According to this analysis, Superman is a moderate Republican, Wonder Woman a socialist, and Hulk “just want to be left alone” (libertarian). Whatever your leaning, please get out and vote. In a way, it’s your civilian superpower: please wield it (ideally, for good). If you haven’t already, learn about candidates, find your polling place, and remember, voting is a Breakup Girl issue. These folks may have a direct say in:
A new analysis of teen sexual behavior in New York City offers some troubling/fascinating/instructive insights — and not just of the “only in New York” variety.
Published in the latest Pediatrics, the study found (for one thing) that among sexually active adolescent boys and girls, nearly one in ten had had a same-sex experience. But how many called themselves “gay”? Well, of the teens who’d had at least one same-sex partner, 38.9 percent answered “heterosexual or straight.” Which is fine in a hey-who-needs-labels sense — and hooray for experimentation, when that’s what it is — but not fine in a hey-who-needs-condoms sense. That is, the study also found that teens reporting partners of both sexes also reported higher-than-average rates of risky sexual practices, such as not using a condom during intercourse.
Hmm. Especially among those in the “I’m not really gay” camp, could there be a related sense that “it’s not really sex”? And does “I’m not really gay” stem from “Gay’s not really OK?” (”Even in New York”?) “These are kids in New York City where there’s more awareness and perhaps acceptance of non-heterosexual behavior, and you’re still finding such high reports of risk behavior and violence,” Laura Lindberg, senior research associate at the Guttmacher Institute, told the AP.
Ah yes, also violence. Students reporting same-sex partners also reported higher rates of dating violence. What’s going on there? Back to the AP:
Thomas Krever, executive director of the Hetrick-Martin Institute, a youth advocacy organization that runs an alternative high school for gay teens in New York City, said the survey results did not surprise him.
Many teens with partners of both sexes lack supportive adults and peers in their lives and may experience depression because social stigma, Krever said.
“Young people who are exhibiting characteristics of depression and lower self-worth can indeed place themselves in more risky situations including risky sexual practices,” he said.
1. As advocates continue to stress, sex ed has to focus not on identity/orientation, but on behavior. No matter what you call what you do, it’s safer with a condom.
Filed under: News, issues — posted by Breakup Girl @ 11:08 am
Cheerleaders don’t necessarily deserve that bad a rap. Contrary to popular belief (and recent judicial opinion), they are athletes doing a team sport. (You try doing a back loop spiral with a pike alone in your living room.) Some of them are willing to discover their inner gleeks. One squad has actually petitioned their school board for less revealing uniforms — and not just because it’s chilly in Connecticut. Here’s how the Connecticut Post (via Jezebel) describes the Bridgeport Central High School squad’s appeal:
“We ask with the utmost respect you do anything in your power to help us,” said Heidi Medina, a former team captain, removing oversized sweats to reveal a quarter-length top and exposed middle. “I don’t feel comfortable wearing this.”
“It really hurts our self esteem,” said Ariana Mesaros, another senior on the team, in a voice hoarse from cheering the night before. “I am embarrassed to stand up here dressed like this. Is this really how you want Bridgeport to be represented?”
It is now! You go, girlies. B-E A-G-G-R-E-S-S-I-V-E!, and etc. Especially because recent research does confirm that cheerleaders — yes, especially those who wear midriff-baring uniforms — are at high risk for eating disorders. And, related: there’s an argument to be made that not considering cheerleading a sport might actually make it more physically dangerous. So let’s continue moving past the stereotypes — in schools and on screens — and, while we’re at it, cheer those Bridgeport girls on.
Do reality shows like Teen Mom and 16 And Pregnant “glamorize” teen pregnancy? That standard hand-wringer has always struck me as weird. Because um, those shows don’t exactly make teen pregnancy/motherhood look awesome. They (unlike, SORRY, Glee) actually make it look pretty crappy — a lot more so than, say, carrying around a sack of flour for a week. Even when cute teen moms glam it up for celeb magazines (which are guilty of overglamorizing post-teen motherhood), teens — who, turns out, are also better at condoms than grownups — still know what’s up.
· Among those young people who have watched MTV’s 16 and Pregnant, 82% think the show helps teens better understand the challenges of teen pregnancy and parenthood and how to avoid it.
· 76% of young people say that what they see in the media about sex, love, and relationships can be a good way to start conversations with adults.
· About half (48%) say they have discussed these topics with their parents because of something they have seen in the media.
· 16 and Pregnant got young people talking and thinking about teen pregnancy─40% of those in the treatment group said they talked about the show with a parent, 63% discussed with a friend, and 37% discussed with a sibling.
· 93% of those who watched [a particular] episode agreed (53% strongly agreed) with the statement: “I learned that teen parenthood is harder than I imagined from these episodes.”
This is all information we’re not so sure they’re getting in, say, abstinence-only sex ed — which, while we’re on the subject, glamorizes lies, shame, and fear. (And whose funding just got resuscitated, even as the Obama administration also awarded $155 million in federal grants to support evidence-based, medically accurate sex ed.)
Enough with the mixed messages, as Jessica Wakeman wrote at The Frisky, continuing: “If pregnant teen girls get their moment in the media’s graces, the least we can do is use it wisely. The alternative could be much, much worse.” Of course the media plays a role in the whole teen pregnancy ecosystem, but there are a whole lot of other reasons teens get pregnant, most of which are much, much more complicated and challenging than the simple notion of MTV cause-and-effect (which is exactly why we are reluctant to acknowledge and deal with them). Teens are smarter than we give them credit for. Sometimes, in fact — see phrases bolded above — they just want to talk.
It’s the National Sex Ed Week of Action! Now with PRIZES! (For the first reader who emails me with answers to the quiz below!) But first, a quick true or false:
• The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate among the world’s developed nations.
• According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least one in four teen girls has a sexually transmitted infection.
• Half of sexually active young people in the U.S. will contract a sexually transmitted infection by age 25.
• Approximately 750,000 teenagers in the United States will become pregnant this year.
• The health care reform bill included a renewal of $50 million per year funding of abstinence-only education for states until 2014.
• This Op-Ed by an Atlanta teen about the importance of comprehensive, accurate sex ed is awesome.
Answer key: TRUE, TRUE, TRUE, TRUE, TRUE, TRUE.
Which, now that we’re all riled up, brings us to the one with PRIZES!Planned Parenthood of NYC, BG’s local affiliate, is giving away a package of safe-sex goodies to the BG reader who emails me with the correct answers to all five of the following (at least peripherally) sex-ed related questions. Pencils ready?
1. In how many states is it still illegal for an unmarried heterosexual couple to live together?
2. What was the name of the first daytime television show to feature a same sex wedding?
3. What famous female advocate founded the first birth control clinic and later founded Planned Parenthood?
4. Japanese love pillows, which usually decorated with life-size animae characters are called what?
5. What species was the famous gay couple who raised an offspring named Tango together?
Filed under: News, media — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:22 am
MTV + Foursquare + STD testing = a cool move in an effort to destigmatize taking care of your sexual health. Getting yourself tested should be as routine, and frankly, as Tweetable, as getting yourself a latte. I like!
On stands today: Riverdale’s “hot new guy,” who’s gay. Yes, that Riverdale, home of Archie, Jughead, Betty, and now Kevin, who is really, really, not interested in Veronica. As comics fans first heard in the spring, “the most mainstream, Middle-American comic book” — which last made headlines with a good old-fashioned traditional marriage — has now officially gone the way of, well, actual communities with gay people in them. Win.
What’s extra-cool here, as Barbara Spindel reports in the Daily Beast, is how — how mellowly — the gayness is presented and framed. “After Kevin and Jughead enjoy some homosocial bonding at a hamburger-eating contest, Jughead warns the new kid that Veronica isn’t likely to stop pursuing him until he returns her flirtations. ‘It’s nothing against her. I’m gay,’ Kevin explains nonchalantly, showing how much more casual coming out has become since the X-Men superhero Northstar made headlines in 1992 with this clunky announcement: ‘For while I am not inclined to discuss my sexuality with people for whom it is none of their business — I am gay!’”
Also, Spindel notes, the fact that he’s gay does not become the plot. Instead, it gets absorbed right in as the basis of some true-to-Archie-world hijinks: “Far from being labored, Kevin’s coming out feels entirely relevant to a comic book about how teens relate. What’s more, Parent uses Kevin’s sexuality as an ingenious plot device that fits seamlessly within the well-worn Archie narrative. ‘Kevin is going to tell her that he’s gay, but Jughead tells him not to because he enjoys seeing Veronica making a fool of herself,’ [veteran Archie artist Dan Parent] explains. ‘Everyone knows he’s gay except Veronica. Betty doesn’t push it because she realizes if Veronica is chasing Kevin then she’s got the time for Archie.’”
Setting aside my only concern — Veronica’s gaydar clearly needs to go into the shop — what I also like here is the reminder of connection made between gayness and wholesomeness (if, indeed, wholesomeness is to be considered a worthy goal). Gay here (and in real life) does not (necessarily) equal subversive, alterna-, Adam Lambert, or “worse.” Why, the gays fit right in, see? That’s what always puzzled me, in a certain way, about the whole gay marriage thing. It’s like, “People. We scared you when we were flamboyant and counter culture. Now we’re trying to settle down, just like you, and you’re really freaked out?!”
Speaking of marriage — and perhaps the best news of all — Archie Comic Publications editor in chief Victor Gorelick noted to the Daily Beast that protest was much more vociferous when the news broke that Archie would marry Veronica. Perhaps we can look forward to seeing Riverdale celebrate the wedding of Kevin and, I don’t know, Steve?
Chelsea who? The wedding of the universe recently took place in England. Something old, something new, something super! (Possibly most awesome: bridesmaids = Powerpuff Girls.) Think they jetted off to Sandals in the bride’s invisible plane?
Ooh! “Singles for Foursquare builds a dating and messaging service on top of the location-sharing application. The result is a mashup that could match up hip iPhone-using, Foursquare-playing, same-bar-going early adopters.”
ProgrammableWeb also has this keen idea for version 2.0: “The concept could actually be expanded to connect users in a time-shifted manner. Rather than needing to be at the same place at the same time, Singles could recognize two of its users that frequent a particular restaurant and suggest they go at the same time. With dating sites based on even more tangential commonalities, it seems like a reasonable service to give to Foursquare users who tend to love their local businesses.” Plus, no LDRs.