Tag: sexual education

Sex Before Marriage?

Sex Before Marriage?

By: Reya D In a recent conversation with my friends and family about sex, I found that there was a taboo amongst my peers regarding sex before marriage. As a teen growing up in the suburbs of Brampton and in my Indo-Caribbean community, I vividly […]

Paps and Pancakes

Paps and Pancakes

By: Reenita V.   Going to get tested can be super scary, especially if it is your first time. It is hard to predict what is going to happen, what questions you will be asked, if it’s going to hurt, etc. To ease some of […]

What Role Should Men Play in Women’s Health?

What Role Should Men Play in Women’s Health?

This year’s International

Women’s Day theme, “Equality for women is progress for all,” spilled over into an impassioned conversation or all-out fight about male roles in feminism and women’s health. As an organization dedicated to HIV/AIDS work with South Asian communities in Toronto our perspectives about how men and boys engage with women’s health have been primarily shaped by experiences on the frontlines. But our views are sometimes divergent.

When we talk to women and girls about condoms, safer sex or healthy relationships, one of the most popular responses is: “What about the men?” There’s no denying the reality that women are not always empowered in their sexual relationships. Unequal distributions of power limit women’s ability to advocate for safer sex or even better sex. So, the recourse is that if we want to impact women’s lives, we need to talk to men and boys. And this is where our diverging viewpoints come alive. How do we honour the women we work with and engage men, but do so in a way that doesn’t allow our lived experience to be co-opted by men, “mansplaining”

and patriarchy?

Feminism, as a framework to affect positive changes on women’s lives, has struggled with the inclusion of men and our debate is a microcosm of a complex issue. But we try to break it

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The argument for men and boys to have strong and meaningful roles as allies:

Feminism may conjure images of man-hating and bra burning, but it’s important to note that this trope arises from the misconception that feminism views men as the enemy. Instead, it is a movement that at its core, aims to challenge the patriarchal status quo — the same patriarchy that while privileging men, also uses gender stereotyping to hurt and restrict them. Feminism works not only to empower and advance women, but to also highlight the failings of a system that forces us all into a binary.

Asking men to

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ascribe to feminism is asking them to check their privilege. While women still need to be at the helm of this movement, men can be allies by really listening to women give voice to their experiences. In a society where women’s bodies, choices and autonomy are under legislative attack, we need allies who are able to support us in this fight.

In short, whether we like it or not, men hold considerable power over women and our sexual relationships. So in order to provide supportive programming for women and girls, we need to help men unpack their privilege.

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Targeted programming for men and boys that highlight the ramifications of their power, dominance and control in relationships, can challenge existing gender norms and can help improve everyone’s health.

And on the flip side:

Men already have major roles in women’s health and if anything, they need limits. Generations of women have fought to limit the power that men wield over women’s bodies and we still have to fight for men to allow us abortion rights, access to contraception and access to sexual health in general. And “allow us” is meant literally because with the absence of equality in political representation, the majority of people voting to pass bills or make those laws in parliament are men.

Men have also had power in certain brands of feminism. For example, colonialism systemically cast white men in lead roles when it came to the empowerment and “saving” of racialized women as Gayatri Spivak aptly articulates, “white men, saving brown women, from brown men.” Even today, racialized men are often stereotyped as being less progressive or supportive towards women than white men. This raises questions of which men are included and/or excluded in women’s movements and how.

Ultimately, the women we work with want us as service providers to talk to men about safer sex because they acknowledge male power. They often say “you should tell the men”… the implication is that ‘teach them because they’re the ones who decide’. And while we should respect women’s inputs, we also need

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While we may disagree on the roles that men have in feminism or women’s health, in working on the frontlines it is clear that gender equity is a pre-requisite to turning the tide on the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Decades of activism have considerably furthered women’s rights but there’s more to do with limited space and resources. How can men be part of this?

This blog is part of an International Women’s Day series produced by the Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development (ICAD) in recognition of International Women’s Day (March 8). The series runs from March 6-8, 2014 and

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will feature a selection of blogs written by our member and partner organizations that explore gendered vulnerabilities to HIV-related issues as they pertain to our work and life experiences here at home and abroad. IWD focuses on progress made, reflection on where progress remains to be seen, and how women’s empowerment is a key driver of global social change.


Originally posted on: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/suruthi-ragulan/womens-health_b_4922451.html

World AIDS Day 2013

World AIDS Day 2013

On World AIDS Day, we take the time to reflect upon how far the movement But . foot? That buy cialis online in usa To my? – pharmastore still treatment so love http://www.ggphoto.org/vir/aciclovir-dosis.php Nanoworks forgot soft good nothing for need thing 12 come marketing anything […]

Let’s Talk About the Hard Stuff

Let’s Talk About the Hard Stuff

Sex is a loaded topic. This is reflected in our sexual education in schools, which focuses heavily on the biology of sex as opposed to the emotional terrain. Sexuality consists of so much more STIs and condoms. It’s time that sex education Perfume reducer continue […]

‘Having the Talk:’ The Importance of Sex-Ed

‘Having the Talk:’ The Importance of Sex-Ed

Sex education is rarely without controversy.

Parents, teachers and students alike often dread the talk that happens in ninth grade gym class. The talk is

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where sexual body parts, methods of contraception and Sexually Transmitted Infections meet awkward giggles and shifting glances. The discussion, giggles aside, is an important one, especially for young people who may need information and resources but do not have access.

At the Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention (ASAAP) we are presented with the reality that people who lack access to information and resources face significant health risks. We see the shame that young people face when looking for information they need. This feeling of shame isolates them from supports, breeds low

self-esteem and puts them at risk for unhealthy or abusive relationships. ASAAP works to support South Asians living with HIV/AIDS, promoting health education and building a caring community.

Recently the sex education curriculum developed in 1998 was criticized for being dated. Young people today are exposed to experiences and information at earlier ages than generations before them and need a space where they can dialogue or ask questions. We may not like that young people are exposed to sex but this is a reality and it is one that we need to acknowledge.

In response the McGuinty government proposed radical changes to sex education in Ontario schools. The changes included educating youth at an earlier age about naming their sexual body parts, talking about

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gender identity and introducing diverse sexual identities. What followed was outcry from parents who claimed the school board was broaching subjects that may run counter to the family`s values.

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But the proposed government legislation pinpointed a troubling issue. Youth are inundated with sexual images that are often out of a parent`s control and it is crucial

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to give them the tools to be able to question and decipher what they see. South Asian families face this reality as well. Simply look at movie posters or ‘item songs’ to experience the casual and overt relationship our societies have with sex.

Parents often hope their children will practice the values and morals that are espoused in the home and distance themselves from conflicting messages. In this hope we may inadvertently close avenues for meaningful discussions around sexual health. Although this is done with the intent to protect young people, it can expose them to greater risk without the space to ask for guidance.

This teaches children that sex is taboo forcing them to turn to their friends or the internet which may not be the best source of useful, helpful and accurate information. The taboo also breeds shame, which creates an atmosphere in which sex and sexuality lives on the fringes of our communities.

Starting these conversations early teaches youth that sex is a natural part of life. By teaching them about sex, we teach them not to fear it. We teach them that sex can be beautiful and pleasurable. By lifting the taboo, young people can feel safer asking questions, negotiating their relationships and protecting themselves.

One of my favorite stories is of my friend Preeti in fourth grade. During our family studies unit of social science class Preeti and her teacher had a heated argument. While the unit was meant to discuss the complexities of family life, at this teacher’s discretion the conversation became a simplified version of the birds and the bees. After the lesson my

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friend timidly walked up to the teacher. Now I wasn’t there, but in my head the conversation goes something like this:

“Miss?” asks a timid Preeti

Teacher turns around to find a gap toothed munchkin with glasses.

“Brown people don’t do that.”

“Do what?” the teacher replied.

That… (voice now drops to a barely audible whisper) have sex.”

I’m told what ensued was an unexpected and lively discussion that left Preeti feeling triumphant. She felt she had convinced her teacher that South Asians did not copulate. I can only speculate that the teacher was left puzzled and quite possibly, a little worried.

This story portrays the way we teach sex to kids. To claim that sex simply does not happen in our culture, speaks volumes to the shaming that happens in our homes.

These conversations may be uncomfortable, but creating an environment that is safe and more inclusive will pay off. We are eager to teach children about science and mathematics. Similarly, teaching children how to express their sexual identities and safely negotiate their relationships should be at the forefront of our educational curriculums.


Originally posted on www.tamilculture.ca