Interesting posts, weekend of 4/24/10

04/24/2010 at 6:37 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Dear internet, my family life is still in a state of upheaval. I was able to get an original post and this blog link roundup posted in a timely manner, however we’re not out of the woods yet. Can I just say that I’ve had to go to three viewings for family or friends who have passed away since January 2010 and it’s looking like very soon I will be attending another funeral… So if my posts are short and/or sporadic for awhile, there’s your reason.

Friendly reminder: I am looking for Guest Posters. I want to hear more perspectives on the themes dealt with here at Feminists with Female Sexual Dysfunction. Because I am dealing with such a sensitive topic, I don’t think I can actively recruit new posters, since if I went onto someone else’s blog and said something like, “Hey u wanna write a post about your sexual health and/or feminism on a public forum?!” that would probably be very invasive. For this reason, Guest Posters requesting to remain anonymous will also be taken seriously.
At this time, criteria for inclusion is, “If you think you would fit in here, you probably would.” This may be subject to change but for now we’ll try that & see how it goes.
In an attempt to preemptively fight spam and rude comments, this blog’s email is private. Please leave a comment on this post if you want to write something. I’ll screen comments so you can remain anonymous if you want. That way I’ll have your email and we can collaborate.
Have something you’ve been working on? Send it my way.
Comments made by new e-mail addresses here are auto-screened before going live, so if you want to stay anon use an e-mail address that you haven’t used here before.

Now then, on with the weekly blog link roundup. Posts I found interesting over the last week. Share links if’n you got’em.

There were a few articles about RGS this week on different websites; some blogs like Violet Blue [NSFW] even picked up on the stories. Amanda Flowers, a woman living in the UK, opened up about her experience with PGAD (Persistent genital arousal disorder) or RGS (restless genital syndrome,) also known as PSAS (persistent sexual arousal syndrome,) after an accident while playing a video game (Wii Fit. It’s a game like Dance Dance Revolution in that the controller isn’t hand-held – you play with your feet, so there’s a risk you could fall while playing.) This news.au story is pretty horrible, do not read the comments. Predictably, lots of people think that RGS is a joke for some reason. This same story was covered on a few other news sites, like FoxNews which is slightly better coverage… and no comments to slog through.  However some of these articles are making the mistake of classifying RGS as sexual addiction. Sex addiction itself is a controversial topic; some sex therapists say it doesn’t even exist, but even if it does, RGS isn’t the same thing.
The best article covering this topic, as described by another patient and doctors, was at CNN.com. CNN’s article isn’t sensationalistic, but you should probably still skip the comments section. Couple of interesting notes from the CNN article – RGS is not up for consideration in the forthcoming DSM-V revision due to lack of study. Lori Brotto also appears in the CNN article, a name now familiar to me since Ily covered her work in another post.
I also looked up one of the facilities named in the FoxNews article, the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, since that article talked to a former director of the Center for Sexual and Relationship Health there. The facility offers patient care services, but I’m not sure if anyone working at RWJMS is now is prepared to treat RGS or even if the Center for Sexual and Relationship Health still exists.

The Clitoraid controversy is ongoing this week. Last week, you may recall, I included a few links related to criticisms of Clitoraid, an charitable organization with connections to the Raelians, a religious cult. The organization claims to restore sexual pleasure to women who have experienced FGC, by means of reconstructive surgery. This week Clitoraid and supporters responded to the criticisms – without really addressing the original questions and concerns. I find the response disturbing – both in terms of going on the offense and in terms of oh my god I cannot believe you just said that. One of the published responses even includes a Godwin. So here’s some more posts related to challenging Clitoraid. Again, please bear in mind, it’s not so much the end result that’s the problem. It’s the way in which Clitoraid goes about achieving those results. The way matters, and right now the way doesn’t do a good job of working with the local community.
There’s two from Dr. Petra Boynton, Catching up on Clitoraid and Clitoraid responds to their critics, but key questions remain unanswered – Detailed analyses of Clitoraid’s response. Recommended.
Matt Greenall also posted some of his thoughts about intervention in Burkina Faso. Health practitioners’ role in challenging damaging practice – more on Clitoraid
And Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg is still on top of things though understandably frustrated, Arguing with fools hurts my head. I think I am beginning to understand criticisms of Western (predominantly white) feminism. Yes, I see what you’re saying there.

Some political & current events for you. well, they certainly weren’t regulating: the SEC porn scandal – [NSFW] You may have heard by now that quite a few higher-up employees in the SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission, it’s a government regulation organization) were caught crusin’ porn sites at work. On work issued (meaning, government issued) computers. This taking place in 2008, right around the beginning of the recession the US (and much of the rest of the global economy) is trying to pull out of. Shakesville covered this as well, Nero Fiddled (With Himself) While Rome Burned, the post itself is just a brief article but the comments are mostly worth browsing, I think. Like, I don’t have a problem with porn in and of itself, I think it has the potential to be used for good or evil. But do you have to do that at work? And here I was feeling a little bit guilty about pursuing the headlines on news sites at work when things get a little quiet. Kind of puts things into perspective. And another thing, I’m wondering since 17 of those employees were higher ups – were they checking the new, lower-ranked employees’ work at all? And what kind of corporate culture does that set for the rest of the workplace? And like, where was your IT person?

American Psychiatric Association Tolerates, Largely Ignores Feedback on Teh Trans – Speaking of the DSM-V revision, including gender identity disorder as mental illness is problematic and controversial. So the LGBT Community of Center of New York City and the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center wrote to the APA urging changes. This post fleshes out a few points. Will the APA tune in & listen? Well, they haven’t always been real good about that before. The APA totally could though – earlier in 2010, France became the first country to remove transsexuality from their list of mental disorders.
Notes from a Lecture on Transgender Medicine – Rachel attended a lecture by Dr. Nick Gorton, who is transgender himself and presented slides and some info about treating transgender patients to medical students.
Protesting DADT, diverse GetEqual military veterans, arrested after chaining themselves to WH fence – The White House is really foot-dragging on repealing “Don’t ask, don’t tell” in the military. During a protest in Washington just outside the White House, several officers including Lt. Dan Choi and Petty Officer Autumn Sandeen were arrested. Sandeen is particularly vulnerable to backlash since she is transgender. This is a message from her.

Harpy Hall of Fame: Dorothy Height (1912-2010) – On April 20, civil rights activist Dorothy Height passed away. The Harpies present a profile of her and her work.
April 20 was also (among other things) Equal Pay Day, which draws attention to the fact that women still don’t earn as much as men for performing the same work. Until we have equal pay, we have Equal Pay Day

Some lighter fare from the Pervocracy. Dog Catches Car – what happened when Holly replied in the affirmative when propositioned in World of Warcraft with “Hay baby wanna cyber???”
Some not-so-light fare also from the Pervocracy. One Page of PUA – messages by pick up artists on a PUA forum. In conclusion, Holly says, “The theme that stands out the most, interestingly, is not manipulation or even straight-up misogyny, but an absolute inability to hear “no.””
I wouldn’t fuck Roissy either – Follow up to the PUA post; this one Holly took a misogynist ‘hotness’ test and picked it apart. Like, the whole thing, picked apart.

Boobquake 2k10 is scheduled for this Monday, April 26. What is Boobquake? It all started here, In the name of science, I offer my boobs. This is in response to a quote by Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi, a senior cleric in Iran, who said, “Many women who do not dress modestly … lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes.” Boobquake is maybe not exactly the best response to this quote though for a couple different reasons. There are probably better ways to protest and be an activist.

Two posts about dealing with trolls & haters on the internet, particularly within the femblogosphere. It’s not always so easy to dismiss as “It’s just the internet.” LADYPALOOZA PRESENTS! How Amanda Palmer Lost a Fan, or, My Own Private Backlash – This one is in response to the attacks Annaham endured after making a post critical of Amanda Palmer’s Evelyn Evelyn performance. It got real ugly real fast. And SEXIST BEATDOWN: You Are All Just A Bunch Of Stupid Cunts Who Should Shoot Yourselves In The WHAT DO YOU MEAN MY COMMENT GOT DELETED Edition – Sady and Amanda talkin’ trolls & how they deal with trolls. Again, it can get pretty ugly.

Poland’s women leaders – not forgotten – This is about some of the prominent women in politics that Poland lost during the plane crash on April 10th, 2010. (I mean to post about this last roundup but forgot to include a link – my apologies.) This is a painful topic for several people I work with.

Blogging Against Disablism Day will be on 1st May, 2010 – An explanation of what BADD is and how to participate, if you’re interested, is right through that link.  I think I would like to participate this year.

EARTH DAY!!! - a link and video roundup about Earth Day, April 22. Not all fun & games.

Whose voices? - Who gets to talk about disability and why are they considered experts instead of the people living with disabilities?

Presumptively Innocent vs Actually Innocent – [Trigger warning] A fleshed-out comment dealing with presumptions of innocence and false claims of sexual assault.

Privilege and the American Dream – So there was this guy, Adam Shepherd, who wrote a book about movin’ on up from homelessness to home ownership and a cash cushion. An inspiration to us all, right? Well, not exactly. Shepherd has a lot of privilege working to his advantage which not everyone else gets to enjoy.

Anti-choicers on women who get abortions “for convenience” – Picking apart an obnoxious column at a conservative news site. It’s really not a s convenient as you think it is.

Caseface123’s Photostream – Via Feministing, this is a photo project where the photographer asked people to post a sign with their thoughts of feminism on it.

Title IX Loophole to Be Closed – A brief re-post of an article about academia providing sports to women.

Hot Pieces of Ace Channel – a collaborative YouTube channel for asexuals, by asexuals. Via Ily.

Erasing the history of birth control in America – It’s been 50 years since the approval of hormonal birth control pills in the US. This post looks at something that Time magazine overlooked – early testing of The Pill on Puerto Rican women.

5 sources of assumptions and stereotypes about S&M – This is more an exploration of where negative BDSM stereotypes come from rather than what those stereotypes are, but you can probably infer what those stereotypes are just from the rest of the reading.

I’m sure there’s more….

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  1. Also, this is a bit late, but I’ve been doing some more reading on the Clitoraid thing and just… boggling a lot. Here’s another, more recent blog post about it: http://sfappeal.com/news/2010/05/good-vibrations-and-the-clitoris-saving-alien-cult.php I have to say, I am really disappointed at how Good Vibrations has acted throughout this. I had always heard of them as having a good reputation and committment to social justice, so. Maybe it’s just that the people involved are seeing it through so thick a veil of privilege and Western-centrism that they really don’t see how offensive “Adopt a Clitoris” is. But that doesn’t excuse their refusal to listen to criticism.

    Another thing making me want to beat my head on the desk about this is because of the intervention of Betty Dodson and Carlin Ross. I know from previous discussions that you don’t have a whole lot of love lost for them either. Apparently Betty Dodson is seen as so absolutely above reproach in the sex-positive community (I’m not even sure about exactly what that community includes, just that she seems to have a kind of demigoddess status in it) that just her lending support to Clitoraid completely outweighs the objections of people who know a hell of a lot more about the actual situation in Burkina Faso than she does. And Carlin Ross has literally said that Dodson’s authority can’t be questioned.

    I guess I’m… struck, again, by how very colonialist so many white/Western efforts to “save Africa” can be (that blog you linked was really interesting, fwiw. And reading through the archives I see that she already responded to the Betty Dodson thing.) I can’t really even articulate all of what seems wrong here, although the obscuration of the fact that African doctors and hospitals have performed the same surgery as Clitoraid is a big part of it– it sets up a picture of Those Clueless Savages, who will never see the error of their ways unless we evangelize them. Something like that. I guess I’m rambling now, but… this definitely doesn’t improve my opinion of Dodson and Ross at all.

    • Wow, Violet Blue really did her homework putting that article together. Was not expecting that. She’s presenting some new stuff in there that I hadn’t seen before. Actually I’ve found that over the last year or two her posts on TinyNibbles have been fairly consistently good, I’ve been enjoying her blog most of the time. Personally I’m not at ease with her use of the term FGM since I’ve had surgery that some have referred to as mutilation, but the rest is well researched.

      GoodVibes as I understand it, was better a couple of years ago. I think the company got sold to new owners a few years ago & things started subtly changing after that. I still buy things from them, but I’m reluctant to think of them as anything more than a commercial enterprise these days.
      Kind of a side note, did you hear anything about this EdenFantasies bloglink controversy? That’s supposed to be another progressive sex-positive retailer/community (they run a portal called SexIs) and they were doing link exchanges, but with this javascript & coding that did not improve linked-to websites’ google page rank. So sometimes, though a community calls itself progressive and positive, it does things, which are neither. Which hurts trust.

      I don’t think this Clitoraid controversy is over. GoodVibes still hasn’t found another organization to sponsor (one of their representatives left a comment on Wanjiru’s blog a few days ago.) There was another post about Clitoraid on Ross’s blog today. I wish that some of the bigger feminist blogs had covered this story in more detail, I think the only other post I saw about this on the blogs I read was one from the Angry Black Woman. That’s how I found out about this all in the first place. Melissa McEwan posted something last year in praise of the director of Clitoraid but I didn’t see any follow up posts since then at Shakesville.


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