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What We Talk About When We Talk About Angelina Jolie’s Boobs

May 14, 2013

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photo via Flickr

Angelina Jolie wrote an op ed in the New York Times today about her decision to have a preventive double¬†mastectomy¬†in order to greatly reduce her risk of breast cancer, which she had an almost 90% chance of getting due to a “faulty” gene (BRCA1)¬†which greatly predisposes carriers to the disease.

Her acting career — indeed her¬†celebrity career — has often revolved and relied on her otherworldly beauty (which includes bodily proportions more akin to Barbie than the average woman). Case in point: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was basically a vehicle for her boobs. Her body has been a fantasy and jealousy maker for both men and women (and not just respectively speaking). And as is the case with any celebrity, but especially one who’s part of an elite power couple known for their physical beauty, her body has been something we feel we own in some way with our Us Weekly ogling.

Which is why this op ed comes as such a shocker. How could she willingly remove these money-making, awe-inspiring assets? Especially without consulting us? She’s taken away the essence of her identity!

Which of course she hasn’t.¬†Jolie could have quietly undergone the procedure, gotten the reconstruction and moved on. But by going public, she’s teaching us several valuable lessons:

- Celebrities aren’t superhuman. Even though being filthy rich can often help with medical matters, celebrities are still just people made of cells that can be prone to illness and disease. They get old (try as they might to fight it) and they die, sometimes accidentally, sometimes prematurely, sometimes naturally. We won’t find double mastectomies featured in Us Weekly’s “Celebrities, They’re Just Like Us” column, but maybe we should.

- Boobs don’t make the woman. We are not defined by our body parts, no matter how much pop culture and porn insist we are. Breasts aren’t just for show — they’re for feeding our babies, for our own pleasure, and sometimes they’re for nothing and nobody. (What woman hasn’t wished them away during a jog or on a hot day or when walking past a bunch of construction workers?) A woman’s worth is comprised of so much more: her intellect, her personality, her accomplishments, her career, her family, her values. Just as “being a man” should not be defined by penis size. (For instance, most people are familiar with Jolie’s enhanced curvature in Tomb Raider, but few know that it was her work abroad on that movie that led her to become involved in important¬†humanitarian¬†causes around the world ‚ÄĒ priorities, people!).

- Speaking of priorities, we as a culture would do well to take breasts off their pedestal, be a little more mature and less ravenous about the accidental nip slip, and not require their gratuitous display in every rated R movie. It might result in women not hating their own boobs so much. It might result in less plastic surgery, especially of the elephantine variety. It might result in more respect for women, which ultimately translates into better pay, more power, and less sexism and violence against women. You know, the little things.



5 Reasons Why More Sex Helps Your Career

September 20, 2012


LELO created this fun infographic¬†(included below),¬†which could be more simply titled “5 Reasons Why More Sex Helps Your LIFE.” A few thoughts on each point:

  1. Honestly, in this recession, we think most people would take the raise over the sex (including us).
  2. Yes! Sex beats shopping every time. (Or at least it should.)
  3. Wait: Married couples having sex a little more than once a week leads to more frustration, fights and tension because that’s not enough? Seems kind of like a glass-is-half-empty analysis of the data, if you ask us.
  4. Sex cleans your pores, prevents wrinkles and age spots, and gives your skin a healthy glow? Sounds like this came from the “semen is good for your skin” study out of Teanboi University. We do, however, agree wholeheartedly that if the average woman is spending $75 on facials per month (WTF?!), she could put that time and money to much better use (e.g. in some quality alone time with our Toy of the Month).
  5. If calling sex “exercise” (admittedly a stretch) makes you do it more, then more power to you!

Infographic: 5 Reasons Why More Sex Helps Your Career

Getting On By Getting It On – LELO’s More Sex for a Better Career Infographic

German Court Rules Circumcision a “Bodily Harm”

July 2, 2012


photo via flickr

This week a court in Germany ruled that circumcising boys for religious reasons is “bodily harm.” The ruling came as a result of a court case about medical complications following the circumcision of a four-year-old boy. The doctor was acquitted, but apparently the court felt like stirring up a shit-storm anyway. ¬†The ruling isn’t binding but it certainly sets a precedent.

Also, this happened in Germany. And circumcision of newborn boys has been a tradition in Judaism (amongst other religions and cultures) dating back thousands of years. Er, guys? You do remember the Holocaust, right? Don’t you think you might want to step a little more lightly when it comes to religious freedom, and in particular the religious freedom of Jewish people?

Read the rest of this post on SUNfiltered


Sad with Shitty Insurance? Try Online Group Therapy

June 12, 2012


Ever feel like you could benefit from a therapist but you don’t have the cash or you can’t travel to sessions or you just don’t wan to make the commitment? Now the magic Internet is bringing the therapists to you for only $9.99 per hour-long sesh. Talktala:_ is a brand new site (so new they’re still in the beta stage) that¬†democratizes therapy by providing it in small groups for a low price.

You attend a group session — whether by chatting, talking, videoing or a combination of all three, your choice — with a max of 8 people including the therapist. It can be completely anonymous, if you prefer. Their projected audience is mainly women and many of the sessions are centered around relationship issues; for example, “I can’t seem to get the relationship I want” and “I want to break my relationship patterns” and “My spouse is cheating on me” and “Divorce Support.”

We haven’t tried it and can’t vouch for the experience, but we were intrigued enough by the idea — especially since we often get advice questions from people who should be seeking professional help but can’t afford it — that we asked Talktala:_ for more information:

Read our interview with Talktala:_ on SUNfiltered

Doctor Claims He’s Located the G-Spot

May 1, 2012

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photo via flickr

Yes, Virginia, there is a G-spot, and one doctor in Poland claims he’s located it — and he says it’s tiny, less then one centimeter across. But other G-spot experts are not so sure of his claim. Dr. Adam Ostrzenski (what are the odds his buddies now call him Dr. O?), a semi-retired Florida gynecologist, did a postmortem on an 83-year-old woman in Warsaw, where the use of cadavers is not nearly as regulated as it is in the U.S. (In Poland, doctors can dissect bodies very shortly after death, which allows them to explore fine distinctions in tissue.) And according to an article he published in the¬†Journal of Sexual Medicine¬†last week, he uncovered small, grape-like clusters of erectile tissue inside a tiny sac between the fifth and sixth layers of vaginal wall tissue. But¬†then there’s this noteworthy (and rather shady) aside: in his day job,¬†Ostrzenski performs plastic surgery on women’s genitalia — and you’ll never guess what service is on his menu — “G spotplasty.” Kinda shady…

Read the rest of this post on SUNfiltered

Naked News: The HPV Edition

March 30, 2012


poster via NCCC-online.org

We’ve been writing about sex and sexual health for more than a decade, and HPV still makes our heads swim. It’s such a complicated subject — complicated further by the emotional and political climate surrounding the vaccine — and guidelines on HPV seem to be constantly changing. It’s been in the news a lot lately, so we thought we’d review some of the latest headlines.¬†If you want to brush up on the facts, check out the CDC’s HPV page here.¬†And you can review everything we’ve published on HPV here.

Read the rest of this post on SUNfiltered

What Do We Want? An Affordable, Non-Hormonal, Long-Lasting Contraception Option for Men!

March 29, 2012


When do we want it? Now! Of course, these kind of things take time and money. And if these things don’t fit the Big Pharma money-making model (take a pill, day after day, year after year, and keep shelling out the dough for it), then getting backing and support is an uphill battle. But¬†Vasalgel¬†seems to be the little birth control that could. After three decades of research and trials in India, this method of reversible male contraception has made it’s way to America thanks to the¬†Parsemus Foundation, which is dedicated to finding low-cost solutions neglected by the pharmaceutical industry. The latest news on this front: preliminary rabbit safety and efficacy studies in the U.S. just started this month!

Read the rest of this post on SUNfiltered 

It’s Official: Your Insurance Provider Now Has to Cover Your Contraceptives

August 4, 2011


We reported¬†last week that a leading U.S. medical advisory panel recommended that all insurers be required to cover contraceptives for women free of charge. Well, guess what? The Obama administration went for it! And we don’t mean the kind of “free” where you have to pay an annoying co-pay or other deductible. We mean 100% on the house.¬†Let the celebratory protected boot-knocking begin!¬†Insurance providers will be required to cover every single contraceptive method approved by the FDA, including sterilization procedures and… wait for it… emergency contraceptives including the Plan B pill. Halle-fucking-lujah.

Read the rest of this post on SUNfiltered

Give Us an I! Give us a U! Give us a D!

July 5, 2011


illus. of Paraguard IUD via Med.unc.edu

Move over, Pill! According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the IUD is a whole lot more effective — and safer than was traditionally thought.¬†For a long time IUDs have been recommended only for women in long-term monogamous relationships who’d already had children — this was based on concerns that IUDs raised the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which, left untreated, can cause infertility. But according to ACOG, the evidence does not support these concerns — meaning, IUDs do not cause PID.

When you combine this news with what we already knew — the overwhelming effectiveness of a device that you insert once every five or ten years, as compared to a pill that you have to remember to take daily — it’s kind of a no-brainer. Or, at least, the IUD is definitely a contender. Currently it’s the redheaded stepchild of the birth control world — in 2008, IUDs, were the chosen method of 5.5% of women using contraceptives (and only 1.3% in 2002). But as more and more women find out that (a) IUDs are a lot safer than they’d been warned and (b) a lot more effective than the Pill or condoms, we’re guessing that will change. Here’s more from us on IUDs:

Read the rest of this post on SUNfiltered

Abortion Foes Seek to Redefine Personhood

June 6, 2011


photo via Flickr

If anti-abortion activists thought that redefining the laws of gravity would help their cause, they wouldn’t let a little scientific evidence get in their way. And the latest campaign is almost as far-fetched: A group called Personhood USA is trying to redefine when life begins. It starts “exactly at creation,” according to Keith Mason, president of Personhood USA. “It’s fertilization; it’s when the sperm meets the egg.” Mason wants laws to recognize every fertilized egg as an individual and complete human being.

Not that it matters to Mason, but the, um, facts aren’t exactly on his side. Medically, fertilization does not mark the beginning of pregnancy — because only about half of all fertilized eggs end in pregnancy. Medically, pregnancy begins once a fertilized egg implants in the uterus. But perhaps Mason doesn’t realize this, given that he probably thinks sex ed is for losers.

Read the rest of this post on SUNfiltered