I Went to a Seminar, and it was Great

A friend of mine who is doing postgrad work in Bioethics invited me to a seminar on Monday: “Children’s Rights, Well-Being, and Sexual Health”, presented by Samantha Brennan.  And it was great! As someone who is interested in this kind of topic on a casual, reading-for-my-own-interest way and not someone who is involved in the philosophy/ethics/bioethics field, it was very thought-provoking. There is audio of the seminar here (near the bottom of the page). The direction of the seminar was based around earlier work on the goods of childhood and reframing childhood not as a time where you are working on the potential that children may have in adulthood but childhood as a valuable time in it’s own right. The seminar outlined two different discourses of childhood sexuality: the ‘sexless and romantic’ vs ‘knowing’ dichotomy, and the ‘out-of-control’ vs ‘developing’ dichotomy. It was very interesting, and I recommed listening to the audio if possible (it goes for about 45 minutes) – there were lots of interesting little ideas, like the idea that we consider teenage romantic relationship breakups to be less serious and legitimate, and the discrepancies between various laws about sexual behaviour and sexual services (one example given by Samantha, from back in Canada where she is based, is that the age of consent is 16 but the age at which you can go into a sex shop and buy a sex toy is 18 – someone could be legally able to consent to certain sexual activities, but unable to go to a skills/teaching workshop at a sex shop which discusses those certain sexual activities). More of Samantha Brennan’s work can be found through the links on her tumblr –  here, and at Good Reads, PhilPapers, etc.

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