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Decoding Sex in the Media: How Lily Allen's "Hard Out Here" (Sadly) Missed the Mark

I really wanted to love Lily Allen’s new song and video, “Hard Out Here."

The British artist, who took time off to start a family, has recently burst back into the music scene with a punchy, sarcastic pop song that slams the widespread objectification and harsh criticism of women’s bodies in so much of modern media. Far sharper than Beyonce’s generic brand of girls rule!, “Hard Out Here” addresses specific feminist issues with acuity and wit.

She discusses the double standard surrounding women’s sexuality (“If I told you about my sex life, you'd call me a slut/when boys be talking about their bitches, no one's making a fuss”), the unrealistic beauty standard for women (“You should probably lose some weight/'cause we can't see your bones/you should probably fix your face or you'll end up on your own”), and even makes a jab or two at Robin Thicke’s rape-y hit song with the sarcastic lyrics like, “Have you thought about your butt? Who's gonna tear it in two?”

It’s about time for an empow

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Meet the New Editor of Sexuality in Color!

My name is Pamela and I’m thrilled to join the Scarleteen family as Editor of the Sexuality in Color section!

A little bit about me – I am a Black woman living in the Midwest with two fantabulous sorta-beagles. I’ve blogged at my personal blog, AngryBlackBitch.com, for over five years. I’m also a contributor to Feministing and Shakespeare’s Sister and a staff writer for RH Reality Check.

Sexuality in Color will cover everything from coming out as a LGBTQ person of color, film and pop culture, reproductive health care and everything in between. The goal of the Sexuality in Color section is to discuss, debate and educate each other.

I look forward to getting to know Scarleteen readers and encourage y’all to send questions and comments to me at pamela@scarleteen.com. If you’d like to write a piece for the section, please contact me directly – we’re always looking for guest writers!

Thanks and let’s jump right in…

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POC: Tell Us What You Want!

This year, we'd like to invest some extra energy in being sure we're doing our level best to serve our readers of color well.

By all means, a lot what we do here is applicable to everyone and can serve everyone, and there are a lot of parts of sexuality and relationships that are fairly universal. At the same time, we know -- either firsthand or by proxy -- there are some issues or aspects of sexuality, sexual life and relationships and sexual health which are different for people or communities of color, or where there are additional barriers or complexities.

For example, being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender often poses additional challenges when you're of color. Access to sexual and/or reproductive health services is often more limited. How the media treats the sexualities of people of color is sometimes radically different than the sexualities of white people are treated. Body image issues in white communities can be very different than in communities of color. Compound

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Ever Smiling Doll

I used to play with Barbies a lot when I was little. No wonder I wanted to be blonde.

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Coming Soon: Sexuality in Color & The Scarleteen Voting Guide

Newsflash: I'm white. Who cares, right?

Well, I do. Because one thing that means with the work I do is that I hear it, see it, compile it, write it all through the lens of a white person. I can be as mindful, sensitive and careful as I want, but that still doesn't change that.

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Why are my labia so weird?

WantonWonton asks:

I am positive I have a malformed vagina and it makes me very self conscious. I have enlarged asymmetrical labia minor folds which do not protrude the beginning half of my vagina, but do on the latter half and obscure my vaginal opening. This extra flesh is brown in color and not a healthy pink color.
Will this interfere with my ability to have intercourse later on? Is this in fact a "malformation" or is this "type" of labia not as uncommon as I think it is? Should I have labiaplasty?

Misc. semi pertinent facts:
I'm in my late teens, but not yet an adult and a virgin.

Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.