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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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So, About That Study...

Over the weekend, we linked to reports on the presentation of a study in our Twitter feed and on our Facebook about the effect of sex during adolescence on academics, such as college goals, grade point average, dropout, truancy and absentee rates. On Sunday and Monday, the piece got a whole lot of media and internet airplay, even though it was clear few, if any, reporting on it had yet looked at the study itself.

This morning, we were able to sit down and read the study, Sex and School: Adolescent Sexual Intercourse and Education (Bill McCarthy, Sociology, University of California Davis and Eric Grodsky, Sociology, University of Minnesota), which Bill McCarthy graciously emailed us when we requested it, and he also graciously answered a few of my questions about it directly. We're going to have a larger conversation with them soon that we'll publish here, but as that may take a while, we wanted to clear some of the smoke before it got much thicker. It's a solid study with some importa

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Something About Olives. (Really. It's so totally about olives.)

Last night at dinner, my partner was telling me about a story on NPR that afternoon. I was sure I hadn't heard it, yet it felt so terribly, completely familiar, as if I had not only heard it once before, but a million times.

The NPR story was titled, "Your Olive Oil May Not Be The Virgin It Claims." Maybe it sounds a little familiar to you, too:

The next time you reach for a bottle of extra-virgin olive oil, beware. A new study from the University of California- Davis claims more than two-thirds of random samples of imported so-called extra-virgin olive oil don't make the grade.

To be extra-virgin, olive oil can't be rancid or doctored with lesser oils... many of the 14 major brands failed certain tests.
"It's become a very sophisticated practice, the adulteration of olive oil throughout the world," Shoemaker says. He says the lab can prove defects, degradation and dilution in olive oil beyond what human taste buds can figure out. The lab testing zeroes in on specific flaws.
There's

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Something Surprisingly Real in Secret Life

I cannot stand this show. No sense in being shy about it, because this is a bias I cannot hide, as will be apparent in nanoseconds.

If I had anything even remotely decent or interesting to say about it, I would have blogged it before now. But every single blog post I have even started to think about writing in the past about it had the same title every single time, one composed entirely of profanity except for the articles of speech linking all my four-letter words together.

Summaries and commentaries that read like these do not balanced critical commentary make:

  • "Parade of nonstop clichéd stereotypes! Night of one thousand -isms! All stereotypes encouraged and welcomed to march proudly on Monday! Heart-of-gold hookers! Sexually compulsive foster children and abuse survivors! Slutty latinas! Dry, unemotional Asians! Lady who doesn't know who the baby daddy is! Hypocritical evangelical girl! Hair-pluggin', affair-havin' mid-life crisis guy! Badly-behaved developmentally disabled pe
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Who's Calling Who Compulsive? Calling Out a Common Rape Survivor Stereotype

I was one of several guests on a radio show in Baltimore on Friday. The topic of the show was apparently going to be about sex education and social justice, but turned out to be more like fear-mongering and a whole lot of projections around teen sexuality mixed with focus on parents and teen sexuality. I got the impression all four of us who were asked to take part, despite some of our disagreements, were very frustrated with the show and the host clearly asking questions he didn't want factual answers to, despite purportedly asking us to take part to provide just that.

At one point, he asked one of the guests to talk about rape victims and survivors. She said she did not do any work with rape or survivors, but instead of deferring to any of us who had, or just saying "I don't know," she went ahead and did some postulating and guesswork. There were several things she said in a rush of words that bothered me, but one of the most troubling was a statement that rape survivors "compulsive

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Glee and the Big V

High school has always provided great inspiration for movies and television. Grease, Popular, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Breakfast Club, Freaks and Geeks....the list of high-school-based movies and TV shows is pretty extensive. And then there's a new addition, Glee, set in a smallish town in the US, centered on the local high school's glee club, and chock full of as much singing, dancing and snappy one-liners as anyone could want. There's the fairly standard cast of characters; the good teacher and the bad teacher, the macho football coach and the fairly clueless guidance counsellor, the popular kids and the not-so-popular. The show is entertaining and all (I do love a musical) but I find it pretty hit and miss in terms of how the high school experience is portrayed. For example, the recent episode featuring three characters dealing with first-time sex - to a soundtrack entirely by Madonna, including, yep, Like a Virgin. (If you haven't seen it and want to, prepare for spoile

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Why "Gray Rape" Doesn't Exist

This morning, I picked up my mother's copy of “Brigitte”, a German woman's magazine geared at women between 30 an 50. I often borrow the magazine from her, because it tends to have pretty interesting articles. More recently, I've declared myself an out-and-out fan after Brigitte became the first magazine to stop using professional models for their photo spreads. Instead, they now use women they simply approach on the street, and supplement the pictures with information about the woman's life (this particular issue -06/2010- features a 41-year-old woman covered in piercings and tattoos, who has been working as a wrestler and a programmer of computer games).

However, what caught my eye today was one of the titles on the cover: “The sex I didn't want – Confessions from a Gray Area”. In my mind, I immediately flashed to the infamous Cosmopolitan article by Laura Sessions Stepp ( A New Kind of Date Rape ). With a funny feeling in my stomach, I flipped to the article. And lo! - the concep

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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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The Cutting Room Floor: On Sexting

With everyone talking about it so much lately, thought I'd reprise the topic with some questions Tracy Clark-Flory of Salon.com asked me about sexting a few months ago, and the whole of my answers. To see her finished piece, you can meander over here.

Q: Where does "sexting" -- or for that matter, taking nude self- portraits or videos that they may or may not share with a significant other, friends or a crush -- fall within teenage sexual development?

I'd lump television in with the 'net and other new media when I say that with the media presence being what it has become, the need or desire to seen -- already a typical part of young adult development as well as human existence -- has become huge. And that's not just about sex, but because sexual development and exploration is also a big part of being a teen, as well as a part of life, period, and something that's still treated as provocative, particularly when in any way public, sex enters into this.

You're asking about teens using t

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The Pleasures and Perils of Facebook

Don’t worry: I’m not going to tell you not to post pictures of yourself drunk or exposed on Facebook because future employers might look at your profile, or tell you not to write about how "totally wasted” you got last night on your Wall because, again, prospective employers might read it. There are other articles you can read on that, and I do suggest considering the advice given in those articles. What I want to talk about is the other side of Facebook, the side that allows creeps to spy on you.

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