No means no

The NSPCC and Sugar magazine have conducted an online survey on teenage girls unwanted sexual experiences. I can’t find the survey details (they were printed in Sugar magazine last week) but the NSPCC press release with details is here. Highlights (if you could call them that) are:

45% of teenage girls have had their bottoms or breasts groped against their will.

56% of unwanted sexual experiences occurred for the first time when the recipient was under (yes under) 14. (30% aged 12 or under, 26% aged 13).

44% were made to feel guilty for saying ‘no’.

Check out the rest of the statistics, including 51% felt as though the incident was at least partly their fault, and 7% thought there were some reasons for forcing a girl.

Anyway, I thought this was interesting because I find that students often respond to articles about sexual harassment or the silencing effect of pornography etc, by saying “well, girls are more assertive and in control nowadays, this article was probably right in the seventies, but things are different now”. Indeed, I’ve heard students raise the age of the statistics used by Rae Langton in “Speech Acts and Unspeakable Acts” as a reason for maybe rejecting Langton’s argument. If this survey is right, “no” isn’t any closer to meaning no now than it was twenty or thirty years ago.

Valuing Women’s Labour

Interesting article here, about new proposals from the Independent Midwives Association (IMA) for the way the NHS structures midwifery care. The idea seems to be to set up a more personal and long-term relationship between the pregnant woman and midwife, giving women the more choice about their care, as well as more flexibility to the midwives in terms of when and where they work. These proposals are intended to remedy the ‘present conveyor-belt model of care’.
Interesting philosophy-wise: the talk of the ‘conveyor belt’ model suggests that both midwife and pregnant woman are both engaged in production-line, unskilled work, raising issues of the way that women’s labour is viewed and valued (as discussed by Okin 1989).

Domestic Violence Training for Hairstylists

This article, passed on to me by S, discusses an interesting new programme (though apparently there have been others) that trains hairstylists about domestic violence. The idea is this: women often talk to their hairstylists about matters they won’t discuss with others. This means that hairstylists are sometimes told about domestic abuse. The training programme gives them information about getting help that they can pass on to clients. Sounds like an excellent idea. And very interesting for feminist philosophers: (1) it’s an innovative way of overcoming the silencing involved in women’s hesitancy to discuss domestic violence; (2) it recognises hairdressers as both possessors of important knowledge and potential teachers.