Em-URGE-ing Voices


Posts By: Lydia

Unpacking “Schroedinger’s Rapist” or A Guy’s Guide to Approaching Strange Women Without Being Maced

This post is part of a series celebrating Choice USA’s Bro-Choice Week of Action. For more information, please visit our website and take the Bro-Choice pledge.  For those of you unfamiliar with the concept (like I was just last month), Schroedinger’s Rapist is a blog post by Phaedra Starling. The article itself discusses the appropriate way for a man to approach a woman in a public place; men are advised to proceed with caution and consideration of the fact that there is no reasonable way for a woman to know whether or not she is at risk of being assaulted. Starling writes that there is no way for a woman to know that the risk of a strange man approaching her is zero. Here’s the overarching idea: • Our culture downplays the frequency and… Read more »

Surprisingly Sex Positive: A Review of “For A Good Time Call”

Spoiler Alert  “For a Good Time Call” follows Lauren and Katie, former college enemies whose desperate situations – Katie can barely afford her (late grandmother’s luxury) apartment, and Lauren’s boyfriend kicked her out to chase skirts in Italy – bring them together, as roommates and business partners.  To give a little background, Lauren is bold, witty and unapologetic about who she is; Katie, on the other hand, is very reserved, bland, uptight and almost unlikable at first.  It makes sense that they were college frenemies. A few weeks ago, my roommate returned from a RedBox with the film, “For a Good Time Call.” When she said it was a movie about two women who start a phone sex hotline out of their apartment, my initial thought was I don’t know… Read more »

Yes Means Yes: Rape Culture and Teaching Sexuality

*Trigger Warning* Fuck the police. When this phrase is used, I argue that it refers to “police” collectively, rather than each individual.  Although some folks may curse and spit at every police officer they see, generally this phrase doesn’t target the individual but instead the system in place. Much like when I say “I hate men.”  I don’t actually mean that I hate every individual man.  What I mean is that I hate that our society values and favors men over women.  I hate the Patriarchy and how it socially conditions. This past week, I finally got my hands on “Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape,” a book edited by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti that deconstructs the way our society views and… Read more »

“Man Pregnancy” and Other Harmful Notions that Prevent Inclusivity

Remember Thomas Beatie – the pregnant man on Oprah, claiming to be the first? Well he wasn’t.  He was the first post-transition, transgender man to “go public” about keeping and using his female reproductive organs but by no means the first pregnant man.  In going public and naming himself an anomaly, he attracted audiences much like a circus freak would. More recently, author Benjamin Percy was interviewed on The TODAY Show about his experience of being “man pregnant,” as he actually called it. Percy’s definition of man pregnant: “[wearing] a pregnancy suit for nine weeks in an effort to be a better father by gaining an understanding of what women go through when they’re pregnant.”  There are so many things wrong with this. First off, Percy’s reasoning assumes that the… Read more »

New and Improved VAWA Passes (But There’s Still Room for Improvement!)

The Violence Against Women Act serves to protect and assist survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Last Thursday, the House finally approved the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) – “the good version” – sending off a bipartisan Senate decision to the President’s desk. The legislation passed on a vote of 286 to 138 with 199 Democrats and 87 Republicans supporting reauthorization of the landmark 1994 law.  Last month, the Senate passed the measure with 78 votes; those votes include every woman, every Democrat and just over half of the Republicans. In 2012 House Republicans officially allowed VAWA to expire until the next Congress, and for over a year they effectively stalled the re-authorization of VAWA.  This marked the first time since its conception that VAWA was not… Read more »

When Westerners Engage with International Causes: A Letter on Reflexivity

Dear Readers, On International Thinking Day, here’s some food for thought: how we think about international issues. It’s also National Margarita Day, so feel free to ponder this over a tasty drink. As activists, advocates, students, researchers, theorists, believers in justice and individuals with a cause, we know that the discussions we have in the West – America, specifically – reverberate around the world.  Likewise, Westerners listen for and try to dissect problems around the globe.  With our desire to make the world more like it should be comes the responsibility of reflexivity. Reflexivity refers to the capacity of a person or group to recognize how they have been socialized and how that socialization affects their thoughts and actions – i.e., how their background and identity have shaped and continued… Read more »

Sextravaganzas and Other Campus Sex Workshops

Last month, fellow Choice Correspondent Amanda and I attended Creating Change: The National Conference on LGBT Equality.  I may be biased, but Choice USA’s workshops really seemed to start some productive and practical conversations about how to help make our communities more sex positive.  One of Choice USA’s workshops, “Sex (Education) is a RIGHT!,”  facilitated by Sarah Audelo from Advocates for Youth, our own Mari Schimmer and myself, centered around young people’s right to sex and comprehensive and positive sex education, as well as student organizing.  The audience was asked to split up into groups and come up with a creative way to promote sex positivity in their hometowns. This yielded some really great ideas, but one in particular stuck with me.  An undergrad student from Indiana shared that his… Read more »

Creating Change: Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are

So I’m a big fan of inspirational talks. They get me every single time; you can find me in the back tears coming down my face. Creating Change had a few of these talks this year and I’m going to tell you about my favorite. Preceded by Leadership in Leather awards…. Jose Antonio Vargas gave a talk about coming out – as an undocumented person living in America. Brought to America at the age of 12 Vargas detailed a story heard time and time again about children growing up in a country to love only to find out that they don’t technically belong. Vargas discovered this when trying to apply for a driver’s license. This led him to an introspective period and he said, “They said I couldn’t be here… Read more »

Creating Change: Miles to March

Miles to March, the last session I attended, is one of two military-related sessions that appeared in the program for Saturday. Miles to March was facilitated by a local representative of American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER), formerly known as Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Veterans of American. The room wasn’t even close to full – I counted 9 people – which made the entire session more personal and intimate. The facilitator, Danny, had us all introduce ourselves and explain our interest in the military. Among said 9 people were LGB veterans, almost half of them work at their local US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Because the majority of the VA employees in that room were discharged less than honorably, the willingness and desire to help their brothers and sisters… Read more »

Cruise Vs. Shields: Overcoming Postpartum Depression

After watching the Golden Globes last night, I felt inspired to dissect a Hollywood debate that relates to reproductive justice. Everyone remember when Tom Cruise attacked Brooke Shields for taking anti-depressants to treat her postpartum depression? No matter how attractive you may think he is in his tighty-whiteys (Risky Business), it’s no secret that Tom Cruise is a little nutty – when I say a little, I’m being kind. For this reason, I usually just ignore his ranting and raving. Unfortunately, I really let his opinions on psychiatrics and postpartum depression get under my skin. Medical News Today defines postpartum depression (PPD), also referred to as postnatal depression as “a type of depression that affects some women after having a baby.” The article goes on to say that “typically, [PPD]… Read more »