Tag Archive | "sexuality"

Breaking the Mould – it’s child’s play

Resources for teachers and parents about children’s books that challenge gender stereotypes Read the full story

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‘Doesn’t being a sexual subject risk you being slut-shamed?’ Talking to teenagers about sex and feminism.

If I had been shown this poem, ‘If you don’t come…’ by Christa Bell at age 17, I think it would have blown my mind.  (If you haven’t seen it, I guarantee it will be the best four minutes of your day if you watch it now).  I was aiming for a high shock value when I showed it to a group of sixth form students at Hills Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge, the top state sixth form in the country.  I had been asked to do a lunchtime talk on feminism for students by their sociology teacher, who told me that his students were sceptical about feminism and didn’t see the need for it – a red rag to a bull!  After consulting the glorious feminist twittersphere, I decided to talk about the equal right to sexual pleasure. Read the full story

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Mary McIntosh: feminist inspiration and pioneer of radical, lesbian sociology and criminology (1936 – January 5th 2013)

Mary McIntosh was a leading feminist sociologist of her generation, namely that of what is now often referred to as ‘second-wave’ feminism, and both a pioneer and great inspiration to those of us who followed quickly in her footsteps. She started as a committed Marxist and campaigner for social justice and human rights, rapidly becoming an active member of the lesbian and gay liberation movement, and, at the same time, helping to establish an array of women’s campaigning groups. It was her activism that was an essential characteristic and was both awe-inspiring and breath-taking: she was somewhat of a reluctant writer, although her key publications were hugely influential.

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Watching A Wedding: Private-Publics

I came to a stop in my tracks. I stood and stared as I began to watch a wedding; a deliberately public event announcing itself, lakeside, on a bright – but still cold – winter day in Canberra.  I didn’t know the guests, the bride or the groom. But I still stopped. Maybe weddings were different in Australia, where same-sex marriage debates had intensified during my visiting fellowship at the ANU? Maybe I was about to witness something different? Read the full story

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‘Hello my little Barbies’: Nicki Minaj and Masquerade

A few months back a youth work colleague voiced concern about the young women she works with listening to a rising new female rapper, Nicki Minaj.  She felt that the lyrics and the image were over-sexualised and liable to provide a potentially poor role model for the young people in the youth project with whom she worked. This also followed a YouTube sensation of two very small British girls, Sophie-Grace and Rosie belting out Minaj’s tune ‘SuperBass’ which was proudly recorded by their mothers. The YouTube hit enabled the young girls to have their precocious 15 minutes of fame as they sat next to US chat show host, Ellen DeGeneres and performed with their idol, Nicki on the Ellen talk show. Read the full story

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In memoriam: Shulamith Firestone

On 28th August, Shulamith Firestone was found dead in her Manhattan apartment at the age of 67. Firestone’s 1970 book, The Dialectic of Sex, is a carefully argued and inspiring call for a feminist revolution that still feels ahead of its time 42 years later. I’d just finished rereading it when I heard the news of Firestone’s death via the Guardian’s obituary of her and as a tribute I have collected here some of the parts of that work that I found the most provocative and powerful in the hope that others will be moved to read or reread this classic of feminist theory. Firestone is perhaps best known for her call for women to take ownership of the means of reproduction, and so take advantage of advances in medical technologies to free themselves from their oppression. However, her work is far more wide-ranging than its represented as in the many textbook accounts. Here I look at what she had to say about schooling and about sexuality. The page numbers are taken from the 1979 Women’s Press edition.

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Making Space for Queer Identifying Religious Youth (2011-2013)

When you think of religion, do you then think of sexuality? Does the connection then become a drastic dis-connection, a sentiment of incompatibility and impossibility, as the mind wanders over abortion debates, family planning, and the ‘sins’ of homosexuality? These collisions are apparent in recent UK debates on the Civil Partnership Act (2004), The Equality Act (2006) and the proposed Con-Lib plans to legalize gay marriage by 2015. All have generated significant controversies, frequently positing Christian ‘backlash’ against more integrative calls for inclusion. Representations of ‘sexual citizenship’ are still positioned as separate from and indeed negated by religious rights and some religions are (mis)positioned as more hostile, tolerating and welcoming than others.  Sweeping claims are made about the representation of broader secular publics where some suggest that ‘Religious Leaders are out of Touch with Sexuality Issues’. Over time policy-makers and the media have variously positioned religious leaders and communities as (un)wise and (in)competent citizens; with – or without – the capabilities and connectedness to contemporary British publics. The voices of those most vocal are heard here, where gaps exist between prescription and practice and between official institutional stances – in being in or out of touch – and what is experienced on the ground at congregational level. Against this often highly intense social context young LGBT Christians try to find a sense of belonging and identification, which Making Space for Queer Identifying Religions Youth (ESRC, 2011-2013) focuses upon. Starting with a focus on the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), the project offers insight into the management and development of excluded and in some ways ‘contradictory’ identity positions. How might religion and sexuality serve as a vehicle for various forms of belonging, identification and political expression where these have been pitted against one another?   Read the full story

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Connecting the Cares: Lines of Flight, Emotional Drives

There were many similarities in our journeys, with repeated meetings across time and place, first at Rutgers University, New Jersey, then London and then Oakland: our queer community – and queer cares – kept bringing us together it seemed. ‘Queerness’ exists in these shared encounters and in the familial and societal demands made and refused as we inhabit our spaces carefully and with care. Read the full story

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Rejecting home for homeland: Carrie Madison and gender roles in TV’s Homeland

Homeland is a US television series based on an Israeli show, Prisoners of War. It centres on CIA agent Carrie Maddison, played by Claire Danes, who in dramatic opening scenes is told by a source that a US marine has been ‘turned’. When a few days later US marine Nicholas Brody, played by Damien Lewis, is rescued after eight years in captivity, Carrie is convinced he’s the marine in question. Alongside Brody’s heroic homecoming we follow Carrie’s increasingly obsessive attempts to prove him a traitor. Carrie’s an unusual female character so in this post we begin a conversation about her which we plan to continue as events unfold each Sunday night. We hope you’ll join in. The show is full of twists and turns so don’t read this unless you’re up to date with the latest episode shown on the UK’s Channel 4 (or you don’t mind knowing what happens in advance). If you’ve seen ahead of this and you add comments please alert us to any spoilers. Read the full story

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The Softer They Come: Elly Tams reviews ‘The Declining Significance Of Homophobia’

The Declining Significance of Homophobia is, according to its author, a ‘Good News story’ (p xxv). I capitalise ‘Good News’ for reasons that shall become clear. But focusing first on the main thrust of the thesis (and there is no reference to it but I am certain this is a book written out of a PhD thesis), the ‘good news’ is how teenage boys in the UK are less homophobic than in previous eras. Good news indeed. Read the full story

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Gender and Education Association

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May 2015