Share Sexplanations

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

Share Sexplanations:





I’d really love it if you shared Sexplanations with someone you care about. I think more people can benefit from it and I’m always hearing “I wish I had known about this channel when I was younger.” Please spread the Sexplanations.

I have issues with her promotion of homeopathic treatment for medical conditions. More here, and apologies for my having employed what I suspect you’ll consider to be an ableist slur when I wrote that.

I’m not saying that Linsey Doe is not problematic, in fact, I find many things about her videos problematic. I have not heard of the issue with homeopathy, though. (which I don’t consider ableist? probably because I’ve never heard of it before. but from what I read in these few ten minutes, the act of using it on patients would be ableist but not the word itself. it is the procedure which has been used to harm ill people, not the word. ableist language includes words that have been used to categorize, dehumanize, or generally portray disability in a negative light; and this doesn’t appear to be that. unless you’re referring to something else???)

Some of the things that I have seen as problematic are: her interview with a trans man makes me very uncomfortable (if I remember correctly because he was rather binarist). Also, she is a dyadic, cisgender, heterosexual who often explains issues about intersex, transness, and queer sexualities, so there are bound to be problems there. Also, things like including sapiosexual on a list of identities. I’m sure the list could go on and on.

My general stance with encountering problematic media is to critique it, not ignore it, unless it actively causes me harm (and yes, there are some episodes of sexplanations that make me so uncomfortable I cannot watch them). However, despite it’s problems, this show has taught me so many things that were excluded from my sex education. It has allowed me to come to a greater understanding of my body and the way it interacts with my sexuality, and this is why I recommend it to people.

Also, I want to try to give lenience to people who have different points of view and are generally earnest and have good intentions. Because life is better if I try to exercise compassion with others and myself.

The ableist slur I was referring to was when I wrote that homeopathy was “obviously bonkers”. That’s a term I’ve used in the past but try these days not to use, based in large part on your own effort to explain to me how language that treats mental illness lightly for disparaging/humorous effect can be hurtful. So thank you for helping me understand that.

I believe you when you say her show has been educational and helpful. But I wish she was more scrupulous about not promoting homeopathy, even if only as an alternative treatment, for actual medical conditions.

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“Homeopathy? Shame on you Lindsey. Well now, this is uncomfortable. I’ve essentially been told you’re…”

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

Homeopathy? Shame on you Lindsey. Well now, this is uncomfortable. I’ve essentially been told you’re going to harass me until I respond to this. Don’t do that. Let’s remember, if I’m not responding, it’s because I haven’t gotten to your message yet. Remember, thousands of messages! Or, I’ve given your answer already, or someone has made a rude comment related to the topic and I need space.

This is an example of a homeopathic remedy for cold sores. Not your thing? That’s okay. Two Nobel peace prize winners, a professor of emeritus at Cambridge University, the National Institute of Health, Web MD, my local grocery store and the Food & Drug Association do not discount homeopathy. Please quit bullying me, not cool. We could all be wrong, but there’s still no shame in that. I just like giving people choices!

Dr. Lindsey Doe, Sexplanations

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Yeesh, I’m not really sure I can manage the comments sections so I won’t read it but I had no idea the sexplanations lady was promoting and defending homeopathic stuff. I feel like how I felt when I discovered my primary science teacher (who was awesome) believes horoscopes. Only not actually so bad because there was less faith to destroy but actually worse because so many more people watch and trust sexplanations. Urgh.

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Yeah, it bugged me too. I’d liked the few of those videos I’d seen, including the one on consent. I didn’t see whatever the original comment was that she made about homeopathy, but apparently some people were giving her a hard time about it via email or something, because in the Q&A video I linked to she made some cryptic but somewhat upset-sounding remarks about people pestering her about it. She held up a homeopathic remedy of some kind and made a statement citing various authorities, including the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), implying that those bodies supported or endorsed or in some sense vouched for the efficacy (I guess? she wasn’t very specific) of homeopathy. Which is perhaps true in a hyper-technical sense? I know the FDA set up some office of “complementary and alternative medicine” or something like that a while ago. But homeopathy, obviously, is bonkers.

There’s a depressing amount of pseudoscientific belief around. I’d never really heard much about homeopathy and didn’t know what it was, when a speaker was booked to come talk to the weekly parenting class that was associated with my son’s preschool ten years or so ago. By the time the person was done giving his presentation about how great homeopathy was I was rolling my eyes. Since then I’ve become more aware of the issue.

I can only conclude that getting a doctorate in human sexuality, which appears to be what the host of Sexplanations has, does not involve enough contact with actual science to weed out people who are credulous about homeopathy. In a larger sense, it raises concerns in my mind that YouTube series developed by Hank Green are not necessarily a reliable source of scientific and medical information.

It’s interesting how YouTube’s lowering of the bar in terms of cost and gatekeeper effects enables all this cool communication and community building, but also puts the young and naive at risk of being misled either intentionally or accidentally by people who, absent YouTube, would have a smaller reach.

Hank and Dr. Doe are smart and nerdishly enthusiastic in a way that comes across well on video, but they would benefit from more scruples about fact-checking and not presenting themselves as authorities in areas where they lack expertise. It’s a stylistic convention they seem to share with other successful YouTubers, to project confidence and talk fast and make lots of authoritative-sounding pronouncements. It’s obviously effective.

I don’t think Hank and Dr. Doe are intentionally misleading their viewers. But it’s a slippery slope, and others obviously have been willing to use the same tools in ways that are a lot more damaging, as recents events demonstrate. And even if it’s the result of ignorance rather than malice, it does real harm for a purported expert to promote the use of useless treatments for actual medical conditions.

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