On the Myth of Inherent Female Bisexuality

Freudian psychoanalysts held that all people, male and female, are born bisexual and like a light switch held between on and off, will usually fall into one of two extremes. Freudians, on the whole, did not consider homosexuality to be an aberration or sickness in and of itself, but that societal pressures would undoubtedly contribute to unhealthy fetishes and sexual behaviors.

Following the light switch analogy, Alfred Kinsey’s famous scale would be like a dial pointing somewhere between homosexuality and heterosexuality: a continuum where the large majority resides very near the heterosexual end.

The twentieth century, with the discovery of a molecular basis for inheritance, saw a sharp rise in the use of terms like “inherent” and “predisposition” in lay discussions of animal behavior. Incidentally, it is of no surprise that discussions of human behavior dwell on human sexuality. Coitus, fornication, fucking, whatever you like to call it, is fun. It’s fun to do; it’s fun to talk about.

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Posted in GLBTQ, Sex | Tagged , , , , , | 44 Comments

You Like Us, You Really Like Us!

The 2005 Weblog Awards are up, and Feministe has been nominated in the Best Liberal Blog category! Exciting!!

It’s a huge compliment to be grouped with the other nominees — the list includes some of my favorite blogs, and it’s a pretty big ego boost to be placed in the same category as them. Check ’em out, they’re fantastic, and all very worthy of your votes. There are some great blogs nominated in other categories as well, so scroll through the whole thing. And as usual, there are a whole lot of excellent blogs that didn’t get nominated, or didn’t make the final cut — feel free to leave links here of blogs you think we should all check out, and keep them in mind for next year.

Voting begins Monday December 5th and ends December 15th. You can vote for one blog in each category every 24 hours. Happy voting!*

*(I don’t know why I’ve been using so many exclamation points lately. Annoying, isn’t it? I apologize, and I blame contracts outlining.)

Posted in Blogging | Tagged , , | 23 Comments

Congrats, America!

As of Friday, you’ve executed 1,000 people since the death penalty was reinstated in 1977. Now there’s something to be proud of.

Texas leads the way, accounting for almost 1/3 of these executions (check out this handy visual). In the same time period, 122 people were exonerated, and freed from death row — meaning that for every eight people executed, one death row inmate was found innocent. That isn’t a great track record.

The fact that the death penalty has undoubtedly led to the execution of innocent people is deeply troubling, and a good argument for getting rid of it. But what about people about whose guilt there is no doubt? Suppose Saddam Hussein could be tried in a U.S. court for the crimes he committed against the Iraqi people. There is absolutely no doubt that Hussein was a brutal murderer. Regardless of one’s views on the war, few people actually believe that he’s an innocent man. Are we still against the death penalty when there is no real question of guilt?

I think, as a civilized society, we must be. The death penalty is simply unjustifiable. It’s not a deterrant to crime. It’s not a defense mechanism — it could just as easily be replaced by life in prison without parole, eliminating the possibility of dangerous criminals re-offending. It doesn’t even save money — keeping a prisoner on death row and executing them is more costly than a lifetime jail sentence.

And beyond all that, a government should not have the punitive power to execute its citizens, even the very worst of them.

Posted in Crime | Tagged , | 58 Comments

Bah Humbug

I love Christmas, but the wingnuts are really bringing out the Grinch in me. If I have to read one more article about how Christians are being persecuted by stores wishing them “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” I might just convert to Hinduism and call it a day.

First, why is it offensive to include all the winter holidays in a single greeting, when you’re trying to sell goods to a wide range of consumers? You don’t see Jews getting all pissy about the lack of “Happy Hanukkah” signs at Walgreen’s, or Hindus complaining that there aren’t enough Diwali greetings when they walk into Target. Perhaps this is because, as religious minorities, they recognize that people with different belief systems exist in this country, and including them all under the banner of “Happy Holidays” is the most logical way to go. Why purposely exclude particular groups by only recognizing Christian holidays?

Second, for all the bitching about “putting Christ back in Christmas,” perhaps these religious extremists would be better suited to trying to eliminate Santa Claus or Christmas trees or other secular Christmas symbols. Perhaps they should try and figure out when Jesus was actually born, and change the day we celebrate — after all, we all know that December 25th was chosen as a way to have the Christian holiday line up with Pagan celebrations, to make conversion easier. Or how about rallying against the consumerism that Christmas is so fraught with? Last time I read the Bible, there was no point where God said, “My son is born, now go forth and buy stuff.” If you want to complain about secularization and taking Christ out of Christmas, start with Santa Claus and FAO Schwarz.

Third, with all the problems in the world, wingnut Christians are focusing on this? As Jeremy Cohen wrote in his Times op/ed today:

This campaign – which is being hyped on Fox and conservative talk radio – is an odd one. Christmas remains ubiquitous, and with its celebrators in control of the White House, Congress, the Supreme Court and every state supreme court and legislature, it hardly lacks for powerful supporters. There is also something perverse, when Christians are being jailed for discussing the Bible in Saudi Arabia and slaughtered in Sudan, about spending so much energy on stores that sell “holiday trees.”

But what about “traditional values” and Christmas being an integral part of America? Yup, wrong.

The vast majority of schools and businesses close for Christmas. Christmas themes and decorations (Santa, Christmas trees, green and red) are everywhere. Christmas music plays in most department stores. There is no war on Christmas. But these godbags are making me embarassed to be celebrating it.

However, there does seem to be a war on women’s health, led by zealot pharmacists. Trying to get birth control pills? Uh uh. Female sexuality is evil. Want your herpes medicine? Sorry, no can do — God is punishing you for your sins. But it’s the Christian pharmacists who are the victims when they’re told to do their jobs. Gotta love the logic here.

Also, Grady Hendrix is clearly a Christian persecutor for writing this article, which is a wee bit critical of the “Left Behind” movies. Hilarious. Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: World O’Crap also makes the baby Jesus cry. And they are way funnier than I’ll ever be. My favorite part: In response to an Agape Press columnist offering a free Christmas ad that reads, “If this is only the ‘Holiday Season,’ if this is not ‘Christmas,’ then you do not have a Savior! Merry Christmas!”, WOC says:

Not bad. But I think I can come up with something even more offensive. How about, “If you think this is only the ‘Holiday Season,’ then you can eat crap and die! Merry Christmas, you unsaved bastard!”

Also, taking Jesus out of Christmas is right up there with the homos, the cloners and the baby-killers in causing the Asian tsunami.

UPDATE 2: It’s Hitchens v. Christmas on Scarborough Country. Hi-larious. He refers to Jerry Falwell “the fat-faced revered,”and tells Joe Scarborough that he has no interest in hearing him speak (“I came here to talk, not to listen to you. You invited me on for my opinions, not to listen to yours.”). Money quote:

HITCHENS: … as in Washington, D.C., there are large numbers of public buildings, lavishly financed, usually, in fact, invariably, tax exempt, sometimes even government subsidized by the—what do we call it, faith-based program.

They are called churches. People can go there if they want to have religious ceremony. They can put up hoardings on their land which say it’s Jesus’ birthday or Christ has risen, if it’s Easter, anything like that. You can’t stop them. They do it all the time, and they are very welcome.

I would like, however, to be able to go to Union Station and not be told that I am a Christian over the loud speaker all the time, or, indeed, to Wal-Mart or Target or 7/Eleven and not have an incessant one-party state month of permanent Christian music and propaganda. I think that’s annoying and offensive, and also […] I promise only one thing. I promise you, I would say that if I was a Christian. I am not. But if I was one, I would not want it imposed on other people. […] And certainly not in this ugly—not in this ugly, vulgar, boring way?

SCARBOROUGH: It’s ugly? What is ugly and vulgar and boring, Christmas trees?

HITCHENS: Don’t you find the tinsel and the incessant stuff on the radio and the TV, don’t you find it gets you down? Don’t you find it’s cheap and tinselly? I certainly do.

Posted in Holidays & Celebrations, Religion | Tagged | 102 Comments

Don’t Just Blame the Victim; Prosecute Her

A judge files a false rape report against teen girl because she wasn’t traumatized enough to be credible in her testimony against her attackers.

After a day-and-a-half trial, Municipal Judge Peter A. Ackerman on Friday convicted the woman of filing a false police report, a class-C misdemeanor. Ackerman explained his decision, saying there were many inconsistencies in the stories of the four, but that he found the young men to be more credible. He also said he relied on the testimony of a Beaverton police detective and the woman’s friends who said she did not act traumatized in the days following the incident.

Kevin Hayden of The American Street, who was at the trial last week, has more on the story:

It was especially interesting that the prosecutor kept referring to the three men involved as ‘boys’, when they were fully grown men. The woman was 17.

The judge found inconsistencies in all of the stories, thus establishing reasonable doubt in every story. Yet he convicted the victim. ‘Boys’ will be ‘boys’.

The young woman’s friends were a classmate at high school and her mother. The mother a) has always been seen with an alcoholic beverage or high on prescription pills by all who know her, b) provided the 17-year old with the alcohol she’d had that evening, which she stole from the store she cashiers at and c) was awaiting her boyfriend’s return to her home within two months of the rape. That boyfriend was in prison for molesting his own daughter. That’s hardly a credible witness with any sympathy for victims of sexual assault. But none of this could be introduced into evidence. Only the 17 year old’s sexual history could be exposed.

Additionally, the two ‘friends’ were the ones who convinced the 17 year old that she should report it to the police. So if the young woman is guilty, the instigating accessories to her ‘crime’ are considered credible experts about how a rape victim should act.

This is particularly disappointing for him since he has known the girl since she was an infant.

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Posted in Recommended, Sexual Assault | Tagged , | 94 Comments

Loosening Abortion Laws in Latin America

A must-read article in the Times about the growing progressive forces in Latin America, and how women’s rights groups are mobilizing for basic reproductive freedoms. It’s certainly informative; read it if only as a reminder of how much we have to lose.

In this tradition-bound Roman Catholic town one day in April, two young women did what many here consider unthinkable: pregnant and scared, they took a cheap ulcer medication known to induce abortions. When the drug left them bleeding, they were treated at a local emergency room – then promptly arrested.

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Posted in Reproductive Rights | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

NYT on Alito and Abortion

Because we haven’t run this one into the ground quite deeply enough, a good editorial in the Times about Alito and his opposition to reproductive rights. If you’re tired of hearing about this, my apologies. But it’s kinda important. All emphasis in the article is mine.
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Posted in Reproductive Rights | Tagged , , , | 20 Comments

Holiday Draw

Every year my family draws names instead of buying Christmas (aka Atheist Kids Get Presents, Too! Day) presents for everyone in the family. This saves us all some money, a headache or two, and hopefully quells the holiday-related spoiling of youngsters.

Two Questions:
What would be a great gift for a brilliant, feminist, mouthy, headstrong pre-teen girl?

What would be a great gift for a forty-something brother-in-law? (If he gets yet another alumni-themed gift I think he’ll revolt.)
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Posted in Domesticity, Holidays & Celebrations | Tagged , | 42 Comments

An Honest Question

What do you think it will take to get a mention on The O’Reilly Factor?

Posted in Blogging | Tagged , | 11 Comments

Twoo Wuv

The kitties spoon after a long night of helping me grade papers.

Sweet Love

Note Doug’s arm gently draped over Pablo. This, folks, this is wuv.

Posted in General | 19 Comments

“Stay tight, wear white”

advice from a father to his 13-year-old daughter. Is it just me, or is that a completely disgusting thing to be saying?

Feministing scours this one quite nicely, pointing out the huge double-standards in how parents talk about sex with their kids and how it perpetuates young people internalizing this kind of sexism. It’s worth a read, even if a lot of the comments will make you cringe. Not-so-surprising point: In every category of sexual experience, the kids have done quite a bit more than their parents thought they had. For example, only 1 parent thought their kid had given oral sex, while 51 actually had (on the other hand, 10 parents thought their kid had received oral sex; perhaps they believe their children to be selfish?).

And if that’s not gross enough for you, allow Twisty’s latest to stir up some righteous rage about our neighbor to the north: In Canada, you can now get away with rape if you claim you had “sexsomnia.” That’s right, if you rape a woman and claim that you were sleeping while doing it, you’re a-ok — you didn’t know what you were doing, even if you did have the sleep-raping foresight to put on a condom.

Posted in Gender, Sex, Sexual Assault | Tagged , , , , , | 27 Comments

O, George!

An interview with new blogger and paleo-wildlife artist Carl Buell, aka OGeorge, aka OlduvaiGeorge. Last year, Carl emailed a picture for Ethan to enjoy and we were blown away. Beautiful art, sharp mind, highly recommended.

Posted in Blogging, Recommended | Tagged | 2 Comments