Tag Archives: anthropology

Sex-Positive Feminism 101

Many of the misconceptions about feminism come from a misconception about the sex-positive philosophy that runs through much of the third wave; a philosophy that fights against slut-shaming (see above), oversexualization, and restrictions of reproductive rights.

Sex-positivity gets a bad rap through scare-tactic reporting about teenage sexting, risky sexual behavior, and sexual education in schools. People often believe that sex-positive education encourages young people to have sex. As part of a very lucky minority that received and greatly benefitted from sex-positive sex education as a young teen, I would like to dispel some of the myths about the sex-positive movement.

YouTuber Laci Green produces the most accesible, well-researched, and overall brilliant sources for sex-positive information on the internet. Below is a video by Laci which explains what sex-positive means.


Sex-positivity is quite simple. It holds that there is really no wrong way to do human sexuality as long as all parties involved give their consent. The sex-positive movement is closely intertwined with feminism because the oppression of sexualities which fall outside the normative (white, monogamous, and heterosexual) is a major tool of the patriarchy. Sex-positivity therefore celebrates the diverse ways in which people choose to express their sexuality– including the choice to not have sex!

There is so much more to say about the sex-positive movement, but I would like to open up the floor for specific questions. What topics relating to sex-positivity or sex-positive sex education would you like to see me address in my next post? 

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Filed under body image, cultural anthropology, feminism, gender, politics, reproductive rights, sexuality

What Facebook Anti-Bullying Statuses Get Wrong

I’m sure we have all caught a glimpse of a status like while mindlessly scrolling through our Facebook feeds:

“That girl you called a slut in class today. She’s a virgin. The pregnant girl walking down the street. She got raped. The boy you called lame . He has to work every night to support his family. That girl you pushed down the other day. She’s already being abused at home. That girl you called fat. She’s starving herself. The old man you made fun of cause ugly scars. He fought for our country. The boy you made fun of for crying. His mother is dying. You think you know them . Guess what? You don’t! RE-POST if you are aqainst bullying.”

“A 15 year old girl holds her 1 year old son; people call her a slut. But no one knows she was raped at 13. People call a girl fat; no one knows she has a serious disease that causes her to be overweight. People call an old man ugly; no one knows he had a serious injury to his face while serving our country in Vietnam. Re-post this if your against bullying and stereotyping!!!! I bet none of you will post this!!!”

Statuses like these have been the standard of what many call “slacktivism,” Continue reading

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Filed under children, cultural anthropology, gender, human rights, identity

Sofia the First: More of the Same from Princess Culture

Disney is unleashing a new Princess to better capitalize on one of their largest target audiences– preschool-aged girls. Sofia the First, who is set to get her own TV show and movie in 2012, looks just like all the other Disney princesses. She is pale-skinned and blue-eyed, with a tiny waist that is smaller than her head. She has a pale periwinkle gown and a tiara, a modern update on Cinderella’s iconic dress for the ball. In fact, it is interesting how much Sofia is merely an update on Cinderella. While she is a little girl rather than a young woman, both Cinderella and Sofia start out as “commoners” and become royal through marriage. The only difference is that while Cinderella gets whisked out of poverty and slavery by marrying the Prince herself, it is Sofia’s mother who marries into royalty, changing Sofia’s life for good.

Peggy Orenstein’s book Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture , outlines the criticism of Princess culture. I highly encourage everyone to read this book to understand the details of the Princess issue, but I will talk about two main problems today. The first is that the Disney Princess industry promotes consumerism and only exists to sell things to young girls and their parents– $4 million worth of stuff every year. The second is that Princess culture is in the business of selling traditional gender roles.

Sofia’s target audience is girls under seven– precisely the age when many young girls become self-aware about their weight and how they look. To fight against the criticisms of the Princess industry, Disney emphasizes that Sofia may be white and pretty, but what she really teaches is that

“…the inner character of kindness, generosity, loyalty, honesty and grace make you special, not the dress you wear“.

A spokesperson for Disney has said,

“…although Sofia will have plenty of pretty dresses and sparkly shoes, our stories will show Sofia, and our viewers, that what makes a real princess is Continue reading

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Filed under children, feminism, gender, identity, princess, privilege, sexuality

…well, is it a social construct?

I realize that in a ramble about a deluge of anthropological and sociological concepts, I never even answered the question that I posed last week: Is social justice a social construct?

I must’ve been around eight or ten years old when I learned what social justice was. I don’t remember the exact moment, but I can safely assume it was within some event or RE class in the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in which I was brought up. Unitarian Universalism is founded upon social justice values, so they were introduced to me as a very integral part of the society I was entering as an inquisitive young woman. To someone that young, the want for social justice seems so obviously good. I think some of the first projects I took part in were Trick or Treat for Unicef and A Guest at Your Table, which both happen during the time of year that in American culture is very inspired by the idea of giving. These sorts of causes that I began to care about were the easy ones– nearly every person can agree that starving children should have food. Poverty, hunger, and children are sort of the gateway social justice issues. Continue reading

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Filed under cultural anthropology, human rights, social justice

Is Social Justice A Social Construct?

I don’t know about you, reader, but often feel so contrived, sitting here and blogging about feminism or social justice. If it isn’t another complaint about today’s sexist trending Twitter tag, it’s another long whine about those pro-life Republican men of privilege out for my womb and its potential contents. Sure, I find it relaxing, if a bit self-indulgent, to have somewhere to sit at the end of the day and release my complaints about the world I am living in. The construction workers who think it is their right to cat-call to a woman walking down the sidewalk; the frustration of walking to classes at my private college each day in shoes that fit me well and with money in my wallet and having to apologize to the homeless men and women I meet along the way; even the cringe each time I hear the words lile “slut,” “fag,” or “gay” used inappropriately.

Even the word “social justice” is beginning to wear on me. Continue reading

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Filed under cultural anthropology, ennui, human rights, social justice