January, 2012

Lena Chen: Badass Activist Friday!

It’s Friday, and we all know what that means! Interviews with your favorite badass feminists and activists. Whether social media queens and kings, creative artists, sex educators, or just kick-ass personalities, these people harness righteous anger, instigate movements and inspire cultural change. We’re here to honor them and their work, but more importantly, to highlight how we can all get up, plug in, and Just Start Doing.

Today’s badass is Lena Chen. She made her debut on the internet with her blog Sex and the Ivy. These days, she’s a feminist and queer activist and a writer who has contributed to a variety of magazines and papers, among them The Boston Globe, Glamour and Salon. She has also worked with the National Campaign to End Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, where she hosts the video series Sex Really with Lena Chen, and starting this month she’ll also be hosting a new video series called Sexy Times at gURL.com. Currently she blogs at her own blog, the Chicktionary.

And here she is!

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Spotlight on Consent: Yes/No/Maybe Lists and and Sexual Communication

One of the challenges when we talk about sexual consent is that there aren’t a lot of good examples for how to have the conversation with a potential partner. After all, most of the time, these talks happen in private, which makes it hard to learn from someone else. Some of us are fortunate enough to have had a partner shepherd us through the process or take a workshop on communication, but for most folks, it’s a matter of trial and error.

I’ve always believed that if you can’t ask for what you want, you’re going to have a much harder time getting it. But while that’s easy to say, it can be difficult to do anything about it. Almost everyone has ways in which talking about sex brings up challenges. Perhaps you don’t have the language to ask for what you want. Or you’re worried about how your partner might react. Or you’re concerned that if you ask for what you want, it will mean something about you. Or you fear rejection. Or that you feel shame for your desires. Or maybe, simply that you’ve had unpleasant experiences when you’ve tried talking about sex and that makes it harder to bring up again.

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No Excuses for Rape Jokes

In a recent article on her blog Sex Geek, Andrea Zanin reminds readers that rape jokes are never funny. Her post is particularly directed to the BDSM community where she has witnessed the use and defense of rape jokes during her work teaching about queer sexuality, polyamory and BDSM/leather for over a decade.

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Consent 101: M.I.T

What is sexual consent? Where do we draw the line? How do we negotiate consent in our daily lives–in our sexuality, relationships, and the millions of other choices we face in our day to day lives? What is it that makes us say “yes” and what makes us say “no”–and how do we let people know and respect our decisions?

I screened The Line at M.I.T. and asked them!

Mutual respect, care and pleasure.

We don’t necessarily have to be in love, but you will respect me and treat me like the goddess that I am.

Know what it means to enjoy sex–then you know what you want.

Being fully conscious of what I am doing.

Sex is fabulous! But it better be as fabulous for me as it is for you.

Yes in bed does not mean yes in the park.

Ask me before you put it ANYWHERE.

 

Man Firebombs Florida Abortion Clinic Because “ He Didn’t Like It”. So Why Isn’t Anyone Talking About It?

Like many people in the states, on January 1st at 1am, I was still celebrating the New Year. 2011, a year I like to call the Passing of Roe V. Wade, as over 50 states introduced over 1,100 pieces of legislation to counter the legality of the landmark bill by restricting reproductive health and rights-related laws. This dramatic increase was topped off with the year end decision by both Kathleen Sebelius and President Obama to prevent access to Plan B to girls under the age of 17, the salt in the wound if you ask me. All I knew is that I was ready to see 2011 out the door.

So when news came of a Pensacola abortion clinic being firebombed in the same time frame as many were ringing in the New Year, I can’t say that the radical action surprised me. I was just more concerned on why it hadn’t been covered at all.

The Washington Post reports that Bobby Joe Rogers, a forty-one year old homeless man with substance abuse problems had been arrested in the arson. Rogers told investigators that he purposefully burned down the clinic by filling a bottle with gasoline, lit with a shirt. When asked why he had set the fire, he responded point blankly that he had a “strong disbelief in abortion”, one that was fueled by his confession of becoming upset after seeing a young woman enter the clinic when he had been with other anti-abortion demonstrators. Rogers has an arrest record spanning nine states, including felony convictions in Alabama, Missouri, and Mississippi.

While the investigation is still ongoing, one of the more distressing aspects is the fact that this most recent attack only adds on to the history of violence against the Pensacola clinic. On Christmas Day in 1984 members of religious extremist group, “The Gideon Project”, bombed the clinic. Ten years later, head physician,  Dr. John Britten and clinic escort James Barrett were both murdered by Reverend Paul Jennings Hill. The most recent attack only adds onto the already charged environment of abortion rights in America and what some will do to ensure that no one is able to receive an abortion in a safe, clean, and affordable environment. What further compounds that concern is how the lack of an outcry gives speculated license to extremist groups that this type of violence will not be punishable to the highest extent of the law. It will barely even be talked about.

Perhaps my confusion on this is compounded given my most recent viewing on the unrelated If A Tree Falls: A Story of The Earth Liberation Front.  Daniel McGowan and several other members of ELF peak on their experiences of working with ELF by firebombing timber companies, SUV dealerships, and wild horse slaughterhouses. No one was present in either crimes, yet Daniel McGowan, who is now serving a sentence at the highly restrictive prison cell for high-risk terrorists, the Communication Management Unit,  has been branded as a domestic terrorist for his actions. Rogers has one count of damaging a building by fire or explosive, for which he will supposedly serve twenty years if convicted. One has to ask, why one is branded a terrorist for destroying property based on their political views and why one is just regarded as a man who destroyed property based on his political views.

The silence on this issue, save very few media outlets, is deafening. Coming off 1,100 pieces of legislation solely introduced and

“…135 of these provisions had been enacted in 36 states, an increase from the 89 enacted in 2010 and the 77 enacted in 2009. (Note: This analysis refers to reproductive health and rights-related “provisions,” rather than bills or laws, since bills introduced and eventually enacted in the states contain multiple relevant provisions.

Fully 68% of these new provisions—92 in 24 states—-restrict access to abortion services, a striking increase from last year, when 26% of new provisions restricted abortion. The 92 new abortion restrictions enacted in 2011 shattered the previous record of 34 adopted in 2005.

One thing is made very clear. But I think Sunsara Taylor at RH Reality Check
said it better than I ever could:

The fact that there has not been a single politician commenting on this violent assault on an institution that is essential to women’s freedom and that this act of terror has not been picked up on in the national or mainstream media should only serve as a further wake-up call to those who care about women’s rights.

 

Clarisse Thorn: Badass Activist Friday!

It’s Friday, and we all know what that means! Interviews with your favorite badass feminists and activists. Whether social media queens and kings, creative artists, sex educators, or just kick-ass personalities, these people harness righteous anger, instigate movements and inspire cultural change. We’re here to honor them and their work, but more importantly, to highlight how we can all get up, plug in, and Just Start Doing.

For today’s interview, I talked to badass activist Clarisse Thorn. Clarisse writes at her own blog, ClarisseThorn.com, about feminism, BDSM/kink and non-monogamy, among other topics. She has blogged for Time Out Chicago, is a regular contributor to Feministe, and has recently started editing the Sex + Relationship section at Role/Reboot. She’s also done a bunch of other awesome stuff, but I’ll let her tell you herself! Without further ado, here’s Clarisse!

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New Year, New Bloggers: Marina Mason

Hey everyone, I’m Marina. I’m a current junior at Northwestern University studying Sociology and International Studies.  Some of my favorite things are social media, ‘young adult’ novels, being a self-proclaimed nerd, dancing, makeup, music, and teaching and talking about sex.

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New Year, New Bloggers: Nicole Clark

Hi everyone!

I’m really excited to be joining The Line Campaign blogging team! When I first discovered The Line Campaign in 2011, I was so inspired by the work of Nancy Schwartzman as a filmmaker and activist, as well as the mission of The Line Campaign, that I jumped at the chance to join the team as a blogger.

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Consent 101: Hunter College

What is sexual consent? Where do we draw the line? How do we negotiate consent in our daily lives–in our sexuality, relationships, and the millions of other choices we face in our day to day lives? What is it that makes us say “yes” and what makes us say “no”–and how do we let people know and respect our decisions?

I screened The Line at Hunter College and asked them!

 

I don’t know. As a male, I didn’t know I was allowed to have one.

Wherever I decide it is. Not you. Not my parents. Not my religion. Not my culture.

Changes every second, minute, hour, day–and with every person.

It changes. I’m learning to tell you, but please ask me!

Understanding the implications of my actions.

It’s mutual. No one is entitled to my body.

Ask me “Is this okay?” as we go. IT DOESN’T KILL THE MOOD. IT TURNS ME ON!

Have the respect to ask me and don’t judge me for saying no.

Wherever, whenever, and wherever I say it is.

 

 

All Posts from January, 2012