8th grade Hooters excursion?

I have to ask.

Apparently a group of 8th grade Pennsylvanians ended up at Hooters for lunch during their field trip this week.

So far, no shit has hit the fan. Big surprise. Seriously. This seems like something conservative types would throw a fit about.

I’m not so sure I would personally be upset as a parent. At least, not for the reasons other people might be. I hypothesize (since, alas, I am not a parent) that the sexual aspect of Hooters would not be a problem–you can find “sexier” things on TV. EDIT: To be clear, sexiness/boobs/women are not a big deal, especially for 8th graders. In fact, this sort of experience might be another useful tool to talk to my kid about sexuality and sexual expression.

However, I do have a problem with supporting Hooters as a company. It’s not sexuality itself that’s at issue, it’s the type of sexuality. The company has been involved in many degrading and disempowering practices toward their female workers and company authorities have been tangled in a slew of lawsuits for sexual harassment. Reputable chain strip joints generally have better track records–perhaps because their purposes are more explicit. Further in my distaste, the premise of “Hooters” is body negative and sex negative (pairing large breasts with attitudinal stereotypes required for employment, creation/encouragement of body hierarchies, encouraging gender hierarchies, reinforcement of women’s bodies as objects of sex in menial labor positions etc) as can be seen in the 3 in-text links above. IMO, this is not an empowering expression of sexuality and thus is not a company I want to support. My dollars are political and I can see myself being a bit irritated that the school would facilitate the financial validation of this kind of company through my kid.

How would you folks react if you were one of the parents?

“Hiding” – Viewer Submission

Here is a poem sent to me by Ari, a Sex+ viewer. I thought I would share!


A smile can hide pain
Laughter can hide a sob
Fake can hide a lifetime of hurt
Make-up can hide every scar
“Happy” can hide how you really feel,
but when do we become real?
When we strike the blade for the first time?
When we break down in a million tears?
When you become everyone’s rock
but can barely hold yourself up?
When the tag reads one, but your eyes see one hundred?
When last night’s dinner is being flushed with your pride?
When no one sees past a forced smile,
an un-sincere laugh, a half hearted
“I’m fine”
What do we do then?
We mask it more?
We let ourselves get to the point
Where a gun to the head, a handful of pills,
Anything, is better then this life
Little 12 year old girls walk around the mall
Makeup caked to their face, hair bleached and fried straight
So skinny you can see almost every bone
How has this become our vision of perfect, pretty, even beautiful?
Its none of those things, its sad
So don’t fall for it
Don’t fall for the trap they call the “in-crowd”
Because every person is beautiful and perfect
just the way they are.

Have something you want posted? Drop me a line! :)
Have a brilliant day everyone. I’ll be back later this week.

Hot, Sexy…12 year olds?

I’m sure that many of you saw Rebecca Black’s “Friday”, a music video that was featured on Comedy Central and has been trending on Twitter for 3 days straight. I decided to explore around the YouTube channel that had produced the video, “trizzy66”, and found a strange series of wannabe Mileys, Selenas, and Taylor Swifts. In sifting through the videos, I found quite a few that portrayed these young women (we’re talking 12, *maybe* 13 years old) in an alarmingly hypersexualized way.

Hypersexualizing Youth=Negative Sexuality

The sexualization of young people is a concern for anybody who advocates positive sexuality, because the expression of these complex behaviors, at the naive age of 10-13, suggest that these are ideas being imposed upon them. Contrarily, there is another school of thought that speaks out against the sexualization of youth because it reflects a decline in social morale. My approach is not directly related to morality, but rather, the reality that this behavior is a manifestation of indoctrination into pop culture; a hypersexualized world tells young people that their only worth stems from their body, their romantic relationships, and consequently, from sex. It is my belief that young people should instead be nurtured to find value in their abilities, in their ideas, in community contribution, in positive relationships, and in strong communication. Sexuality should instead be a tool toward self-actualization and identity when young people become capable of processing it physically and emotionally, typically toward the upper teen years. The trend right now is to push ideas of “sexiness” upon children before they are capable of understanding what “sexy” even is, therefore indoctrinating them into a particular idea of “sexy” that is often sexist, disempowering, objectifying, and materially based. Not only this, but exposure to these ideas without the capacity to properly process them predisposes young people to unhealthy sexual and cognitive development (APA Task Force on Sexualization).

What forces are contributing to the hypersexualization of youth?

1. Clothing
Shorter, tighter, more skin, sexualized text (i.e. “eye candy”, “baby doll”, “wink wink”), higher heels, makeup acceptable at a younger age.

2. Music
Music, even if aimed at an older audience, reaches young ears as it pumps through mainstream music sources. (Consider Rihanna’s “S&M”, Lil’ Wayne’s “Lollipop”, Britney Spears’ “If You Seek Amy”)

3. Toys
“Bratz” dolls, particularly Yasmin model
Lingerie Barbie (released in 2002)
Monster High dolls

Consider also: halloween costumes, TV shows, books, beauty products, etc.
Little girls dancing to “Single Ladies”
Pole Dancing Doll
Little Lewd Riding Hood

What can we do?

Implications of the APA task force on Sexualization

1. Give primary acknowledgment to their achievements.
2. Talk to young people about being critical consumers. What kind of messages do their belongings send to them?
3. At the appropriate age, initiate conversations about healthy sexuality vs. sexualization.
4. Set a positive example yourself.

Toward healthy sexuality,

Real Bodies: Normal Breasts

Note: this post is NFSW, or “not safe for work”. I am still deciding if I’m okay with rerouting posts with nudity to a different page on the website (I didn’t build this website to have to censor myself again). For now, save your blog viewing for home if this is a problem. :)

As I alluded to in THE BREAST EFFECT (a Sex+ episode from a few weeks ago), there are many women who feel insecure about their breasts. Part of this is because the only examples we readily see, if any, are from porn. While I’m personally pro-porn, I feel one of the major downfalls is that the bodies in mainstream porn–the most accessible type of porn–are rarely real. This can have damaging effects on our self-perception because the tendency is to compare ourselves to something that generally does not happen naturally. Further, this can be damaging to the partners of women, who may come to expect breasts to look differently than they actually do.

I find looking at real naked bodies to be an empowering and important experience. When I look at them, I quickly realize that my insecurities are blown out of proportion. It also helps me remember how natural nudity is; that bodies are my mother nature’s artwork–to be loved and embraced, at the very least! So, I found a website that has a gallery of real breasts. You may be surprised to find they do not look like typical “porn boobs”. Real breasts have a different sit, they are not perfectly symmetrical, the nipple isn’t always in the same spot, breast size varies tremendously, and so do the areola and nipple color/size.

The website is 007b. I strongly recommend you go have a surf around. I am not endorsing what they say on the website (though some of it is good), but rather the array of real breast pictures and personal stories to accompany it. I have been considering doing a continuation of “Real Bodies” with various parts of the body from Sex+ community user submissions–including genitals. I’d love to know if folks would be interested & willing to participate, granted all identities were completely and untraceabley anonymous.

I JUST HAD SEX – a critique

Time to cast a critical eye toward Lonely Island’s new song “I Just Had Sex”. It’s catchy as all hell and kind of makes me want to dance. But in my repeated viewing, I’ve gone back and forth as to whether or not the video (which has been widely viewed–20 million as of today) sends positive messages about sex to women.

Macroscopically speaking, “I Just Had Sex” parodically humanizes the experience of sex, and reminds the viewer that everybody does it. It also humorously makes a statement about appropriate discourse of sexual encounters. But I do have a few complaints–mainly, that the video implies sex is something men “do” to women (i.e. “It’s sure nice of her to let you do that thing”, “I’m so humbled by her ability to let me do her”, “Thanks for letting us fuck you”). My own experience begs to differ ;)

Seriously though, the song is pretty heteronormative (to be expected in the mainstream, unfortunately), and when an intimate act becomes someone “doing something” to another, it silences the experience of the other person. They become the passive receptor of whatever it is you’re “doing” to them. The internalization of this message would be unfortunate for both parties involved; for women, it is disempowering, and for the men, it romanticizes a watered-down version of the exchange that sex COULD facilitate.

Despite these gripes, I love the song. The embarrassed and annoyed looks of the women in the background serve to make us laugh, but also to remind us that such behavior makes men look like a complete jackasses. It even apologizes for all the men that actually DO act like that…so, thanks Akon, I might be able to see past your awful grammarz now.