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Our volunteers are a huge part of Scarleteen, and I call them superstars with very good reason. They're all incredible.
They play a big part in providing our direct services at our message boards and through our text-in answer service. They are our invaluable collective editorial board: even when volunteers aren't part of writing a piece, every piece we publish goes past at least some of them and their input is priceless. They're an equal part of all conversations about how we run things here, collectively informing and making decisions about how we manage and administrate the site and organization. They are a strong support circle: for all of us as a staff, for each other, for our users. They are a brilliant hivemind: our backend chat channel for staff and volunteers has had some amazing, inspired conversation about the issues we address here at Scarleteen. Most of our volunteers also started out at Scarleteen as users, so they come in with a lot of knowledge about being a user here,Read more...
On Monday, I talked about some of my own life, and the central, very personal, issue which kept me from attending one of the SlutWalks, an issue which also central to the walks themselves. On Tuesday, I brought up what appears to be a clear misrepresentation by the media, especially visually, of the walks. In both pieces, I expressed unwavering support for the walks.
While I did not agree with a good deal of it, I appreciated Rebecca Traister writing in the New York Times magazine last week.
But at a moment when questions of sex and power, blame and credibility, and gender and justice are so ubiquitous and so urgent, I have mostly felt irritation that stripping down to skivvies and calling ourselves sluts is passing for keen retort.
To object to these ugly characterizations is right and righteous. But to do so while dressed in what look like sexy stewardess Halloween costumes seems less like victory than capitulation (linguistic and sartorial)
This is part two of three entries about the Slutwalks this week. I wrote the first part of what I had to say about them yesterday here.
Today I want to briefly address the way that the walks have been visually represented in the media and by many bloggers writing about them, especially those who have been nonsupportive or critical.
In a word, they have frequently been represented by photographs which expressly stated or just implied they represent what people at the walks looked like as a whole, and have been anywhere from just incorrect to exceptionally dishonest in those assertions or implications. Because as far as I can tell, the images that keep getting picked aren't those which are most representative of the protests as a whole, but which are most representative of what a given person either found most provocative or most interesting. Or, which best represent their reasons for nonsupport or mockery.
This isn't unusual with images of protest atRead more...
I want to tell you something very personal about me. Not because I want to. I really don't want to. But I'm going to do it anyway.
It's one of those things where even though it's incredibly uncomfortable for me, I feel like sharing despite my discomfort might be able to make a positive difference. And since this has to do with something where I believe others have been making a positive difference in a way I, myself, have not also been able to, it seems the least I can do. I've been largely silent around the Slutwalks. There are a few reasons for that, but the biggest one of all is that what inspired them simply struck me much, much to close to home. So, my silence has not been about nonsupport of the walks. In more ways than one, it's been about my stepping out of the way of them in part based on my own limitations.Read more...
Hey everyone, and welcome to Activism with Max!
You might have seen me around Scarleteen in the past but if you haven’t, I’ll give you a quick background on me.
I’m Max Kamin-Cross, and I’m 17 years old from a Conservative area of Western New York. I’ve been working in reproductive rights and education for about a year now. Currently I write my own purely politics blog called MasKosMF.net and write for a bunch of other awesome organizations. I also volunteer at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in Washington DC, and at my local Planned Parenthood. I love to ski in the winter and rock climb in the summer, and of course lobby and blog all year round.
I first talked to Heather a couple months ago about having a more permanent place on Scarleteen, but we weren’t sure what that would be. We started thinking about what could possibly make this amazing website even better, and this is what we came up with.
Scarleteen has become this truly supportive and educational communityRead more...
I'm trying to organise some sort of event/forum at my university in Australia about sexual assault and violence against women. I've got good ideas for speakers, the women's department at my uni is supportive and I have organised similar events before.
My problem is: how can I frame the event so as to draw people to whom information about sexual assault (myths, prevalance, how particular gender stereotypes/ideas about sexuality can contribute) would be most useful? Currently, events run by the women's department often only get a select group of women already engaged by feminist issues. I fear that if I call the event something like "myths and facts about sexual violence", or something similarly straightforward, it would only be attended by people from this group, as others would be intimidated by the reference to sexual violence and would view it as something only relevant to people who have experienced sexual violence, rather than EVERYONE!
As a youth-serving organization which provides most of our services online, we're all too aware the internet has limits. You can't get tested for chlamydia or pregnancy online. You can't get ongoing, one-on-one counseling or therapy where your counselor can hand you a tissue when you need one. The internet can't provide anyone a warm bed or a meal, an IUD, pre-natal care or an abortion. Google can't provide us HIV healthcare or emergency contraception.
As part of what we do, we refer users to offline services, but many of our users are often reluctant to seek out in-person services we or others can't directly vouch for. Years ago, we began to notice that when one of our users told another near them about a service they used and liked, or when one of our staff could vouch for having gone to a service ourselves,Read more...
Anyone who knows me or who knows anything about me usually knows that my pre-teen and teen years were incredibly difficult. I dealt with neglect and abuse in my family, starting from about the time I was 10. I was sexually assaulted twice before I even became a teenager. I was queer. I was suicidal and was a self-injurer. I struggled to find safe shelter sometimes. Few people seemed to notice, even though after I gave up trying to use my words, I still used my eyes to try and tell them constantly. The one adult I could count on over time to be unilaterally supportive of me had (still has) serious mental illness. I had to take more adult responsibility at the end of my teen years than anyone else I knew. Like many adolescents, I constantly heard directly or got indirect messages from adults who talked about how awful teenagers were, how awful I was, how difficult, how impossible, how loathesome. Four days after my sixteenth birthday, the first real-deal big-love-me-lover I had, who treRead more...
Sade is 17 and works as a youth activist for YWCHAC, a program for and by young women of color that helps foster their development in advocacy training while providing them with the skills to be effective peer-educators to youth on the subject of sexual health. Their mission is to address the increasing rates of HIV infection in young women of color ages 13-24. Sade does a lot of community outreach and events that help develop partnerships with individuals and organizations that have similar goals, events like annual sexual health summits, safer sex education parties, advocacy and STD (STI) workshops, and other community projects.
I got the chance to ask Sade about what she does, why she does it, and what she thinks about some of the issues that impact HIV and young women. I've shortcut my own questions to give her words the spotlight, because she's got some phenomenal things to say that so many people really, really need to listen to.
On what she wants people to know about young womeRead more...