Professors talk sex with students

Meghann Anderson
Staff writer

Melissa Ruhlman/The News

Three Murray State professors spoke about sex to a crowd of approximately 45 students and faculty members Tuesday.

The event, “Professors Talk Sex,” was sponsored by the Women’s Center, Alliance and Gender and Diversity Studies. Panelists discussed economics, literature and philosophy.

The panel included of Cynthia Gayman, Mary Tripp Reed and Peter Murphy.

“Professors Talk Sex” is a biannual event that features different professors speaking on new topics.

Gayman, Regents College residential college head and associate professor of English and philosophy, spoke about sex, politics and self-perception.

“Women think they have to be this sexual object – a hot item,” Gayman said. “We are not born a sex subject, we become one.”

She discussed the trouble women face in battling being a sexual figure and a princess.

Quoting author Naomi Wolf, Gayman said, “Today, real naked women are just bad porn.”

Murphy, English professor, read excerpts from his book, in sale at the University Store, “Studs, Tools and the Family Jewels” to the audience.

He said his book is a critique of language and slang words, as well as etymology.

Murphy has 42 slang phrases and words that are historically explained and defined throughout his book, such as “faggot,” “chick”?and “dick.”

Jane Etheridge, director of the Women’s Center, said boys have parallel problems like girls when it comes to gender roles. Males are often restricted in the arts for fear it will be too feminine, she said.

She said the Women’s Center organizes different programs to help spread information about gender equality. Their mission is to promote gender equity and improve learning and work environments of the University community.

Reed, lecturer of economics, spoke about gender identities among children.

“Children learn about gender roles from an early age,” Reed said. “What they watch and who they look up to help shape them.”

Reed said she has to deal with gender identities everyday while raising her 4-year-old daughter by herself.

“I am trying to expose her to different things so she doesn’t have this tunnel vision of what being a girl is,” she said. “With all of the massive movement to sexualize girls, it’s constantly a balancing act.”

Murphy said people should confront reality instead of running from it.

Students must respect themselves and their own sexuality, he said.

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