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Town Hall Seattle: Civics Series

Town Hall’s Civics series highlights everything from local policies to world politics. These events offer perspectives on a range of topics as diverse as Seattle itself—a bustling forum for activism, discovery, and thought-provoking discussion.

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Jan 28, 2020

Peggy Orenstein’s book Girls & Sex broke ground, shattered taboos, and launched conversations about young women’s right to pleasure and agency in sexual encounters. It also had an unexpected effect on its author—Orenstein realized that talking about girls is only half the conversation.

Orenstein arrived at Town Hall with insight from her book Boys & Sex to examine how young men understand and negotiate the new rules of physical and emotional intimacy. She outlined how boys are subject to the same cultural forces as girls—steeped in the same distorted media images and binary stereotypes of female sexiness and toxic masculinity—which equally affect how they navigate sexual and emotional relationships. Drawing on comprehensive interviews with young men, psychologists, academics, and experts in the field, she dissects so-called locker room talk; how the word “hilarious” robs boys of empathy; pornography as the new sex education; boys’ understanding of hookup culture and consent; and their experience as both victims and perpetrators of sexual violence. By surfacing young men’s experience in all its complexity, Orenstein unraveled the hidden truths, hard lessons, and important realities of young male sexuality in today’s world.

Presented by Town Hall Seattle. Recorded live in The Forum on January 23, 2020.