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Celeste's picture

Sexuality vs Orientation

I've been thinking more about sexuality versus sexual orientation. I've found that sexual orientation appears to be a social construction in the way that our sex is. Orientation suggests a single direction--a rigidity that I believe is found less often than expected when talking about human attraction.  These are the vocabulary words handed down to us.  In the way that our bodies are sometimes forced to commit to male or female, the same occurs with our sexualities because for some, it can be hard to imagine a world where words cannot define. These terms do not provide the prope scope to explain and define the sexual, emotional, or romantic experiences of humans. And for me, that is frustrating.  It's frustrating to see eyes roll when I mention being queer.  Once, somebody asked me if I wanted to be "special"--if I was "above just being bisexual"?  I choose to use some different words because I try to find the most specific language possible to describe my experience and my feelings at this point in my life.  It would do little justice to pick one over the other, as they provide little space for reflection and even self-doubt, which I find is the best prompt for internal reflection.

colleenaryanne's picture

Trans* Task Force: DLT Training and Q-Forum

Trans* Task Force: aybala50, amorphast, S. Yeager, MC and myself

Working towards breaking the gender binary at Bryn Mawr College and helping the queer folk on campus feel more welcome and at home. 

Quick definitions for our visiting guests:

Customs week – one week before classes start, the freshman arrive on campus for a week long orientation led by the DLT

Customs group – freshman are grouped together generally by hall to create customs groups, which are led by Customs People. 

DLT – Dorm Leadership Team

This includes:

HA (Hall Advisor) – One student on every dorm hallway who is basically in charge of everything on the hall.

Customs People – 2-3 students on each hall who are in charge of helping the freshman through their first year at Bryn Mawr.

CDA (Community Diversity Assistant) – Previously one per dorm, now only six on campus. They are students who “are charged with raising awareness of diversity issues and helping their friends and neighbors talk about them.”

michelle.lee's picture

Context, Context, Context

At my high school, similar to perhaps many other high schools,  making gay jokes was always a popular thing to do.   I feel ashamed to have participated in this crude and horrible form of "humor" and teasing when I first entered high school.  I loved my high school and I had a great high school experience but I did think my school needed to revise it's policy on tolerance.  Not just on anti-gay rhetoric issue but on an overall issue of tolerance and respect.  It wasn't until the end of high school that one of my very good friends who had been constantly made fun of for "acting gay" that I realized this was not right and that this had to stop.  I couldn't articulate why I felt it was wrong.  I don't think I was the only one who thought this was a problem but I do think it was an easy pitfall to trap yourself into when you were with a group of people and you just wanted to tease someone.  And I saw no way of changing it.  I just knew it was unfair but I didn't know for what reason and I couldn't understand why this kind of homophobic subculture was so deeply ingrained in the way my high school interacted with each other.  

MC's picture


I have mentioned and explained once in class and in one of my web events that I am asexual aromantic, which is one reason why I have mixed feelings about My Gender Workbook. The author in many instances assumes that the audience identifies as a sexual being, and her wording often gives the impression that sexuality and gender while not the same thing, are deeply dependent on each other. And while society's impression of your gender is often connected to their impression of your sexuality, as is the language they use, self-identification of gender does not always hinge on sexuality. I still identify overall as cisfemale, even though because of societal expectations and connotations I do not feel I have access to many of the words describing cisfemales. The word woman is deeply connected to being a sexual and/or reproductive being; menstruation and the construct of losing one's virginity and engaging in sexual or romantic relations is a sign of growing up, of a girl becoming a woman. And while I have the reproductive capacities of a woman, I have no intention of using them, and the idea of being sexually or romantically involved with others bothers me to my very core. As such I will retain my "virginity" (I have no time to explain how upsetting I find that word to be), my innocence, my chastity, which keeps me in the position of a girl, which I still cannot belong to because I am an adult (also because girls are expected to grow up into women). Does that make me an adult girl? I'd rather not be.

bluebox's picture

Feminism in SlutWalk


Feminism of SlutWalk


SlutWalk is a protest event that began in April of 2011 in Toronto to express freedom of expression and anger at double standards.  It has since expanded to other cities including New York and Chicago.  SlutWalk Toronto was originally spurred by a Toronto police officer who suggested that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.”  This made a lot of people angry.

SlutWalk Toronto’s website explains that this statement is wrong and hurtful for many reasons.  Sexual assault is a serious crime and has nothing to do with the clothing a woman wears.  No woman is “asking for it” when she wears a blouse that shows cleavage or when she wears sky-high platform pumps.  By placing blame on the victim, it makes her less likely to report it to authorities or seek professional help.

Amophrast's picture

(In)visibility with Sex, Gender, and (Dis)ability: Correcting Images

"I think being invisible is the only superpower that doesn't have a downside."

Someone said this to me as I was working on this webpaper, trying to construct an argument about queer invisibility and and the invisibilities of disabilities. My thought process crashed to a halt--she hadn't even seen my brainstorming.

"What makes you say that?"

She told me that flight can lead to motion sickness, mind reading can be overwhelming, super strength can cause someone to break another person's bones when simply trying to give them a hug. As far as this goes, I can see how invisibility doesn't have any downfalls.

Except for the fact that you don't exist.

Precarious, Performative, Playful, Potential ... Perspectives on Sex and Gender, 2011: Our First Set of Web "Events"

Welcome. Below find a list of webpapers emerging from Precarious, Performative, Playful, Potential...Perspectives on Sex and Gender, an interdisciplinary course offered at Bryn Mawr College in Fall 2011. To conclude the first "act" of the course, "Dis/Ability and Intra-Action," students are exploring here their current understandings of what it might mean to en-able intra-actions among gender, sexuality, disability studies and/or....?

Take a look around, and feel warmly welcome to respond in the comment area available at the end of each paper. What strikes, intrigues, puzzles you...what, among your reactions, might be of interest or use to the writer, or others in the class, or others who--exploring the internet--might be in search of a thoughtful conversation about gender and sexuality studies in intra-action with other fields of study?"Descanting on Deformity:" A Gender/Disability Look at Shakespeare's Richard III
Amophrast(In)visibility with Sex, Gender, and (Dis)ability: Correcting Images
AmyMayDiffracting and Entangling System-Correcting Praxis
aybala50A Dream Within a Dream
charliePortraying the Naked Woman
chelseamClaiming the Stare: Jes Sachse and the Transformative Potential of Seeing
essietee“Y’know what they call a unicorn without a horn? A friggin’ horse.” - Disability, Sexuality, and Passing in Glee
GaviVoicing Rhetorics of Beauty
jfwright"Called Me Crazy": Insanity and Non-Normative, Butch Identities
jmorgantRedefining Difference: The Emergence of the Disability Movement
KammyFinding “Home”: The Gay Evangelical Body
Katie RandallMedical Authority in the Discourses of Disability and Transsexuality
Kim KOut of the Closet: Fashion's Influence on Gender and Sexuality
leamirella"You-Topia" And What It Means To Be At "Home".
lgleysteenNonverbal Communication as an Unclear Symbol of Gender and Identity
lwackerInter-acting with Art, Nina Berman's "marine wedding"
phenomsCulturally constructed sexuality
rachelrThe Medical Treatment of… gayness?
S. YaegerChallenging The Idea of Independence As A Desirable End
sel209Grey Matters: Age as Disability through the Lens of Sexuality
ShlomoA Modern-Day Lysistrata: Sex Strikes, Diffraction, and Enabling Disability
someshineWho was Ssehura/Sartjee/Saartje/Saat-je/Saartji/Saat-Jee/Saartjie/Sara(h) ?
venn diagramThe Perils of Passing as Explored by the Works of Frances Negrón-Muntaner and Alberto Sandoval-Sánchez


Sexual Health and Reproduction

This is an archived page which is not being maintained. Many of the links in the Student Handout are broken.

This activity provides questions and Web sites to guide student investigation of birth control methods, fetal development, risks of alcohol and smoking during pregnancy, changes during puberty, and HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.  The first file has the student handout and the second file has teacher notes.

sarina's picture

Feminism and Pornography

The final paper! In this paper I explored if feminism and pornography are compatible.
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