Why Do We Tolerate and Excuse Sexual Harassment?

On my flight home over Thanksgiving break, I sat down at a randomly-selected seat next to a window on the plane. Since it was a Southwest flight, I ended up sitting next to a couple of strangers who were behind me in line. Both seemed to be in their 60’s, and were unrelated. They seemed perfectly nice, but it was clear that the man had stopped by the airport bar before boarding the flight from PHX to SEA. About 2 hours into fNone animated GIF light, both the woman in the middle and I had to get out of our seats. All was well, until I came back to the seat and was ushered back into my seat by the man on the aisle. Was that what I think it was? I sat down uncomfortably. The woman next to me leaned over and told me that the man had also groped her as she came back into our row. I didn’t leave my seat for the rest of the flight, I didn’t tell the flight attendant what had happened, and I avoided any contact with the man. Continue reading

Empowering Pregnant Women

CVS animated GIF “There was a time when the pregnant woman stood as a symbol of stately and sexual beauty. While pregnancy remains an object of fascination, our own culture harshly separates pregnancy from sexuality. The dominant culture defines feminine beauty as slim and shapely. The pregnant woman is often not looked upon as sexually active or desirable, even though her own desires and sensitivity may have increased. Her male partner, if she has one, may decline to share in her sexuality, and her physician may advise her to restrict her sexual activity. To the degree that a woman derives a sense of self-worth from looking ‘sexy’ in the manner promoted by dominant cultural images, she may experience her pregnant body as being pregnant and alien” (53).
Iris Marion Young, “Pregnant Embodiment” Continue reading

What’s Sex Got to do With… Christmas Music?

justin bieber animated GIF

I love the holidays. I start listening to Christmas music promptly on November 1st, simply because I want the snowy, cheerful season to last for as long as possible. I celebrate Christmas, but the holidays in general seem to bring about a theme of love between partners, family, and friends and appreciating one another as the year comes to a close.

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What’s Sex Got To Do With… Angel Haze?

Some people were frustrated when Macklemore and Ryan Lewis came out with “Same Love,” a song that was designed to promote the passage of R-74 in Washington State. Macklemore gained respect and popularity for the song, but those who were against it were irritated by his reference to his uncle being gay as an explanation for his understanding of peoples’ struggle with identity. Later on, a small NYC artist, Angel Haze, came out with a freestyle over the music to “Same Love,” which both explains her struggle with identity and coming to terms with how other people see her.

“No, I’m not gay/ No, I’m not straight/ And I sure as hell am not bisexual/ Damn it, I am whoever I am when I am it/ Loving whoever you are when the stars shine/ And whoever you’ll be when the sun rises”

The number of non-heterosexual music artists, especially in the hip-hop industry, is very small. Angel Haze not only breaks this barrier, but her music is raw and honest and her lyrics don’t follow anybody else’s agenda. She is open about her history of abuse, growing up in a cult-like religion, and understanding her sexuality (today she identifies as pansexual). Beginning at the age of five, Angel Haze was repeatedly raped by an extended family member. Angel Haze grew up in a house where people knew she was being sexually abused, and she never felt safe in her own skin. In her song, “Cleaning out my Closet” she discusses her experience growing up and coming to terms the psychological effects of her abuse.

“I was extremely scared of men so I started liking girls/ I started starving myself, fucked up my bodily health/ I didn’t want to be attractive to nobody else/ I didn’t want the appeal, wanted to stop my own growth/ but there’s a fucking reason behind every scar that I show/ I never got be a kid so that’s as far as I grow” (Angel Haze, Cleaning Out My Closet)

 

According to the theory that identities are constructed socially, Krista McQueeney says that sociologists believe that “identity is not idiosyncratic: it is shaped by the cultural and social conditions of our lives” (NSS, 293). Although I don’t necessarily believe that sexual identity are completely socially constructed, I do believe that they can change. “Identities are fluid: they can change over time and across situations. Who I am or who you perceive me to be, may not be who I say I am (or who you perceive me to be) five minutes, five months, or five years from now” (McQueeney, 293). Angel Haze’s bravery in expressing both her story and allowing people to understand her sexuality gives us a window to learning about changing sexual expression and identity and how someone doesn’t have to stay in the same place—or even participate in—the LGBTQIA alphabet.

 

It’s not easy to discuss Angel Haze through her sexuality, because she is clear and confident that she doesn’t desire to be labeled by how she does or does not identify, and that we should choose to understand her through her music. I hope you all will listen to the three songs/music video that I added to this post before commenting. As we study sexuality and different kinds of identities, do you think we should be more cautious to label? I believe that the alphabet allows us to expand and learn about the different kinds of recognized identities, but what about those identities that aren’t recognized by the alphabet? How do you thing Angel Haze and her music could influence the way we see sexual socialization and the danger of labeling identity?

Censoring Intimacy

PG: Parents urged to give “parental guidance.” May contain some material parents may not like for their young children.

PG-13: Parents are urged to be cautious. Some material may be inappropriate for pre-teenagers.

R: Contains some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their young children with them.

NC-17: Clearly adult. Children are not admitted. Continue reading