to the cacophony of an orchestra. The narrator's thoughts seem to be random, inconsistent, and intense. I would characterize the gender-less voice as schizophrenic. The language conveys to me the gender of the narrator although the author made an effort to conceal the sex of the narrator. I acknowledge her genius and artistic license to recreate the rules of literary writing. However, the narrator's language resonates with the nectar of the female voice. The language seeps of unadulterated emotion. This is not to say that the male voice lacks emotion. The male voice captures emotion in a different language. I love Weather's use of the phrase "learning me your language" (p 9,16). Her words inspire me to ask the question. Can love be put into language? If so what are the limitations? Why is there a need to put love into a language? What language can articulate love? What is LOVE? "Why is it that the most unoriginal thing we can say to one another is still the thing we long to hear? (P9)" "Why is the measure of love loss?" I realized after rolling the words around in my head over and over, like play dough in the palm of a warm moist hand that the narrator never realized the extent to which she loved until she lost the love(s) of her life. She never reconciled with her own capacity to love until the loss had become an unwavering presence. I believe the feeling of loss ate at her spirit/soul. Maybe the narrator fell in love with the body and not the soul of Louise, because if she fell in love with her soul even in death Louise's spirit would remain a living part of the narrator's life. If one loves in spirit the love is never lost. Do individuals love in body or spirit? To be absent of the body is to be present in the Spirit(Bible).


Winterson
Name: Tamina
Date: //2002-10-25 12:33:31 :
Link to this Comment: 3346

I did like this book, but I don't think I would have had an apprieciation for its style before taking this class. The articles that we read earlier helped me in my analysis. For instance, the fact that the main character is genderless is a characteristic of Winterson's style that I found very interesting. I'm pretty sure this would have frustrated me before I took this course. The genderless character made me realize just how much of sexuality I associate with gender. In the conversation that we had in class about this, the question was raised: "Does Winterson use the genderless character effectively, or does it work in her book?" Winterson accomplished, I think, she set out to do, confuse us. Judging by the discussion most people in the class could not pin point the gender of the main character and therefore had trouble judging the characters actions. Winterson is pushing the boundries and forcing us to look at sex, love, passion, anger, etc. in a way that we are not accustom to. She does this in the same way that the articles we read articulate "nonconventional" expressions of sexuality. Winterson also forces us to redefine our previous conceptions of sex associated with cultural tradition and gender. Whether Winterson's actual intentions with the gemderless charafter came through clearly I can't say; but it is important to realize that it definately made all of us think twice about the main character's decisions.


Written on the Body
Name: Bea
Date: //2002-10-25 12:53:13 :
Link to this Comment: 3347

I'm still not quite sure how I feel about the novel. I read the book jacket when I bought the book a while ago, but by the time I began reading it, I had forgotten that the narrator wasn't supposed to have a gender. While reading, I just assumed the author had been writing as a female. Although some parts of the text may have made the narrator seem more masculine, but I still couldn't shake the feeling that s/he was a woman. I think the masculine areas of the book just show how the behaviors/tendencies of men and women can overlap in many ways.

On another note, I enjoyed her writing style. Sarah H. said something about her writing not being communicative. I can understand this, but that's also something I rather liked. I felt that the way she wrote demonstrated very well how one's mind can work, jumping from one thing to another. It made me feel like I was inside the mind of the main character... Living in her memories while still living in the present.

Oh, and just another thought about the discussion we had yesterday in class. I was thinking about the narrator's abandonment issues. I still feel that leaving Louise was not necessarily a selfless act. We've established that the narrator was always being left by his/her lovers... so this was an opportunity to avoid being left (perhaps there was the fear that Louise would die, and the narrator would be left alone). So this was a way for main character to leave Louise before she could do the same. S/he may be seeing Louise everywhere because now there's this guilt because s/he is not accustomed to doing the breaking up - especially when there's potential for a good relationship.


ethic
Name: ngoc
Date: //2002-10-25 16:38:29 :
Link to this Comment: 3349

as we were talking about the ethic question in class, people kept on mentioning that they have not taken an ethic course and therefore weren't sure of the validity of their comment. I personally don't think it really matters if the commentor did or did not take a course on ethic. I have taken a course on ethic and it didn't really help me to take a stand on anything we were talking in class. the ethic course will only be of help in term of introducing more ethical perspectives on different issues. plus, i really don't think we can place an ethical value on the narrator's action when we don't even know what ethic means according to our standard ... let alone understand ethic from the narrator's perspective.

oh...another thing... just in case people are wondering if there is any other language without gender... Vietnamese is a genderless language. you can read the whole book without knowing the gender of the narrator if the author choose to do so... when refering to a gender, you need to use a specific way to address... there is no grammatical rules for feminine and masculine cases.


Written on the Bodymsc
Name: Maggie
Date: //2002-10-25 16:50:45 :
Link to this Comment: 3350

Winterson's language, especially when talking about emotionally and physical love, was beautiful and poetic. As many people have posted, there were many phrases, sentences and paragraphs that were striking in their accuracy, passion, beauty, or desperation. I think that this was especially admirable because it often seems like 'love' has been written about so much that it is almost impossible to write something that makes the reader say 'that is a beautiful and different way to talk about love'.

The un-gendered character was well done because I couldn't pin the narrator down to male or female. Partly, it was an amazing trick, because it can make the story more universal, or interpretable however the reader wishes. But I think it was distracting, because I definitely spent the entire time trying to discern what the main character's gender was, instead of focusing on the story and the language. I appreciate that Winterson is pushing the reader to NOT use our preconceived notions about gender when judging/interpreting people. The only problem is that it is almost more than our preconceived notions, because it is reality. People are male or female, and even transsexual/transgendered people identify with one or the other gender.

I thought in the end when Louise reappears was completely an illusion, and it took me a long time to even be able to understand how people interpreted it as her really coming back. I also thought that the narrator was irritatingly self-absorbed. I think that s/he left Louise because s/he genuinely wanted what s/he thought was best for Louise, but s/he should never have made the presumption that she could make that decision. Also, after s/he had left Louise, s/he shouldn't have wallowed in self-pity the way s/he did. I understand that the point of that was probably to show us how much his/her love took over the narrator. Still, I feel like even the most 'in love' couple would be able to function without the other person... Maybe I am just cynical.


Abstract--field site
Name: ngoc
Date: //2002-10-25 16:51:21 :
Link to this Comment: 3351

I am observing youths at a Buddhist temple. I have been working with these groups of students for the past two years so I have quite a good understanding of who they are and why they're at the temple. The community is very friendly but they are also very conservative and traditional--oh, and political as well. Designing a sex education curriculum for these youths are not as difficult as trying to obtain permission from adults, elders, and monks from the temple. I have not gone so far as to mention the word sex in front of anyone at the temple, not even the youths. They all seems know that it is inappropriate and unacceptable with this community. I am no longer simply working with students and parents. I am working with a whole force of political, religous, and cultural community.


written on the body
Name: Iris Dicke
Date: //2002-10-25 17:05:55 :
Link to this Comment: 3353

What an amazing book! I loved her use of language, especially "Is food sexy?"(pg. 36) I don't think i'll ever be able to look at a "dinner date" in the same way. The genderless narrator really captivated me. It was pure experiences with all the gender sterio-type garbage that clutters the real point. The narrator LOVED, that's what matters...not if they were male or female or male. (and I DO think they loved) The section "The Special Senses" really amazed me. (pg.133)For when you love someone you love all of them: body, illness, mind, and soul.


Written on the Body
Name: Monica Loc
Date: //2002-10-25 22:45:55 :
Link to this Comment: 3354

Reading Written on the body was a new experience for me. I never read a book as sensual as this one and at first I did not know how I would react to the story. Once I started reading, I just could not stop. While I was reading the book, I did not think of the narrator as being a man or woman, I just kept on reading because it was so interesting. If it had not been for the discussions in class I would have not noticed if the narrator was a man or woman and really dissect the story and analyze it. I am glad that we took some time in unraveling the story in class. I liked the comment someone made in class about love lost. I cannot remember the exact quote but it was about how people only begin to realize how much they have lost once the object or person is gone. I believe in this and feel that the book has taught this lesson.


response to Written on the Body
Name: Jenny Wade
Date: //2002-10-26 01:16:30 :
Link to this Comment: 3355

I found myself putting off writing this response for several reasons. First of all, like Hanon, I don't want to dissect this book because of its personal importance, and discourage analyzing it to the point where it looses its artistic quality (although I agree that discussion allows everyone to share their points of view and discoveries of the text). Secondly, the reading of this book, in spite of the fact that I loved it and think the author IS an amazing writer, triggored emotions within me that made me reflect upon (and essentially recount) personal experiences (most that I would rather forget). I had a hard time preventing the intense emotions of the narrator from overflowing the pages and per experiences, and instead found them infiltrating my own emotions, my own thoughts, so that I could concisely percept per's pain.

I find it interesting that few people have written (or seem to have liked) the middle section of the book, "The Cells, Tissues, Systems and Cavities of the Body." To me, this section was most intriguing due to its rambling, freeness (both in thought and grammatical structure). The section reminded me of a personal journal where one writes for oneself, letting inner feelings, reflections, thoughts,etc. incredibly intense expressed in broken language because narrative, grammatically complex language could not keep up with the ideas--still I found many of the phrases absolutely beautiful and found the connection between biology and art (in terms of adressing sexual feelings)especially successful. The prose form, biological phrases interupted by metaphors, imagery, and memories a chaotic fusion, overwhelming but with highly concentrated meaning and importance, much like sexual activity itself.


Written on the Body
Name: Nancy
Date: //2002-10-26 02:07:41 :
Link to this Comment: 3356

First, I have to say that I am one of those hopeless romantics we talked about in class; that is, I do occasionally say things like 'sigh, you know, even if we grow, we'll always love each other forever and ever'. With that mindset, I found myself drawn into the novel. Since Per lacked a defined gender and definitive characteristics, I began to believe I was Per, and I became completely absobed in Per's thoughts and obsessions. As much as I loved the book, I was not satisfied with the ending at all. After finishing the final paragraph I was so dissatisfied that I examined the back cover in a weird frenzy looking for 'just one more sentence' telling me Per and Louise lived happily ever after. It's sad.
After our discussion, or dissection, I think my feelings about Per have changed. I don't trust Per very much anymore. I still think Per left Louise because it was too hard for Per to deal with, and justified it the only way Per knew to. I also think that the feelings Per describes (saying that loving Louise was different than ever before) may not be authentic. Who's to say Per doesn't feel the same way at the start of every doomed relationship, each time believing it is 'true love'.
I didn't like the middle of the book very much. It was a little bizarre, and I skipped some of the biological desciption. It seemed like a dose of reality that didn't belong.


Language of Science and Social Science
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-10-26 10:07:12 :
Link to this Comment: 3358

This week you are invited to reflect on what you learned from reading and hearing about sex as it is described by social scientists and scientists. What are you thinking about "Trucking Through the AIDS belt" and Bob Washington's talk, and/or "The Evolutionary Theory of Sexual Attraction" and Paul Grobstein's presentation? What are your reactions to the kinds of language used to talk about these kinds of questions? What are the uses and the limits of each?


more written on the body
Name:
Date: //2002-10-28 00:18:17 :
Link to this Comment: 3379

sorry this is a little late!

the most facinating part about this book for me was the breaking down of gender roles and re-emerging with simply expereince. It amazed me how much the straightforward experience that we were given could be so differently colored by the gender i asigned it. I waver between whether or not i think that the sexual interactions can actually be androdgonous. On the one had it seems that the sexual organs are very integral to the types of pleasure and acts that happen yet at the same time, in a way, are secondary to the pure intamacy of simply having a sexual experience. As i said, i feel pulled by both views. The sexual interactions are, in my opinion, the hardest sections to write from a genderless perspective. It is incredibly difficult to break down the strict gender=genitalia link that most of us are raised with. I wonder if it is possible to truly break down and if people thought winterson's attempt was successful.


that last post was mine
Name: michelle
Date: //2002-10-28 00:19:25 :
Link to this Comment: 3380

sorry ladies forgot to sign it


Selfish or self-aware?
Name: Sarah
Date: //2002-10-28 03:25:30 :
Link to this Comment: 3381

Sorry, a bit more Winterson for you...
I've been struggling with this question of whether Winterson's attempt at non gender specific writing was successful until tonight when I did some writing about classroom discussion of diversity. In it, I essentially made the statement that everything is personal whether it is meant to be or not because an expression of one's ideas is by default of an expression of personal experience and background. With this in mind, assuming it holds some truth for some people reading this at least, how could Winterson have been successful? While a woman can make a statement on any topic, every statement will be made from the standpoint, background and personal experience of having lived and learned as a woman. To me, writing without sex is not an accomplishment of transcending boundaries but simply an accomplishment of not mixing up pronouns and keeping the truth concealed. I don't see a real point in trying to write without sex except as an exercise of personal importance to the writer so that she may see how profoundly she has been affected by the experience of having been raised a woman. In that way, I think this work reflects a great deal of selfishness--of trying to obtain some sort of enlightment in writing it rather than to produce enlightment for those who read it. Maybe all writing is selfish though and maybe what I've said is unnecessarily harsh. It's the only explanation I can come up with though for trying to understand what happened to me while I was reading it. I very actively disliked portions of the book and yet I could not put it down and read the whole thing in one sitting at a crowded Starbucks in NY. Thinking about it later, I kept coming to this idea that it reminded me of journal entries I had written; ones that are really not well written but are filled with so much emotion and filled with rather cliched examples of love that almost anyone can relate to. So maybe I'm not being so harsh in declaring her work selfish because I am declaring the same of mine. Does it make a difference in evaluating writing to take into account who the work was attended to address? Maybe, like me, Winterson fantasizes writing for a larger audience (important people coming to our homes and looking very pleased when they find our diaries, then rush out to have them printed so that the world may get a better glimpse at "who we were") but in doing so, writes strictly for herself. So is she selfish or self-aware? Or, more likely, is the reason so many readers become so infatuated with her because she is a little of both and therefore more human, real and able to relate to?


UPDATE ON PRAXIS ASSIGNMENT
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-10-28 18:40:57 :
Link to this Comment: 3388

By 5 p.m. this Friday, November 1st, please submit to me hard copies both of the paper introducing your praxis site and a 3-pp. beginning of a sex-ed curriculum, including bibliography.

You also need to post by that deadline, on our on-line web forum,
AN ABSTRACT including
--a description your site w/ NO names/identifying markers
--an account of your initial reactions/issues
--a description of what you see as the problems/challenges in creating a curriculum for that location
AND THE SEX-ED BIBLIOGRAPHY [THIS AN ADDITION TO INITIAL INSTRUCTIONS--because this is a way for us to be helping one another along on this project].

Anne


The Oral-Sex Code
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-10-28 18:50:14 :
Link to this Comment: 3390


On the Commentary page of today's (10/28/02) Philadelphia Inquirer was an article entitled "'No big deal' the biggest deal of all: Young adults and the oral-sex code":

"I used to teach college English. Often, I had my students keep journals. That is how I learned about oral sex as the common tender of the one-night stand....many women were doing things they didn't really want to be doing. I wondered:...Aren't you a free agent? Why not stand up for your rights?...these women felt pressured by their girlfriends. That was the real surprise: The female community's ferocity in enforcing the oral-sex code...Unwittingly, the community of young women were forcing one another to yield to the male will. Abused themselves, they were passing on the abuse to one another. So that no one had to admit that they were suffering, women adopted the party line that it was no big deal....

intimacy has a real meaning. It is an exchange of what you are with someone you trust. Its very significance lies in its being very infrequently shared. If you believe that, you'll choose extremely carefully. You'll enter into intimacy for the best reason you can find. And that would be something I'd love to read."


MoMobile
Name: HY
Date: //2002-10-28 20:17:07 :
Link to this Comment: 3394

For those of you who didn't get a chance to see Bonnie Bissonnette speak about her experience at MoMobile, I have posted it below. I wasn't able to go, but she was kind enough to share her speech with me. I then asked for her permission to post it on this forum so here it is:

Bonnie Bissonnette
Overbrook/Main Line MOMobile Talk
Bryn Mawr College
October 24, 2002

Thank you so much for coming. My name is Bonnie Bissonnette. My talk will be part what-I-did-on-my-summer-vacation with some cheerleading for Maternity Care Coalition and Praxis and Community Service mixed in. What I hope you will take away is a sense of a couple of women's-of your neighbors'-lives, of the realities of pregnancy, birth, and raising a newborn with very limited resources in this area.

First all, I want everyone to picture a pregnant woman. What are you guys all imagining? Keep those images in mind as I'm talking.

I had the opportunity of being introduced to the MOMobile program through a Praxis course at Haverford last spring, Kaye Edwards's "Women medicine and biology." Praxis is a new program in the bico that gives credit for service-learning. In that particular course, students volunteered in a variety of women's health settings for a minimum of three hours per week. Some of my classmates worked in needle exchange at Prevention Point, interviewing clients requesting abortion funding through the Women's Medical Fund, with wheelchair-bound women at Inglis House, helping with art therapy for recovering addicts at Woman space in Ardmore, as well as several other locations. I will talk more about Praxis in shortly.

After completing a couple of weeks at the Overbrook/Main Line site of MOMobile, I liked it. A lot. I came upon the application for the Harris Wofford Summer of National Service grant, and decided to try and get funding to volunteer full-time during the summer. Harris Wofford was president of Bryn Mawr College a couple of presidents back and is probably best known for running for Congress in the early 90s on the platform of universal health insurance. The Clinton administration mistakenly interpreted Wofford's victory as a mandate for universal coverage, and the rest of that episode is history.

He went on to continue promoting national voluntarism and this grant was set up as a retirement gift by Wofford's colleagues. It's awarded every year to a BMC student, so keep an eye out early next year for application information, all of you Bryn Mawr students. The CSO and Dean's Office also offers other annual summer stipends.

Sarah Press, who received the first Wofford grant last year, and I, will have the opportunity to meet Harris Wofford next Tuesday when he comes to speak about activism. That speech is open to the public. It will be held in the Campus Center's main lounge Tuesday at 4:30. Those are my Community Service plugs.

I want to start things off with a little exercise that Dr. Ira Chasnoff, who is a professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Univ of IL did during a lecture he gave at one of Maternity Care Coalition's Professional Education Series events. Everyone, meet your neighbor, preferably someone who you don't know. All right, now decide which person will be Person A and who will be Person B. Persons A: I would like you to think of a secret that you have, that you haven't told that many people. Okay, now Persons B, I'm going to give you 10 seconds to ask them questions and find out that secret. Go. All right, persons B, how are you feeling? You're in a position kind of like what a MOMobile advocate is in, of trying to figure out how to connect with a person, to build up trust quickly, and to find out what's really going on. Persons A, remember how it feels, some person you just met asking all of these invasive questions. This is a small version of the dynamics the advocate-client relationship.

Maternity Care Coalition was created in 1980 by JoAnne Fischer, a Bryn Mawr School of Social Work alumna. She and a group of concerned Philadelphians in order to address the high infant mortality rates in some of the city's neighborhoods. The mission of Maternity Care Coalition is now stated as "to improve maternal and child health and well being through collaborative efforts of individuals, families, providers and communities."

The MOMobile program came to be in 1989. The crux of the program is that trained advocates, many of them women from the same neighborhoods that they work in, work with clients through pregnancy and the child's first year of life, visiting them at home, accompanying some to doctors' appointments, and so on. MOMobile has grown to ten sites: Norristown, Overbrook/Main Line, Southwest Philly, West Philadelphia, Germantown, Delaware County, North Philadelphia, Northeast, Strawberry Mansion and the special Latina MOMobile. Maternity Care Coalition is an organization run almost completely by women-only the financial officer and the technology coordinator are men-and a racial and ethnically diverse group of women at that.

You might have seen the logo on the bright orange posters that I plastered all over campus. If not, here it is-that is a MOMobile. Each of the sites has at least one van like this, used by advocates to get to their clients' homes. They are all, with the exception of Overbrook Main Line site's, bright orange, with "Pregnant? Need help?" or "Emperazanda Ayudarle?"-my Spanish is rusty--and information on some of MOMobile's services printed on the van. The Overbrook Main Line site (I'm just going to call it Overbrook from now on, but you'll know that I mean Main Line) has a plain white van, which is due to the stigma that social service programs can have out here. I will get into the neighborhood relations after I talk more about what MOMobile is doing going to people's houses.

Here's how I would describe it in the first phone call to clients who had been referred to us: "MOMobile is a support and education program for pregnant women and new mothers; we work with you through the baby's first birthday, on any goals that you have. MOMobile advocates basically help you navigate the system and find resources that help you to strengthen your family." I admit that it was a sales pitch, to try to sell mothers on what we could do for them. I was uneasy about what would happen if I admitted to a client that one of MOMobile's central goals is preventing infant mortality. Of a woman being so insulted, telling me that her baby isn't at risk of dying, and how dare I suggest such a thing. I can't think of a time that I said "infant mortality" to a client. The resistance we felt from some clients to any sort of help was difficult enough as it was.

Some past Main Line clients and their neighbors did not want to see Overbrook's old orange MOMobile parked near their homes. They didn't want to admit that families on their street might need to enroll in an advocacy or preventative program, that infant mortality could be a problem, or, worse yet, that poverty was part of the problem. Glenda recounted a story about how she was ordered to leave one area neighborhood while trying to visit a client.

The Community Advisory Committee for the Overbrook site has been helpful in acclimating the MOMobile program to the Main Line, but there are still a lot of restrictions that prevent all women on the Main Line who could benefit from the services from knowing about and accessing MOMobile. Most of the active clients this summer were from the West Philly and Overbrook zip codes of 19131 and 19151, from the early streets numbered 50 out to the border with Bala Cynwyd.

Glenda has invited several members of the service community in this area to participate in the Community Advisory Committee, and each meeting is held at one of the members' locations. This allows each Committee member to show off his/her facilities and to talk in-depth about the services offered. The members also email with one another between meetings, and benefit from Maternity Care Coalition's research and educational activities in addition to being able to network with one another and create strong bonds.

The MOMobile vans were not always a feature of the program. Since Glenda has been with MCC for over ten years-as a volunteer, then advocate, and now a program manager, who has experience at the West Philly and Germantown sites as well-I got to hear lots of agency nostalgia. She talks about the grassroots excitement of starting out, how advocates used to take public transportation or walk to get to home visits and accompany clients to their prenatal appointments by riding SEPTA with them. It is important that agencies have a firm grasp on what their roots and missions are, so that people can stay focused and excited.

As MOMobile has grown in size, scope, and number of funders, the amount of paperwork has increased. Here is the postpartum intake form; it's 29 pages in all, with more added on if you need to record several extra contacts with the client. Many funders want to have specific statistics every year in order to hold the program accountable, to see results.

So, there are all of these questions and stastics. Are MOMobile's advocates there for surveillance? In a sense, yes. I'm not going to launch into a discussion of Foucault and the history of surveillance and politics, but I could. That's the magic of Praxis...I started tying my history studies at Bryn Mawr to my MOMobile experience almost instantly. Anyway, the first contact that many women who are referred from other agencies have with MOMobile is that someone will call them and ask basic information to get a sense of her immediate needs.

I made a lot of those phone calls this summer, which was both nerve-wracking and fun. Some agencies don't tell the clients they're referring exactly what MOMobile does, so usually I would begin by telling them what we're all about.

The first home visit is crucial to building a relationship of trust, and to assessing why a client is accessing MOMobile's services. A lot of people weren't straight with me during the initial phone calls. One example of this is a woman who I talked to several times before the first home visit. She told me all about her kids and mentioned that she is manic depressive. Her main reason for calling was that formula was running low for her newborn. She told me all about how the baby was a "September 11th baby" ie part of the small boom of babies conceived after the World Trade Center attacks. This was not a crisis situation in terms of the information that I received on the phone. She mentioned that she might be interested in information on home-buying too.

I threw together a bag for this client-everyone gets either or prenatal or postpartum bag full of literature and gifts-and put together formula and some other newborn supplies. We got to the house and found a mess. The baby was lying on a mattress, the only bed in the small apartment. The client's daughter acknowledged the baby a couple of times, but otherwise he was unsupervised. People were coming in and out. The client seemed very jittery, and told us that she was about to be evicted. I had brought along information about HUD housing, and she was unable to make rent! Needless to say, we found out a lot of surprising information about this client, things that she wanted to say directly to us in her own living space. We were unable even to help her find a shelter in time, because she called a couple of days later to say that the police were locking her out. We were unable to contact her after that.

Most home visits have different dynamics than that, though you never know what to expect. I'll run you through sort of the ultimate first home visit, just to give you a sense of MOMobile services.

The ultimate first visit would be a prenatal one during the first trimester. An advocate or program manager or intern would contact the client (either through outreach or responding to a referral) and find out about where and if she is getting prenatal care, her pregnancy history, due date, and so on. We also ask if she would like to have any specific information and a voter registration form.

From that information, her advocate puts together a prenatal bag. If the client is out of food for another baby, or needs maternity clothes, soap, or other necessities that we have in stock, then those items also go in the bag. We have a big case full of things like WIC applications that we take along - I'm still doing the "we" even though my internship is over - just in case the client qualifies or asks a question about something not included in the prenatal bag.

Next, the advocates get to her house and she's home. Remember, this is the ideal home visit-something that almost never actually happens in the real world. Some are hard to track down, especially the clients who are hiding from bill collectors or who work strange hours. The father of the baby is also there, and he's supportive, and is interested in sitting in for at least some of the home visit. We ask more questions from the intake form. If this is a teen, education is brought up early in the visit and will become a central theme. We talk to the woman about her plans for after the pregnancy, to try to get the parents to understand that this is a big responsibility, and that you need to think like parents. We go through what the different brochures are, spending a lot of time on how the baby is growing, the importance of nutritious eating during pregnancy, benefits of breastfeeding, and what labor involves. We also give out this brochure which usually makes people laugh. You might have seen this in a high school sex ed class, or in the AIDS exhibit at the Franklin Institute this summer. For later on in the pregnancy, couples need alternatives, so even though this is corny, it gives couples non-sexual ways to be intimate. Included in some of the magazines we give out is also information about safe sexual positions for pregnancy.

This is a program, as you can see, that fills an information void. Women are being shuffled through the medical system in little 15-minute intervals and are not given the chance to ask questions in a safe space. They have to rely on friends and relatives for medical information, which can lead to fear or misinformation. If you work or have other obligations and cannot make it to childbirth education classes, you might be out of luck. So, MOMobile home visitors will either talk to women about pregnancy and childbirth issues or will refer them to an agency or medical provider who has the professional background to better answer any specific medical questions.

Another aspect of the perfect first home visit is the HIV and AIDS pretest. It's called a pretest because clients should take it once and then again six months later, so their retention of the knowledge can be measured. This is part of a grant that another site has, targeting African American women aged 25-44. I believe that all sites are using it now. The language in it was developed with the advocates and a Catholic agency in the city. You'll see such layman's terms such as "vaginal juices" rather than biomedical jargon. Many clients think that we mean we're going to give them a physical HIV test, and some stop us and say that they've been tested recently. We emphasize that it's not graded and is just a way to start the conversation about AIDS education. It also becomes a positive way to talk about sex. We have a question about whether withdrawal-that is, if a man removes his penis from a woman's body before he ejaculates-is an effective HIV prevention method.

During the first time that I administered the HIV pretest to a client, it was this African American woman who lives in Overbrook, is in her late thirties, and her mother was coming in and out during the visit. I was totally intimidated, like talking about sex with her. She's my elder and we just met after talking on the phone a couple of times. She is totally not going to respond to my educational material, I'm thinking. She ended up asking so many questions! During this ejaculation explanation, about the question that I just mentioned, I couldn't think of any word other than "dribbling" to describe how semen can escape the penis before a man comes. So I just said it. I was totally embarrassed but the client was really at ease. She actually laughed hysterically, if I remember correctly.

You can tell when a client or a couple are talking about sex for the first time, or at least for the first time in awhile. I was just glad to get through that visit. One day, we had several home visits and two of the clients asked follow-up questions about anal sex. I told Glenda during the van ride home that I'd never expected to talk so much about that subject ever. So, the HIV/AIDS tests are really good tools to use with all of the clients, and the tests help to get rid of myths about who gets HIV.

One of the younger pregnant clients answered all of the questions on the pretest correctly, which most people don't do, and she shared that several relatives of hers are HIV-positive. While her network of health information was pretty impressive, we found out during the visit that she and the father of the baby did not know how to use a condom properly ("that's his job", she told us). Glenda explained proper usage anyway.

All right, the perfect visit is almost over. We're on the couch, everyone's getting along, there's lots of questions and answers being shared, what next? My favorite part of MOMobile is next, the page on the intake form with the most potential to change a woman's life. It looks so simple and dull, but a family service plan is an agreement between an advocate and client that the client will work towards one goal over a stated period of time, and that the advocate will help as needed. We tell the clients that this Family service plan has to be about them, about something that they want. A client at another site had put down to save up for a tattoo. Some of these goals are big, like find housing or re-enrolling in high school or at college. Another this summer was more modest but still a big step for this particular client-to learn how to drive a car.

Even if the client does not stay on track with the Family Service Plan, she has written down a goal. She's shared it with another person who supports her in that goal. Glenda talked to me a lot about how sometimes she can just plant the seed of an idea in clients' heads and it takes a long time for them to achieve something, but that she has had clients come to her years later and thank her. You should have seen some of these visits where Glenda spent a lot of time trying to talk about the importance of getting a college degree and being your own boss or doing work that you find fulfilling and that supports your children in their own goals.

Though some women rolled their eyes, others did seem at least a little bit inspired. That is empowerment, telling women that they have choices when maybe society, friends, relatives, partners, or other influences are telling them that they will fail if they even try to make positive changes in their life. One of the most heartbreaking moments of this summer was hearing the younger sister of a fifteen-year old new parent say that she herself wasn't worth the money that college costs and that education wasn't for her. Just something to mull over...

I mentioned faith on my fliers for today's talk, which may seem a tad inappropriate, considering that MOMobile is a secular organization. Though it is secular, Maternity Care Coalition is part of a series of networks of service to Philadelphia's people that includes many religious organizations, for instance Birthrite, the Salvation Army, and Lutheran Children's Services. The Overbrook site includes St. Catherine's of Sienna and Amnion Crisis Pregnancy Center as members of its Community Advisory Committee. This shocked me at first, because I was so fixated on the whole pro-choice, pro-life divide between the agencies. But I learned that what both agencies try to do is strengthen families and empower women. Though their approaches to this may be different, everything else is secondary.

Amnion tried to advertise in the Bryn Mawr and Haverford College student newspaper a couple of years ago and met with several angry editorials. The general perception that I had had of Amnion was of non-licensed psychiatrist types bullying young women into keeping unwanted babies. After having met Jane Winn, the counselor over at Amnion, and listening to her give a non-religious, non-guilt, non-fetus-obsessed talk on stress management to MOMobile clients (voluntarily) at a meeting, I was quite impressed. In fact, since the Overbrook site was established, Amnion has been one of the most active supporters of MOMobile, despite some ideological differences.

Spirituality inflected the work of some of the women that I met this summer in really interesting ways. I met an Assumptionist nun who is an Early Head Start advocate at South Philly MOMobile, and I asked her whether it was difficult to work for a secular social service agency. She perceives her work with MOMobile as helping people, which is what she tries to do with her life; the rest is just politics.

A lot of the good people doing social work that I met this summer were motivated by a feeling of duty to the community, whether that was religious or not. For them, their job is not simply about earning a wage. I know from talking to friends who have interviewed for internships and jobs with some nonprofit groups that one of the first questions asked will be political, such as whether or not you support a woman's right to choose. While that is important if it's for Planned Parenthood or Amnion, other agencies serving women need not shut out qualified people who may happen to be religious or conservative. There is more to empowerment than just one issue, and if someone's energy can be used towards good and they can set politics aside, I support them fully, even if I have some ideological debates with them.

One of the aspects of faith that carries over into OML's site is the sense that neighbors should be treated with dignity so that they can lead more graceful lives. One of Glenda's ongoing projects is to convert the storage closet currently holding donations into "The Dignity Chest". This will be a clean, organized, attractive space where clients can feel like they're shopping rather than being given a handout or having to rummage through garbage bags. You'd be amazed about what some people donate-it's like we're the trash collection for the minority of donors. And it's hard to say no, even if someone is telling you to take a moldy playpen from the 1970s; this happened this summer, and we felt awful about having to throw donations out, but no one wanted it.

But most donors that I met were incredible. One Bryn Mawr professor donated an electric breast pump in June; these things are like gold. We gave it to a client who delivered a premature baby and who was going to have to pump since the child was too young to have developed enough sucking power to properly breast-feed. This woman had been through hell during her pregnancy, and she was so thankful for the stuff that we brought for her while she was recovering from her caesarian. Her husband was in the Caribbean with another woman, and he'd been verbally and physically abusive to her before he left. I miss her; we spent a lot of time with her during my last couple of weeks this summer. There are tons of examples of community members who are contributing a lot, especially around Christmas and the holidays. I have some copies of volunteer opportunity forms over there if anyone wants to participate in a one-time event or on a more ongoing basis with MCC.

Speaking of dignity, let's hear it for public assistance! What is the welfare office like? Well, Glenda and I were around the corner from one of the Philly Department of Public Welfare offices during one home visit, so we figured that we'd, you know, drop in, say hello, and pick up some extra application forms to give to clients. The scene inside was dismal, a bit like the Department of Motor Vehicles with more beefed-up security. We introduced ourselves to one of the workers as social service providers from the MOMobile, asking if we could take some materials for our clients. We couldn't have felt much less welcome...

I want to talk about welfare for a minute since several of our clients were or had been involved with cash assistance and public benefits, and because welfare reform is up for reauthorization soon (again!) and has been clouded out of the news by the sniper, mutual funds giving lower returns, imperialism and Iraq, etc. etc.

Here is what you need to bring when you apply for welfare. If you qualify for cash assistance, Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF), you must meet regularly with your caseworker, a man or woman whom you will refer to as Mrs. or Mister at all times. It is hard to change caseworkers if you are unsatisfied, though some MOMobile clients seemed to get shuffled from caseworker to caseworker, so be polite and punctual so that your caseworker will not sanction you. Sanctioning means no welfare.

So, you go in and meet with Mr. Smith, who tries to get you back to work. That is the central task, not education, empowerment, training for jobs other than low-wage ones, referrals to counseling, etc. Pennsylvania residents can attend high school for free until they're twenty-two, but your caseworker might not tell you that. He might say that you should do jobcorps or train to become a nurses' aide. My dad's a nurses aide-it's not a high-paying and exciting field full of opportunities for advancement. It puts strain on women's bodies from the lifting; the benefits are paltry if not non-existent. You might have to work second shift or overnights in order to get enough hours. Training people quickly in low-wage jobs is not about empowerment.

One of our clients was an eighteen year-old woman who had dropped out during the eighth grade, been in and out of the shelter system in New York and New Jersey, and the baby's father was in prison. She lived nearly across the street from a high school, and was interested in going back to school, but her caseworker only presented her with the option of enrolling in Jobcorps. Glenda coached her on how to fill out this form with her caseworker , how to demand that the Agreement of Mutual Responsibility be for her to go enroll in Overbrook High, since it has day care on-site, and she lives so close. As of August, she was planning to enroll for this school year. This is one example of how advocates can help women navigate the system.

Professor Sanford Schram over at the School of Social Work gave a talk about welfare reform yesterday, and I just want to share some of the salient points from his discussion, since he's been studying it extensively for years, and has testified before Congress on the issue.

PRWORA. Who knows what that is? It's the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act. Welfare reform bill from 1996. It was up for renewal this year, but the House and Senate were unable to agree on what to do during this session. The current law was extended for three months, and reauthorization will happen after the election. The positioning of votes on welfare has a lot of do with what gets passed. For instance, President Clinton had vetoed welfare reform bills twice before he signed PRWORA in August of 1996, a presidential election year. Anyway, there's a very real possibility that cash assistance will end. If not with a federal law, the states can also cut out cash assistance. TANF is a block grant to states, which the states can spend as they please. They can just give the whole thing to the food bank or one faith-based program, for instance. Though no states have cut off cash assistance completely, it is always possible. States can also do things like what Pennsylvania does-not raising benefits at all for twelve years. There's been no adjustment for the higher rental costs or the general cost of living since 1990 here.

I want to leave you with a sense of the history of American public welfare before we move on to another issue. Cash assistance programs began with 1935's Aid to Dependent Children, which eventually came to be known as AFDC, or Aid to Families with Dependent Children. The shift in focus from children to the family is seen in the name of the successor program to AFDC, which is Temporary Aid to Needy Families, TANF, which was created in 1996 as part of PRWORA. The prevailing attitude about welfare has become that it is about the self-sufficiency and personal responsibility of adults rather than about children. American children are no longer entitled to cash assistance if their family has that need.

I'd like to move from the loss of public entitlements for women and families back to what empowerment is, and how that relates to MOMobile. One of the main disconnects between the Overbrook site and a couple of the others has to do with opposing views of Maternity Care Coalition's mission. For those advocates who perceive the MOMobile program simply as a charity, the priority is to make sure that clients have diapers and condoms and other supplies. The HIV education component and Family Service Plan in this context become annoyances for both the advocate and the client.

The danger of this type of interaction is that MOMobile perpetuates the status quo, and basically becomes a free market full of handouts. For Glenda and some other MOMobile advocates, the goal of home visits and other types of follow-up interventions is both supply delivery and empowerment. Since clients can stay in the program until their infants are one year of age, there is a great potential for progress and positive life changes. As trust builds between the advocate and client more potential for empowerment presents itself with some clients. However, when advocates like those who consider MOMobile a charity bond with the clients, it can be more of a friendly relationship. Though this does not seem damaging on the surface, it does a tremendous disservice to women who do have a desire to pursue life goals and need support from someone who is carrying herself with confidence and who can encourage them to look to something like college.

This is the only problem with recruiting advocates from the neighborhoods which they serve, even from the ranks of former clients. Yes, a neighbor may provide the most culturally-appropriate service, but she might not believe in the potential for a woman of similar means from the same street to be able to achieve goals like home ownership or getting into college, etc., so she might de-emphasize empowerment and just try to give out lots of stuff. This means that maybe one hundred women got ushered through MOMobile this month. These women might view MOMobile as just another cog in the whole screwed-up, disjointed system. "I had to answer some questions and let this woman in the house once just to get three cans of Similac and a pack of generic diapers." Empowerment will help people as much as, if not more than, an extra pack of diapers.

Social workers and other service providers need to have the drive to empower-they need enough resources, support, money, training, and time. Right now there is frustration and mediocrity in some of Philadelphia's social service programs. They are inundating preventative programs like MOMobile with referrals of people in crisis. They're dumping women on other agencies that are less qualified to service them. It's frightening.

I want to talk a little bit more about Praxis before I finish up. If you would like to hear more, just ask Nell Anderson after I finish. Anyway, the whole idea of praxis is that internships shouldn't just happen in a vacuum, because then it's not as educational. Besides going to your internship, you are expected to actively reflect upon your experiences, trying to make linkages with your coursework. I talked before about how much my history coursework related to some themes in MOMobile, such as issues of racism and surveillance. I'm also involved with the Feminist and Gender studies interdisciplinary concentration, and part of doing Fem Gen is getting out there and talking to women and trying to empower women. That's part of the point of studying, you know, binary oppositions, and all of that.

One of the particularly helpful things about praxis placements is that they can be very humbling. During the training session that precluded beginning MOMobile last January, we were told, you know, you're representing Bryn Mawr, you need to think about the power and privilege that you bring with you, and so on.

We heard about two white Mawrters with long hair who had volunteered at a site-some sort of school or day care program-that was staffed by and catered to mostly African Americans. These women had let some of the kids brush their hair, which members of the staff disapproved of because it breeched some of their own cultural boundaries. It turned into a big misunderstanding that had to be worked out. Anyway, we heard this story, and I suppose it was just trying to get us realizing that we might face some racial tension with coworkers or clients. Basically I entered the experience nervously.

The point of all this is, is that I came in and was trying to hard to be Bryn Mawr Student rather than Bonnie. Glenda chipped away at this gradually, and it was one of the most helpful things for me about being at MOMobile. I had internalized this notion that Bryn Mawr is shaping who I am, and that my education is the only thing that people will respect about me, I'll wear it like a badge. While I am gaining a lot from the College, I also have a lot to learn from everyone around me, professor or not, and my education doesn't make me automatically good at things.

So, this ego deflation can be a really important byproduct of praxis. I don't want to be someone who is absolutely devastated in a job interview if my interviewer asks me if Bryn Mawr is a community college. Praxis can really expand one's sense of worth in the sense of realizing that there's more of value to you than just say student, daughter and girlfriend.

Another somewhat surprising outcome of my praxis experience was that I ended up using skills and talking about experiences that I don't necessarily consider my strengths, but that fulfilled a need there. Though I didn't identify myself as a college student to most of the clients-I was just another advocate--there was one story that I told a couple of the teens that aren't taking education seriously or are overwhelmed with the cost and time involved with going to college.

One of these women, a 15 year-old pregnant as the result of rape, possibly by a family member, had written off finishing high school because of one teacher who had treated her unfairly. I told her about how when I was in high school, I wasn't one of the top ten, superstar students, so when I told my guidance counselor that I was going to go for an interview at Bryn Mawr College, she actually discouraged me and told me that I needed to focus on more realistic ("safety") schools. I never did have to apply to safety schools. Ever since I got accepted Early here, her words have been sort of a dare.

Glenda and I told this fifteen-year-old client: Don't let one person control the rest of your life, especially someone as unimportant in the big picture as a mediocre high school teacher. Some one needed to say that.

So that story was one of the ones that I didn't expect to talk about. I didn't want to discuss my education that much, because I had this preconceived notion that it was a huge barrier between me and women without higher education. This is the kind of thinking that elite institutions foster, that uneducated people somehow how resent people with degrees. Most people don't come.

I used my secretarial skills, honed as super-temp over the past couple of summers, way more than I did my essay-writing skills or deep analytical thinking. Praxis can give you perspectives about non-academic strengths of yourself, even something like being aware that you're good at working the phones or good at comforting people.

I found out that I really enjoyed meeting so many people in a short period of time, and that the unpredictability of each day was exciting. I also have gotten to see firsthand how strained some of the social workers in other settings feel, and am aware of the frustration that I would probably feel if I became a caseworker or worked in some capacity at any agency. I can't encourage other students, especially Fem-Gen folks, enough that service-learning or any type of activism or community service work is beneficial to your life and to education in general.

So, here are some of the things that I learned this summer that I would like to leave you with today:

Women working together have the potential to create a dynamic and functional business or agency, but it is not a given, especially when a hierarchy is set up and rigidly maintained.

Competition is counterproductive in social services. Clients are the victims of this lack of cooperation.

Charity programs cannot replace empowerment programs. Charity deals with present problems but does not prevent or solve poverty. Those programs that do have a model for empowerment need to consistently reinforce that to direct-service providers within the organization.

Many children are not told that they are worthy of goals such as getting a Bachelor's degree, having their own business, or moving out of a depressed neighborhood. No one tells them, so they don't believe it, and never even try to set goals for themselves.

Politicians encouraging marriage as a solution to poverty should take into account that many single mothers have struggled or are struggling to distance themselves from partners who are abusive and/or adulterous. We should respect their decisions to remain single rather than telling them that they are immoral or that they don't possess family values unless they find a man and get married.

Money management needs to be taught either in schools, by caseworkers, in different job skills classes or GED classes, somewhere. I'm talking everything from how to balance a checkbook to doing taxes and getting the proper deductions to learning about investments and retirement programs.

Public insurance programs do not provide the same level of care as private insurance. Uninsured people are treated badly by members of some area hospital staffs. Being insured gives you a lot more power than you might realize.

Always look for mentors, no matter what your age or professional position. Don't close yourself off from new ideas or new perspectives; you may grow a lot just from spending a couple of minutes or hours talking to someone.

Being a volunteer gives someone a great vantage point to learn about how a certain business or agency works, because you can get many people's opinions. You're not a threat to anyone's job and a lot of times people like to talk about themselves and their work. Volunteers can ask questions in most settings.

And finally, there are people barely making ends meet even here in the village of Bryn Mawr. Every time I see a pregnant woman in her $200 Pea in the Pod maternity dress shopping pulling her Excursion SUV into the Food Source parking lot, I can understand why pregnant women living a less comfortable life might have a hard time dealing with pregnancy and living in the Main Line. I just want to reiterate that pregnancy is not always the idyllic images that we shared with one another at the beginning of this talk. For some women, pregnancy is the first time that their partners cheat or become violent or verbally abusive. Body image becomes an issue if a partner refers to her as fat. Some pregnant women are really young, albeit a small fraction of the total numbers. Our youngest active client this summer was 13. In the whole MOMobile program, the youngest was 10. Her advocate had to compete with Pokemon for attention during home visits. Pregnancy should be the idyllic image-let's empower girls and women so that they're all able to have strong and healthy babies when it is their choice, and when they are comfortable enough in their own lives-emotionally, physically, financially--to really enjoy the experience of becoming mothers.

Thank you very much to everyone who made my experiences with MOMobile possible and so rewarding: Nell Anderson from Praxis, who you all met. Everyone from the CSO. My partner Gabe. And Glenda Gray, who is an awesome person that I can't thank enough. She cut some visits short so that she could make it today.

Thanks for coming.

I'll take any questions.


Abstract
Name: Monica Loc
Date: //2002-10-29 00:24:29 :
Link to this Comment: 3401

My praxis fieldsite is a Church located in Wayne Philadelphia. It has been established 125 years ago and is the oldest church in Wayne. The Church aims to worship God, perform missions (local, national and international) by helping the less fortunate, and educate individuals about their spiritual growth and relationship with God. Membership is necessary in order to be part of this ministry. The "Come and Consider" classes guide individuals through a series of informative lectures regarding the faith. During these classes, an in-depth orientation about the ministry are discussed and it also gives individuals an opportunity to acquaint themselves with the pastors and other members of the ministry. Session members will interview prospective members and formally welcome them into the faith at the end of the second class. The Church is open to serve any individual who wants to be part of this community regardless of race, gender, age and social status.
Last Sunday was my first fieldsite workday. The program in which I am participating in is called "Sunday Morning Live". This program offers Sunday classes to Middle Schoolers from 6th-8th grade. Each of the perspective grades have their own classes. I am working with the 6th grade Middle School class. The goal of the Youth counselors is to make learning about their religion fun and informative. I will be observing children from the ages of 10-12 years old. These children are mostly Caucasian from within the Philadelphia area. Singing spiritual songs with the 7th and 8th graders was an ice breaker to officially start Sunday classes. This was a way for the children to get settled down and relax before an hour class. The youth counselor started off the class by reviewing some of the material they studied the Sunday before. Even though I was a new face to the crowd, the children were not shy around me and were enthusiastically answering the questions the counselor asked. The children used very informal and general language. Even though they were talking about world issues today that are related to the scriptures, sex was nonexistent in their language.Sex being a silent issue in this class has led me to think of a way to make a curriculum where I can relate sex to an important issue in today's society while also using the scriptures.
Since SEX was not an issue discussed in Sunday class, it is a challenge for me to think of an innovative way to start a conversation on sex going and how I could possibly associate this with a 6th grade religious class. Even though they are the wild typical 6th grade bunch, they wanted to learn more about the scriptures and the bible. For their sexual education curriculum I plan to research on sexual education courses that were designed for 6th graders, 7th graders and 8th graders. This is a good starting point because it will give me a picture of how I should go about the project. After researching on this, I plan to go through some Bible scriptures and see which ones relate to sex so I can incorporate the sexual education information into these scriptures.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Anderson, Neil. Purity under Pressure: Friendships, Dating, Relationships that Last. Harvest House Publishers: Oregon, 1995.
Burns, Jim. The Word on Sex, Drugs & Rock 'N' Roll. Zondervan Publishing House: Illinois, 1973.
Jimmy, Hestor. Christian Sex Education. Family Touch Press: Tennessee, 1993.
Lynn, David. Teaching the Truth About Sex. Zondervan Publishing House: Michigan, 1990.
Pearson, Darrell. God's Word for a Junior High World: Pulse Prayer. Zondervan Publishing House: USA, 1999.
Dickie, Steve. Creative Programming Ideas for Junior High Ministry. Zondervan Publishing House: Michigan, 1992.
Oestreicher, Mark. Help! I'm a Junior High Youth Worker!. Zondervan Publishing House: Michigan, 1996.
Yaconelli, Michael. Dangerous Wonder: The Adventure of Childlike Faith. NavPress Publishing Group: Colorado, 1998.


a range of languages- week 5
Name: lauren hil
Date: //2002-10-29 10:28:03 :
Link to this Comment: 3407

A RANGE OF LANGUAGE

I realized today that I haven't posted during a couple of the weeks.. So this is my effort to catch up.

I find that emotions and issues like sex are difficult to put into language. No matter what I say to you I can't fully articulate the emotion/experience I had. But by discussing it with another person, I can better understand my emotions. If I process (god I love that word.. ) something in my head, I can get a grasp of it, but I always feel more assured of my conclusions when I can verbalize it. And usually when I verbalize it, I am not really looking for feedback. I am more looking to try and understand what it is I was feeling and that works for me.

Elisa mentioned romance novels as evidence that sex can be put into language. When I read any story that I feel I can relate to the protagonist (or yes even the antagonist) I feel like I am experiencing that same emotions s/he is feeling. I question though if I am making that bridge between my experiences/emotions. Am I creating the character the way I want to see her/him so that I can relate to her/him? And if I am doing this, I think I am not interpreting what they are trying to convey about their emotions.

Maggie spoke of sex and emotion and questioned if having emotional issues after a sexual experience means you are strong and independent, or weak and dependent. I don't think there is a clear answer to that question, but I can say I think it is more important to be comfortable with your reactions to sex. If you don't get emotionally attached you need to be ok with that and if you do, you need to know that if you hop into bed with someone, you are going to be processing your feelings for a while.


archive 9: course commentary and requirements
Name: lauren h
Date: //2002-10-29 10:38:39 :
Link to this Comment: 3408

Course Commentary and Requirements

Ok for me what's not working is that for the life of me I cannot remember to post. Damnit I do all the readings and I don't post my comments. I hope this isn't a lost cause yet.

Sarah and Chelsea talked about how Amanda and julia's sex ed curriculum was not so utopic. I really felt it was too utopic. I think it was a great curriculum and probably how sex ed ought to be taught. I think it may be too utopic because I grew up in a conservative area (A side note: I grew up in texas and I really cannot remember having a high school sex ed curriculum.) and I don't think we would have been allowed to present a currilcum which is so open minded to different kinds of sexuality. To me it is similar to how you can't teach evolution without teaching Christianity (like Christianity is the only religion or something) in some states. (I think it was a supreme court case in the last 3 years.. can't remember though). Unless it's a pretty progressive school, it is not going to want you to be so open minded.

As far as the class goes.. I am pretty sure that at that point I was thrilled with the class and had no complaints..
and i am super excited to write my own sex ed curriculum


archive 12: additions
Name: lauren h
Date: //2002-10-29 10:46:21 :
Link to this Comment: 3409

Archive 12: pornography and fear:
So I actually already posted here. But I had something to say in response to Michelle's comments about victimization and porn.
I kind of see pornography as a more high class (whatever that means) kind of sex work. It's not like selling yourself on the streets for money to feed your kids. But this is just some vague impression I have of porn. I've seen a lot of documentation and read some about porn and those involved seem much happier with their work than a street sex worker. But I don't really know. I was under the impression that porn was for people who tried and failed to make it acting.

But absolutely condemning porn is a band aid. Let attack poverty. Right on.


Time Warp Advice
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-10-29 16:44:21 :
Link to this Comment: 3421

Mark Lord, who is Chair of the Arts Program here, thought this website "might amuse you thinking about sex folk": Miss Abigail's Time Warp Advice

Anne


political tangents and something about sex i swear
Name: lauren hil
Date: //2002-10-29 17:20:46 :
Link to this Comment: 3422

I am so happy Prof Washington came and spoke with the class today. It has really filled my need for the class to explore sex in other cultures.

After class I went and spoke with him about contraception, because I feel there are other ways contraception could be approached for women. My guess is if African men can't handle a Trojan, they sure won't be into a female condom. And it doesn't seem like the issue for African women is having babies so much as it is preventing HIV infection. I think my lack of sex ed is coming through here, but diaphragms don't prevent STDs right? If they do, that would solve the problem in a many ways because women could put it in hours before sex and its possible that men wouldn't notice. But I am pretty sure they don't. Please enlighten me. Prof Washington really focused on condoms as being the essential form of contraception. Getting men to use condoms is an issue western sex workers have dealt with before so I think there may be some tricks of the trade they have to offer. I read one account from a book on sex work that the woman said she slid condoms on during oral sex.

The problems Prof Washington spoke about were associated with gender power structures in Africa that I don't know can be overcome. The people of Africa are much farther down the path of female subordination than the west so I don't think there is any short term solution that will empower women enough to be comfortable with and successful with getting men to use condoms. I think the spread of HIV can be overcome through economic adjustment. So much of the spread of HIV and AIDS boils down to economic issues. He cited migrancy as a chief cause of the spread of HIV so what is the cause of migrancy? I don't think he would agree with me, but I think the west has so much to do with the need for workers in Africa to migrate to other areas for a couple years at a time to make money.

Warning. I'm about to go off on politics for a while.. so if they bore you, I suggest you don't read much further.

Ok history. Colonization. That happened in Africa. (note: remember Rwanda? The Hutu and Tutsi conflict – or genocide- where nearly 100,000 Tutsis died in 100 days? The 2 groups had no conflicts before colonization.. seems odd)... State boundaries determined by western powers ignoring cultural/tribal histories. World War II ends. Cold War begins. States decolonized. They are struggling to be independent. Things ought to be extremely unstable. However, such is not quite the case. During the Cold War the US and USSR were in constant competition. The result is that when a country has a civil war or there is a regional conflict, the US and USSR step in, take sides, and said conflict becomes a world issue. Things get artificially stabilized because the USSR and US are giving money and human power to countries. So conflicts are sort of contained. A nice band aid. Cold War ends. (we were in grade school)... Democracy prevails, commies go into hiding. US and Russian interest in third world diminishes. Third world conflicts emerge again. Democratization begins. Globalization here we come. The west sets up democratic institutions in the developing world and via the IMF and World Bank loans (which the US has more power in than any other state) liberalizes the third world economies. [[IMF and World Bank give out loans to nations with struggling economies. These loans have stipulations attached which attempt to move their economies to more industrial export oriented production –western style- * something most of these economies are not ready for* and can force a country to privatize an industry – forcing them to allow western corporations in – this can lead to WATER!!! being privatized. No good for those of us who need water to live.]] The only purposes the developing nations have for developed nations are natural resources (gold, oil, diamonds, etc.) and cheap labor. This is why those miners only got $1 a day. So therefore my solution is that in order to reduce migrancy and poverty (the catalysts for the spread of HIV), western economic reforms and exploitation need to end. And then it won't be as much of an issue for people not to use contraception because there won't be the situations that create the need for women to sleep with men for money or material goods (men away from the house for long periods of time leaving women to fend for themselves in an economy that does not create jobs for them). How do we get westernization out? I don't know yet. Ask me in April after I write my thesis...

I am sorry for the tangential political thought, but I really needed to write that because I was dying to say it during class, but I wanted him to cover more sex issues and stay away from issues of statehood and westernization. I know I gave too much history, but trust me, if I had more time there would be no stopping me from writing several pages.


written on the body
Name: lauren hil
Date: //2002-10-29 21:14:00 :
Link to this Comment: 3423

Written on the Body

Ok so I think I am almost done catching myself up.

I had some trouble getting into the book. For the first 20-30 pages I really didn't know where per was going with the novel. But then I woke up at 5 am in Vermont one day over fall break walked into the living room of the condo I was squatting in on mount snow and read until 7:30 am and finished the book. One sitting and I was done. As I was getting closer to the end I intensely wanted for Louise to step back into per's life. I didn't care how or in what context I just wanted to have some kind of finality with it. I was a nervous wreck. I read the last 20 pages in less than 10 minutes, rushing through it anticipating some ending, some relief. And when "Louise" appeared I was satiated. I told Ali Briggs (I was on a random road trip with her while I was reading it and her and I had tried to read the first 20 pages together, aloud in my car while driving through upstate NY, but she got too bored to keep reading) that it was a happy ending. I didn't really believe myself though. I had a weird mixed reaction to the ending, but I wanted a happy ending so I halfheartedly convinced myself that it was a happy ending and went on with my life. The novel had sent me on an emotional rollercoaster and I had to deal with it in some way.

We spoke in class about how one usually relates to a character in a story and that is why s/he becomes so interested in the story. I didn't relate to anyone. But I have this crush. This person (I am making a conscious decision to keep this person androgynous in the spirit of Written on the Body) I have a crush on is someone I spent very little time with and a very brief fling and then I left to travel and then return to school. So I left this at the end of July and I'm totally still smitten. And I don't really know this person. I have spent maybe 30 hours in per's presence and I don't really know per but the impression I have from our interactions has helped me build per's character to be something I would like for per to be. And my per (being fling from home) and per (protagonist of written on the body) seemed very similar to me, in that untamed wild self righteous self absorbed but occasionally will try and do the right thing but fail miserably sorta way. I kept thinking per was my per from home and that is how I related to the story. Which is why I think I wanted to see some finality to the story, even if the finality was only the beginning. But I definitely don't relate to Louise (for the record).


Today's talk and Praxis work
Name: Sarah
Date: //2002-10-29 23:18:12 :
Link to this Comment: 3424

I've been trying to put my finger on what's been missing from this class but haven't had any success, maybe until now. Bob Washington's talk really got me thinking, not about this "What IS sex?" question but "Why sex?" We spent so much time discussing the different acts, the different partners, the different situations and different perceptions but I'd never considered the different reasons/uses for sex. Today we heard about sexuality as an economic resource, as a military strategy (humiliating the opposition by raping their women) and as a ploy to escape one's country by essentially appealing to a foreigner sexually. After all of this talk of sex as a representation of emotion, desire, fantasy, etc. it was rather sobering to be reminded of the ways sex for many people is a weapon for survival—a calculated act that serves a logistical purpose.
Which brings me to my Praxis work. Lauren, Michelle, Katherine and I are working on a project to provide useful information for sex workers in Philadelphia. None of these topics we've decided on to research are meant to discourage sex workers from their work but simply to increase their wealth of information and to promote health and safety within their profession.
Considering Bob Washington's rather bleak portrayal of life in Kenya and description of cycles that seem impossible to break (remember his account of women who were carrying condoms to protect themselves being stopped by police who assumed them prostitutes and only let them go after bribing them) AND then considering this work that the four of us are attempting to do, I feel pretty hopeless. I know that Kenya and Philadelphia are two completely different worlds but I can't help feeling discouraged. Can we bring about change in sexual behavior? And who are we to be responsible for that change? Also, can sex really be described sociologically? When it comes to sex specifically, can we talk about all Kenyan women as if they're interchangeable? Is sexuality too individual to be discussed this way or is that only assuming we're talking about sex as we have been talking about it—as intensely personal?


Bob Washington's lecture
Name: Monica Loc
Date: //2002-10-30 01:19:46 :
Link to this Comment: 3425

Today's lecture by Bob Washington was informative and interesting. His lecture did not trigger me as a lecutre informing us about how sex plays a role in the Kenyan culture, but how sex is used as a sense of being free from the poverty and oppression these people experience. Women as a subject seemed to dominate the conversation on sex. Why is it that it has to always be the women who have to deal with the unwanted? What really struck me today was when Mr. Washington commented on how some Kenyan women marry foreigners to leave the country and find a better way of living. This reminded me of how hard life is in my home country and how some individuals in Manila who are from depressed areas turn to prostitution or just look for foreigners to marry thinking that there is a better life ahead of them. In order for me to understand what he was saying, I did not have to look that far, it has been happening in my own backyard.


Bob Washington's Lecture
Name: Nancy
Date: //2002-10-30 15:50:11 :
Link to this Comment: 3435

I find it the differences beween the language of sex in the US and Kenya so interesting. Bob Washington metioned that although prostitution is legal and is a steady form of income for many women, converstaions about sex are taboo. In the United States, where we have decided that many aspects of sexuality, prostitution being one of them, are deviant from our norms and are therefore unacceptable, we have a constant need for a discourse about sexuality.
I think this goes back to the having/naming discussion we had a few weeks ago-- the Kenyans seem to accept sexuality as a normal aspect of life, comparable to eating or working, while Americans create an obsession with sex by declaring it off limits or wrong. Since we don't have sexual freedom, we are constantly discussing sex, masking our obsession and desires in the form of dirty jokes etc. I get the impression that it's not breaking social code to talk about sex in Kenya, it is just that no one feels the need to release sexual tension through language.
I also find it interesting that in Kenya crime is rarely associated with prostitution. It seems we have relied on the misconception that prostitution breeds criminal activity to keep from ever having to consider legalizing it. It is so bizarre to discover that we actually create murder, rape etc. when we attempt to regulating 'the 'sources' of it.
I also began thinking about the deep roots of sex in our society. In Kenya, women seem to control sexuality. But this doesn't give women more power because sex is not an institution, merely an aspect of life. In the US, many people would argue that men control sexuality, and sexuality is a main focus and powerful idea in our lives.
I found the lecture very interestin and I am really looking forward to the multicultural sex day.


sex and ethics
Name: Nancy
Date: //2002-10-30 16:43:53 :
Link to this Comment: 3436

Hey everyone. I found this article when I was researching for my paper. The website is http://www.allaboutsex.org/Boys_Dying_Wish.cfm
I think it gives us more to think about in the sex and ethics debate

REPRINT FROM AN AUSTRALIAN NEWSPAPER CALLED THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, WHO HOLDS ALL COPYRIGHTS TO THIS STORY

A 15 YEAR-OLD boy is terminally ill with cancer. He knows he doesn't have very long to live, and he has a dying wish. It is not to go to Disneyland or to meet his favourite actor, rock or sports star but it is this: he wants to make love to a woman.

But there's a problem – he's in hospital, he doesn't want to talk to his mum and dad about it, and having been sick and in and out of hospital since the age of 12, he has formed no friendships or relationships with girls from his peer group.

The boy, let's call him Jack, simply wants to experience what every testosterone-driven heterosexual teenage boy thinks about, allegedly, every 17 seconds. Sex.

So what does he do?

It sounds like a hypothetical situation, but this story is true and Jack is real. His heartbreaking story about death and desire came to light last month when the child psychologist dealing with Jack wrote a letter to the Radio National program, Life Matters, in which moral dilemmas are discussed by academics.

It's a fascinating topic for academic discussion: how does a minor and the people who care for him tread though the ethical and practical minefield to see that he gets such a wish?

And firstly, should he even be granted his wish?

While many of us might scream reflexively "Yes! Of course!", cautious ethicists may ask questions.

Is a 15 year-old, officially a child, intellectually and emotionally competent to make such a mature decision? Do the parents have a right to know? Should the woman involved be charged with the criminal offence of having sex with a minor? Should a prostitute be involved? Should the hospital staff help to organise something?

All valid questions ripe for discussion, but forget the academic debate. What happened to Jack himself?

Yesterday, the child psychologist – who wishes to remain anonymous – told The Daily Telegraph the rest of the dying boy's story.

He had become involved after a nurse tending Jack – the only person Jack took into his confidence – urged the boy to talk to him.

So Jack spoke to the child psychologist, who specifically deals with children dying of terminal diseases, and this was not the first time the psychologist had heard of such a wish from a teenage boy.

"He had been sick for quite a long period and his schooling was very disrupted, so he hadn't had many opportunities to acquire and retain friends, and his access to young women was pretty poor," said the psychologist.

"But he was very interested in young women and was experiencing that surge of testosterone that teenage boys have."

So Jack and the psychologist had a series of thorough discussions in which they went through every possible permutation of what might happen to him physically and emotionally so that he was "completely prepared" for the prospect of living out his final dream.

Jack's state of mind, he said, was sensible and mature and psychologically, totally competent. As he said: "Terminally ill kids get very wise, very quickly" and Jack had been sick for a long time.

The hospital staff who knew about Jack's wish at first wanted to help, their first reaction being "let's do a whip around and pay for a prostitute" but of course ethical and legal considerations stopped them in their tracks.

The psychologist also had canvassed members of the clergy, and found an interesting response: "It really polarised them, about half said what's your problem? And the other half said [the idea] demeans women and reduces the sexual act to being just a physical one.

"I just saw it as a legitimate request of a young man who wants to experience something that can do no harm."

The psychologist said that with Jack, he rigorously questioned what damage might be done to him as a result of fulfilling his wish, and the answer came up every time: none.

"Everyone's uncomfortable with teenage sex, period," said the psychologist. "Adolescents becoming sexual is enormously confronting, and a lot of people believe that kids shouldn't be sexual. But we are sexual from the womb to the tomb – that's my view.

"But ethics and morals aside, in children dying over a long period of time, there is often a condition we call 'skin hunger'."

This happens when a child, seriously ill and in and out of hospital and receiving medical treatment over a long period, yearns for non-clinical contact because "mostly when people touch them, it's to do something unpleasant, something that might hurt".

"So you ask," said the psychologist, "what was this young man wanting?

"Was he wanting a cuddle?"

Probably yes, but as his illness and its treatment hadn't obliterated his normal teenage urges, he also really wanted that consummate experience.

So without his parents knowing, and completely without the involvement of the hospital staff, and not – it must be stressed – on the hospital's premises, Jack "did engage in the act and it was everything he wished it to be".

"He was very, very happy and only slightly disappointed that it was over quickly."

"The act", his dying wish, was with a sex worker who was "organised by friends who thought it was the right thing to do". All precautions were taken, and the friends made sure the act was fully consensual and involved no abuse or exploitation.

As for the legal ramifications of such a case, "quite clearly the law was broken, but of the people involved, most didn't give a toss," the psychologist said.

And what of the parent's right to know about their son?

Jack simply didn't want to talk to them about it.

He loved them, but they are religious and he didn't want them to know. Anyway, what 15-year-old boy does want to talk to his parents about sex, even under normal circumstances?

There is also legal precedence for a minor of sufficient maturity and intelligence to be given confidential medical treatment but does sex with a prostitute count as treatment?

"Absolutely. It is absolutely part of therapy," said the psychologist, "Because it was what he wanted. People talk about a trip to Disneyland being therapeutic what's the difference? It was what he wanted."

So Jack got what he wanted, and last week, he finally lost his fight with the cancer.


Abstract 1: Queer
Name: Lindsay Hi
Date: //2002-10-30 23:47:05 :
Link to this Comment: 3438

My placement is working in a youth ran LGBTQ center. The center is ran by the students, and services are overseen by two adults. They offer counseling services, HIV testing, support groups, a clothes closet, a safe space, after school snacks, as well as provide outreach services which take the form of tolerance building workshops and LGBTQ presentations to churches and schools.

The center is in center city phili, and has no real indicators of its presence, more or less it is hidden among houses. The inside of the building is not in great condition, the stairs are falling apart, and as you move up the building the floors get less and less sturdy. The bathrooms didn't have soap when i was there. The workers maintain that all the money goes to programming not the facility..i did hear a ruhmor that they may be moving soon to a larger facility.

There are rules, that if broken youth are penalized by being suspended from the center. such rules include a zero policy for drugs/sex/alcohal on the premise. Weapons need to be checking in at the front desk, and if you carry a gun, the bullets need to be on you at all times. There is a time window that one must wait in order to pursue a client and upong getting "hired" they did go over consent laws as well.

The center appears to service a prodominately african american male population. My second visit greeted me with several cultural barriers that I feel will be challenging to my interactions at teh center. When i was there, I was one of ten women in the building, of those i was one of three white women. The building had about 65 people in it at the time. When talking to the girls there i found myself running into three distinct barriers 1) regional (east coast v. west coast) 2) race (African American pop culture/history) and 3) education (public v. private school). All three issues made it difficult to communicate with teh girls. Language also plays into all of those barriers. Slang is different depending on where you grow up and we obviously have grown up in different areas under different conditions. I feel like an outsider looking in, even though i have some fundamental commonalities with the girls, i always feel like i am a step behind them, trying to catch up.

In general i grew up in public elementary school/community where i was used to a diverse population. Diverse in this sense i realize was narrow in that it was the diversity of having a wide range of nationalities/background, more of a balance of minorities (whites mecame the minority to the combined minorities groups around this time, in California) so i am not quite familiar with being in a "diverse" environment that is "all" anything. It really is an eye opener to how minorities must feel in interactions in an environment that is composed of a majority of anything. I think on another level it has been interesting to realize how culturally we expect african american children to know all about "white" pop culture, media, movies but the reverse is not true.


Abstract 1: Queer (Correction)
Name: Lindsay Hi
Date: //2002-10-30 23:49:23 :
Link to this Comment: 3439

i meant to say a zero TOLERANCE policy for drugs/sex/alcohal


Biblio: Queer Center
Name: Lindsay Hi
Date: //2002-10-31 01:37:32 :
Link to this Comment: 3440

Bibliography

A Question of Color., dir., and prod. By Kathe Sandler. Videocassette. California Newsreel, 1992. [Canaday E185.625 .Q47 1992]

Abraham, Suzanne and Derek Llewellyn-Jones. Eating Disorders: The Facts. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2001. [Canaday RC552.E18 A27 2001]

Building Bodies. Ed. Pamela L. Moore. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1997. [Canaday GV546.5 .B85 1997 ]

Craig, Maxine Leeds. Ain't I a Beauty Queen?: Black Women, Beauty and the Politics of Race. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. [Canaday HQ1220.U5 C73 2002]

Deal With It! Eds. Esther Drill, Heather McDonald, and Rebecca Odes. New York, New York: Pocket Books, 1999.

Lesbian Culture: An Anthology: The Lives, Work, Ideas, Art, and Visions of Lesbians Past and Present. Eds. Julia Penelope and Susan J. Wolfe. Freedom, California: Crossing Press, 1993. [Canaday PS509.L47 L47 1993 ]

Looking Queer: Body Image and Identity in Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender Communities. Ed. Dawn Atkins. New York, New York: Haworth Press, 1998. [Canaday HQ75.6.U5 L66 1998 ]

Recovering the Black Female Body: Self-Representations by African American Women. Eds. Michael Bennett and Vanessa D. Dickerson. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2001 [Canaday E185.86 .R37 2001 ]

Sanford, Linda Tschirhart and Mary Ellen Donovan. Women and Self-Esteem. New York, New York: Penguin Books, 1985. [Canaday HQ1206 .S24 1985 ]

Willis, Deborah and Carla Williams. The Black Female Body: A Photographic History. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Temple University Press, 2002. [Canaday f TR674 .W55 2002 ]


biology of sex...
Name: Jess T
Date: //2002-10-31 12:15:12 :
Link to this Comment: 3441

Today's readings reminded me of some info I learn while watching educational programs about sexuality and relationships on channels like A&E and the Discovery channel. Unfortunately it's been a while since I saw the shows so I don't remember the exact names of the shows or extreme details but I thought this info and stories might be interesting to share.

One show talking about female attraction to males, discused how when women are more fertile they are attracted to more virile strong males (would produce strong/healthy off spring). And how women can have affairs during these periods, but then go back to the caring, nuturing, protective male who will actually take care of the kids/family.

Also during this show they provide a little senerio which showed that if a women were to have an affair while married she would be more like to become impregnated by her lover than her husband. This had to do partially with the more frequent occurs of masturbation in periods w/ her husband than her lover, because during/after orgasm acids are released through the cervics into the vagina that would help detour/damage sperm. More mastrubation with husband, more acid, less sucessful sperm, and therefore more likely the lovers child.

From another show, they talked about a study on sexual attraction, in which they showed that both men and women are more attracted to people with fuller lips.

From a show on history/importance of kissing. They talked about how one possible origin for kissing is through feeding children. The mother would chew up food and then kiss the food to the child.

They also talked about the importance of kissing your own children. When a baby is born, they done have the antibodies to fight disease. So it's important for both moms and dads to kiss the babies (on lips) to pass the antibodies on to the children. But it's not good for random people to be kissing babies, because they can give them illnesses that baby's body can't deal with very successfully.

just a little FYI
Jess


Reflection on Tues (10/29) Talk
Name: ngoc
Date: //2002-10-31 12:53:31 :
Link to this Comment: 3442

the presentation in class on tues remind me so much of Viet Nam's aids epidemic. i too believe that the root of the problem is in the question of women's economic situation. beyond this i also believe the deeper or the cause of this economic situation is due to the history of discriminations and sterotypes of the role of women in the society, family, communnity. tackling aids epicdemic would mean not only working with the present situation but also mean working with the whole society, with every institution, with human beings. To change attitude and beliefs imposed upon women society must be concious of its power to infect every institutions', every individuals, and even the women themselves with limited, false, stereotypical, and discrimitive ideals, beliefs, and choices.


Biology and Sex
Name: Paul Grobstein
Date: //2002-10-31 12:55:24 :
Link to this Comment: 3443

Here's some notes in case we don't get to it all, you forget, I forget, or ...


A Biologist's View of Sex

Sex and reproduction are NOT the same thing


Function of sex is to enhance exploration/discovery

Development of human sexuality

Significance of sex as a cultural phenomenon?


Defining sex... let's try this one more time.
Name: Lauren Fri
Date: //2002-10-31 16:07:18 :
Link to this Comment: 3444


I came into class today expecting an informative but perhaps dry lecture on the nuts and bolts of sex, a discussion of the anatomical and physiological definitions of sex that would allow little room for interpretation and debate. Presumptiously enough, I wondered what I could possibly learn about sex, biologically at least, that I hadn't already been taught. As it turns out -- a lot.

I never imagined that a biologist would define sex in any terms other than anatomical and chromosomal, but apparently that was very close-minded of me. (Shame on me and my humanities-biased mind.) Professor Grobstein's talk proved thought-provoking, personally ground-breaking, and, dare I say it, truly fascinating. Having a biologist come in and explain that sex itself could be defined, biologically, as a combination of factors that are linked to reproduction and anatomy but not dependent upon either, really opened my eyes. I was especially impressed by the inclusive nature of Professor Grobstein's flexible (yet scientifically exact) definitions. His definition of sex as "a novelty-generating mechanism or an exploratory process" allows for homosexual sex as an act which performs this same function culturally if not genetically. I've never heard the term "sex" used to define the range of individual human sexuality, but Professor Grobstein offered an equation that involved chromosomal sex, sexual preference, and sexual identification. This "equation" produces a practically infinite number of sexes.

A quick foray into the supposed linguistic authorities -- the dictionaries -- reveals that accepted thought is not necessarily in line with the liberating definitions arrived upon in class. A definition from an online medical dictionary states that sex is:
(1) The distinguishing peculiarity of male or female in both animals and plants; the physical difference between male and female; the assemblage of properties or qualities by which male is distinguished from female.
(2) One of the two [two?] divisions of organic beings formed on the distinction of male and female.

These definitions are clearly not in line with those offered by Professor Grobstein, or those that our class (at least me personally) would be likely to agree upon. The first definition of sex offered by The American Heritage Dictionary has two parts:
(a) The property or quality by which organisms are classified as female or male on the basis of their reproductive organs and functions.
(b) Either of the two [again, two?] divisions, designated female and male, of this classification.

Neither the medical definition nor the traditional lexical definition of sex seems even close to adequate. While I don't know whether or not I would argue for the inclusion of Professor Grobstein's ideas about sexual preference and sexual identification into a definition of sex itself, neither of the above dictionaries even allow for the seemingly obvious spectrum of sex -- the practically infinite variations on male and female that occur in our population.

Either way, today's class was very valuable and interesting. I guess science is... cool sometimes.


Abstract
Name: Lindsay U
Date: //2002-10-31 17:17:01 :
Link to this Comment: 3446

My praxis site is a local nursing home that provides short-term and long-term medical assistance to the elderly. It consists of four floors, the first and third floors house long-term residents, the fourth floor houses Alzheimer's patients, and the second floor houses patients who generally need more medical attention. There are also eight apartments attached to the main building for for residents who are able to live more independently. Each floor has a nurse's station at the center and a chapel/meeting area where religious services and performances are held.

As a volunteer, I help patients get to and from activities like Shabbas services, bible-study, and card games (most residents are in wheelchairs). Most of my time is spent making individual room visits, just chatting with the patients. While many of the patients display varying degrees of confusion, they are almost always extremely happy to have a young visitor to talk to. Some are willing to share in-depth personal histories, although these accounts do not always make sense especially with regards to time and when events happened in their past.

Most of the patients are women; there is about a 4:1 female to male ratio. I have met one married couple who live together, and there is one other couple who live separately. The dynamics of these relationships should be interesting to learn about!

Communication is the biggest difficulty I foresee. I don't really feel comfortable pushing the people I talk with to discuss their sexual feelings; I really have to be artful with conversation. This difficulty is compounded by the fact that many patients become confused while we are talking, and tend to repeat themselves multiple times, or get distracted. Some are easily upset; being bedridden has lowered their self-esteem. Volunteers at the nursing home really try to be encouraging about this.

Sources:

Butler, Robert N. and Myrna Lewis. Aging and Mental Health. St. Louis, Miss.: The C.V. Mosby Company, 1982.

Cornelius, Debra A. et al. Who Cares? A Handbook on Sex Education and Counseling Services for Disabled People. Baltimore: University Park Press, 1979.

Daniluk, Judith C. Women's Sexuality Across the Life Span. New York: The Guilford Press, 1998.

Felstein, Ivor. Sex in Later Life. Middlesex, ENG: Penguin Books, 1970.

Kassel, Victor. 1983. Long-Term Care Institutions. In Sexuality in the Later Years: Roles and Behavior. Ruth B. Weg, ed. Pp 167-184. New York: Academic Press.

Schlesinger, Benjamin. 1983. Institutional Life: The Canadian Experience. In Sexuality in the Later Years: Roles and Behavior. Ruth B. Weg, ed. Pp 259-269. New York: Academic Press.

Steffl, Bernita M. Sexuality and Aging: Implications for Nurses and Other Helping Professionals. 1978. In Sexuality and Aging. Robert L. Solnick, ed. p132-153. California: The University of Southern California Press.

Storandt, Martha. Counseling and Therapy With Older Adults. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1983.

Sviland, Mary Ann P. Sex Education for the Elderly. 1978. In Sexuality and Aging. Robert L. Solnick, ed. Pp 96-114. California: The University of Southern California Press.


history/ religion & sex
Name: sheri
Date: //2002-10-31 17:35:37 :
Link to this Comment: 3447

http://www.sacred-texts.com/sex/index.htm
I would like everyone to go to this site and find something interesting in the kama sutra section she would like to talk about/ comment on in class. There were so many awesome topics that I couldn't limit us to a sepcific reading.
Thanks!

Questions? email me or post.


Abstract
Name: elisa
Date: //2002-10-31 21:57:29 :
Link to this Comment: 3449

My praxis site is at a law office in center city Philadelphia, working under a female lawyer who prosecutes child sex offenders. The office space we work out of is small in size and often very cramped by the overflow of paper work and people. The pace of the workers is fast and the cases the department has to prosecute is often depressing and for me, at times, sickening.

Before I arrived, I wondered how someone could be around such subject matter everyday. How does one deal with such severe issues in their daily work? Do the details eventually become matter of fact? Does the feeling of severity upon hearing some of the things that happen to these children ever wear off? I can understand now, how from my distance, I had these questions in anticipation of my own emotional response.

I have been going now, once a week for an entire day, for a month. I am both awed and appalled by the number of cases there are. As I sit in the office, surrounded by four-foot high piles of files, the scariest realization I have is that these overwhelming numbers of cases are only the ones that are reported. How many more are there?

It is an understatement to say that the work being done is admirable. Advocating for these children and attempting to protect them and other children from these perpetrators seems like a never-ending task. But regardless of how many guilty or non-guilty verdicts that are given, these lawyers stick with their work because they believe in its necessity.

The biggest problem I face at my praxis site is the language used by the victims in relation to their young age. Reading most of their testimonies and the details of the police reports, I have come to realize that I am trying to develop a sex ed curriculum for children that have sexual experience (very violent sexual experience) but do not possess the knowledge of sexual terminology to describe what happened to them. For example, many of the children have never said the word penis, but have referred to the male genital organ as a "ding dong."

The barriers of language and my own emotional response to what I see and hear about while I am there have made this a very challenging site, but nevertheless, it has expanded my interpretations of everything we have been discussing in our classroom, from issues of consent, to the controversy surrounding pornography.


Bibliography

Allison, Julie and Wrightsman, Lawrence S. Rape: The Misunderstood Crime. Newbury Park, California: Sage Publications, 1993.

Anger, Billie and Todd Ellner, Marge Heyden and Tiel Jackson. Fighting Back Works: The case for advocating and teaching self-defense against rape. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, May/June 1999.
http://www.cs.pdx.edu/~tellner/sd/Review.html

Holmes, Stephen T. and Holmes Ronald M. Sex Crimes: Patterns and Behavior. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, 2002.

Lamb, Sharon. The Trouble With Blame: Victims, Perpetrators, and Responsibility. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996.

McEvoy, Alan W. and Brookings, Jeff B. If She is Raped : A Book for Husbands, Fathers, and Male Friends. Holmes Beach, FL: Learning Publications, 1991.

Roiphe, Katie. The Morning After: Sex, Fear, and Feminism on Campus. Boston, Mass: Little, Brown and Co., 1993.

Chapter 31, Sexual Offenses, Crime Codes of PA. (Obtained from Philadelphia District Attorney's Office).

Web Resources:

http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/ffyr/peereducation.htm
Also, see Lesson Plans.

http://www.allaboutsex.org/AAS_Master_Frameset.cfm
Then click on Kids Speak Out (left frame).
Then click on Abuse and Trauma (right frame).

http://logicalreality.com/p2/2SexPlay4.htm

http://www.preventchildabuse.org/

http://www.siecus.org/

http://www.woar.org/index.html


Abstract 2: Queer Project
Name: Lindsay Hi
Date: //2002-11-01 10:26:33 :
Link to this Comment: 3454

In an attempt to solve some of the retention issues the center faces as well as its recruitment of girl members, they have been talking about beginning an eight week program that would follow a theme. The girls would commit to the two hour sessions a week. The goal would be to increase female participation in the center and hopefully address some of their concerns. My task as a volunteer is to design this program with the girls and my supervisor. This task falls very close to the "sex ed. curriculum" we have been asked to create for the course, so I think in the end it will be a great fix.
The topic I have chosen for the eight week course is "The Body." During the eight weeks there will be different topics, activities, guest speakers, and sometimes field trips. The workshops or modules will be created in a fashion that would encourage a sense of community and trust building among the girls. Some initial ideas for possible modules include "Epidermis and Behind the Scenes," and "Breast Basics."
"Epidermis and Behind the Scenes," would be a two week module. The first week would look at stereotypes, misconceptions about race, how we see ourselves and others. This might also include something about makeup the historical aspects of it? Why people use it or don't?. For the activity the girls would then partner up, and make paper mache masks on one another. We would let the masks dry. Then the following week we would discuss how people view us, what labels people give us, how they make us feel and mechanisms we use to deal with them, talking about how we feel like we have these masks on when we interact with one another, which make our relationships fake in the end lacking in intimacy. We would then decorate the masks, representing us, and how we want to be seen by others. This is just one example of the type of setup one such module would have.


Praxis Introduction Abstract . . .
Name: HY
Date: //2002-11-01 14:08:31 :
Link to this Comment: 3456

I am working at Womanspace in Ardmore, a facility for recovering drug and alcohol addicts - "a private, non profit, rehabilitation facility. A supportive environment where women recovering from chemical dependency find help in maintaining sobriety and coping with recovery problems. The therapeutic atmosphere offers women the opportunity to reenter the community while living a sober, productive and responsible life. Each resident becomes a member of a "family" while participating in the five month program. Womanspace has nine residents in a home environment, close to AA and NA support groups" (according to a Womanspace pamphlet). The facility houses ten women at once and the program ranges from four and a half months to six months. These women form a pseudo-family and have similar dynamics to the more traditional idea of a family. They share daily life management activities and tasks and they also participate in group therapy sessions (alongside personal sessions of course). All women are mothers, recovering addicts, mothers, and victims of domestic or sexual assault, abuse, harassment. They range in age, race, educational background, drug of choice, sexual attitude, sexual orientation, personality, and to a lesser extent, socio-economic background. Each of these women is unique and special in her own way - they all bring things to the group that no one else can. I am quickly becoming an active and invested member of this community and I will learn much from each of these women. It is pleasure to watch them grow and take their lives back into their own hands.


Preliminary Praxis Biblio
Name: HY
Date: //2002-11-01 14:16:30 :
Link to this Comment: 3458

Before I go on to introduce my initial ideas concerning a sexual education curriculum for Womanspace, I would like to introduce the clients - the women - I will be working with. Because there are so few, only ten clients, I have a wonderful opportunity to carefully personalize and tailor this program to individual women's interests, desires, and needs. An introduction to each of these women as individuals will help you, Anne in understanding my choice for materials and references to specific personal considerations. Maggie and I have been and will be working quite closely during our time at the site and for the final curriculum structure. We will share sources, frameworks, and ideas although our final papers may differ. At this point there is still some variety and difference between her bibliography and mine, but I want to emphasize that we are communicating and sharing feelings and ideas throughout this process. So, welcome to Womanspace Garden Center!

I have searched for books that are accessible to individuals with a lower literacy and educational background. I hope to simultaneously use these sources to educate myself as well as to give to these women. In other words, I consider myself a student within this classroom who is merely facilitating and making available information. The focus of this 'course' is not solely sex and sexuality because these women are at a point of turnaround in their lives - they may need educating in other aspects of life in order to help create and maintain a healthy and positive control over their sexuality. Some (but not limited to at this point) of the topics that we hope to discuss are: the effects of drug on sex and sexuality, body image, sexual and domestic violence, abuse, and harassment, masturbation, diverse sexuality. In order to do this we have chosen some sources that these women can refer to on their on (at appropriate literacy levels), and we have given special attention to individual requests and interests for information.

1. Cunt by Inga Muscia is a book that aims at reclaiming women's sexuality via the reclaiming of the word cunt. It is also written as if the author was speaking to the reader in a friendly intimate conversation. I hope this will reinforce positive attitudes towards women and our sexuality.

2. The Whole Lesbian Sex Book by Felice Newman is an easy read for women who are flexually considering bi- or homo- sexuality. There are some chapters that may apply to all of these women - namely a chapter of tips on masturbation. A positive and healthy self-sex image can start with knowing, exploring, and loving one's body starting with masturbation.

3. The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler. We will be offering this text in three different forms: book, CD, and movie. We hope that these women will draw strength from hearing other women's stories about their sexual experiences and to create a solidarity with women by emphasizing that women suffer no matter who, what, where, when, why. However, this anthology stands out because it is empowering, whereas other anthologies can be depressing.

4. Sexual Anorexia by Patrick Carnes is a book that asserts that sexual anorexia (sexual aversion) is very similar to sexual addiction. The lines between are not clear and it very easy to slip from one end of the spectrum to the other. This is an issue for these women as many of them express distaste and disgust at the thought of sex. This may be problematic after they leave Womanspace as they will be faced with encounters (sexual or otherwise) and they will not have a safe space in which to retreat and find haven.

5. A Sex Toy Tea (Demonstration) from The Mood similar to the one that was held on campus last year. Although this may not be feasible, we are still dreaming at this point. We hope that this would reinforce the positive sexual experiences a woman can have all by herself. This will assert optimism, independence, and self love through the discovery of new ways in which women can have sexual pleasure independently of men.

6. A source that explains the various sexual side effects that drugs (recreational or otherwise) have. We are having trouble finding a source that does this concisely and in a language that is accessible to the educational level of these women. One article seemed helpful, Not tonight dear, I'm feeling better: The drugs that relieve depression also sap the libido by Kristin Jenkins. Hopefully we will find more sources that are more general, concise, and legible for the women we are working with.

7. A source that deals with domestic violence. We hope to find, again, a source that is concise and legible for these women, and this has also been difficult. We also do not feel that a detailed explanation of the sociological factors involved in abuse would benefit these women. A guide on how to avoid abusive situations would be much more useful. You Can be Free: An Easy to Read Handbook for Abused Women by Ginny NiCarthy and Sue Davidson should be helpful in this task.

8. We wanted to give some attention to parenting because several women have expressed remorse and deep affectation after the death of a parent. All of these women are also mothers - mostly mothers who have dispersed their children amongst various fathers, family members, and institutions - who are not in touch with their children. This is one of the first ways in which the sociological cycle is repeated and not broken. We though that Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher would help these women understand parent child relations and dynamics (in a literarily accessible way) both for themselves as daughters and mothers.

9.) In order to address body image we plan to hold a workshop of some sort. We have not given much thought to the sources we will use. I attended a meeting about Exercise and Mental Health on Wednesday evening (October 30) and I collected some materials that may be helpful. These materials emphasize the physical and mental health benefits from regular exercise and contain helpful hints on how to exercise without going to the gym (for example parking one's car far away from an entrance, going up and down all the aisles in the supermarket, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, etc.).

10.) We wanted to offer a movie for these women to watch, mostly to cater to the different learning preferences or styles. Books may be a very daunting and intimidating thing to these women - some of whom have trouble reading their daily dinner prayers. A movie might help to lighten the feeling of somewhat heavy course materials. The Vagina Monologues would be wonderful here and we also chose another movie entitled The Loss of Sexual Innocence about
"weaving together four stories of love, regret, and redemption, the loss of sexual innocence is an eye-opening look at the power of sex to shape--or shatter--our lives."


Praxis Placement
Name: Chelsea
Date: //2002-11-01 14:34:22 :
Link to this Comment: 3459

Hey everyone! I'm interning at Planned Parenthood as a sexuality educator, along with Deb, and here's an abstract:)

Programs are always done in teams. Normally, a Sexuality Educator would be expected to do one program a month for a year. This schedule would begin after the trainee had observed a program done by experienced educators, and co-facilitated a program with a more experienced educator. However, as we will only be able to make a definite commitment of one semester, Lisa Citron, the woman who did our training, has made a special arrangement for us so that we may do one program a week for six weeks after observing and co-facilitating.

Our sessions are on Tuesday nights from 5:00 to 5:45 at a public school in South Philly. We are working with an after school program with kids ages 10-14 with approximately 8-12 kids per session. It is a coed group with a slightly larger boy to girl ratio.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect about this session was the observation that the boys were more mature than the girls when it came to talking about these issues. The two eldest girls, in particular, would burst into fits of giggles and tease the boys when they used medical terms for body parts, functions, etc. We were also surprised at the general extent of the knowledge in the group. Such as there knowledge of the reproductive system in men and women; one boy in particular, knew that the beginning of menstruation in girls signals that they have two mature ovaries. Another surprise was the naïveté of the some of the children regarding their own bodies, such as a young man who was, after being told that an erection is a rushing of blood to the penis, confused as to where the blood goes afterwards. After wrapping up the activity, we had a question and answer session. Next week, we will be facilitating on our own, as Lisa will not be able to attend.

The biggest problems we forsee are maturity problems, attention spans, etc. But the kids were all really very interested, albeit a little uncomfortable, and as we go along and they get more comfortable with us, it shouldn't really be too much of an issue.


bibliography
Name: lauren hil
Date: //2002-11-01 15:37:53 :
Link to this Comment: 3471

Lauren Hildebrand
Bobliography

ALCU Pennsylvania
www.aclupa.org

Society for Human Sexuality
www.sexuality.org

Having a Healthy Pregnancy
http://kidshealth.org/teen/sexual_health/

Guide to Safer Sex
http://www.sexuality.org/safesex.html#C3

Guide to Safer Sex
http://www.sexuality.org/concise.html

Perspectives in Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Condoms for Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Diseases
http://www.safersex.org/condoms/03.11.98.cgi

An Introduction to STDs
http://www.niaid.nih.gov/factsheets/stdinfo.htm

STDs
http://www.niaid.nih.gov/dmid/stds/

The ABC's of Hepatitis
http://www.walnet.org/csis/groups/swav/healthcards/abchep.html

Nonoxynol-9
http://www.walnet.org/csis/groups/swav/healthcards/nonox.html

Oil Eats Rubbers
http://www.walnet.org/csis/groups/swav/healthcards/oileats.html

Lesbian Safer Sex
http://www.safersex.org/women/lesbianss.html

Oral Sex
http://www.mama-shop.com/oralsex/

The Role of Condoms in Preventing HIV Infection and Other STDs
http://www.safersex.org/condoms/ss3.2.html


WARNING!
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-11-01 15:45:30 :
Link to this Comment: 3473

This is NOT the space to post your praxis abstract and bibliography. Go to
Submit Papers to do this.


Languages of Law, Poetry, History, Religion
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-11-01 15:49:56 :
Link to this Comment: 3474

This week you are invited to post your comments about the language of law and poetry, as described by Mary Conway and explored by our class discussion; and/or the ways in which the language of sex is expressed in history and religion, as Lauren, Sheri, Sarah, Maggie have initiated that discussion. See especially The Kama Sutra as Sheri suggests below.
Anne


history/ religion & sex
Name: Sheri
Date: //2002-11-01 15:51:47 :
Link to this Comment: 3476

I would like everyone to go to this site and find something interesting in the kama sutra section she would like to talk about/ comment on in class. There were so many awesome topics that I couldn't limit us to a sepcific reading.
Thanks!

Questions? email me or post.


Our Group Presentation
Name: Sarah Hess
Date: //2002-11-03 22:42:28 :
Link to this Comment: 3509

As most of you probably know, Maggie, Sheri, Lauren, and I will be presenting on Sexuality as it relates to a few topics in history and religion. The four of us more or less chose our own readings according to what interested us about the topic, but they all relate in many ways (a task we are presenting to all of you!) The readings I chose (3 copies are available on reserve at Canaday circulation desk) are a piece on Sexuality and Prayer and a section from Scott Peck's Further Down the Road called "Sexuality and Spirituality." Both emerge from a Christian tradition but by the same token digress from some traditional views of the religion as well. My worry is that the language used (prayer, God) might be restricting, so I am inviting you to recognize this language, but also move past it to find the deeper meaning of the texts. For example, what the article calls prayer might be meditation for some, but my hope is that this difference in language won't restrict our discussion.

One way I thought these articles related particularly well to our class, which is focused on putting sex into language, is that the articles encourage the same thing, in a way.
Some questions I would like to pose:
1. How do these articles stay on that theme of putting sex into language?
2. What is significant about putting sex into language before your God (whatever/whoever that may be)?
3. How does articulation of sex in prayer help sex and help prayer?
4. How would you define a spiritual connection between two people as opposed to a sexual one? How does each connection enhance the other?
5. God as a creator -how does this role make God inherently sexual? Does reproduction(creation) have a strong connection to sex here? How is sexuality reproductive beyond the realm of "making babies"?


assignment for 11/7/02
Name: lauren h
Date: //2002-11-04 15:39:35 :
Link to this Comment: 3518

hey ladies-
sorry i forgot to let you all know. one of the readings you need to do for thursday is on reserve under the name engendering america
enjoy!!!!


Poetry and Sex
Name: Sarah H.
Date: //2002-11-04 19:39:31 :
Link to this Comment: 3524

I think poetry is a great way to express sex because of its succinct nature. Poetry is a more compact language, that often provides a burst of detail or description which captures the essence of something without lengthy explanation. I think this works well for sex because sometimes elaborate technical description can take the focus off the spiritual or mental aspects of the act (or series of acts, as the case may be). One I thought was good...

4 zayd/ absences

in yr/absence
my fingers
b
come
yr/
mouth
exploding
b
tween
my legs
as
insistent
as this
late evening
moon
claiming its
quiet place
crying over
brooklyn
or else
like the
electronic lock
slamming u away
after the
11:00
count

by Asha Bandele


thought's on Grobstein (a little late)
Name: michelle
Date: //2002-11-05 01:06:07 :
Link to this Comment: 3530

I have to say that i was shocked and fascinated by Dr. Grobstien's views form a biological perspective on the role of sex and its possible extention to novelty generation in culture. I had a discussion with my boyfriend where i tried to explain to him what had been discussed in class. The more i tried to explain the more i came to the realization that i'm not sure i understand the point Dr. Grobstien was making.

What i am most unsure about is whether genetics and culutre are analogous in an interesting way, i.e. they are novelty generating, or is it that evolutionarily culture IS a continuation of genetics. These are very different positions and looking back i'm not sure which one was being proposed. The latter seems much stronger and in need of some sort of proof while the former is just an interesting exercise. I would be really interested to read some work that supports the idea that culture is biolocially as important as genetics, or that it is a contiuation of gentics.

While i'm still not perfectly clear about the nuances of the particular view, the initial insight, that culture is novelty generating, is facinating in itself.

I was delighted by thursday's discussion and i feel that it was very benefical to the class, taking us in a direction we had not explored before. Thanks Dr. Grobstien!


"Rapunzel" by Anne Sexton
Name: Kathryn Mc
Date: //2002-11-05 12:11:23 :
Link to this Comment: 3535

The image of the women "making love"/"playing"/"having sex" in the woods reminded me of a poem by Anne Sexton. "Rapunzel" is a little too long to post here, but if you'd like to read it online go to

http://www.americanpoems.com/poets/annesexton/rapunzel.shtml

This is the part of the poem that captures that image for me:

A woman
who loves a woman
is forever young.
The mentor
and the student
feed off each other.
Many a girl
had an old aunt
who locked her in the study
to keep the boys away.
They would play rummy
or lie on the couch
and touch and touch.
Old breast against young breast...
Let your dress fall down your shoulder,
come touch a copy of you
for I am at the mercy of rain,
for I have left the three Christs of Ypsilanti
for I have left the long naps of Ann Arbor
and the church spires have turned to stumps.
The sea bangs into my cloister
for the politicians are dying,
and dying so hold me, my young dear,
hold me...

The yellow rose will turn to cinder
and New York City will fall in
before we are done so hold me,
my young dear, hold me.
Put your pale arms around my neck.
Let me hold your heart like a flower
lest it bloom and collapse.
Give me your skin
as sheer as a cobweb,
let me open it up
and listen in and scoop out the dark.
Give me your nether lips
all puffy with their art
and I will give you angel fire in return.
We are two clouds
glistening in the bottle galss.
We are two birds
washing in the same mirror.
We were fair game
but we have kept out of the cesspool.
We are strong.
We are the good ones.
Do not discover us
for we lie together all in green
like pond weeds.
Hold me, my young dear, hold me.

They touch their delicate watches
one at a time.
They dance to the lute
two at a time.
They are as tender as bog moss.
They play mother-me-do
all day.
A woman
who loves a woman
is forever young.

...

Anne Sexton according to Alicia Ostriker:

When she began taking classes in poetry and meeting poets, Sexton discovered another group who spoke "language." "I found I belonged to the poets, that I was real there." As Diane Middlebrook remarks, what Sexton means by "language" is something compressed, elliptical, metaphoric. "Schizophrenics use language this way, and so do poets: 'figurative language' is the term Sexton might have used here, except she meant to indicate that the crucible of formation was urgent need." Clearly, too, "language" in Sexton's account is what people speak when they are free of the censor's invisible veil of ordinary intercourse; "language" is intimacy, authenticity, love in a loveless world; it is what the inner self uses to communicate with other inner selves.

This to me is a good way to think of Conway's argument (ah, rhetoric!) about poetic strategy. Conway claims that poetic expression is "empathic, associative, and identificatory." Poetic expression is a discourse that forms a bridge between the unspeakable/unfathomable and the demand for the expression of such, yet it remains intimate and within the writer's realm. This is not to say that it can't be misinterpreted, but as an artist the writer grants permission (Power) to access this discourse instead of submitting to the greater discourse/language policed by society. Poetic expression is therefore self-affirming and potentially more accurate than other currently available language for sex.


language, storytelling and justice
Name: Andrea Fri
Date: //2002-11-05 20:42:55 :
Link to this Comment: 3548

Hi folks,
It was a real treat to sit in on your class today. For those interested in the anthropology of law, the book I mentioned is:

Harmony Ideology: Justice and Control in a Zapotec Mountain Village
by Laura Nader. Nader is an legal anthropologist at U.C. Berkeley.

Good luck in your work,
Andrea


Praxis Introduction Abstract . . .
Name: HY
Date: //2002-11-05 21:29:46 :
Link to this Comment: 3549

I am working at a facility for recovering drug and alcohol addicts - "a private, non profit, rehabilitation facility. A supportive environment where women recovering from chemical dependency find help in maintaining sobriety and coping with recovery problems. The therapeutic atmosphere offers women the opportunity to reenter the community while living a sober, productive and responsible life. Each resident becomes a member of a "family" while participating in the five month program. [This site] has nine residents in a home environment, close to AA and NA support groups." The facility houses ten women at once and the program ranges from four and a half months to six months. These women form a pseudo-family and have similar dynamics to the more traditional idea of a family. They share daily life management activities and tasks and they also participate in group therapy sessions (alongside personal sessions of course). All women are mothers, recovering addicts, mothers, and victims of domestic or sexual assault, abuse, harassment. They range in age, race, educational background, drug of choice, sexual attitude, sexual orientation, personality, and to a lesser extent, socio-economic background. Each of these women is unique and special in her own way - they all bring things to the group that no one else can. I am quickly becoming an active and invested member of this community and I will learn much from each of these women. It is pleasure to watch them grow and take their lives back into their own hands.


On being a divided subject
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-11-05 21:33:42 :
Link to this Comment: 3550

It's been a delight to me to host our range of visitors--Bob Washington, Paul Grobstein, Mary Conway and Andrea Friedman--over the past two weeks. My sense of the range of languages available to us (and the increased range of ways of thinking and talking about sex they enable) has expanded enormously as a result of their presentations--and I'm looking forward to further "broadening" as each of you selects texts to add to the landscape over the weeks upcoming.

Although I challenged Mary on her failure to suggest an alternative language for talking about sex in the courtroom, for her "retreat" from the public language of law into the language of poetry, I also (inconsistently? how's this for an example of a divided subjectivity?) reveled (could you tell?) in our end-of-session poetry reading in the darkened classroom.

Here are the two poems I read:

Plumstone

eating a plum
I tongue the tight skin
drawn seam
that halves this globed
whole in two
it's midnight
blue outside
but when I bite in
bursting
with wet red flesh
the juice dripping down
my fingers sweet
sticky sticky
sweet pulp
engorged I
fill my mouth
eat it down
eat it down
all the way to the
plumstone.

Becky Birtha in The Forbidden Poems

After Love

Afterward, the compromise
Bodies resume their boundaries.

These legs, for instance, mine.
Your arms take you back in.

Spoons of our fingers, lips
admit their ownership.

The bedding yawns, a door
blows aimlessly ajar

and overhead,a plane
singsongs coming down.

Nothing is changed, except
there was a moment when

the wolf, the mongering wolf
who stands outside the self

lay lightly down, and slept.

Maxine Kumin


Preliminary Praxis Biblio
Name: HY
Date: //2002-11-05 21:34:39 :
Link to this Comment: 3551

Because there are so few, only ten clients, I have a wonderful opportunity to carefully personalize and tailor this program to individual women's interests, desires, and needs. An introduction to each of these women as individuals will help you, Anne in understanding my choice for materials and references to specific personal considerations. Maggie and I have been and will be working quite closely during our time at the site and for the final curriculum structure. We will share sources, frameworks, and ideas although our final papers may differ. At this point there is still some variety and difference between her bibliography and mine, but I want to emphasize that we are communicating and sharing feelings and ideas throughout this process.

I have searched for books that are accessible to individuals with a lower literacy and educational background. I hope to simultaneously use these sources to educate myself as well as to give to these women. In other words, I consider myself a student within this classroom who is merely facilitating and making available information. The focus of this 'course' is not solely sex and sexuality because these women are at a point of turnaround in their lives - they may need educating in other aspects of life in order to help create and maintain a healthy and positive control over their sexuality. Some (but not limited to at this point) of the topics that we hope to discuss are: the effects of drug on sex and sexuality, body image, sexual and domestic violence, abuse, and harassment, masturbation, diverse sexuality. In order to do this we have chosen some sources that these women can refer to on their on (at appropriate literacy levels), and we have given special attention to individual requests and interests for information.

1. Cunt by Inga Muscia is a book that aims at reclaiming women's sexuality via the reclaiming of the word cunt. It is also written as if the author was speaking to the reader in a friendly intimate conversation. I hope this will reinforce positive attitudes towards women and our sexuality.


2. The Whole Lesbian Sex Book by Felice Newman is an easy read for women who are flexually considering bi- or homo- sexuality; however, there are some chapters that may apply to all of these women - namely a chapter of tips on masturbation. A positive and healthy self-sex image can start with knowing, exploring, and loving one's body starting with masturbation.

3. The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler. We will be offering this text in three different forms: book, CD, and movie. We hope that these women will draw strength from hearing other women's stories about their sexual experiences and to create a solidarity with women by emphasizing that women suffer no matter who, what, where, when, why. However, this anthology stands out because it is empowering, whereas other anthologies can be depressing.


4. Sexual Anorexia by Patrick Carnes is a book that asserts that sexual anorexia (sexual aversion) is very similar to sexual addiction. The lines between are not clear and it very easy to slip from one end of the spectrum to the other. This is an issue for these women as many of them express distaste and disgust at the thought of sex. This may be problematic after they leave Womanspace as they will be faced with encounters (sexual or otherwise) and they will not have a safe space in which to retreat and find haven.

5. A Sex Toy Tea (Demonstration) from The Mood similar to the one that was held on campus last year. Although this may not be feasible, we are still dreaming at this point. We hope that this would reinforce the positive sexual experiences a woman can have all by herself. This will assert optimism, independence, and self love through the discovery of new ways in which women can have sexual pleasure independently of men.

6. A source that explains the various sexual side effects that drugs (recreational or otherwise) have. We are having trouble finding a source that does this concisely and in a language that is accessible to the educational level of these women. One article seemed helpful, Not tonight dear, I'm feeling better: The drugs that relieve depression also sap the libido by Kristin Jenkins. Hopefully we will find more sources that are more general, concise, and legible for the women we are working with.

7. A source that deals with domestic violence. We hope to find, again, a source that is concise and legible for these women, and this has also been difficult. We also do not feel that a detailed explanation of the sociological factors involved in abuse would benefit these women. A guide on how to avoid abusive situations would be much more useful. You Can be Free: An Easy to Read Handbook for Abused Women by Ginny NiCarthy and Sue Davidson should be helpful in this task.

8. We wanted to give some attention to parenting because several women have expressed remorse and deep affectation after the death of a parent. All of these women are also mothers - mostly mothers who have dispersed their children amongst various fathers, family members, and institutions - who are not in touch with their children. This is one of the first ways in which the sociological cycle is repeated and not broken. We though that Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher would help these women understand parent child relations and dynamics (in a literarily accessible way) both for themselves as daughters and mothers.

9.) In order to address body image we plan to hold a workshop of some sort. We have not given much thought to the sources we will use. I attended a meeting about Exercise and Mental Health on Wednesday evening (October 30) and I collected some materials that may be helpful. These materials emphasize the physical and mental health benefits from regular exercise and contain helpful hints on how to exercise without going to the gym (for example parking one's car far away from an entrance, going up and down all the aisles in the supermarket, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, etc.).

10.) We wanted to offer a movie for these women to watch, mostly to cater to the different learning preferences or styles. Books may be a very daunting and intimidating thing to these women - some of whom have trouble reading their daily dinner prayers. A movie might help to lighten the feeling of somewhat heavy course materials. The Vagina Monologues would be wonderful here and we also chose another movie entitled The Loss of Sexual Innocence about
"weaving together four stories of love, regret, and redemption, the loss of sexual innocence is an eye-opening look at the power of sex to shape--or shatter--our lives."

Hopefully this will provide a diverse, colorful, positive, and fun sexual education experience for each wonderful individual woman at my praxis site.


On Being Neither or Both
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-11-05 22:10:37 :
Link to this Comment: 3553

Here's the reference to the article from the 10/29/02 Science Times which I passed around in class today (to learn more, or read the whole, go to www.nytimes.com ). Entitled "On Being Male, Female, Neither or Both," the essay reviews a wide range of books dealing w/ newly evolving views on sexuality.


Cartographies of Silence
Name: Sarah
Date: //2002-11-05 22:20:48 :
Link to this Comment: 3554

I know this is long so read from it what you will. So many of the parts seemed relevant to our discussion throughout the course and particulartly today--"can language do everything?" and, can poetry describe fact? can truth be found in "these words, these whispers, conversations?"

Cartographies of Silence --Adrienne Rich (from "The Dream of a Common Language 1978"
1.

A conversation begins
with a lie. And each

speaker of the so-called common language feels
the ice-floe split, the drift apart

as if powerless, as if up against
a force of nature

A poem can begin
with a lie. And be tornup.

A conversation has other laws
recharges itself with its own

false energy. Cannot be torn
up. Infiltrates our blood. Repeats itself.

Inscribes with its unreturning stylus
the isolation it denies.

2.
The classical music station
playing hour upon hour in the apartment

the picking up and picking up
and again picking up the telephone

The syllables uttering
the old script over and over

The loneliness of the liar
living in the formal network of the lie

twisting the dials to drown the terror
beneath the unsaid word

3.

The technology of silence
The rituals, etiquette

the blurring of terms
silence not absence

of words or music or even
raw sounds

Silence can be a plan
rigorously executed

the blueprint to a life

It is a presence
it has a history a form

Do not confuse it
with any kind of absence

4.

How calm, how inoffensive these words
begin to seem to me

though begun in grief and anger
Can I break through this film of the abstract

without wounding myself or you
ther is enough pain here

This is why the classical or the jazz music station plays?
to give a ground of meaning to our pain?

5.

The silence that strips bare:
In Dreyer's Passion of Joan

Falconetti's face, hair shorn, a great geography
mutely surveyed by the camera

If there were a poetry where this could happen
not as blank spaces or as words

stretched like a skin over meanings
but as silence falls at the end

of a night through which two people
have talked till dawn

6.

The scream
of an illegitimate voice

It has ceased to hear itself, therefore
it asks itself

"How do I exist?

This was the silence I wanted to break in you
I had questions but you would not answer

I had answers but you could not use them
This is uuseless to you and perhaps to others

7.

It was an old theme even for me:
Language cannot do everything--

chalk it on teh walls where teh dead poets
lie in their mausoleums

If at the will of the poet the poem
could turn into a thing

a granite flank laid bare, a lifted head
alight with dew

If it could simply look you in the face
with naked eyeballs, not letting you turn

till you, and I who long to make this thing,
were finally clarified together in its stare

8.

No. Let me have this dust,
these pale clouds dourly lingering, these words

moving with ferocious accuracy
like the blind child's fingers

or the newborn infant's mouth
violent with hunger

No one can give me, I have long ago
taken this method

whether of bran pouring from the loose-woven sack
or of the bunsen-flame turned low and blue

If from time to time I envy
the pure annunciations to the eye

the visio beatifica
if from time to time I long to turn

like the Eleusinian hierophant
holding up a simple ear of grain

for return to the concrete and everlasting world
what in fact I keep choosing

are these words, these whispers, conversations
from which time after time truth breaks moist and green.


poems of sorts
Name: Lindsay Hi
Date: //2002-11-05 23:52:46 :
Link to this Comment: 3555

i seem to forget what type of poem we were going for...but this seemed to be beautiful examples of language twisted in a way to attempt to describe the inarticulatable.

Her Pear
by Ali T.

I
Hunger so
She offers me fruit
Smooth and ripe
Brilliant color
Stem erect and firm
Milky white flesh
Delicious on my tongue
Tender, succulent
Satisfying
Her pear


Poem
Name: elisa
Date: //2002-11-06 00:25:41 :
Link to this Comment: 3556

I am still digesting class today, so for now, i will just submit a poem.
this poem popped into my head when i heard anne read "After Love" at the
end of class today.


Poem No. 3
i gather up
each sound 
you left behind 
and stretch them 
on our bed.
           each nite 
i breathe you
and become high. 

                         -sonia sanchez 

the poems that have been submitted have a lot of food imagery, playing up
on taste.  there has also been a lot of description about the body.  so, i
thought i would go a different route... i love this poem bc its focus is
concentrated on sound and scent.  yum! 
 
enjoy! 


Thursday's class: emergence
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-11-06 11:37:04 :
Link to this Comment: 3557


pulling together the threads for tomorrow's class:

your reading assignments are 4:

from sheri: kama sutra,

which you'll find @ http://www.sacred-texts.com/sex/index.htm

and then three folders on reserve:

from sarah h (both essays in one folder)

"sexuality and prayer" (pp. 1-7) and

"sexuality and spirituality" (from scott peck's further down the road, pp. 219-231);

from lauren h: "engendering america" (pp 60-63, 111-112, 118-125, 214-219)

from maggie: "memoirs of a geisha" (pp. 164-167, 280-291)

read what you can (you'll see from the pagination, above, that none of the excerpts are long ones, except the kama sutra, and sheri invites us to read around in that) and come w/ your questions-and-answers.

sheri, sarah, lauren and maggie--

would each of you plan to speak, please, for about 5 minutes about the text you selected for us to read: tell us where it came from, why you picked it, what dimension you think it adds to our explorations, what answers it offers, questions it raises for you--

then i'll see what i can do about braiding together a discussion that keeps all the balls in play (how's that for mixed metaphors?)

yes, yes, this feels unwieldy right now, but it also seems a GREAT example of an emergent system (my latest new enthusiasm, about which more later)--

VERY much looking forward to what emerges--

anne


Thursday's class: emergence
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-11-06 11:37:17 :
Link to this Comment: 3558


pulling together the threads for tomorrow's class:

your reading assignments are 4:

from sheri: kama sutra,

which you'll find @ http://www.sacred-texts.com/sex/index.htm

and then three folders on reserve:

from sarah h (both essays in one folder)

"sexuality and prayer" (pp. 1-7) and

"sexuality and spirituality" (from scott peck's further down the road, pp. 219-231);

from lauren h: "engendering america" (pp 60-63, 111-112, 118-125, 214-219)

from maggie: "memoirs of a geisha" (pp. 164-167, 280-291)

read what you can (you'll see from the pagination, above, that none of the excerpts are long ones, except the kama sutra, and sheri invites us to read around in that) and come w/ your questions-and-answers.

sheri, sarah, lauren and maggie--

would each of you plan to speak, please, for about 5 minutes about the text you selected for us to read: tell us where it came from, why you picked it, what dimension you think it adds to our explorations, what answers it offers, questions it raises for you--

then i'll see what i can do about braiding together a discussion that keeps all the balls in play (how's that for mixed metaphors?)

yes, yes, this feels unwieldy right now, but it also seems a GREAT example of an emergent system (my latest new enthusiasm, about which more later)--

VERY much looking forward to what emerges--

anne


A random tidbit.
Name: Lauren Fri
Date: //2002-11-06 12:19:50 :
Link to this Comment: 3560

This doesn't have anything to do with anything (except, well, sex), but I thought the class might be interested in it.

I stumbled across this interview (with a writer of erotica, Mitzi Szereto) in 3 AM Magazine. Szereto discusses a number of interesting things including how she went from getting a B.A. in journalism to writing erotic fiction, her thoughts on the important distinction between erotica and porn ("erotica seduces the reader, whereas porn masturbates the reader"), and whether erotica is explicitly pro-feminist or anti-feminist.


Sex Video Scandal
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-11-06 16:04:09 :
Link to this Comment: 3574

Interesting story in the Philadelphia Inquirer today (11/6/020: "Sex-video scandal rocks 2 tony Chestnut Hill schools." One guy made a video of a guy friend having sex w/ a girl; then they showed it to a dozen other guys. Then they were expelled. Then one guy's parents challenged the explusion, and he returned to school. See http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/ to get the whole story. Then: want to try your hand at telling the story behind that story? The story beyond that story? Anne


a poem
Name: ngoc
Date: //2002-11-06 17:27:47 :
Link to this Comment: 3576

i thought this poem is really interesting...so i would like to share w/ the class.

The Sea and the Shore -- Yehuda Amichai

The sea and the shore are always next to each other
Both want to learn to pseak, to learn to say
one word only. The sea wants to say "shore"
and the shore "sea." They draw closer,
millions of years, to speech, to saying
that single word. When the sea says "shore"
and the shore "sea,"
redemtion will come to the world,
the world will return to chaos.


poetry
Name: Deborah
Date: //2002-11-06 17:46:49 :
Link to this Comment: 3577

"Do you see...how an act is not, as young men think, like a rock that one picks up and throws, and it hits or missees, and that't the end of it. When a rock is lifted the earth is lighter, the hand that bears it heavier. When it is thrown the circuits of the stars respond, and where it strikes or falls the universe is changed. On every act the balance of the whole depends. The winds and seas, the powers of water and earth and light, all that these do, and all that the beasts and green things do, is well done, and rightly done. From the hurricane and the great whale's sounding to the fall of a dry leaf and the gnat's flight, all they do is done within the balance as a whole. But we, in so far as we have power over the world and over one another, we must Learn to do what the leaf and the whale and the wind do of their own nature. We must learn to keep the balance. Having intelligence, we must not act in ignorance. Having choice, we must not act without responcibilty. How am I--though I have the power to do it--to punish or reward, playing with men's destinies?"
--Ursula Le Guin, The Fartherest Shore


written on the body
Name: Deborah
Date: //2002-11-06 18:06:18 :
Link to this Comment: 3578

Hey all,
I apologise for being so tardy in posting, but until 2 days ago my comp was crashed for like 3 weeks and being fixed and prodded...poor wounded baby! I felt like i had no power to communicate! I didn't talk to people for like a month because i couldnt do so online...just goes to show you how technology is the devil and makes it so you cant function without it. Okay i'm done ranting now.
But, i wanted to write a little bit about Written on the Body...I really enjoyed the book, even though there were some aspects of the narrator that seriously disturbed me. It seems to me that the love that she experiences isn't like love at all, but like a curse. You know the saying that if someone were to achieve immortality, it would be a curse? I feel like for Per to love is to be under a cursed existance. I dont want to feel love if it is the tortured, self-indulgent feelings per expressed. I think it was a mistake for per to have left Louise and very selfish on per's part. I also felt as though per's mind was fragmenting in the end, which was interesting to think that perhaps per is Louise's mind, since as we discussed Louise seemed only to be a body. Also, I dont know if this is just my own personal history or a more general feeling, but it seems to me that Per equated a lot of love with sex...and for me, sex isn;t neccesarily the end-all expression of love and affection. I wish that Per might have written more about the relationship they shared as opposed to the sex they had. Oh well. Something i did like about the writing though is the stream of conscience style...while a little more difficult to get into, it was different and for me the reading of it went fast. yay reading! I love reading...i cant help but read, even to the detriment of other aspects of my life (mainly studying...) I am glad that we put sex into language, because I love reading about human relationships, and sex plays a huge part in almost any relationship! Talk about stream of conscienceness...I hope all can follow my framented thoughts! am i crazy? Or am i louise?


the science of sex
Name: Deborah
Date: //2002-11-06 18:13:43 :
Link to this Comment: 3579

I just wanted to quickly comment on last weeks classes...it was great to hear the speakers, they did an excellent job...however, it was more fun this tuesday b.c even though we had presenters, we still were able to have class discussion and participation. I really liked that. I think that language, like sex, functions on a HUGE biological impulsion...(is that the right word?) Humans have a gigantic capacity toward language...i've studied it in psychology a lot...practically from the moment that one is born, one is motivated to learn language in any way that one can. Even deaf children create a language using hand motions...and pick up taught sign language like a sponge in water. So it makes since in a scientific way that for creatures so predisposed to learn language to try to articulate another function of their bodily needs, the need for orgasm, if not reproduction!


reading for tuesday 11/12
Name: michelle
Date: //2002-11-07 02:18:19 :
Link to this Comment: 3581

One of our readings can be found on line at the following website:

www.languageinindia.com/nov2001/foreign4.html

its a cool site so feel free to do some exploring.



Name: Chelsea Ph
Date: //2002-11-08 08:54:48 :
Link to this Comment: 3602

Hey guys, thought Maggie, Sarah, Sheri and Lauren were awesome yesterday!! Thanks for all the interesting readings:) I've been thinking about the question Sarah asked yesterday, about how you would express sex if you had a room and some time to do it in...the first thing that came to my mind was that I would wrap myself in a bright yellow fuzzy boa, but I'm not sure why. What that says about my perceptions of sexuality is probably at the least entertaining:) I also thought there would have to be glitter there...but I'm not sure where;) hehe...I'll keep thinking, what about you guys?

Oh! And a shameless plug- COME SEE HAMLET'S SHORTS IN GOODHARDT MUSIC ROOM, FRIDAY AND SATURDAY AT 8PM!!!!!!!!! Very funny, very short (less than an hour)!!! See you there:)



Name: Chelsea Ph
Date: //2002-11-08 09:05:49 :
Link to this Comment: 3604

Sorry, one more thing: you can buy a "Big Willy Rocks My World" T-shirt before and after each performance and in the CC today from 10-3, only $10, and how often do you get Shakespeare in a PIMP HAT?! Thanks, that's it, promise!


last class
Name: Tamina
Date: //2002-11-08 10:13:52 :
Link to this Comment: 3605

I really like how the presentation this week was begining to open up our conversations of sexuality. The group had a good introduction to cultural views of sex. My group next week will be looking at this topic of multiculturalism in greater detail. The discussion on Thursday realy helped me have better ideas on where to take our topic, and brought of a lot of information that was new to me. I especially liked our conversation about religon and sexuality.


no subject- thats the issue
Name: lauren hil
Date: //2002-11-08 10:48:17 :
Link to this Comment: 3608

I am having some trouble with our class. I thought the readings we selected all had the potential to turn into great discussion, but I don't think that was happening. I think we would get on an important topic for a few minutes and then get off track and end up discussing less relevant things. All sex discussion is relevant to putting sex into language but we could have some of these discussions outside of class. I am sure many of us do have these discussions outside of class so we really need to use the time we have in class to have more academic discussion. That's why we have class. We are supposed to come into class and have a discussion that leads to some kind of conclusion, but we weren't going in any direction. We were all over the place. We would sometimes get redirected but never really stayed on a path. So could we all work really hard to make these next weeks contribute more to the theme of the class?

And sarah's question...

I communicate physically. With friends, lovers, family, anyone. Physical. I am really easy to read when you look at my body language and facial expressions.


Readings and Writings
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-11-08 12:18:15 :
Link to this Comment: 3610

To all thinkers of sex--

Readings for next Tuesday's class
(so far; two more websites expected soon from Ngoc):
one site: www.languageinindia.com/nov2001/foreign4.html
and two essays on reserve:
Janice Boddy, "Womb as Oasis: The Symbolic Context of Pharaonic Circumcision in Rural Northern Sudan." American Ethnologist (1982): 682-698.
Anne Fausto-Sterling, "Dueling Dualisms." Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality. 1-29.

To Tamina, Kathryn, Michele, Lindsay H, Ngoc--
please plan, as last week's group did, to speak for about 5 minutes on your selection: where it came from, why you picked it, what interests you about it, how you think it intersects w/ our ongoing exploration. In addition (following up on Lauren's suggestion) would the 5 of you please decide together on a couple of questions that bring your essays together, so we can have a conversation that is a little less diffuse than last Thursday's?
Please and thanks and looking forward to this--

Anne

P.S. Last call to those of you who have not posted the abstracts of paper #3-4 and the bibliography.

P.P.S.
Sarah was really pushing me in our last class on the question of the "failure" of language. Trying to articulate my thinking on this matter, I'd say that--following Lacan--I think that language always marks a loss, a gap, is always inadequate--but for that very reason we are called to continue to try to say what...cannot be said. Every discourse is insufficient, but for that reason we need to keep on talking, trying to get it "less wrong," if never actually "right" (and so I now withdraw that word "failure," and apologize for using it to Mary--and for laying it on all of you as well). Ever onward!


Readings and Writings
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-11-08 12:18:28 :
Link to this Comment: 3611

To all thinkers of sex--

Readings for next Tuesday's class
(so far; two more websites expected soon from Ngoc):
one site: www.languageinindia.com/nov2001/foreign4.html
and two essays on reserve:
Janice Boddy, "Womb as Oasis: The Symbolic Context of Pharaonic Circumcision in Rural Northern Sudan." American Ethnologist (1982): 682-698.
Anne Fausto-Sterling, "Dueling Dualisms." Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality. 1-29.

To Tamina, Kathryn, Michele, Lindsay H, Ngoc--
please plan, as last week's group did, to speak for about 5 minutes on your selection: where it came from, why you picked it, what interests you about it, how you think it intersects w/ our ongoing exploration. In addition (following up on Lauren's suggestion) would the 5 of you please decide together on a couple of questions that bring your essays together, so we can have a conversation that is a little less diffuse than last Thursday's?
Please and thanks and looking forward to this--

Anne

P.S. Last call to those of you who have not posted the abstracts of paper #3-4 and the bibliography.

P.P.S.
Sarah was really pushing me in our last class on the question of the "failure" of language. Trying to articulate my thinking on this matter, I'd say that--following Lacan--I think that language always marks a loss, a gap, is always inadequate--but for that very reason we are called to continue to try to say what...cannot be said. Every discourse is insufficient, but for that reason we need to keep on talking, trying to get it "less wrong," if never actually "right" (and so I now withdraw that word "failure," and apologize for using it to Mary--and for laying it on all of you as well). Ever onward!


Welcome: Iris and Emily
Name: Iris Dicke
Date: //2002-11-08 13:02:45 :
Link to this Comment: 3614

Though it my look plain from the street, gray brick melting into a row of identical houses, The Bat Cave Youth Center shelters a community of such color and vibrancy it's hard to believe that many pass by it on their first visit.

The Bat Cave was born from a six-week graduate student project providing a support group for Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, Transgendered, and Questioning young adults in a small attic located in Gothic City. This group initially met once a week, however the need for the group proved so overwhelming that it grew into what it is today: a low-key not-for-profit organization open one to nine p.m., five days a week, complete with its own building.

When we, the Bryn Mawr students assigned to volunteer, arrived at the Bat Cave, we were ushered through a tour of the building and some of their services. We began in the friendly lobby area filled with fliers, posters, and an entire wall dedicated to educational pamphlets and a poster overhead reading: "kisses don't kill, greed and power do" that displayed same-sex couples kissing. Each room that we toured on the three floors gave us a better idea of the services that the Bat Cave provides, such as HIV testing, counseling, support groups, social groups, and community service connections. Then we were directed upstairs and sat before the YPC, the Youth Planning Committee, a panel of young adults belonging to the Bat Cave community, to determine our compatibility with the organization. The YPC was formed to allow attic youth the same control in running the space as its founder and director, Batwoman.

The Bat Cave community consists of various ethnicities and economic levels but has higher concentrations of African Americans, males, and lower income youth. Members hail from Gotham City and its suburbs, and as far as Metropolis. Most social interaction is conducted in casual language; colloquialisms and "street lingo" are common. The Bat Cave serves as a safe space where youth are encouraged to feel comfortable and open in their conversations. This results in interactions that are often candid, even blunt. Well-established individual members usually have a set group of friends with whom they interact regularly, sometimes even exclusively. To be a newcomer at The Bat Cave and enter one of these groups can be difficult; one must be outgoing in order to establish rapport within the social structure.

Though The Bat Cave appears to be an unremarkable row-home on Poisen Ivy Street from the outside, it houses several brilliantly colored murals painted by members. The walls serve as a living canvas where members sketch out ideas on same-sex relationships, gender, and equality. Art is a medium essential to the expression and growth of the Bat Cave and its youth. Before one has become established into the community itself, the message is clear: 'you are welcome here, this is a space specific to you, make of it what you will'.

One of the goals for our Praxis placement is to develop an Bat Cave-applicable sex-education curriculum, hopefully to be used as part of an orientation program helping newcomers to integrate themselves comfortably into the community. We will be attempting to re-establish the once popular Art Group and use the works created as a dialogue regarding sex, sexuality, and relationships. This poses several problems, the first of which is communication.

Since we are new to the community, it is difficult for us to know where our boundaries lie. Though we have been invited to work within the space, we do not yet have identity within the youth population. Scheduling meetings with our supervisor, also a youth and long-time member, has been challenging. The hours of the Bat Cave, though appropriate for the youth population, make it difficult for the college student to reach administrators without interrupting one of the many evening activities.

Our hope is to change Art Group into Art Night, a series of workshops resulting in a cumulative group project, such as a mural, in order to create room for both individual expression and dialogue. This configuration gives us the flexibility to explore sexuality more than the original format does and allows us to address the issue of our own outsider-ness. Making it clear that we do not presume to pick up where the former supervisor of Art Group left off, thus we become guest instructors, rather than imposters.

We would like to structure Art Night as an informal time for creativity and conversation, so that we may learn of one another and write our sex-education curriculum with members in mind. Each meeting will open with introductions as well as 'New & Good,' an icebreaker where everyone tells of something new and something good in their lives. Creativity will be stimulated with a poem, short piece of literature, joke, comic strip, or piece of art deemed sexual in nature and aimed at a specific issue pertinent in the community. One weeks work will layer on another resulting in a complicated mix of personal expression, as varied in its scope, as each individual is complex.

Members of the YPC actually provided the suggestion of the return of an art group, so we hope to be well received. In terms of the end result, we can make no predictions, but we hope to see increased discussion among groups in an already tolerant community. Wish us luck!


An Artistic Curriculum: Emily and Iris
Name: Iris Dicke
Date: //2002-11-08 13:06:02 :
Link to this Comment: 3615

To share, to learn, to grow, both as an individual and as a community. To not judge or be judged. To take part in a sex-education curriculum aimed specifically at your age group with your pleasure, safety, and happiness in mind. To take into account the range of identities and breadth of experiences within that group.


Our curriculum is created for use at The Bat Cave Center as an introduction to the community, in conjunction with Art Night. It relies heavily on art, literature, humor and personal composition as a medium for exploring sexualities and creating dialogue among new and established members. It is to be taught one night a week, coinciding with Art Night, by three senior members of the community, a man, a woman, and an individual identifying as transgendered. Within the curriculum works of art will be produced and developed, as well as a personal journal for recording ones reactions. Instructors will maintain a conversational atmosphere and feel comfortable relaying personal experiences as an equalizer in the group. The focus of the subject matter will be concerns ranging from safer sex with less of a focus on contraception, relationships, identity, and variation within the queer community. It will also cover information about sexually transmitted infections, prevention, and testing, both provided at The Bat Cave, and elsewhere. It's main purpose though is to create a fun, comfortable space where new members of the community can develop ties with one another, and thus, integrate more easily into the social atmosphere of The Bat Cave.

Preliminary lessons will be structured using the following resources:

Icebreakers
To be shared, played or read at the beginning of a class session to acclimate group members to the setting and topic. This time is to present information about sex not as scientific or academic, but through humor and fun!

www.sexabout.net
* Presents an informal array of information on birth control, sex therapy, sexual education, masturbation, and sexology. Also hosts an erotic art collection, fun sex tests, and sex games.
* Useful informative site in the language often used at the Bat Cave
Sex tests and erotic art can be used to introduce topics and site can be used as a reference

www.bettydodson.com
* An extensive positive site about everything sexual
* Has genital art that could be used to show anatomy and differences in people
* Focuses on thinking positively about sex

www.residentassistant.com/programming/sexual/sexchoices.htm
* A large selection of sexual oriented ice-breakers and games
* Could be used as a fun way to open meetings and create a comfortable environment to discuss sex in


Topic Initiators

Short stories, photos, and information to stimulate discussion. Students are encouraged to bring in their own examples the week before a topic is to be discussed.

Girl Goddess #9
Fransesca Lia Block
* Short stories
* Dragons in Manhattan- young girl with 2 moms goes on a search for long-lost dad and finds out that one of her moms is trans. Moreover, that they are her biological parents.
* Potential Trans resource.

Cunt: a declaration of independence
By Inga Muscio
* Great book in general for women looking to get in touch with their genitalia.
* Possible application during the affirmation section of the curriculum.

Early Embraces: True-life stories of women describing their first lesbian experience
Lindsey Elder, Ed.
* Collection of lesbian erotica
* Read in contrast with gay male erotica as stimulus for Art Night.

www.bettydodson.com
* An extensive positive site about everything sexual
* Has genital art that could be used to show anatomy and differences in people
* Focuses on thinking positively about sex

www.times10.org/gayyouth.htm
* A collection of articles and comic strips about being young and gay
* Fun way to introduce social issues surrounding sexual identity

www.wae.org
* Historical and modern erotic art and poetry
* Not so cool: need to buy a membership in order to access most of the site
* Could use art and poetry as a visual/audile method of introducing topics

www.sexabout.net
* Presents an informal array of information on birth control, sex therapy, sexual education, masturbation, and sexology. Also hosts an erotic art collection, fun sex tests, and sex games.
* Useful informative site in the language often used at the Bat Cave
Sex tests and erotic art can be used to introduce topics and site can be used as a reference


Contraception

Though the curriculum itself does not focus on heterosexual intercourse, there is a bisexual population at The Bat Cave for whom we would like to have information on site.

www.positive.org
* Presents sex in a positive light and written in a young colloquial fashion
* Useful definitions, diagrams, and explanations
* Could use some of these quote some of these sections and use the site as a reference for those that want additional information

www.sexabout.net
* Presents an informal array of information on birth control, sex therapy, sexual education, masturbation, and sexology. Also hosts an erotic art collection, fun sex tests, and sex games.
* Useful informative site in the language often used at the Bat Cave
Sex tests and erotic art can be used to introduce topics and site can be used as a reference

www.birthcontrol.com
* Presents the newest methods of birth control and efficiency of each
* Online ordering
* Great resource for short section on birth control in curriculum focused towards bi-sexuals

Sexual Etiquette 101...and more
Robert A. Hatcher, M.D., M.P.H., Robert Axelrod, Sarah Cates, Paige J. Levin, Terrance L. Wade
* Information about communication, relationships, safer sex, and birth control oriented around personal stories by young adults.
* Some of the stories could be used to introduce and make sexual issues more personal, and therefor important.

Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary
F.A. Davis
* Color pictures, descriptions, information of contraction of and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STI).
* Good reference for safer sex and STI sections in curriculum.

Safer Sex

A large focus both at The Bat Cave and within our curriculum, the safe sex portion of the curriculum is aimed specifically at the LGBTQ population. Including information on testing locations in Philadelphia, costs, and directions to these sites. The curriculum focuses discussion on relationships and responsibility.

It's Perfectly Normal!
* Great book for younger children about the basics of sex, relationships, STIs, etc.
* Might be a good opening activity "If you were going to teach your siblings about sex what would be the most important things to tell them?"

A Young Woman's Guide to Sex
Jacqueline Voss
* Somewhat dated, lots of basic info on STIs, emotional aspects of sex.
* Good resource to have on hand.

Teaching About Sexuality and HIV
Hedgepeth & Helmich
* Great resource about how to teach a sex-ed. curriculum, dealing with student comfort levels and group interactions.

Sexual Etiquette 101...and more
Robert A. Hatcher, M.D., M.P.H., Robert Axelrod, Sarah Cates, Paige J. Levin, Terrance L. Wade
* Information about communication, relationships, safer sex, and birth control oriented around personal stories by young adults.
* Some of the stories could be used to introduce and make sexual issues more personal, and therefor important.

Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary
F.A. Davis
* Color pictures, descriptions, information of contraction of and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STI).
* Good reference for safer sex and STI sections in curriculum.

www.positive.org
* Presents sex in a positive light and written in a young colloquial fashion
* Useful definitions, diagrams, and explanations
* Could use some of these quote some of these sections and use the site as a reference for those that want additional information

www.safersex.org
* Site on safer sex. Founded in part, by a bi-sexual, and therefor takes sexual minorities into account. Includes news in the safer sex world and personal stories. T
* Has instructions for use of different safer sex, articles assessing risks of different activities and how to decrease the chances of negative consequences.
* Personal conversations would help stimulate conversation and thought. Medical articles could be helpful in presenting a scientific viewpoint.

www.sexabout.net
* Presents an informal array of information on birth control, sex therapy, sexual education, masturbation, and sexology. Also hosts an erotic art collection, fun sex tests, and sex games.
* Useful informative site in the language often used at the Bat Cave
Sex tests and erotic art can be used to introduce topics and site can be used as a reference


Relationships
Probably the most difficult section to discuss, and one of the most important. Discussion will be focused primarily on respect, both for oneself and for ones partner(s). We would like to include some more sources that are specific to the age group, sexuality, and attitudes of the class itself.

A Young Woman's Guide to Sex
Jacqueline Voss
* Somewhat dated, lots of basic info on STIs, emotional aspects of sex.
* Good resource to have on hand.

It's Perfectly Normal!
* Great book for younger children about the basics of sex, relationships, STIs, etc.
* Might be a good opening activity "If you were going to teach your siblings about sex what would be the most important things to tell them?"

Sexual Etiquette 101...and more
Robert A. Hatcher, M.D., M.P.H., Robert Axelrod, Sarah Cates, Paige J. Levin, Terrance L. Wade
* Information about communication, relationships, safer sex, and birth control oriented around personal stories by young adults.
* Some of the stories could be used to introduce and make sexual issues more personal, and therefor important.

www.umkc.edu/sites/hsw/sexed.html
* Presented in a young and easily accessible fashion
* Address issues such as sexual identity, intimacy, relationships, and sexual myths
Another fantastic resource


Identity Affirmation

This is the section that is the most ignored by traditional sex-ed courses. Our goal is to address issues of sexual and social identity relating to gender and sexuality. Trouble with labels and acceptance in outside social circles and with ones family are primary concerns. Topics and materials for this part of the course will be adjusted according to the class make-up.

www.umkc.edu/sites/hsw/sexed.html
* Presented in a young and easily accessible fashion
* Address issues such as sexual identity, intimacy, relationships, and sexual myths
* Another fantastic resource

www.trans-health.com
* A fantastic site that addresses trans-sexuality in a positive light
* Would work well with identity affirmation section of curriculum
Changing Bodies, Changing Lives
Ruth Bell
* Sex-ed. curriculum textbook, somewhat dated photos, lots of text.
* Good, comprehensive resource, section about homosexuality.
* General use w/in curriculum, good resource to have on hand.

www.sexabout.net
* Presents an informal array of information on birth control, sex therapy, sexual education, masturbation, and sexology. Also hosts an erotic art collection, fun sex tests, and sex games.
* Useful informative site in the language often used at the Bat Cave
Sex tests and erotic art can be used to introduce topics and site can be used as a reference

www.bettydodson.com
* An extensive positive site about everything sexual
* Has genital art that could be used to show anatomy and differences in people
* Focuses on thinking positively about sex

The materials listed here provide a jumping-off point for our sex-ed course. We would like to see the learning coming more from classmate-to-classmate with the instructors acting as facilitators of discussion and activities, rather than as teachers. We hope to include within each evening of class, information from all angles. For example, a discussion on relationships would include ideas on safer sex and identity, as well as on boyfriends, girlfriends, and family. Every week will be multidisciplinary in its approach including movement exercises, art, food, music, and discussion as mediums for exchange. Future goals for the curriculum are to include specific discussions of 'outercourse', S&M relating to power and control, and love.

Though difficult to break away from the traditional format of sex-education, we look to the new members of The Bat Cave for guidance in what is most important to them relating to sex within the organization. Ultimately, our goal is to be of some assistance in providing information and contributing to the established safe haven that that The Bat Cave has always provided.


Readings for Next Tues
Name: ngoc
Date: //2002-11-08 13:41:51 :
Link to this Comment: 3616

These are the two websites ...

in the first website you can find an article:

http:/www.nerve.com/Dispatches/Gilboa/shadowDancing/index.asp?page=1

the second website :

http://www.ilga.org/Information/legal_survey/asia_pacific/vietnam.htm

feel free to explore the sites...it won't take long.


Poetry, etc.
Name: Jess T.
Date: //2002-11-08 14:00:09 :
Link to this Comment: 3619

When I was trying to pick a poem for class, I had a lot of difficulty first of all because I don't really think I understood what Mary Conway thought poetry could accomplish. (I just didn't get it from the reading.) So I after looking for a poem for a while, I just kind of gave up and picked something. I don't really feel that the poem is what was being looked for, but I'll share it..

Thunder Love
By ruffy

Thunder Love
Tie me up
To the rings above your bed
Here I lie
I await you
Thunder Love
Scratch me
With your nails and your teeth
My body arches
Your delirious lover
Your devoted slave
Blindfold me
Use your satin scarve
I don't want to see
Rather feel
Your touch
Candle wax
As hot as my skin
Trickle it down my breasts
You're a master
Tangible lightning
Calm me
You're a threatening storm
And I am drowning
In your rain
Thunder Love


Also I just wanted to share a few thoughts from class. It was discused how Anita Hill's words became pornography through her testimony. Then when Anne read "Plumstone" in class as an alternative testimony. I thought it was interesting that no one mentioned this: I felt that the poem was more pornographic in its imagery then the words she probably used. To me there is something more intimate and sexual about poetry then the usual language of the court room and that for this additional reason the poetry would not be a good language for the courtroom.

later
Jess


Poetry...
Name: Maggie
Date: //2002-11-08 16:20:21 :
Link to this Comment: 3620

I don't really remember what we were going for with specific poems, but here are a few short ones...

Her breast is fit for pearls,
But I was not a `Diver' -
Her brow is fit for thrones
But I have not a crest.
Her heart is fit for home -
I - a Sparrow - build there
Sweet twigs and twine
My perennial nest.
~Emily Dickinson

Decade
When you came, you were like red wine and honey,
And the taste of you burnt my mouth with its sweetness.
Now you are like morning bread,
Smooth and pleasant.
I hardly taste you at all for I know your savour,
But I am completely nourished.
~Amy Lowell


sex: biology
Name: Paul Grobstein
Date: //2002-11-08 16:56:18 :
Link to this Comment: 3622

Thanks to all for an interesting/enjoyable/instructive conversation. And to Lauren and Michelle for their afterthoughts.

I'm inclined to agree that, as Lauren says, "accepted thought is not necessarily in line with the liberating definitions" of sex we discussed together. I'm not particularly troubled by having come to some ideas different from "accepted thought", and hope no one else is either. It is, after all, my business as a scientist/biologist to find "less wrong" ways to think about things. And yours', as a class, to come up with some "less wrong" sex ed curricula. Whether one does or does not want to incorporate "sexual preference and sexual identification into a definition of sex itself", I'm more than content if the possibility has been opened "that sex itself could be defined, biologically, as a combination of factors that are linked to reproduction and anatomy but not dependent upon either", and delighted to have been surprisingly "thought-provoking" to a "humanities-based" mind.

I'm pleased too to have raised the possibility in Michelle's mind that "culture is novelty generating". Let me see if I can be clearer about "whether genetics and culture are analogous in an interesting way, i.e. they are novelty generating, or is it that evolutionarily culture IS a continuation of genetics"?

The first thing to say, as a responsible biology teacher, is that there is a sharp and important distinction between genetics and culture in one way. Genes are material structures which are transmitted sexually (for the most part). Moreover, the biological organization is such as to largely or entirely prevent the experiences that an individual has during their lifetime from affecting their genes. In short, individual experience (including any cultural influences) can influence whether the genes of particular individuals are contributed to the next generation but has little or not influence on the genes themselves. To put it differently, the routes of transmission (and the mechanisms of variation) of inherited and cultural information are largely distinct. The former involves genes and variations of genes and transmission through gametes. The latter involves ... interpersonal contact, social artifacts, and the brain.

Having said that, one might think I am falling back on an anology between genes and culture "which is just an interesting exercise". I AM making an analogy, but I think it is much more than just an interesting exercise, so much so that I'm willing, if carefully understood, to be seen as making the stronger claim that "evolutionarily, culture IS a continuation of genetics" as well.

The argument, basically, is that, despite the difference in mechanism, there is a deep evolutionary continuity between genetics and culture. The continuity is not simply that it is the variability of the former (interacting with the environment) that gave rise to the latter, though this is important. It is further that what genetic evolution gave rise to was not a fixed and invariant culture but rather variable culture. And this makes best sense to me on the presumption that variability is fundamental/desireable for living systems at all levels of organization (up to and including cultures). Both genetic and culture variation serve the same "function": to promote exploration of novelty.

I hope that's clearer (and seems coherent, rather than like trying to have my cake and eat it too). As for some additional reading, there's a brief paper by me on Diversity and Deviance: A Biological Perspective and a note on The Bell Curve, both of which relate to the genetics/culture interface. Language provides some very nice examples both of the influence of genetics on culture and of the generativity of culture itself; Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct is a good introduction to this interplay. And Susan Blakemore's The Meme Machine is an exploration of the usefulness of thinking about culture in terms similar to genetics.

The idea that "culture is biologically as important as genetics" is a little harder for me to attach to a particular literature. It seems obvious to me, along the lines of the continuity argument made above, so long as genes/individuals are not only generative of culture but also influenced by it. And the latter seems so obvious to me as to not require argument (particularly for humanities-based minds", among which, I guess, I have to include myself to some degree). But, there are abundant examples in the biological literature of cultural influences on individuals: for example, stress reactions, allergies to man-made materials, and the like. Moreover, there are striking examples of alterations in human populations stemming largely from cultural factors (see Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel, for some of this, as well as the complexity of the bidirectional gene/culture interplay).

This is getting a little long and a little far afield from sex. Hope its useful nonetheless. Thanks again to all for the conversation. I'd be delighted to pursue it further with any of you who are interested.


thinking sexxx
Name: Monica Loc
Date: //2002-11-10 00:33:31 :
Link to this Comment: 3628

This weeks presentation was G-R-E-A-T!! It was interesting to hear Sheri talk about kamasutra and how her parents kept these images away while living in the USA. I thought that that these images were not images to be shown in public in the indian society. This was just reallly interesting to me:) Sara's question about what language is used to describe or talk about sex really got me thinking hard. I did what she said to do and that was to think really hard and to tell you the truth, I do not know what to say or how to reply to that question. I mean as of now, putting sex into a language involves alot of physical and mental understanding between the two beings. Words describe how one is feeling and actions create an image of pleasure or unsatisfaction. How do I incorporate these ideas to actually put sex into a language? For example, when we were talking about orgasms in class, one can say "Oh God", but what does that really mean? Is one reaching great climax or is one dying of pain? Sex isnt always good for everyone, some people dont even experience orgasms. I will definitely add on to this idea when I come up with more to describe.


Strippers
Name: Lindsay Hi
Date: //2002-11-11 00:39:50 :
Link to this Comment: 3652

ok so this past weekend i was at a party, that happened to involve a stripper later in the night. my first inclination was to leave. Upon further evaluation of my situation i decided that a) it was my friends birthday and b) it would be a new experience. So i stuck around..and eventually i found myself "thinking sex," i mean the class. Sitting there watching this event unfold i couldn't help but think criticially given the circumstances.

****the following contains descriptions, not meant to offend, but may, so use descretion*****
the room dark. the birthday girl in the chair. the blond flowing hair stripper comes in with silver glittery heels and a red, white and blue, american flag thong and bra are soon revealed. the stripper mounts above mentioned birthday girl, making her touch her all over. hands rubbing up and down the strippers body. eventually this whole ordeal leads to the stripper taking off everything at one point or another. Such activities included what may be deemed strong acts of foreplay, definately meant to arouse the birthday girl. included the touching of breasts and genitals to say the least...portions of the activity included spectators putting money on body parts of the birthday girl they wished the stripper to pay attention to...at one point a dollar bill on the mouth of the birthday girl was followed by the stripper rubbing her vagina on the dollar which served as a barrier during the action (makes you wonder about where money has been...)
****end description****

this brought me to question several notions about sex, power and money.
1) i found it amusing that there was a male escort, who escorted the stripper making sure she was taken care of. He was responsible for picking up the clothing that had been taken off (as well as handing it back to her when he thought appropriate), collecting the money as it was offered during the course of the evening, and i guess making sure the crowd was under control. I guess this would be important if the crowd was all men, i didn't seem to think a bunch of girls was a huge threat, but i could see where it may be. I thought it interesting to think of this guy watching night after night, this woman stripping for others and "performing."
2) the transference of money during the course of the evening, is just interesting to talk about. Money used as a barrier from actually performing oral sex on the stripper, a cultural message that sex/women's bodies, for the right price, may be purchased.
3) i was kind of expecting a rules or introduction, what was allowed what wasn't. But as far as i could tell, everything was "free" game. At what point is a stripper a stripper and not a prostitute. If the 1$ had slipped and the girl ended up making contact or penetrated the genitals, was the stripper then a prostitute? Such sexualized practices lead us to question what is sex REALLY? who decides?

I am doing a survey for another class of "freshmen's attitudes towards sex" and one question asks them to indicate which women are virgins lesbians using sex toys, straight couple vaginal penetration, blow jobs, cunnilingus, hymen broke by horseback riding, woman who masturbates ect. I am still in the process of going through my findings, but preliminary, so far every woman taking part in those sex acts has been indicated as being a virgin. It is thus clear that such terms as virginity and sex have become much more fluid in todays society then it has been in the past.

Not sure how others feel, if others have had similar experiences or not, but i think it was rather interesting to be able to look at the situation from an educational perspective and thought it might spark interest in others...


Strippers
Name: Lindsay Hi
Date: //2002-11-11 00:40:14 :
Link to this Comment: 3654

ok so this past weekend i was at a party, that happened to involve a stripper later in the night. my first inclination was to leave. Upon further evaluation of my situation i decided that a) it was my friends birthday and b) it would be a new experience. So i stuck around..and eventually i found myself "thinking sex," i mean the class. Sitting there watching this event unfold i couldn't help but think criticially given the circumstances.

****the following contains descriptions, not meant to offend, but may, so use descretion*****
the room dark. the birthday girl in the chair. the blond flowing hair stripper comes in with silver glittery heels and a red, white and blue, american flag thong and bra are soon revealed. the stripper mounts above mentioned birthday girl, making her touch her all over. hands rubbing up and down the strippers body. eventually this whole ordeal leads to the stripper taking off everything at one point or another. Such activities included what may be deemed strong acts of foreplay, definately meant to arouse the birthday girl. included the touching of breasts and genitals to say the least...portions of the activity included spectators putting money on body parts of the birthday girl they wished the stripper to pay attention to...at one point a dollar bill on the mouth of the birthday girl was followed by the stripper rubbing her vagina on the dollar which served as a barrier during the action (makes you wonder about where money has been...)
****end description****

this brought me to question several notions about sex, power and money.
1) i found it amusing that there was a male escort, who escorted the stripper making sure she was taken care of. He was responsible for picking up the clothing that had been taken off (as well as handing it back to her when he thought appropriate), collecting the money as it was offered during the course of the evening, and i guess making sure the crowd was under control. I guess this would be important if the crowd was all men, i didn't seem to think a bunch of girls was a huge threat, but i could see where it may be. I thought it interesting to think of this guy watching night after night, this woman stripping for others and "performing."
2) the transference of money during the course of the evening, is just interesting to talk about. Money used as a barrier from actually performing oral sex on the stripper, a cultural message that sex/women's bodies, for the right price, may be purchased.
3) i was kind of expecting a rules or introduction, what was allowed what wasn't. But as far as i could tell, everything was "free" game. At what point is a stripper a stripper and not a prostitute. If the 1$ had slipped and the girl ended up making contact or penetrated the genitals, was the stripper then a prostitute? Such sexualized practices lead us to question what is sex REALLY? who decides?

I am doing a survey for another class of "freshmen's attitudes towards sex" and one question asks them to indicate which women are virgins lesbians using sex toys, straight couple vaginal penetration, blow jobs, cunnilingus, hymen broke by horseback riding, woman who masturbates ect. I am still in the process of going through my findings, but preliminary, so far every woman taking part in those sex acts has been indicated as being a virgin. It is thus clear that such terms as virginity and sex have become much more fluid in todays society then it has been in the past.

Not sure how others feel, if others have had similar experiences or not, but i think it was rather interesting to be able to look at the situation from an educational perspective and thought it might spark interest in others...


poetry
Name: Jenny Wade
Date: //2002-11-11 10:47:33 :
Link to this Comment: 3662

I found the following poem beautiful and there was an image that went with it, but unfortunately I couldn't figure out how to paste it. If anyone wants to check it out go to http://www.mindcaviar.com/poetry/ness11p.html SESTINA IN SILK He bound her eyes with blood-red silk and placed bonds of silver on her neck. "You are my swan," he said, "my beloved shadow, to whom I give my whole heartsong. Let us dance and fuck beneath the stars." She had always hid her gaze from stars and kept her gaze low beneath the silk, even as he hummed a song and kissed the bonds of silver harsh upon her neck. The shadow of his lips felt like the feather of a swan. She trembled, like a newborn swan and felt upon her skin the rush of stars she felt the heat of his shadow against her skin. Against the silk her eyes shook. The silver trembled, as if it rang in song. She seemed to hear a sudden song, the death-cry, perhaps, of a swan, or something played upon a lyre of silver. Through her mind danced fiery stars. She gasped. She pulled the silk from her eyes. "I am no shadow. Not tonight. If you wish a shadow, find another to sing your song." She kissed him and tied the silk against his chest. "Let me be a swan and soar beneath tonight's dim stars free of bindings, silk or silver." He knelt, and touched her chains of silver then pulled her down into his shadow, piercing her soul. She screamed to the stars and turned her scream into a song. For once, she knew the flight of a swan and fell against him, weak as silk. He left her bound in silver silk. A trembling shadow of a newborn swan. But she had had her gift of stars and song. Copyright © 2002 Mari Ness. All rights reserved. Do not copy or post. Illustration "Grace" Copyright © 2002 Lisa A. Smith. I found this poem particularly beautiful, creating a sensual world both indulging in pleasure and wrestling the violation of it. The vivid imagery of flowing, covering silk, hiding the sexuality and the stars from the speaker in combination with the eventual removal of this cloak-like silk astounding. The sexual acts are in a sense a rape, as the speaker attempts to flee from this lover's ownership as a swan bound in silver and cloaked in silk, but is kept in this lover's clutches. The speaker wants to be free to fly, but before this flight, she is drawn in by the lover's shadow, penetrated, yet while this seems somewhat violent, has a "gift of stars and song" allowing a euphoric freedom at the poem's end. In the context of the swan, a song is a mark of sweetness, and a swansong a final declaration of sweetness often before death. Perhaps sexuality becomes intertwined with the spiritual in this poem, the song marking a rebirth. Such vivid, passionate ideas and imagery could not have been conveyed neraly as well through conventional language. I also find the image (that was paired with the poem when I found it) very interesting, characteristic of the vulnerable yet bold presentation of the self that took place in the poem. Also, I find it quite interesting that while the poem is written in a strict poetic form, its contents seem to be unrestricted by the formalities of poetic structure. I'm curious to know how other people feel about managing to confine sexuality to confined forms of writing, yet still managing to let what the writing has to say remain completely unrestricted. Does this work?


Readings
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-11-11 15:02:12 :
Link to this Comment: 3668

To all thinkers of sex--


Readings for next Tuesday's class

(so far; two more websites expected soon from Ngoc):

one site: www.languageinindia.com/nov2001/foreign4.html

and two essays on reserve:

Janice Boddy, "Womb as Oasis: The Symbolic Context of Pharaonic Circumcision in Rural Northern Sudan." American Ethnologist (1982): 682-698.

Anne Fausto-Sterling, "Dueling Dualisms." Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality. 1-29.


To Tamina, Kathryn, Michele, Lindsay H, Ngoc--

please plan, as last week's group did, to speak for about 5 minutes on your selection: where it came from, why you picked it, what interests you about it, how you think it intersects w/ our ongoing exploration. In addition (following up on Lauren's suggestion) would the 5 of you please decide together on a couple of questions that bring your essays together, so we can have a conversation that is a little less diffuse than last Thursday's?

Please and thanks and looking forward to this--


Anne


P.S. Last call to those of you who have not posted the abstracts of paper #3-4 and the bibliography.


P.P.S.

Sarah was really pushing me in our last class on the question of the "failure" of language. Trying to articulate my thinking on this matter, I'd say that--following Lacan--I think that language always marks a loss, a gap, is always inadequate--but for that very reason we are called to continue to try to say what...cannot be said. Every discourse is insufficient, but for that reason we need to keep on talking, trying to get it "less wrong," if never actually "right" (and so I now withdraw that word "failure," and apologize for using it to Mary--and for laying it on all of you as well). Ever onward!


Readings
Name: Michelle M
Date: //2002-11-11 15:03:52 :
Link to this Comment: 3669

One of our readings can be found on line at the following website:


www.languageinindia.com/nov2001/foreign4.html


its a cool site so feel free to do some exploring.


Websites
Name: Ngoc Tran
Date: //2002-11-11 15:05:47 :
Link to this Comment: 3670


These are the two websites ...


in the first website you can find an article:


http:/www.nerve.com/Dispatches/Gilboa/shadowDancing/index.asp?page=1


the second website :


http://www.ilga.org/Information/legal_survey/asia_pacific/vietnam.htm


feel free to explore the sites...it won't take long.


This week's thoughts....
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-11-11 17:27:45 :
Link to this Comment: 3673

Our topics this week are "Multicultural Sex" (on Tuesday) and "Sex in Art" (on Thursday). Please post here your reactions, thoughts, afterthoughts...on these or related themes.
Anne


Trans Monologue
Name: Sarah
Date: //2002-11-11 19:15:09 :
Link to this Comment: 3678

I'm posting a monologue a friend from Wesleyan wrote with two others, one that is to be included in Wesleyan's production of The Vagina Monologues this year. It grapples with some topics we've been discussing and ones we will be discussing this week too, I think. I'm not sure what the deal is with privacy v. citation so I'm not including the names of the authors...

She grabs my tie and pulls me in, her breasts meeting mine: unbound by bra or tape. God, I want her. My lips press against hers and she wraps around my fingers as I feel her hands on my belt. I love undressing with the comfort of kisses and eyes staying on my body and hers as the ties, the shirts, the belts, her bra, my boxer briefs, the pants mix and mingle on the floor. I stand naked and watch her watching me. It's after my clothes fall to the floor that I let go of the perceptions, comments, looks, assumptions, judgments that have been placed on my body on my gender on my sex on my self. My vagina's hot watching her look at me. Eyes that I hope see my body my sex and don't box me as a woman. I'm naked and hot. This stripping left me free and ready. Her hand falls down my face, slides down my neck, cups my breast and pinches my already hard nipples. I watch her as she looks up at me, her lips smiling, inches from my cunt. My vagina. My pussy. In this strange place between reality, fantasy, lust, and passion, my gender is lost and found as she sucks my clit, giving me the best blowjob of my life. The best blowjob of my life. Orgasm lingers as I kiss juices from her lips, and can't understand why everything is so fucking gendered. Why my naked body screams woman. Why my fantasies label me as a man, and my gender, me... I'm still speechless from more than just that orgasm. She kisses me goodbye in the morning, I take a hot shower, and open the dresser drawers. Echoes resonate in my mind from too many questions. How can you want to put on that tie, those boxers, those briefs when you look so hot in a short jean skirt and a t-shirt ripped at the neck just low enough to hint at your beautiful, enticing breasts? Change the word "you" to the possessive "I" and use a more neutral word like "chest" instead of "breast", and you have not just this morning, but my every morning. As I feel the weight of my boxers in one hand and a pair of victoria's secret black underwear in the other, I can't help but notice—no, obsess—over the fact that my lover's eyes linger a little longer, my parents a little prouder when I dress—rather, dress up—like my societally assigned gender would suggest. But when I dress, and when I walk down the street, I'm eying the pretty girls (and some pretty boys too). Feeling the bulge in my crotch grow until everyone's staring at it, impressed. Daydreaming of walking up to one of them, saying, low and cool (pause)... the daydream always breaks off there, before I can speak, I get flustered, realizing my voice is about as low as that of a soprano in the Harlem boys' choir, and whatever is in my pants is probably the same rolled up sock that was there five minutes ago. And, my vagina's in there too. My vagina. It's not always my cunt, my pussy, my vagina. My. It's hard to put those two words together. Vagina is easy, women have them, they are red or purple or pink and gooky when you get a girl excited. My is a smaller word, but much harder. Possessive. I'm not possessive over my vagina, do not necessarily want to possess a vagina, at least not the kind of vagina that Greg on the bus in high school used to leer towards as I passed his seat. "One of these days, I'm gonna teach you how to be a real woman", he told me, at least weekly. I'd try not to shudder and move on, pretending he didn't exist, pretending he wasn't rubbing his crotch. When he knocked me down in the lunchroom and I stared up at that khaki covered crotch, it gleamed even more: "this is what I have that you don't have, that gives me power over you", it seemed to say. Greg said he had to teach me how to be a "real woman" cuz he could see that, for me, "vagina" is not equal to "woman". What he didn't know is that "real woman" was never my goal. I am not a woman. The nubs and flaps of skin that are my sex between my legs are not my gender. That is more between my ears. I want my gender to be in my vagina, to be visible, to pop out and say, "look here! This is not the vagina of a woman, so don't touch me in the way you'd touch a woman. Touch me the way my wetness and my heat and my orgasms show you, and they will show you. Listen and hear my vagina rename itself; touch me there, where it can't claim that womanly label. But my gender is not where my orgasms are, it's in the way I walk, talk, sit, fuck, laugh, make others laugh with my charm, emulate my father, emulate those hot actors like Tom Cruise and Paul Newman whom my friends always wanted to fuck. I'd rather be those men and fuck my friends. Friends. Those that know you, understand you, relate to you. But they don't. Or maybe I'm just ashamed to tell them, to merely utter the word, "trans" because of the fear that it will stick to me. If it sticks to me, am I a man? Is my girlfriend a heterosexual? Do I want either of these things? I do not want to be imprisoned in a gray area that has no term, and has no haven. I do not want to feel ashamed. I want my vagina to speak. I want it to be proud of itself, and of this renamed, reclaimed, reconfigured body. I want to be proud of this renamed, reclaimed, re-imagined body. The thing is, I'm not supposed to be proud. I'm supposed to go to the good doctors and say, "I want a penis!" and "I'm a man trapped in a woman's body" and "I've always tried to pee standing up since I was two years old" (and I only played with GI Joe's and I hated dresses and I only hung out with boys, and always hated these breasts—never my breasts, always "these" breasts, or rather, "chest"). If the word "trans" clings to me, chains itself to me, is all of this true for my life, my gender, me? Maybe it is true for some people. Maybe some of it's true for me. Maybe I am a man and maybe I would be happier if I'd been born with a penis. Right now, I just don't know. I know that I have a vagina, and I know it feels good when somebody touches me. I know that I have been afraid to let people know what I have, to let them touch me down there and see that I like it. If I'm not afraid of my body, if I'm not ashamed of it, if I actually like—love—lust after being touched in that hole they've designated as female, then they tell me I'm not really trans, even if I want to be. That I just think I am, but that I can't be trans if I like my vagina or if I like to get fucked. Especially if I like to get fucked. So what it comes down to is that I'm not sure how I feel about my genitalia, not sure what to say anymore. My vagina, not my genitalia, sorry. No more safe, neutral words. It's too easy to pretend that I have non-gendered genitalia, that none of this matters. That when you ignore your parts, they don't exist, even if you've had three urinary tract infections this year so far and have never gone to get a pap smear. If I deny my vagina, how does it explain my existence? If I love my vagina, how does it explain my gender? If my sex partners enjoy my vagina, are they seeing me as a woman? Why does woman have to equal vagina? In saying that, is where I stand right now at this moment a safe space? Why do I have to pretend every day that I'm not thinking about this, that pretending not to think about it works? I'm sick of pretending. Sometimes I pretend I'm not having sex because I don't want to, when the real reason I don't have sex is that the gay boys ignore me and the dykes don't know what to do with me. If I want a straight girl, will that make me a straight boy? I am not a straight boy. I'm afraid of what my lover thinks when I—if I—take off my clothes. I think my body is sexy, its curves and appendages both, but do you? Are my breasts as sexy when I unbind at night? Or when I bind during the day? What do I have to hide in order to feel and be sexual? Do I have to hide... my vagina? My vagina will not hide anymore. My vagina's coming out, because not all guys have penises, and not all vagina-ed individuals are women. I am sick of being excluded and I refuse to be forcibly included. My vagina's coming out. And so am I.


Sex in Art
Name: Monica Loc
Date: //2002-11-11 20:06:12 :
Link to this Comment: 3680

Hey everyone!
Here's the link for you all to check out for my part of the presentation on Thursday. It is a link that will bring you to a Match and Moan game. Play the game and enjoy!

http://magazines.ivillage.com/cosmopolitan/sex/kama/spc/0,12859,284388_435758,00.html

Monica:)


Tuesday
Name: Lindsay Hi
Date: //2002-11-11 23:34:45 :
Link to this Comment: 3686

Multicultural Sex on Tuesday Includes two distinct yet related topics, we will be exploring cultural approaches towards ideas of abstinence/virginity and sex/gender. Here is a link to visit in addition to reading Fausto-Sterlings "Dueling Deulisms" chapter of Sexing the Body Among Native Americans, the role of third, fourth, or even fifth genders has been widely documented. Children, who were born physically male or female and yet showed a proclivity for the opposite gender, were encouraged to live out their lives in the gender role, which fit them best. The term used by Europeans to describe this phenomenon is Berdache. "Indians have options not in terms of either/or, opposite categories, but in terms of various degrees along a continuum between masculine and feminine (Williams 80)."


poem
Name: Iris Dicke
Date: //2002-11-12 00:43:02 :
Link to this Comment: 3690

it took me a little bit to find a poem that might relate well. here is what i found:

Raw Pink
Jan Hastillo Brown
(11/06/02)


This is how it feels, exciting the raw pink.
Slow, slow at first, little spark of thought
Ignites into torrid fantasy.
Deliciously, tortously slow,
Middle finger slides across sensitive skin,
Dipping into warm pink folds,
Circles of arousal,
Hips lifting in supplication to the
Goddess of the hand.
Faster now, reaching for the
Firm, waxy bud.
Blossom opens its petal to receive a stroke,
Sticks out her moist tongue to taste the fingertip.
Raw pink, slow-roasted,
Tender hot flesh oozing spicy juices.
Comes now, comes now
No awareness except the rapture,
Imploding red blossoms behind clenched eyes,
Nipples massaged, tweaked to fullness,
Barely touchable in their ecstatic extension.
Thighs and cheeks soaking into the sheets,
Sticky, heated sweetness-musk,
Gift from the raw pink.
Pulse beat spreads throughout,
To lips and eyelids from still-throbbing bud,
Coursing up through fluttering belly
To distended nipples, to lips pursed for breath,
Raw pink sleeps satiated.

This is how it feels.....

©2002 by Jan Hastillo Brown


Sex in Art
Name: Monica Loc
Date: //2002-11-12 16:03:32 :
Link to this Comment: 3703

Hi everyone,
I hope you all played the Match and Moan game. I also want you all to think about what your favorite sex positions are and what comes to mind when you hear the words sex positions. See you all on Thursday!

Monica


multi-culture perspective
Name: ngoc
Date: //2002-11-12 18:43:47 :
Link to this Comment: 3705

in class, we have been focusing on how to understand other culture's perspecitive/practices/beliefs...etc. we also explore the idea that it maybe be impossible to truly understand/see/be in a certain culture... yet, through all these, i think we forget to ask the most important question of all... why? why do we need to understand? what is the purpose? for us personally and as a culture? do we even need a purpose? if we don't, then why do we need to or make the effort to seek out such understand of other culture?


Where the rules don't all make sense
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-11-12 20:45:00 :
Link to this Comment: 3707

I was pretty discouraged today by our conversation about the "collision" between my vision of a public (web-based) conversation about sex, and the needs of many of our field sites for confidentiality. I'm trying to take comfort from our faculty discussions on Emergence, in particular from a passage in Steven Johnson's book of that title, which seems relevant as we stumble along,trying to figure out the rules we need for operating in an ever-changing, ever-evolving world.

Johnson begins by describing a Nintendo game that was a favorite of my son's a few years ago, Zelda: Ocarina of Time: "The plot belongs squarely to the archaic world of fairy tales--a young boy armed with magic spells sets off to rescue the princess....what you're supposed to do...takes hours of exploration and trial and error....But if you see that opacity as part of the art...then the whole experience changes: you're exploring the world of the game and the rules of the game at the same time....

I think [this generation has] developed another skill, one that almost looks like patience: they are more tolerant of being out of control, more tolerant of that exploratory phase where the rules don't all make sense, and where few goals have been clearly defined. In other words, they are uniquely equipped to embrace the more oblique control system of emergent software. The hard work for tomorrow's interactive design will be exploring the tolerance--that suspension of control--in ways that enlighten us, in ways that move beyond the insulting residue of princesses and magic spells."

Anne


SITE FOR THURSDAY
Name: Deborah
Date: //2002-11-13 11:25:16 :
Link to this Comment: 3717

Here's a fun sex costume site for y'all to browse:
http://www.costumes.org/pages/kinky.htm
See you all Thursday!


Postings & Emergence
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-11-13 15:25:07 :
Link to this Comment: 3719

Hi, guys.

Jan Richards, webmistress for Serendip, and I spent this morning wrestling your praxis papers/bibliographies into shape for posting. You can find them now @ http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/sci_cult/thinksex/web3/index.html or on the last link (to Praxis Site Papers) on the course homepage.

If you have questions about how yours turned out, send them to Jan, okay? (w/ a copy to me, since I'm learning under her tutelage and right along w/ you folks).

As per my last posting, my current guiding insight is that of "emergent systems." I've just finished Steven Johnson's Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities,and Software, and pass along now another passage from that book, which encourages me as we limp along together, figuring out how to play this game....

"Narrative has always been about the mix of invention and repetition; stories seem like stories because they follow rules that we've learned to recognize, but the stories that we most love are ones that surprise us in some way, that break rules in the telling. They are a mix of the familiar and the strange: too much of the former, and they seem stable, formulaic; too much of the latter, and they cease to be stories. We love narrative genres--dectective, romance, action-adventure--but the word generic is always used as a pejorative....

that battle over control that underlines any work of emergent software, particularly a work that aims to entertain us, runs parallel to the clash beween repetion and invention in the art of the storyteller. A good yarn surprises us, but not too much.... great [web] designers...are control artists--they have a feel for that middle ground between free will and the nursing home, for the thin line between too much order and too little. They have a feel for the edges."

Anne


Second (and third) thoughts
Name: nancy
Date: //2002-11-13 19:17:30 :
Link to this Comment: 3726

I've been thinking a little about my Praxis and, in a roundabout way, our final projects, and I think we might all benefit from some more time discussing our sites together, and maybe even our plans for building a curriculum for them. I would just like to see how everyone has progressed since we had the "praxis introduction" conversation so long ago.
Other than that, I think we may be being a little too hard on ourselves about the web forum/class doubts. While I do think it is difficult to decide how much censoring should be done, we have contributed to something created to benefit not only ourselves, but anyone else who may be bored/curious enough to stumble upon our site. While it is important to respect confidentiality, I do wish we could post whatever we happen to think about our Praxis sites. We have spent the last two months opening our minds and vocabularies to many different perspectives and languages about sex (some we didn't like, and some that may even have been offensive to some) so now, in the culmination of our discussion/thoughts, we should be somewhat stifled? I do see the harm in alienating our sites, so I guess I am still somewhat undecided...


Thursday class
Name: Lauren Fri
Date: //2002-11-14 01:50:59 :
Link to this Comment: 3728

Hey guys -- sorry I'm so late in posting. If anyone reads this before Thursday's class, take a look at the Toys in Babeland website. Toys in Babeland is a woman-focused, sex-positive sex toy store in NYC. The website's pretty big, so I'd focus on the "Shop for Toys" section if you're pressed for time.


lady chatterley's lover
Name: Chelsea
Date: //2002-11-14 12:42:37 :
Link to this Comment: 3732

I don't know how many of you have read Lady Chatterley's Lover, or if anyone has...but I picked it up the other day (always wanting to read such a *scandelous* book:) And found a plethera of interesting observations in the first six pages and thought I'd share a few- hehehe...

"So they had given the gift of themselves, each to the youth with whom she had the most subtle and intimate arguments. The arguments, the discussions, were the great thing: the love-making and connection were only a sort of primative revision and a bit of an anticlimax. One was less in love with the boy afterwards, and a little inclined to hate him, as if he had trespassed on one's privacy and inner freedom...this sex business was one of the most ancient and sordid connections and subjections...Women had always known there was something better...The beautiful, free power of a woman was infinately more wonderful than any sexual love. The only thing was that men lagged so far behind...the insisted on the sex thing like dogs."

"...she could use this sex thing to have power over him. For she had only to hold herself back in sexual intercourse, and let him finish and expend himself without herself coming to the crisis: and then she could prolong the connection and achieve her orgasm and her crisis while he was merely her tool."

"But then she soon learnt to hold him to keep him there inside her when his crisis was over. And there he was generous and curiously potent; he stayed firm inside her, given to her, while she was active...wildly, passionately active, coming to her own crisis. And he felt the frenzy of her achieving her own orgasmic satisfaction from his hard, erect passivity, he had a curious sense of pride and satisfaction."

-D.H.Lawrence


Reading for Sex and the Law
Name: Jess T
Date: //2002-11-14 12:51:43 :
Link to this Comment: 3733

I invite you to go to Legal Age of Consent to look at laws related to sex and age of consent by states and countries. I suggest looking at whichever state/country interests you, but for the continuity of the class I think it would be a good idea for everyone to read about the state of Pennsylvania at Pennsylvania -- Age of Consent (all of the blue state/country names are links to further information).

My portion of Tuesday's discusion will be based on the Age of Consent website. But if you are interested in further information about sex and the law I suggest Sex Laws Info Website and the Philly section of the World Sex Guide might be of interest to this class.

see you in class Tuesday!
Jess


Sex and Art
Name: elisa
Date: //2002-11-14 15:39:29 :
Link to this Comment: 3736

I just wanted to say that Iris' ASL translation (is that what it would be called) of the song in class today was a real eye opener. It was great to see how performative language can be.

One reaction I have: A small group of us were talking after class outside English house stating how we felt that the signs for words that were less sexually explicit were the most beautiful and erotic, (for example, the sign for the word "neck"). I was wondering why Iris didnt choose to contrast the song she used--- which contained blatant bodily sexual language--- with a song that was describing sex using less explicit language. an example of the latter would be, pulling a song from debra's mix cds, peaches n' cream song by 112. the hook for the song is:

Peaches and cream
I need it 'cause you know
That I'm a fiend...
It's even better when
It's with ice cream
Know what I mean
Peaches and cream

Now, I know that this song is describing a woman's vagina. However, when translated into ASL, would it look as sexually graphic as the song we saw in class today? I dont meant to sound like I am picking at small things. I am just wondering how the translation would look. I think a lot of my reaction to what I saw today was from the overtly explicit signs such as the one in which it is the two spread out fingers and the tongue in between them (i think that meant oral sex on a woman?) I think it would be interesting to see the less blatant verbal language translated through ASL and see our interpretation of it...


Pushing It
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-11-15 11:41:34 :
Link to this Comment: 3743

To all those thinking about sex (yeah, yeah, I know: seems as if I never stop....)

I was in my usual ambivalent state during class yesterday: on the one hand delighting the "emergent system" that's evolving in the context of this class, @ the elements which arise when I'm not trying to control what happens, such as Iris's astonishing performance, for which many, many thanks ...).

on the other hand, I found myself very impatient that we weren't "getting far enough," "working hard enough," "trying hard enough" to push the envelope of what we already know. As you may remember, all my questions had to do w/ the notions of categories: WHAT distinguishes music from text, as an expression of sexuality? WHAT constitutes the category "fetish"? Lauren defined it as "a unique way of getting off, different from the mainstream." But what happens, in that definition, to Samuel Delany's challenge in "Aversion/Perversion/Diversion" (the essay we read on 9/10/02) to the "myth of the solitary fetish" (126), the attempt to "dissolve normal/abnormal" (138), to declare all we do "perverse"?

Likewise, given yesterday's presentations, what is left "outside" the category of "art"? Did the distinction on which this class was founded--that we are exploring here the ways in which sex finds its way into language--come undone when Monica presented various sexual positions as forms of art, as body language? (I'm reminded here of Hanan's early lament: "why can't we let sex be language-less, natural in own language?...sex IS a language and has a language all its own. Translation is futile.") IS sex itself a language? An art? How then are we defining art? --and who gets to do the defining?

I made reference in class to a talk by Arthur Danto, "Beauty and the Definition of Art," which I heard @ Haverford on 11/7/02. Danto began with an essay by Clement Greenberg, who saw modernism as a radical reduction, a conceptual cleansing, fed by a puritannical fervor to get rid of all that is extrinsic (so painting, for instance, is purged of all illusion, all depth, and becomes essential "flatness"). Danto juxtaposed that modernist aesthetic with subsequent movements which attempted to close the gap between art and life, to transfigure everyday life by studying the aesthetic of everyday objects. Pairs of objects became available that were entirely alike in appearance, but one was "art," the other not. Inspired by Suzuki's Zen Buddhism, Brecht's Fluxus, and John Cage's seminar on performance art, artists began creating objects which were not distinguishable in outward appearance from not-art. What accounted for the difference? There were no conventional criteria left for distinguishing Duchamp's "readymades" from a garage collection, dance from sitting still, "whatever is heard" from music, a row of bricks from sculpture. Fluxus challenged all the received conceptions of art that grounded its distinction from the everyday: exclusiveness, individuality, rarity, inspiration, skill, commodity values...little survived the avant garde experiment, Danto explained, except for a definition of art as "an artifact on which persons acting on behalf of the art world chose as a candidate." The task of art critics continued to be to explain "wherein its excellence consists"--not its beauty, because the point could be to elicit disgust in the viewer, or simply to evoke some powerful reaction.

Does any of THAT take us somewhere we haven't been before?

Pushy as always,

Anne P.S. The handout about final presentations had some omissions; here are the revisions, which I've also posted on the online syllabus:

Day 25: Tues, Dec. 3 Sarah H, Hanan, Maggie, Fritz, Nia
Day 26: Thurs, Dec. 5 Ngoc, Monica, Emily, Iris, Lindsay F, Jill
Day 27: Tues, Dec. 10 Bea, Lindsay U, Nancy, Tamina, Sheri
Day 28: Thurs, Dec. 12 Elisa, Jenny, Jess, Chelsea, Deborah
6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16: Kathryn, Michelle, Sarah M,Lauren H, Masha


Interesting article
Name: Monica Loc
Date: //2002-11-15 18:57:25 :
Link to this Comment: 3749

Hi everyone,
I found an interesting article on yahoo news. here it is:

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20021114/hl_nm/sex_productivity_dc_1

Monica


Online Reading For Tuesday
Name: Lindsa
Date: //2002-11-15 19:47:41 :
Link to this Comment: 3750

Here are two readings for Tuesday's discussion about sex and the law. The first one discusses law enforcement under criminalized prostitution.

http://www.bayswan.org/Polpage.html

The second is the testimony of a former brothel worker who is in favor of the decriminalization of prostitution, which she argues would decrease the exploitation of sex workers by eliminating the need for brothel houses.

http://www.bayswan.org/Laura.html


Sex and the Law
Name: Elisa
Date: //2002-11-16 10:44:07 :
Link to this Comment: 3756

Hey Ladies

I wanted to give you guys a little information on Megan's Law to read for Tuesday. Please checkout this website:

http://www.meganslaw.state.pa.us/soab/cwp/browse.aspa=3&bc=0&c=46295&soabNav=|

This website is the Sex Offenders Assessment board website for PA. Please read the following sections: History of the Law (both Federal and State), Investigation, and PLEASE take the "Interactive Quiz."

Also, to balance that out with a more objective view, please read this very short article:

http://abcnews.go.com/sections/wnt/DailyNews/meganslaw021113.html

This is an article on the ABC news website. (World News tonight did a piece on Megan's Law just this past week, so this topic, though almost 10 yrs in the making, is still right in the middle of political and media debates.)

I think the public vs private aspects of sex laws is what we want to focus on, so here are some questions to think about while you read our materials:

*what effects do public sex laws have on private sex lives? what does it mean that a public institution (the govt) is making decisions about your (private) sex life?

*do you think it is right for someone to possibly write a law regulating how/should you be having sex?

*(this is jess's question)Is the public discusion of these laws pornographic/obscene?


Finally, it would be great if everyone could print out/ bring in an example of ONE thing on one of the websites that you had a reaction to--- this could be something that made you think, a law that you didnt know exisited, something you have a question on, something you want to discuss further... anything that sparks you in any way...

For example, someone could bring in a print out of the definitions of rape and sexual assault from the website Jess provided and raise the question: what is the diff. between the two? and then as a class we can examine/ assess the lang. and/or discussion together in class...

For those examples we dont get to in class, you could use them for your weekly posting! :)


Okay, this is long enough! Hope it all makes sense!


sensual signs
Name: iris
Date: //2002-11-16 20:31:52 :
Link to this Comment: 3757

hello!
in response to elisa's comments:
i had a lot of trouble finding an appropriate song to interpret. i began by searching for a Deaf poem...but couldn't find one on sexuality. (Deaf poems rhyme in visually and in meaning...rather than audibly like vocal languages) i then moved on to english poetry...but all of the sexual poems...although very expressive and sensual in english used too much allusion and would have been difficult to interpret into blunt ASL while still retaining the meaning. i had the same trouble with english songs. i was trying to convey how blunt and explicit ASL is and how that translates into how blunt the Deaf culture is about sex...and, indeed, everything. the refrain "peaches and cream" could be interpreted into ASL in two different manners: it could be completely interpreted...meaning you would literally be signing about a vagina (in which case it might be rather repetitive...and just as graphic), or it could be translated word for word...in which case it would probably be understood to be talking about a peach, literally, by a Deaf person who was not familiar with hearing literary tradition. ASL can be an extremely sensual language, regardless of what you're talking about though, mostly..i think...because it fully utilizes the body..This is incredibly sensual. so i definitely agree with you about many of the less sexual words looking sexual. i guess you'd just have to question what is sexy. the point i was making with the song i interpreted was explicitly...however, is sexiness being explicit about sexuality..or alluding to sexuality?



Name: Sarah H.
Date: //2002-11-17 00:23:32 :
Link to this Comment: 3760

In keeping with Elisa and Iris on the sexiness of sign language...If you think about it, vocal language is a move away from body language...Babies, for instance, use their bodies/instincts to indicate their needs, until they have language. After language is learned, the body acts as an emphasizer of words, but usually does not replace them in everyday conversation. So vocal language is a move away from the body. Sign language returns to the body by depending on it for its expression. The ways hearing people use their body for expression would be through dance, which is very sexual/sensual, and through physical intimacy...so it seems natural that the use of the body in sign language would be associated with sexuality/sensuality to hearing people.

However, this kind of skirts around the main question: Why is the use of the body in communication considered sexual/sensual? Maybe its because "body language" (all language that depends on the body for its expression) brings us back to our own and others' physicality, our physical bodies, and therefore our sexual bodies. Sign language and other forms of body language focus on the physical aspect of humans, rather than the mental. But still -what is it about the human body and bodily expression that is so sexual? Mental communication doesn't equal non-sexual, and physical communication doesn't equal sexual, so then what aspect of sexuality is drawn out only in physical communication, and not mental? THe attention it draws to the physical body? Does it bring us back to our primal (sexual) urges or something? I'm confused!!!


blah, blah, blah, blah, blah
Name: Kathryn
Date: //2002-11-17 13:13:05 :
Link to this Comment: 3765

I agree with Sarah that "'body language' brings us back to our own and others' physicality, our physical bodies, and therefore our sexual bodies" but I don't think that it focuses on the physical aspect of being human instead of the mental. I think that body language incorporates both the mental and the physical instead of alienating the mind. However, when we speak verbally, we might try to alienate the body. We also tend to forget that the brain is a sexual organ, and that the body can convey many things that are not sexual. We can use body language without knowledge of ASL to convey anger, hunger, thirst, discomfort... In our culture we make a distinction between body and mind that makes them seem independent of one another. We rank mind over body, such as in "high brow" humor which expresses humor through intellectual wit and "low brow" humor which is potentially vulgar and uses the physicality of the body to convey its point. Even if sexuality is dealt with intellectually, it further emphasizes the artificial (?) distance between body and mind by alluding to sex instead of grappling with it directly. Even in a nonsexual sense we value the mind over the body such as cultural attitudes towards white collar and blue collar labor. Don't we "better" ourselves by going to college, as reflected in future salaries? (I think the few highly paid athletes say something else about our culture, but I'm not going to get into that.) The words that we do have to talk about sex and the body in general are frequently not used in polite conversation or considered appropriate for women or appropriate for anyone educated. Slang and curse words are rife with examples of everything taboo.
I believe that Freud said that creativity originates out of sexual repression. Creativity is the sublimation of sexuality. Because we cannot physically express sexual desire we morph it into something more "appropriate" such as an intellectual or artisitc creation. I can see what he's getting at, but I'm not sure I agree with him. (But if language is used to name what we don't have - who said that? Lacan? - and art is the expression of sexual repression, does that mean that art is expressing what we don't have, like sexual satisfaction?) He focused on the sexual needs of the body in this delineation between body and mind, which is commendable, but I don't think its helpful to think of them as two separate parts of the self. I'm not just saying that mind and body intersect, I think that they are fully intertwined. As far as language goes, I don't think the experience of communicating can be purely verbal, ever. Body language, facial expression and tone of voice allow one to read between the lines or emphasize a point. Sign language doesn't rely on mechanical movements but also incorporates expression of emotion, be it facial or physical. Even on IM, we use *sighs* and *winks* and :) etc. The depiction of emotion is crucial for understanding fiction, plays, etc. What I'm trying to say is that allusion or expression of/by the body contextualizes language. I think this means that we can put sexuality into language, particularly if we devaluing slang or any reference to the body and the body's functions, needs, and desires, in other words, OUR functions, needs, and desires. We need to rename or reclaim words for sex, stop censoring ourselves, and consciously recognize how we say what we say, and then I think we can unquestionably put sex into language. Now it's a matter of how we get from here to there.


More Body Language
Name:
Date: //2002-11-17 14:14:11 :
Link to this Comment: 3766

When deciding upon groups for these presentations, I chose "Sex and Art" intending to focus on body language and movement, something I was very interested in learning more about, and I was afraid when we discussed putting sex into language we were focusing too much on verbal communication. I mean, body LANGUAGE is innately sexual, I believe. It is also one of the only acceptable forms of communicating sexuality, whether through dance, winks, or even leaning ino a conversation with someone. I know the issue will probably come up "how does body language have anything to do with art?" and that is a very valid question, one that I can only answer at this point by asking what makes it outside the category of art? I see our thought moving towards an all-encompassing view of sex and thinking and talking freely, but why are we so obsessive about trying to define everything (either by an idea already in scolarly common knowledge or by means of the language we have determined inadequate). Why compartmentalize our experiences and our new thoughts the same (arguably ineffective) way we always have. We are participating in an experiment, it's frustrating to watch this weird paradox of our progress--our new ideas are tinged by the same way of thinking that we are supposedly trying to break away from. Maybe this makes no sense, I just wish we could let things be a little outside the boundaries (it's okay to let kama sutra positions be art) and see what happens from there; if we don't allow new ways of thinking about sex to foster, have we defeated the purpose of our time together already?
Althoguh my groups presentation is more than a week away, I would like to start everyone thinking about what they'd like to learn about sex and art. After the first (wonderful) art day, I think the second can expand on the thgouhts we had that day. Namely, I hope to discuss body language, so if anyone has any ideas or questions, I can look for the answers. Be thinking!


Reality Check
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-11-18 11:09:20 :
Link to this Comment: 3776

This week's posting should answer (one or more of!) Elisa's questions above...

and/or share your thoughts about the upcoming session on sex in the media.

I found it ironic that the following lecture will be happening just as we are discussing sex and the law:

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 1.00 - Carpenter 21
Kaja Silverman (Department of Rhetoric, University of California, Berkeley): "The Realism of Love"

Anne


Language, Sex and Cole Porter:)
Name: Chelsea
Date: //2002-11-18 15:37:54 :
Link to this Comment: 3778

Cole Porter, damn sexy man. Way with words that I thought you'd all enjoy:) From Kiss Me Kate, by the bye. If you don't have time for both, at least read the second as it kinda relates to the where the legal/moral line would be drawn for prostitution.

11.TOO DARN HOT
PAUL:
It's too darn hot,
It's too darn hot.
I'd like to sup with my baby tonight,
And play the pup with my baby tonight.
I'd like to sup with my baby tonight,
And play the pup with my baby tonight,
But I ain't up to my baby tonight,
'Cause it's too darn hot.
PAUL AND BOYS:
It's too darn hot,
It's too darn hot.
PAUL:
I'd like to stop for my baby tonight,
And blow my top with my baby tonight.
I'd like to stop for my baby tonight,
And blow my top with my baby tonight,
But I'd be a flop with baby tonight,
'Cause it's too darn hot.
PAUL AND BOYS:
It's too darn hot,
It's too darn hot.
PAUL:
I'd like to fool with my baby tonight,
Break ev'ry rule with my baby tonight.
PAUL AND BOYS:
I'd like to fool with my baby tonight,
Break ev'ry rule with my baby tonight,
PAUL:
But, pillow, you'll be my baby tonight,
'Cause it's too darn hot.
PAUL AND BOYS:
According to the Kinsey Report
Ev'ry average man you know
Much prefers to play his favorite sport
When the temperature is low,
But when the thermometer goes 'way up
And the weather is sizzling hot,
PAUL:
Mister Adam
For his madam.
Is not,
PAUL AND BOYS:
'Cause it's too, too
Too darn hot,
It's too darn hot,
It's too darn hot.
PAUL:
It's too darn hot,
It's too darn hot.
I'd like to call on my baby tonight,
And give my all to my baby tonight.
PAUL AND BOYS:
I'd like to call on my baby tonight,
And give my all to my baby tonight.
PAUL:
But I can't play ball with baby tonight,
'Cause it's too darn hot.
PAUL AND BOYS:
It's too darn hot,
It's too darn hot.
PAUL:
I'd like to meet with my baby tonight,
Get off my feet, mm, with my baby tonight.
PAUL AND BOYS:
I'd like to meet with my baby tonight,
Get off my feet with my baby tonight.
PAUL:
But no repeat with baby tonight,
'Cause it's too darn hot.
PAUL AND BOYS:
It's too darn hot,
It's too darn hot.
PAUL:
I'd like to coo to my baby tonight,
And pitch the woo with my baby tonight.
PAUL AND BOYS:
I'd like to coo to my baby tonight,
And pitch the woo with my baby tonight.
PAUL:
But, pillow, you'll be my baby tonight,
'Cause it's too darn hot.
PAUL AND BOYS:
According to the Kinsey Report
Ev'ry average man you know
Much prefer to play his favorite sport
When the temperature is low,
But when the thermometer goes 'way up
And the weather is sizzling hot,
PAUL:
Mister Gob
For his squab.
A marine,
For his queen.
A G.I.
For his cutie-pie
Is not,
PAUL AND BOYS:
'Cause it's too, too
Too darn hot,
It's too darn hot,
It's too, too, too, too darn hot.

LOIS:
Oh, Bill,
Why can't you behave?
Why can't you behave?
How in hell can you be jealous
When you know, baby, I'm your slave?
I'm just mad for you,
And I'll always be,
But naturally

If a custom-tailored vet
Asks me out for something wet,
When the vet begins to pet, I cry "Hooray!"
But I'm always true to you, darlin', in my fashion,
Yes, I'm always true to you, darlin', in my way.
I enjoy a tender pass
By the boss of Boston, Mass.,
Though his pass is middle-class and notta Backa Bay.
But I'm always true to you, darlin', in my fashion,
Yes, I'm always true to you, darlin', in my way.
There's a madman known as Mack
Who is planing to attack,
If his mad attack means a Cadillac, okay!
But I'm always true to you, darlin', in my fashion,
Yes, I'm always true to you, darlin', in my way.

I've been asked to have a meal
By a big tycoon in steel,
If the meal includes a deal, accept I may.
But I'm always true to you, darlin', in my fashion,
Yes, I'm always true to you, darlin', in my way.
I could never curl my lip
To a dazzlin' diamond clip,
Though the clip meant "let 'er rip," I'd not say "Nay!"
But I'm always true to you, darlin', in my fashion,
Yes, I'm always true to you, darlin', in my way.
There's an oil man known as Tex
Who is keen to give me checks,
And his checks, I fear, mean that sex is here to stay!
But I'm always true to you, darlin', in my fashion,
Yes, I'm always true to you, darlin', in my way.

From Ohio Mister Thorne
Calls me up from night 'til morn,
Mister Thorne once cornered corn and that ain't hay.
Aha!
But I'm always true to you, darlin', in my fashion,
Yes, I'm always true to you, darlin', in my way.
From Milwaukee Mister Fritz
Often moves me to the Ritz,
Mister Fritz is full of Schlitz and full of play.
But I'm always true to you, darlin', in my fashion,
Yes, I'm always true to you, darlin', in my way.
Mister Harris, plutocrat,
Wants to give my cheek a pat,
If the Harris pat
Means a Paris hat,
Bébé, Oo-la-la!
Mais je suis toujour fidèle, darlin', in my fashion,
Oui, je suis toujour fidèle, darlin', in my way.



Name: Chelsea
Date: //2002-11-18 18:44:00 :
Link to this Comment: 3782

Here is the part of Lady Chatterley's Lover that I was talking about in class on Thursday, enjoy:)

"'It is an amusing idea, Charlie,' said Dukes, 'that sex is just another form of talk, where you act the words instead saying them...Sex might be a sort of normal, physical conversation between a man and a woman (sorry, can't control Lawrence's notions of sex)...'
'If you have the proper sort of emotion or sympathy with a woman, you ought to sleep with her,' said May, 'It's the only decent thing to do, to go to bed with her. Just as, when you are interested talking to someone, the only decent thing to do is have the talk out. You don't prudishly put you teeth between your tongue and bite it.'"


Just in case
Name: elisa
Date: //2002-11-18 23:13:43 :
Link to this Comment: 3785

Hey y'all

The link I posted for the Sex Offenders board worked in my room, but when i tried to access it from the library it didnt.

So, just in case it didnt work, here is the main page for the website:

http://www.meganslaw.state.pa.us/soab/site/default.asp


hope there arent any problems accessing it! :)


Can a 13-year-old be ready to have sex?
Name: Bea
Date: //2002-11-19 14:57:30 :
Link to this Comment: 3794

I just have to post some of these thoughts before I forget them myself. Something about the question that Chelsea brought up really showed me how one statement (or law, or question, or concept of any sort) can be interpreted in so many different ways. For example, when faced with the question of whether a 13-year-old can be ready to have sex, it seemed like most of us instantly labeled the adolescent as being female. Would our opinions be gender-biased? Also, I just wanted to make a point of saying that just because someone (child, adolescent, or even adult) may be ready to have sex, does not necessarily mean that s/he will. Someone may be educated about the details and consequences related to sex but may still hold off on actually taking part in it.


language of legality
Name: ngoc
Date: //2002-11-19 23:06:31 :
Link to this Comment: 3800

i did not speak at all in class today because, in a sense, i was learning everything...trying to listen and understand everyone's perspectives and questions. in many ways, these questions we've come up with are overwhelming to me because i do not know the answers ... i don't even know where i would stand on those bluring issues (such as the question chelsea posted at the end). from these discussion, it seems that we agree to certain extend that those laws are meant for protection. i want to post the question then, when happen to those countries where no specific laws are written for that specific purpose. if these countries are to have these laws, what kind of language should be use and why?


Media!
Name: From the S
Date: //2002-11-20 00:47:44 :
Link to this Comment: 3802

Dear Sexy-Thinkers:

This Thursday we will be meeting to discuss sex within the "media", but we're hoping to run class a little differently.

We're not assigning heavy reading, only suggesting one to help structure our discussion. Check out this really short article on the web at Sex Etc. on-line: http://www.sxetc.org/library/genLibArticle.asp?CategoryID=1286&ArticleID=art_1369

Bring in at least 1-2 examples of sex in the "media". Please make one a visual example that you actually bring to class, but be as creative as you can with the others. Think outside of the box. Surprise us. We dare you! Be thinking about your definition of "media" and how your examples are located within this definition.

We've thought of questions and topics to discuss, but we're not going to post them here, because we do not want to limit your thinking. We're hoping that you'll push the limits of your own ideas, bringing unique perspectives to the issue, and pushing one another into a rich discussion.

These are our only requests. Think of it as minimal preparation, for maximum thought!

Smooches,
Annie Sprinkle El-Youssef
Monica Lewinisky Mendell
Candida Royale Teel
Barbara Walters Phillips
Britney Spears Lucaciu


Law and Marriage
Name: Fritz Dubu
Date: //2002-11-20 15:22:24 :
Link to this Comment: 3817

I was surprised by yesterday's discussion which was mostly geared toward sex workers and the laws that should but don't protect them. The real surprised was when Anne referred to marriage as a form of legalized prostitution. I heard the appalled gasp that seemed to escape from more than half the class, yet everyone shied away from the topic and did not bring her up on it. In my opinion marriage can be seen as a form of legalized prostitution. It payment for services rendered. The benefits for the married seem to far out weight those for single people or the children of the single. The government then seems to become this sort of pimp who dangles benefits and rewards in front of those who abide by the "law" and get legally married. But I want to move away from that. If you asked 20 people what the thought marriage was I'm sure you'd get 20 different reasons. From what motivates people to what the actual state of being married is. Many times I've spoken with people who are not from America and have come away with the feeling that marriage here is soon times nothing more than a piece of paper that comes with tax benefits. I propose that marriage like the language of sex is something that we may never have the language to fully express. For some it is a deep spiritual experience for others it can be an accomadating arrangment shouldn't it be left to the individuals involved to define or not define their state of being?


vigeland
Name: Fritz Dubu
Date: //2002-11-20 15:30:14 :
Link to this Comment: 3819

The water color looks like two very diffrent and not quite so perfec personalities locked in a very intimate moment. They are sepereate but interconnected. There are places where they meet where one dominates and others where they seem in perfect harmony. To me the water color looks like what a stimulating conversation with someone who knows you would look like on paper. They know your colors and the places that just don't seem to match and you know theirs. But in the mixing comes the beauty of ideas and a shared and open disscussion. So they agree to disagree.


Finding your own language
Name: Fritz Dubu
Date: //2002-11-20 15:34:44 :
Link to this Comment: 3820

It was interesting to dsicover that there seemed to be no sub-group of women which contained only one woman in the clas. Was it because we were a group of women writing our experiences or is it that sexuality is so mulitifaceted that the gender of the participant in the disscussions would trickle down to the same subcatagories we started ot with.



Name: Fritz Dubu
Date: //2002-11-20 15:39:14 :
Link to this Comment: 3821

Our thinking sex class is still an oddity. THe world outside of bmc would still find it strange and probably indecent that a room full of women were sitting around talking about sex when Glenda explained the realationship dynamics that can sometimes prove dangerous to a woman's well being.


Marriage...Prostitution....?
Name: Louise and
Date: //2002-11-21 01:02:37 :
Link to this Comment: 3832

Hi, we're two Columbia University students taking a women's studies class, and stumbled across this site while doing research. We're really intrigued by some of the discourse offered, and, if it's okay, we'd like to join in the discussion for a moment...

About marriage as being a legalized form of prostitution. Can it really be conceived that way today? What about the legalization of same-sex marriages, for example? Does this merely expand the ideas of the popular imaginations idea of prostitution? Or what? What does it mean in today's contemporary society--someone posted that everyone gasped when this was stated--do people think it's true? It seems to me that the idea of marriage being a legalized form of prostitution was dramatic rhetoric in the heydey of Second Wave Feminism because marriage hadn't been conceived or imagined as such...but now? Is this rhetoric necessary in our contemporary lives, or is it just an overused phrase that is a stereotype catchphrase in the lexicon of the popular imagination's idea of a "feminist?"

I guess the thing we're trying to figure out in our course, as we figure out where we fit in as Third Wave feminists living in an imperfect world, is what can we DO about it? I mean, we can talk about the government, and misogynism, but what can we do to better our world? Marriages and domestic partnerships exist...the government exists...and if we're going to be living in this world and making an active difference, can we afford to be on its fringes with dusty rhetoric from the 1960's...?

Thanks a lot for letting us post, this forum is really cool (we don't have anything like it)


Not feeling well
Name: Monica Loc
Date: //2002-11-21 14:16:26 :
Link to this Comment: 3835

Hi everyone,
I am so upset that I am not able to go to class today because I woke up with a high fever and I just can't function well. I'm sure sex in the media did a great job today and how I wish I saw it!!! I have been thinking about Elisa's question and how she commented on the song used to demonstrate the sign language. I think Iris did an excellent job with the sign language, I can't think of anyone that I know who could have done it any better:) Anyways, going back to Elisas comment on using a song that didnt have to have sexual words for the interpretation is something I think is true. I mean translating a song that does not have any sexual words can be sexual. A great example of a song with no sexual words and that does express a sexual message is peaches and cream which Elisa pointed out. Another song I can actually think of is "Too close" by Next. The chorus is like this:

Baby, when were grinding,
I get so excited, you know that I like it
I try but I can't hide it, oh you're dancing real close
and real real slow, you're making it hard for me.

None of these words are sexual but the understanding of the chorus and the words put together bring about a sexual message. There are also some songs that don't imply any sexual message whatsoever but are sexual. I do agree with Elisa that it is the rhythm and beat that makes it sexual. One of the songs that I really like and feel that has a sexual beat is "So fresh, So clean" by Outkast. I do not know the lyrics but maybe there are some sexual words or whatnot but the beat itself is very sexual!


sex in the media
Name: Kathryn Mc
Date: //2002-11-21 17:02:20 :
Link to this Comment: 3837

Something we've been talking about in my Sex and Gender on Film class at Haverford is fetishistic scopophilia and the ACT OF LOOKING being a turn on as well as the actual thing being looked at. This is like sexual voyuerism. I think this means that our own engagement with the media can be a sexual act, and that perhaps the producers of media count on this as being where the "appeal" lies. When we interact with sex in the media, is it an experience of wanting to have the expeience in the image we see, either by being the image ourselves, or having the image? I'm sure we've all heard of this idea: in our heterosexist society, men are supposed to want the women they see and women are supposed to want to be the women they see. Men are rarely the objects of the gaze (and never intended for heterosexual men's gaze) because they are the ones who should be seeing and possessing (active traits). Women are the ones who should be seen and displayed (considered passive). When mainstream men's and women's magazines (and other forms of mass media) show women who have been socially determined to be attractive and to convey the ideal of women's appearance (i.e. light skinned/as white as possible, slender, etc.), they communicate this and the above engendering ideology to the public as the correct and most valued way of being male or female.
Also, a lot of women are stereotyped and fetishized in mass media, such as the portrayal of "exotic" (non-white) women as sexy/over sexxed, the infantilization of women, and the sexualization of children (i.e. Abercrombie and Fitch made a line of thong underwear that said things like "sexy" which was created for very little girls).
I wonder what feminist ads for consumer products would look like? Or would they need to exist at all in an egalitarian world that's not trying to reproduce hierarchies and communicate patriarcichal (sexist, rascist, classist, ageist, etc.) ideology through the media?


The Purpose of Publicity
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-11-21 17:22:57 :
Link to this Comment: 3838


Here is John Berger's answer to Kathryn's question, "When we interact with sex in the media, is it an experience of wanting to have the expeience in the image we see, either by being the image ourselves, or having the image?" In Ways of Seeing Berger says,


"The purpose of publicity is to make the spectator marginally dissatisfied with his present way of life. Not with the way of life of society, but with his own within it. It suggests that if he buys what it is offering, his life will become better. It offers him an improved alternative to what he is....Publicity is addressed to those who constitute the market, to the spectator-buyer who is also the consumer-producer from whom profits are made twice over--as worker and then as buyer.

All publicity works upon anxiety. The sum of everything is money, to get money is to overcome anxiety. Alternatively the anxiety on which publicity plays is the fear that having nothing you will be nothing...money is the token of, and the key to, every human capacity. The power to spend money is the power to live.....

Publicity increasingly uses sexualtiy to sell any product or service. But this sexualtiy is never free in itself; it is a symbol for something presumed to be larger than it: the good life in which you can buy whatever you want. To be able to buy is the same thing as being sexually desirable....

For publicity the present is by definition insufficent...Its essential application is not to reality but to daydreams." (142-146)

Anne


Media
Name: HY
Date: //2002-11-21 18:27:40 :
Link to this Comment: 3839

For those of you interested, Emily and I visited Athena with the collage and photograohs we used in class today. If you would like to take a closer look at what we found stop Thomas Great Hall and leave your own little offerring to our wise goddess!


sex and law
Name: Fritz Dubu
Date: //2002-11-22 01:42:01 :
Link to this Comment: 3841

In response to what the two Columbia students posted I think that the thought of marriage as legalized prostitution is still very conceivable in today's society. The legalization of same sex marriages does not mean that the participants receive the same benefits with the same amount of ease as others. When I was thinking of the term "legalized prostitution" the fact that there is a difference in the law and what is socially acceptable came into play. The road to theory works both ways. Even though we'd hate to admit it if a financially independent and powerful woman married a man of lesser means it would be assumed that he was being "kept" and receiving payment for services rendered. The spouse of such a woman is usually seen more as her pet than her spouse or significant other. In today's society it is all about money power and then sex. The person who makes the money has the power and can then dictate the sex.


Sex and media
Name: Fritz Dubu
Date: //2002-11-22 01:53:27 :
Link to this Comment: 3842

I have mixed feelings about sex in the media. It seems as if they are all trying to sell you a prepackaged orgasm, one size fits all and it'll be worth it. I was talking about sex in the media way after the class and it came to me how so many things represent SEX to us, but a majority of what was brought was socially accepted views of Caucasian sexuality or at least what they ( who ever they are) think it should be. The sexiest picture I have ever seen has been in an interior decorating book. It was a picture of a beautiful cherry sleigh bed covered with pillows that were gold ,red and yellow. There was a claw foot bath tub near by bathed in sunlight. Between the colors , textures and the feel of the room, all you could think was "THIS IS SEX". It was intimate and pulled at your mind as well as you emotions.


sex joke
Name: Kathryn Mc
Date: //2002-11-22 15:07:27 :
Link to this Comment: 3845

Q: What did one lesbian frog say to another after they had sex?
A: We taste like chicken!

Alternative answer: We sure DON'T taste like chicken!

The first answer destigmatizes lesbian sex (revolutionary humor), while the alternative answer reiterates stereotypical disgust by implying that "women taste like fish and that's gross" (preservative humor). Or not. Maybe the second answer could be read as acknowledging sexual difference/preference without discriminating against it.


Sex and the Media
Name: Elisa
Date: //2002-11-22 16:19:56 :
Link to this Comment: 3847

I want to comment on why I was raising the questions I did in class today.
First off, my comments on the EXCLUSIVE nature of the media we were
presented with: I was attempting to press this issue because I think that
our class conversation was perpetuating a very exclusive view of media and
its contents. I was surprised that it had not been brought up earlier
that young, glamorous, able bodied, thin, white heterosexual people
permeated the majority of things we had brought in or viewed in class.

This then raises the question of how the media excludes:

-disabled people
-people of color
-gay people
-poor people
-any one that is a size 8 or above
-any one over the age of, say 30 or 40 years old

... from being perceived as sexual beings.

I was happy to see that after raising these problematic elements
surrounding the media, that our class discussion then steered its way into
talking about how the media uses sex as a tool to sell itself/ its
message/ a product.

However, at the end of class, when the Polaroids were presented containing
images of media found in the rooms of the students in our class, my
discomfort was raised again to a higher level.

I asked why a picture of my room wasn't taken. A lot of students in the
class thought I was asking this due to the fact that I was insulted
somehow, as if I felt my room was perceived as "not sensual or sexy." A
lot of people then said side comments to me such as "don't worry Elisa, I
think your room is very sensual." That was not the response I was trying
to raise or the question I was trying to have answered.

The response I got from the student leaders who were taking the pictures
was: "because we were taking pictures of things that were media in
people's rooms."

Now, and this is for those students, I noticed that the contents of the
pictures you took contained images of posters, magazine pages that had
been ripped out and tacked on a wall. If you were looking to take pictures
of "things in the media," why did you guys ask me if you could take a
picture of me and my friend lying in bed? This, my friends, is not media
according to the other pictures you took in other peoples rooms.
However, you were bold enough to ask if you could take a picture of us.
Why? Were you looking to suggest something sexually explicit? Did you
even realize that you would have been objectifying me as a sexual object
to our whole class? (which completely contradicts the sentiments
expressed in the article you posted for us to read)

Secondly, why wasn't a picture of my room taken to serve as an example of
someone in our class that does not choose to surround themselves with
(what you have defined as) media images?

For the class: One of the two students who was going around was pointing
out certain things to be photographed in my room that could be grouped
into a loose interpretation of what is "sex in the media." However, the
second student shook her head and rejected every one of her suggestions.
I assume that she considered the materials in my room were either a) not
considered media or b) not considered sexual. To this second student who
felt the need to reject the objects in my room, I urge you to expand and
redefine what you consider media and what you consider sexual, especially
considering how our class was defining media today.

I raise these questions not because I am offended that my things were not
the object of desire for you or your camera, but more out of
disappointment that you were working with such a narrow view of sexuality,
sensuality, and media, and what I interpreted as your unwillingness to
challenge and/ or expand that.


Sex, power, and language
Name: Kathryn Mc
Date: //2002-11-22 16:58:08 :
Link to this Comment: 3848

Something I¡¯ve been thinking a lot about since Mary Conway¡¯s visit is how language clues us in on the ideology of a culture. By naming something, we acknowledge its existence, which legitimizes the realness of it, and makes a place in culture for it. Ngoc mentioned that in Vietnam there aren¡¯t terms for homosexuality, but it is understood to be wrong and taboo. People also turn a blind eye to the coffee houses and don¡¯t acknowledge what goes on there; they don't acknowledge a place of sexuality, or that of they people who go there.

Who names an idea, person, place or thing manifests a cultural bias against or in support of the named. Derogatory words are intended to offend and to distinguish the Other from the social ideal as defined by those in power. Racist, sexist, homophobic, classist, ageist, ablist, looksist, etc. terms are easy to come by if you are trying to insult an elderly, disabled, promiscuous, overweight, lesbian African American woman of low income, but there¡¯s nothing equally painful to draw on to insult a young, white, able, middle class, married, heterosexual man. Just as Ebonics wasn¡¯t taken seriously because it is the language of one specific demographic, anything else that confronts the language of the dominant paradigm is going to be attacked. Women, ethnic, racial, and sexual minorities don¡¯t have linguistic power at their disposal. In my opinion, even calling a group of people a ¡°minority¡± belittles them by literally minimizing their concerns, issues, themselves, etc. They are in a minority, after all, is the attitude conveyed. In Freudian terms, non-whites, non-heterosexuals, and non-males have been castrated by the English language. They are lacking positive, self-defined words.

The non-technical words we have for body parts, functions and actions (i.e. sex) are lowbrow, impolite, derogatory, or contain a note of scandal. There is a hierarchy within the English language (and others) of what is permissible to discuss, and this keeps talk of the body out of polite (socially acceptable) conversation. The body and the physical aren¡¯t as worthy of discussion as the mind and the abstract. The body and its doings are equated with vulgarity and obscenity. Since this is combined with patriarchical attitudes, is it any wonder why it is that we don¡¯t a) call women ¡°cocksuckers¡± and b) call men ¡°sluts?¡± These reversals of insults would imply that a) it¡¯s unacceptable for a woman to orally pleasure a man, and b) that men do not deserve sexual freedom; ideas both very foreign to mainstream mentality. Reclaiming words and creating new ones are methods for asserting the ability to define and understand. But this means exerting power, which would mean cultural upheaval, which would unbalance the patriarchy. Too bad this hasn¡¯t happened to a greater degree!


More Thinking
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-11-23 08:31:19 :
Link to this Comment: 3852

A couple of (early Saturday morning)thoughts:

--Sharon Burgmayer and I visited Athena yesterday evening (en route home from the provost's sherry hour) and were delighted to see my/her contribution to our collage @ her feet.

--Would those of you who took notes about "the definition of media" in class on Thursday please post those definitions? I found that exercise very helpful and would (as always) very much like to have it archived here.

--I'm particularly interested in having a record of those definitions, because I think they work as excellent framing devices for the questions Elisa raised in class and then again in her posting, about what counts both as "media" and as "sexual." Hanan and Emily's going exploring late Wednesday night for "images of sex in the media" in people's room was entirely w/in the exploratory nature of this class, and I applaud them for doing so. As in all explorations, all emergent systems, going looking in this way means, inevitably, that you'll end up questioning, and then revising, the categories which impelled you in the first place. And this questioning has EVERYTHING to do w/ the themes of this course: sex, language, sex-in-language, sex-as-language. To capture images of how sex in the media is used in people's rooms is only the initial, data-gathering aspect of the project; to interpret those images--to consider, for instance, as Risa suggested, that they may be ironic--is an essential second step. To ask, as Elisa asks above, what the operative definition of sexual and of media was--both going into the foray and coming out of it--are essential third and fourth steps. Are lace curtains and beautiful quilts "media," or evidence of the absence of the need for sexualized media? Are friends in bed together media, or evidence of the absence of the need for media? I'd very much like to hear Emily and Hanan--but also of course everyone else engaged in this course--speak to these queries.

Thank you all, for keeping me thinking--and not just about sex.

Anne


...After these Messages.
Name: Lindsay Hi
Date: //2002-11-23 14:40:17 :
Link to this Comment: 3855

Sex and the Media.

Definition of Media: (as best recalled from my group) Something that is created in order to inspire, encourage, or inform a very large populus (uncountable), which may be replicated, and as a work has an expiration point (could still be reffered to in the past, but not with same meaning).

I also wanted to pose my thoughts about the discussion that was had on thursday. I think i was diappointed with the selections that were chosen to show sex in the media as far as the movie (boys don't cry) exerpt and music video (madonna vogue)were concerned.

Though the seen from the movie was interesting. I would have liked to talk more about how sex is portrayed in the media, the scene is an example of how unimportant ones sexual orientation/gender is but yet it was expressed that it was chosen because it wasn't the norm. I think it would have been more interesting to talk about the music, the cinematography effects of the orgasm, the noises made, the eyes rolling back in the head, all those things that media is able to use in order to glorify (not sure if thats the word i want) the physical act of sex. I think the "girl talk" part of the clip was so extremely relevant to the class, that i wish we could have talked about the woman's choice not to tell her friends v. spilling all the details.

The music video choice i found slightly problematic. The video itself i didn't find that sexy at all. I think that the elements of "sex" that i saw when i did watch it, were more or less me putting the sex into the clip. Madonna has been idolized as a sexual icon. The iconization that she has gone through and the sexiness which has become her, i felt tainted the experience. Was this video sexy because it was just sexy or was this video sexy because Madonna, who is now built up into the paragon of a sexual being, is in the video?

The idea of what is sex in the media is interesting...because it is such a topic of debate, whats appropriate for prime time v. family time television. How are those lines created? are they blurrier then we think? i remeber asking my father once the difference between a PG-13 movie and an R movie, and i remember him replying quite calmly "a nipple." Is that the line that is drawn between adult content and child content? This then begins to question the explicit v. implicit sex in the media. For example in lion king when the lions are roughhousing in the dust, and the dust clouds spell out s-e-x.


sex in the media
Name: Lindsay U
Date: //2002-11-24 16:01:14 :
Link to this Comment: 3861

Something I don't think was addressed in class...

My biggest issue with sex in the media is that 99% of it is portrayed as so flawless; the heterosexual ideal. Somehow, in every cinematic romantic coupling, the people having sex are so incredibly sexually compatible that each love scene resolves with both parties having the perfect orgasm--simultaneously, of course. Even in the clip of Boys Don't Cry that we watched in class, the (I'm blanking on the actress' name) blonde woman looks like that one climax is the best experience of her life. That's great- maybe the audience of America likes to experience a kind of fantasy in scenes like this- but I wonder what percentage of the audience can actually relate to such flawless sex? Where are the painful little mistakes, the frustrations, the small failures that real life sex presents? Certainly not in the movies. The media is pretty powerful when it comes to sex- it is pretty much the only time we can actually watch other people engaging in intimate activity without being an intruder or paying a lot of money. I think a large part of the population has a sexual ideal that pretty much matches up to what is portrayed in the movies. So then what they do in bed becomes a "performance." God forbid a guy can't "perform" like Brad Pitt...or Hilary Swank for that matter.

I guess what I'm asking is, wouldn't people be a little happier with their sex lives if the media were more honest about how sex really is?


sex in the media
Name: Deborah
Date: //2002-11-24 19:29:01 :
Link to this Comment: 3863

the definition that our group came up with:
Media--> a culturally defined means of communication which has the capacity to reach a large # of people and/or cross from one community to another; the "middle-man" between an idea/product and the consumer/audience
It was really funny for me this weekend, thinking about our class on thursday, because I went into abercrombie and saw a)their winter catalogue, which had the word "SEX" in bold writing and had a basically nude female (white young) model covered only by the plastic stars of the overlay. You had to be 18 to buy it! Also, the second thing I saw there was a picture of a male model in a&f jeans, naked except for low-slung and partially unbuttoned jeans, running towards the camera, but he had a cast on his left arm! So, there's your token disabled sexual model.


my CDs
Name: Deborah
Date: //2002-11-24 19:33:53 :
Link to this Comment: 3864

Hey all,
I apologise for not posting this before, i've been meaning to!!! Here are the song lists for my two Thinking Sex CDs! I hope you all enjoyed the music...i really enjoyed compiling it. The blanket will be sewn soon! We'll all have to decide where to display it....perhaps in that class room on the left hand wall (when you walk in)?

CD 1: Ocean Surf
1. Ocean Surf
2. No Sex in the Champagne Room ‡Chris Rock
3. Vagina Song ‡Monty Python
4. Fuck her Gently ‡Tenacious D
5. Touch-A Touch-A Touch Me ‡Rocky Horror
6. Pretty Piece of Flesh ‡One Inch Punch
7. Pretty when you're Drunk
8. Get Ur Freak On (remix) ‡Missy Elliot
9. Peaches n Cream (remix) ‡112
10.I Wanna Lick You ‡Ludacris
11.Shoop ‡Salt n Peppa
12.Sexual Healing ‡Marvin Gaye
13.Crush ‡DMB
14.Make Love to You ‡Bad Company
15.All My Love ‡Led Zeppelin
16.More then Words ‡Extreme
17.I'll make Love to You ‡Boys2Men
18.Piya Re ‡Nusrah Fatah Ali Khan
19. Ocean Surf

Thinking Sex CD 2: Thunderstorm
1. Thunderstorm
2. Night and Day ‡Ella Fitzgerald
3. Shave 'Em Dry ‡Lucille Bogan
4. Fever ‡Peggy Lee
5. Come & get your Love ‡Redbone
6. Cecilia ‡Simon & Garfunkle
7. I Touch Myself ‡The Divinyls
8. Mouth ‡Merril Bainbridge
9. Your Body is a Wonderland‡John Mayer
10.Sexual Healing ‡Ben Harper
11.Leather ‡Tori Amos
12.Tu ‡Sarah Brightman
13.Feelin' Love ‡Paula Cole
14.Debra ‡Beck
15.Sin wagon ‡Dixie Chicks
16.Turn Me On ‡Norah Jones
17.Besame Mucho ‡Cesaria Evora
18.Take our Time ‡TLC
19.Any time, any Place ‡Janet Jackson
20.Thunderstorm

If anyone would like copies of either of these CDs, I'd be happy to make them for you! Just email me or let me know in class! See everyone on the morrow!


Poem
Name: sheri
Date: //2002-11-24 23:45:45 :
Link to this Comment: 3870

To me sex and love belong together. In my opinion, strongly based on being a catholic, sex is nothing without love. I've been looking for this for a while and I finally found it.

And if I have prophetoc powers,
And understand all mystics and all knowledge,
And if I have all faith so as to move mountains but have no love I am nothing

1 corith, 13, 2 (letters of Paul)
for anyone who has time, the whole reading really is beautiful. Here Paul isn't really talkning about the love between lovers, but hey, it works.


talking about sex
Name: Iris Dicke
Date: //2002-11-25 00:03:02 :
Link to this Comment: 3871

although this isn't a sexual joke i think it plays off the need for humans to talk about experiences, period. it deffinately transfers, in my opinion, over into our need to talk to other people about sex.

Priestly Duties

One Sunday morning, a priest wakes up and decides to go golfing. He calls his boss and says that he feels very sick, and won't be able to go to work.
Way up in heaven, Saint Peter sees all this and asks God, ''Are you really going to let him get away with this?''

''No, I guess not,'' says God.

The priest drives about five to six hours away, so he doesn't bump into anyone he knows. The golf course is empty when he gets there. So he takes his first swing, drives the ball 495 yards away and gets a hole in one.

Saint Peter watches in disbelief and asks, '' Why did you let him do that?''

To this God says, ''Who's he going to tell?''


Change of Venue
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-11-25 14:21:58 :
Link to this Comment: 3880

We have no reading assignments for tomorrow. The only assignment (from Jill, Chelsea, Nancy, Jenny and Nia) is for the class to meet in Pem West living room at 1:00 with an open mind.

Your posting assignment this week is to comment on what you've learned about "Sex in Art, Part II."

See you there/then--
Anne


Pandora's Box
Name: Bea
Date: //2002-11-25 14:59:44 :
Link to this Comment: 3882

Recently, a friend of mine asked me to read something written by someone her friend knew. After reading it, I asked if he would allow for me to share it with everyone. He agreed, but only if he would be credited under the pseudonym Courbet. During a conversation between him and his friend, he said, "I know that having a pseudonym seems pretentious, but I'd rather seem pretentious than be exposed." His friend asked, "Pun intended?" His reply, "Absolutely." :-) So, here it is:

------------------------------------
"Pandora"
It was beautiful. This...jewel of a thing, it sparkled and that almost made its shape indistinguishable. In her mind it was pulsating, alive in a sense...wanting to open up like a flower and give itself to the viewer. She felt a voyeuristic thrill watching it sitting still in the darkness. There was a glow of life within it that needed to be freed.
She reached out, half in fear, to touch it with a single fingernail, rake its side and half-feel its texture through the most inanimate part of her body. It was going to ride the keratin up onto the finger and into her, she knew that. A powerful attraction was welling up between her and the thing, and she could not move until it became what it had to. It had to expand, occupy her world.
She cupped it, feeling the locked energy within it, waiting to burst and surround her. Carefully, eagerly, Pandora slipped her thumbs into the centre, an almost black void, breaking the seal, opening the box.
Bells danced in her head and the cloying sweet treble of creation spewed into her mind, a rhythm of birth, light tingles of music, the primeval sound of the box, godlike.
The universe exploded in an instant, unleashing everything.
Pandora opened the box and created the world.
Saturated with that initial curiosity to open things.
bloodlust would come soon enough.
------------------------------------

So, there you have it. What kind of imagery does this conjure for each of you? The irony is that he had not meant for it to be at all sexual, and was surprised when his friends had remarked on just how sexual it appears to be.

Any thoughts?


not sexual?!
Name: Maggie
Date: //2002-11-25 20:22:57 :
Link to this Comment: 3883

He hadn't meant for it to be sexual? I assumed because of the title that it wasn't sexual, but I don't see how he could have written that and not noticed.
Listen to these words: pulsating, alive, wanting to open up like a flower, ride, up onto the finger and into her, a powerful attraction, welling up between her, it had to expand, she cupped it, waiting to burst and surround her, cloying sweet treble, a rhythm of birth...
To me, these words sound sexual, and they also conjure up extremely sexual images. Listening to those words, I hear sensuality as much as I imagine it, but it might be that the words are so permanently linked in my mind with sexual images/thoughts/activities that I can't help but make those associations with the sound of the word. Or maybe I'm just thinking about sex too much = ).


Decade Revisited
Name: Maggie
Date: //2002-11-25 22:58:52 :
Link to this Comment: 3885

Bea's message and my response had me thinking, and I remembered that one of the poems I originally posted is also pretty much a misinterpretation. It's not necessarily sexual, although since I read it that way the first time I read it I figured I could post it... Amy Lowell wrote Decade on the tenth anniversary that she and her partner were together. The first two lines are about the excitement and indulgence of new lovers, as well as (possibly) a more sexual interpretation. The last four lines are about their present relationship, explaining the comfort of old lovers. So while it may or may not have been written with the intent of being sexual, it certainly has a front of being very platonic. I know that when I first read it I definitely thought it was sexual. I reposted it so if anyone was interested, they wouldn't have to go searching for it in the archive.

Decade
When you came, you were like red wine and honey,
And the taste of you burnt my mouth with its sweetness.
Now you are like morning bread,
Smooth and pleasant.
I hardly taste you at all for I know your savour,
But I am completely nourished.
~Amy Lowell


Pomegranate
Name: Iris Dicke
Date: //2002-11-26 00:51:17 :
Link to this Comment: 3887

random thoughts:
i have always found fruits, especially pomegranates extremely sexual. i mentioned this to a group of my friends a couple of days ago and was surprised to discover that they could not understand why i would feel that way about a food. however after explaining to them my reasoning as best i could they deffinately agreed. another testamony of sexuality being put into language.

pomegranates arn't just sexual. they exibit female sexuality. first of all they're red. i don't know about you, but red is as sexy as a color (and colors are amazingly sexual) can get. it makes me think about passion, letting go of inhibitions, and deeply felt emotions. it also brings to mind the flush of sexually excited skin, swollen lips, tounges, and menstrual blood (a powerful feminine force weather you consider it sexual or not). secondly, they're a fruit. a plant's womb. jucy. sweet, and a little tart. you have to open the pomegranate up to discover it's treasure. the small, red, shiny jewels (as in the posted poem...we hear the word 'jewel' used frequently to discribe female genitalia) all puzzled together in the most amazing patterns. you have to work slowy to eat them...peeling back the thin layers to reach the seeds. and when you finally place a seed in your mouth it is smooth, taunt, then bursts with it's amazing juice...somewhere between a cranberry and a rasberry in taste. you can't eat one without being messy. you have to just dive in and dye your fingers red. mmmm...an amazing fruit. (too bad it's one in the morning and i can't run to the store to buy one ;-)


Pandora's Box
Name: Sarah H.
Date: //2002-11-26 01:51:05 :
Link to this Comment: 3888

Reading the poem posted about Pandora's Box, I think it is sexual because sexuality is linked closely with creativity, and the piece is about the creation of the world. Creation and life are associated strongly with the same words deemed sexual. Not to say that sexuality reproduces specifically a child, but I do think that it has its own creative energies that either awaken facets in people or cause them to grow in some way, or even to form a new connection with another person...all of these things seem creative. In another class I'm taking, we were talking about the ways in which relationships between two people in a specific book were always mediated by a third party...in one case, the third party seemed to be this entity that was born of their relationship. This just reminded me again of the way a relationship with another person can create a third completely new entity (again, not meaning specifically a child). Also, in the same way that Pandora opens a new world, it seems possible for a sexual relationship to open a world for the people in it or affected by it. So yes, sexual ties, but maybe the author saw them as creative and life-giving, rather than explicitly sexual. I would actually probably characterize the piece less as explicitly sexual and more as creative and life-giving. I don't think sexuality on the whole is consistent with the writing, but more those specific aforementioned characteristics that sexuality can but doesn't always possess... I think...


sexually orange
Name: Deborah
Date: //2002-11-26 14:50:58 :
Link to this Comment: 3889

peeling an orange:
I've never thought about peeling an orange as sexual before....until the context of sex and artisitic senses brought it out in me....feeling a place that is dark, exploring with my fingers, the juices begin to flow,the ripe flesh gives and quivers under the pads of my fingertips...the orange peel opens up, looking at it my thoughts repeat the words "center core"; the peel cups open,welcoming my embrace; its so satisfying to hear the sound of the peeling....So bright and orange on the outside, the pale shell-like shade of the inside is innocent and love and creamy and sex. The feel stays on my hands even after I have consumed its fleshy fruit.


underwear, under where?
Name: Kathryn Mc
Date: //2002-11-26 16:09:36 :
Link to this Comment: 3891

First of all, I really enjoyed today's presenation. Yay, for sensuous, interactive art and creative projects about sex.
The piece of art in your lovely make-shift gallery that I chose to write about was the four depictions of people's torsos clad in different kinds of underwear. Maybe it's just because of the very short-term relationships that I tend to have, but it definitely felt representative of my sexuality and how I think about myself and sex. It evoked a sense of change: of partners, of sexuality and sexual expression, and of seduction and anticipation. I felt suspense just looking at it, like I was in a bedroom and waiting for someone's clothes to completely come off before things went any further. It felt exciting and new and playful. That's what I look for in sex.


Final Instructions
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-11-26 16:48:14 :
Link to this Comment: 3893

To the Thinking Sex class--

a few things to THINK about before/as you leave for Thanksgiving break:

When we return we will begin our presentations of sex ed curricula. Sarah H, Hanan, Maggie, Fritz, Nia will be the first to go, on Tuesday, Dec. 3rd; the rest of you should check the remainder of the schedule, updated on the course syllabus.

I'm expecting that, on your assigned day, each of you will take about fifteen minutes to present a "slice" of the curriculum you are preparing for your final (20pp. equivalent) project (the whole thing isn't due til Dec. 21st (check the syllabus for excruciating details about preparing your final portfolio). It's important to begin your presentation by explaining the parameters of your project: WHY are you doing WHAT you are doing, in the WAY you are doing it? What problems/issues/GAPS @ your site are you trying to address?

Sarah H had asked me for more guidance, but I am not willing to supply it (remember: I've never run this experiment before, and don't know what I'm looking for until I see what I get). Basically, the instructions are these:

--go somewhere you haven't been (i.e. your praxis site);
--learn to know the people there,
--figure out what they need (in terms of sex ed curricula, as broadly defined as need be);
--do the necessary research to fill the gap;
--and then create what is missing.

I very much look forward to seeing/hearing/experiencing your creations--
Til then,
Happy Thanksgiving,
Anne


response to sex in art II
Name: Maggie
Date: //2002-11-26 18:56:18 :
Link to this Comment: 3894

I thought the idea for today's class was excellent, especially using all five senses. However, I think that in general, it is hard for us to pay attention to the other senses when there is such a bombardment of visual stimuli around us. And even more so if the visuals depict naked people! Also, most art (I'm using a rather conservative and traditional definition of 'art' here) is meant to be appreciated visually. This is evident when you look at the objects brought in to affect our other senses: body lotion, perfume, sweaters, fruit...

I'm not saying that those things aren't sexual, but that they don't necessarily fit into the category of art (again, defined traditionally.) Which is similar to the problem that the sex in the media group had of excluding some things that were sexy, but not relevant to the 'media' aspect of their presentation. Is it problematic to categorize sex into different segments of culture/society to learn about it? It seems inevitable that the categories will spill over each other and some things that may seem relevant will have to be left out.


Can you "feel" like art?
Name: nance
Date: //2002-11-26 19:41:53 :
Link to this Comment: 3895

First of all, I hope everyone enjoyed our Sex and Art gallery today! I know there was a lot going on and a few distractions in the background, but I think we stumbled (or perhaps we led ourselves) to an interesting idea-- art becomes art based on the context. I think maybe art isn't so tangible as we think, in definition anyway. A painting sitting undiscovered isn't art, no one appreciates it or even knows about it. BUT, me sitting in a makeshirt 'gallery' on a couch in red underwear is art? I think so. Art, to me, has become something that is created because and out of the idea that someone appreciates it in the appropriate setting. This isn't to say that anything can't be art, I think it can be something different to each person. Art, as of today, to me is not the painting or the fruit, but a gaze, the way you choose to look at it. We think of traditional 'art' as art because we are accustomed to thinking that way in museums and galleries. I don't really have any sort of conclusion to these thoughts...yet. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!


Sex and Art...
Name: Jess T.
Date: //2002-11-27 14:51:19 :
Link to this Comment: 3900

After are first class on sex and art, I was a little dissatisfied. I thought I'd wait to see how the second one went before I made any comments. But things still didn't really click for me.

I'm trying to figure it out, and I guess the best way I can put it is... where was the sex? Yes there were tons of things that had sex in them, but so much of art is about the experience (experiencing something as art). And I really don't feel like most of the stuff presented to us in class dealt with art as a sexual experience.

For example: the music from the first class. I realize that a song like "No Sex in the Champagne Room" is a song that conceptually deals with sex, but is the song sexual? Not really... it's comedic. Lyrics are very important in terms of music, but there is a lot more than just lyrics that goes into making a song. I have an entire file of music called "Orgasm music" and a small portion of the song's lyrics directly refer to sex. Some are romantic love songs, some are depressing, some are about addiction, and some songs were played on the soundtrack of Cruel Intentions when Ryan Philippe was looking extremely sexy in that bright blue silk shirt coming up the escalator. --- The songs are very diverse and the reasons why those songs are orgasm music are very diverse. Some of it has to do with the lyrics, but a lot of is has to do with the tempo, beat, sounds, voice of the artist, and the vision the music evokes. Most of all it all has to do with my response to the music--- my experience.

The Friday after the first Sex and Art class, I had the absolute joy to go to the Tori Amos concert in Camden. At the concert, I couldn't help, but feel like I was experience so much sex in art that hadn't been present in our class. Tori has songs that deal with very sexual topics including "Leather" which was on Deb's CDs, but the sex in the experience was soooo much more that just the songs that dealt with sexual topics. Watching Tori perform, it seems in many ways that the performance is very sexual. (More so with some songs that others.) There was something very sexual about the way her body withered and pulsated with the music as she strattled the piano bench, with her arms extended between two pianos. In these moments it was as if the music flowed through her, out of her. It was the beat, the sounds, her body that was sexual... not the lyrics.

To me it seems that the concert was pure sex: two hours of orgasm music.

Also Tori talked about playing music w/ other musicians as a sexual experience. When she was introducing the drum and base player, she talked about how when you play with some people (and she used hand motions to express this) it was like losing a hard-on. But with these guys that was no problem.

It seems to me that we've lost so much in our discussion of sex and music and even more in sex and art. ---- I was encouraged by Jenny's comments in the second sex in art class on the article on Jazz music and sex, but those comments seemed very brief and it just seemed that we went right back to art that has images of sex, but that is not (for the most part) sexual.

Another thought I this--- is I was very frustrated in class Tuesday looking at the art, because I didn't feel like most of it was really sexual. (The food was probably the most sexual. But that had more to do with how people we eating it.) There were a lot of naked bodies, but is the naked human form sex? Is it sex in art?

Today I was watching the German film, Der Krieger und Die Kaiserin (eng title: The Princess and the Warrior) and during a scene I was watching I felt like if the Sex and Art people found a snappie of it they might have put it up as sex in art, even though the scene really had nothing to do with sex. In the scene a man (the Warrior... who is pretty troubled character) comes nude out of the shower, to see a woman illuminated in the corner of the dark room. The man, Bodo, asks were his brother is and gets no response from the women. He goes up to her and kneels before her. Eventually, distraught, he puts his head in her lap and wraps his arms around her. The camera pans to a higher angle (looking down on them) and we see him nude clutching onto her and her hand caressing his hair. It is this image that I thought could have been captured and put up as sex in art in our classes... even though there is nothing really sexual occurring in the scene. (The lack of sex is reinforced seconds later, when we are taken out of Bodo hallucinations and see that his body is wrapped not around the woman, but around the coal heater, which his brother must forcefully pull him from for a second time in the movie.)

I guess my point is that we were flooded with images/art that could be sexual (which in the end left me feeling like none of it was)... and it didn't seem to really lead to an interesting discussion of how art is sexual and why. Maybe it would have been more interesting to see have only a small range of art with a very thoughtful explanation as to why that are was sexual--- instead of a flood of images.

Also just a little comment on the explanation of sex in the two video clips shown in the first section of sex and art: I was a bit disturbed by the comment that the Boys Don't Cry was an example of subtle sex in art. The scene was very explicit: nudity, kissing, caressing, zippers going down, simulation of penetration. I thought this was very interesting in contrast to the Madonna video which seemed much more subtle (First the entire song really could have just have been about dancing, having fun doing it and looking glamorous. And video didn't have anything really explicitly sexual, unless you consider Madonna's barely covered body explicitly sexual.) This also seemed a bit hysterically ironic to me, given whom Madonna is and how she's viewed by our culture.

Okay... those are just my thoughts.... Didn't mean to seems so negative... I did think both classes were quite interesting and fun, and I thought that the presenters put a lot of work into coming up with some wonderful stuff.... but the discussion or the result was not working for me....

later
Jess


more on art, sex, etc.
Name: Kathryn Mc
Date: //2002-11-27 15:41:36 :
Link to this Comment: 3901

Why can't something that goes "undiscovered"/unseen be art? What about Emily Dickinson's work? Did she only create ten works of art (poems) because they were the only ones she published during her lifetime? Or why would the other poems become art only once they were seen?
As far as defining art in terms of context, I think that we like to think of great art as surpassing a lot of limitations that society otherwise imposes on people because of race, class, sex, etc. However, who creates what affects where art ends up and who sees it. What race, sex, etc. someone is impacts their social recognition and who acquires the title of artist and has their work recognized. I highly recommend checking out http://www.guerrillagirls.com/. They are an anonymous group of women artists who fight discrimation (all sorts) in the art world, in the film industry, and beyond by utilizing humor and media. They make lots of ads and wear gorrilla masks and only call themselves by the names of famous women artists, like Frida Kahlo.
Also, last night I was wandering around Magill (Haverford's library) and found an amazing DVD. It's called Sex & Drugs and it's from The Educational Archives series. Basically it's twelve different short educational films from the 60s about (you guessed it!) sex and drugs. It's hysterical and chock full of misinformation. There's one of Sonny Bono in gold lamme talking about the hazards of pot, which is a riot. As far as sex goes, there are a couple of different approaches which are at best evasive, and at worst phenomenally patronizing, racist, homophobic, and sexist (i.e. implying that minorities and women who have sex before marriage should be blamed for the spread of syphillis). There's one from the early 70s on the sex education of "trainables" (people who are mentally challenged!). It was very unnerving to see because while it tried to make clear that consent is very important, they still filmed them masturbating! No privacy and no consent! Ahhh! Anyways, everyone should watch this. It's very entertaining and quite an eye-openner.
Happy Thanksgiving!


Picasso Sex
Name: Lindsay Hi
Date: //2002-11-28 12:05:23 :
Link to this Comment: 3904

Ok so one of my favorite Picasso works is the one of the two hands holding flowers, but it was only in that room, that set up that i saw a sexual element in it. When looking at the hands, as two equal beings one can witness the element of equality in terms of a relationship. The flowers being held by both sets of hands, are only allowed to flourish given the balance of interaction of the two people holding them. If the hands are too tight tthe flowers (life/love) are crushed, too loose the flowers are lost, and if the hands move in either direction too much in contradiction to the other set of hands then the flowers are strained sometimes causing it to break. Such an account of Picasso's painting is slightly problematic...because much of art is focused on the notion of interpretation. I am taking another class with sarah h and emily regarding the very topic we have fought against for the past two week, "Aesthetics: Nature and The Experience of Art." for the past 2 months we have been talking about interpretation, artists intent, attempting to uncover is it art? why is it art? who makes it art. I bring this up, becuase i feel the majority of the class has been spent on us saying what we "think," whereas the other class has focused on critically analyzing what others have thought. The most recent discussions of Sex in Media and Sex in Art have been especially problematic becuase for the most part we have no real background information to help us think outside of ourselves, in this sense i feel like some of our class discussions have been handicapped by our lack of interaction with material that would cause us to question one another with some credible works rather then "in my opninion" responses. While such a response may be credible, i guess i was hoping for a more intellectually stimulating conversation and i feel like throughout all the group presentations, while most times i did learn something, i didn't feel like i was "moved" the way i thought i was going to. just what was on my mind.....


Sociology and Biology and Sex . . .
Name: HY
Date: //2002-11-29 18:00:09 :
Link to this Comment: 3909

I thought it was very effective to have invited these two visitors to speak to our class. I very much enjoyed the article that was associated with Bob Washington's lecture. But reading the article after Bob visited our class raised some questions that I wish I could have asked Bob directly. I discussed the article with someone else outside of class and an important and tricky issue was raised. Ideally, anthropology, sociology, and ethnography are fields of study that are not intentionally exploitative of the cultures and communities that are ultimately studied. And although these three fields have been an agent through which colonialization and exploitation have occurred, they are not theoretically so. My question for Bob, and for all researchers in similar positions today, is: what are you specifically giving back to this community in exchange for their openness towards you? Now, I believe that some researchers in the field, study communities or phenomenon within communities purely for their own interest. And some researchers simply choose to research and observe and nothing else on the premise that they do not want to alter the culture or community that have observed in any way. Although I agree with this idealistic desire, my response to the latter argument is that, the researcher has already altered something just by being there herself. I continue to challenge researchers of this kind by asking them what it is they are doing in return for the culture or community that has welcomed them. So, I pose this question to Bob, even if I get no answer. I was a little puzzled by a passage in the article that I found a little ambiguous. Perhaps someone can help me interpret this as it was intended. And if it was intended and I was initially inclined to believe, then perhaps someone can help me reconcile my fury! The author's friend Malek is mediating between a woman, Christina, and the author of the article, Ted.

""I am discussing with her how much I will teach her sexually," he informed me. Christina's English was not so good, so he repeated the quip in Kisukuma, and she cracked up again. "She already loves you very much," he continued, to me. "She wants to do anything you want. I have told her that you are afraid of AIDS, and that she must just suck. She says fine." Christina did not appear to have followed this, which was O.K. with me. Malek and the others had by now become skilled at running interference for me with the women in bars . . ." (page 65).

Is Ted O.K. with the fact that Christina has not understood so that he may exploit her? Or is he O.K. with the fact that she has not understood so as to protect her? I hope I am not reading into this too much, but this passage puzzled me and even after re-reading it a few times, I felt that it was eerily ambiguous.


As for Paul Grobstein's talk . . . biology has never seemed so conceptual to me. What I greatly appreciated was Paul's ability to, first of all, help us understand the biological notion of sex. But more interestingly, how this seemingly limited scientific definition, is still applicable to actual sexual phenomenon. The fact that Paul uses biology's definition - sex as a means to create maximum variety - in order to understand, 'justify,' or explain the variety of different forms of sexuality found today, is admirable. I am not as eloquent as he was in explaining this view, but I assume that those of you reading this, remember what I am alluding to. I wish I had taken BIOL 103 for my lab science requirement!


Sex and History and Religion . . .
Name: HY
Date: //2002-11-29 18:01:17 :
Link to this Comment: 3910

I was happy to see that the presenters seemed able to share material that they had wanted to share with the class earlier. It seems that this format of teaching is effective in the sense that everyone will have an opportunity to share something they are personally enthusiastic about with the class. However, I felt that the presentation lack cohesion. I felt that I was being presented with small particular aspects of a larger and broader category which we did not spend enough time defining or even considering. I know that such an exercise is difficult and futile because how do you define history!? But it would have enticed more thought had we been asked to interact with the material more than what was asked of us by simply reading and openly reflecting upon it. I was especially interested in what Maggie brought in. I have been meaning to read Memoirs of a Geisha for quite some time. It was interesting to draw a parallel from the roles of Geishas to the roles of courtisanes in Italy (depicted in the movie Dangerous Beauty) as well as the Vietnamese prostitute that I mentioned from the movie Three Seasons. As well as the women depicted in Aldous Huxley's A Brave New World who are taught to see sex as fun and risk free (both physically and emotionally). They wear belts that are equipped with a variety of contraceptives and lubricants in the evenings so as to always be ready for a sexual encounter. Pregnancy is dreaded and so is emotional attachment, or love, with one's most recent partner. In fact, detached polygamous sex is encouraged. The cross cultural presentation of material was a nice touch - very much appreciated - even though I do not know if it was intentional. History is not just a European phenomenon even though it is its conception.


Sex and Media . . .
Name: HY
Date: //2002-11-29 18:02:13 :
Link to this Comment: 3911

As one of the presenters of the course concerning sex in the media, I felt fed up with the way class was going. Admittedly it was a difficult and painful task to organize the second quarter of our course, but these difficulties should have enticed us to work harder at tackling very difficult problems instead of crushing our will and motivation to make any effort. It was obvious that the presenters of groups had not even met together before coming to class "ready" for discussion. This is a shame! Those of us in the media group felt similarly and we decided to make an extra effort for this presentation. We had hopes to re-enthuse our peers and to redirect the method of presenting most groups were using. We were aspiring to revolutionize the course and get back on the track we had started on. It was to our dismay that we seemed unsuccessful. Students did not seem enthused nor had they apparently put much thought into what they chose as their examples of media. This was disappointing. This is not to say that there aren't things we could have done differently. It now obvious that many of us need some structure in a course and that spending a mere 90 minutes on a topic as broad and complex as sex in history, or sex in law, or sex in media is inadequate (to say the least). There is no doubt that our discussion on media should have been more focused. We may have been more successful had we provided you with a definition of media from the start, instead of trying to work through 'what is media?' We could then have given more consideration to sex within this definition. Our discussion might have been more fruitful, more engaged, more focused. Nevertheless, students inevitably hold 50% of the responsibility for the outcome of a course. What you put into a classroom is what you'll get out. This is true for both the professor (in this case we presenters) and the students. I apologize for having disappointed those students who would have conceived of our presentation differently. But we media presenters were equally disappointed in the lack of responsivity from the students.

I want to iterate that this comment is not meant to be abrasive at all! I am trying to be direct and to the point - balancing between beating around the bush and being overly confrontational. I am offering a reflection on the course thus far in general and specifically on the presentation of sex in the media. I would like to remind us all that students make the class and we, at a liberal arts college - at BRYN MAWR COLLEGE! - have the luxurious opportunity to direct a classroom and its syllabus. If we do not take that power into our hands and use it, we should not complain.


Sex in Art II . . .
Name: HY
Date: //2002-11-29 18:03:01 :
Link to this Comment: 3912

WOW! I was pleasantly surprised to see what an effort this group made to entice us into enthusiasm and conversation. Your sex gallery was wonderful! I wanted to sit around in it all day and I was sad to realize that it wouldn't be there the next time I visited Pem West. You, the presenters, did a good job of bringing in a variety of mediums and styles and I was especially happy to see the musical touch. Jenny, you have mentioned music several times in forum postings as well as in class. Unfortunately there was an overemphasis on the visual mediums of art and taste, smell, hearing, and tactile senses seemed to be pushed to the periphery (and I apologize for that to Jenny and Jill in particular). Although this is a loss to the observer for not taking all mediums into consideration, it raises some good questions. Why do we all assume painting, drawing, and sculpture when we think of art and art galleries? Why didn't we spend more time talking about Jenny and Jill's musical interpretations of sex in art? And, as Lindsay mentioned, was the art work in your sex gallery sexual only because it was in a sex space? Is Picasso's painting inherently sexual? Or does his intention not matter? If one observer sees it as sexual, then is it legitimately sexual for him? And if another does not see it as sexual, then is it legitimately non-sexual for him? Are these last two questions dangerous in that they create a sexual non-sexual binary system in which to interpret art? What is more important - the artist's intention or the observer's interpretation? Overall I was impressed and titillated at our last group presentation. I am glad we ended on this note! Bravo!


the LAW
Name: lauren hil
Date: //2002-11-30 21:31:06 :
Link to this Comment: 3913

once again I have fallen into my old habits of forgetting to post. So here is (once again) my attempt at redemption.

I am actually particularly upset for not posting about law and sex. we started out the semester by talking about middle schoolers having oral sex. From what I remember many of us were frustrated that it hadn't occurred to many people that these kids (especially the females) may want to be having oral sex and that maybe that is not so bad. But then we get to class. And our discussion kept going back to us believing that this 14 year old girl, who had so many partners, did not have the agency to make those decisions. And when Anne forced us to line up and locate ourselves between thinking she should or should not have the ability to make these decisions for herself it seemed like most people were in the middle or heading towards not wanting to give her sexual agency. I am really bothered by this. The laws really get at me because they make the same assumptions that we were coming up with in class: that an adolescent girl was not capable of making the decision to have sex and therefore we need to PROTECT her. That's the most bothersome part. We need to watch out for little girls. We need to watch our for women. They might get themselves in trouble. I am not saying women cannot be coerced into having sex, what I am saying is that we should not always assume that women and girls cannot make these decisions for themselves. If we tell a girl she needs to watch out for men her entire life, her guard is up. She feels scared, and she becomes more vulnerable. Whereas if we tell a girl she is sexual and can make her own decisions, she really will be able to do that. if we tell women they will be victimized and they need to be protected from men, they will fall right into that categorization. That is hardly empowering for anyone. And look at basic rebellion patterns. It's the super restrictive and conservative parents that seem to end up with the rebellious children. Why can't we teach women to be responsible not defensive? What 13 year old girl do you know that not have any sex drive? If we decide that a girl cannot act on her sex drive then we are telling her to stamp out her feelings because she is too young to really understand them. but how can we tell her she cannot act on a sex drive when she has physically matured and is going through the same menstrual cycles adults go through. how can we tell someone how s/he feels? Have any of you ever been told that "you're too young to understand?" I have and it really pissed me off. If we are young we don't understand. We don't have feelings. Come on have more faith in the young. They only thing they know is what they feel and if you take that away from them you take so much more.

Instead of framing the law to protect women and girls, why can't we empower them? lets teach them to love their bodies and embrace the emotions and urges they have. If we do that then it's a lot harder for a women to really be coerced against her will. If we let her explore these sensations, emotions, feelings, urges, whatever she will really understand what she wants and it will be easier for her to make the decisions for herself.

I could ramble for hours but I have a couple questions I want to pose.

We didn't talk about the sexual agency of middle school aged maless. Where would you fall on Anne's scale? Say a 30 female sleeps with a 13 your old boy. Did she coerce him? Or a 30 your old maleman and a 13 year old male? Or a 30 year old female and a 13 year old female (think about the vagina monologues0?


law
Name: lauren hil
Date: //2002-11-30 21:31:58 :
Link to this Comment: 3914

once again I have fallen into my old habits of forgetting to post. So here is (once again) my attempt at redemption.

I am actually particularly upset for not posting about law and sex. we started out the semester by talking about middle schoolers having oral sex. From what I remember many of us were frustrated that it hadn't occurred to many people that these kids (especially the females) may want to be having oral sex and that maybe that is not so bad. But then we get to class. And our discussion kept going back to us believing that this 14 year old girl, who had so many partners, did not have the agency to make those decisions. And when Anne forced us to line up and locate ourselves between thinking she should or should not have the ability to make these decisions for herself it seemed like most people were in the middle or heading towards not wanting to give her sexual agency. I am really bothered by this. The laws really get at me because they make the same assumptions that we were coming up with in class: that an adolescent girl was not capable of making the decision to have sex and therefore we need to PROTECT her. That's the most bothersome part. We need to watch out for little girls. We need to watch our for women. They might get themselves in trouble. I am not saying women cannot be coerced into having sex, what I am saying is that we should not always assume that women and girls cannot make these decisions for themselves. If we tell a girl she needs to watch out for men her entire life, her guard is up. She feels scared, and she becomes more vulnerable. Whereas if we tell a girl she is sexual and can make her own decisions, she really will be able to do that. if we tell women they will be victimized and they need to be protected from men, they will fall right into that categorization. That is hardly empowering for anyone. And look at basic rebellion patterns. It's the super restrictive and conservative parents that seem to end up with the rebellious children. Why can't we teach women to be responsible not defensive? What 13 year old girl do you know that not have any sex drive? If we decide that a girl cannot act on her sex drive then we are telling her to stamp out her feelings because she is too young to really understand them. but how can we tell her she cannot act on a sex drive when she has physically matured and is going through the same menstrual cycles adults go through. how can we tell someone how s/he feels? Have any of you ever been told that "you're too young to understand?" I have and it really pissed me off. If we are young we don't understand. We don't have feelings. Come on have more faith in the young. They only thing they know is what they feel and if you take that away from them you take so much more.

Instead of framing the law to protect women and girls, why can't we empower them? lets teach them to love their bodies and embrace the emotions and urges they have. If we do that then it's a lot harder for a women to really be coerced against her will. If we let her explore these sensations, emotions, feelings, urges, whatever she will really understand what she wants and it will be easier for her to make the decisions for herself.

I could ramble for hours but I have a couple questions I want to pose.

We didn't talk about the sexual agency of middle school aged maless. Where would you fall on Anne's scale? Say a 30 female sleeps with a 13 your old boy. Did she coerce him? Or a 30 your old maleman and a 13 year old male? Or a 30 year old female and a 13 year old female (think about the vagina monologues0?


law and more on lauren's thoughts
Name: michelle
Date: //2002-12-01 00:20:42 :
Link to this Comment: 3915

i too have fallen behind in posting and reading lauren's post about the law class really made me remember how much this class infuriated me.

After all the breaking down of sexual norms that we have done in this class we cannot get past a 13 year old who wants to have sex. Check that, a 13 year old GIRL. She needs to have people make decisions about her sexuality for her. Furthermore, we continued to use "sex" to mean vaginal penetration by a penis. I think lauren rightly called us on this when she asked how we would feel if it were an adult woman and a young girl. I would push this further, what if a 13 year old girl wants to have sex with another 13 year old girl - is that ok? It may be an importantly different scenario but I would like to know why. Finally would we prohibit a 13 year old boy from having sex?

I my suspiscion, like lauren's, is that we haven't gotten out of the framework of treating young women as victims, as people who need to be told how to deal with thier sexuality.

As for the laws, they may be necessary and they can only do so much, but i expect more out of a class that has up to this point done so well with escaping convential traps with women's sexuality.


media class + response to hanan
Name: michelle
Date: //2002-12-01 01:23:56 :
Link to this Comment: 3916

I agree with hanan that the many of our student run classes have been less than up to par but this was a problem that we identified at the beginning. I have not at all been suprised with the quality of the last few weeks of class. We knew that getting four to five mawtyrs/fords together for any length of time with one weeks notice (which is what many of us had if you don't count fall break, and you shouldnt) is near impossible. When groups of us could manage to get together it was only the night or two before so the class had little notice about what to read or bring in. As a class i feel we had an incling that this would happen as we planned but b/c we were running out of class time we just said screw it and went with what we had. So i guess i agree with hanan's disapointment about the class but unlike her i am less frustrated b/c realisticly i expected nothing more.

As for the media class itself i feel like some things got confused. It did not bother me that the collage was a depiction of maistream images of sex. What did bother me was that with fifteen minutes left in class it seemed that we were not going to discuss how they were detrimental and exclusive. I believe this is simmilar to Elisa's point but not the same as i don't want to put words into her mouth. To me this seems to be one of the most obvious and important things that needs to be disucssed in a class about sex and media - that is the desexualization of whole groups of people. I don't mean to be accusatory b/c things may not have gone as planned as is the case most of the time in teaching. Yet i think it is important to understand how the choices we make about what gets discussed and what gets passed by effects the groups who never get discussed. But more importantly those of us in the dominate, race, sexuality, gender or class, never get to prolematize our role an unaware dominator.

By no means do i believe that the media group had any intention of excluding anyone or leaving out something markedly important. If it weren't for elisa's comment i may not have realied all the exclusions myslef. But this is why i feel the need to point it out with such emphasis - i, who try to be aware of these issues, once again passed over enormous groups of people becasue i have the privilege of being in the dominant culture. I scare myself when i do that. I guess mostly i am thanking elsia for not allowing me to once again ingore people - in the very least i came out of our class even more aware of how easy it is to forget one's privelege, and how easy it is to take for granted that people realized the privelege they have and the privelege being presented.

ok that's so much more than enough, and probably not all relevant. please please feel free to discuss and hash all this out, there's a lot here.


sex and art part II + response to jess
Name: michelle
Date: //2002-12-01 01:44:08 :
Link to this Comment: 3917

I througly enjoyed class on tuesday - it made me feel very creative which is a feeling i revel in. Some parts of the gallery made me feel sexual and some didn't. My favorite was kneeling down and eating chelsea's banana, simulation? art? who knows ;-)

In a way i agree with jess in that i would have liked to talk more about music and sex rather than just having it as a background peice. Much of what i write in this forum relates to the interwining of the sexual and musical. I also agree that a lot of what was presented were sexual LYRICS and not necessarily sexual MUSIC - for me the two are sometimes related but very much distinct ways of expressing sexuality. When writing about what struck me most i wrote about jenny's guitar playing - i just kept coming back to the wailing of the guitar. I have to agree that guitars are super sexual if not just muscially most definitely symbolically. They have a long fallice that you move your hand up and down, carress it just the right way to get it to do what you want. The body looks disticntly female - it is where the sound gets created, where it resonates. The playing a guitar and pleasuring someone sexually involve intamate knowledge of the instrument/body, its nuances and the goal is to make it sing sing sing. The anaolgies could go on and on - i remember it being articulated perfectly in Catcher and the Rye but i've lost my copy so i don't have the quote. i'll see what i can do about that....

ok that's it. wish we could have talked more about music but only time for so much...


sex in law
Name: Iris Dicke
Date: //2002-12-01 15:19:22 :
Link to this Comment: 3920

I recieved this list of "odd" sex/nudity laws from a friend. All I can think is there must be an increable cultural gap, because I can't even concieve why these laws would be made. I'd be interested in the background for these. Anyone know?

In Lebanon, men are legally allowed to have sex with animals, but the animals must be female. Having sexual relations with a male animal is punishable by death.
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
In Bahrain, a male doctor may legally examine a woman's genitals, but is prohibited from looking directly at them during the examination. He may only see their reflection in a mirror.
*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Muslims are banned from looking at the genitals of a corpse. This also applies to undertakers; the sex organs of the deceased must be covered with a brick or piece of wood at all times.
*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
The penalty for masturbation in Indonesia is decapitation.
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
There are men in Guam whose full-time job is to travel the countryside and deflower young virgins, who pay them for the privilege of having sex for the first time...Reason: under Guam law, it is expressly forbidden for virgins to marry.
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
In Hong Kong, a betrayed wife is legally allowed to kill her adulterous husband, but may only do so with her bare hands. The husband's lover, on the other hand, may be killed in any manner desired.
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Topless saleswomen are legal in Liverpool, England - but only in tropical fish stores.
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
In Cali, Colombia, a woman may only have sex with her husband, and the first time this happens, her mother must be in the room to witness the act.
*~*~*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
In Santa Cruz, Bolivia, it is illegal for a man to have sex with a woman and her daughter at the same time.
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
In Maryland, it is illegal to sell condoms from vending machines with one exception: prophylactics may be dispensed from a vending machine only "in places where alcoholic beverages are sold for consumption on the premises."


Final Slices
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-12-01 20:55:07 :
Link to this Comment: 3922

Welcome back to you all! A reminder that we will be finishing off our
semester together w/ five days of presentations of "slices" from the
sex-ed curricula that you are preparing for your final projects. My
earlier instructions were a little vague regarding one component of this
final assignment, so I reinterate (actually, revise) them here:

--go somewhere you haven't been (i.e. your praxis site),
--learn to know the people there,
--ASK THEM FOR THEIR IDEAS ABOUT WHAT COULD BE
ADDED TO THE PROGRAM, WHAT THEY THINK THEY NEED
OR WOULD LIKE TO HAVE (in terms of sex ed curricula, as broadly
defined as need be),
--do the necessary research to fill the gap,
--create what is missing (in a form equivalent to a 20-pp. paper),
--take 15 min. to present a piece of this in class, explaining
the context--that is, why it's taking the form it is.

See you on Tuesday--
Anne


pandora
Name: sheri
Date: //2002-12-01 21:57:02 :
Link to this Comment: 3923

The poem Bea shared with us seemed very sexual to me...exploding, trembling, breaking seals, but that's just how I read it. The writer did not intend the peom to be sexual, which me back to the idea that beauty (sex in this case ) lies in the eyes of the beholder. Written work that is sexy to someone isn't necessarily sexy to another person. What is odd to me is what the writer really wanted to say.
Is there's a difference between something given for pure beauty sake and something that is given to be sexual? Maybe to the creator, but to an audience I believe the two can be interchangeable. One could find sexuality in anything as was displayed in our art gallery on Tuesday, things placed there on purpose or stuff that just happened to be there.


sex w/ paintings
Name: sheri
Date: //2002-12-01 22:32:08 :
Link to this Comment: 3924

Sex w/ a Painting?
There's a difference between estacty and orgasm. Saint Father Euzepio would go into such estacty during elevation that he would levitate (this is true). I wouldn't say that was sex, but more utter happiness. Not a lasting orgasms- because frankly there can be not so great orgasm... and sex does not even mean having an orgasm. Estacy is even better than sex. I think this is something we need to think about.... We don't have sex with everything we really like, right?


Sex in art II
Name: Monica Loc
Date: //2002-12-01 23:00:03 :
Link to this Comment: 3928

The art gallery was fabulous!! I was fascinated with the extreme hard work this group put into creating an art gallery which gave us the opportunity to use our five senses. It was nice to see two different presentations integrating the subject of sex in art.I was part of the first group who presented the same topic and seeing Nancy, Chelsea, Nia, Jill and Jenny present their view of sex in art made me feel that these two presentations did its best to really give the class an insight of how we tried to cover many of the key elements of sex in art. To be honest, I found this presentation more entertaining and interesting than the sex museum I went to in NYC. Way to go girls!


Final Set of Postings
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-12-02 15:44:40 :
Link to this Comment: 3930

Welcome to the last module of our course on Thinking Sex. During the last two weeks of class, you will be presenting your own and listening to/engaging w/ one another's presentations of "slices" of your final project: a sex ed curriculum designed for your field site. During this time, please post your reactions to, questions about, and reflections on the presentations--as well as a short summary of your own work.

Please remember, as you do so, that this web forum is a place for PUBLIC conversation. Think about ways in which you can speak honestly, openly and respectfully about what you have learned, in a way that it can be heard in a forum that is larger than our class, in a way that can be read, in particular, by both the clients and service providers @ your field sites. Think, in other words, about how to say what it is you really think, in a way that is mindful of how it might be heard by others--not just the members of our class--who are invested in the larger conversation.

Looking forward to hearing your further thinking--
Anne


Learning Experience
Name: Sarah H.
Date: //2002-12-02 19:03:34 :
Link to this Comment: 3931

I think the biggest thing I learned at my field site is that generally, the "real world" is alot different than theorizing in a classroom. For me, working with specific people in a specific organization meant that my idealizations of what I wanted to do, what I wanted to convey, and how I thought things could be improved were not always possible. For example, it was much easier for me to be in a classroom, thinking "these women should realize their self-worth and set aside time for self-reflection," than to be confronted with the population and to try to find a way and a time to pass on this information. Working with a real population within real monetary and time budgets taught me not that ideals have to be compromised, but that they need to be realistic within the parameters of the audience and my contact with that audience. It's also helping me pinpoint exactly what I think has the most educational value, as I sift through possible focal points of this sex-ed curriculum.



Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-12-03 15:42:43 :
Link to this Comment: 3949

All of you interested in "sex across the life span" should be interested in this talk, sponsored by The Center for Science in Society :

A Special Lecture by Judith Houck
University of Wisconsin-Madison
"The Social History of a Biological Process, Menopause,1897-1980"

5 December, Thursday
4:00 PM, Park Building, Room 338
3:30 PM, Refreshments, Room 338

Judith Houck is assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin Madison with appointments in the departments of Medical History, Women's Studies, and the History of Science and the Center of Women's Health and Women's  Health Research. Her research centers on the history of women's health. She is currently finishing a book on the history of menopause, tentatively titled, More than Hot and Bothered: Women, Medicine, and Menopause in America, 1897-2000. Her next project focuses on the women's health movement
in the United States, 1969-2000.

For information, please contact Tomomi Kinukawa at tkinukaw@brynmawr.edu.



Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-12-03 16:30:53 :
Link to this Comment: 3951

All of you interested in "sex across the life span" should be interested in this talk, sponsored by The Center for Science in Society :

A Special Lecture by Judith Houck
University of Wisconsin-Madison
"The Social History of a Biological Process, Menopause,1897-1980"

5 December, Thursday
4:00 PM, Park Building, Room 338
3:30 PM, Refreshments, Room 338

Judith Houck is assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin Madison with appointments in the departments of Medical History, Women's Studies, and the History of Science and the Center of Women's Health and Women's  Health Research. Her research centers on the history of women's health. She is currently finishing a book on the history of menopause, tentatively titled, More than Hot and Bothered: Women, Medicine, and Menopause in America, 1897-2000. Her next project focuses on the women's health movement
in the United States, 1969-2000.

For information, please contact Tomomi Kinukawa at tkinukaw@brynmawr.edu.


womanspace
Name: squishy9
Date: //2002-12-04 19:42:42 :
Link to this Comment: 3970

Hanan and Maggie's site really intrigued me. It did not sound the like the site was really functioning at its highest potential and I felt Hanan and Maggie were taking a nice approach to dealing with the women and their problems. I do not really see how you can rehabilitate these women while they are sitting around watching TV all day. These women need more structure than they are provided. It is important for these women to experience daily routines while they are going through the program. If all they do is sit around, detox, and watch TV they are just getting the drugs out of their system, they are not really making any lifestyle changes that would encourage them not to go back to doing drugs. I really liked the idea that they need to exercise more, get out, run around, and have some fun. If they can get endorphins flowing and energy levels up they are going to feel physically better and if they feel better physically, its going to be easier for them to get over physical [and mental] addiction.

I'll write more later if I think of other things I want to say. In the mean time, good luck ladies!


womanspace
Name: lauren hil
Date: //2002-12-04 19:42:56 :
Link to this Comment: 3971

Hanan and Maggie's site really intrigued me. It did not sound the like the site was really functioning at its highest potential and I felt Hanan and Maggie were taking a nice approach to dealing with the women and their problems. I do not really see how you can rehabilitate these women while they are sitting around watching TV all day. These women need more structure than they are provided. It is important for these women to experience daily routines while they are going through the program. If all they do is sit around, detox, and watch TV they are just getting the drugs out of their system, they are not really making any lifestyle changes that would encourage them not to go back to doing drugs. I really liked the idea that they need to exercise more, get out, run around, and have some fun. If they can get endorphins flowing and energy levels up they are going to feel physically better and if they feel better physically, its going to be easier for them to get over physical [and mental] addiction.

I'll write more later if I think of other things I want to say. In the mean time, good luck ladies!


Joke!!
Name: Chelsea
Date: //2002-12-04 21:24:43 :
Link to this Comment: 3973

Hehe, this one was posted in our bathroom last week...(paraphrased)

There is an elderly woman in a nursing who steals a wheelchair and begins racing around the halls. As she passes an open room, an elderly man jumps out, "Excuse me, ma'am, but I believe you were speeding. I need to see your driver's license." The woman digs around in her purse and pulls out a candy wrapper. The man examines it, hands it back and sends her off.

Back she goes again racing up and down the halls. Again, the man pulls her over. "Ma'am, I think you crossed the center line back there, can I see your registration?" The woman pulls out a receipt. Again, the man looks it over, returns it and sends her on her way.

She goes again, weaving all over, up and down the halls. As she passes the old man's room, out he jumps, stark naked with an erection. "Oh no!" says the old woman, "Not the breathilizer test again!"


reflection
Name: ngoc
Date: //2002-12-05 09:21:13 :
Link to this Comment: 3978

in this class, we've had great opportunities to explore and question sex and sexuality from quite many angles... through ou this process we never cease to question the language that we use to understand and to communicate... in some of conversation, i notice that language is being criticized and deemed as inadequate to express our thoughts, experiences, etc... (language itself is a sign of loss...that once you speak or try to communicate, you've already lost some of what you are trying to express) it seems as though the more we explore, the more we read, discuss and question, the more language seems inadequate .... maybe it's just my feeling... but i don't think we are giving language its credit in allowing us to communicate...if not more ... it has been my experiece that after each time we learn a new way to explore, to examine sex and sexuality, i feel as if i've been given another set of language, of tool to express myself... it's almost an empowering experience ...consider where i am coming from... the only set of language i've ever learned is that from high school and so much exposure from the media... as for the other part--of being vietnamese helps little -- consider silence is the language of sex and sexuality in vietnamese culture... it may be hard for those who have always had the power, the language to discuss and to express themselves to understand how acquiring, learning this new set of tool can be empowering... it's almost like at that instant you are given a right to express yourself... you feel legitimate... satisfy...

being critical, questioning and doubting are great... but never forget to look back and see how far the thing we are doubting, questioning bring us so far in our conversation, in life... (just a little thought =] )



Name: Fritz Dubu
Date: //2002-12-05 10:20:33 :
Link to this Comment: 3979

I really agree with with wha t Ngoc had to say on language. It is through our constant battle with language that I have come to appreciate the ability to do so freely. Language may seem an inefficient tool at times but the simple fact that there are some experiences that we have no words for shows the power of that experience.


frtiz and nia
Name: sheir
Date: //2002-12-05 10:45:17 :
Link to this Comment: 3980

I think it's important for you guys to talk about abst. in your placement. Is seems to me like you guys wouild be the only way for them to hear about the possiblity of not having sex until later in life or marriage. It really is a valid option- or at least one that could be very valuable for them to understand. Nia maybe has a better chance of telling her kids the pros and cons. Not everyone who is in a happy healthy relationship is having sex. I have no clue how you could actually tell these kids who know everything the abst. is a possibility. Good luck.


This is just to say...
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-12-05 16:13:00 :
Link to this Comment: 3984

...(to those of you who didn't make it) that we DID have class today, w/ 6 presentations. They raised for me a number of questions about the most useful attitude to take when engaging in praxis work. I'm thinking that the critical mode I've been advocating--"what is wrong here? what is missing? how can we fix it?"--may not be the most helpful one.

Perhaps asking ourselves, @ this point in the semester, what we have learned from our sites, and from our engagements w/ the people who come and work and live there, might take us further than the interrogatory mode we've been using so far. What did we NOT know, three months ago, that we know now, from having gone into a space we hadn't been before? What has OUR curriculum looked like, and what else do WE need to know, in order to fill in the gaps in our own (sexuality) education?

We also vetted today a number of questions which had been raised (for me, @ least) in Tuesday's presentations: is it possible to do a presentation about the subjects you are studying, which they themselves can comfortably hear? What might that look/sound like? What right have we (do we have the right? and do we have permission?) to tell others' stories? What responsibilites do we have, to tell them respectfully?

Anne


Same-Sex Marriage/Prostitution Response
Name: Sarah
Date: //2002-12-06 00:04:52 :
Link to this Comment: 3986

This is mainly in response to Jennifer and Louise's (the Columbia students) posting which, I might add, was a very exciting addition to our site. I suppose I'm responding to it specifically because I'm so glad some new voices have joined our group (at least temporarily).

I'm in and out of reading a book by Michael Warner entitled, "The Trouble with Normal," discussing his opposition (and also the opposition of many gay men and women for decades) to legalizing same-sex marriage because of his opposition to marriage in general. Towards the middle of the book, he includes a list (which I include below) of reasons the gay movement has resisted pushing a platform demanding legalization of marriage and I think that it offers some interesting points to consider, especially in response to Jennifer and Louise's questions about marriage and same-sex marriage.

It called attention to the mythology by which marriage is idealized.
It recognized the diversity of sexual and intimate relations as worthy of respect and protection.
Indeed, it cultivated unprecedented kinds of commonality, intimacy, and public life.
It resisted any attempt to make the norms of such straight culture into the standards by which queer life should be measured.
It especially resisted the notion that the state should be allowed to accord legitimacy to some kinds of consensual sex but not others, or to confer respectability on some people's sexuality but not others.
It insisted that much of what was taken to be morality, respectability, or decorum was, in practice, a way of regulating sexual pleasures and relations.
It taught that any self-esteem worth having must not be purchased by a disavowal of sex; It must include esteem for one's sexual relations and pleasures, no matter how despised by others.
It made itself alert to the invidiousness of any institution, like marriage, that is designed both to reward those inside it and to discipline those outside it: adulterers, prostitutes, divorcees, the promiscuous, single people, unwed parents, those below the age of consent—in short, all those who became, for the purposes of marriage, queer.
It insisted that any vision of sexual justice begin by considering the unrecognized dignity of these outcasts, the ways of living they represent, and the hierarchies of abjection that make them secondary, invisible, or deviant.
It became alert on principle to the danger that those same hierarchies would continue to structure the thought of the gay and lesbian movement itself—whether through "internalized homophobia," in-group hostility, or simply through the perspective unconsciously embedded in so much of our thought and perception.
It tried to correct for the tendency of U.S. debates to ignore other societies, on whom they nevertheless have an impact.

In thinking about the likening of marriage to prostitution, I've come to the tentative conclusion that the prostitution component of the analogy comes into play not as much within the couple but as within the society. The fact that marriage is a discriminatory institution against all of the above mentioned individuals (adulterers, prostitutes, divorcees, the promiscuous, single people, unwed parents, those below the age of consent), likens them ALL to the prostitute who remains unprotected by the law. By denying all these individuals and couples legal rights, lawmakers are essentially declaring their existence worthy of punishment and inflicting upon them the same gruesome injustice that they have inflicted on the unprotected sex worker.


Code of Ethics
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-12-06 16:17:09 :
Link to this Comment: 3990


After Judith Houck's talk this afternoon on "menopause," or "why scientists should care about history," I took her and several other young BMC faculty members to lunch...and found myself describing to them my qualms about our representing the stories of others, which I'd outlined in my posting above. Melissa Pashigian, the new medical anthropologist here, suggested that we might all find useful the Code of Ethics of the American Anthropological Association. Particularly noteworthy to me in this code is the call to be "alert to the proper demands of good citizenship or host-guest relations"; the acknowledgement that the "development of knowledge can lead to change which may be positive or negative for the people worked with or studied"; the reminder "to consult actively with the affected individuals or group(s), with the goal of establishing a working relationship that can be beneficial to all parties involved"; and the realization that the "informed consent process is dynamic and continuous...through implementation by way of dialogue and negotiation with those studied."

Always learning--(and always grateful for the nudge to do so)--
Anne


Tests for Sexually Transmitted Disease...
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-12-07 14:46:19 :
Link to this Comment: 3999

...to be offered to Phila. high schoolers (from the 11/30/02 Philadelphia Inquirer):

"As part of an aggressive effort to curb a rampant sexually transmitted disease among teenagers, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health will provide voluntary screening at all city high schools.

Health Department officials said that up to 30,000 students are expected to be tested for chlamydia--a common bacterial infection that can damage reproductive organs and lead to infertility. They said the disease has become epidemic among 15- to 19-year-old Philadelphia females, with a citywide infection rate of about 1 in 12.

In two high schools where the education and screening program was tried last year, the figure was even higher: One of every six girls taking the test had the disease. Health Department data showed about 5 percent of the boys were infected....

Paul G. Vallas, the school district's chief executive...called the project a 'no-brainer....It is an abstinence-first philosophy, and we have to take it up a notch,' Vallas said. 'This is high-risk behavior, and there are consequences.'"


Presentations Day 2
Name: elisa
Date: //2002-12-08 21:03:45 :
Link to this Comment: 4007

I just wanted to respond to something I thought of while I was sitting in class this past Thursday.

I agree with what Anne has already said in her earlier posting, stating, "I'm thinking that the critical mode I've been advocating--"what is wrong here? what is missing? how can we fix it?"--may not be the most helpful one."

The group volunteering at the site for queer youth expressed a lot of frustration at being treated as "outsiders" by the people at their site.

As I listened to the well intentioned attempts at bridging the gap between them and the people at their sites, I wondered whether or not the gap was being furthered by their lack of understanding. It seemed that the students in our class felt the fault was more a flaw of the organization and the people at the organization than within the things they were attempting to do with the groups. For example, two students stated that they tried to get the youth at the site to read a poem and then another time they played music during an art session, but the youth werent into it. The two students from our class were very frustrated by this (as would I be if I were them), and as they explained their frustration, all I thought was "Did they ever think that reading may not be the way to "get" these kids? Did they ever stop to think that teenagers have fears about reading/performing in front of their peers? Did they ever stop to think that some of these teenagers cant read? What kind of music did you play? Is it the type of music that these (inner city, majority people of color) youth identify with?"

I think one of the biggest problems we all have in entering our praxis sites is that we are mainly "outsiders" coming in to a space that has not been created by us or for us. Even if we percieve ourselves as being "insiders" with the group, I can still understand why some people would not be so happy with our presence in these environments, but why there may be a need for an outsiders perspective. The best way for me to summarize this is to cite the first paragraph of Zora Neale Hurston's, Mules and Men . She writes:

"I was glad when somebody told me, "You may go and collect Negro folklore."

In a way it would not be a new experience for me. When I pitched headforemost into the world I landed in in the crib of negroism. From the earliest rocking of my cradle, I had known about the capers Brer Rabbit is apt to cut and what Squinch Owl says from the house top. But it was fitting like a tight chemise. I couldn't see it for wearing it. It was only when I was off in college, away from my native surroundings that I could see myself like somebody else and stand off and look at my garment. Then I had to have the spyglass of Anthropology to look through at that." (introduction)

I think that we should keep in mind that our complex positions as "outsiders" peering through the "spyglass of anthropology" (even to things that appear familiar to us) to our sites is beneficial in some way, but that we should also remain careful of being too critical. An organization may be full of "insiders" blinding it from seeing things it may not see are problems. However, we should not forget our own blind spots as "outsiders"--- there may be a dynamic/people/programs that are occurring within our sites that go unnamed, yet keep things functioning and, I dont think it is out right to impose our visions of what we think is "faulty," when we may not understand the whole picture.


Another thought...
Name: elisa
Date: //2002-12-08 21:21:08 :
Link to this Comment: 4008

In class, I made the suggestion that the students who are working with the queer youth organization in philly might want to work on a curriculum to train the trainers/facilitators at the organization. If you need a starting place, you might want to check this out--- an organization for queer people of color in NYC, called the audre lorde project, hosts a variety of events such as a Young Women of Color Leadership Program: For Lesbian, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Transgender & Questioning Young Women of Color (ages 16–20) (in the summer) which covers topics such as:

-Direct Action Organizing
-Public Speaking
-Leadership Skills
-Facilitation Skills
-Use of art/culture as activist tool
-Empowerment

I think learning all of these skills may aid the organization in leading disucssions about sex, community, etc. Something like this may help in turning the philly organization for queer youth into a more politically active one. For more info on the Audre Lorde Project, what is does, and info for contacting them by phone/email/mail, there website is:

http://www.alp.org/index.html

The best way to see what kind of events and trainings they have is to go to the calender section.


FYI
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-12-09 11:49:34 :
Link to this Comment: 4015

This event @ Penn this week will be of interest to some of you:

WEDNESDAY, 12/11, 8am-9am, CHOP, Joseph Stokes Auditorium
"Human Sexuality and HIV in the New Millenium"
A lecture by Wade Cates, NIH HIV Networks
For further inforamation, contact dkurz@sas.upenn.edu


presentations
Name: Maggie
Date: //2002-12-09 21:03:30 :
Link to this Comment: 4018

I just wanted to say that I am really enjoying the presentations people have been doing. It's really good to finally get to hear about everyone's praxis placements, and the experiences/problems they've had. Also, it's a great way for us to use each other as resources. I wasn't sure about the idea but I'm really glad we're doing it.


philly schools sex tests
Name: shier
Date: //2002-12-09 21:56:04 :
Link to this Comment: 4020

I think this is great! In a perfect world anyone who thought that she was ready to have sex and understood the consequences could have all the sex he wants and then not have any repercussions. This would break things down into real life. There- that cool senior you want to be like- he has herpies. Not so cool anymore huh? It can happen to us. . I don't remember what issue, but I read in Jane that in less than 10 years anyone who has had more than one sexual partner will have an STD.

I know that high school kids know people who have had an STD and have had babies, but an in your face test might change things.

I think all schools should have it. In a local Private Acadamy the middle school girls have an outbreak of ghonaria of the throat. It's not just philly, it's the richer neighborhoods too.


Sex and Media
Name: Nia Turner
Date: //2002-12-10 00:59:40 :
Link to this Comment: 4021

The mainstream perception of beauty and sex appeal in the United States is the Caucasian woman with blonde hair, blue eyes, fine facial features, and a slender figure. Why is this the case? I believe that Black women historically symbolize both strength of character and physical strength. This is not to suggest that Caucasian women do not posses these attributes. The mainstream thought is that there exist a strong correlation between beauty, sex appeal, femininity, and fragility. In a historical context Black women have never been the epitome of fragile. My foremothers survived the inhumane conditions of slave ships, slave blocks, and plantations. The master's wife was " too delicate" to nurse her own babies. Who fulfilled this capacity? Black Women. Over generations they have been the backbone of the Black family structure. Furthermore, it amazes me that the media has blatantly put down Black women for having more pronounced facial features. For example up until recently fuller lips were seen as a less attractive feature, but now Caucasian models are having surgery to enhance their lips. The message this sends is that Black women have a history of setting trends. Apparently, our society has not made sufficient progress towards recognizing the beauty and sexuality of all women, despite differences in ethnicity, race, and culture. I have to read Ebony, Essence, or Jet magazines just to see women that look like me. As a teen I resented the fact that teen magazines did not provide beauty tips or makeovers that would apply to me as a young Black woman. I hope that by the time I have a daughter that perceptions of beauty and sexuality will evolve to encompass a diverse body of women.


Food for thought...
Name: elisa
Date: //2002-12-10 11:12:44 :
Link to this Comment: 4023

My friend went to boston and found out about this place.

Continuing our side conversation concerning sex and food, here is an example of sex in food (?!), sex and food... i dont know how to label this... check it out for yourself and see what you think...

:)

enjoy!


sweet-n-nasty



Name: Maggie
Date: //2002-12-10 19:13:10 :
Link to this Comment: 4039

First, thanks to Elisa for the candy... that was fun = ).

Today when Bea was talking about the people who go to her praxis site, she mentioned how she often hears them talking about how their god is angry with them, or disapproves. Almost all of the women at my praxis site are very faithful Christians and it amazes me to hear them talk about their religion. They say that God has always been with them and watching out for them or else they never would have made it through what they did, and they wouldn't be where they are now if it wasn't for God's guidance. The discrepancy between the two praxis sites is really interesting. I'm curious about what causes a difference in faith between two groups of adults who have probably both gone through a lot of difficulties in their lives. (I say probably because I'm assuming about the people that Bea works based on her presentation.) Anyway, that was just something interesting I noticed.


Police posing as prostitutes for a sting
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-12-10 21:37:00 :
Link to this Comment: 4043

Another (front page) Philadelphia Inquirer article (12/9/02):

"Too often, police say, school children walk home against a backdrop of users, dealers and prostitutes. Responding to a request from those who live and work in lower Frankford, police mobilized in greater force to help clean things up. While prostitutes are frequently arrested, police decided to also go after those looking for their services. Since the operation began in late spring, 47 men have felt the sting....police can't stop prostitution throughout the city, but they can, at least, help keep it out of some neighborhoods. 'It is the oldest profession in the world...And we'll never completely get rid of it.'"


Presentations
Name: Monica Loc
Date: //2002-12-11 03:22:35 :
Link to this Comment: 4044

These presentations are a great way for all of us to share our experiences at our praxis site. I presented my site today and I feel more comfortable than I was before about writing a curriculum because of the positive and wonderful ideas the class shared with me. I related alot to Sheri's presentation today because I have a cousin who attends the same type of school Sheri worked in. I understood her when she reiterated the fact that some parents are hard to approach regarding some issues because it is hard for a parent to be told how to handle things with his/her child and it is also hard for a parent to accept the fact that he/she might have been wrong somewhere down and the road. The child already needing these special needs makes it arduous for the parent to see what was done wrong. Sheri's presentation touched me because I have had experience with what she encountered and it was nice to hear that she had a curriculum well planned.


Scare kids into abstinence?
Name: Nancy
Date: //2002-12-11 12:37:24 :
Link to this Comment: 4046

While I don't think sex ed curriculums should necessarily encourage middle school aged children to have sex, I worry about the 'scare tactics' some of the sites seem to use. Telling kids about the dangers of sex and the horrible consequences of aquiring STDs if one thing, but I don't think spreading fear of these outcomes should be the only way to encourage abstinence. Wouldn't teaching adolescents how to make informed decisions, when to know if they are ready, and (also) the risks of having sex be more effective? I know it is difficult for everyone in the 'abstinence only' sites to come up with an informative curriculum becuase sex can't be put into language without restraints. I do have one question for those of us at these types of sites-- would an informative sex ed program that stressed abstinence but still taught alternatives be 'allowed'? Other than that, I think everyone's presentations have been really interesting and informative and I think it's really great that everyone's final projects are going to be so unique.


perspectives and standards
Name: ngoc
Date: //2002-12-12 16:25:27 :
Link to this Comment: 4058

Elisa commented in class today on how she's not sure about her feelings when those who have been in the situation and thinks that it is okay or even "miss" that kind of relationship (the example mentioned in class)... Her uncertainty then led her to speculate on the question of standard of what's right and what's wrong...what's okay and what's not... at first the child does not think or believe that the relationship is wrong or inappropriate... does it mean that we, as society, are implementing, enforcing a standard of what's right and what's wrong...and when individual follow/accept/recognize the standard...that the relationship becomes questionable and inappropriate?

I think this is a very important question that have not been given adequate time for discussion... is it our society, our make up, our standards that make things wrong... or is it inherent in our nature? how cultural is this perspective and standard? and is it okay for someone who has experienced that kind of relationship to not feel like a victim? since this has to do with young children, there is also the question of at age do we believe children can appropriately interpret their experience... do we accept their perspective when they find that their experience is not negative? or will we denny their perspective because we consider them too young to understand the consequences... but then again, these consequences are what we think they are... not necessarily the way the person feel...

just a thought =]


Where's the clit?
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-12-12 17:18:54 :
Link to this Comment: 4061

I thoroughly enjoyed the "finale" which Deborah and Chelsea staged this afternoon; it was great fun to enact w/ you all my impregnation and birth....

but (it ocurred to me afterwards; actually, a friend asked me this question, as I was describing our enactment w/ such glee):

"where was the clitoris? hasn't this been a course on sex? what kind of sexual experience can happen w/out....

the clit?"


How do you think about sex?
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-12-12 17:23:58 :
Link to this Comment: 4063

I pass this on:

maybe some students in our class would like
to submit something?!

-elisa
~~~~~~
SLUT issue #4 "the mind"

Slut is the Women's Center annual zine composed of original stories, poems, artwork, songs, and photos. Absolutely anyone can submit their work and everyone is encouraged to do so to get the full spectrum of ideas and opinions. This year's topic is "the mind".

E-mail submissions (sledoux or lhills@brynmawr.edu) or campus mail to box 1403 by January 27, 2003 (THE EARLIER THE BETTER!!!)

We want to know...

How do you THINK about sex?

What is running through your MIND during that first kiss...that last
kiss..when someone calls you a SLUT...when someone whistles at you from a passing car...

What do you THINK about during class? Or rather who do you THINK about during class...

What is on your MIND?

Inquiring MINDS want to know what you THINK!!!
(submit to SLUT!)


Final Celebration
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-12-12 17:27:12 :
Link to this Comment: 4064

The Final Celebration for "Thinking Sex" will @ my house on Monday evening, December 16th, 6-8 p.m. Everyone who has a car has agreed to be @ the BMC campus center @ 5:45, to offer rides to those who need them.

Directions to Anne Dalke's house
410 Oak Lane, Wayne
610-688-7213

Take Lancaster Ave. west through Bryn Mawr,Rosemont,Villanova,St. David's to Wayne.
In center of town, turn right onto N. Wayne Avenue.
Go 3 blocks and turn right, at large fir tree, onto Walnut; then immediately left onto Oak.
I'm in the 2nd block, green house, in the middle, on the left: #410.

Or take Paoli Local (four stops past Bryn Mawr) to Wayne;
walk north on North Wayne Avenue one block;
turn right on Walnut, and immediately left onto Oak:
2nd block, green house on left: #410.


Way back at the Sex in Art presentation
Name: Sarah
Date: //2002-12-12 18:02:58 :
Link to this Comment: 4065

At the subject's request, I am posting the last line of the description of the sexual art I found in the room the day we had Sex in Art in Pem West living room. The art I described was another person in the class eating an orange and trying to write about it as HER example of art.
Describing the way she ate a piece of the orange that stayed on her lip for a moment, "Then the tongue moved out and the lip moved up, and it was lost to the deliberate movements of the body that fed off it."


Reading Safe Haven
Name: Jill
Date: //2002-12-13 00:40:46 :
Link to this Comment: 4067

My initial response to Safe Haven was really cheesy, but it might be worth sharing if it can inspire a laugh or two.

I see the elements: earth, fire, water, and wind. All depend on the others and all sustain the others. At the centre, however, is the biggest element: love. These five elements keep the universe flowing ever onward. This universe is self-centered and small; it could be one of the members of the milky way or it could be a single blood cell. In a way, they're the same...


A Range of Languages
Name: Jill
Date: //2002-12-13 00:52:46 :
Link to this Comment: 4068

Humor is a language for sex that is grossly underestimated. It is very easy to overlook. I, however, think it is vital. When someone is intelligent enough to make me laugh, they become sexy. Part of attraction for me has always been the other person's sense of humor. But, more importantly than all of this, humor stands in a code that I have tried to live by: if you're not comfortable enough with someone to laugh in bed with them, you shouldn't be sharing that bed.

Humor, like all languages, has its limitations, but I have found that it adds immensely to a sexual experience.

This is not the only language necessary to explore sex by any means. I believe that there are countless languages to aid in this process, and I do not pretend to know what they all are. Perhaps this is one aim for this course--teaching us all different languages that would have not occurred to us before.


Sex Across the Lifespan
Name: Jill
Date: //2002-12-13 01:04:08 :
Link to this Comment: 4069

The articles on oral sex in middle schools reminded me of an experience I had around that age. I was first introduced to the idea of oral sex at that time. In middle school, I knew everything about everything. I was an all-around expert, just like all of the other kids in my school. We were practically adults. The only thing our parents were good for was driving us around. At one point, rumors started passing around about several of the kids in school. One girl had a chip out of one of her front teeth, and guys would swear up and down that it was because she had "sucked too much dick". Another rumor was of a couple that spent their bus rides to and from away games in the back seat going down on each other. The last rumor that I remember is from seventh grade. I remember vividly that one of the head cheerleaders was going to have sex with her football jock boyfriend under the bleachers in the gym, except that she had her period, so they waited. I started to feel very young and innocent after that rumor found its way to me. I realized that I was far from being grown up. So were all of the other kids in my school.

I am not sure if these ramblings mean much of anything to anyone, but I can certainly say that this is not a new trend in kids.


Course Commentary and Requirements
Name: Jill
Date: //2002-12-13 01:13:30 :
Link to this Comment: 4070

It is very necessary to have a language of sex in the classroom. For many kids, including myself, that language was never offered at home. This is not a commentary on parents, but mine, for example, were too conservative and/or shy to offer that language to my siblings and me. I found the language of sex from my friends and the sex ed courses in school. They were not ideal or all-inclusive, but they were my education for a long time.

For a younger set of kids, there's always going to be the people who make light of the language and the situation, but I firmly believe that it is necessary to give them the option of learning the language. More likely than not, they will learn something even if it's unintentional.


Pornography and Fear
Name: Jill
Date: //2002-12-13 01:21:18 :
Link to this Comment: 4071

Our class found it troubling to define pornography. Before this discussion, it would have been very easy for me to do so. I was able to see a distinction between porn and anything else as black and white. Now, the seed of doubt has been placed in my mind. I think this scares me more than anything else. If I cannot say for sure what is erotic vs. what is pornographic vs. what is art vs. what is merely an ordinary object, then where do the boundaries of appropriateness lie?

This troubles me not as a control issue but as a fear of not understanding the world at all. I was taught to believe in a solid line between good and bad, right and wrong, etc. This discussion has smudged the line.


Social Science and Science Talk About Sex
Name: Jill
Date: //2002-12-13 01:29:50 :
Link to this Comment: 4072

Professor Grobstein's talk about sex threw me for a loop. His very specific definitions felt limiting, which starkly contrasted the general views of our class discussions. "Sex is a specific act between specific organisms." I have never really been interested in biology, so I cannot understand these concepts as he does, but they do not make sense to me. We have had class discussions about how generally a sex act can be defined. The biology talk (attempted to) disprove all of that discussion, albeit unintentionally.

On a happier note, I was quite pleased with Professor Grobstein's views on homosexual sex acts. It was thrilling to know that there are at least some biologists who think this way. Quite possibly not at Bob Jones University, but that is a different matter entirely. (They haven't quite reached evolutionism yet...)


The Languages of Law, Poetry, History, and Religio
Name: Jill
Date: //2002-12-13 01:43:39 :
Link to this Comment: 4073

This has been one of my favorite poems since I first heard it. I hope you enjoy it as well.

A Majestic Love Song

You are beautiful, like prophecies,
and sad, like those that come true,
calm, like the calmness afterward.
Black, like the white lonliness of jasmine.
With sharpened fangs: she-wolf and queen.

Your very short dress is in fashion,
your weeping and laughter come from ancient times,
perhaps from some book of other kings.
I've never seen foam at the mouth of a war horse,
but when you lathered your body with soap
I saw.

You are beautiful like prophecies
that never come true.
And this is the royal scar;
I pass over it with my tongue
and with pointed fingers over that sweet roughness.

With hard shoes you knock
prison bars to and fro around me.

Your wild rings
are the sacred leprosy of your fingers.

Out of the earth emerge
all I wished never to see again:
Pillar and window sill, cornice and jug, broken pieces
of wine.

--Yehuda Amichai


Sex in the Law and Media
Name: Jill
Date: //2002-12-13 01:58:25 :
Link to this Comment: 4074

I think that our class discussion about sex in the media was well shaped, and I also think that the group did the best they could to present what they found.

That said, I would like to focus more on Elisa's questions about sex in the law. I do not think that public sex laws have much effect on private sex lives. This is, of course, assuming that the private sex lives are being performed in a private space. People will do bizzarre things in their bedrooms just as they have been for many years, regardless of laws. As long as no one is harmed, I have no objections to these practices.

The fact that a public institution, namely the government, is making decisions about my private sex life is at once troubling and amusing. It is bothersome that the government would assume that it can control what I do in the privacy of my bed. (It would be terrifying if the government actually could control that.) However, it is also amusing that it assumes this. Either G.W. is on another one of his power trips, or someone is grossly misinformed about how much power the government actually has over the privacy of citizens.

I do not think that it is possible to write laws about how people should have sex or whether they should. In order to cover all options, the laws would have to be extremely specific, and because of this, they would be largely verbose and useless. I do not think all sex laws should be eliminated, for sex offenders do not deserve encouragement. All in all, this is a troubling question, and I do not think I can answer it fully.


More Sex in Art
Name: Jill
Date: //2002-12-13 02:03:43 :
Link to this Comment: 4075

I was very pleased with the way that our class turned out. We did not get to cover all of the art mediums, but our brief class period could not possibly allow for that. I am also pleased that other people seemed to enjoy the class.

The art projects that were created are absolutely amazing, and the ones that survived made a trip to Athena. Hopefully, the goddess of wisdom will shine down on all of us a little more for the donations...


Final Comments
Name: Jill
Date: //2002-12-13 02:09:35 :
Link to this Comment: 4076

My Praxis experience taught me quite a bit. I went into the site expecting one thing, and I was given something entirely different. I was a little disillusioned by this, but I have learned new things nonetheless.

My curriculum will be a difficult project. I am not sure how I will be able to create a project that I feel could benefit my site and also be graciously accepted by my site. I do not think that they would use it either way, but I would feel much better if the site would be open to any changes.

I plan on writing a curriculum to help remedy the stagnant population at my site. I feel that if the community is opened more, the site will greatly benefit.


columbia men???
Name: lauren hil
Date: //2002-12-13 02:30:31 :
Link to this Comment: 4077

Ok. I overheard anne saying that we need 14 postings. I think i have 12 as of now. Nice catch-up Jill..

As i went through the postings i came across the posting from the 2 columbia students and my reaction was really frustrating. I put so much effort into trying to think outside of the box. When i heard the 2 columbia students posted, i assumed they were men. Turns out i was wrong. Im not sure why i felt the urge to post this, but it seemed relevant to our class and venting makes me feel better.. perhaps there will be more thoughts on this later...


sex ed.. ... ...
Name:
Date: //2002-12-13 02:38:50 :
Link to this Comment: 4078

I am having some trouble with my thoughts about our praxis sites and our sex Ed curriculums. It seems that everyone has a valid complaint about her site (except tamina who seems pretty satisfied) and many people think their site needs a full overhaul. The attic kids seemed incredibly frustrated with the site. I am not so sure where this gets us. If we are supposed to write a realistic sex Ed curriculum, how realistic can it be if we cannot work within the organizations we are learning from? We cannot reform the attic. We cannot take over MomMobile. I'm not criticizing anyone's ideas. I think everyone so far has been incredibly creative and has put plenty of thought into their curriculums, I am just worried that maybe a sex ed curriculum in some places is not so easy. My thoughts for the attic were that since it is essentially a dating service that could be a great means to get a curriculum across. Use what the site is. Also I loved Elisa's idea that there could be a curriculum for the faculty/staff. In fact I totally think you could design an entire curriculum around the staff and help them learn to help the members, and then maybe design a curriculum for the staff to use on the members


sex ed.. ... ...
Name: lauren hil
Date: //2002-12-13 02:38:58 :
Link to this Comment: 4079

I am having some trouble with my thoughts about our praxis sites and our sex Ed curriculums. It seems that everyone has a valid complaint about her site (except tamina who seems pretty satisfied) and many people think their site needs a full overhaul. The attic kids seemed incredibly frustrated with the site. I am not so sure where this gets us. If we are supposed to write a realistic sex Ed curriculum, how realistic can it be if we cannot work within the organizations we are learning from? We cannot reform the attic. We cannot take over MomMobile. I'm not criticizing anyone's ideas. I think everyone so far has been incredibly creative and has put plenty of thought into their curriculums, I am just worried that maybe a sex ed curriculum in some places is not so easy. My thoughts for the attic were that since it is essentially a dating service that could be a great means to get a curriculum across. Use what the site is. Also I loved Elisa's idea that there could be a curriculum for the faculty/staff. In fact I totally think you could design an entire curriculum around the staff and help them learn to help the members, and then maybe design a curriculum for the staff to use on the members


clit
Name: lauren hil
Date: //2002-12-13 02:53:57 :
Link to this Comment: 4080

good point anne. where was the clit??? but hey, a woman can get pregnant without recieving the same sexual pleasure her lover recieved.


polygamy??? no. polyamorous
Name: lauren hil
Date: //2002-12-13 03:17:06 :
Link to this Comment: 4081

I think this is my last posting for the night.. sorry to do this to you Anne..

I had one more though for Elisa's curriculum. You may already have this, but everyone was on a time crunch... anyways, I think it is really important for part of your sex ed curriculum for these kids to be to make them as comfortable as possible with their sexuality. I've seen several people who were sexually abused or raped jump from one night stand to one night stand and from one bad relationship to another. (disclaimer- I am not saying one night stands are bad – am saying that these women I have known haven't really wanted to be in the positions they end up in after their trauma) I think it would be really great for you to do a sex ed curriculum that tried to make these kids comfortable with their sexuality really being theirs.

You could do some really crazy/fun hands on activities. it is really important to reclaim your sexuality after these kinds of trauma, and I think sometimes programs focus too much on teaching these people to PROTECT themselves when they should be learning that it is all right to open up to people (sexually and emotionally). Their instinct is to protect themselves. This can manifest itself in really dichotomized ways. One could really fear sex and intimacy or one could seek out attention by bed hopping. It is really the bed hopping that I am concerned about because I think it becomes so cyclical. If you are looking for affection and just getting one night stands you are going to feel pretty shitty about yourself and your sexuality. Or if you are actively seeking one night stands because you are scared of intimacy beyond that, you haven't emotionally dealt with your past experiences...

I really want all women to be comfortable with their own sexuality. If you are a mono-amorous* (see below) person or a one night only person that's fine as long as that's what you want and you are expressing yourself. The problem I see is that many of these women aren't really expressing themselves, they are expressing their experience.
***********************************************************************
* some of us down in batten house went to visit this commune in VA (twin oaks –its been around since 1967 – feminist – each person works 40 hours a week to sustain the commune and taking care of kids can be counted in that 40 hours- really cool place- great playground "the playground of death" as they call it– nice river – ok that's my plug) and we encountered a new word: polyamorous.

I always hated the words monogamy and polygamy because the "gamy" is woman and that implies that relationships are determined by men and how they define their relationships. And damnit women can have multiple lovers and there should be a term for that. In fact i think there is. I know there is. I can't remember it though. Shows how much that is used. The word was something like, poly + something meaning man. Still implies that gender is polarized. Screw that. Love works. For now at least. Ill find a problem with it later.

Sorry for being so wordy. It happens to all of us...


Two more questions
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-12-13 11:29:11 :
Link to this Comment: 4084

Two responses (actually, two questions in response) to two of lauren hildebrand's postings:

1. "I put so much effort into trying to think outside of the box. When i heard the 2 columbia students posted, i assumed they were men. Turns out i was wrong."

I don't understand what you are saying here (that thinking outside the box would have meant you intuited that our visitors were female....?)

2. "hey, a woman can get pregnant without recieving the same sexual pleasure her lover recieved."

sure: but since when have we been defining sex as getting pregnant? when chelsea and deborah instructed us to "enact the biological process," why did they tell those of us who were representing female body parts to RESIST the onslaught of the sperm, to keep 'em OUT? and/or why was the goal to get pregnant, rather than be sexually pleasured?

Anne


clit and right/wrong issue
Name: Maggie
Date: //2002-12-13 21:26:48 :
Link to this Comment: 4091

In defense of Deborah and Chelsea, and to half answer Anne, the point of their lesson was biological (could the students adequately "build" the female reproductive system and reenact pregnancy). As part of a lesson that would be included in their curriculum, the goal would be for the students to possess that knowledge, not to learn about being sexually pleasured. But I do agree that there should have been a clit... and shame on our class for not noticing. And I think the resistance to the sperm wasn't supposed to represent the woman's resistance (either to the man or to getting pregnant) but was more of a reflection on how the sperm have a long journey and have to fight each other, etc.

Also, the point that Elisa brought up about some of the children not thinking the relationship was their 'abuser' was wrong... wow. And Ngoc's comments were also insightful. I think it is very hard for us to think of sexual acts between (as in Elisa's example) fathers and young daughters as okay. The problem of accepting things that we don't understand often confronts us when we are talking about different societies. Would it be different if there were a society that completely accepted those types of relationships? Then would we (Americans? Western culture? Our class?) say that those instances were understandable, maybe even allowable, but that ones in our culture weren't? Or would we say that all such instances should be condemned? Would we feel comfortable condemning people for doing things that their society/culture told them were perfectly acceptable?


teach pleasure? why not!
Name: Nancy
Date: //2002-12-14 21:13:45 :
Link to this Comment: 4095

I think the absence of the clit signifies something about usual sex ed curriculums-- it's okay for sex to be centered around reproduction, and it's okay to 'act out' a woman being impregnated BUT is is not okay to teach girls how to find sexual pleasure. As I watched those dated SEx Ed movies with the health class form my praxis site, I noticed that while the boys (on the video) got the talk about masturbation, the girls had the talk about getting and 'treating' their periods. The topic of female masturbation was never even touched upon (no pun intended). What a statement it makes that our 'creation' featured no clitoris, and what a difference it would have made if the purpose of the activity was to show how a woman might orgasm, rather than how she might get pregnant.


teach pleasure? why not!
Name: Nancy
Date: //2002-12-14 21:25:31 :
Link to this Comment: 4096

I think the absence of the clit signifies something about usual sex ed curriculums-- it's okay for sex to be centered around reproduction, and it's okay to 'act out' a woman being impregnated BUT is is not okay to teach girls how to find sexual pleasure. As I watched those dated SEx Ed movies with the health class form my praxis site, I noticed that while the boys (on the video) got the talk about masturbation, the girls had the talk about getting and 'treating' their periods. The topic of female masturbation was never even touched upon (no pun intended). What a statement it makes that our 'creation' featured no clitoris, and what a difference it would have made if the purpose of the activity was to show how a woman might orgasm, rather than how she might get pregnant.


Paper Frustration abounds
Name: Nancy
Date: //2002-12-14 21:34:32 :
Link to this Comment: 4097

Sorry about the multiple postings above!
I think Lauren is right, everyone does seem to have at least one complaint (or rather, new idea for betterment) of their Praxis site and it brings up an issue I've been thinknig about for awhile. I know that this assignment probably will not change the way Sex Ed is taught at my Praxis site, not because they are not respectful of my ideas, but for a multitude of reasons like time, money etc. I am just worried that my paper may be taken as an assessment of what is wrong with the site and taken as criticism.


last responses
Name: Elisa
Date: //2002-12-15 19:03:16 :
Link to this Comment: 4102

Well ladies, this is my last posting... just a few comments to wrap things up for myself...

First, a BIG thank you to everyone that had some advice for my final project.

Also, a big thank you to Anne for teaching this class, and providing a space for all of us to talk about a topic that usually doesnt get too much direct attention in the classroom.

Finally, I just wanted to say that my feelings walking away from this experience in our classroom are quite similiar to those expressed by Sarah H. above. I too have come to realize the ways in which theory and successful/ meaningful application can be quite far apart. That is not to say, however, that I dont find the value in theory... as a way to create a blueprint or framework that can allow people to think in different ways about--- well, in our case--- sex ed. Many people in our class expressed that many of the students at our praxis sites were all at different levels, and I am guessing that one of the main goals of our praxis experiences is to attempt to develop a theoretical blueprint that could be successful for as many of these people (and ourseleves) as possible.

One more thing!!! For all of those students who were interested in Sex and Music... watch _The Red Violin_. The film traces the "life" and "journeys" of a red violin as it is passed on from person to person. One of these people, a male violinist, composes (and literally plays the violin) as he has sex. It sounds odd, but the director (I think) is quite successful in creating an example of sexual expression in music (as if the music is a language). Check it out if you can!

Alrighty! Thats it for now! Bye! :)


thanks for the questions anne
Name: lauren hil
Date: //2002-12-16 01:53:52 :
Link to this Comment: 4103

Ok sorry for the lack of explanation.. i'll try again.... But, please don't challenge me any further, i'm getting distracted from my senior seminar papers because this is way more interesting....
Me-- "I put so much effort into trying to think outside of the box. When i heard the 2 columbia students posted, i assumed they were men. Turns out i was wrong."
Anne --- I don't understand what you are saying here (that thinking outside the box would have meant you intuited that our visitors were female....?)
Me-- responding --What i meant was that i really try to not think about things the way our society would expect us to think about things. A friend of mine recently had my do a psych study which had sentences about gender and jobs and my job was to write if it made sense or not. Some of the sentences were (at least similar to)
· After cheering at the football game, the cheerleader went home and changed his clothes.
· When the secretary was done with work he went home.
· After a long day the executive came home saw her children.
They were generally a little more complicated than that, but you get the idea of what i am talking about. When i did the survey most of the sentences made sense to me. The purpose of the study was to judge my reaction time. Did i hesitate more when a sentence challenged gender roles. I do not know the exact results but i remember that i was automatically pushing yes (for it made sense) for 90% of the sentences. But then when i was posed with something outside of this study, my reaction was that of course they were men.
My problem is that my perception of upper tier universities is that men go there. Or at least that's what my reaction told me.
--Me-- "hey, a woman can get pregnant without recieving the same sexual pleasure her lover recieved."
--Anne- sure: but since when have we been defining sex as getting pregnant? when chelsea and deborah instructed us to "enact the biological process," why did they tell those of us who were representing female body parts to RESIST the onslaught of the sperm, to keep 'em OUT? and/or why was the goal to get pregnant, rather than be sexually pleasured?
--Me responding -- That's exactly what i meant. I was saying that the clit is not necessary to get pregnant, so we didn't need it in the demo. But it is a shame that biological processes focus on male pleasure (via ejaculation) not female pleasure.


Sex and Alcohol
Name: Sarah
Date: //2002-12-16 03:20:41 :
Link to this Comment: 4104

I was talking to a friend the other day about a mutual friend who has never had sex sober and immediately thought of Maggie and Hanan's mentioning of women at Woman's Space who had the same sex-alcohol assocation. I can imagine very easily how such an assocation might begin but am having trouble creating a curriculum (just within my head) that would tackle disassociating the two. It seems to me that someone in the midst of an attempt to get over alcohol abuse would long perhaps even more intensely than usual for a relationship to distract or sustain her, or even more simply, to offer some small pleasure during what I imagine is a pretty hellish time. How then do you assure these women that sexual activity with a partner need not be accompanied by a mind altering substance? Simply push them to jump into bed with the next guy they meet? Obviously not. Also, how do we deal with the fact that often their sexual pasts include some kind of abuse from their partner. Now we are dealing with self-inflicted abuse (the alcohol) and physical abuse (the partner). In these situations, do women consider this self-inflicted abuse as protection against abuse from an outsider? Like fighting fire with fire? Or is their idea of alcohol so distorted that they see it as some kind of savior from that pain. If so, how do we untangle the mess that's been created? Separate alcohol and sex, abuse and abuse, pleasure and pain?
Also, it was suggested that these women were considering turning to women as sexual partners as a result of abuse from their former male partners. Now I'm caught trying to untangle this one. I know that it may seem like a rational response--hey a guy hurt me, maybe a woman would treat me more gently. But I have to say that that's a very offensive idea to me, the idea that women are sexual objects to be resorted to when men let you down. I think that in trying to address this issue, to explain that loving women is not so much a choice as it is a way of life might help explain a lot of the entangled issues by adding this element of individuality. Sexually abused women do not all turn to men as a result of their physical/emotional pain. The circumstance might trigger something within a woman to make her realize what was potentially always there--her love/attraction for and to women. Using individual examples seems safer to me and also more effective. Perhaps if we could dig into some of the very personal and individual lives of these women, we could find a place to start untangling these complicated issues. To make blanketed statements concerning sexuality or use a kind of universal alcohol abuse program that touches on sexuality in general seem to me a very ineffective way to address the problems at hand. Does Woman Space have individual programs? Can we afford to offer individual programs to every alcohol abusing woman (or man for that matter)? If not, does anyone have ideas concerning a universal program dealing with the disassocation of sex and alcohol?


final projects
Name: Nell Ander
Date: //2002-12-16 08:55:55 :
Link to this Comment: 4105

I want to respond to Nancy's concern that she will be perceived as critical of her site because of the curriculum she has developed, which she does not think could actually be implemented there. I haven't seen her curriculum, but I think the way it would be percieved is partially dependent on whether it was developed with input from the teacher who she was working with. Did Nancy talk to the teacher about her observations of the way boys and girls were taught about sex in such different ways? Did she talk over her ideas for additions to the curriculum with the teacher? Was the teacher able/willing to help Nancy focus on additions which could be realistically implemented?

I realize that many of you haven't had a lot of contact with your supervisors, so that this type of collaboration has not been possible in developing your final projects. In spite of this, I have heard about many very creative ideas for curriculum. I have heard ideas which were expressed respectfully and which took into account the particular realities of the field sites.

I know from reading some of the postings, that some students really think their sites need total overhauls. Fortunately I haven't heard about anyone actually attempting to overhaul whole programs through their projects. The final project for this course was not to critique your organization, but rather to figure out a way to create something useful to the organization. Anne and I knew that the sites would not all be able or willing to implement your pieces of curriculum, but we hoped that some would. When I spoke with the supervisors to set up your placements, this is how I described the final project.

I realize that what is planned at the beginning of the semester, and what actually happens, are often very different. I know that some of you really had a hard time connecting to and getting settled in your fieldwork. Thank you for your persistence. Thanks also to those who showed great openness and flexibility in going to sites which were not their first (or second or third)choice.


Thoughts on Praxis Presentations
Name: Jess
Date: //2002-12-16 13:17:21 :
Link to this Comment: 4108

I just want to start this posting with saying how happy I am that we've had this opportunity at the end of class for everyone to present about their praxis sites. It has been very interesting/informative to hear what everyone else has been doing at their sites.

Being someone who had an observational role in 5th grade classrooms, I really appreciated hearing about all praxis sites we've heard from so far. The diversity in the praxis sites and project possibilities was something I found very valuable to be exposed to. I think it's easy to feel secluded in our Praxis sites, so hearing what everyone else is doing can really expand our horizons.

Some thoughts on everyone's presentations:

Hanan & Maggie: Their presentation really kind surprised me. The women that they are at their Praxis site have lives that are so different from anything I really have any experience with. I didn't really realize that there would be Praxis sites like theirs.

Fritz & Nia: I can understand the difficult of having an abstinence-based program for a group of people/space that it doesn't seem appropriate. My program is in a public school and by state law Sex Ed and STI Ed must focus on abstinence and cover other contraception. If you'd like to see any of the info I have from my praxis site (the same age groups) let me know.

Ngoc & Monica: The concept of a sex Ed curriculum in relation to religion seems like something very difficult to tackle. There not general two topics that can be brought together without a lot of controversy.

Lindsay U: I definitely agree that the sexuality at your Praxis site is often avoided in the public. I think your idea for your project is great though. Have you thought of including pictures of the people at your site? Or just real people instead of models/advertisements?

Lindsay H: The project you're working on sounds really cool. Is the site, or would it be part of your project to try and get more females to come to the site?

Emily, Iris, Lauren, and Jill: I feel really bad about the difficulties you've been having at your site. You all mentioned that the space is not very inviting when you enter the site. Have you considered redesigning that space? Making it more inviting? Perhaps having and information/sign in table right near the door which club kind of act as a welcoming station for new people?

Tamina: You were talking about having anonymous e-mail questions. I think using the Internet adds a lot of complications. At my site there is an anonymous question envelope that's left in the students' rooms and they can add questions whenever they want. It's just an idea to consider.

Bea, Sheri, and Nancy: It was really interesting hearing about your sites. I can imagine how difficult to be in a situation where the people have problems processing information and then because of financial issues sex Ed is not a priority.

Elisa: I think it's really interesting that you want the participants to identify themselves as victims. But that brings up a few questions for me... How old are the participants going to be? Can 9 year old identify themselves as a victim? Will the "class" happen w/ in a certain amount of time of the crime?

Chelsea and Deborah: Your exercise in class was a lot of fun and very interesting. But you said it wasn't something you felt would be appropriate given peoples comfort levels. What are you planning to do for your project?

Jenny: It was so interesting hearing about the site that I was originally intended to work at. Thanx!


Everybody else: I can't wait to hear about your projects tonight!

I just wanted to comment on some things that I've noticed throughout the presentations.

Most of us went into our Praxis sites feeling that we are not a part of the site, and I think unfortunately I got the impression from a lot of presentations (esp. Emily, Iris, Lauren and Jill) that we're still not part of the sites.

I don't know how successful a sex Ed curriculum can be if we don't feel invested in the site--- there has to be some genuine desire to improve the situation. Although at the same time, my role was very observational at my Praxis site and I feel that it was very beneficial to me. If I had to be teaching the classes, I don't think I could have really had the opportunity to see/figure out as well what could be improved/changed. I think that I would have been so busy just trying to get through the class and meet the needs of the 30 students in the 40min to be able to actually issues w/ the program.

So I think for someone to be successful in planning a curriculum/program they need to both be invested and separated from the project. To be able to see the program somewhat objectively, but also to still care about the value of the program.

I can't wait to hear about the rest of the sites!
see you tonight!
Jess


Humor Sex Ed Website
Name: Jess
Date: //2002-12-16 13:28:51 :
Link to this Comment: 4109

Some one sent me this link to a Sex Ed website. The site gives instructions on how to use a vagina and how to use a penis. I thought it was pretty funny. And I thought it might be a nice study break from us writing our own sex ed cirriculums.

How to Use a Vagina and Penis

later
Jess


clarification about site language
Name: Jess
Date: //2002-12-16 13:41:55 :
Link to this Comment: 4110

While I was posting I just wanted make a clarification about my project and the language used at my site. Last Thursday, I told the class that I was going to cut down on some of the biology explanation of how the body/reproduction works to add another section.

A comment Chelsea made at the beginning of her presentation, made me feel like I left the impression that I didn't think the medical/biological explanations of the body weren't important at all. This isn't true. I just feel that my site puts more emphasis on the biological explanation and the terminology than is necessary. This is for several reasons. The first being that the information usually just sails over the kids' heads and they don't understand it. The second being that I think the depth that the site emphasizes would be more appropriate for a science class than a class that's ultimate goal is to get kids to be able to make informed, safe decisions about sex.

I'm not getting rid of all of the biology. I'm just cutting it down to concepts and understanding of what happens in the body. (Getting rid of some of the depth and technical terms.)

Just wanted to clear up any confusion
thanx
Jess


The Language of Poetry and Religion
Name: Nia Turner
Date: //2002-12-16 21:14:56 :
Link to this Comment: 4114

I thought the class may find this poem interesting."Food for thought"
After you finish reading this ask yourself one question? What is a real woman? Please post your thoughts.
A Real Woman...
Appreciates God's design of men an woman
Likes being a girl
Behaves like a lady
Cherishes her femininity
Knows that she is special.
A Real Woman...
Believes in God
Has high moral standards
Is prayerful and strong
Wants to do God's will.
A Real Woman...
Recognizes goodness
Delights in truth and beauty
Respects herself and other people
Stands up for what is right
Gives compliments and praise
Is concerned about others
Knows how to listen and be a friend.
A Real Woman...
Unselfish, thoughtful and kind
Honest, faithful and trustworthy
Patient, sincere and forgiving
Modest, pure and chaste
Compassionate, caring and giving
Understanding, humble and secure.
A Real Woman...
Understands chastity
Values her sexuality
Appreciates her fertility
Controls her passions and desires
Knows her body is a temple of
the Holy Spirit
Never uses other people.
A Real Woman...
Loves babies
Nurtures her family
Is the heart of her home
Finds Strength in her husband
Understands sacrificial love
Is happy and content.
A Real Woman...
Knows, loves and serves God, and
strives to accomplish his plan for her life.
www.chasitycall.org/realwoman.html
© Diocese of Memphis NFP Center
Mother/Daughter & Father/Son Programs
5825 Shelby Oaks Dr., Memphis, TN 38134-7389
(901) 373-1285


Sexuality and Spirituality
Name: Nia
Date: //2002-12-16 22:07:13 :
Link to this Comment: 4116

Sexuality and Spirituality

This excerpt is taken from the book Secrets of an Irresistible Woman by author Michelle McKinney Hammond

"Yeah, girl it's time to talk about our favorite subject-sex. Now what is sex exactly? Sex is worship. Did you know that? It's important to know what we are dealing with here because this is an area that in a lot of respects is still taboo. Because they don't talk about it, people experiment and use sex for all the wrong reasons. Let's get down to basics and build from there. Everything in the earthly realm has a parallel in the spirit realm. Marriage is the earthly parallel of our union with the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ Himself, in eternity. It is also the reflection of the kingdom living. Sex is the earthly parallel of the oneness we will experience when we finally join with him. The orgasm is the earthly parallel of ecstasy we will feel throughout eternity from that union!"

I believe this is interesting because even as a Christian I never thought about sex in this way before. I do believe that in American culture the sanctity of sex has been lost. Why? I believe we are bombarded with sex, and you can't escape it unless you live in a bubble. Even something as simple as an Herbal Essence commercial suggests sex. There is more to life than sex, and there are ways to experience intimacy without engaging in intercourse. I think that some people mistake sex for intimacy. It is not the same thing!


question for today's group...
Name: Jess
Date: //2002-12-17 00:44:49 :
Link to this Comment: 4117

I didn't get to ask/suggest this at Anne's tonight, but I did want to bring it up to Kathryn, Michelle, Sarah M, and Lauren H.

During the presentation you passed around pamphlet/info that was black and white. I was just wondering if you were going to change(or were thinking about changing) the organization/design of these pamphlets to be more asethically appealing?

I know it seems silly, but people are more likely to read something if it's more aesthically appealing/accessible. If you weren't already thinking about it, perhaps it would be good to ad graphs, colors or change the layout, to make the imformation more appealing (to be read) for people you are trying to serve.

just an idea
Jess


Life examples of sex within sexual descriptions
Name: Sarah
Date: //2002-12-17 01:34:11 :
Link to this Comment: 4118

To add to Sarah H's posting, I'm posting here what I wrote during the second art presentation when we were asked to describe an example of art. I wrote in prose then but made it into a poem when I got back to my room that day. The example I was describing was the actual piano but I felt it impossible to describe why I considered it sexual without giving an anecdote that involved sexual beings. I think that even when I consider an inanimate object as sexual, I am making subconscious connections with animate, sexual beings. Even if a poem using sexually descriptive language did not specifically refer to some kind of sexual act or the beings involved in that act, I'd consciously infer my own sexual memories or fantasies. I'm wondering if anyone thinks it is possible to exclude life examples of sex from plain imagery (say, a description of a blossoming flower, just to be cliched about it), whether within the actual medium and/or the imagination that responds to the medium and still convey the same intensity of sexuality.

It was midnight and raining.
Your hair was
Slick,
Wet,
Soft to the touch.
Sitting to my left,
I could make out
Only one angle of your
Thin
Red
Lips
Made even redder by the cold.
They parted as you smiled,
Flipping through sheets of scores,
Through compilations of pieces.
I remember
One wet finger
Pushing
Nervously on a black key.
"Harder," I spoke softly.
You turned to me then,
Lifted your free hand to my
Moist cheek
And laid it gently there.
"If you played this for me, I think I'd have to marry you."
My chest hurt and I remember now wanting
To push against you,
To simultaneously pull you in.
I turned back to the keys
And played upon them,
instead.
For then.


Red Light Group
Name: sheri
Date: //2002-12-17 09:12:40 :
Link to this Comment: 4119

You guys did a rewally great job. I'm really impressed with the amount of thought and preparation that went into your project. I do have a question.
I know that your time and resources are limited, but are nyou guys thinking about fighting for making prostitution legal? I know that's a different issue, but it seems like that has a big effect on what we've heard both from you and the speaker we had on sex workers in africa (anyone remember his name?).


special education
Name: sheri
Date: //2002-12-17 09:19:33 :
Link to this Comment: 4120

for those who had questions regarding why special needs students are mixed in classes with only blind students in some schools-
There are laws against this that say children must be in the least restrictive enviroment possible. Children that are misplaced can be moved if the parents are willing to fight. Most of the parents just do not know their rights.
Locally there is a catholic school for only the blind. I went to visit- it was really cool. I didn't notice a sex ed class, but I didn't get to look at a class list. Parents can get funding for schools like this from the state, but there is a long and streeeful legal battle that accompanies.


His name is Bob Washington
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-12-17 11:39:05 :
Link to this Comment: 4121

His name,Sheri, is Bob Washington, of the Soc Dept here.


Withdrawal
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-12-17 11:44:07 :
Link to this Comment: 4122

Thank You

...all for coming--to the course, into this out-there experiment, to my house for supper last night. I want to close things out w/ another of Sharon Burgmayer's paintings, since she does such a wonderful job of putting into images what I have trouble putting into words @ this time of year. It's called "Withdrawal," and expresses both my sense of the deeply-colored field we explored together, and my sadness that we are now withdrawing from it. (That the image also looks like a woman giving head is probably not @ all irrelevant--is actually wonderfully pun-full-- in the particular context of "Thinking Sex.")

Yours in gratitude (and withdrawal),

Anne


hmmm...
Name: Jess
Date: //2002-12-17 16:53:12 :
Link to this Comment: 4127

Now Anne,

I wonder how many of us would not have noticed about the resemblence to the women giving head, if you hadn't said anything. :-)

I think at this point we're all so hyper aware of the sexual that we would have noticed.

Thank-you for dinner, for the picture, and most of all for the great class!

later
Jess


Sexy SLUT
Name: Lindsay
Date: //2002-12-17 21:14:28 :
Link to this Comment: 4129

HEllo ladies,

as Anne/Elisa had posted earlier
SLUT (BMC's feminist Zine)
is seeking Submissions for the upcoming issue "The Mind"

give me anything and all you have to do with the mind, i would be much obliged. just email me it as a word attachment

thanks
lindsay


Redlight Project
Name: Sarah
Date: //2002-12-17 22:11:37 :
Link to this Comment: 4130

It occured to me while giving our presentation that our mindset regarding sex work might have seemed like a lot to swallow. I'm not sure how we all went into this project but I know that we all came out of it with a very clear sense that sex work is a profession and that regardless of the reasons for entrance into it, no sex worker should suffer because of the service she provides.

When we asked you to write down the first thoughts that came to your mind when we said "sex work" and also to give us reasons why someone would NOT enter the sex industry, we had no idea whether what was returned to us were expressed biases or actual opinions. Though those facts might have been relevant, a 45 min presentation at Anne's house seemed like an inappropriate time to get into people's REAL thoughts on sex work. I'd like to acknowledge that the majority of the US population is uncomfortable with the idea of legalizing sex work. Just like the words you threw out, they believe it is immoral, dirty and dangerous.

In doing some research concerning society's reaction to sex work, I found that in a survey studying attitudes on prostitution policies, 63% of men and 77% of women answered that they thought prostitution involving adults over 18 years old should be made illegal. Another question in the same survey asked participants to answer how much they agreed or disagreed with the following question: "There is nothing inherently wrong with prostitution, so long as the health risks can be minimized. If consenting adults agree to exchange money for sex, that is their business." 25% of men and 40% of women, the highest percentages in both categories, answered that they disagreed strongly. (Sex for Sale, 2000. pp163-165)

While I realize that some may truly consider sex work to be all those words: immoral, dirty and dangerous, I hope that our presentation at least opened up the idea that for some women, an element of choice exists and for others who may have been forced into the industry, they too deserve equal access to health care and to earn the money they work for.

In honest response to Sheri's question of whether we planned on fighting for legalization of sex work, we haven't really thought about it. I think the reason for that is simply because in going through all the information concerning the law as it is written by state and as a country at large, we've realized that legalization is really no where in the immediate future. The point of Redlight is to get the most useful information out there as quickly as possible. We are concerned with the safety and health of these women before anything else.

Thanks to all of you, too. I'm sure that listening to our presentation on the Monday of finals week when there was so much good food to be eaten and vaginas on the mantle to stare out, must not have been easy :)


Polyamory
Name: Kathryn Mc
Date: //2002-12-18 00:15:52 :
Link to this Comment: 4131

Polyamory (many lovers). For those who might not know, this does not mean having group sex (although I see nothing wrong with that either), but having several different partners at any given point in life for short-term or long-term relationships, and making all partners aware of this dimension to their love and/or sex lives. I had my first exposure to lesbians who practiced polyamory this past summer when I helped organize the DC Dyke March. I was very against it in the beginning because of the potential for INSANE amounts of drama, but as I saw the other organizers interact with their lovers, sometimes being affectionate with lovers in front of other lovers, it became obvious to me the overwhelming amount of positive sexual energy and emotional strength that they experienced. They supported their lovers¡¯ decisions, and while jealousy issues definitely came up, they recognized each other¡¯s sexual energy as valid and fluid. Sexual friendships seemed perfectly natural to some of them. They welcomed everyone¡¯s capacity, curiosity, and need for desire and exploration. I have never met anyone as self-aware and self-empowered as these women. And they practiced safe sex, too.
It kind of made me wonder WHY I had always had jealousy issues. Why did I care what my girlfriend did as long as she was safe and enjoying herself? Why did I feel that we had a right to impose restrictions on each other or on ourselves in each other¡¯s name? I think this relates to Sarah M.¡¯s posting about gay marriage and prostitution. Society legally and/or morally regulates sexual behavior and behavior in general (anyone ever read Durkheim and his ideas about social facts?). I¡¯ll be damned if I¡¯m not turning into an anarchist¡¦

P.S. Anne, there wasn¡¯t exactly a dick either. Sperm don¡¯t usually crawl across the room and right past the labia on their own.


more about sexual control
Name: Kathryn Mc
Date: //2002-12-18 00:34:32 :
Link to this Comment: 4132

I want to comment on the question in class about women turning to homosexuality after they¡¯ve been abused. I agree with Sarah M. Someone else controlled these women¡¯s sexuality and their bodies at one or more times in their lives, and they were never encouraged to explore their sexuality outside of this context or possibly think about it as existing outside of someone else¡¯s domain, but now they are. I also want us to keep in mind that sometimes drug and/or alcohol abuse is a way of coping with being gay and not feeling safe, normal, etc. Now that they are recovering, maybe they feel more confident about exploring their attractions to women.
More about sexual control: Sheri, yes, I would like to personally work towards decriminalizing sex work, although Redlight does not take an official stance on it.
Speaking of other kinds of sexual ¡°control¡±: Elisa, thank you and Kirsten for bringing in that candy from Sweet and Nasty. That made my day! I just now looked at their website and I am happy all over again to see that they have chocolate handcuffs. Mmmm. ;)

Hey Anne, that¡¯s a gorgeous picture, but I think it looks like a woman eating out the earth.


Scaring kids into abstinence
Name: Kathryn Mc
Date: //2002-12-18 00:57:54 :
Link to this Comment: 4133

Okay, I think I¡¯ve hit a nerve (for myself). I am not a big fan of abstinence education (more socially mandated sexual control), because the way I have always perceived it is that teachers use scare tactics to stop kids from having sex (I think Tamina mentioned this about her site). I realize that this may work for now, but why should we instill in these kids a sense of fear when it comes to sex and their bodies? They may take that fear into adulthood, or conversely, if they experiment with sex, and come in contact only with ¡°clean¡± people, they may believe that the caution they should apply to sexual activity has been blown out of proportion, so they then stop taking any precautions. I¡¯m also afraid scare tactics will deepen the stigma against people with STDs, and make it harder for them to seek treatment and support. The problem of stigma also applies to pregnant teens. And of course there is the stigma about promiscuity and ¡°sluts,¡± and the guilt that we are told we should have if we have sex outside of marriage, or at most, outside of a loving and committed relationship.
I would really like to see an abstinence program that does not exploit feelings of fear or guilt, and also teaches a way of building relationships outside of sexual domains. Nia, I think you were talking about emphasizing activities that kids, teens, or adult couples could do together that would focus on nonsexual pleasure. Is there also a way to build in ideas of egalitarian relationships so that when these kids grow up, even if they wait until they are married to have sex, they will want to engage in sex with their partner that is fulfilling for both of them? And I really doubt this would be a possibility at this moment, but like Nancy wrote, what about pleasure? Is there a way to teach kids about sexual pleasure that doesn't "count" as oral sex or heterosexual sexual intercourse or any other exchanges of body fluid?


Polyamory
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-12-18 10:59:17 :
Link to this Comment: 4135

if you're interested in learning more about the concept of polyamory which Kathryn mentions above, check out

http://www.sfbayrevolution.org/library/poly.html
http://socalpoly.freeyellow.com/poly101.htm
http://www.faqs.org/faqs/polyamory/faq/


Abstinence Education
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-12-18 11:04:44 :
Link to this Comment: 4136

You know...the course has stopped. The issues/questions haven't. Front page of this morning's Philadelphia Inquirer (12/18/02):

"Abstinence stirs passions. A N.J. law is sparking spirited debate over sex education."

Then inside:

"What our children learn--and when,"

including the observation that

"Researchers estimate that nationwide, 50 percent of all teenagers will have sex before they graduate from high school. About one million teenage girls will become pregnant annually, and about four million teenagers will become infected with a sexually transmitted disease such as syphilis, gonorrhea or chlamydia.

'Our goal is: How can we raise sexually healthy individuals? ...I don't think we can do that by not talking about it.''"


God, Religion, and Praxis
Name: Bea
Date: //2002-12-18 23:26:00 :
Link to this Comment: 4139

Sorry - I'm a little slow with getting all of my postings up.

Anyway, going back a few days -

Maggie, you said you said you found it interesting how the individuals at our praxis sites differed regarding their views on religion and God... I'm not sure if there is that great of a difference. I realize now that I may have made it seem like they're more frightened of God than anything, but that's not exactly the case. There are quite a few that are very faithful, much like the individuals at your site. They also believe that God has taken care of them, and feel that they may have been a lot worse off were it not for the strength of their belief in a higher being. However, their faith may be strong, but their guilt inhibits them from actually pursuing relationships. Of course, this isn't the case with all the community members. Anyway, it's because of the feelings of guilt that I have observed that I realized it would be difficult to teach them about dating, relationships, and sex if they felt God wouldn't find such talk appropriate. So, I'm trying to figure out a good way of finding a link between sex and religion that would alleviate any guilt they may feel for participating in the curriculum. Not to mention, many of the people I work with are paranoid schizophrenics, and it seems that the worries they experience are much more magnified than our own. So, I'm trying to find a sensitive way of approaching these topics. Any suggestions?


Abstinence Education
Name: Bea
Date: //2002-12-18 23:53:49 :
Link to this Comment: 4140

While I feel that scaring kids into abstinence isn't the right way to educate kids, I do feel that abstinence should still be presented to them as an option. When educating people about sex, they should be informed of STDs that may affect their lives at some point, and they need to know about methods of prevention. Abstinence is definitely one of those methods, and people should know that it's always an option. As Sheri has said, not all healthy relationships involve sex, and not everyone is ready for that step. I mean, I think that teaching these kids about the risks and consequences related to STDs is a scare tactic in itself, but it is also valuable information that these individuals need to be exposed to in order to protect themselves.


More on Polyamory
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2002-12-19 08:12:01 :
Link to this Comment: 4145

Unmasking the Green-Eyed Monster: Managing Jealousy in Open Relationships

Models of Open Relationships

Are You Open to an Alternative Lifestyle?


sparkly queen
Name: chelsea
Date: //2002-12-19 10:53:49 :
Link to this Comment: 4148

I've been thinking about something that strikes me as being very funny. So, when you think of a women sexually in a physical/biological sense (strictly), I think the top two things on most people's lists would be her vagina and her breasts. Generally, I think that is the biological/physical embodiment of a woman's sexuality in our culture. So, in media all we get are boobs, and in art we get both and in this class we celebrate vaginas- which is fantastic, don't get me wrong. But I was wondering WHY...because breasts are social more acceptable to be displayed in public than to have a vagina as the centerfold of cosmo? Why?! I happen to love my breasts just as much as I love my vagina, and they want equal representation in all realms of art, media, music, everywhere!!! My breasts want to take over the world and my vagina is going to be there with them. It's a whole package, people...why are they separated? Maybe you could say they aren't really, but one is only obscurely implied and the others are pretty difficult to avoid. One is worshipped, the other is hidden and hushed up...So in this class we hauled our vaginas out into the light and said wahoo, yippee for all the cool stuff you can do- orgasms are fun!! but then we forgot our breasts...with the possible exception of halloween:). My breasts would like to be introduced to you all as viable, healthy sexual beings who enjoy sexuality just as much as the next vagina. Class, meet Betty and Wilma. A note- a woman can orgasm through stimulation of her nipples...try it sometime! In any case, just remember to give props to your breasts AS WELL AS your vaginas as being fantabulously sexual and wonderful, hail your sparkly queens!


last-minute thoughts and farewell
Name: chelsea
Date: //2002-12-19 12:05:12 :
Link to this Comment: 4151

the first thing i saw when i looked at 'withdrawal' was a vagina. the green fields were the labia and the woman's head was the clit(nice symbolism there)...maybe because i need it to be the clit since i forgot it in class the other day. i do think, though that it captures well the feelings i have about the class...it was a beautiful, bright, colorful world, and now that we withdrawal back to our homes, our lives besides this place, it does seem bland in comparison. thank you anne for being a constant source of energy and inspiration, thank you all so much for a wonderful, titillating semester, i will (for better or worse) think of you all now when i sit down and have a think about sex. have a wonderful break
love,
chelsea


jealousy and polyamory
Name: Maggie
Date: //2002-12-19 14:58:08 :
Link to this Comment: 4152

I know that the class is over, but I just went to the links about polyamory, and I had to post on them. The information about jealousy hit pretty close to home because I tend to be jealous and it bothers me a lot that I am. The core beliefs that cause jealousy really seemed to cover all the bases, and I agree strongly with Kathy Labriola that those beliefs infiltrate our minds without us knowing and then are very difficult to get rid of. Even more interesting than the information on why people get jealous was the models about different types of open relationships. They were all interesting, and I think it's admirable that people CAN have those relationships without jealousy eating at all of them. What I did think was interesting was that in some of the more open situations, the "other" partners that were listed were married, but nothing was said about their spouse. I think open relationships are fine if everyone involved knows about it and is okay with it. But the spouse of the "other" person is definitely someone who should know about it, and to be honest, probably doesn't. Still, very interesting links! Thanks, Anne.


Thank You
Name: Monica Loc
Date: //2002-12-19 22:23:57 :
Link to this Comment: 4161

Thank you Anne for the delicious supper and wonderful get together. Thank you everyone for making this class one which I will never forget. But most of all, thank you Anne for making this one of the most incredible class experiences I have ever had!

Have a great vacation everyone! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Take care:)

Love,

Monica


Freewrite- Written on the Body
Name: EmTeel
Date: //2002-12-20 01:54:09 :
Link to this Comment: 4167

This is the second time that I've read this novel. The first time I never even noticed the genderlessness of the speaker- reading it in CSEM as a freshman I assumed that the speaker would be male.
This time, I decided ahead of time to read "per" as female...and it turned out to be completely impossible. Per continually shifted from male to female to in-between. When talking about sex she was female and when threatening Elgin he was male. My conflict with it makes me feel so guilty about whatmay be my own mind's compulsory heterosexuality!Instead, I would like to think that maybe it is simply an indication of what I first imprinted to the story and the relationship (I am capable about being open-minded....I AM capable of being open-minded!). It's like seeing the movie and THEN reading the book, you read the characters as you have already seen them. So maybe the key is for me to run into genderless speakers more often...

I love this book. I find the dizzying moments of description and obsession as real as any description of love as I have seen.
But I ask how much of this relationship, of any relationship really, is made up of the cliches, the formulation that we learn from fairytales and films...Per was in love to the point of obsession, but what of relationships that are physically intimate without this kind of maddening "love"...? What are the options...?


ORGASM!!!
Name: Emily
Date: //2002-12-20 02:01:20 :
Link to this Comment: 4168

I promised to check this one out [according to the OED]
Enjoy ladies ;-)

ORGASM, n.

(gæz()m) [ad. mod.L. orgasmus, a. Gr. type *, f. - to swell as with moisture, be excited or eager. Cf. F. orgasme 'an extreame fit or expression of anger' (Cotgr. 1611).]

1. Immoderate or violent excitement of feeling; rage, fury; a paroxysm of excitement or rage.

2. Physiol. a. Excitement or violent action in an organ or part, accompanied with turgescence; spec. the height of venereal excitement in coition.

b. attrib.

Hence orgasmal a. = ORGASMIC a.


MY reactions...
Name: Emily Teel
Date: //2002-12-20 02:32:20 :
Link to this Comment: 4169

This has to do with my last posting, but also with an important aspect of female sexuality that we never actually discussed in the classroom:

What about the people out there who DON'T experience ORGASM?

I know that you're/they're/we're out there, and I was well aware of my erotic potential before I came anywhere NEAR orgasm. I still consider myself a part of this category and I represent myself and SO many of my friends with the same "problem" when I say that I feel that it comes (no pun intended) not from physical inability to experience orgasm, but from the expectation to do so and the emotional reprecussions of feeling inadequate when things don't go as planned.
Part of the expectation might come from porn (though there seem to be so few female orgasms in porn, I don't think that it can really be blamed...), part may come from a lack of conversation about it and the shame that goes with that, however, my personal opinion is that even information that's available for consultation for the "pre-orgasmic" women can be terribly limiting in the advice that it offers.
It's one thing to tell a woman to masturbate, it's another to explain how, and no one can presume to know or understand the range of what different people will find pleasurable....
If orgasm can be associated with rage and the extreme release of that anger, what if it doesn't happen? SO many people just have to swallow all of that energy back into themselves...Imagine all of it concentrated and compounded by a culture that expects your body to work a certain way by virtue of your gender... sheesh...
I'll get off of my soapbox now...
Thoughts?


More on Written On the Body
Name: [a morose]
Date: //2002-12-20 02:47:00 :
Link to this Comment: 4171

"I'll never let you go"

what with promises like this one and Winterson's constant mention of measuring love on a scale of loss, here's my question:

When one dies, do they betray the trust of loved ones?
and in the process of grieving, is the loved-one-left-behind enacting selfishness by feeling that loss so acutely?

I would like to think of my grieving-self as NOT inherently selfish, but I'm forced to remember the long dead whose bodies are no longer in existence on the earthly world. They have become a part of the world and with their bodies have faded the memories of their existence...their voices, movements. Their words, their caresses only exist in memory.
What is the value of memories that may be different for the living than for the dead? How do we put that expression into language? How do we begin to discuss it?
I'm overwhelmed...


!!!
Name: Emily
Date: //2002-12-20 03:05:17 :
Link to this Comment: 4172

Ladies:

I'm frustrated.
No, not like that.

I'm one of the Feminist & Gender Studies Majors and every semester, usually once or twice, I have one of these meltdowns where I just get so overwhelmed and concerned for women and sexual/gender minorities on this planet! (This time it was Bob Washington's talk that got me...)

May I rant for a moment?

It's just that AIDS is such a huge issue in Africa [and everywhere], and rape is still a military tactic to humiliate and demoralize a population by infecting and tearing down the women....
And for anyone to realize the devestating potential of such a strategy they MUST acknowledge that women are IMPORTANT!
They/we play an integral role in every part of society, and nearly everywhere they/we bear and care for the children...and it's just cruel...
and I don't even know where to begin in this quest of mine to protect everyone.

There's just so much where sex is tied with power and control, and perhaps it's the biological nature of any sexual relationship to include some kind of power dynamic, but I'm afriad for women (and everybody else I just mentioned), that sex will never be an exciting, free exchange when in some parts of the world, and indeed, in the United States as well, it is a malicious tactic. It breaks my heart and leaves me with so many doubts.. What is the true nature of humanity? And how narrow is the line between loving and hating?


funny
Name: EmTeel
Date: //2002-12-20 03:45:36 :
Link to this Comment: 4173

"what happens to a piece of a carrot if you cut it off and put it in water?"- Paul Grobstein

"dinna!"-Lauren Hildebrand


the point of sex
Name: Emily
Date: //2002-12-20 04:06:49 :
Link to this Comment: 4175

Grobstein was an excallent guest Anne, thank-you for inviting him.

As far as thoughts go, I find myself rejuvinated. If "the point of sex is to try out something new, something that has never existed before" than one can concieve of individual sexual encounters and their products, whether they are orgasms and the release of energy, or brand spankin' new human beings, or just a whole lot of wetness, every version has some kind of impact, and thus, some kind of value.
So, whether you're into one-time-only, no attachment, exciting, spontaneous sex, or long-term monagamous serious reproductive sex, or sex with lots of people, or sex with different people. Sex with men, or women, ir both or neither or inbetween. If you're a virgin or a victim of rape, or a rapist, or a sex worker, or a housewife, or a professor, or a doctor or a circus performer or a swimmer...you have this right to own and identify with sex as you concieve of it.
Even if it's not always good, even if it's scary or bad or painful, by virtue of the fact that it has never happened quite in the same way with the same people before, and the necessary intimacy of it gives it a uniqueness that is uncharacteristic to any other kind of interaction.

It gives me hope that in realizing this in our class, perhaps there is the possibility of finding a more universally supportive definition for permissable sex [in a sex positive, advocating consensual sexual encounters] kind of way for our nation. It's not perfect yet...but at least we're discussing it. I like to envision the validation of childhood sexuality, same sex couples wanting to bear children, promiscuity, non-vanilla sex, and sex-work as legitimate, positive aspects of sexuality and not issues that seem to constantly be under regulation.


oh please
Name: Emily
Date: //2002-12-20 04:21:13 :
Link to this Comment: 4176

I was looking through my notes from the day that Mary Conway visited and we spoke about sex in the legal arena. I wrote:
"lesbian sex is so transgressive that it cannot be depicted in rational language" to which I want to say, "Oh please..." Yes it can! One can easily describe lesbian sex, more easily than heterosexual sex even, without straining the limits of 'rational language'. The thing is that everyone is so afraid to be frank about sex in conversation, especially legal conversation, when realistically saying anything about sex is only difficult if you allow yourself to be overtaken by fear. (I offer the example of Judy Porter who can lay pretty much anything out in the open with relative ease)
I don't know what it is we're afraid of (perhaps being judged by a society that has a reputation for being hypocritical with regards to sex), but whatever it is it extends to the rest of the nation as well, or it would not be most apparent within the courtroom, and we wouldn't have to defend our credibility so stringently when discussing sex, or anything that we fear being judged for.


questioning
Name: Emily
Date: //2002-12-20 04:27:14 :
Link to this Comment: 4177

a few evaluations....

what is our obsession with creating a universal understanding of sex, or anything, in language?

To translate, to interpret, to create as inadequate, as incomplete of an understanding as we can within out little, individual scopes of experience.

Perhaps we do it to begin to seperate the dark from the dark that we feel between each other. Sex helps us to lessen the space, thus, a discussion of sex helpus us to better understand one another as individual entities within the tremendous universe.


realizations
Name:
Date: //2002-12-20 04:36:54 :
Link to this Comment: 4178

Something that I have come to realize about sex within our presentations is that it seems to act, over and over in fact, as a breaking point, one that is both personal and cultural or societal. The language of sex conflicts so sharply with the clinical language of Western medicine, with the academic and the legal- but at the same time, finding a clear alternitive offers little but ambiguity of expression. It seems that for two people to actually discuss sex, on a personal level [our class is unique in that is seems to straddle (hmmm) the limits of what is personal or theoretical, individual or cultural] the two must undertsand one another, which may take nothing more than the relaxation that a few drinks provides...why is the move from culture to culture, or personal to legal so much more difficult?


End of the road, or maybe we're just on our own no
Name: Emily
Date: //2002-12-20 04:48:09 :
Link to this Comment: 4179

Well ladies, we're done.
It was inspiring for me to hear about all of your work at your fieldsites, so many good ideas :-) I did end up taking on Deb's suggestion of reorganizing the space that "The Attic" provides, including a visit to their new building, and am happy to report that the soon-to-be new home of The Attic is lovely! (or will be when renovation is complete) and is very close to what I had in mind. Perhaps a reunion class is in order for next Fall?

Anne, thank you for dinner, and to everyone for our wonderful discussions. They were simply mind-blowing.

in parting...
Hopefully all of us will be as honest with our lovers and ourselves as we can and maybe, eventually, our society and what we teach one another about sex will begin to reflect the reality of the discussions and exchanges that happen. Best of luck to everyone.


RE: chelsea's post
Name: Bea Lucaci
Date: //2002-12-20 23:09:19 :
Link to this Comment: 4185

Yay for Chelsea! Your post definitely brought a smile to my face. And - I agree with most of what you've said. It seems that we don't often find that the whole packaged is appreciated... Usually attention is drawn to one or the other. But I feel that sexuality relates to so much more... What about a woman's mind? Is there really a way to possibly bring it all together? Well, I think we've (at least) come very close in our class. We brought the entire package together and appreciated it for how great it really is.


sex ed.
Name: Bea Lucaci
Date: //2002-12-20 23:17:43 :
Link to this Comment: 4186

While putting the finishing touches on my curriculum, I realized how, when all written out, it wasn't obvious that it was written for a group of mentally ill adults. It almost appears as if it had been written as a refresher course on dating, relationships, friendships, etc. It caters to the areas that they wanted to focus on, but never undermines their ability to comprehend what is being taught. I felt that it was important to not treat them as being terribly disabled. Instead, they are taught things that I would probably teach a "normal" group of people, but at a slower pace. I've realized that this curriculum (or something similar) would do them a lot of good, but that it is best to remember that these people are highly-functioning people with desires. They have been truly amazing to work with, and I only hope that this curriculum will do for them what I hoping it will.


final remarks
Name: Bea Lucaci
Date: //2002-12-20 23:27:11 :
Link to this Comment: 4187

I thank you all for making this class a truly remarkable experience. I may have been one of the quiet few, but everyone's words and ideas were not lost on me. The exchange of ideas helped me to develop new ideas and perhaps even broader preexisting thoughts. I was given the opportunity to work with an incredible group of people at my praxis site, and then had the pleasure of spending 3 hours a week in the midst of a class of amazing women.

Thank you Anne for making this one of the best classes I've taken thus far!


from sex to art to language
Name: Iris Dicke
Date: //2002-12-21 04:13:50 :
Link to this Comment: 4191

putting a photograph into language:

shadows. that which is unknown. light. illuminating, discovering the body. carressing and exposing it. the hard form and an unknown body gently touching. it revers and worships. trembling and supple underneith. the hand, strong...concrete, claims the body, if but for a moment, as it's kingdom. soon the body this hand is servant to will be equally exposed. equally hidden. equally treasured by the light.


Aids Epidemic in Africa
Name: Nia Turner
Date: //2002-12-21 07:01:18 :
Link to this Comment: 4192

I just wanted to reflect back on the discuussion about AIDS in Africa. I thought Dr. Washington's experiences were very intriguing, and specifly I found it striking that his research simply didn't reflect the percentages of AIDS cases in Kenya, but that he put a face to each case study. At least from his lecture it seemed like he got to know each woman on an individual basis, but maintained his objectivity. I find it astonishing that women in Africa , but Kenya in particular don't have a choice in deciding if a condom is used during sex. I think this calls for us to rethink our role as women on a larger scale. Women need to educate one another about sex.The male psyche needs to be reconditioned, because we are talking about an individuals life. I don't think that in communities where AIDS is spreading in large proportions, that the message of sex is being taught effectively. People don't seem to realize the significant difference making the safer choice about sex can make for an individual, family, community, and state.


Homosexuality in the Black community
Name: Nia
Date: //2002-12-21 07:23:26 :
Link to this Comment: 4194

I just wanted to make a suggestion to the individuals volunteering at *****.I remember hearing the idea that **** was not what it could or should be and that to you it seemed like a just another "closet". I believe it is helpful to understand the history of homosexuality in the Black communities in order to better serve this group. Homosexuality is a taboo within the Black community, and is not discussed or tolerated by family. I was reading an article in Ebony that talked about Black gay men living a double life. One thing you must realize is that it is hard enough being a Black man, but to complicate the situation even further its even more difficult to be Black and homosexual.As you ladies were introducing your site a thought came to mind. A suggestion is that maybe you could initiate conversations about homosexuality in the Black community. Explore the how and why it is not talked about amongst this particular community.


Sex and Art
Name: Nia
Date: //2002-12-21 07:34:52 :
Link to this Comment: 4195

I would like to comment on what I believe I learned from the presentation of sex and art. As one of the individuals responsible for planning the activity, I wanted students to interact with the art on an intimate level. Also I wanted them to think about what makes art sexual or not sexual. Furthermore, I thought it would be interesting to experience art through the senses. Our presentation was unique because the students were asked to put their individual experience into language, and then transform the language back into art. I was glad that the students really seemed to enjoy the activity.


Sex and Art
Name: Jenny Wade
Date: //2002-12-21 10:53:42 :
Link to this Comment: 4201

As one person has alreay commented, out art gallery that was meant to focus upon art and sex using all the senses seemed to be mainly visual and although people did indulge in using other senses, the visual stood out overwhelmingly. It is interesting because I agree that the visual was the most powerful in eliciting reactions from the class and when given a chance to explore the gallery, the class seemed to focus mainly upon visual stimuli (although in helping put it together I actually focused least on the visual personally). It is interesting that while with our class the visual seems to be overwhelmingly strong, at my praxis site, the students tend to be discomforted by visual stimuli. I'm trying to figure out what this says about sexual experience (or in recreating/retelling it). Can it truly use all of the senses equally (abandoning none as in real life) or is it much harder/impossible to convey certain senses in the context of sex?


Sex and poetry and senses
Name: Jenny Wade
Date: //2002-12-21 11:07:39 :
Link to this Comment: 4202

The following poem is by Cat Townsend who has acually published a collection of poems entitled "Sex is Poetry". Her poems are inherently sexual, somtimes embracing the darker side of sex as in her poems on rape or sometimes offering very sensual accounts such as in the following poem which makes interesting use of smell. Perhaps as I said in my past posting it is because we are expecting the visual stimulus that makes this so stiking, but either way it is an amazingly powerful poem:

SENSORIAL
His scent infected my senses
Festered into an uncontrollable
eruption in his sheets Convulsing
and hyperventilating as the fever
flowed out my pores and left
me tingling into better health


feliz navidad
Name: lindsay
Date: //2002-12-25 05:03:30 :
Link to this Comment: 4204

Ok...so i know its christmas eve....but all i can think about is...well you know....sex.....i am so blaming Anne for this one....i COULD not at ANY family member the same way after this class...the sexual jokes passed from one member of the family to the other...took on new meaning...and the thought of any two of them grossed me out and amused me at the same time...

so in reading the postings...i wanted to make a few comments in resonse to some of the points made recently that somehow i missed.

Elisa. in regards to outsiders/insiders...i have a really good piece for you to read, but its at school so remind me. but..i did want to say that i know i particularly paid very close attention to the insider/outsider models. Specifically those i know via philosophy, when interacting at my site. The important thing to remember about the site however, and i think where most of the comments were coming from, was that if the purpose of the site was to make outsiders feel welcome, it was our overwhelming feeling that that was not happening with everyone. Especially with those of us who should be considered insiders to the group the site was targeting. I think that was the criticsm being made, more then anything.

Katy. Polyamourous. just for the record, so that people don't think its just a "gay" thing. polyamorous relationships occur among hetereosexuals as well.

Nia. i appreciate your comments regarding gays in the black community. I think its important to remember however that there are gay people in EVERY community, and in every community they are greeted with hatred and love, it depends on the people in the community. you said that "Homosexuality is a taboo within the Black community, and is not discussed or tolerated by family." I can't speak fromthe point of view of a lesbian of color, but given my experiences i do feel comfortable saying that it is a taboo in many communities and families. I think its important to realize that while it may be living a double life being black and homosexual, similar conflicting roles exhist for instance being catholic and gay or even a woman and gay (another instance of a double minority, as in the case of the gay black man). just food for thought mostly. i think understanding the role of gender/sexuality and norms indifferent cultures are fascinating as certainly differences do occur, but i do think we need to be careful about the generalizations that are made about groups and their beliefs regarding homosexuality.

um. ok. i think that was it. i sex-ond the reunion idea.hahahah.
ok merry christmas if you celebrate it and happy wednesday if you don't


response
Name: Elisa
Date: //2003-01-03 15:12:13 :
Link to this Comment: 4206

hey lindsey...

i just read your comment and i think you misinterpreted my earlier posting...

i was under the assumption that you all were volunteers there, correct? if so, as volunteers, wasnt it your duty to make others feel comfortable, not the other way around? volunteers do not go to the site under the same pretenses as the community the site is trying to serve. you all were going there with some resposbility in aiding/furthering the "openness" of the environment through your volunteer positions (bc through that position, it is assummed that you are dedicated to the missions statement of the site).

i think there was too much focusing on how you were all treated like outsiders and not enough concentrating on how it is the responsibility of the people that work and volunteer there to create that openness, not benefit from it.

all i was attempting to do in my earlier posting was draw attention to these dynamics and to simply ask, were there things we cannot see because we are coming into our environments with an academic eye?


final frustrations
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: //2003-01-06 11:11:47 :
Link to this Comment: 4208

To all my sexy thinkers--

I've just finished a (long) weekend reveling in your portfolios. Thanks to you all for all your thinking and re-thinking, for your engagement and creativity, for your good humor and hard work. Grading was more of a challenge for me than it usually is: aside from the usual axes of 1)contributing to others' thinking in class and 2) opening on-line "windows" for the rest of the world and 3)preparing short papers, then a final project and portfolio that give written witness to what you're learning...there was, this time, the praxis axis...all to be reduced to a single number. Ridiculous.

I'm reading (betwixt the reveling) a Christmas gift from a friend,Tor Norretranders' "The User Illusion: Cutting Consciousness down to Size." A passage @ the end of chapter 11 seems an apt description not only of my frustrations in reducing the complexities of your learning to a number, but also our shared frustrations, all semester, about "squeezing" sexual experience into language:

"The bandwidth of language is far lower than the bandwidth of sensation. Most of what we know about the world we can never tell each other...Our sociolinguistic fellowship with one another is based on exchanges at a bandwidth of sixteen bits a second. Our direct-natural fellowship with the world is based on exchanges via a bandwidth with a capacity of many millions of bits per second. Therefore we can only talk about what matters when we do not talk but act. We can show things to one another, feel things together, learn from each other...take pleasure in one another's skills. But we cannot describe them in detail to one another...."

As a final thought, I pass on a l'il code Kathryn told me about in her portfolio. When someone in our class said to someone else, "See You Next Tuesday," she was saying

See (C) You (U) Next (N) Tuesday (T).
CUNT.

Maybe we HAVE found a language of our own...
that others can use as well?

Anyhow: thanks again to all, for coming along on this adventure, and for everything you've taught me along the way. Keep in touch, and let me know what else you're learning in the future!

Always, fondly,
Anne


haha
Name: chelsea
Date: //2003-01-10 13:54:15 :
Link to this Comment: 4209

hey guys! i miss you:( i tried explaining our class to one of my friends and she just kind of looked at me liked i'd sprouted sweet potatoes out of my ears or something...and she definately thought it was odd that i've become so attached to my vagina (she understands the boob thing- i really don't get it), oh well.

anyway, my grandmother has essential tremors (basically, her hands shake as if she had parkinson's, but it isn't parkinson's) and when i told my grandparents (and my aunt and my uncle and my mom and my dad- that was a new experience) anne's joke about the couple in the nursing home, my grandfather burst out laughing and said, "too bad it isn't parkinson's" and my grandmother says, "it's ok, i still have the essential tremor!" hahahahaha...ok, i thought it was funny, hope you guys do too:) bye! enjoy the rest of your break!

chelsea