LET'S TALK TO BOYS ABOUT SEX AND CONSENT

I’m glad to see an uptick in thoughtful articles that bring boys into discussions around consent and sex, something we can’t have in a vacuum with girls alone. Author Peggy Orenstein, author of “Boys & Sex: Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent and Navigating the New Masculinity,” penned this interesting Op-Ed in the New York Times that asks this essential question: “Will We Ever Figure Out How to Talk to Boys about Sex?”

I don’t know if we will. Do adults even know how to talk about sex with each other let alone with our kids, irrespective if they are boys or girls? When sex ed is relegated to PE teachers and emphasizes a limited scope of abstinence, pregnancy and disease, how can we expect boys to have the vocabulary, context or understanding to begin to address the idea of consent, mutual pleasure, or personal responsibility? The ethical ramifications of sex need to be outlined, questioned, and discussed, openly, candidly, not just in our classrooms but at home.

 

According to a 2017 national survey of 3,000 high school students and young adults by the Making Caring Common Project, “a large majority of boys never had a single conversation with their parents about, for instance, how to be sure that your partner ‘wants to be — and is comfortable — having sex with you,’ or about what it meant to be a ‘a caring and respectful sexual partner.’ About two-thirds had never heard from their parents that they shouldn’t have sex with someone who is too intoxicated to consent. Most had never been told by parents not to cat call girls or use degrading terms such as 'bitches' or 'hoes' — this despite the fact that nearly 90 percent of the girls in the survey reported having been sexually harassed.” Yikes. 

 

Adults may assume the above ideas are givens that will be taught and learned through someone else or via osmosis: They aren’t. Not surprisingly, “the vast majority of teenagers, though, who did have conversations like these with their parents — and boys even more than girls — described them as at least somewhat influential on their thinking.”

 

Mamas, let’s talk about sex with each other, our families, and especially with our boys.

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FEMME-INISM: A REAL LIVE MANSPLAINING EVENT IS COMING OUR WAY

This apparently is a real thing that's really happening in 2020. In Florida. Ladies, if you’re in the Orlando area in May, the “22 Convention” is something you’ll definitely want to miss. Promising lucky, female-only attendees to “Make Women Great Again,” the event will be held at a secret location revealed to the women who pay the modest $1200 ticket fee. In exchange, they’ll hear an “expert” all-male lineup mansplain the following hot topics including but not limited to, “the ills of feminism, the war on motherhood, beauty and obesity, love and dating, getting pregnant and having "unlimited babies," getting in shape, beating the competition to "become the ultimate wife," and boosting femininity.” Wowzers.

 

Because, you know, men know best about these things and women, obviously, want to pay for the privilege of being told how to be great women with a side of everything that’s wrong with them. I’m not linking out to their site (they don’t deserve the click) but am linking to Orlando Weekly which brought this to my attention. I also thought mamas-in-the-know would find it amusing, or terrifying, to know that this is not fake news.

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FEMME-INISM II: THE FIGHT OVER CONTRACEPTION CONTINUES

Sigh. It’s 2020 and the Supreme Court is debating, yet again, if employers have the legal right to deny employees access to birth control coverage based on religious grounds—a problematic premise that not only discriminates against women but also violates the fundamental separation of church and state. Until recently, the general rule in “religious liberty” cases was that people may sometimes seek exemptions from laws they object to on religious grounds, but that they could not claim an exemption that would “undercut the rights of a third party,” meaning you or I or anyone else who may need contraception for a myriad of legitimate medical reasons. 

 

The contraception debate was resurrected in 2014 with Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (2014), which held that the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) allows employers that object to birth control to offer health plans that don’t include contraceptive coverage. While this ruling allowed for the government to then step in and provide coverage through an “indirect approach,” (i.e. the government could then make a separate arrangement with the company that runs that employer’s health plan to ensure the employer’s workers still receive contraceptive coverage) this too was challenged by the zealous religious right. 

 

Fast forward to Trump’s 2016 election and, well, it was all downhill by then. By May 2017, Trump had issued an executive order instructing his administration “to address conscience-based objections to the preventive-care mandate.” A few months later, the administration pushed out new rules granting a broad exemption to employers with moral or religious objections to birth control, BIRTH CONTROL, ladies! 

 

Last July, however, a federal appeals court struck down the Trump administration’s rules but now, given the ultra conservative Supreme court, it is quite plausible that they'll determine that religious objectors should be allowed to deny birth control coverage to women. I wonder if these same individuals religiously object to sex in general, vasectomies or Viagra?

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