John Oliver’s sex ed video is better than anything I watched in school

I grew up in northern New Brunswick, where there’s a heavy French Catholic presence and a bent toward school districts setting their own curricula. I have vague recollections of some sex ed video where the girls got shuffled out of the room to another room to watch another video. I don’t remember the content of it, but I remember some years later being surprised by all the nuance it left out — like that sex wasn’t just about getting married and trying to have kids. And I’m sure it was picked specifically because it was the closest to sex ed that the French Catholics could manage to tolerate being shown, and because there was a requirement for there to be at least SOME component in their curriculum.

Thankfully I don’t recall there being a focus on abstinence, just a general glossing-over of sex as though it’s not particularly important or relevant to the idea of going through puberty. I keenly remember a heavy focus on what it’s like to enter puberty, and how your pits would suddenly start smelling, and some talk about penises that met with nervous giggles from our class, and some brief discussion about girls getting periods that elicited more than giggles, and very little about what might happen if a couple of kids decided to start spelunking the concept of sexual congress on their own.

If I was growing up today, and saw this “sex-ed video” that makes up the back few minutes of John Oliver’s piece, I would have felt a lot less uncomfortable learning that there was more to it than what little my parents and my school were willing to tell me. I would have had to do less searching in libraries and encyclopedias for adequate reading materials that could fill in the gaps, and I would have had a less rough acclimation with social interactions with girls.

Also, HUGE props to Oliver for explaining consent in such simple terms that nobody could ever possibly misconstrue or rules-lawyer against them without looking like a potentially rapey asshole. If anyone argues back against what he’s said about no meaning no, or about only sleeping with people who want to sleep with you, they are fucking creepy.

MRA-style blockquoting activated!

So, inspired by a conversation on Twitter, I finally did something I’ve wanted to do for a while: I created a special blockquote style for MRAs for my blog. Every time an MRA uses the word “female” instead of “woman” or “girl”, I have always heard it like a Ferengi from Star Trek, with a super-elongated first syllable and a note of disdain or horror. “A feee-male!?” So I thought that the Ferengi head would make a great replacement for the more traditional blockquote quotation mark symbol.

To wit, here’s a comment I never bothered clearing through moderation last month or so, on this post from a full year prior.

Daniel Factor:

mostly lies and smears. Mra…anyone who doesn’t believe all men are the scum of the earth. Which apparently is being anti women and sexist.

I’ll be sure to use it liberally when I next post any MRA bullshit. You should be able to use it in comments as well, much like PZ’s Gumby for Creationists. Instead of <blockquote>, use <blockquote class="mra"> .

It’s a little iffy on shorter quotes, though. But those kinda look like cartoon balloons coming out of the Ferengi’s mouth, so that kind of works regardless.

Oh, and yes, I traced that head from a screencap of DS9, showing off my professional manga art skills. I mostly did it because I wanted to make one with the Ferengi touching his own ear, which if you remember anything from the canon, is an erogenous zone. (Seeing a Ferengi touch his ears whenever there was profit to be had or a woman to try to charm always skeeved me out just a little for that reason, which I’m sure was the intent of the show’s authors.)

Mighty Girls Hallowe’en

I realize I’ve been neglecting the blog again. Sorry ’bout that.

Here, have some adorable little girls who would not be stopped from being exactly what they wanted to be for Hallowe’en by something as socially-constructed as gender.

Girl dressed as Link from Legend of Zelda - why must a girl be the damsel when she can be the hero?

Girl dressed as Link from Legend of Zelda – why must a girl be the damsel when she can be the hero?

The Donors Choose challenge: outdo the rest of these rookie bloggers!

Ladies and gentlemen, if you’ll kindly direct your gaze to the third widget on the right column of this page entitled Donors Choose Challenge, you’ll notice that this blog alongside the rest of Freethought Blogs is actively soliciting donations for various projects in this year’s Donors Choose drive. I am manually selecting all the scholastic projects I can find in extremely underprivileged areas, especially those that relate to science, literature and math at all levels.
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