Sex is not the enemy

David Cameron is set to announce a new set of proposals for child-proofing the internet. A new opt-in scheme to be unveiled today would have internet providers blocking access to pornographic material to all but those users who request it. Clearly children, some teenagers and even adults can be shocked and upset by explicit imagery.

I don’t think we should run (seek to understand exotic acts and complex power games) before we can walk (understand a basic ideal of sex between adults who respect each other). But wouldn’t it be nice if the government were to replace one (misleading, fantasy-based) source of sex information with another (safe, inclusive) source?

The classically repressed British are living proof that ignoring sex does not make STIs or unwanted pregnancy go away. Only proper education, support networks and open adult discussion can do that.

I think we have some things to learn from our friends down under:



Another despairing moment for the American right

Michele Bachmann speaks during the GOP debate

You’d think after eight years of George W. Bush as President you would have thought the Republican party would ensure its front-runners for the 2012 Presidential bid would at the very least appear to seem to know what they are talking about. But sadly, they got Michelle Bachmann instead. Now I thought the American right (specifically the Tea Party wing) had lost most of its credibility (primarily) in regards to modern science when one of its darlings, Sarah Palin, said this:

Now, yes you may well be reeling laughter/pity for the Palin. But this has turned out to be nothing when compared to the Tea Party’s newer rising darling, Michelle Bachmann. This is the woman who wishes to close down the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), regards homosexuality as a “disorder” and a “sexual difunction” and wishes to repeal all health care system legislation.

What she done now? You may ask. Well she, like Palin has delved into the realm of scientific ignorance. Bachmann claimed that the HPV vaccine, which is a well-proven preventer of cervical cancer, causes “mental retardation” in children. Yup, you heard right, “mental retardation” in children.

Now I’m not even going to go in to the long long list of scientists and scientific institutions that lined up to show how ridiculous Bachmann’s comments are. But I will provide her with two specific facts:

  • HPV, Human Papilloma Virus, or more commonly: genital warts is the most common STD worldwide and is the 2nd largest cause of female cancer (CDC).
  • Investigations by the AMA, CDC, WHO, and other major health organizations have cleared the vaccine as safe. Of 23 million administered dosages, 772 (that’s .003%) reported serious effects.
Please Tea Party, grow up!


So much to talk about

Apologises for the lack of  blogging lately. Been rather busy with essays, football match against BUCF (kinda) and general stuff back up north. Anyway, in that time there have been HUGE events in which I’d like to focus on. The NHS reforms (naturally), Portugal bail-out (naturally again) and University Minister, David Willetts, on Feminism.

First off, all I have to say on the NHS reforms is, thank god! No one wants these reforms. The BMA opposes it, the Lib Dems oppose it, 60% of GPs oppose the reforms and none other than Lord Tebbit opposes the reforms. If your too right-wing for Lord Tebbit, you know your policies have huge issues. Ian Duncan-Smith (IDS) even admitted that waiting times were already rising due to real term cuts to the NHS. Lansley has been hung out to dry by Cameron, lets only hope his reforms can also, permanently.

Now, naturally with the announcement of the bail-out for Portugal, Gideon jumped on the austerity bandwagon to claim that the cuts were right to prevent a similar situation occurring here in the UK. But if you stop, think and compare us, Portugal and other nation-states that have been bailed out you’ll see that this isn’t the case. For one thing, it’s important to note that prior to the bail-out, Portugal had had two austerity measures and three rises in VAT. Similarly, Ireland had been praised by the IMF in 2008 for “courageous” action for its austerity measures in an attempt to deal with its deficit. This naturally says something more about the problems of austerity than the problems of deficit/debt. For another thing, to say that Britain’s economy is anyway similar to Portugal’s/Ireland’s/Greece’s is absolutely ludicrous. We for one have a far, far larger economy than that of those countries, we have far more time to pay back our debts and most plainly of all, we’re not in the Euro so we can devalue our currency raise and lower interest rates. So please Gideon, don’t jump on the scaremongering bandwagon.

Finally, probably the least well known of the issues I’m focusing on is David Willetts’ comments on Feminism. Now, if you’ve been living in a cave the last couple of weeks what he said was that feminism was the “single biggest factor” for the lack of social mobility in Britain, as women who would otherwise have been housewives had taken university places and well-paid jobs that could have gone to ambitious working-class men. Now this is wrong and completely degrading on so many levels. Don’t get me wrong, Labour really didn’t do enough to tackle social mobility while in government. But feminism is in no way the cause of the problem. The true problem is the lack of aspiration from schools and deprived regions of the country to want young people to aim higher and also the problems of money that entail that. These comments also leave a more distasteful message. It is the assumption that women are out there, taking men’s jobs. Willets’ idea that women’s primary place is in the domestic household represents nothing less than a subliminal form of sexism. This is only exacerbated when he went onto excuse his comments with “It is not that I am against feminism,”.

This hasn’t been a good couple of weeks for the coalition.


Rumblings in the NUS

Click photo for the source

The University of Kent has tonight voted down a suggestion to abolish the Men’s Officer on the Union’s strong team.

The official NUS women’s movement has a problem with this.

The point of liberation positions is that those who are normally under-represented get a chance to be heard. In the case of women’s officer it’s also about promoting sexual equality, disproving stereotypes and encouraging a post-structuralist view of gender. It’s an issue of mutual respect.

Men’s Unions formed within the NUS have typically been reactionary irreverent organisations, including one that included “playing pool and drinking beer” among its written aims.

With LGBTQ organisations doing a brilliant job at representing the gay, bisexual and transgender men out there, it seems unnecessary to require a separate men’s officer. All we can hope is that the elected man will work with the women’s officer to promote gender equality.



It’s the fear of childbirth, and it’s on the rise.

Some women are refusing to have any more children, begging for caesareans, or demanding heavy dosing of powerful pain-relieving drugs. Others are preaching about their natural births, boasting about the 18-hour marathon that was their third experience, or scoffing at those who are deemed too “posh”, too “lazy” or now, to “scared” to push. The official view of Dr Tracey Johnstone, a consultant in foetal maternal medicine at Birmingham Women’s hospital, is for women to simply “realise that childbirth is painful” and suck it up.

Why do we do this to ourselves? We should rejoice in the medicinal progress that allows us to have safe, healthy, and yes relatively painless births, not try to out-compete each other for ever more natural and gruesome experiences.

Becoming a mother is scary enough. The first couple of hours aren’t going to make a difference to how much you love and care for your child for the rest of its life. Pregnant women have too many psychological, nutritional and emotional hoops to jump through already. Let’s stop judging and preaching, and for God’s sake let them eat painkillers.


Do women enjoy sex?

Stupid question right? They hate it, everyone knows that. Or at least Stephen Fry seems to.

He recently voiced the opinion that straight men feel that women are “disgusted” with them, and the latter only engage in sexual acts in order to secure and maintain relationships.

Is this a regressive step? Historically the ideal woman has been one without sexual desire, one who will remain loyal to her husband and bear only his children. Stephen Fry is paying a massive compliment to an entire gender in the eyes of organised religion and archaic morals.

So that´s alright then. But where does it leave straight men? Or, supposing there is such a thing, lesbians? Their ideal partners are “disgusted” by them, and since there are no “straight cruising areas” they have to put up with relationships in order to secure regular sex.

Cruising areas have chiefly arisen within the gay community because of a lack of provision for more traditional ways of finding a partner, such as nightclubs. Now that there is, in this country at least, a thriving LGBT nightlife, many gay men and women will choose to meet in a bar rather than “a churchyard” or “Hampstead Heath”.

Fry said “I feel sorry for straight men”. I do too, not because they can´t get women to have sex with them, but because the system is wrong.

The rules of society dictate that women are not allowed to enjoy sex or access it freely. They must wait to be wined, dined and otherwise spoiled, unless someone extraordinarily good looking/rich/popular comes along and impresses them enough. The effort and expense involved with all this leads to less sex for straight men and straight women, it becomes more of a big deal when it does happen, the resulting pressure means it happens even less and we comfort ourselves with the idea that women are frigid and men are rats.