‘Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame…’

After reading some crazy shit about Monica Lewinsky and Hillary Clinton this week, then seeing this Tweet from Erica Jong:

BLAMING WOMEN IS ALWAYS IN FASHION! Never forget it.

I am reminded that times like these call for Jimmy Buffet:

Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame,
But I know, it’s my own damn fault.
Yes, and some people claim that there’s a woman to blame
And I know it’s my own damn fault.

 

Every time I hear “Margaritaville” on the radio (which is often, I live in San Francisco) I get a feeling of calm and relief. Men can take responsibility for their actions. More importantly, people can. Let’s stop being victims. Stop pointing– or shaking– your finger at someone else and clean up your side of the street. It’s good for America.

TSA agents search passenger: ‘We can’t tell if you’re male or female…ma’am.’

Feminist scholar bell hooks is all over the media for calling Beyonce a terrorist. But that’s not the shocking part of the New School hosted debate. Writer Marci Blackman was on the panel, and she spoke about being stopped by TSA agents while returning from Florida last week because they couldn’t tell if she was male or female. Gender ambiguity is clearly offensive and dangerous to America, right? The TSA’s discrimination and abuse of power ought to be making headlines today. Here’s Blackman’s story as told to bell hooks (transcribed by me because I couldn’t find it anywhere else.)

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After I come out of the body scan, they ask me for my boarding pass again, which they’re not supposed to do. And I give the man my boarding pass, and he waves over a female TSA agent who comes over and pulls me aside for a pat down search, and I asked why. And they wouldn’t say anything to me, and I said, “Look, I need to know why.” And so the first response was: “Well, we always search everybody three times.” And I said, “Well that’s clearly not true, because the ten people before me just walked right on through and got their bags. So why me? What is it about me that made you stop? Did something go off in the scan?” And finally she said, “It’s because we can’t tell if you’re male or female…ma’am.” So now, not only am I not in this box that I can’t find and that I wouldn’t want to get in anyway, but now, I’m a criminal, because I’m not walking or sitting or fitting or squeezing myself into this box that’s defined for me by somebody else.

Watch the video here, Blackman’s story is 23 minutes in.

Dear Barbie

Dear Barbie,

Thank you for your letter explaining the decision to put you in Sports Illustrated wearing your zebra stripe bathing suit.

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As the mother of three young daughters, I have some issues with your letter I want to address.

You write:

My bathing suit now hangs beside a Presidential power suit, Pastry Chef hat, and Astronaut gear in a wardrobe reflecting the more than 150 careers I’ve pursued to illustrate for girls that they can achieve anything for which they aim. And yet, I am still seen as just a pretty face. It’s simpler to keep me in a box—and since I am a doll—chances are that’s where I’ll stay.

The problem is that while my daughters, in their short lives, have already seen thousands of women celebrated in magazines for how “beautiful” they look in a bathing suit, they have yet to see a woman grace the cover– or “promotional overlap”– of a magazine for being president of the USA. Of course, that’s because there has never been a female president in this country.

As far as the pastry chef hat, celebrating great female cooks in the media is also lacking. Just one recent example, in Time Magazine’s recent “Gods of Food” story, there are zero women.

Female astronauts? The Mars Explorer Barbie is described:

Mars Explorer Barbie® doll launches the first “one-doll” mission to Mars. Ready to add her signature pink splash to the “red planet,” Barbie® doll is outfitted in a stylish space suit with pink reflective accents, helmet, space pack and signature pink space boots.

Do you think “adding a signature pink splash” is the best way to inspire our daughters to become astronauts? Barbie’s professions aren’t defined by much more than what she wears. The emphasis is still on her outfit. The message to girls is that how they look is the most important thing about them.

Next in your letter, you write:

Every year, Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit drums up conversation and controversy. Upon the launch of this year’s 50th anniversary issue, there will again be buzz and debate over the validity of the women in the magazine, questioning if posing in it is a blow to female equality and self-image. In 2014, does any woman in the issue seriously need permission to appear there?

 

A woman doesn’t need permission to be in SI, but you, as the opening sentence of your letter states, are a doll, a doll made “for girls.” So when you’re in a magazine created for adults, and girls see your picture, they’ll think that this magazine is for them. They’ll want to flip through the pages, and if they do, they’ll see picture after picture of mostly naked adult women in sexual poses. When I blogged about Barbie in SI earlier, someone made this comment:

To me this just proves Barbies are NOT really children’s toys at all! Maybe that’s what they are “unapologetic” about? As in “Haha, suckers! You’ve been buying your daughters miniature sex dolls for 50+ years!”

 

If you’re coming out a sex doll, that’s Mattel’s choice, but the rest of the company’s advertising should reflect a consistent message. Stop trying to appeal to children, because that’s confusing, and confusing kids and sex is dangerous: one out five girls is sexually abused. When a culture is accustomed to seeing girls sexualized, we stay apathetic towards identifying it and taking action towards stopping this epidemic. In case you’re not familiar with sexualization, it’s different that healthy sexuality. Sexualization is when girls understand sexuality as performance, when its not connected to real feelings or desire. Sexualization happens when girls are exposed to adult sexuality too early. Here’s the definition of sexualization from the the American Psychological Association:

There are several components to sexualization, and these set it apart from healthy sexuality. Sexualization occurs when

  • a person’s value comes only from his or her sexual appeal or behavior, to the exclusion of other characteristics;
  • a person is held to a standard that equates physical attractiveness (narrowly defined) with being sexy;
  • a person is sexually objectified — that is, made into a thing for others’ sexual use, rather than seen as a person with the capacity for independent action and decision making; and/or
  • sexuality is inappropriately imposed upon a person.

All four conditions need not be present; any one is an indication of sexualization. The fourth condition (the inappropriate imposition of sexuality) is especially relevant to children. Anyone (girls, boys, men, women) can be sexualized. But when children are imbued with adult sexuality, it is often imposed upon them rather than chosen by them. Self-motivated sexual exploration, on the other hand, is not sexualization by our definition, nor is age-appropriate exposure to information about sexuality.

 

In your letter, you go on to defend models as more than pretty faces, claiming you want them to be recognized for their other achievements as authors, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists. But if you want more recognition for these professions, why showcase Barbie in her bathing suit?

You write:

Models choosing to pose in a bikini aren’t the problem.

How much “choice” is really involved when modeling is one of the only professions where women outearn men? How much choice is involved when ever since women were girls, they’ve seen women repeatedly celebrated on the cover of magazines– not so much for being authors, entrepreneurs or philanthropists– but for how they look in bathing suits? When female writers are relegated to chicklit, when the female CEO of General Motors earns half of her male predecessor’s salary, and when women hold 1% of the world’s wealth, making the “choice” to be a model may seem like the best way to success among such limited, sexist options.

There’s nothing innovative about Barbie in Sports Illustrated. This magazine has let a woman on the cover of a non-swimsuit issue only 66 times. That’s about once a year. These pictures are the same old, same old except for one thing: Barbie is taking the sexualizing of girlhood to an offensive and dangerous new low.

Sincerely,

Margot Magowan

 

 

Sexualization of childoohood is children’s rights issue of our time

Just received the brand new book by Melissa Wardy of Pigtail Pals: Redfining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and Sexualizing of Girlhood, from birth to Tween.

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I am so excited to read this! I am a huge fan of Wardy’s company PIgtail Pals and Ballcap Buddies, and of her excellent blog, so I know this is going to be good.

From the prologue:

I believe that the sexualization of childhood will soon be seen as the children’s right issues of our time. Sexualization affects both boys and girls of all ages but is especially focused on our girls. Sexualization affects all races, economic classes, and geographical areas. It robs children of their right to childhood and to reach psychological developmental milestones fairly, and it affects their self esteem, body image, and performance in school. Sexualization interferes with kids right to develop a healthy sexuality and understanding of intimacy.

I love how Wardy succinctly differentiates between sexualization– sexuality as performance–  and real sexuality. I just skimmed the book and it looks like it is full of practical tips about how to raise healthy, strong girls, how to help keep them connected to their minds, hearts, bodies, and deepest dreams.

It makes me so sad when I see how kidworld and parents project such different expectations on boy children versus girl children. I am looking forward to reading a book about how to confront and challenge bias and help change the world.

Order Redfining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and Sexualizing of Girlhood, from birth to Tween on Amazon

Art creates reality: Imagining gender equality in the fantasy world

Some good quotes here. Let me know what you think

Bono on Jay-Z in November’s Vanity Fair:

In music, we love the idea of the screwed-up, shooting-up. fucked-up artist. The one bleeding in the garret having cut his own ear off. Jay-Z is a new kind of 21st-century artist where the canvas is not just the 12 notes, the wicked beats, and a rhyming dictionary in his head. It’s commerce, it’s politics, the fabric of the real as well as the imagined life.

 

Stephen Mitchell in Can Love Last, the Fate of Romance Over Time

It is the hallmark of the shift in basic psychoanalytic sensibility that the prototype of mental health for many contemporary psychoanalyitc authors is not the scientist but the artist. A continual objective take on reality is regarded as neither possible nor valuable in contrast to the ability to develop and move in and out of different perspectives of reality.

 

New York Times, October:

Public narratives about a career make a difference. The most common career aspiration named on Girls Who Code applications is forensic science. Like Allen, few if any of the girls have ever met anyone in that field, but they’ve all watched “CSI,” “Bones” or some other show in which a cool chick with great hair in a lab coat gets to use her scientific know-how to solve a crime. This so-called “CSI” effect has been credited for helping turn forensic science from a primarily male occupation into a primarily female one.

Jezebel reacting to New York Times piece:

The New York Times today would like to suggest that storytelling is powerful, that, in the whole art/life dynamic, it’s life that imitates art, not the other way around, at least not when it comes to kids imagining viable career paths for themselves.

 

Whoopi Goldberg:

Well, when I was nine years old Star Trek came on. I looked at it and I went screaming through the house, ‘Come here, mum, everybody, come quick, come quick, there’s a black lady on television and she ain’t no maid!’ I knew right then and there I could be anything I wanted to be.

 

In the fantasy world, anything is possible, so why do little kids see so few female heroes and female protagonists on TV and in the movies? While boy “buddy stories” are everywhere you look, why is it so hard to see two females working together to save the world? Why are females, half of the kid population, presented as a minority in fantasy world? Why are TV shows, movies, and books about boys “for everyone” while shows and movies about girls “just for girls?” When we pass on stories to our kids, what are we teaching them about gender, about who they are right now and who they will become?

One more quote for you from neuroscientist, Lise Eliot:

“Babies are born ready to absorb the sounds, grammar, and intonation of any language, but then the brain wires it up only to perceive and produce a specific language. After puberty, its possible to learn another language but far more difficult. I think of gender differences similarly. The ones that exist become amplified by the two different cultures that boys and girls are immersed in from birth. This contributes to the way their emotional and cognitive circuits get wired.”

Eliot believes: “Simply put, your brain is what you do with it.”So let’s all use our brains to imagine gender equality in the fantasy world, take actions to manifest that vision, and see what happens next. I bet it’ll be amazing.

When is it OK for kids to read YA books about rape or incest?

I just posted on the excellent Graceling trilogy and added that I would not let my 10 year old read it because of the rape and incest. I suggested 15 might be a good age. Then I went back and edited, remembering the rape and incest, while central to Bitterblue, is only implied near the end of Graceling. It’s not in Fire. So then, I thought maybe 12 years old for the first two and 15 for Bitterblue? And then, it occurred to me that rape and incest happens to kids all the time. In that case, reading about it in this context would be helpful. How ironic to censor something in a book that describes what’s happening in a kid’s real life. So, then I concluded, it’s such an individual choice. With sex, I didn’t want my kids reading about it or seeing movies that referenced it, before I had “the talk.” I wanted them to learn about sex from me first, rather than from a kid at school or from a movie. I had the conversation with my daughter last Spring, when she was nine. It went really well, and since, she’s come to me with questions, and she seems comfortable talking about it. But rape and incest, I’d like to protect her from the knowledge of a little longer.

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I did a Google search, remembering something I’d read on dark YA lit a while ago that was good. Here’s a quote from the post and the link.

The underlying assumptions behind Gurdon’s piece seem to be rooted in the idea that children read books with heavy content and ‘go bad,’ when in fact the opposite is true. Some children lead dark lives and they read books with intense themes to find protagonists they identify with in an often hostile world. Some young adults read about rape and bullying and violence, eating disorders and self harm and mental illness, because these are things they experience.

Alas, the belief that bad things do not happen to children and young adults is not limited to naïve Wall Street Journal columnists, and it does far more damage than mere dubiously-sourced articles that attract a storm of commentary. The belief that childhood is a happy place, where bad things don’t happen, where you don’t need rose-tinted spectacles because everything is already rose-tinted, has direct and harmful impacts on children and young adults in danger.

 

I don’t think my child would “go bad” from reading about this stuff. Nor do I think if a child is into these books, that means she’s leading a “dark” life. I think, and I could be wrong, if my ten year old daughter picked up Bitterblue, she’d read it cover to cover.

Also, for my kids, I do believe childhood is a pretty happy place for them and should be protected as such. Obviously, that doesn’t mean Disneyworld to me. I think Disneyworld is tremendously warped. But it does mean I want my kids to experience the belief in safety and also in magic. I believe that covering up “reality” to protect a child’s developing imagination is an important part of parenting and also, of being a kid. If your child has safe boundaries, she feels brave enough to take healthy risks. Psychologist Stephen Mitchell explains this well in his excellent book, Can Love Last: the Fate of Romance Over Time:

One of the things good parents provide for their children is a partially illusory, elaborately constructed atmosphere of  safety, to allow for the establishment of “secure attachment.” Good-enough parents, to use D. W. Winnicott’s term, do not talk with young children about their own terrors, worries, and doubts. They construct a sense of buffered permanence, in which the child can discover and explore without any impinging vigilance, her own mind, her creativity, her joy in living. The terrible destructiveness of child abuse lies not just in trauma of what happens but also the tragic loss of what is not provided– protected space for psychological growth.

It is crucial that the child does not become aware of how labor intensive that protracted space is, of the enormous amount of parental activity going on behind the scenes.

What are your thoughts on all this?

Update: Heather comments that her 8 year old daughter learned about rape and incest when a classmate brought porn to school.

Based on the brief snippets of content she saw, I had to not only have “the talk”, but also explain a LOT of things I never thought I’d have to address at that age. Because of this, conversely, she is now very educated on both sex, misogyny, and rape/assault/child abuse.  Therefore, I think these books that are written about very serious issues — but in the comprehension style of a young person who can find the characters identifiable — is a great source of information…I have not read these books to endorse them, but now I am interested and will be checking them out at the library. Thank you.

 

Heather’s comment make me think that if your child knows about rape or incest, these books are appropriate for her or him. (I really hope parents of sons will get their kids this trilogy.)

Would you rather your kid see M.I.A.’s finger or underage, half-dressed cheerleaders?

M.I.A. is refusing to pay the 1.5 million fine the NFL claims she owes after giving the finger during Madonna’s half time show.

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Calling the stiff penalty “corporate dick shaking,” (ha ha, like my world play?) the singer argues that the scantily dressed, teen cheerleaders from Madonna’s show, recruited from a local high school, is worse for kids to see than her raised finger.

 

“Like, is my finger offensive? Or is an underage black girl with her legs wide open more offensive to the family audience?”

 

I have 3 daughters, ages 4 – 10, and I’d rather them see M.I.A.’s middle finger than yet another half naked teen celebrated on national TV for baring her body any day. What about you?
While we’re on this topic, here are two more images of females, one allowed on network TV and one not. Again, I ask parents: Which would you rather your child see?
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The breast feeding picture is the “obscene” one, not even allowed on Facebook. So, please, share it widely. Protest the backwards way we value the female body, and of course, females themselves, in America.
Huzzah to M.I.A. Thank you for making these points that should be obvious yet somehow are not. I hope you never pay that fine. You’re a pussy!

New video on sexualization of girls shows influence of media on kids

Tina Wolridge sent me this message:

I work for the American Psychological Association. This is my work project. This video titled, “GIRLS TALK: SEXUALIZATION OF GIRLS”, shows the reactions and commentary of 6 middle school girls towards various forms of media, pop culture, and people who are associated with or directly influenced by over-sexualization of girls.
Can you share with others?

 

I really like the video, and I’m happy Wolridge made it. It’s important to hear girls give their own point of view about what they see and experience in the media. These girls are smart, perceptive, and articulate. They also seem real and passionate, not rehearsed or coached. Watching the video, though, I still feel like these girls believe there is some “right” way that a woman should look. It kind of reminds me of how it makes my skin crawl when I hear people talk about how this movie star or that one is too skinny. I feel like responding to those kinds of comments, “Fuck you. Can you just stop talking about her size?” I understand the point of the focus on appearance in this video, but it still makes me sad that these girls have to spend so much time thinking about this. Maybe that’s part of what makes the video powerful but I wish the emphasis were addressed more directly. Michelle Obama is celebrated by the girls for looking “right.” It’s good to show examples of the positive but can you imagine Barack being celebrated for his outfits? I posted something on Reel Girl a while back from a Vanity Fair article by Michael Lewis where Obama actually says he only wears gray or blue suits because he doesn’t have the mental energy to focus on what he is wearing. I get that. Especially since I’ve become a mom, or maybe it’s also being in my 40s, but there is only so much brain power I have. There’s only so much time. I need to choose carefully what to focus my mental energy on. We all do.

And one more thing this video brought up for me. Sexuality is different from sexualization. I don’t know if these girls know that. I want to end this post with a quote from Peggy Orenstein on this issue. Hopefully, these girls will grow up into women who celebrate and honor their sexuality. Female sexuality should not be oppositional to being smart or successful. Females, like males, shouldn’t have to make that choice. These girls are too young to understand sexuality but I worry that sexualization has already become conflated with sexuality for them. Here’s the Peggy Orenestein quote:

“Let me be clear here: I object– strenuously– to the sexualization of girls but not necessarily to girls having sex. I expect and want my daughter to have a healthy, joyous erotic life before marriage. Long, long, long before marriage. I do, however, want her to understand why she’s doing it: not for someone else’s enjoyment, not to keep a boyfriend from leaving, not because everyone else is. I want her to explore and understand her body’s responses, her own pleasure, her own desire. I want her to be able to express her needs in a relationship, to say no when she needs to, to value reciprocity, and to experience true intimacy. The virgin/ whore cycle of the pop princesses, like so much of the girlie girl culture, pushes in the opposite direction, encouraging girls to view self-objectification as a feminist rite of passage.”

 

 

 

The pussyification of American society is awesome

 

Today, Jezebel posts about the sexist Tweets of “UW-Madison ‘semi-celeb’ David Hookstead.” Here’s one:

David Hookstead @dhookstead The pussyification of American society is sad. Remember when you were expected to be tough, and not worry about what people said?

 

I am so sick of people using female sex organs to imply weakness or cowardice. Back in the 90s, when I was a philosophy major in college, I studied deconstruction and Luce Irigaray and how our language is so distorted, it can be impossible to speak without sexism. You can look at words like “hysterical” which originate from the idea that wombs made women crazy. “Pussy” is another perfect example. Enough already. We owe it to humans to use “pussy” not as as insult but as a compliment. I wrote “You Pussy!” for Salon in 2001, long before Facebook and Twitter. David Hookstead, you are no pussy.

You pussy!

If ever there was a word in need of rehab, it is this feline expletive reserved for wimps.

“What a pussy!” shouted my friend Joe. He was complaining to me about a business partner who backed out of a deal at the last minute. Joe wanted sympathy, but I was snagged on the word “pussy.”

The night before Joe’s outburst, I’d been channel surfing and caught Barbara Walters interviewing Jane Fonda about her performance in Eve Ensler’s wildly successful play, “The Vagina Monologues.”

“You can’t talk about vaginas,” Fonda said to Walters, “and not talk about this remarkable ability they have to give birth. It’s awesome. If penises could do what vaginas could do, they’d be on postage stamps. I mean, vaginas are absolutely extraordinary.”

Listening to Fonda, I thought, “We have come a long way, baby.” Just a few years ago, producers forbade actress Cybill Shepherd to utter the V-word on her own TV show. It was, they said, obscene.

I noted the further progress of female genitalia in mainstream media when I spotted fresh-faced actress Claire Danes sporting a “V-Day” T-shirt on the cover of March’s issue of Marie Claire, in which women like Brooke Shields, Marisa Tomei and Calista Flockhart were asked, among other things: If your vagina could talk, what would it say, and if it could wear clothes, what would it wear?

So pussy power was in the air when Joe launched his diatribe. Suddenly it struck me as wrong that the word “pussy” is used to imply cowardice or ineffectiveness. Why must we equate weakness with the female sex organ? Why have we for so long?

I began to wonder how one — how we — might take the wussy out of pussy.

Is it possible to change the meaning of the word, to restore to “pussy” its deserved glory? Could we use pussy as a compliment? Could pussy denote someone or something as cool or heroic or impressive? “Rosa Parks — what a pussy!” or “John McCain is way pussy!” or “New York is a big ol’ pussy!”

At the moment, “pussy” isn’t even used to slight women directly. It is reserved for men, used among them to make fun of one another. It’s “sissy” for male heteros. It’s the politically correct big boy’s way of calling somebody a fag. And, please, don’t get me started on “pussy-whipped.”

People say “dick,” they say “asshole,” they say “prick,” but they do it with respect. Those words have power and punch, the way the word “cunt” has power. But “cunt” makes people shudder; they judge, perhaps wrongly, the user of the word. Meanwhile, poor “pussy” lies there limp, pathetic and, until this moment, defenseless.

Ensler does a fabulous soliloquy to “cunt” in “The Vagina Monologues.” Perched on a stool in her black cocktail dress, barefoot, throwing back her head, shaking her Louise Brooks haircut, she says the word “cunt” for about 10 minutes, obviously relishing each repetition. But what does she say about pussy? If she said anything, I couldn’t remember. Is pussy so forgettable?

To find answers — and to solicit allies in rehabilitating the word — I went to novelist and essayist Erica Jong, a pioneer in reclaiming language in her own writing, and a recent star of “The Vagina Monologues.”

Jong told me that there are, in fact, a couple of references to pussy in the “Monologues,” though they’re mostly humorous, such as “Don’t let him tell you it smells like roses when it’s supposed to smell like pussy!”

She thinks changing the popular meaning of the word is possible. “If we use it with positive intent, it will become positive,” she said. “I really don’t know how long it will take. Language changes, but changes slowly. It depends on the usage — whether the new connotation catches on.”

Jong warned it wouldn’t be easy. “My feeling is that we’re on the verge of reclaiming ‘cunt,’ a fine old Middle English word, but we’re not there yet with ‘pussy,’” said Jong. “Pussy remains humorous, if not insulting. At the moment pussy is a laugh word. It always gets them rolling on the floors in ‘Vagina.’”

Jong suggested I go to the vagina mama herself, Ensler, to ask her advice.

“I like the sound of ‘pussy,’” Ensler told me, smiling. “I think it’s a good word.”

She agreed that it’s different from cunt. “A cunt is someone who dreams the big dream. You are ambitious. You want to go the distance.” Hillary Rodham Clinton, she told me, is a cunt.

Pussy, she said, is more personal. “Pussy is wet, juicy and inviting. It could be used as a word of empowerment or honor. It’s a feisty word. There’s a little fear, a little danger there — you better be nice if you want my pussy.”

Pussy has so much potential, it’s a shame to limit it to the immature and derisive mocking of weak boys. Let’s give it a shot in the arm! I envision hit songs featuring “pussy” — “Who Let the Pussies Out?” or “The Real Slim Pussy” or “The Real Shady Pussy.” Hallmark-type cards that read “Thanks for being such a pussy!” Colloquial expressions: “You da pussy!” “Stand up and fight like a pussy!”

And when, and if, Joe consummates his next business deal, I’ll be there to toast him, saying, “You’re so pussy.”

Flattered, he’ll smile.

Summer reading list for the dudes at Fox News

For the sexist dudes of Fox News, there’s a new book by journalist Daniel Bergner, What Do Women Want? You really should add it to your summer reading list. I think you’d learn a lot.

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Salon reports:

The book, which grew from a much-discussed New York Times Magazine cover story in 2009, reveals how gender stereotypes have shaped scientific research and blinded researchers to evidence of female lust and sexual initiation throughout the animal kingdom, including among humans.

Feminists aren’t against science, we’re against bad science. Read the Q & A with the author. You might learn something because Bergner is a real journalist.

One fact Bergner reports:

More than one adviser to the industry told me that companies worried about the prospect that their study results would be too strong, that the F.D.A. would reject an application out of concern that a chemical would lead to female excesses, crazed binges of infidelity, societal splintering.

At the very least, can you recognize how art, narratives, religion, politics, and even “science” have, for thousands of years, systemically shaped and controlled female sexuality?  And perhaps, consider these factors even influence the very words you speak when you go on the air.