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October 15, 2009 - Image 4

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4A - Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

74C e IWC4loan wily

Shopping for sex toys

0

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@umich.edu
ROBERT SOAVE COURTNEY RATKOWIAK
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR MANAGING EDITOR

GARY GRACA
EDITOR IN CHIEF

Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
bTtenure toubles
University must pursue open legal strategy in lawsuit
ne would expect a university that prides itself on its
accepting and friendly community would make it a pri-
ority to enforce its own non-discrimination policy. But
when a gay law professor filed suit against the University alleging
that he had been discriminated against, the University took the
position that it wasn't obligated to uphold its policy - a position
it only changed after an outcry from faculty. After more than five
years of the University's attempts to dismiss the lawsuit, a hearing
was finally conducted Friday. But regardless of how this case is
decided, the University must formulate its legal arguments more
sensitively - and more openly - in the future.

ast month, one of my sorority
sisters was getting married. For
the first time in my life, I was
stumped aboutwhat
to buy as a wed-
ding gift. I knew
my sister's sizes for
shoes and lingerie,
book preferences,
favorite foods and
biographic details
- the whole nine
yards. But now that ROSE
I wasn't just buying
for her, the whole AFRIYIE
twosome bit was-
throwing me for a
loop.
House appliances were overdone.
Money and gift cards weren't personal
enough. So, I did what any sorority girl
would do when faced with this situ-
ation: I headed to the nearest sex toy
store.
It's a beautiful thing to attend a
university where safe, affordable sex
toys are sold right off campus. One of
Ann Arbor's best-kept secrets is that
the Safe Sex Store (S3) on South Uni-
versity is a hub for sorority girls who
sometimes travel in pairs to buy their
big, little, dean, pledge, sands, soror
or sister tokens of affection to get her
vibe on. The thing is, I wasn't the run-
of-the mill customer. I had spent my
past summer doing evidence-based
research and one of thetopics I covered
was sex toys and lubricant.
Because of this research, I knew
that according to a 2009 study in the
Juurnal of Sexual Medicine, a majority
of women - 53 percent - had used a
vibrator. Additionally, I knew that men
were also getting in on it - 91 percent
of men and 81 percent of women who
used a vibrator used it with a part-
ner. And this couldn't help but bring a
smile to my face as I walked pastpenis-
shaped baking tins and breast-shaped
kegs. Accordingto the study, those who

used sex toys had higher rates of sexual
pleasure and better sexual health than
non-users.Womenwhousedtoysfound
it easier to naturally lubricate and men
had higher erectile functioning.
As I eyed the goods, I was immedi-
ately impressed: All toys were phtha-
late-free. While research on phthalates
is still ongoing, researchers have linked
these plastic-softening chemicals to
negative health outcomes. S3 offered
affordable silicone vibrators and dildos,
ranging in price from $20 to $140. The
deal with silicone, and glass for that
matter, is that it is one of the few toy
material types that can be thoroughly
cleaned. Other materials such as jelly
rubber, polyvinyl chlorides, elastomer
- and anything else that smells like a
shower curtain -is porous. Thismeans
itretainsbacteria, no matterhow much
antibacterial soap you use to clean it.
That's not to say all rubber toys should
be hurled to the nearest landfill. Itjust
means that porous toys should be used
with a condom to ensure one doesn't
get an infection.
The collection of male sex toys had
also grown since my last visit. From
disposable masturbator toys, male
masturbation sleeves and vibrating
cock rings priced $5 to $30, men have
some great options for self-love or a
pleasurable exchange.
But because I believe that sex is a
holistic act, I wasn'tjustgoingtofill my
shopping cart with a vibrator and cock
ring and call it a day. I was interested
in the adult sex education books. Itwas
nice to see books donning pictures of
African-American couples that taught
erotic massage and Kama Sutra posi-
tions that weren't just for contortion-
ists. I offered a silent prayer of thanks
for all the authors that dedicated gal-
lons of ink to how-to books for going
down on a woman.
After that, I was on my way to the
lube counter. Lube is a safe sex essen-
tial. Many will attestto the miraculous

powers of saliva, but it only lasts so
long. I scanned labels to secure some
glycerin and paraben free lube. While
studies are still inconclusive, parabens
have been linked to cancer. Glycerin, on
the other hand, creates an environment
in the vadge that is friendly to yeast
infections. I didn't want my friend to
have any unwanted guests during their
honeymoon period, so I was thrilled to
seelubethatmet all the healthrequire-
ments and still lefta film on my finger-
tips an hour later. With healthy lube,
toys for him and her and books galore,
my mission was accomplished.
A few weeks later, I went back to
thank the storeowner of S3, University
alum and educator Beth Karmeisool,
and to get some insights for this col-
umn. I asked her what toys students
come in for the most, and how one
knows when a toy is right.
Students have
good options for
pleasing partners.
"I sell a lot of Jack Rabbits and cock
rings, but it's not about what other
people buy," she said. "I keep products
that are fresh and hot based on design,
material and customer feedback. It's
all about meeting people at their com-
fort level."
I glanced around the room at my
peers. Sorority women held fetish fan-
tasy kits and condoms. Average Joes
clung to their lube proudly. Couples
searched through condoms branded
with the word "ecstasy." And I thought
to myself, this is what sexual literacy
looks like.
- Rose Afriyie can be reached
at sariyie@umich.edu.

Peter Hammer, who is now a law professor
at Wayne State University, sued the Univer-
sity after being denied tenure at the Univer-
sity's Law School in 2003. The University
review board initially approved Hammer's
tenure in a 4-1 vote. But the Law School
tenured faculty only voted 18-12 in favor of
approving tenure, two votes less than the
necessary two-thirds majority. Because of
that Hammer was denied tenure. He claims
he was the first male law school professor
to be denied tenure in more than 40 years
and that the decision was made that way
because he is gay. Hammer is now waiting
for the court to determine if this case will go
to trial.
The manner in which the University first
handled this issue was extremely troubling.
In 2006, the University argued for the case
to be thrown outonthe basis that the Univer-
sity has no legal responsibility to uphold the
non-discrimination policies outlined in its
employee handbook. The University's gen-
eral counsel specified that the non-discrim-
ination guidelines are only a "commitment,"
that don't necessarily have legal value.
The strategy, which was supposed to be
private, was obviously absurd. And faculty
and students called the University out for it.
As a result, the University switched its strat-
SEN
"Right to defend itself" is
too vague a claim for Israel

egy and instead argued that discrimination
didn't occur. Absorbing this criticism and
changing its strategy was the right move for
the University.
But students and faculty need some assur-
ance that other legal decisions being made
by the University are consistent with this
university's values. Such decisions should
not be kept private, and should never violate
the University's commitment to uphold a
policy of acceptance for all kinds of people.
After all, the University should feel morally
compelled to uphold its non-discrimination
policy regardless of whether it's legally
binding. Moving forward, the University
must rest its legal strategies on a sound com-
mitment to non-discrimination instead of
simply reverting to such a position to cover
its back. And if legal strategies were not for-
mulated behind closed doors, people would
be able to put more faith in the University's
position.
It's very unclear whether anti-gay preju-
dice played a role in Hammer's denial of
tenure. If it did, the University has a respon-
sibility to do something about it. But in either
case, the University's position should always
be open to the campus population and should
consistently support policies of non-discrim-
ination, whether the law says it has to or not.
ND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@UMICH.EDU
United States using the justification of "fighting
terrorism" to condone the blatant disregard not
only for human rights but for the rights of U.S.
citizens that has become all too common since
the inception of our global war on terrorism.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
Readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor. Letters should be less than 300 words and must
include the writer's full name and University affiliation. Letters are edited for style, length, clarity and
accuracy. All submissions become property of the Daily. We do not print anonymous letters.
Send letters to tothedaily@umich.edu.
Grow up, Democrats

TO THE DAILY: I would call on
Does Israel have a right to defend itself? right to self-defen
In their viewpoint, Danielle DePriest and what that actually
Naomi Scheinerman assert Israel's right to logue can progress
defend itself according to international law (The everyone can agree
blame game and Israel, 10/11/09). The mantra of defend itself," to m
self-defense is useful for Israel and the Zionist ing with which act
movement for two reasons: it is simple to state self-defense and wl
and hard to deny. Who in their right mind could
possibly say that Israel - or any other nation - Matthew Bussey
does not have the right to self-defense? Grad student
Israel's constant refrain of its "right to self-
defense" is analogous to our own nation's use Athletic De
of the phrase "global war on terror." Under
the guise of fighting against terrorism, the fillBiig Hou
Bush administration and the neo-conservative m d r o
movement led our country in the wrong direc-
tion. This phrase justified two major wars, TO THE DAILY:
illegal detentions, renditions of U.S. citizens, As a season fo
domestic spying programs, and the biggest years, it concerns1
power grab by the executive branch in our not be full this S
nation's history. student break. I've
Likewise, Israel has consistently used their and believe me, it i
right of self-defense to justify preemptive mili- In the old day:
tary incursions into Gaza, targeted assassina- would sell tickets
tions of Palestinian leaders, the building of a students to help fil
24-foot high concrete wall around the West short, but perhap
Bank, confiscation of Palestinian lands, the would allow Unive:
building of "Israeli only" roads that Palestin- tickets this week i
ians are forbidden to use, the establishment of the game. These do
over 600 checkpoints surrounding and within given to local midc
the West Bank, the uprooting of Palestin- on Saturday morni
ian olive groves, the use of white phosphorus Hopefully, the D
against civilian populations and the systematic letic Department t
dismantling of the Palestinian economy - not lead the way in get
to mention illegal detention and torture. ing Good luck andt
I would assert that using the justificatiun of
"self-defense" to justify this type of ppres- Michael Peikert
sin and apartheid is just as nunsensical as the Alum

those who defend Israel's
se to be more specific as to
means. In this way, the dia-
past blanket statements that
e on, like "Israel has a right to
ore pertinent questions deal-
ions by Israel are legitimate
hich are not.
partment should
se with kids
otball ticket holder for 41
me that the Big House may
aturday because of the fall
seen the Big House half full
s not a pretty sight.
s, the Athletic Department
for $1 or $2 to high school
ill up the Big House. Time is
s the Athletic Department
rsity students to turn in their
f they are not able to attend
onated tickets could then be
dle and high school students
ng.
aily can encourage the Ath-
o go along with the idea and
ting the ticket donation roll-
Go Blue.

Those who know me well under-
stand that I'm a pretty sensi-
tive guy. I tear up during sad
movies, and births
and weddings
invariably make
me a little verk-
lempt. When peo-
ple around me get
upset, I generally
become miserable
unless I succeed inx
raising their spir- MATTHEW
its. But even I, Mr. GREEN
Sensitivity, can see
that kindness and--- --
compassion have
certain limitations, particularly for
the nation's democratic leadership.
As a liberal who hoped things would
be different in Washington after
the last election, I'm outraged at the
Democrats' inability to enact any real
change whatsoever, despite control of
the executive branch and both houses
of Congress. I mean it with sincere
sensitivity when I say Democrats seri-
ously need to grow a pair.
In countless failed attempts at
bipartisanship, Democrats have
allowed themselves to be trampled by
Republicans. They prefer to fantasize
about everyone getting along, while
obstinate Republicans are only "in it
to win it." Part of the problem may be
that Democrats who fight like Repub-
licans don't get elected. When How-
ard Dean yeehawed during a 2004
presidential campaign speech, he
was mocked by established liberals as
radical and inflammatory. But when
Republican Congressman Joe Wil-
son of South Carolina screamed, "You
lie!" during one of President Barack
Obama's Congressional addresses,
$1.8 million in campaign contribu-
tions flowed his way the following
week.
Despite the fact that the democratic
congressional majority was voted into
power by constituents largely expect-

ing meaningful health care reform, system for universal health coverage.
the congressmen have since been Though a single-payer arrangement
unwilling - not unable - to make 'i th'lyislhpin of cohesive univershl
marked change. Ratherthan coming coverage, Obanaleft itbehind as soon
up with a feasible health care plan as the slightest opposition arose. Even
similar to those in most other wealthy, f hqvy slve ultimately had to give
nations, Democrats have pandered to it up, Obama should have realized
conservatives and private interests, that this was his greatest bargaining
muddying up real reform with stupid chip and held out longer. In his deal-
concessions to the health care indus- ings with Congress, Obama should
try. They've given up so quickly! channel President Lyndon Johnson 0
Without entirely viewing the leg- and understand that he can't satisfy
islative process as a zero-sum game, everyone. He has great ideas, but he
Democrats ought to start fighting a gets too hung up on getting everyone
little dirtier. Or for that matter, a little on board.
more like the Republicans. After all,
the GOP somehow managed to get us
into a needless war in Iraq with far
less power than the Democrats cur- Liberals need to 0
rently have. Why can't Democrats
accomplish what Americans actually start standing up
need and want?
Moreover, Democrats have aban- for them selves.
doned their principles for the sake
of "reaching consensus." Last win-
ter's stimulus package was gutted to
appease just two republican senators As a tried and true liberal, I'ntired
- Olympia Snowe and Susan Col- of always having to defend the Demo-
lins, both of Maine - at the expense crats when they have aren't willing
of creating real financial relief for to hold up their side of the bargain.
individual states. It's not politics, it's It's still obvious that in spite of their
pussyfooting. current ineffectiveness, the Demo-
And Obama is as guilty as Con- crats are the better of the two Ameri-
gress. As a nation, we're considerably can parties. Conservative leadership
worse off than where we were a year would be the worst choice for getting
ago. And while much of that change us out of a financial mess that con-
is beyond Obama's control, it can't be servative ideology helped create, and
ignored that the president has failed would probably just piss off the inter-
to accomplish the bulk of changes he national community.
needs to - even the ones he promised The Democrats' political philoso-
during last year's campaign. phy is just what this country needs,
For starters, the ambiguity of out- but their sensitive sidestepping is not.
lined proposals for withdrawal from Democrats need to accept that their
Iraq is unsatisfying. I understand actions will upset a lot of Americans,
the need to keep troops in Afghani- . and that that's okay. And once they do
stan, and even to take time in order so, ironically enough, I'm confident
to responsibly leave Iraq, but Obama that their constituents will respect
hasn't exactly taken the anti-war them infinitely more.
stance that his supporters expected.
Furthermore, he never should have - Matthew Green can be reached
dropped the idea of a single-payer at greenmat@umich.edu.
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:

Nina Amilineni, Emad Ansari, Emily Barton, Ben Caleca, Michelle DeWitt, Brian Flaherty, Emma Jeszke,
Raghu Kainkaryam, Sutha K Kanagasingam, Erika Mayer, Edward McPhee, Harsha Panduranga,
Alex Schiff, Asa Smith, Brittany Smith, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder, Laura Veith

BE LLA SH A H

E-MAIL BELLA AT BELLZ@UMICH.EDU

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