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Rape culture

Just the Tip! Featuring Virgin Classified Ads, Better Sex Ed in Cali, Virginity Scholarships in S. Africa & Feminist 'Hamilton'

Can you feel it in the air? Spring is just around the corner! Here are this week's top stories from the world of virginity, ladyparts and sex. For up to the minute news, follow our Facebook Page, where we post every day!


Dad Advertises His ‘Virgin’ Daughter for Marriage in Christian Magazine

At least 'virgin' was at the end of a long list of her attributes. The daughter in question responded “it’s appropriate they placed it in the Employment Opportunities section because putting up with this father-in-law's shenanigans is a full time job, without any paid vacation.” It's interesting that his daughter's reaction (on a now-deleted blog post) was basically an 'Oh Dad' eye roll. h/t Paul Freelend


On one hand...
Radford University Holds “Men Can Stop Rape” Presentation For Greeks, Only Requires Sorority Women To Go

This is Rape Culture: "Sororities were required to send every single member to this speaker. And the fraternity requirement? Eight." The Panhellenic community was outraged and wrote the perfect angry letter. h/t Soraya Chemaly

On the other hand...
California Becomes First State To Make Sexual Consent Lessons Mandatory In High Schools Beginning Next Year

The new law mandates all school districts that have made health a graduation requirement to lecture students about sexual violence prevention and affirmative consent starting next year. Plus, Governor Brown signed a new law mandating all school districts to offer comprehensive sex education courses twice for grades 7 through 12. "The measure did not receive any opposition in the Legislature, and even nearly received a unanimous bipartisan backing." Huzzah.


Video: When You First Time Literally Feels Like Poop

From Refinery 29: Two very honest and sweet people talk about embarrassing first times.


‘My virginity will change my future’, vows South African student

A group of South African 'maidens' get their college fees paid on the condition that they remain 'virgins,' with regular 'virginity tests' by a group of older women. Despite the fact that there's not such thing as a virginity test, it's sexist to make abstinence a condition of women getting scholarships, and these efforts aren't actually curbing pregnancies or HIV, the recipients think it's great. Oh, and they're going to offer it to guys as well, but won't be 'testing' them. h/t Paul Freelend


Indigenous languages recognize gender states not even named in English

The Native Youth Sexual Health Network is talking about how Canada's First Nation languages treat gender. Incredibly cool : In Cree, for example, “aayahkwew” means “neither man or woman.” In Inuktitut, “sipiniq” means “infant whose sex changes at birth.” In Kanien’keha, or Mohawk language, “onón:wat” means “I have the pattern of two spirits inside my body.” h/t Andrea Plaid


schuylersistershamilton

And finally...in honor of Women's History Month, the Schuyler Sisters

Phillipa Soo, Renée Elise Goldsberry and Jasmine Cephas Jones, who play the Schuyler sisters in the Broadway musical Hamilton raps to feminist quotes and it's awesome. As the constant joke goes, this may be as close as anyone gets to seeing the musical. Or do like the New Yorkers do every morning and  try your luck in the lottery!

Just The Tip runs most Fridays. Send us your virginity stories here or on Twitter.

On Abstinence, Sleeping Beauty, and Victim-Blaming.

Scene from the documentary 'How To Lose Your Virginity' featuring Hanne Blank and Shelby Knox, with narration by director Therese Shechter.

As we've said many times on this blog, Abstinence-Until-Marriage programs are dangerous on several levels–and proven to be totally ineffective. They don't protect girls and women, they victimize them.

The article "On Josh Duggar And Why It’s Time To Do Away With Abstinence-Only Sex Education" lays it all out in chilling detail, including:

  • Women are naturally pure because their sexuality is encased like a fire alarm behind the plexiglas of romantic love. A girl/young woman will not have sexual feelings until they are “awakened” in her by a romantic relationship. That awakening should not happen until after marriage. (This is why they don’t kiss before marriage.)
  • Love is what not only awakens a woman’s sexuality, it is also what keeps her sexuality in check. If a woman’s sexuality is awakened in any situation other than marriage, she dissociates it with love. And without the governor of marital love, her libido rages out of control and she becomes a shameful and pitiful victim of her own wantonness.

One of the things we talk about in How To Lose Your Virginity (see video above) is the lack of sexual agency for young women, that the men in their lives (father, husband, god) are in charge of their sexual lives. The idea that "a girl/young woman will not have sexual feelings until they are “awakened” in her by a romantic relationship."

We liken it to the 'Sleeping Beauty' myth, the idea that a woman is a passive sexual player waiting to be awakened by her prince, and it's insidious. If women do have any independent sexual feelings, they run the risk of being labeled sluts who are responsible for any unwanted sexual attention or violence that befalls them.

While it's taken to the extreme in fundamentalist communities that concept isn't really limited to Duggar-like environments. First of all, many women of color are experience being labeled hypersexual, de-facto sluts from the get-go. As for white women, any woman who doesn't passively wait for a man to unlock her, so to speak, risks being slut-shamed as well. How can you ask your partners for what gives you pleasure, when sexual satisfaction isn't something you should be asking for–or even know anything about. It's the basic narrative of virginity-themed porn like 'Barely Legal,' where a young (white) woman must begin as totally innocent so that a man can unleash her sexuality with his magic penis. And it's the foundation of rape culture, where a woman invariably has her own uncontrolled sexuality to blame following sexual assault.

Just The Tip! Virginity in the News about lab-grown vaginas, more rape culture, selling virgins, dirty toothbrushes and something funny.

lab-rezSo, this is cool: Scientists are growing vaginas in a lab made from patients' vulvar tissue. This is a big deal for women with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome, a rare genetic condition in which the vagina and uterus either underdevelop or fail to develop at all. It's so far been tested on four teenagers, ages 13 to 18 at the time of their surgery, and all are now reporting full function and good sexual sensation. Although the article doesn't mention it, I wonder how this could work for trans women,  who would presumably need to get donated starter cells. Cory Silverberg explains some of the fascinating science here.

I was particularly interested in this because of a really great V-Card Diaries submission we received a while back from Erinn, who has MRKH, and wrote about rethinking her definition of virginity loss if she had no vagina.

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AURape

Rape Culture grows right out of Virginity Culture, which gives women no sexual autonomy, sees their bodies as the property of men, but also tells them they are responsible for any sexual activity directed at them, including sexual assault.

The latest Rape Culture scandal erupted at American University with the release of emails between member of psuedo-frat Epsilon Iota. Click through for some of the 70 conversations reported by Erin Gloria Ryan at Jezebel, but please consider it completely covered with trigger warnings. The unrelenting tidal wave of casual talk about raping 'bitches' at our colleges is sickening and overwhelming. What the f**k is wrong with these guys????

It's hard to be a dedicated rape-culture denier when shit like this pops up on such a regular basis. And yet they're out full force telling The Fratergate AU that they're picking on poor innocent frat boys. The curators of this blog are trying to force AU to deal with the situation and take disciplinary action against the frat. They're doing a good job remaining calm in the face of all the frat-boys-will-be-frat-boys commentary.

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Cambodia - Selling daughter's virginity

In other depressing news (with more trigger warnings), Cambodia's 'Virginity' trade is what happens when extreme poverty, male power and myths about virgins collide. Marie Claire wrote about the deeply disturbing reality of parents selling their young daughters to brothels due to economic hardship, something happening all over Asia.

"The virgin trade thrives partly due to a cultural myth. "Many older Asian men believe sex with virgins gives them magical powers to stay young and prevent illness," she explains. "There is an endless number of destitute families for the trade to prey on, and the rule of law is very weak." Human trafficking, sexual exploitation, and the buying and selling of sex are illegal in Cambodia. However, because of official corruption and substandard police resources, no one has ever been convicted of purchasing virgins in Cambodia's courts."

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The Atlantic wrote a story about later-life virginity loss. I'm glad 'older virginity' is being discussed, but it still focused too much on one P-in-V moment instead of a pretty long and diverse process of becoming sexual. Not counting anything before intercourse is really narrow, especially because it's not the way lots of people have sex. But it's so hard to change deeply-ingrained ideas about what 'counts.' Also most of the subjects were religious, furthering that older-virgin myth as well.

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What do Peppermint Patties have to do with abstinence?In our film, Shelby Knox talks about her pastor's abstinence classes and being told having sex before marriage makes you a dirty toothbrush (prospective husbands supposedly wanting their toothbrushes, and vaginas, sealed in their orginial packaging.) Amanda Hess writes about the flawed internal logic of this handy Abstinence Parlor Trick of comparing a girl's sexuality to all sorts of chewed-up things:

Passing around a piece of chocolate is an evocative image, but it doesn’t ultimately make much sense as a sexual metaphor. Sure, nobody wants to eat a dirty piece of candy, but why is anyone passing around an unwrapped chocolate anyway? You just eat it, and then it’s gone, so I’m not sure what the problem is.

And clean toothbrushes are great, but do you really want to use that same toothbrush for the rest of your life? Doctors recommend replacing it every three to four months. And about that pristine stick of gum we keep hearing about: If having sex with a woman leaves her like a chewed-up gob of polymer, why would you ever want to have sex with a woman more than one time, ever? Much less marry her? Marriage sounds disgusting!

Sexist, unscientific and scare-mongering curriculums of this kind have been adopted by 60% of Mississippi schools.

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For some much-needed comic relief and palate-cleansing, watch this really funny monologue by Julia Sweeney about talking to her young daughter about sex.