Thinking Sex: Representing Desire and Difference
A Feminist and Gender Studies Course
Bryn Mawr College, Fall, 2002

Archive 12: Pornography and Fear

For previous postings, see course forum archive

Name:  Anne Dalke
Subject:  This Week: Post a Paper
Date:  2002-09-30 11:15:28
Message Id:  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
Name:  2002 TS student
Username:  2002 TS student
Subject:  Educaitonal Posters
Date:  2002-09-30 11:57:53
Message Id:  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.

Name:  elisa
Subject:  New book
Date:  2002-10-01 09:33:30
Message Id:  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 or, 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.

Name:  Kathryn McMahon
Subject:  shy exhibitionism
Date:  2002-10-03 16:49:54
Message Id:  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.
Name:  Maggie
Username:  mscottwe
Subject:  porn and more porn
Date:  2002-10-03 17:32:16
Message Id:  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.

Name:  2002 TS student
Username:  2002 TS student
Subject:  Pornogra-tea
Date:  2002-10-03 20:35:46
Message Id:  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 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...

Name:  Monica Locsin
Subject:  Porrrnn!
Date:  2002-10-03 22:34:29
Message Id:  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.

Name:  LH
Subject:  ramming a penis into a vagina???? is that so bad??
Date:  2002-10-04 15:01:42
Message Id:  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.
Name:  ngoc
Subject:  course commentary
Date:  2002-10-04 17:45:22
Message Id:  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.
Name:  Emily Teel
Subject:  that's right...PORN
Date:  2002-10-04 21:33:55
Message Id:  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...

Name:  Jess T.
Subject:  NYTimes article on College Sex Column
Date:  2002-10-04 22:18:08
Message Id:  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!


Name:  sheri
Username:  Anonymous
Date:  2002-10-05 01:19:31
Message Id:  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)
Name:  Anne Dalke
Subject:  Fear
Date:  2002-10-05 10:43:30
Message Id:  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."
Name:  Anne Dalke
Subject:  The Public Domain
Date:  2002-10-05 10:59:50
Message Id:  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."

Name:  michelle
Username:  mmcgrath
Subject:  mckinnon, desire, rape
Date:  2002-10-06 01:19:10
Message Id:  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.

Name:  Anne Dalke
Subject:  course requirements
Date:  2002-10-06 13:13:16
Message Id:  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, 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--

Name:  Nancy
Subject:  Am I a Porn Star?
Date:  2002-10-06 13:14:10
Message Id:  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...
Name:  elisa
Subject:  Dorothy Allison
Date:  2002-10-08 10:15:29
Message Id:  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

Name:  ngoc
Subject:  Porn
Date:  2002-10-08 12:58:39
Message Id:  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.
Name:  Anne Dalke
Subject:  Instructions for Posting Your Papers
Date:  2002-10-08 21:11:53
Message Id:  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.

Name:  Anne Dalke
Subject:  A few Other Reminders
Date:  2002-10-08 21:13:46
Message Id:  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, HY
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.


Name:  elisa
Subject:  Sexual Language in the Classroom
Date:  2002-10-10 01:03:34
Message Id:  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.

Name:  michelle
Username:  mmcgrath
Subject:  tidbits
Date:  2002-10-10 08:51:29
Message Id:  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!

Name:  2002 TS student
Username:  2002 TS student
Subject:  Sex/Food
Date:  2002-10-10 09:15:30
Message Id:  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).


Name:  michelle
Username:  mmcgrath
Subject:  Fairy Story
Date:  2002-10-10 11:21:50
Message Id:  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.

Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  class planning
Date:  2002-10-10 11:37:49
Message Id:  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!

Name:  Jess T
Subject:  oldly enough...
Date:  2002-10-10 12:44:25
Message Id:  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?



Name:  Deborah
Subject:  Lost posting
Date:  2002-10-11 13:29:31
Message Id:  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!"
Name:  Deborah
Username:  dsosower@bmc
Subject:  Sex Fairy Tale
Date:  2002-10-11 13:40:26
Message Id:  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 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!
Name:  Emily
Subject:  cosmic happenings
Date:  2002-10-11 16:39:10
Message Id:  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....?
Name:  Anne Dalke
Subject:  Sexuality and the City
Date:  2002-10-13 22:25:04
Message Id:  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--

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