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review 2014-08-20 00:00
Do You Want This or Not?: The Real Story Safe Sex Project
Do You Want This or Not?: The Real Story Safe Sex Project - Jamie Fessenden

Absolutely ADORABLE!

A very important message that is beautifully packed in a very sweet warm-hearted and thoughtful story!


Highly recommended!
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review 2014-05-18 08:36
Dismantling the new sexism
Delusions of Gender: The Real Science behind Sex Differences - Cordelia Fine

I really think all educators need to read this book. Fine's target is the new gender essentialism, the reconstructed sexism that attempts to put women back in their traditional roles as 'unbenders of husbands' brows' and caregivers to children, and to keep them out of politics, mathematics and the sciences, by asserting that they are fitted for their place by essential female abilities and incapacities. In 1869 the philosopher John Stuart Mill, in his book The Subjection of Women, was severe on this fallacy, but like a zombie it just keeps getting up, backed by the bad-science fad of the day. 'Neurosexists' are advising school-leaders to adjust their teaching for gender differences, and with the threat of 'empathy-based math' looming Fine felt she must call a halt. She selects some choice quotes to show us how little the new sexism differs from the old (this is a very funny book), then proceeds to dismantle it with a three-pronged attack.

First, she explores the construction of gender and explains aspects of the present inequality from her perspective in social psychology. She quotes trans woman Jan Morris who describes her former competence in matters of car-reversing and bottle-opening evaporating after her transition in the face of others' assumptions about her. The power of stereotyping is not to be ignored; Fine quotes study after study to show how strongly most people, whether consciously or not, associate women with empathy and caregiving, and men with maths, science and power, and how priming gender affects subsequent thinking and performance. Simply reminding a candidate that she is a woman drastically reduces her score on a maths test, demonstrating an effect called 'stereotype threat' which is amazingly easy to remove - including an introduction to a test telling participants that 'in ten years of data-gathering, no gender-related performance difference has been found' dramatically boosts the performance of women and girls. Cross-cultural comparisons also prove instructive, making nonsense of ethnocentric gender assumptions.

Fine explores how stereotypes and the lack of role models work against women in the workplace and in education. This section is more broadly relevant to racial, social class, disabled, LGBTQ etc representation and the double bind problem of administrators appointing people like themselves on one side, and aspirations being damped by the invisibility of marginalised groups on the other. CVs with female names are rated lower and receive fewer responses than identical ones with male names. Fine also indicts sexist work practices such as entertaining clients in strip-clubs. Stereotypes also operate in the home, where men are conditioned to believe themselves incompetent (the hunter brings home the the carcass and collapses to stare into the fire) unless jar-opening brawn or plug-wiring brains are required. Fine demonstrates that men are very competent parents. Even rat-dads, with no hormone-tampering, are readily able to raise perfectly adjusted rat-kids.

Surveying the data, Fine finds very scant evidence for the assumption that women are more empathic than men; there is no magical female ability to read people's thoughts, and slight differences in young children could easily be due to parents talking more to infant girls. The evidence for male superiority in mathematical/analytical tasks is also thin, restricted to performance at mentally rotating 3D objects. Even this could be due to more exposure to active toys, and in any case hardly constitutes an excuse to exclude women from the workplace. Fine is hilarious when exposing the loaded survey questions that have been used to find gender differences. Research makes it very clear that people will rate themselves higher or lower on abilities stereotyped to or against their gender, especially when that aspect of their identity has been primed. 

The search for gender-determined ability differences continues with a painstaking survey and critique of the popular literature enthusiastically claiming they exist and the neurological and psychological research which has supposedly found them. Fine is incisive in her discussion and criticism of studies around the effect of testosterone, including play differences, but she is damning when it comes to the shocking dishonesty and misrepresentation employed by 'neurosexist' popular 'science' books. Oh, and if you don't manage to read this book, please take it from me here and now, that anyone trying to persuade you of a gender difference on the basis of pictures from brain scans is to be scornfully ignored.

The final section deals with how children are socialised to perform gender. Many parents assume they are providing gender-neutral parenting and 'fall back' on a biological explanation when their little girls demand pink dresses and dolls. Fine shows just how far parents have to go to eliminate the pressure to perform gender by recording the hilarious experience of the Bem family, forced to such lengths as denying that they knew the gender of friends, and erasing beards from picture books. How can a preference for pink be genetic? In Victorian times, it was a male colour, while girls wore tranquil Virgin-Mary blue. Fine demonstrates with survey after survey and study after brilliant study that gender roles are pushed on us by our culture, not our chromosomes.

'As neurophysiologist Ruth Bleier put it over two decades ago, we should "view biology as potential, as capacity and not as static identity. Biology itself is socially influenced and defined; it changes and develops in interaction with and in response to our minds and environment, as our behaviours do. Biology can be said to define possibilities but not determine them; it is never irrelevant but it is also not determinant"'

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text 2014-02-08 20:50
Great Emotional and Real Sexy Times In Romance Novels
Marrying The Royal Marine - Carla Kelly
The Reluctant Nerd - Sandra Paul
Stranded - Pepper Pace
Forever and a Day - Jill Shalvis
Whisper Falls - Toni Blake
Big Boy - Ruthie Knox
Slightly Dangerous - Mary Balogh
The Chocolate Rose (Amour et Chocolat, La Vie en Roses) - Laura Florand
Sheltered - Charlotte Stein
Dragos Takes a Holiday - Thea Harrison

I actually don't read romance novels for the sex.  LOL. I swear. I like the sex. A lot. But I read romance novels for the psychology of all kinds of relationships and for the world building and for the happily ever afters.  Oh, and love. 


What happily ever after means to me is that no matter what goes down in that book, its going to be all right at close of cover. Its fiction and I enjoy that.


I do love me some good sexy times as well. Good sex in a romance novel is grand. I like all kinds of stream levels and have adored a close door romance as much any erotica. 


My favorite kinds of sex scenes are those that feel possible, emotionial and real. 


I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorites romances with this kind of sensuality.


First a list of love stories with great make out and kissing scenes,  the couples slowly round the bases...


1. Dragos Takes A Holiday (A Novella of the Elder Races) by Thea Harrison 

2. Scandal by Amanda Quick

3. The Sweetest Thing, Simply Irresistible and  Forever and a Day  by Jill Shalvis

4. The Reluctant Nerd by Sandra Paul

5. Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas

6. Dangerous Curves Ahead by Sugar Jamison

7. Kiss the BrideThe Chocolate Thief,  and The Chocolate Rose by Laura Florand

8. Live and The Story Guy (Novella) by  Mary Ann Rivers

9. Big Boy by Ruthie Knox 

10. Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn



Moving beyond kissing...


My favorite romances with emotional and real sex scenes:


1. Get Lucky by Suzanne  Brockmann 

 2. Marrying the Royal Marine by Carla Kelly

3. Whisper Falls: A Destiny Novel by Toni Blake

4. Hearts and Swords by Robin Owens

5. Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh

6. Yours To Keep (The Kowalskis) by Shannon Stacey

7. Vision In White by Nora Roberts

8. What the Librarian Did by Karina Bliss

9. STRANDED! by Pepper Pace

10. Sheltered by Charlotte Stein 


I could list every Laura Florand book here and every Ruthie Knox book but I won't. I can restrain. Sometimes. 


So, what are your favorite sexy scenes? Kissing? Making out? Touching love scenes? The flirt? Gimme!


If you would like to vote for the best of the best, I have two Goodreads lists for you! Making Love: Best Real and Emotional Sexy Times in Romance Novels and Steaming Up the Windows: Best Make Out and Kiss Scenes in Romance Novels.


And for your Pinterest pleasure--book covers and classy sexy images: Steaming Up the Windows and Great Emotional and Real Love Scenes in Romance Novels.




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review 2013-07-21 20:58
Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Behind Sex Differences
Delusions Of Gender: The Real Science Behind Sex Differences - Cordelia Fine This book looks at some of the popular assumptions about hardwired gender norms and asks some timely and serious questions about them. She shows that by presenting tasks as being gender biased that it can skew the results. That western culture encourages a very rigid adherence to gender norms, that it's hard to escape them and that we are priming girls to fail at maths and science and priming boys to regard housework as tasks for girls/women. I also found it interesting how a change in name in a job application is the difference between hiring and not hiring and that a mans name on a fake CV with worse credentials than a woman can get a job, even when there's women doing the hiring! It's an interesting read and I found it a wonderful antidote to The Female Brain by Brizendine, Fine also found The Female Brain to be toxic, but she also had the resources and knowledge to be able to point out that much of the research cited in the Female Brain to be at best flawed and at worst poor science. I was disgusted to find that many of the generalisations were based on such small sample sizes (8 subjects isn't a survey, it's a start) I found it an engaging read, interesting and humourous. I laughed a few times and found myself caught up in the read, nodding regularly as well. It asks almost as many questions as it answers but it does ask one of the most important questions, why people get away with sweeping generalisations that are so flawed and why there aren't more writers like her pointing out these flaws. I would like to read more by her, I found her writing gave me a better understanding of the topic and made me think, without talking down to me.
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review 2013-04-02 00:00
Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Behind Sex Differences
Delusions of Gender: The Real Science behind Sex Differences - Cordelia Fine I'll add this later because there's this quote from the epilogue that I love and I wanna put here.
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