Tuesday, February 28, 2006


PORN and the Sex Industry

We had a great discussion about porn and the sex industry tonight. Please feel free to continue it here.

We addressed three main issues:
1. What is porn?
2. Ethics of Porn
3. Porn industry

Here are some of the discussion questions:

Is porn art?

Is porn degrading, and if so to just women, or men too?

Does porn facilitate or perpetuate violence against women?

Who is accountable for the negative consequences of porn, the consumer or the producer?

Why are women’s fantasies never pictured in mainstream porn?

Is porn different in different cultures?

Are submissive sexual roles a choice for women?

What effect does dehumanizing men and women in pornography have on our sex lives?

Is there racism in porn?

Can we make watching porn a positive experience when we watch it by ourselves or with our sexual partners?

What is healthy sex?

Thursday, February 23, 2006


Sexcellent Fair

The Sex on the Hill fair sponsored by VOX was fun! Thanks to everyone for helping us make a great display! We had a “Where have you had sex” game in which people could mark a campus map with red sticker dots. People had a lot of fun looking at some of random places dots appeared…as well as some of the buildings that were entirely covered.

More importantly, we had information about legislation and statistics related to campus sexual assault. We also had a side panel that demonstrated that feminists have a diversity of opinions about sex. The display is in the women's center if you want to check it out or add your own dots.

Christina Hoff Summers

I'm just opening up a comment board for any comments people who went to the Christina Hoff Summers lecture might have. Personally I'm bursting with opinions and things to rant about, but I'm going to have to think about it before I come up with anything like a clear analysis or actual thoughtful critiques. So comment on what you guys thought!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Check Out this, from the Tufts Daily

Sunday, February 19, 2006


SEX on the HILL

So we were thinking of having a display about college feminisms. We will be making a collage about the diversity of feminist idea and issues about sex in college, and the type of people involved. Some people may be writing up some information various topics like STDS, college sex statistics and things of that nature. We are going for serious, informative and thought provoking. We want to show how we are an alliance that welcomes many different opinions as long as sexual and political equality between men and women is embraced. Please post comments, please check back for more discussion.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006



Happy V-Day

The Valentine’s Day edition of the Primary Source had an article by Anna Kim called “A Dissenting Feminist” which I feel requires a response. Firstly, I would like to applaud Miss Kim for being critical of the feminist community. Certainly we can achieve as much progress for our aims of gender equality when we debate internally as when we criticize and seek to change patriarchal institutions. With that said, I firmly disagree with the article’s premise, that The Vagina Monologues and the V-Day celebrations that accompany the performance contribute to the objectification of women.

Anna Kim seems to agree with Christina Hoff Sommers, a scholar who is a leading critic of feminisms. I find many of Sommers’ and Kim’s claim problematic, but I will only address Kim’s statement that, “The Vagina Monologues mars the respect that society ought to have for women, much as when the entertainment industry, for example, uses nude women to generate profit, the result is not only an increasing acceptance of scandalous attire, but also an increasing trend of males using females only for sexual gratification.” I think this is a very misguided assertion, which Kim never substantiates. However, she does admit that the monologues make women more comfortable with talking about rape and sexual violence. That alone, I believe, makes the monologues an admirable endeavor, and separates them from the dehumanizing portrayal of women we often see in the media.

Being comfortable with talking about sexual abuse is a big deal. Indeed, this discourse is perhaps one of the most powerful tools for fighting violence against women. When women are not ashamed or afraid to talk with each other about sex and sexual behavior they are empowered because they can learn how to differentiate healthy relationships from abusive ones. Our greatest weapon to stop violence against women is our ability to confidentially say “no,” in sexual situations if we feel uncomfortable. When we treat talking about women’s sexuality as taboo, many women are afraid to question and resist abusive circumstances. Encouraging silence perpetuates abuse.

I would like to go even further, however, and say that there is much more to The Vagina Monologues and the fight to stop violence against women. The Primary Source also included a page entitled “The Penis Monologues,” a parody of The Vagina Monologues, which demonstrates that when you substitute a penis, the effect really isn’t the same. The parody really crystallizes why Kim’s interpretation of the monologues misses the substantive message: they aren’t just about vaginas, they are about women—they are about people.

Thus, the monologues are not responsible for men using women for sex. Furthermore, women’s discourse and attire ought never be blamed for that sort of behavior anyway. The Vagina Monologues portrays many different types sexual roles for women, but never promotes disrespect. This is the exact opposite of many images we see in the media. The campus is certainly addressing this issue. The Tufts Men’s Activist Coalition hosted an event after the Super Bowl to analyze the portrayal of masculinity in advertising and inevitably femininity was addressed in the discussion. It was noted that women are portrayed as objects and body parts, without faces or identities. The Vagina Monologues reverses this picture of women’s sexuality by giving true identities to women and showing that they are more than body parts, and sexual abuse affects more than just their bodies, it affects their humanity.

The Vagina Monologues gives us the ability to talk about rape and sexual violence more freely. They portray women with identities that get hurt when their bodies are objectified. The V-day celebration is centered on the notion that women have voices and dignity, and celebrating that is a way to truly take a stand against violence. For these reasons, every day is V-Day to me.

-Anna G.

Monday, February 13, 2006


Vagina Monologues

Well this weekend was the Vagina Monologues at Tufts, and I thought I'd give my impressions...
I went on Friday night, and it struck me that the biggest challenge for this play has become keeping it original: I think that every single person in that room had seen the Vagina Monologues at LEAST once or twice before, and frankly most people seemed to be there out of a sense of duty ("it's February, I guess I have to go see the Vagina Monologues..."). Of course, it's a fantastic testament to the power of this play that it has gone from revolutionary to cliché in only seven years - can you imagine that V-day started in 1998? It wasn't that long ago, and it's already an obligatory production for every University in America. But this wild popularity has its disadvantages in the fact that, well, it's all been done, and people are beginning to get bored.
Congratulations, then, to the women and men involved in the Tufts Vagina Monologues, who did a damned good job of keeping our attention! The representation was very simple and loyal to the text, and depended on the actresses’ abilities to pull it together despite everyone’s familiarity with the play. Personally, I thought Lauren Jackson in “The Little Coochie Snorcher That Could” and Jessica Cohen in “Reclaiming Cunt” both deserve additional props (they were awesome). But I’m not trying to be rude when I say that this production had nothing too special about it: it was basic, and well done.
So another Vagina Monologues season has come and gone, Good Job to the cast and crew at Tufts…I guess we can all go back to being afraid to say vagina and talk about women’s sexuality for the other 364 days of the year…

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


New York Times Talk and Events down the block

Check out this this editorial in the New York Times today by Judith Warner.

She will be in Harvard Square next Monday, February 13th at 7 pm on the third floor of the Harvard Coop talking about her new book, “Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety.”

Another option for that evening is at 6:30 at the Boston Public Library in the Rabb Lecture Hall. Karenna Gore Schiff will discuss her book, “Lighting the Way: Nine Women Who Changed Modern America.”

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Gadflies Unite!

Tufts Feminist Alliance hopes to serve as an umbrella network for all Tufts student groups devoted to equality between men and women and the exploration of gender identity. The project is named GADFLIES for Gender Awareness Discourse For Living In Equal Societies. Any campus organization that would like to be represented is welcome to apply for a membership to this web log. The group will get their own username so their representatives can post blog entries. Your group may inquire about membership by emailing TFA. We welcome a diversity of perspectives and ideas.

At today’s meeting we will be discussing the legacy of Betty Friedan and our upcoming campus projects and discussion topics. We will be baking vagina cookies for people to decorate at our Vulvapalooza booth for V-Day, as well as creating a poster to raise awareness about “Laws that Affect your Vagina.” Please keep checking back as new members are added and we post reactions to tomorrows’ discussion.