What if I want to be a Jezebel?

In Kimberly Springer’s Queering Black Female Heterosexuality, she discusses ways for black women to be able to embrace their sexuality. She talks of how in black culture, black girls can be coined “fast” with just a slightly long look at a male. On page 77, she talks of how the phrase “Oooh, that girl know she fas’!” is only used for black girls.

She also goes on to discuss the silence that happens among black some when it comes to sexuality. In the American culture, black women are considered either sexual or asexual as she discusses on page 78. These extremes are used with the figures mammies and jezebels. The are both from the post-Civil War south. Jezebel is the term used for black women as “morally loose,” especially during this post-Civil War time when white men were having sex with black women. Springer says “White men claim sexual weakness being tempted by black devil women.” This can be compared to Emory during the times of Yun Ch’i-ho. Yun wrote in his diary of the white men having sex with black women prostitutes. How he described the culture, white male students were doing this with hardly any repercussions. It is hardly possible that administrators knew nothing of the males’ activities, so the reasoning that Springer brings up when it comes to sex with black women stands strong here.

On page 79, Springer explains how this is a very large reason why men were not convicted of rape of black women hardly at all until after the 1960s. Black females have help their hypersexuality characteristics by relation to white males. This is also the case for asexuality. The example that I never thought of is Queen Latifah in her roles like Bringing Down the House and Last Holiday, where to the white community, she is know as a a prude, quiet, nurturing black woman.

For solutions to these perceptions of black women, Springer gives seven points. When looking at them, i had some problems with them and had to play devil’s advocate/

1) “Come out as black women who enjoy sex and find it pleasurable.” With this point, I had problems with Springer saying that al women needed to come out in this way. Some black women find their sexual life very personal and do not feel the need to show the world how comfortable they are with their sexuality. Where would the line be drawn for those that decide to express their sexuality? Could it be shown at all in the workplace without giving off the wrong idea?

2) “Protest the stereotypes of black female sexuality that do not reflect our experience.” In the melting pot of America, regardless of being the same race, their is no real “our” that can represent all American black women. Living in America allows us to have the freedom of our own ideas and not having to form to a status quo. I am afraid that by using Springer’s second point there would not be a general consensus that could be made for all black women.

3) “All all black women-across class, sexual orientation, and physical ability-to express what we enjoy.” With this point, I believe there is no room for generality, which is a very good thing. Every woman should be able to express what makes them happy.

4) “Know the difference between making love and fucking.” Why does there have to be a difference? Who says that these two terms must be completely divided? For many women, these two words could be completely interchangeable, and making it a goal for all women to decipher between them seems unfair.

5) “Know what it is to play with sexuality.”

6) “Know that our bodies are our own-our bodies do not belong to the church, the state, our parents, our lovers, our husbands, and certainly not BET.” This statement seems to make black women go against what may be their foundation for how they live their life. I believe this is particularly true for religious black women. To have religious black women go against something that could possibly be in their religion for the sake of taking ownership of their body could unnecessarily complicate their mindset. I believe there is a difference between owning one’s body and mindset regardless of cultural perceptions and taking a stand against everything including what you may hold dear.

Rape Victims are not Gender Specific

In Effects of Rape on Men: A Descriptive Analysis by Walker et al., the authors discuss a study they performed to look into the lives of men who have been sexually assaulted. The results were not surprising to me. On the first page, which the page number could not be seen clearly, states “the help and support for male victims of rape is more than 20 years behind that of a female victims.” Seeing that there is really nothing in the media for males that have been raped, nor a lot of research, the everyday crimes of male rape still goes on. On this same page it says “gay and bisexual men are more likely to report sexual assault by other men than heterosexual men.” It goes on to explain two reasons behind this:they are at risk of being raped by dates or while in relationships with men, and th occurrence of sexual assault. This is supported where the article says that ex sexual partner had to do with 65% of assaults in the study o gay and bisexual men. The other reason was homophobic sexual assault, essentially hate crimes against homosexual men.

The article goes on to say on the same first page that “very few male rape victims report their assault to the police because they think that thy will experience negative treatment, be disbelieved, or blamed for their assault.” These types of feelings are actually very similar to women’s experiences of rape. The fear of negative reactions also prevents men from looking towards medical treatment. This, in turn, could lead to victims not knowing if they contracted an STD from the traumatic event. Those that did go to the hospital had much more severe injuries than women usually do. This can be explained in the way that men do not go to the hospital after their assaults unless they are severely injured.

On page 496, it starts to explain the emotions of men after the incident. “Male victims reported significantly more hostility, anger, and depression than females did.” The article explained that this is because “anger is a more ‘masculine’ way to deal with trauma.”

This can go back to the Vulnerability Paradigm discussed in Rethinking Gender, Heterosexual Men, and Women’s Vulnerability to HIV/AIDS by Higgins et al. The article discussed how women can have reduced agency making them more vulnerable to diseases contracted from sexual intercourse. Men can be put in their own vulnerability paradigm when it comes to sexual assault. Their need to maintain their masculinity can in turn put them in danger of not being tested for sexually transmitted disease after the trauma of a rape. Also, in many situations, one could say that some homosexual men lose their agency in the homophobic person’s perspective. This can make them more vulnerable to sexual assault.

On page 500, victims discuss what they believe male victims of rape need in order to make steps to ending this type of trauma. They suggest eliminate homophobia within professional services, police specially trained for male rape victims, support groups in major towns, 24 hour help lines, and more easily available therapy services. We need to take heed to these requests and start to make a better, safer world, for those men affected and could be affected by sexual assault. On our own campus we have “Take Back the Night,” I do not believe we have anything that highlights the plight of male victims. For our own campus, I believe that would be a great step in the right direction.

Never to Come

In the Mukherjee article “Structural Violence, Poverty and the AIDS Pandemic,” she talks about how AIDS is changing the world for the worse. This may seem extremely obvious, but some of the points that she brought up I never thought of in that particular way.

There are many things that she speaks of that I have heard in different ways. Those include prevention strategies that include risk avoidance by abstaining from sex and drug use as well as harm reduction like needle exchanges. My roommate volunteers at a nonprofit in Atlanta that exchanges dirty needles for clean ones as well as provide condoms and showers. These types of tactics are truly helping in communities where some people want to be clean off drugs, but just do not have the strength yet. However, they still want to ensure some accountability for their own health and well being.

A new term that seems to do a great job of marking a key component of the causes and results of the AIDS pandemic is structural violence. She defines this in two different ways. The first, found on page 379, says “the systemic exclusion of a group from the resources needed to develop their full human potential.” She goes on to define it as “physical and psychological harm that results from exploitive and unjust social, political and economic systems” on page 380. When we think about how the world economic system is overall set up, it is easy to agree with Mukherjee. Men are in the position to receive more jobs than women, while women are not paid for all the work that they do to care for their children ad family members as well as up keeping the household. Women are also sold for the use of their bodies and viciously raped in every part of the world. Men have to travel for work, many of them finding several sexual partners along the way. Of course all of these are not the case for everyone, but they do give examples of how the structure of society and the roles that we allow some to play give in to the ongoing pandemic of HIV.

The most interesting aspect of this article to me was the effect of AIDS on the household. When the head of the household dies from AIDS in African countries, the monthly income of the household drastically drops. These families who are at many times solely reliant on one income have lost a family member at the same time of losing their daily living. The families are forced into a quick impoverished situation that they find themselves hard to get out of. I always thought of the worst side of AIDS being the death of the infected individuals, but the fate of those that relied on these individuals are an enormous issue as well.

Money seems to be the biggest issue in this pandemic, in my opinion. If we were to garner enough money for every infected person to take generic antiretroviral therapy, the only thing left would be the focus on prevention. I believe that because the United States was silent for so long (focusing not the Bush and Clinton administration most of all), the disease has gotten to an almost incontrollable point. If it were simple enough to say yes to generic drugs for all and millions of prevention programs across the world, this agonizing disease could have been gone with polio and smallpox.

Of course we will always have those that take advantage of people’s bodies and those  that are irresponsible with contraception and dirty needles, but our position to fight those would so much more focused. It’s time to leave the legislation behind and solely focus on the well being of this world’s people. At this point, I’m sure I will never see the day where that is the ultimate focus.

All are Accountable.

Reading “Rethinking Gender, Heterosexual Men, and Women’s Vulnerability to HIV/AIDS” helped open my eyes to really see both sides to the vulnerability of the contraction of HIV/AIDS for both male and female genders.

Since the evidence of women contracting HIV came to the public, there has been a growing movement of the vulnerability paradigm as the reason for so many women contracting the disease. Page two of the article states “an unsuspecting woman is infected not through her own behaviors but as a consequence of her partner’s wrongdoing.” This is basically saying it is hardly the woman’s fault for contracting AIDS. It talks of gender based violence, nonvolitional sex, and relationship power imbalances as causes for increased vulnerability to HIV in women. These situations and causes are verry real in the world, but at the same time, many women have plenty of choice in the practices they choose to use to ensure they do not contract and/or spread HIV. For example, the article talks about how researchers explained that sex workers, pregnant women, and migrant women were the vectors of this disease. being a sex worker is not the most respected profession, and many women are pushed into this field of work. However, many are not. They chose to sell their bodies for a profit, and being in this field, you are in danger of contracting every single thing out there.

 The article brings up great points, and I agree with many of them, but is this all that we want to say for the women of today? We are either saying that they are spreading the disease because of being sex workers or they do not have the power to tell their sexual partner to use a condom. We are making an entire half of the population sound pathetic. The truth is women today more than ever have the ability to say no to unprotected sex. Many just choose not to. To go back to Keith Boykin’s “10 Things you Didn’t know About the DL,” he says as point number 10 “stereotyping women as victims will not keep them safe,” and this is the truth! All we are doing is saying “yes, you as a woman are at risk of getting the disease alot more because you are weak.” To me that seems like more of acceptance and holding women down than trying to help them. There needs to be more empowerment among women. There needs to be not a vulnerability paradigm but an empowerment paradigm. Use those statistics in a way to not let women feel helpless, but to feel like it really is their choice and they do not have to be at risk for this horrible disease.

To slightly change the subject, I asked my roommate “Why isn’t there Men’s Studies?” and she correctly answered “because everything is men’s studies!” Now to think about this vulnerability paradigm and see how it makes all men look like they are the all powerful and at the same time do not choose to wear condoms is complete bologna. There are plenty of men who are raped and have been the person in the relationship with less power, but we do not bring them to the light like we do women’s vulnerability issues. If we are to really take a hold of trying to kill this epidemic, all sides must be accounted for. Women who are empowered and say no to unprotected sex, women who are in situations where there is a possibility of violence, women who knowingly choose the wrong practices, men who choose to wear a condom, men who are in vulnerable situations, men who knowingly choose the wrong practices, and everything in between. All are part of the epidemic. All must be cared for.



In Nack’s “Damaged Goods,” she speaks of those who have STDs and their psychological and physical state after being diagnosed. It is, in fact, a state of feeling “damaged.” The chapter discusses the “social acceptability of blaming individuals” for their contractions of the disease. My question is why is this okay? If society was more willing to be open and reach out to individuals to inform them of dangers and be a caring hand when an STD becomes a reality for some people, we would be in a much better, healthier place. Instead of letting the ongoing contraction of STDs happen, we need to stop them in their tracks.

The article says that hardly any talk of STD is talked about in the media. That is not completely true, but it may as well be. I remember watching episodes of Degrassi, and their was an outbreak of an STD at the school. The girl who contracted felt automatic shame and guilt, as well as a sense of loneliness. If this is what we are showing to today’s population, no wonder STDs are still so prevalent! There needs to be more shows and commercials about STDs and how to prevent contraction. Media is the most influential aspect of today’s world. The possibilities of stopping the wide spread are endless with the proper utilization of newspapers, blogs, we sites, TV shows, and music. If send out the proper preventative message instead of a message of the aftermath, there is no telling how many individuals can be saved from having to go through such a confidence-altering ordeal.

The article also said less than one third of physicians screen their patients consistently for STDs. The fact that someone take it upon themselves to make a doctor’s appointment, shouldn’t they be be able to receive comprehensive care for their physician? I attended the Georgia State NAACP Convention last month, and one of the speakers worked at the CDC. She went to her doctor for a check up and as the doctor was leaving, she asked her “Are you not going to test me for STDs or at least HIV?” The doctor replied, “you do not fit the criteria.” For the physician to say “criteria,” there is something wrong in our healthcare system. Just reading about HIV in class, we all should know that there is no criteria for this disease. It hits every age group, race, and economic status. The same goes for any other STD. Of course there are some characteristics that pinpoint certain groups to be more at risk, but that is not exclusive. If we are truly trying to crackdown on this epidemic then we need o stop making assumptions about people by how they look and how much money they make. We never know someone’s story until they tell it.

Individuals feel like they have damaged themselves by contracting an STD, but if society is not trying to help through media and healthcare, society is damaging the individual.

Excuses, Excuses

In the article “Condom Use with a Casual Partner,” it discussed the successful use of condoms in different situations. Alcohol use coupled with those who are risk takers vowed many who did not use a condom when intoxicated. However, the data was not completely consistent. Something that may not be able to be completely measured in a study are people’s thoughts going into a situation. Many college students prepare to get drunk and have a “hookup.” This way, they do not have to be completely responsible for their actions. Hidden desires that they dare not share with their friends can come to life in an intoxicated state with not as many repercussions.

Many male and female students will start the story of their escapades with “I was wasted” or “I was totally drunk” in order to have a precursor so their friends and peers will not judge them as harshly. This is common practice in a college setting. Because although in college students are known to party hard, there is still an image of dignity that must be somewhat upheld.

When it comes to the use of condoms, this plays into the culture. Students will get drunk to have a reason for their actions, but will have safe sex because in many situations, the drunken activities were premeditated. Of course this is not the case for all, but it occurs more than you might think.

Sometimes stats and percentages do not tell the whole story, and I believe this is one of those instances.

Acceptance is Peace



The Emory Lesbian and Gay Organization took part in the historic march on Washington for lesbian and gay rights in 1987. In this time period, there was a large uproar in the lesbian and gay community over the Bowers v. Hardwick court case of 1986. In this case, the Georgia sodomy law was ruled by the Supreme Court 5-4 that anal and oral sex between homosexuals was a criminal act. When the lesbian and gay community heard of this, they came together like never before in order to fight against this legislation.

Emory students that attended seemed to be the largest group of students from a school in the southeast. Even during this time period, to the outside world, Emory was a school of tolerance and acceptance. What was interesting in the article, however, was how students felt at the march as well as after. Students felt very comfortable and accepted at the march in Washington. One student said, “There were so many gay people that I felt like we were the norm and not the outcast.” After returning to Atlanta, the same student said “upon returning to Atlanta I felt really empty and sad because it was like crawling back into a closet.” When we think of Atlanta we do not think about the time period that Atlanta was not the hub of LGBT acceptance. On the same campus that we walk everyday, the same buildings we walk into, are full of a history of suppressed sexuality and non acceptance. For those students that did not attend the march, it was because of fear. Fear of not being accepted by their peers and being typecasted and outcasted. It is worth taking a moment to wonder, do we still have this issue today?

Undoubtedly, we still have talks about men on the “down low” and how this affects women and relationships. The fact that this is an issue that the nation has been dealing says a lot about how we perceive some males. As Keith Boykin says in “10 Things You Should Know About the DL,” “the DL is not simply a gay thing,” and it is a “distraction from the real issues.” If all we want to do is stigmatize and say how it affects others how do we expect for people to come out of the “closet”?

Truth is, Emory is not as evolved as it claims to the public. There are still stigmas placed on those part of LGBT. The LGBT office has been putting on the annual drag show for the past 7 years. The fact that it took that long for this type of event to come on campus says something about Emory’s readiness to be this accepting students who possess sexuality outside the “norm.” The Hardwick Decision was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2003, and LGBT at Emory had their first drag show the following year. Regardless of how Emory is as a campus, the politics of the nation determine a lot of the atmosphere and comfortability for students.

Let’s Be Supportive

Are we too extreme? That is the question that can be debated in multiple ways. In an article in the Emory Report entitled “White male heterosexual wants freedom of speech,” a student on campus discusses the freedom to support as well as criticize those that deal with different issues in society. Being a heterosexual, he felt he should be able to speak on homosexual issues without backlash. Many find problems with those that support an issue that does not directly have to do with them. They label those who support LGBT as being “a little gay” or in the past, those that supported the Civil Rights Movement as “colored lovers.” Can we not be supportive of those trying to have the same rights as “normal” people?

Hanky Panky?

Hanky panky. The sugar coated term for sex. In 1980s Emory, there was plenty of it happening, but only talked about behind closed doors. Or was it? In the 1982 Emory yearbook publication, there was a picture of a female student proudly standing in her daisy dukes, with a sticker on her bottom that read “I Heart Hanky Panky.” To me, this is somewhat alarming that she is displaying her feelings of sex to the public. This shows a large comfortability on her part to be able to do this. It makes one wonder the state of Emory in 1982. Was sex a very outward part of the community? If it was, heterosexuality was the only one accepted in everyday conversation.  Student Action for Human Rights was the name of the group that discussed “gay and lesbian concerns.” It is interesting to realize that bisexual and transgender were not part of the terms they used in the Emory Wheel. Even the SAHR printed that ads that specifically said “gay and lesbian.” During these times, it seems that there were only three sexualities: Heterosexual, gay, or lesbian.

What if that student with “I Heart Hanky Panky” was not talking about with the opposite sex? What if she was a lesbian? Would this be acknowledged or still only take the sticker at face value? What if she was bisexual? Would only her attraction to males be acknowledged in the community? Looking at another article in the yearbook about Emory love and relationships seemed to be the most obvious display of the social norm: a white male and white female sitting and laughing with one another with small pecks as kisses. Although I am sure there were many couples at the university that did not fit this norm, it is interesting that the yearbook committee chose to use this type of relationship as a basic embodiment of the university’s student relationships. They could have had multiple pictures of different, diverse couples to show a look into Emory’s relationships.

This seems to say something about the sexual identity of Emory’s campus in the 1980s. Emory accepted those of different sexualities, but when it came to displaying sexualities of the campus, heterosexuality always won out. This is very interesting compared to today. Emory is very outward with their acceptance of LGBT. In fact it is the only southern school on the “Top 25 LGBT-Friendly Campuses” this year. But does this say anything about what is really happening inside the university? I remember my freshman year there was an incident where a transgender male was using the woman’s bathroom and was arrested. These types of actions do not seem like an LGBT-friendly campus.

To me, Emory loves to talk the talk, but not always walk the walk.

1984 and 2012

It’s very interesting to compare the Emory campus of 1984 to that of 2012. The culture is differing yet has some of the same images when it comes to sexual orientation acceptance on Emory’s campus.

One of the most interesting things I found in the 1984 Emory Wheel was the name of the LGBT organization at the time. Student Action for Human Rights was a club in 1984 at Emory that advocated for “lesbian and gay concerns.” The terms bisexual and transgender did not even make the ad for promotion of this organization. This can be tied to the “Sexual Desire and Gender” article by Pepper Schwartz and Virginia E. Rutter. In this article the social construction of sexuality was discussed. As said in the article, the United States is very complex when it comes to this subject. Social construction can get very detailed to hone in on a person’s family as their main influence in their outlook on and position in society. Even though overall America has accepted pre-marital sex, many families do not condone this behavior and this in turn affects the children’s actions. They will either accept their parents wishes or find their own way while rebuking their families’ ideals.

To bring this back to Emory’s 1984 Student Action for Human Rights, organizations can be socially constructed just as much as a human being. Although Emory was more tolerant of different sexual orientations than other schools, they could not have the organization have any hint of sexual orientation advocacy in the name. Having an umbrella term such as “human rights” in the name helped Emory still keep a mildly conservative image in order to still engage those that are not as forthcoming in their sexual identity.

Another interesting aspect of the Emory Wheel from 1984 was the use of women in advertisements. In the advertisements that cascaded across the newspaper, there were numerous women in little to no clothing that had nothing to do with the product being sold. One of the ads for a package store had a woman wearing a tight dress holding a wine glass. The only pertinent aspect of this image is the wine glass yet the woman is being objectified to advertise the package store. Another example is an ad or the Atlanta Journal Constitution. A woman is holding an Atlanta banner behind her back. Again,this has nothing to do with the advertising of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The last example is the use of “The Birth of Venus” by Botticelli to advertise to use mammograms in order to prevent late detection of breast cancer. It is interesting that the first two examples had real women used to pull viewers into the ads, but for a mammogram a piece of famous art was used. This could be due to the separation of men and women in socially constructed society. As the reading from Schwartz and Rutter says, women were thought of as housewives while men were thought to go out and make the money for the family. To have the goddess of love and desire as an ad is a very interesting combination of societal influence and propaganda. Women of this time inadvertently had a solidarity with Venus because of how they were though of at the time. If there were a famous painting of Hestia, the goddess of hearth and home, I believe it would be the first and only choice for an ad to bring in women and make men subconsciously enticed to view the ad as well.