Hey, I’m not dead yet. Or: more on sex miseducation.

by Wednesday.

You are much less likely to die from sex than you are from a whole host of other behaviours or circumstances, some of which the same folks would not warn you about with anything close to the same urgency or intensity. I just don’t see driver’s ed teachers telling you that if you get in a car at all, you need to be “prepared to die,” even though more people die in car accidents than those who die as a result of having any kind of sex. (I also don’t imagine they say that wearing a seatbelt when you are in a car is playing “Russian roulette.”) I don’t see them telling that to a class about enlisting in the military. I don’t see them saying that to nearly everyone eating things in the lunchroom every day which could put them at risk for the most common cause of death. “Time for lunch, everyone! Prepare to die!”
Corinna, Heather. I Guess You Just Have to Be Prepared to Die. Scarleteen.com, 31 October 2009.

Trigger warning for sex-negative and slut-shaming attitudes. Some bitter snarking also (contains reference to misogynistic violence).

So I wrote a little, recently, about sex education locally.

The drama continues!

Aid for Pakistan

Sticky-posted. Scroll down for new posts, or check out our Twitter feed.

by Thursday.

I’ve been hearing crap about how Pakistan deserves the floods for being backwards Moozlems, or for corruption, or terrorism, or what have you. It’s both darkly hilarious and extremely depressing that we’ve fallen so deeply in love with hate. If I see this in comments, be warned. I have a pitchfork.

Anyway: Good Intentions Are Not Enough has some excellent general guidelines, but here are specific ones:

1. Give to an established organization already on the ground and with experience working locally.
2. Give cash, not goods. Shipping items to Pakistan is expensive. With cash, organizations can buy what they need closer to the disaster site.
3. Don’t earmark your donation, but give to an organization that you trust to allocate your money wisely.

Incomplete list of charities under the cut.

Sex (mis)education

by Wednesday.

ETA: Here’s the scathing, educational take-down from Alex Au.

In today’s news: local sex ed isn’t seen as relevant by target audience.

As an honest-to-God teenager, I could’ve told you that.

The problem with sex ed right now is that it is still hampered by a focus on abstinence. It is not abstinence-only, but it is abstinence-plus. And the way it’s being presented is very, very heteronormative. It’s probably not intentional, but the messages conveyed are also heterosexist: the idea of the reluctant girl, pursued by a sexually aggressive male, elides over female sexuality and puts the double burdon of a virgin/whore complex onto teenaged girls.

How’s an audience supposed to relate to that?

I’m not even touching on queer or genderqueer students watching these presentations. Because homosexuality is either not discussed in these programmes, or else facilitators are expected to remind their young charges that homosexual activity remains illegal in this country. I don’t blame us for having this law, it’s a colonial hangover. But I am angry that it’s been retained.

Again in today’s news: Catholic schools are not happy that abstinence-plus requires teaching on contraception, so they have sought (and obtained) exemption.

I am, right now, very grateful for Catholic feminists like Constance Singam and Frances Kissling (who is over at Feministe, on a guest-blogging stint!).

Say it with me, moral panic is fun!

by Wednesday.

In today’s Straits Times forum:

MR BILLY LUI: ‘I refer to Wednesday’s article (‘Games village wows the athletes’) on the Youth Olympics Village at Nanyang Technological University. I was surprised to learn that the 24-hour medical clinic is providing condoms, other than medical services. This is a big sporting event for youth and their primary objective is to enjoy and win the respective sports event. Why is there a need to provide condoms? Is there any purpose in promoting safe sex and preventing unwanted pregnancies?’ #

Is there any purpose in promoting safe sex and preventing unwanted pregnancies?

Because the TFR is 1.23 and we just have to raise it, don’t you know, bodily autonomy be damned. Or something. What the actual fuck?

Or don’t young people have reproductive rights, too?

And, yes, access to reproductive healthcare is a medical service.


Is there any purpose in promoting safe sex and preventing unwanted pregnancies?

That line, it just floored me.

(While Singapore is a much wealthier country than South Africa, where FIFA refused to provide condoms, the issue here is less about HIV transmission and privilege, than the idea that teenage sexuality should be taboo. Which is a bloody silly thing to fret about, thank you very much – except that condom use tends to be lower among this demographic, so yes, it matters.)

Reblogging Fred Clark on Hiroshima

by Wednesday.

To follow up to Thursday’s post, from Slacktivist:

It is not permissible to deliberately target non-combatants with a weapon of mass destruction. That is a categorical and undeniable rule, but it is not the only categorical and undeniable rule. And when two or more such rules come into conflict we humans may be faced with a lack of permissible options. Ethics professors are skilled at spinning out such scenarios, confronting their students with hypothetical conundrums that allow no pure course of action — no acceptable course of action.

History, too, has a way of creating such scenarios. I don’t just mean the thousand everyday conflicts and conundrums that arise from life in our fallen world, but life-and-death decisions on a grand scale. Like a perverse ethics professor, history has a way of creating situations in which this or that unthinkable and impermissible act may seem to be the least monstrous of our sickeningly constricted options.

It may be that this was the case on August 6, 1945, and again on August 9, 1945, when the United States of America ended the war in the Pacific by deliberately targeting and killing 140,000 civilians in Hiroshima and then deliberately targeting and killing 80,000 civilians in Nagasaki.

Some think they know for sure that this was the case. Others think they know for sure that this was not the case. And many seem to relish the argument — agreeing as angrily as they disagree. But I do not know and I do not think that we can know what options did or did not appear available to President Truman and to the others who made and executed the decision to deliberately kill hundreds of thousands of civilians, terrorizing Imperial Japan into unconditional surrender.