Don’t worry, we won’t get too romantic on you guys. This evening’s Nerd Nite is exploring the nature and myths of love. Whether it’s the myth of the perfect family, the perfect relationship, or questioning roots of violence against women (which is too often couched with the term love). For full bios and descriptions check out our local site. Grab a beverage and prepare to question the very nature of affection and romance.
The Myth of White Picket Fences: The American dream confronted in Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson.
Housekeeping in all of it’s formats!
Idioms, currencies, and fantasies: An exploration into the tenants of relational satisfaction
Casing interpersonal communication: Case studies in personal and social relationships by Dawn O. Braithwaite
Why we love: The nature and chemistry of romantic love by Helen E. Fisher
Anthropologist Fisher argues that much of our romantic behavior is hard-wired in this provocative examination of love. Her case is bolstered by behavioral research into the effects of two crucial chemicals, norepinephrine and dopamine, and by surveys she conducted across broad populations. When we fall in love, she says, our brains create dramatic surges of energy that fuel such feelings as passion, obsessiveness, joy and jealousy. Fisher devotes a fascinating and substantial chapter to the appearance of romance and love among non-human animals, and composes careful theories about early humans in love. One of her many surprising conclusions suggests that, since “four-year birth intervals were the regular pattern of birth spacing during our long human prehistory,” our modern brains still deal with relationships in serially monogamous terms of about four years. Indeed, Fisher gathered data from around the world showing that divorce was most prevalent in the fourth year of marriage, when a couple had a single dependent child. Fisher also reports on the behaviors that lead to successful lifelong partnerships and offers, based on what she’s observed, numerous tips on staying in love. And though she’s certain that chemicals are at love’s heart, Fisher never loses her sense of the emotion’s power or poetry.
As women everywhere will attest, when it comes to understanding female sexuality, most guys know more about what’s under the hood of a car than under the hood of a clitoris. And while it seems that men have struggled valiantly since the dawn of time to find ways to reliably elicit the female orgasm, rare is the guy who has the modesty to ask: “What do I do?” Ironically, the answer has always been right there on the tip of his tongue. Welcome to the world of She Comes First, where the mystery of female satisfaction is solved and the tongue is proven mightier than the sword. According to Ian Kerner, clinical sexologist and evangelist of the female orgasm, oral sex has long been deemed an optional aspect of foreplay, but, in fact, it’s coreplay — simply the best way for leading a woman through the entire process of sexual response. Fun, informative, and easy to read, She Comes First is a virtual encyclopedia of female pleasure, detailing dozens of tried-and-true techniques for consistently satisfying a woman and illustrated step-by-step instructions to ensure success. These simple methods represent a new era in sexual intimacy, one in which the exchange of pleasure occurs on a level playing field and fulfillment is mutual. She Comes First exuberantly offers a fresh new sexual philosophy that inspires every man to make a mantra of Rhett Butler’s infamous line to Scarlett O’Hara, “You should be kissed, and often, and by someone who knows how.”
Against Love by Laura Kipnis
Against Love examines the meaning and cultural significance of adultery, arguing that perhaps the question concerns not only the private dilemma of whether or not to be faithful but also the purpose of this much-vaunted fidelity. It offers no easy answers. Rather, it intends to engage you in a commonsensical and brave examination of the plight of the modern personality, caught between the vicissitudes of desire and the decrees of social conformity.
Sex matters: The sexuality and society reader by Mindy Stombler
This anthology of more than 50 readings from contemporary scholarly literature, trade books, and popular media, looks at the dual forces of social construction and social control of sexuality.
Massage and Loving by Anne Hooper
Great sex: A man’s guide to the secret principles of total-body sex by Michael Castleman
Author Michael Castleman is the nation’s top journalist specializing in men’s sexuality. He has been a sex educator, counselor, and writer for 30 years, including 5 years as the expert who answered the sex questions submitted to the Playboy Advisor. Written with the help of an advisory board that includes some of the nation’s leading sex therapists, Great Sex is certain to help you overcome your sex problems; become a better, more confident lover; and enjoy the sex of your dreams.
No Means No: Shining light on violence against women and how hope and healing persevere
Gina Egan, PhD
Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn
New York Times columnist Kristof and his wife, WuDunn, a former Times reporter, make a brilliantly argued case for investing in the health and autonomy of women worldwide. “More girls have been killed in the last fifty years, precisely because they were girls, than men were killed in all the wars of the twentieth century,” they write, detailing the rampant “gendercide” in the developing world, particularly in India and Pakistan. Far from merely making moral appeals, the authors posit that it is impossible for countries to climb out of poverty if only a fraction of women (9% in Pakistan, for example) participate in the labor force. China’s meteoric rise was due to women’s economic empowerment: 80% of the factory workers in the Guangdong province are female; six of the 10 richest self-made women in the world are Chinese. The authors reveal local women to be the most effective change agent.
The New Soft War on Women by Caryl Rivers
Rivers and Barnett’s (She Works/He Works) vital study of the state of women in the labor force draws upon statistics, interviews, and cultural analysis, to argue that, contrary to the widespread belief that women are outstripping men in the classroom and workforce (“the myth of female ascendance”), the situation is far from ideal. Moreover, the authors claim that gains that women have made since the early part of the 20th century, such as access to contraception, are in danger of disappearing. Although the copious use of statistics to debunk myths can become tiresome, it’s hard to ignore overwhelming evidence that shows the undesirable and unsustainable conditions women face in the 21st century. Though many struggles sound old hat-whether women are natural caretakers and subordinates, the struggle to balance career and family, the undue influence of a woman’s appearance, the disparity in wages-this book will move readers who believe that feminism is an outdated movement, or that gender discrimination is a thing of the past. Although the book doesn’t offer comprehensive strategies to win the “soft war,” it effectively shows how old ideas are still at work and unveils their contemporary manifestations.
Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Kirby Dick investigates the troubling epidemic of rape in the military while speaking with courageous victims who have refused to be intimidated into silence. In 2009 alone, 16,150 service members were sexually assaulted. Meanwhile, it’s estimated that female soldiers in the U.S. military are more likely to be raped by a male soldier than shot by an enemy combatant. Despite the overwhelming evidence presented by these victimized soldiers, however, only 2% of rape accusations in the military end in prosecution. In some cases, male soldiers have even been awarded medals for bravery and professionalism while being investigated for rape. In addition to hearing from women who have been sexually assaulted while serving their country, we also learn how systemic corruption allows the vast majority of their attackers to walk free and what is now being done to ensure that no crime goes unpunished.
Jackson Katz’s TedTalk: Violence against women -it’s a men’s issue
Domestic violence and sexual abuse are often called “women’s issues.” But in this bold, blunt talk, Jackson Katz points out that these are intrinsically men’s issues — and shows how these violent behaviors are tied to definitions of manhood. A clarion call for us all — women and men — to call out unacceptable behavior and be leaders of change
Websites Gina recommends.
V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. Vday.org is their website.
Another website is A Call To Men aims to end violence towards women by educating men.
http://knowyourix.org/ educates students about their rights under title IX.
David Lisak & Paul M. Miller’s paper on Repeat Rape and Multiple Offending Among Undetected Rapists