Category Archives: sexuality

3D Printers Are for Something Better than Porn

Debbie says:

france-3d-printed-clitoris-mFv

Paris-based researcher Odile Fillod is single-handedly educating the youth of France about the realities of sex and female anatomy with her new creation: the world’s first 3D-printed, anatomically correct clitoris.

The friend who sent me this article by Matt Nedostup at SomeCards found it on Facebook, and thought it might be a joke, but it is apparently a real thing in the world–and from my perspective a good one.

Laurie and I wrote about “clitoral studies” about a year and a half ago.  Although women’s sexuality has been getting some detailed attention for decades, and perhaps more in the past few years, real information is still quite obscure. Stephanie Theobald, writing about Fillod’s clitoral model in The Guardian (as linked from Nedostup’s article), says:

Clitoris activism is hot in France right now. The feminist group Osez Le Féminisme has been vocal in combatting the silence around it since 2011. While in Nice, a group of sex-positive feminists, Les Infemmes, has created a “sensual counter culture” fanzine called L’Antisèche du Clito or The Idiot’s Guide to the Clit. There are funny drawings of “Punk Clit,” “Dracula Clit” and “Freud Clit”, as well as facts about the organ.

When it comes to getting real information to children, especially pre-adolescent children, most people in the United States find the idea almost impossible to wrap our brains around — and even many sex-positive U.S. residents find the idea disturbing as well. My own position is that correct, detailed knowledge is always better than myths and old men’s tales, and I’m excited by what’s happening in France:

A recent report from Haut Conseil à l’Egalité, a government body responsible for gender equality, found that sex ed in public schools still teaches that boys are “focused on genital sexuality”, but girls “attach more importance to love.” Of course, scientists have known for years that boys and girls are both super into genital sexuality.

Fillod feels that her creation will help French girls understand their own bodies and overcome the stigmas against female sexuality that they’re taught by society/school/advertising/men/women/everyone.

We can only hope. Obviously a woman of radical ideas, Fillod took this one one step further by making the files for her printed clitoris open-source, i.e., available to anyone for free.

 Because of that generous decision, French elementary and middle schools will start using the model as a teaching aid starting in September.

Neither article says whether this is in some French schools or all French schools, or how the French public is reacting. I know that in the U.S., we are so confused and retrograde about teaching sex and sexuality that it’s almost impossible to imagine elementary school kids of any gender playing with a lifelike clitoris (or penis or vulva) for any purpose, let alone to understand “the realities of sex.” I will be watching this story to see if there’s backlash in France, and how it plays out.

In all probability, it will not lead to The Onion‘s satirical fantasy:

The Robert Mapplethorpe Children’s Museum officially opened its doors to the public Tuesday, drawing over 1,000 visitors with its interactive exhibits and youth-oriented activities aimed at making the photographer’s signature nude, explicit art more fun and accessible for younger generations. …

“Robert always wanted his work to affect the broadest possible audience, and by introducing children to the wonders of the human form and hardcore homoeroticism at a young age, we hope to instill a lifelong appreciation for his art,” said head curator Eileen Greco, dressed in the standard leather bondage harness worn by all Mapplethorpe Children’s Museum guides. “This museum is a celebration of everything Robert loved—from muscular male thighs to nylon cords wrapped tightly around one’s own scrotum—and our interactive exhibits make it fun for even the youngest child to explore and enjoy these themes.”

But it is kind of fun to imagine …

It’s July! Let’s Have Some Links

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Debbie says:

In 1998 when Camryn Manheim was up for an Emmy, which she won. Designers lined up to make her dress, like they do (or did?) for Emmy nominees. Manheim, ever the fat activist, refused to take an offer from any designer who didn’t otherwise make plus-size clothes.

leslie-jones-768Leslie Jones, star of the upcoming Ghostbusters remake, complained on Twitter and found a designer, Christian Siriano, to make a gown for her. At least some of the fashion press thinks this is Jones’ fault. Kara Brown reports from Jezebel:

Pret-a-Reporter talked to Hollywood stylists who perfectly exemplified the stereotypes of the thin-obsessed, catty, narcissistic fashion industry.

 In addition to arguing that designers who have complete control over what sizes they make and still only produce the smallest sizes available do not have a size bias, stylist Jeanne Yang suggests that it would be a financial burden to create a new dress for a woman starring in what will likely be one of the biggest movies of the summer and who will soon be snapped thousands of times on the red carpet. …
It sucks that Jones had to complain on Twitter to get a nice dress to wear and that Christian Siriano was the only designer to step up, but hopefully he will do her right and she’ll show up on the carpet looking like a queen and making those fools wish they weren’t such brats.

All I can say is “Still? After all these years?”

***

In the class of “how was this ever not true?” towards the end of June New York City passed a law providing tampons and pads to all women in public schools, shelters, and correctional facilities.  As Mattie Kahn said at Elle:

New York City is leading the crusade to free women from shelling out for a public health imperative. No one is forcing high schoolers to pay for toilet paper, dudes! 

“Tampon taxes” are going away, but seriously: how did anyone ever think that supplying menstrual products was not a necessary thing?

***

Medium went to Samantha Bee’s Full Frontal to show us a biting overview of how female firsts are covered, from Amelia Earhart to Hillary Clinton. Hint:  the woman’s accomplishments are often not given any credit. Here’s just one of my favorites:

December, 1903, OSLO, Norway — “Ignoring voice vote, rigged Nobel Prize committee hands award to Marie Curie.”

Bee also cites reports about Billie Jean King, Sally Ride, and … Joan of Arc! Sadly not surprising, but well worth the two-minute read.

***

I really liked B.A. Beasley’s essay at The Toast on genderqueer parenting:

You see, there’s no such thing as a parent. We only have mothers and fathers.

Here’s what I don’t mean: I don’t mean that women and men are hardwired to parent differently. I don’t even mean that the social construction of gender is so overpowering that overcoming motherhood or fatherhood is difficult for individual parents. I mean the social category of parent just doesn’t seem to exist.

I say this despite the fact that my social world is filled with people who are deeply invested in egalitarian parenthood. I personally know inspirations in the realm of splitting reproductive labor. They are not doing it wrong.

But all the good people in the world making all the right decisions about sharing, pitching in, and helping each other out can’t fix the fact that every form you complete, every book you read, every law you face, every policy you confront has two categories: mothers and fathers.

There’s a lot more: very thoughtful and some of it very personal. If the topic interests you, read the whole thing.

***

Discussing a different aspect of families, social circles, and social expectations, Amalthea Aelwyn at Queen of the Chaos Circle wrote a long, detailed advice column for the families and friends of people with autoimmune diseases. Her piece has over twenty bullet points of things to think about and do: here’s just one that struck me.

  • She will already be her own worst critic. In her head, she will most likely be struggling to avoid chewing herself out regularly.   Nothing you can say will possibly be as harsh as she is on herself.  So she needs you to be especially careful of the things you say to her, and how you say them.  It’s okay to have your own feelings, and to express feelings, but you always have a choice in how you say something. There is a big difference between grumpily demanding “why do I have to stop eating wheat (candy or whatever else), just because you’re sick all the time!?” and saying “I wish there was a way to make you better, so we wouldn’t both have to skip candy and soda.” The first statement becomes an attack on a person who can’t help that she has this problem. The second statement is a way to express your frustration in a way that shows you care about her, and know that she misses those things too. It is even okay to be mad at her disease, but it’s not okay to take that mad out on her. Tell her that you are mad at her disease, too, if you want. But don’t yell at her for it. She can’t help it.

I have both family and several friends with autoimmune diseases. I found this a hard read, the kind I sometimes push against saying either, “That’s not fair to me!” or “But I already do that!” in my head, which usually means it’s things I need to hear. I’ll come back to it again and again when I need it.

***

Finally, Casey Chan at Sploid features an adults-only video by SuperDeluxe that takes those of us who want to go there (not for everyone) through a sex-doll factory:

Being inside a sex doll factory and watching all that plastic nakedness get shaped is much more haunting than it is titillating. It gets unsettling, like if you were trapped inside a scene from a horror movie and couldn’t get out. But it’s also somewhat intriguing, just to see the mixture of products and body parts that they put together in a puzzle to shape a doll.

The queer parenting link is from zulu. Otherwise, links are from my regular reading, which includes Feministe, Shakesville, Sociological Images, Feministing, io9, and TakePart, along with other sources.