**Contains spoiler for Brooklyn 99 S2E20 and S3E5**

The squad varies in their ability to cope with accidentally saying something inappropriate. Captain Holt is a master. In the midst of the Halloween Heist, completely caught up in the intensity of the competition, he explains to Amy why a camera would be hidden in her breasts that “The cleavage hides the camera!” and as she is leaving his office he says, without missing a beat, “I’m sorry I said cleavage.”

Holt: Sorry I said cleavage.

This is important. It was uncomfortable in the moment, but he apologized right away, leading me to believe that Amy’s discomfort did not linger further than that moment in his office. He messes up in the episode with Rosa’s pregnancy scare as well, but he acknowledges the awkwardness, accepts her request to stop pointing at it, and they both move on and agree never to talk about it again. He makes his intentions clear and when he is inappropriate, he owns it and apologizes. #likeacaptain #holt #metoo #rolemodels

Captail Holt: sorry I said cleavage.
Captail Holt: sorry I said cleavage.
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Boyle: I have spectacular taste in men.

It’s satisfying that Boyle can say out loud that he has fantastic taste in men without adding “no homo” at the end. Boyle’s heterosexuality is never questioned, even though he does on occasion make lewd comments about Jake as well as this one expression of his taste in men as something he is proud of. #nailedit #titleoftheirsextape #masculinity #heteronormativity #sexuality #gendernorms #boyle #rolemodels

Charles Boyle: I have spectacular taste in men.
Charles Boyle: I have spectacular taste in men.

 

Pride by Liora Sophie

My pride is made of a million specks of shame I’ve shaken off my back over the years, A hundred girl-on-girl kisses under the blanket so no one would see, A trickle of my bleeding heart for e…

Source: Pride by Liora Sophie

Aziz Ansari Acted Like an Ass, and Is Now Being Made to Feel Embarrassed For Acting Like an Ass

An article was recently published and in my opinion, incorrectly titled “The Humiliation of Aziz Ansari.” I would like to offer my alternative title: Aziz Ansari acted like an ass, and is now being made to feel embarrassed for acting like an ass.

His career is not over (or is it? If you have articles that show that he’s been fired from a show or hasn’t gotten another role since, please send them to me, I’d be happy to be proven wrong on this point), nobody sent inappropriate photos of him to his boss or his family*. The only thing that happened is that someone told a story about a date with him, and now the internet is exercising its right to call her a liar and explain to everyone why what he did is “not that bad.”

Are you mad yet? No? Well then, please keep reading!

I’m not going to link to the article that prompted me to write this, because I don’t want to give it more traffic. But here are some things it says:

Grace’s account is “proof that women are angry, temporarily powerful—and very, very dangerous.”

If you’re making this face right now confused emoji you’re in good company. I’m sorry, you needed proof that women are angry? Very, very dangerous – you mean like guns and big nuclear buttons? Temporarily powerful?

If anything, the article is proof that the opposite is still true – women still cave to the power of men, at the expense of their own personal safety and comfort. Some have argued that Grace didn’t say no – but she did say a lot of other things, all of which I would expect Ansari to have understood. He’s smart, you know – he wrote a book about dating. I even read it a little over a year ago. He’s funny, and he had some good ideas. So I honestly expected him to understand ‘Whoa, let’s relax for a sec, let’s chill.” To mean, I’m not entirely okay with what is going on here at the moment, and I need you to stop doing what you are doing so we can talk about what we are both comfortable with, and without me feeling pressured. Yes, I expect him to understand that. It’s not such a reach.

Do I wish that women could communicate more clearly and say “no” more assertively? Yes, I do. But do you know why we sometimes don’t? Because of fear of being beaten, or raped, or murdered, or sold into slavery. Real fears of real things that are, unlike women complaining on the internet, very, very dangerous.

Aziz responded to Grace’s account that he had no idea that she was experiencing things that way. Suppose he is being honest about this: this is still a big problem. It is this that I have argued over and over again that is the cause of so many cases of sexual assault; the not paying attention, the ignoring, the doing it anyway, in short – the entitlement.

If men were as scared to make advances on women as women are afraid of men, then I would be willing to sit at a table where someone suggests that women are powerful and very, very dangerous. Until then, though, it’s anybody’s guess how the author of that article drew that particular conclusion.

*The account is compared to “revenge porn” in the article that must not be linked.

12 Sex Ed Things That Aren’t Even About Sex

Even if you are pro abstinence only education (and you believe that it works) there are crucial things you can tell young people without even talking to them about sex at all. While I am mainly aiming for girls here, most of these topics do apply to young boys as well.

By the way, I am in favor of comprehensive sex ed far beyond what is listed below. These twelve items made it into the post because I think there is no excuse for not giving this information to young people regardless of your religious beliefs.

  1. Self Image. No matter what you look like, you are beautiful. This is so important, especially for young girls, at any age. Fat is not a synonym for ugly. Girls should be taught to love their body because this is an enormous measure of self worth for women in a society that places so much importance on how we look.
  2. Options for your period. It’s 2016, and disposable pads and tampons are not the only options anymore! Not only are there other options, but disposable pads and tampons are just about the worst choice for any woman these days. Girls should be provided with information about cloth pads and the menstrual cup, both of which are significantly less expensive, more environment friendly, and healthier by far than the disposable options.
  3. Gender identity. Most people are lucky enough to be born with the sex organs that match the gender they were assigned at birth. But not everyone’s gender is the same as their sex. That is an important distinction that seems irrelevant to those of us who are cisgender. But for transgender kids and teenagers, this conversation could save lives.
  4. Sexual orientation. Surprise! Not everyone is straight. Not all preteen girls start to like boys. And that’s okay, and it’s normal.
  5. How your body works. Even programs that sell themselves as comprehensive sex ed mostly only cover basic anatomy of the internal reproductive organs, and if you’re lucky it’ll be scientifically accurate. The vagina is not the only significant part of a woman’s body just because it’s the one the penis goes in. We need to know what are all the different parts we have and what they do, at least in the same way we understand that we have lungs and arteries and kidneys. What is the clitoris? Is it the same as the urethra? Also, why don’t my lady parts look like that porn star’s? Am I weird?
  6. What is virginity? Is it important? Can I lose it to a tampon? No, you can not lose it to a tampon. Your virginity is not defined by your hymen. If you have one. Also, what is the hymen? Where is it and what is its purpose? (Hint: it is not a layer of saran wrap buried deep inside your vaginal canal that is punctured the first time you have sex. If that were true, where would our period come out of?) Laci Green explains this expertly in her video, “You Can’t POP Your Cherry!” 
  7. Relationships. Even if you believe young people are not having sex, there’s no denying they are having relationships. They need to know about heartbreak, how to deal with it, how to move on. And please do not underestimate the amount of pain an eleven year old can experience from being dumped. Just because their bodies are small doesn’t mean their emotions are not strong.
  8. Abuse. Early warning signs of abuse. What are the red flags they should look out for when dating someone? What if you are being abused right now? How do you get help? How do you know if you are being emotionally or verbally abused, if it’s not physical? For more info, see Common-Warning-Signs-of-Domestic-Violence  and teen-dating-violence-factsheet-a
  9. Safety. It’s not just about condoms. It’s also about wearing a seat belt, and not getting into a car with someone you don’t know, or someone you do know who is drunk. For girls, often it’s about how to set clear boundaries, how to say NO, how to throw a good punch without hurting yourself.
  10. Consent. This should have been higher up on the list, really. What does consent look like? (Hint: it only sounds like an explicit and enthusiastic “Yes!”) When do you need to get consent from your partner? (Hint: always) Does it ruin the moment to stop and talk about things?
  11. Respect. Girls deserve to be respected by their partners. If someone does not respect you, get rid of them. You deserve respect.
  12. Sexual Desire. Whether or not you give kids information about sex, they need to know that it is normal and okay to have those weird and new feelings that they are experiencing. Especially girls. Even if you emphatically encourage young teens not to have sex, they still need to know that it is okay to want it.

If you are in favor of kids and teens knowing about sex – great! If you are not – at least give them the knowledge they need to be healthy, self confident, and not have to spend 200$ a year every year from age 10 to 60 on something they didn’t choose to have.

Hephaestus and Aphrodite

Aphrodite running from Hephaestus
Does this look like fun?

Everyone knows what it feels like to be rejected by someone you have feelings for. (If you don’t, this post may not be of interest to you.) Let’s agree it’s comparable to being run over by a garbage truck. It is not at all a desirable situation to be in.

You know how Romeo and Juliet ended because their parents couldn’t get along. We’ve heard stories about people who were not allowed to be together because of social conventions. But how often do you hear stories of people who were forced into a relationship with someone who didn’t want them? Actually I think there’s a Greek myth about that one; Hephaestus was betrothed to Aphrodite, but he was not attractive to her, and she ran off with his hot brother Ares the god of war. It’s a sad story, but people tend to sympathize with Aphrodite, because she is the goddess of love, so surely she deserves better than the hideous Hephaestus? My question is, why didn’t they just let her marry Ares? It comes down to how little sense there is in the Greek myths.

In the book I’m writing, two of the characters find themselves in a relationship. Ledo is desperately in love with Amalia, but he senses her hesitation and does not understand why. While Amalia enjoys his company, something is not right. For Ledo, his time with Amalia is both relief and torture, because he wants to make her happy but he feels he will never be enough for her.

Their relationship reminds me of some stories I’ve heard from people who were in a heterosexual relationship, and discovered after it ended that their partner was homosexual. It’s not uncommon. It doesn’t sound like too much fun either. Both parties may develop deep emotional connections, even though the physical attraction is unilateral. How terrible must it be to know you can’t satisfy someone you love so much? As I type these words my heart is breaking for people who have experienced that feeling. Even if sometimes these relationships were initiated by the partners, it’s still a painful situation to be in.

Dare I ask why some think that forcing gay people to marry straight is a good thing?