Next Monday, Lori and I will be speaking at the Rethinking Virginity conference at Harvard. Hosted by Harvard University Queer Students and Allies and masterminded by Lena Chen, the subject of last week’s Feministing Five, the conference is a whole day of panels and workshops that will cover everything from the historical roots of our obsession with virginity to what that obsession means for queer folks to what healthy sexuality looks like in practice. Lori and I are both very excited to be a part of a stellar line up of speakers that includes respected academics, professional activists, sex educators and kickass feminist bloggers. It’s not every day you get a professor from Harvard Divinity School and the editor of Gawker’s porn site Fleshbot in a room together, but that’s exactly what’s going to happen on May 3.
There are two people who I’m particularly excited to hear speak. The first is Dr. R. Marie Griffith, of the aforementioned divinity school. Griffith is the author of God’s Daughters: Evangelical Women and the Power of Submission and Born Again Bodies: Flesh and Spirit in American Christianity. She’s also been described, by those who have taken classes with her, as “really mind-blowingly amazing,” and as the kind of teacher who challenges you to push beyond the obvious analysis of a problem or phenomenon. Professor Griffith will be speaking on a panel entitled “Virginity: A Historical and Cultural Primer,” the first panel of the day, and I can’t wait to see that mind-blowingly amazing analysis in action.
The second person I’m especially excited about is Sady Doyle of Tiger Beatdown, who’ll be speaking on the panel I’m on, “Debunking The Virginity Ideal: The Feminist Response To Slut-Shaming & Sexual Scare Tactics.” I suspect that Doyle would share my initial feminist response to slut-shaming, which involves a middle finger, but I can promise that we’ll provide a more insightful discussion than that on Monday. Doyle’s writing is explosive: this post she wrote on Taylor Swift and purity is not only spot-on, it also made my snort coffee out my nose, in public, and I didn’t mind, because I was too busy laughing my head off. So I’m hotly anticipating some spot-on analysis of sexual scare tactics from Sady, though I’d advise panel attendees against sipping beverages when listening to her.
If you’re in the Boston area, I really hope you’ll come out to the conference for what promises to be an enlightening and thought-provoking day. And if you’re a Feministing fan, please come say hello to me and Lori – we’d love to meet you. The Virginity: A Historical and Cultural Primer panel, with Griffith and Lori (and others), and the Feminist Responses to Slut-Shaming panel, with me and Sady (and others) is at 11:45am. And then, free lunch! Come for the feminist analysis, stay for the free burritos.
You can learn more about the conference, and register for free, here. Hope to see you there!