For those who may not know, the LRU is a compilation of items from the past week that may be of interest to VPers and is intended to broaden the kinds of conversations we have here.
To submit articles for next week's round-up, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have additional articles you'd like folks to know about this week, feel free to comment directly to this post.
As a reminder, in lieu of trigger warnings, I use keywords describing the themes of the piece. Please skim these before deciding to read the excerpt or click through for the full article. Outside sources are not safe spaces, and mainstream source's comments should almost always be avoided. The links I highlight don't necessarily reflect VP's views, or even my own, for that matter.
This week's round-up includes: abstinence education and rape survivors, adoptees finding birth parents, sperm cells created from a female embryo, survivors and masturbation, and the pursuit of thinness.
- Elizabeth Smart: Abstinence Education Teaches Rape Victims They’re Worthless, Dirty, And Filthy by Tara Culp-Ressler at ThinkProgress (Keywords: sex education, abstinence, child sexual abuse, rape, victim blaming)
Social psychologists and sexual abuse counselors agree that comprehensive sex education can help prevent sexual crimes. Teaching children about their bodies gives them the tools to describe acts of abuse without feeling as embarrassed or uncomfortable, and it also helps elevate their self-confidence and sense of bodily autonomy. A shame-based approach to genitalia and sexuality, on the other hand, sends kids the message that they can’t discuss or ask questions about any of those issues.
- Adoptees Shouldn't Have to Use Facebook to Find Their Birth Parents by Emily Matchar at The Atlantic (Keywords: US, adoption, birth parents, Facebook)
"Imagine a world where adult adoptees could access their birth records like EVERY other American and know the name they were given," she writes. "Then they wouldn't have to post pictures of themselves on Facebook holding signs with personal information all over. Then they wouldn't have to beg for strangers for shares in order to find out who they look like and if cancer runs in their family."
- Sperm cells created from female embryo by Roger Highfield at The Telegraph (Keywords: biology, gender, sperm, stem cells)
British scientists who had already coaxed male bone marrow cells to develop into primitive sperm cells have now repeated the feat with female embryonic stem cells.
The University of Newcastle team that has achieved the feat is now applying for permission to turn the bone marrow of a woman into sperm which, if successful, would make the method more practical than with embryonic cells.
- 5 reasons for survivors to reclaim masturbation by Jen at We Can Come Home: Orgasm as radical self care (Keywords: orgasm, masturbation, sexual violence, dissociation)
I don’t often write these sorts of numbered lists, but today I’m thinking about why it matters that survivors of sexual violence reclaim their bodies, reclaim their desire, reinstate their sovereignty over their skin and hungers, taking all of it, every fiber, every nerve response, every singe of shame, every swallow of sorrow, every sob, every shapeshifted fantasy, every trauma-inflected stroke, back from the hands of the person or people who tried to teach us that our bodies weren’t our own.
- Why I Don’t Diet – An Ode to My Father by Tiffany at More Cabaret (Keywords: death, dieting, weight loss -- with numbers, body image)
My father was born larger than life, to a family of larger than life people. DNA sequencing showed we are almost entirely Viking stock, no great surprise given the height and breadth of our bodies....
But he didn’t want to be a giant. He wanted to be thin.
Thoughts on any of these stories? Also, what have you been reading (or writing!) this week?