Sex and gender at work, in bed, and on the street

Is the District nightlife scene a good fit for 'Girls Gone Wild'?

May 19, 2011 - 12:45 PM
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Where do beer and boobs mix? (Photo: Associated Press)

Last Saturday night, Bridget Kemps and some friends headed to Penn Quarter's Iron Horse Taproom to play some Big Buck Hunter. Her crew was treated to a very different kind of safari.

After a few hours of game play, several televisions in the downstairs bar began playing Girls Gone Wild's Search for the Hottest Girl In America, a clothes-optional survey of the bodies of U.S. women. “At first we all thought it was one of those cheesy infomercials where they censor out the boobs, but it was not,” Kemp told me via e-mail. "There was really no direction you could look without seeing a TV, and it was so distracting that it was hard to have conversations with my companions," Kemps says. “I really just wanted to leave because I was pretty offended.”

The next day, Kemps took to e-mail, Yelp, and Twitter to inform the bar that she was made "legitimately very uncomfortable" by the programming choice. Kemps pressed the bar via Tweet: "Can you please explain to my why you thought it was appropriate to play porn in on every tv in your bar last night?"

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Hysterical shrews, sexual mores, and entertainment rape: Your sex and gender morning roundup

May 19, 2011 - 09:00 AM
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Dominique Strass-Kahn (Guillaume Paumier/Wikimedia).

MORE GENDER DRAMA in the sportswriting world: Tony Kornheiser called Washington Post sports columnist Sally Jenkins' work “shrew-like” and “hysterical.” ProFootballTalk called those comments "sexist" and quoted an anonymous "male member of the media" as saying, “I think the test is would Tony say that about you or me. Probably not. I’m guessing Sally feels the exact same way."

Jenkins didn't take offense to being called a hysterical shrew, but she did ding ProFootballTalk for attributing feelings to her without so much as a phone call. "First of all the word shrew is an extremely mild term to me, especially compared to many e-mails from readers I’ve received," Jenkins told Dan Steinberg. She contined: "who cares."

 

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Hot girls and fetus posters: The week in college sex

May 17, 2011 - 11:30 AM
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Parents, teachers, sex reporters, and other adults looking for a creepy window into the sex lives of our nation's youth! Welcome to TBD's digest of local college sex columns:

FREE THE LIFELESS FETUSES: The Johns Hopkins News-Letter commends the presence of aborted fetus posters on its campus. "This Tuesday, pro-life activists protested on North Charles Street at 34th street. They carried posters with graphic signs of aborted fetuses and lynched persons. Other signs contained comparisons between abortion and genocide, which many people considered to be offensive. Many passersby were disturbed by and angry at the signs used by the protesters, and some were angry at the mere fact that pro-life protesters were near campus. Though aware of the activists' right to protest, many students admonished the behavior of the activists," the paper wrote in an editorial. "The News-Letter not only appreciates the presence of the protesters, but also believes that the protesters were well within their rights to bring posters with them. This is not to say that this newspaper supports the message of pro-life activists. Instead, it supports the presence of opposing viewpoints as they challenge the status quo." Apparently freedom's only free when you express support and "appreciation" of anything anyone else says, in any context.

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The 'reckless and grandiose' sexual assault: Your sex and gender morning roundup

May 17, 2011 - 09:00 AM
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Chrissy Lee Polis (YouTube)

INDICTMENT IN TRANS BEATING: "The grand jury for Baltimore County indicted Teonna Brown, 18, with five charges on Monday, May 16, including that of a hate crime, for the physical attack on Chrissy Polis, a transgender woman, at the Rosedale, Md., McDonald's on Monday, April 18," Metro Weekly reports. "According to information obtained from the Baltimore County State's Attorney's Office, Brown was charged with first-degree assault, second-degree assault and a hate crime for the attack on Polis. Brown also was charged with second-degree assault charges regarding Vicki Thoms, who tried to intervene during the attack, and Darrick Jones."

AFTER THE JUMP: On the IMF head sexual assault allegations; gay feminism 101; what Barack Obama can learn from Dominique Strauss-Kahn:

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The YWCA National Capital Area raises its profile

May 16, 2011 - 12:15 PM
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Yesterday, the extent of my knowledge of the YWCA's offerings ended at its Jazzercise classes. Thanks to this video from the YWCA National Capital Area, my awareness of YWCA programming extends to the group's efforts to fight racism, illiteracy, diabetes, alcoholism, hate crimes, police brutality, sexual assault, drop-out rates, and depression affecting area women. And men! Watch it!

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How gay is D.C.?: Your sex and gender morning roundup

May 16, 2011 - 09:10 AM
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Is D.C. getting gayer, or more honest? (Photo: Associated Press)

THE GLAA FORUM parses the results of the District of Columbia Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System's 2008 survey—including its count of the city's gay population. According to the survey, "Eighty percent (80%) indicated they were heterosexual – which ranked highest – followed by homosexual (5%), bisexual (2%), and other (1%)." Compare that to the 2005 and 2007 numbers, when 92.6 percent of residents claimed to be straight. "The interesting thing to think about comparing the two data sets is how in the latest numbers more people report being gay, bisexual, or other," Charlie Watson writes. "Does the increase in the number of people identify as other than heterosexual mean the city is getting gay? Probably not. Most likely it means that non-heterosexual people feel safer admiting that to someone doing a telephone survey."

AFTER THE JUMP: Va. gender gap persists; rethinking "ghetto"; how to use the word "queen":

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D.C. to 'walk for choice' again

May 13, 2011 - 12:00 PM
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Back in February, pro-choice activists staged a walk in Washington, D.C. to protest federal legislation that would infringe on a woman's right to choose. Well, that's still happening. So District activists will again walk for choice next Saturday, this time outside late-term abortion provider LeRoy Carhart's Germantown, Md. clinic.

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Victim-blaming in the Peace Corps: Your sex and gender morning roundup

May 13, 2011 - 10:00 AM
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Sure. (Photo: Associated Press)

PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS speak out about sexual assault on assignment around the world—and the culture of victim blaming in the organization's Washington, D.C. offices. One volunteer "was gang raped in Bangladesh in 2004 by a group of young men after she says Peace Corps officials in the country ignored her pleas to re-locate her. 'They all took turns raping me," she told ABC News. 'They raped me with their bodies. They raped me with foreign objects. . . . Every day we felt unsafe. And we reported everything, we just kept reporting.'"

AFTER THE JUMP: Grade-school Botoxers; outsized genitalia; the music of Real Housewives:

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Preventing cervical cancer with a little awareness and a lot of money

May 13, 2011 - 08:00 AM
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Cervical cancer's lack of awareness, cash flow (Photo: Associated Press)

In 2001, 25-year-old Tamika Felder was diagnosed with cervical cancer after three years of lapsed pap spears. Now 35, Felder is celebrating her tenth cancer-free year—and working to fight the disease in other women. Through Tamika and Friends, the Upper Marlboro resident stages walks, retreats, and risque party games to raise awareness about the importance of a pap.

"Cervical cancer is completely preventable," says Felder. "We have a test to detect it. We have a pap to screen for it. We have HPV vaccines to prevent it. You can’t say that about any other cancer."

But Felder didn't miss her annual pap smears because she wasn't aware she needed them—she received regular check-ups throughout college. Then, she lost her health insurance. By the time she regained coverage three years later, it was already too late.

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More women arrested for D.C. voting rights

May 12, 2011 - 03:40 PM
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Last week, I noted the gender gap in the fight for D.C. voting rights—at least, among the roster of activists willing to be arrested for the cause. In the first batch of civil disobedience arrests following the federal budget deal that scapegoated District rights, male detainees outnumbered female ones 29 to 11. At a youth protest later that week, all three detainees were men. But the gender divide is shifting: At a women-targeted protest staged last week, eight women sat in traffic to stand up for D.C. voting rights (among them Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh). And in a more general action on the Hill yesterday, female detainees outnumbered male ones 6 to 2.

That brings our current total to: 34 men and 25 women arrested for D.C. voting rights. It may seem like a little thing, but gender parity in the arrest roster ensures that District women hold visibility and influence in the city's politics—and that they have the social support necessary to risk spending the night in the clink.

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What trans people want

May 12, 2011 - 11:00 AM
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Yesterday, the DC Trans Coalition released a list of priorities [PDF] for achieving trans equality in D.C. So what do trans people want? Turns out they would like to safely use bathrooms, not be kicked out of their homes, avoid being sexually assaulted, receive fair treatment in the criminal justice system, and not be completely ignored in the city's educational and social services systems. And they've got a 33-point plan on how to do it.

The full document, delivered to Office of GLBT Affairs Director Jeffrey Richardson last week, is after the jump:

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Journalism's sausagefest: Your sex and gender morning roundup

May 12, 2011 - 09:00 AM
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Dudebro central (Photo: Heather Farrell)

AMANDA MARCOTTE writes a Slutwalk FAQ: "Of course, since Slutwalk is built around humor, it baffles the humorless. And so defenders of Slutwalk have entered into this maddening space that is the equivalent of trying to explain a joke to the humorless, and if you've ever tried to do that, believe me, it may be the biggest waste of time on the planet."

SAUSAGEFEST: the world of "fantastic" journalism.

AFTER THE JUMP:  Lena Chen, Barney Frank, and Chaz Bono on gender:

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Shorter advice columns: Lupus talk, riding crops, and crowdsourcing abortion

May 11, 2011 - 01:00 PM
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Advice on naked pics, sudden widows, and Rolos. (Photo: Associated Press)

Truncating the week's advice columns:

It is bad manners to send physical graduation announcements; it's obvious they are just money grabs. The sole acceptable situation for soliciting a person's salary is the job interview. [Miss Manners]

Heloise refuses to divulge which chocolate-covered caramel individually wrapped in copper-colored foil and sold either in a bag or in a roll she uses in her candy snacks. But it's a Rolo, obviously. [Hints from Heloise]

 

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Albert Haynesworth, Taylor Swift, and Geronimo!: Your sex and gender morning roundup

May 11, 2011 - 09:00 AM
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Taylor Swift wears sneakers. (Photo: Associated Press)

ALBERT HAYNESWORTH's attorney on charges that the Redskins player groped a waitress earlier this year: "It did not happen." What did not happen? Everything. Nothing happened. Hey,categorical denial is at least more sound a defense than "I don't even like black girls."

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: The battle over Virginia abortion regulations begins now; the Washington Post's exaggerated claims of equality for gays; the University of Maryland's high standards for sexual assault claims.

AFTER THE JUMP: When to appropriate 'Geronimo'; the gender politics of Cheers; defending Slutwalking:

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The battle over Virginia abortion clinic regulations begins now

May 11, 2011 - 04:29 AM
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The Virginia legislature approved the increased regulations this year. (Photo: Associated Press)

This year, Planned Parenthood hopes to expand its gynecological services for low-income women in Virginia Beach. First, it'll have to convince Virginia Beach that poor women actually need gynecologists.

Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Virginia is seeking approval to make $200,000 in improvements to two operating rooms in its Virginia Beach health center. There, it plans to perform non-emergency surgical procedures to treat stuff like ovarian cysts, infertility, and incontinence in women. The bureaucratic hurdle that stands in its way: A Certificate of Public Need doled out by the Virginia Department of Health. At a public forum held to debate the certificate Monday, dozens of protesters flooded the proceedings to argue that Virginia Beach doesn't need Planned Parenthood's services, which they characterized as "racist," "eugenics," and "genocide."

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47 percent of Virginians support gay marriage. Is that good news?

May 10, 2011 - 12:45 PM
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Will Virginia's opinions on gays translate to the ballot box? (Photo: Jay Westcott)

Big gay news of the day: Virginians are now pretty much evenly split on the same-sex marriage issue. Today, 47 percent of Virginians stand in favor of legalizing gay marriage; 43 percent are opposed. The new poll numbers could mark a significant shift on the issue since 2006, when 57 percent of the state voted to ban all gay unions in its constitution. The Washington Post called this a "striking" and "dramatic" change.

Is it?

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Sexual myth-busters: The week in college sex

May 10, 2011 - 11:00 AM
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Parents, teachers, sex reporters, and other adults looking for a creepy window into the sex lives of our nation's youth! Welcome to TBD's digest of local college sex columns:

NAME IT: The Johns Hopkins University News-Letter throws its weight behind Until It's Zero, a new campus blog airing anonymous accounts of JHU sexual assaults: "In general, but specifically at Hopkins, sexual assault and rape are vastly under-reported as a result of stigmas perpetuated within our community. Some victim s are embarrassed and many are unaware of what constitutes sexual assault. In fact, at an event . . . held on the breezeway, one passerby realized that they in fact had been sexually assaulted. The vague popular definition of sexual assault certainly contributed to this confusion." Read their stories here.

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Slutwalks ruin feminism once and for all: Your sex and gender morning roundup

May 10, 2011 - 09:00 AM
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Oh god they're ruining it for all of us. (Photo: Associated Press)

SLUTWALKS! After a Toronto police officer commented that "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised," women around the world were moved to parade in public in various states of sluttiness. But could fighting ignorant and misogynist official comments through creative consciousness-raising be BAD FOR FEMINISM? "The organisers claim that celebrating the word 'slut,' and promoting sluttishness in general, will help women achieve full autonomy over their sexuality. But the focus on 'reclaiming' the word slut fails to address the real issue. The term slut is so deeply rooted in the patriarchal 'madonna/whore' view of women's sexuality that it is beyond redemption. The word is so saturated with the ideology that female sexual energy deserves punishment that trying to change its meaning is a waste of precious feminist resources," Gail Dines and Wendy Murphy write in the Guardian. Hey! Who are you calling a slut?

AFTER THE JUMP: Sluts speak; bisexual men exist; John DeVore has a penis:

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Sexually assaulted in college? Prove it

May 10, 2011 - 04:37 AM
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Following years of criticism from victims of sexual assault, the University of Virginia moved this week to improve its methods for addressing rape on campus. The school addressed victim concerns only after the U.S. Department of Education chimed in—last month, its Office of Civil Rights released new guidelines [PDF] to "remind" schools how to comply with Title IX in their adjudication of sexual assault claims. Among the rules: Schools "must use the preponderance of the evidence standard to resolve complaints of sex discrimination"—meaning that a university must take action against an accused rapist if it's more likely than not that the assault occurred.

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Female films hit Arlington Thursday

May 9, 2011 - 03:30 PM
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This Thursday, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia and LUNA Bar will team up to present ten short films by women and auction off prize packages for spas, cupcakes, and pilates in the most female event of all time. The flicks, selected for this year's LUNAFEST, include docs on San Francisco's first and only cable car operator; a young table tennis competitor gunning for a world championship; and a 92-year-old Alzheimers sufferer clinging to self-dependence. Proceeds will benefit NARAL. More info here.

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