Tag Archives: 3D printing

3D Printers Are for Something Better than Porn

Debbie says:


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 …

Thanksgiving 2015

Laurie and Debbie say:

If you’re reading the newspapers, or news blogs, the last couple of weeks have been an  easy time to be discouraged, and thus a hard time to be thankful. And that’s why sitting down to write this post has been restorative for both of us. Without forgetting Beirut, and Nigeria, and Paris, still having heart for millions of refugees seeking shelter, we can still hold up a long list of things that have gone well (sometimes surprisingly well) this year.


The Black Lives Matter movement is a brilliant positive response to an ongoing American criminal practice, the murder of Black people and other people of color by U.S. police without prosecution, or even investigation. While there’s nothing new about these murders, the national spotlight that was turned on them after Michael Brown’s murder in Ferguson, Missouri in August 2014 has been new. We’ve seen widespread, sustained protests, a completely new level of attention to documenting and publicizing these crimes, and even the occasional indictment and prosecution of a policeman (including the indictment of Jason McDonald this week after the death of LaQuan McDonald). Without the activists of Black Lives Matter, these murders would still be the dirty little secrets of urban police departments, and the private griefs of the victims’ families.

Thirty-six years after the Iranian hostage crisis, the nuclear weapons treaty with Iran was approved by six major world powers, including the United States (despite the best efforts of the American right). This historic agreement, which went into effect on October 18, has been in negotiation for ten years, and will stand as a major success of the Obama administration. Sanctions on Iran have been lifted, and Iran’s nuclear program has been terminated.

The Keystone XL pipeline tar sands pipeline, darling of oil companies and hated by environmentalists in Canada and the U.S. was finally rejected by President Obama this month. Much credit to the First Nations activists of Idle No More, who not only fought tirelessly against the pipeline, but have also contributed to changing the conversation and making sure indigenous voices are heard in environmental disputes. (In related news, Royal Dutch Shell “voluntarily” pulled out of its plans for Arctic drilling for the foreseeable future, citing lack of profitability — in large part due to the roadblocks environmentalists have successfully put in their way for the last several years.)

A consortium of African and American doctors have found a permanent cure for sickle cell anemia, a disease which seemed intractable until recently.

Progressive election results around the world include:

  • Jeremy Corbyn, a genuine progressive taking over the Labour Party in Britain,
  • Justin Trudeau ousting the Conservatives in Canada (and immediately appointing a cabinet that is 50% female and reflects the geographic breadth of the country);
  • John Bel Edwards becoming governor of the very Republican state of Louisiana, where he intends to accept the Medicaid expansion for Louisiana, which will effectively bring the Affordable Care Act benefits to his constituents; and
  • Antonio Costa, Socialist, emerging as prime minister after a constitutional crisis in Portugal when the conservative austerity pro-Euro party refused to give up power.

In keeping with these victories, Bernie Sanders is making a more than respectable showing in the race for the U.S. Democratic Party nomination, and by doing so, is making sure that (at least when the Democrats talk), the conversation is about income inequality and genuine solutions. Nationwide street protests have led to minimum wage increases around the country (in 14 states and the District of Columbia so far this year, not to mention various city ordinances), and other workers’ rights issues, such as regular schedules, are in the news.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court stunned the country by making three fantastic decisions in quick succession:

  • In King vs. Burwell, the court rejected a crucial challenge to Obamacare;
  • In Texas Dept. of Housing v. Inclusive Communities, they declared that housing discrimination can be upheld without proof of intent, and can be decided on statistical grounds. Since intent is almost impossible to prove, this is an extremely important distinction; and
  • In Obergefell v. Hodges, they legalized same-sex marriage on a national basis.

While American prisons and the rights of prisoners and ex-prisoners remain an enormous national disgrace, just today the Governor of Kentucky restored voting rights to almost 150,000 felons who have served their time. And the Federal Communications Commission finally made a clear, fair ruling preventing predatory charges on phone calls made by or to prisoners.

Speaking of improvements in areas of national shame, transgender immigrants now have the right to be housed based on their own gender identification.

Sports and politics often intersect, and a remarkable example was the football team at Mizzou, where not only the Black players, but many of their team-mates and the coaching staff, joined the protesters calling for the ouster of the University president. The protest was successful, and the new interim president is making profound changes.

And finally, the miracle of 3D printing is changing lives around the world. In one terrific example, the technology is bringing water purification to the third world; as a bonus, the raw materials are the plastic soda bottles we throw away. Other 3-D printing innovations this year include cheap building materials and aids for patients with hemiplegia (one-sided paralysis).

So, things to celebrate in hard times.

Thanks to Richard Dutcher for helping us remember the year’s good news.