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politics

The Importance of Consent in Everyday Situations

Yesterday, I had my hair cut.

As the stylist called my name, she asked if I would like a shampoo. I politely declined. She then noticed how thick my hair is and she said she was going to take me back to the sink to wet it. And being incredibly used to this, I readily agreed and followed.

But just as she had finished wetting my hair and I expected her to turn the water off, she started squirting stuff on my head.

I froze. I’m not great with confrontation, especially with strangers, and have difficultly forming exactly what I want to say in just a short moment. She kept rubbing my head, then squirting some more, rubbing and squirting, rubbing and squirting.

The salon smell was all around me, and finally when she’d finished rinsing, only to squirt yet more stuff on my head, I blurted out “so what’s all this stuff you’re putting on my head?”

“You don’t use conditioner?” she asked incredulously.

Once she’d finished lecturing me on why I should use conditioner, I opened my mouth again to sa

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A Very Important Note on Menstrual Suppression

As you may know, at Scarleteen we do not yet endorse suppressing menstruation/continuous birth control -- using a hormonal method of birth control in order to skip withdrawal bleeds/periods -- for women under 18, because there still is yet to be any study done or published with adolescent women to evaluate if it is safe or medically sound for those in that stage of physical development.

There is yet no available data concerning the long term effects of menstrual suppression on a woman's overall health, at any age. I should also mention that no studies have been published yet about the safety or efficacy of suppressing periods with the patch or vaginal ring.

However, there have been published and reviewed studies for women over 18 using oral contraceptives for suppression. Even though sample sizes have been relatively small (and to my understanding, without control groups of women not using BCPs), and they have been short-term studies, they have provided enough information to make cle

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How men can support women and Feminism

Recently, I've been talking about men and feminism a fair bit, and not just in what I write, but in other places online and in real life. This is pretty normal for me, but what's a bit interesting is that a lot of these conversations have been around the relationship of men to feminism and in particular, what role men can play in supporting feminism and women in general.

A lot of this discussion has been about names; and in particular what you call a male identified person who supports and actively promotes feminism. 'Feminist' is the obvious answer, but this can be problematic because the word is SO strongly associated with women, and some feel that there personal, experiential aspects of feminism, along with male privilege (the numerous benefits and opportunities that biological men often enjoy solely on the basis of their sex - better average wages, less harassment, etc) think that is important for the term 'Feminist' to remain exclusive to female identifying people. Other people t

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Stephen, We Need to Talk

To: Stephen Harper (a.k.a. the Prime Minister of Canada, a.k.a. That Guy With the Questionable Judgment)
From: Me (a.k.a. A Concerned Citizen, a.k.a. Someone Who Thinks You're a Bit of a Twit)

Dear Stephen,

I have to confess, I am not, nor have I ever been, one of your biggest fans. I have never voted for your party, and I've found many of your decisions since becoming Prime Minister (such as sending Canadian troops to Afghanistan and protecting the Alberta oil sands even though they are royally screwing up the environment) disappointing, to say the least. However, when you announced at the end of January that you hoped one focus of the upcoming G8 summit would be improving maternal and child health worldwide - particularly in developing countries - I thought that maybe this was a decision of yours I could get behind.

But then, again, you let me down. Because earlier this week, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon confirmed that your newfound commitment to maternal heal

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What's the Typical Use Effectiveness Rate of Abstinence?

Heather Corinna asks:

What's the typical use effectiveness rate for abstinence? All I can find anywhere, even at organizations that teach abstinence, or say it's the only effective method of contraception, is the perfect use rate. How well does it really work for people in real life? Why doesn't anyone have that information on this method when we do for every other method?

Do You Have Any Children? A Birthmother Speaks to the Personal & the Political

"Do you have any children…?" It’s such a typical question to ask someone, and for many it’s an easy yes or no answer. For me though, I consistently find myself hesitating to respond. Generally when speaking to strangers, casual acquaintances, and even new friends, I opt to answer “no.” On occasion, I brave the consequences and answer the truth: “Yes, I’m a birthmother.”

Why I Escort

I am a volunteer abortion clinic escort. This means I am there to walk with women coming into the abortion clinic. It's usually no more than a minute's walk from their cars to the front door of the clinic. Under normal circumstances, my help would hardly be needed. Except the circumstances outside an abortion clinic are rarely "normal."

I Guess You Just Have to Be Prepared to Die!

That's the verbatim response to the question "What if I want to have sex before I get married?" in "No Second Chance," a film that is part of Sex Respect, an abstinence-only program. Sex Respect has a host of other special and oh-so-factual messages for you in their student workbook, including such sparkly gems as:

"A young man's natural desire for sex is already strong due to testosterone...females are becoming culturally conditioned to fantasize about sex as well." (p. 11) Did you know that without cultural conditioning, women don't have any desire for sex? Of course you did. Did you know that women don't have any testosterone in our bodies, too? Note: neither of these things are true. But you knew that already.

"A guy who wants to respect girls is distracted by sexy clothes and remembers her for one thing. Is it fair that guys are turned on by their senses and women by their hearts?" (p. 94) So, when it comes to sex, men don't have emotions and women do

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US to Lift HIV/AIDS Travel Ban

Good news from the White House! President Obama announced today that the US will overturn its current law banning HIV-positive individuals from entering the United States as tourists or immigrants. He explained that lifting the ban will help end stigma against people with HIV/AIDS; in fact, the ban itself has kept many people from getting tested and, therefore, could even be said to increase the spread of the disease.

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