Let’s Talk Sex

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Sexual Morality is defined as morality with respect to sexual relations. Sexual morals in our current society dictate that sex is only morally acceptable within the confines of marriage and only in ways that do not cut off the possibility of procreation. These morals rest on themes of social utility and personal excellence. The overarching theme being that the well-being of a society depends on a stable family life, and sex outside of marriage destabilizes the family. These sexual morals have developed in such a way that they permeate every aspect of our lives as Americans. These predominant morals are especially evident in the sexual development of our countries youth.

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Cultural Appropriation: “You’re Not Good Enough”

The recent discourse surrounding cultural appropriation has many people wondering what cultural appropriation is. According to the author of Who Owns Continue reading

What’s Sex Got to do with … Kim Kardashian

To many people, sex has everything to do with Kim Kardashian. Kim Kardashian rose to fame after her sex tape Continue reading

Rape: Doesn’t Discriminate By Age or Gender

It is estimated that 1 in 10 rape victims are men and that almost 94% of these sexual assault cases are perpetrated by men. That leaves a small 6% of rapes committed by women against men. Men face many social and legal double standards when it comes to cases in which the woman is the aggressor. Recently, actor Shia LaBeouf came forward to tell his side of things with regards to being raped by a female visitor during an art exhibit he was participating in. This case has caused much debate on the topic of women rapists. But what does the public think about sexual assault cases where attractive women are accused of harming an individual who “would be lucky to have them”? This is the question that is currently being asked in a case involving a former Ravens Cheerleader and an underage boy.

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“Social Media Is Destroying Our Lives”

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To begin rapping up the final blog posts of the semester, I went back to the very first articles we read at the beginning of class to see if anything caught my eye. I was then taken back to the third week of classes to the Huffington Post article entitled “What I’m Reading: Sex, Teens, And Social Media.” After taking the class and reading this article again, so many new ideas are brought to mind especially in the first section. The first section is titled ‘Social Media Is Destroying Our Lives’ and relates significantly to our lives as college students.

Sasha Belenky, the author of the article, brings up many topics that are extremely relatable. First off, she talks about the obsession with sex throughout social media. She talks about how hookup culture is preferred over dating culture, and social media is the reason for a lot of this modern change in sexual scripts. Throughout this specific portion of the article, Belenky quotes Nancy Jo Sales’ article in Vanity Fair entitled “The Bling Ring” that looked at modern day teen relationships. A girl from L.A. described to Sales that “oral is, like, the new kissing” (Belenky). In addition to sex going much farther much quicker, boys pressure girls for nudes extremely often. Applications like snapchat make this incredibly easy for guys to get away with because, supposedly, the picture “disappears.” Of course the receiver can screenshot the snapchat, but the sender gets a notification if the receiver decides to screenshot. But even scarier and more problematic is that recent studies have come out saying that Snapchat has been keeping the photos this entire time. This entails that the photos that were once said to “disappear forever” haven’t at all.

In addition to social media making it easier to have sexual encounters, social media also makes it easier for boys to talk to girls rather than facing them straight up. We all know those people who will only talk to you on social media or text you and won’t confront you in person. Or, even better yet, we all know those people who won’t talk to you when they are sober, but when they are drunk they come up to you and talk to you like you two have been best friends your whole life. This is why social media is such a problem. It is because with the overuse of it, people forget how to have real, live, face-to-face friendships and conversations. This makes people socially awkward, and it makes people nervous talking in social settings. As a girl named Zoe stated concerning boys talking to girls, “They’re definitely more forward to us online than in person. Because they’re not saying it to our faces.” (Belenky).

Social media makes teens in today’s world socially awkward because social media is their life. A group of friends at the mall admitted to Sales that social media is ruining their lives, so Sales then asked why they don’t just get off of it. In return, a girl responded “Because then we would have no life” (Belenky).

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Social media is also a competition with whoever gets the most amount of “likes.” Whoever gets the most amount of likes is considered “more popular.” I agree that this idea is true in our society because I have many friends that will delete a post on Instagram if they aren’t getting a lot of likes in the first 5 minutes of the post. I also have friend who will say things like, “oh my gosh, how did she get that many likes on a picture?!” This statement agrees with the idea that likes on social media is a popularity contest because when you see a person with a lot of likes on an Instagram post, for example, you in turn consider them “popular.”

In addition to being a popularity contest, it becomes a sexual contest. A girl named Greta described to Sales that, “More provocative equals more likes” (Belenky). Her friend Padma agreed, stating, “It attracts more guys and then it makes other girls think about doing it just for the attention” (Belenky). I also agree with this ideology because there are many Instagram accounts that are created solely for the fact of posting sexual posts to get a lot of comments from guys. The girls that have accounts like this live off of guys comments to them, in turn making their self confidence solely based off of the male gender’s perception of them. In addition, the majority of boys who comment on these photos would not say their comments to a girl in person, in turn leading to girls obsession with what boys are solely thinking of them, nothing the guys would say to them in real life.

This article relates to ideas we have talked about in class because it relates to rape culture. Yes, social media is destroying our lives, but one limitation of the article is that it doesn’t talk about rape culture. Social media causes many issues with rape and human trafficking because people will start online relationships with each other. Throughout these relationships, they will form a trusting bond without ever meeting face-to-face. When they meet face-to-face, they often realize that the person they thought they were talking to the entire time wasn’t truly that person. In turn, this leads to many rape and human trafficking incidents.

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An example of this in our world today is the T.V. show entitled “Selfie”. This show follows the life of Eliza Doolittle, who lives a life with the goal of achieving fame on social media by only posting selfies. She is extremely awkward and struggles making friendships in real life. This show is a perfect example of how social media destroys us. It creates a life obsessed with talking to people over phone or computer, in turn creating teens who cannot interact with people in real life.

Some questions to consider include do you ever think our society will completely “drop” social media? Do you think our society will ever realize what a burden social media truly is and have it deleted? Also, do you think teens in the next generation will be more obsessed or less obsessed with social media than the current generation?

A New Definition of Consent

It’s no secret that sexual assault and violence on college campuses has recently become very prevalent in media and the minds of students and faculty across college campuses, as well as in the minds of the government; multiple stories and different accounts of sexual assault and rape have been in the the news, forcing attention to be drawn to this issue and for it to be addressed. Recent studies in sexual assault on college campuses across the United States reveal that one in five women report being assaulted on college campuses, which is terrifying considering in the past, cases of this have never been properly reported or given attention. Students and victims of sexual assault have begun to cry out also, bringing attention to this issue. Some of their accounts can be read in newspapers or seen on the news, as the sexual assault that took place on our very own campus here was. Time magazine even devoted an entire issue due to this problem; in this issue, multiple politicians, activists, scholars, authors, lawyers and victims shared their voice and opinions on sexual assault on college campuses and how it should be taken care of.

Two of the articles in this issue that stood out to me the most include an article called “‘My Rapist Is Still on Campus’” written by Emma Sulkowicz, a victim of rape and junior from Columbia College, and an article written by Jonathan Kalin, a student activist who formed a movement for consent called “Consent Must Be Created, Not Given.” In Sulkowicz’s article, she tells of how she was raped the very first day of her sophomore year, and she is near the end of her college life yet her rapist is still free and on campus and will graduate with her. Not only did her rapist commit an act of sexual assault on her, but also on two other girls. Sulkowicz would wake up everyday afraid to leave her room for the fear of her rapist; in the future when she looks back on her experience at Columbia, it will be defined by this. it will be defined by how she received no help from the university when she asked for it and how she will have to life with this injustice for her entire life. When Sulkowicz did reach out to the school for help, administration and the campus justice system dismissed her case and the accounts of what had happened to her.

Situations similar to Sulkowicz’s happen way too often, and are the reason for all of the recent backlash that Universities are facing today; in fact, 55 universities are under investigation by the federal government for lacking in dealing with sexual assault cases on campus properly.  Many universities figure that they can brush these cases under the rug for fear of losing prestige and credibility. This may have worked in the past, however, rape on college campuses has become so prevalent, and on some campuses more so than others, that it can no longer be ignored. In recent years, rape culture has been perpetuated due to the media, sexist mentalities, and a sense of apathy from society. Relationships displayed in movies, TV shows, and music’s lyrics lend to the idea of rape and make power based violence seem acceptable in certain situations. Whether people or conscious of it or not, these images and messages are received by people and can contribute to their mentality and beliefs on sexual assault, swaying them to become more accepting, or even apathetic.

In Kalin’s article, he speaks of his movement to recreate the definition of consent and educating people about sexual violence in hopes of preventing it. He asserts that societal norms and the expectation of what college life should be like have created an environment where sexual assault is way too prevalent always featuring repeatedly shamed survivors of assault and perpetrators who plead the crime as one of “misunderstanding.” Although the government has recently stepped in in trying to help prevention, Kalin believes it will take a lot more than just this to change the culture associated with this; in order for it to change, the definition of consent must be considered and changed. Consent is not a silent practice as it appears in many movies and TV shows. It is something that must be verbalized and discussed to ensure that there are no misunderstandings and the participants are on the same page. If consent is an assumed silent thing, then there will obviously be multiple misunderstanding and can lend to the amount of sexual assault that occur on college campuses. Kalin also asserts that consent should not be made out to be a commodity, therefore people should no longer say that consent was “given” or “got,” but rather that is was created. If consent is created, then it should be backed by full understanding on both parties involved.

The recent strides made by the government and other activist organizations have helped the this cause immensely. College campuses have created outlets and resources to aid student victims and give them an outlet for support. Organizations such as Project Safe, Green Dot, and the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center all on Vanderbilt’s campus all strive to do this. Legislation has urged and pushed for bills to be written and rewritten to aid in preventing and solving the issue of sexual assault and violence on college campuses. Today, activists are still urging people to take notice of the issue at hand and hope to cease the perpetuation of rape culture on college campuses across the culture. In order for this to happen, college students need to be well informed and educated on the issue, knowing exactly what constitutes as sexual violence.

How could Vanderbilt do a better job of educating its students on sexual assault? Should informing students on sexual assault and violence be required by all universities? How effective do you really think the programs are on Vanderbilt’s campus at aiding in the prevention of sexual assault on campus?

What’s Sex Got To Do With…The Military?

According to servicewomen.org, despite 25 years of investigation under the Pentagon due to sexual assault cases in the military, military cases of rape, sexual assault and harassment continue to grow. One would think that an institution of our country that prides itself on justice and valor would be different, however, tens of thousands of unwanted sexual acts are committed yearly in the military, and only a fraction are reported. Those that are expected to be covered up and not talked about.

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These statistics are shocking for multiple reasons. One of the most is because these assaults occur in all realms of the military, including present Active Duty, the Reserves, the National Guard and in the military academies. More importantly, there is a culture of victim-blaming, lack of accountability, and lack of liable command in these situations and it has become prevalent. These statistics threaten the strength, readiness, and morale of the United States military system. It takes away validity from our nation and US national security.

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Recently, a New York Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand has been making a bipartisan push to change how the military deals with cases of sexual assault with the help of Col. Don Christensen, former chief prosecutor of the Air Force. They are hoping to bring recognition to the Military Justice Improvement Act, which aims to remove commanders from the process of deciding whether or not to prosecute sexual assault cases. The issue with this is that commanders are oftentimes friends with both the alleged victim and perpetrator, and they become the enablers in this situation.

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The current situation present in the military is no different than that of college campuses. Both contain a lack of accountability, however, at colleges, it is that of university administration in failing to handle cases properly. Also, in both institutions, the misconception that victims ask for it and are at fault in sexual assault cases is present, when in reality, victims are never to blame. Another similarity between the two is that there are similar programs present at Vanderbilt and within the military to combat sexual assault and educate people about it.

Why do you think that there is such a heavy push-back on sexual assault and measures of prevention are just now being brought up with both institutions?

Are SD/SB relationships the same as prostitution?

Today many young girls are attracted to money, despite the circumstances. The typical Sugar Daddy and Sugar Baby relationship seems to have taken over the whole world. Literally. From traveling worldwide, and spending cash, to hiring models, and flying private jets to Dubai, the SD/SB relationship requires a steady flow of money and a wild mindset. But when we take a step back, what does the whole concept align with? Prostitution. Today, in the United States, although it is considered illegal, prostitution still does happen.

According to Forbes.com, “A sample of 1,024 street prostitutes conducted between 1990 and 1991 found that streetwalkers made $23,845 per year, while female service workers made $17,192 per year.” While this study was done in over twenty years ago, it shows the economical benefits of not having to pay for marriage costs.

However, according to an interview with Elizabeth Bernstein in “Introducing New Sexuality Studies”, she stated that “sociologist Pierre Bourdieu cautions that when researches attempt to understand social others through a provisional and deliberate engagement with their with their worlds, the result is like to be perceptions of these worlds which still derive from the researchers own habits.” To be able to contradict what Bourdieu said, Bernstein, in her study of prostitution went undercover in order to achieve the most accurate results.

When researching the wages that prostitutes earn each year, I found many different answers from different studies. I think that Pierre Burdieu’s theory comes into play largely when different researches claim wages. According to Lina Eroh, on erohisms.com, sex workers make roughly $15 dollars a night when hooking up with a western guy. In contrast, businessinsider.com states prices at a brothel in Nevada: $200.00 for 40 minutes

$300.00 for one hour

$500.00 for two hours

$700.00 for an hour of a couple’s party (one hour minimum)

$2,000.00 for overnight stays

These prices starkly contrast the prices states on Eroh’s blog. Therefore, there is no set income, but I think we can conclude that location comes into play when dealing with money.

I feel that Sugar Babies are pretty similar to prostitutes, although some may disagree. Some Sugar Baby/Sugar Daddy (SB/SD) relationships are based on different expectations than others. Having known someone who considered themselves a ‘sugar baby’, I feel that I can compare and contrast the lifestyle pretty somewhat accurate. There are different expectations from different Sugar Daddies. This aligns to prostitution where men pick and choose who they want. SD/SB relationships are often set up online, unlike prostitution, which is commonly done in person, through a business/brothel or on the street. Prostitution and being a ‘sugar baby’ require the same/similar emotional work. According to Bernstein’s interview, there are many different kinds of work that involve emotional labor, such as childcare, working at a nail salon, and being a hostess at a bar. Bernstein claims that work that requires such emotion means reinvesting emotions from one relationship, and using it through labor. Prostitution and SD/SB relationships both ‘draw on source of self’. Sugar Babies and Prostitutes alike most likely do not want to engage in the acts that they do, but they do it for the rewards at the end. The rewards may be money for both prostitutes and sugar babies, or may be gifts, travel or experiences for solely sugar babies.

Prostitutes receive business from all types of men. According to livescience.com, in 1948, “up to 69 percent of American men had paid for sex at some point in their lives.” But in 2010, a study was made that concluded 14% had previously paid for sex. Prostitute’s customers are considered mostly ‘hobbyists’ and livescience.com also said that most are white, earn over $120,000 a year, and are married. These men also claimed that they may think about sex more than other do.

The amount of commitment from a prostitute versus a Sugar Baby are pretty astounding. At first glance, you might think that prostitution requires more effort. However styleite.com does not agree. The writer claims that being a sugar baby requires far more effort. Her argument makes sense. Being a sugar baby requires a full time commitment, and companionship, meanwhile prostitution is a one and done kind of commitment. Some may not agree with this argument, but it is up to debate. However, sugar babies may be treated to nicer environment. The situation might be less sketchy as well. Prostitutes also have to put more time into getting hired, such as standing in the street, meanwhile Sugar babies more than likely have long time clients, and can easily apply for sugar daddies online.

In conclusion, I find that prostitution and sugar daddy/sugar baby relationships are pretty similar. Both involve high risk and commitment. Although the clientele might be different, the emotional and physical states while on job are pretty similar. I feel that both of the lifestyles are not talked about enough, and should be brought to light.

Do you think that prostitution and Sugar Daddy/Sugar Baby relationships are similar?

Do you feel that being a Sugar Baby should be illegal?

Do you think that there are any at this school?

What kind of men do you think engage in this activity, and how do you think it differentiates between someone who hires a prostitute over a sugar baby?

Do you think prostitution should be legalized so that it can be regulated, because it does happen?

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