Quickies

Skepchick Quickies, 6.30

Tags

Jen

Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

Related Articles

35 Comments

  1. 1) Um, the Rape-aXe (formerly RapeX) has been around for about 5 years now. Has it never shown up here before? And let’s ask Tracy how she feels about this re-purposed article ;)

    2) How on earth did I miss the original info on the FGM research? And where do some of these idiots get their degrees that they can legitimize this crap?

  2. Wow that Plato guy…sounds like Dan Brown just missed an excellent novel idea. (or maybe its his next one.) I sent the article to my nephew who is doing post grad in philosophy. I will be interested in his thoughts.

    The rape thingy – well its hard to say its not a better alternative to the razor blades in the vagina – which is apparently the home made rape barrier.

    Finally our fun Octopus story. These folks need to call Randi. I mean they are just missing out on some really big money there. Not to mention the waste of talent. If I had an octopus who was psychic, I would having him choose stock. Just saying.

  3. Perhaps the medical folk at Cornell could just figure out how to make a quality set of removable vajayjay dentures and let the girls make up their own minds about their bodies at a later date. And wouldn’t that be a good start for your own platonic code?

  4. “Psychic Octopus” is a great name for a band…

    It sounds like they ran 4 trials and the octopus picked the food in the vial with the German flag all 4 times, and Germany won all 4 matches. And the Octopus lives in Germany. Maybe it is recognizing the German flag? IIRC, octopi are very visual. Or maybe they started with 16 octopi, and Phil is the only one who got all 4 matches correct?

  5. I’m hearing mixed explainations about the Cornell experiments. Were the girls intersex or just had enlarged clitori? Maybe I’m missing something, but it seems like there’s a pretty sure test: If you pee out of it, it’s a penis; if you don’t, it’s a big clit. If you have a penis and a vagina, you are intersex; if you have a big clitoris and a vagina, you aren’t.
    It makes a difference in terms of the conversation we have about the ethics of the procedure.

  6. @Non Believer: I’m pretty sure Dan Brown intentionally passed up on this because he’s too busy making shit up entirely.

    The most amusing thing he’s done so far is treating ambigrams like an eldritch, arcane art, only known by a slim few and passed down to a single apprentice with each generation…

    Rather than something you can get a fucking tattoo of at your local shop manned by a guy named ‘Scrunchie’ that’s tattooed head to toe.

  7. @paranoid android:

    That’s why I avoided jumping on that wagon. I knew there had to be more to it. But, on the heels of the APA business, it rankled a lot of people. Female sexual issues are, unfortunately, an issue commonly associated with a failure of critical thinking. Whether “correcting” ambiguous genitalia (intersex is confusing, but does NOT refer to hermaphroditism necessarily) is an ethical practice or not is a completely different issue than your standard FGM discussion and should be treated as such. The two should not be conflated, regardless of how you feel about the former.

  8. @ paranoid android:
    Thank you. That makes much more sense. The fact that these girls had congenital adrenal hyperplasia is a huge complicating factor in the ethical discussion — one that has not been addressed in other forums that I have read.

  9. Who decides what constitutes normal when we’re talking body parts? The “medical” consensus appears to be that under 2.5cm is too small for a penis; over 1cm is too large for a clitoris. So a micro penis gets lopped, as does that annoyingly large clitoris, no matter what the consequences to the child’s adult sexuality. [And just what do you think happens emotionally to a child who has to let a doctor diddle her in front of her parents? A 6-year old can “assent”? Are they kidding?]

    The NYT had an interesting article on intersex people in 2006.

    Re: the article referenced by Paranoid Android: A bit of research into CAH indicates that mucking about with “overly large” [virilised] clitores is purely for cosmetic/social reasons, not for any medical one. Medical treatment is all in the hormones.

    And, of course, we have the lying and hypocritical John Money, MD, to thank for years of misleading doctors and parents with his false John/Joan reports.

    There’s something about Wednesdays that leaves me enraged at “normal”, and the cretins who insist that everyone conform to the hump in the bell curve.

    But then, in our house, the plea to the universe has always been ‘Please, please, don’t let me be normal!’

  10. @DominEditrix: “And, of course, we have the lying and hypocritical John Money, MD,…”

    PhD actually and one of my least favorite people and a notable example of why some people think psychology researchers are only one notch above alchemists. He was all the rage twenty three years ago when I started reading research on sex offenders; and in retrospect it was Money’s ethical and moral boundaries that seemed as absent as some of the offenders he studied.

  11. When I first read the “cosmetically altered clits” story, I had to keep stopping and rereading things, while gesturing at the monitor and uttering broken sentence fragments. Later, I related the story to my boyfriend, and I had to keep pausing to let him do the same. Things I would like to ask of the world at large:

    What does a “normal” clitoris look like? Should I be concerned? Is this something girls should be worried about, on top of weight, height, complexion and bust size? I understand that theoretically both parents weigh in on it, but what is a guy’s “ideal clitoris”, if not the kind to which he is generally attracted – and doesn’t anyone find it unspeakably strange that girls can have their genitals cobbled into a shape preferred by their fathers? To say nothing of the mothers (because what can you say, except “what the unmitigated fuck”)?

    The first time I ever realized the clit could be a “problem area” was when I watched Clerks 2 with a guy I was dating, and a character compared his girlfriend’s “unusually large” (!?) clitoris to a small penis. After much internal turmoil and insecurity, I realized maybe Kevin Smith was just a dick (like the guy I’d with whom I’d watched the movie) and probably no Real People felt that way.

    Ah, but disillusionment comes swift and sudden.

  12. @DominEditrix: [And just what do you think happens emotionally to a child who has to let a doctor diddle her in front of her parents? A 6-year old can “assent”? Are they kidding?]

    THANK YOU. That was high on my wtf list too. One of the links focuses on that part of the procedure, and refers to a period of annual testing lasting until the girl is 10. I don’t know about you, but I have solid, coherent memories from my first 6-10 years. I almost hope these girls won’t.

  13. {{{If you pee out of it, it’s a penis; if you don’t, it’s a big clit. If you have a penis and a vagina, you are intersex; if you have a big clitoris and a vagina, you aren’t.}}}

    What about a million years from now, there are millions of women who pee out their clit and also have all the other female organs and no other male organs. Do we then call what they have penises? I think not.

  14. What about a million years from now, there are millions of women who pee out their clit and also have all the other female organs and no other male organs. Do we then call what they have penises? I think not.

    We have that now, it’s called futanari.

    Do NOT look that up if you are at work!!!!!

    Damn the Japanese can be weird.

  15. I don’t understand why parents and Dr.s are in such a hurry to fix this clit thing. Why not just wait until the child is an adult or at least a teenager and understands what sex is, what a clitoris is for and has enjoyed its uses.
    You don’t decide that for anyone.
    Unless its a disease, you don’t get to force the child to do this. Period. This is not a disease. Is a social/cultural issue.

  16. @James Fox: Thanks for the correction. Stupidly, I assumed that “Dr” Money had some actual medical credentials.

    From all accounts, he seemed to have been a bit of a perv, what with making “John” and “Joan” look at porn and take their clothes off and examine each other. He also appears to have endorsed paedophilia, so long as the child was attracted to the adult. That skeeves me out right there.

  17. The girls being cut are intersexed, some may have the female gender, most likely do, but there’s no guarantee. I hate it how intersex individuals are ignored, and how their genitalia are seen as something wrong and bad and something to correct. Here’s a radical idea, don’t do it until the patient says they want something done. Or, possibly, just possibly, the male/female dichotomy is false. The doctor was cutting the clitoris because it was ‘too large.’ Too large how? What harm was it doing? You don’t treat CAH with surgery. Maybe she’d like a larger clit and if she doesn’t, there’s no reason she can’t have surgery later.

    Going outside of the norm is not bad, as long as the parts function, leave them the fuck alone. Actually, I recommend people here actually do some research into the issue. A good place to start is here, the Intersex Society of North America. You know, people who actually are intersex and know what it’s like.

    Also fun, a story of how a homeless shelter treated an intersex youth.

    Intersexed people are not freaks, they don’t need to be normalized. They are a part of the spectrum of being human and deserve respect.

  18. @paranoid android:
    PA, I am a biologist, I have some knowledge of this issue. The people here are trying to uphold a false binary. Please, please, read about David Reimer who was given this kind of treatment. It’s nothing less than torture, especially when you consider that so many individuals with ambiguous genitalia are altered to appear female, irregardless of anything else because “You can make a hole, but you can’t build a pole.” That doesn’t sound like science-based medicine.

  19. Re: the toothy condom-thing – That thing really isn’t a rape prevent-er so much as a revenge. I mean, for the thing to kick into action, the rapist has to be in there, which pretty much means he *is* raping the woman.

    Re: the Cornell thing – I think I just don’t know enough about the medical condition behind the whole thing to draw a complete conclusion. But you bet your ass that if I had a kid affected, I’d make sure they treat the life threatening portion of it, and delay in any of the genital surgery as long as possible while I educated myself and tried to make a good decision.

  20. Spotted hyenas are most unusual in that the genitals of the females are almost identical in outward appearance to those of the males. Females also dominate the packs. One might conclude from this that females became dominant as a result of looking like males. Among humans, futanari, “shemales”, or “dickgirls” are considered freaks by most people now, but if they became more common they would also become more accepted, to the point that they would eventually be considered “normal”. Like hyena females are. Normal merely means “different from the overwhelming majority” and does not imply “better”.

  21. @Skulleigh:

    Re: the toothy condom-thing – That thing really isn’t a rape prevent-er so much as a revenge. I mean, for the thing to kick into action, the rapist has to be in there, which pretty much means he *is* raping the woman.

    Perhaps, but if a significant number of women start wearing them, it should make some would-be rapists a little more careful about where they stick their penis in the first place. As we like to say in economics, a barrier to exit is a barrier to entry.

  22. @Vene:
    I’m a biologist, too, and I have known the David Reimer story since I was 16.
    I’m not saying I agree with everything written in the article I linked to, or that what the doctor does is right, but the article offers additional information, and more information is usually a good thing.
    When this story first broke, most people seemed to think it was about a Frankenstein pervert doctor who likes to create designer genitalia – but it’s actually about the way we see and treat intersex individuals, and that’s a whole different discussion.

    As for the “If you pee out of it, it’s a penis; if you don’t, it’s a big clit” issue – that appears to be a false binary as well. Look at the so-called Prader scale of intersex genitalia in this animation:
    http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/HowTheBodyWorks/The-Prader-Scale.aspx?articleID=7715&categoryID=XS-nh4-03
    From the 3rd stage on there are a lot of in-betweens and probably functional issues as well.

  23. I heard about the “rape condom” thing on NPR last week. I couldn’t help thinking about the position this puts the victim in… you’re being raped, and now your genitalia has fought back, and the rapist will be super-angry at you.

    This seems like an extremely dangerous situation, more so than being overpowered and raped in the first place. Now you have an ANGRY violent attacker instead of a potentially satiated violent attacker.

    Does it help law enforcement find these guys? Yes. But I’m not sure that’s the most important thing. If someone could invent a “silent alarm” type device, that would be something I was really interested in. Something that turns your penis green after 24 hours or something.

  24. @Elizabeth: @Skulleigh: I think the deterrence comes in the fact that potential rapists know these condoms are out there, and could be used on them if they tried to attack anyone. It’s for prevention. It’s far from perfect, but I guess it’s better than nothing.

  25. @Jen: Yes, but for that to be even potentially true a lot of things have to occur. The potential rapist has to 1) hear about the existence of rape condoms, 2) believe it’s true, 3) believe his victim to feel so threatened by possible rape that she is wearing one. These are all pretty big jumps.

    Unless there is some kind of massive onslaught of communication through every outlet imaginable (TV, radio, buses, billboards, pamphleteers, sidewalk chalk, etc.), I’d be MORE worried that the person who is raping me hasn’t heard about these things, and takes his rage out on me beyond the already-in-process rape.

    There has to be an idea that deters rapists, and doesn’t put the victim in a more dangerous situation. ::think::

  26. @ Elizabeth: First of all, I don’t think most rapists are the polite and cheery type, at least not while actively raping someone. Secondly, I have serious issues with the whole ‘don’t fight back, it will make your assailant angry; and he will hurt you’ argument. It just reeks of institutionalized misogyny (I almost exclusively hear this argument used towards women). I’ve also heard quotes from women who were raped, and at the time did not fight back due to hearing similar advice in the past, and many of these women regretted their passivity, and would have rather risked death then be raped.

    Not trying to come across to harshly here, but this is one of those arguments that I don’t think is founded on any studies, and just serves to maintain a power imbalance. Whether it’s simple physical assault or rape, I’m pretty solidly in favor of self-defense by any means necessary.

  27. @ paranoid android:
    The Prader scale link was one of the most helpful parts of that blog entry. In looking at grades III and IV, it seems like those individuals would be more prone to UTIs and possibly even painful intercourse since their vaginas and urethras open into a common vestibule. Yet Dix’s concern is the clitoris? In grade V, the vagina opens into the clitoris which seems like it would cause very painful menstruation, but again the concerns seem to be cosmesis not comfort.

  28. @paranoid android:
    Ah, okay, I misinterpreted to mean that you were trying to apologize for the doctor’s actions. I do agree that this is a deeper issue than, as you put it, “designer genitalia.”

    And I really have no issue with surgery, assuming the genitalia need to be altered to function (like, for example, if the urethra is blocked.

Leave a Reply

You May Also Enjoy

Close
Close