Category Archives: Inter:Course

Safe Sex for Students

The Coventry University is currently auditioning for young couples that are willing to be filmed whilst having sex –as part of a safe sex campaign. The project seeks three amorous couples aged 18-25 and is paying them £400 to have sex in “natural settings” such as in a student room or car. Aim of the campaign would be to prove that using a condom doesn’t kill the mood, but increases pleasure.

The initiative is part of the university’s Chance 2 Change project, which aims to encourage the increased use of condoms between people aged 15 to 24. Alongside the videos, other clips will be available of people talking about how condoms factor into their sex lives. Project leader Dr. Katie Newby says, “The videos, which will be tastefully shot and feature genuine couples, are designed to be available to over-18s at the point at which they are requesting free STI self-testing kits from a website.”

The NHS currently spends £620 million a year treating STIs. According to experts, these numbers are due to the fact condoms are often regarded “unsexy”. That’s where the campaign comes in. Users can request a sample pack of 12 condoms to be sent to them discreetly, and start not-making babies.

Source: Daily Mail, Metro

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Cocks Not Glocks

Sex toys can be revolutionary, too. This summer hundreds of Texas students demonstrated against the “campus carry” law, which went into effect starting 1 August 2016. The new law permits licensed gun owners aged 21+ to carry concealed handguns at UT Austin and other public universities. By means of protesting, students brought thousands of rubber dildos to the campus, turning sex toys into political weapons of agency.

The Cocks Not Glocks rally took place at the same location where Charles Whitman shot and killed 14 people at The University of Texas in Austin on 1 August 1966. Under the motto “Fighting absurdity with absurdity,” the protestors highlight the ridiculous nature of the new law, as this went into effect on the 50th anniversary of the massacre. Reportedly the protest has distributed over 5.000 dildos, donated by sex shops.

The Campus (Dildo) Carry movement started when in 2015 Governor Greg Abbott signed approval of SB11, or the “campus carry” law. Jessica Jin, a UT alumnus organized an “ironic” protest to mock the apparent absurdity of weapons being allowed on campus, but regulates the displaying of obscene items. In less than 36 hours, over 1.700 students pledged to attend the protest and #CocksnotGlocks went viral.

Campus carry has opened a seemingly deep political fault. Faculty members have resigned over the law, whereas a gun-rights group staged a fake mass shooting in Austin to demonstrate their belief that so-called “gun-free zones” are the initial problem that makes mass shootings so lethal. This makes us wonder if cocks can bring down governments?

Source: The Guardian

In Defense of the Eggplant

After the cucumber and the banana, there is a new phallic fruit in town. The eggplant emoji, also known as aubergine, was added to the official Unicode 6.0 emoji set in 2010. The flourishing ‘dictionary’ of 1.851 ideograms depicts a broad range of small digital icons to boost text messages and is gradually evolving into a parallel visual language of its own, where suggested meanings are up for grabs.

Emoji became available in 1999 in Japan with the aim to popularize pagers among teenagers. Nearly a decade before the launch of the Apple App Store, designer Shigetaka Kurita was working on his original lexicon of characters while simultaneously developing i-mode, which became the world’s first leading mobile Internet platform. This resulted in a set of 176 pictographic images that laid the foundation for emoji today. To put this in context, in 2015, for the first time ever, the Oxford Dictionaries declared the so-called Face with Tears of Joy emoji ‘word’ of the year.

Emoji became a vital part of our daily conversations, but there is a character in particular that stood out ever since its release, the solanum melongena. The eggplant symbol portrays a long, slender, oblong species of the Japanese eggplant, which is considered a token of luck when appearing during Hatsuyume, the first dream of the New Year. Unfortunately, the humble concept behind the fruit had turned into a dark fantasy, as the purple nightshade was crudely adopted into sexually loaded emoji-lingo. Millennials – mainly based in the US – are using the symbol to represent male genitalia or as carnal innuendo, raising concerns towards non-consensual communication.

A recent study investigated the emoji use per country. The report found that along a chicken leg, a skull, and lipstick, the eggplant scored highest in the US. While there are different ways to interpret emoji meanings, we can never ensure the fruit is solely being sent for exchanging recipes. So, how did US millennials become so obsessed with the phallic fruit?

Before Emoji (BE), sex education in the US was taught under the pretense of botany. Since the 1950s (or 49 BE) the reproduction of plants was carefully taught, hoping the students would comprehend the metaphor. Since the 1980s (or 19 BE) the banana and the cucumber were introduced to the educational program, these phallic stand-ins were supposed to teach adolescents how to work a prophylactic. However, at the present moment sex education is lacking. Even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided guidelines for teaching students about sex, the curriculum is far worse in reality. Resulting in a society that assigns specific meanings to digital icons.

Due to the carnal usage of the pictogram under the hashtag #eggplantfriday, this has led to Instagram banning the icon from its search algorithm. According to CNN: “A spokesman for Instagram said the eggplant emoji was made unsearchable because it was ‘consistently associated’ with photos or videos that violate the social network’s community standards.” Internet users around the world responded with the hashtag #freetheeggplant, modeled after the #freethenipple campaign that advocated gender equality.

Now that the aubergine had turned into a political weapon and gained cult status being the forbidden fruit of the web, all we can do is to defend its status and wait for the next phallic fruit to come around.

Sources: Know Your Meme, EmojipediaUnicode, The Verge

This article is part of the Forbidden Fruit series and was originally published on Next Nature Network.