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Letters to My-Body-Of-Yesteryear and to Yours-of-Right-Now

I saw a young woman the other day who was in her late teens.

I had a moment of admiring how strong her legs looked, how able her shoulders; where she had curves and where she didn't, how kind of mixed-up and funky some of her coloring and parts were, a study in contrasts. It was a moment of appreciating what, in my eyes and perspective, her beauty was and how aesthetically beautiful I found her. As someone who's worked in art and photography, who looks at people and their details deeply and richly out of habit, I didn't think anything of it until I realized something about her was really resonating in a big way with me. I was having a hard time looking away.

Then it struck me: the things I was admiring about her and taking in so much of? Those were all ways my own body looked at her same age. It was like looking in a mirror that traveled through time.

But when I was her age, and my body and its parts looked like hers, I didn't appreciate them this way; I didn't find them so interestin

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Hair Trouble

Jessica68 asks:

I'm 15. Okay, so I do swimming squad, and sometimes it's embarrassing wearing bathers, cause of pubic hair. I don't know how to get rid of it. Like once I was at my friends house, and she is obsessed with sex, so she watches porn, and I saw some too, and the women have no pubic hair whatsoever! And I get really bothered about that. I mean, what if I'm going to have sex with a guy, and he's like "Eww, you're all hairy. That is disgusting?" I'm really scared about that. If you can help, it would be great! Thanks!

Wild and Untamed Things: Why a Cult Classic Still Resonates After All These Years

Scarleteen volunteer Sam reflects on the significance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and how it relates to sexuality, identity, and her middle school experience.

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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Decoding Sex in the Media: Why the Media Should Leave Kate Middleton's Baby Bump (And Everyone Else's) Alone

On Monday, July 22nd, England’s beloved Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, gave birth to a son—Prince George Alexander Louis. This child, dubbed the “Royal Baby” by news sources across the globe, garnered an enormous amount of media attention and sparked world-wide conversations. Reporters—and a few independent enthusiasts—have already traced the monarchial origins of the name. Jo Frost, widely known as the “Supernanny” from her reality TV show, publically offered the royal parents her child-rearing advice. A small, vociferous internet group has argued that the Duke and Duchess shouldn’t assign their child a gender, but wait until s/he chooses a gender for him/herself.

But throughout this newsworthy affair, the public spotlight has not strayed from Kate: in fact, media scrutiny of the new mother has intensified.

Before she had even left the hospital, the United Kingdom’s edition of OK! magazine published a “Royal Baby Special,” which included bright, punchy headlines promoting “Kat

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Decoding Sex in the Media: There are No Blurred Lines When it Comes to Consent

For many young people, Robin Thicke’s hit single "Blurred Lines" has become the anthem of the summer. Recently topping the Billboard Hot 100 list and rising to the position of most-downloaded song on iTunes, “Blurred Lines” seems to be thumping out of every stereo speaker on the planet. And for good reason -- it’s a very catchy song, with a strong beat and ostensibly fun lyrics. It also comes along with a controversial video full of naked women, which has no doubt amped up its notoriety. Like many artists before him, Thicke sings about a complex topic -- sex -- but he makes the mistake of ignoring a crucial underlying issue: consent.

Throughout the song, Thicke addresses a woman he perceives as a potential sex partner, continuously making assumptions about her sexual intentions. He sings that he’s “gon’ take [have sex with]” her, repeatedly insisting, “I know you want it”. (He also calls said woman a bitch, an animal, and refers to himself as pimping.)

In the middle of the chorus, Th

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STI Testing, Safer Sex Social How-Tos, Fresh Starts and a Bittervention

frenchiemathwhiz asks:

Heather: I have a question about STD testing, but it's together with a lot of other stuff, so I'm giving you some of the whole story.

My long-term boyfriend just broke up with me, seemingly out of the blue. We were together for several of the most tumultuous years of our lives—we dealt with so much stuff, I can't even describe it. We lived together, we lived apart, we did long-distance, we came back, we kept going. We stayed together through moves, parents condemning our relationship, changing universities, changing friends, changing careers. I feel really stupid being broken up about it; my personal philosophy has always been: no mourning over guys. Only stupid women do that. (Obviously there's some of my own internalized misogyny in there, but I'm also being practical. A woman mourning a man comes off as pathetic; a man mourning a women is soulful and sad. That's just the way it is.) But I did (bleech, sounds so gross) really trust him. I let him in my, like, inner circle of trust.

He just broke up with me because apparently he HAS to sleep with this other girl, and he couldn't even wait until he was going to see me in a few weeks. He started hanging out with this group of party guys and I kept saying it was changing him. He kept denying it—until it did. He just got his first job and then started freaking out: he started to get into drugs, to do all this stuff.

Body Size Diversity and Acceptance

From the University of Illinois Counseling Center, a great piece about body image, societal expectations, and making healthy choices that are right for YOUR body.

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