Wednesday, December 05, 2007
I was just referred to this video from a design blog I read: 2 year old identifies the world. I don't normally post Youtube videos, but this was remarkable.
All the commenters to that video (and I) were so impressed that a 2 year old could identify so many countries, and many commenters noted that she knew more than they did. Statements like that make me wonder what is wrong with us, if as educated adults, we can't do things children do? Think about shows like "Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?" (Ironically hosted by You Might Be A Redneck If's Jeff Foxworthy). What does this mean about our country? Is this just a U.S. thing? Many of the commenters were from other countries too.
Isn't this about more than just geography? Shouldn't we be ashamed that our knowledge is so poor? While rote memorization is helpful, I know it isn't the marker of all knowledge.
I'm disturbed when the community college students I work with place into Arithmetic as their "college" math. ARITHMETIC? Often these students have taken high school algebra and much higher, yet they didn't retain the information. That is a problem to me.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Today, I witnessed something that just a year ago seemed nearly impossible. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). We are one step closer to our ultimate goal of ensuring that all GLBT Americans no longer live in fear of losing their jobs.
The progress we've made today is historic - it is the first time either house of Congress has passed employment protections of this kind. It took over 30 years of lobbying and grassroots political work to get to this point, and while the bill that finally passed was not the fully inclusive version we sought, this represents a major advance - and the best way to move towards our long-term goal of protecting our entire community.
HRC first helped introduce ENDA 13 years ago, to prevent workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. This year, gender identity was added to the bill. Unfortunately, gender identity was not covered in the version that passed today, but this vote was a first and absolutely necessary step towards equality for GLBT people in the workplace. That's why HRC joined with a coalition of major civil rights groups who declared support for the bill before the final vote, including the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR includes more than 192 national civil rights organizations), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA), and the National Education Association (NEA).
Supporting this version of the bill was a difficult and painful decision. But, without a doubt, the only path to achieving a bill protecting our whole community was by achieving the successful House vote today. A defeat of ENDA would have set back the possibility of an inclusive bill for many, many years. HRC remains 100% committed to doing the hard work necessary to pass legislation that protects our entire community, including transgender workers who remain especially vulnerable to workplace discrimination.
Today, we continue our determined march towards progress. And we recommit ourselves to educating our leaders and our neighbors, to speed the day when our community will be protected, as one. Your support has enabled HRC to lead the way in this struggle. We have formed strategic alliances in Congress, activated an unprecedented number of grassroots supporters, met with editorial boards, brought clergy to Washington to lobby their elected officials, and worked with the corporate community to expand GLBT workplace protections. We spent years defending ourselves from anti-GLBT attacks from the radical right. Now we are on the offense. But make no mistake: the extremists who work against us every day will be working overtime to hold back our progress.
Our fight will not be won overnight - it will be won one step at a time. This has been a grueling few weeks for our community, but we have never once given up on achieving our ultimate goal of workplace equality for GLBT Americans. Along this road, there will be challenges, but we must not allow them to divide us. We know we are working towards the same goal: equal rights for all.
We can get there, together, and we will.
Friday, November 02, 2007
Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani prominently featured one such myth in his speech Oct. 20 to a group of social conservatives. The former New York City mayor stated that "we increased adoption by 133% over the eight years before I came into office. And we found that abortions went down by 18% during that period of time. I believe we can do that in the United States."But Giuliani's implied causality between these two statistics is unsupportable for this simple reason: The increases he cites were in the rate of adoptions of children out of New York City's foster care system, not in the rate at which women were continuing unwanted pregnancies and placing their infants for adoption rather than having abortions. Nothing in the data he cites indicates that there was any significant increase in the city's newborn relinquishment rate while he was mayor.
Meanwhile, we know that very few women actually place their infants for adoption. In the United States, fewer than 14,000 newborns were voluntarily relinquished in 2003 (the latest year for which an estimate is available), according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That proportion -- just under 1% of all the children born to never-married women -- has remained constant for almost two decades.
As a just-published Guttmacher Institute study shows, abortion rates are extremely high in many countries where contraceptives are not readily available and contraceptive use is not encouraged, even though abortion is highly restricted in those places by law. And the world's lowest rates of abortion by far are found in Western Europe, where very few legal restrictions are placed on abortion but contraceptive use and comprehensive sex education are widespread.
Behind virtually every abortion is an unintended pregnancy. The sooner politicians accept that the only way to meaningfully achieve fewer abortions is to do better in helping women and their partners prevent unintended pregnancies in the first place, the better.
The last 2 paragraphs really get at what I think is a very important point for people to remember in the reproductive rights debate.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Some popular childrens' costume names:
Shipwrecked Pirate, Wayward Witch, Child's Chamber Maid Costume and Miss-Behaved
A girl isn't an Army cadet, she's a "Major Flirt," and who knew female firefighters wore fishnet stockings? Even Little Bo Peep comes with a corset, short skirt and lacy petticoat.
Joe Kelly, founder of the advocacy group Dads and Daughters comments: He sees the trend as symptomatic of a deeper issue. "The hypersexualization of younger and younger girls only serves to reinforce gender roles. When an 8-year-old girl can't find a doctor costume because all they have are nurse outfits, that's a problem."
The article points out that most websites selling costumes have more options for boys than girls.
Not that there's anything patently wrong with young girls wanting to look pretty. Child psychologists agree that embracing and understanding their attractiveness is a key part of early-adolescent development for girls. But when sexiness and body image become the sole criteria by which they judge themselves and each other, "That's when we start to see problems," says Dr. Eileen Zurbriggen, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who last year chaired the American Psychological Association's (APA) Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. Their report, issued in February, declared that, "Throughout U.S. culture, and particularly in mainstream media, women and girls are depicted in a sexualized manner."
This is a disturbing trend. The article asks Are we prudes or is this practically kiddie porn? I don't care if I am considered a prude, this is not appropriate. I can't even imagine what I'd say if I had a daughter who wanted to be one of these costumes, especially when peer pressure is a strong influence. How do you get a 9 or 10 year old to understand that slutty is not appropriate? I know some people don't like the use of the word appropriate but that's really the most appropriate (ha) word. I think it is up to the parents to decide what they allow to be appropriate (after all, I suppose anyone could say that wearing a mohawk isn't appropriate, or being gay, and I see the possible implications here). I'm of the school of thought (and I say this without having had any children) that you should let your kids wear what they want as far as personal expression goes (i.e., they don't have to match every day, they can dye their hair pink if they want) as long as it doesn't harm them or others.
Where I do have an issue is what the article said, that it's not the best message to be sending to a young girl that her idea of herself is that of "Major Flirt" instead of Army Cadet.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
What: My Girlfriend Did It, a documentary about lesbian battering. The film includes several women sharing their stories as well as organizers and anti-violence advocates discussing resources and barriers from a community perspective. Following the film will be an open forum discussion where the community can come together to explore the anti-violence movement and the unique needs of the LGBTQ/HIV-affected communities.
When: Wednesday, October 24th, 7-9p.m.
Where: The Gay Community Center of Richmond at 1407 Sherwood Ave Richmond, VA 23220. It is accessible to persons using wheelchairs. Childcare available upon request. Light refreshments will be available.
For more information please call 804.643.4816 and ask for Quillin or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Chesterfield Edition: Written Entirely in English
+8 Official Language: English. Kelly Miller, chairman of the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors, has reminded all of us how many problems could be solved by simply making English the official language of the county. ¡Gracias, Kelly! Language to be enforced by Media Watchdog Greg Pearson of the Chesterfield Observer, a fine, fine newspaper written in English.
+3 Official Hot Drink: Tea with lemon. To shake off any unfair backwoods stereotypes and help show off our class. Plus, it will underscore our heritage with Philip Stanhope, the late British secretary of state and Fourth Earl of Chesterfield, for whom the county is named. The lemon reminds us all how good we are at puckering.
+4 Official Road: Route 288. It allows us to bypass everybody.
+7 Official Currency: Smart Tag. Everyone has one, and what better way to painlessly extract the money we need from residents to cover the increasing costs of illegal aliens? Plus, we can use the Smart Tag to track the whereabouts of illegal aliens. And Ed Barber.
+6 Official Church:The Richmond Christian Center. Present it a plaque during Black History Month, which we already support. Doing so will divert attention from the way we successfully blocked the church from buying Cloverleaf when no one else was interested. Then let the media try to call us bullies. Extra points for racial tolerance to offset the county’s official Confederate History Month.
+7 Official NASCAR Driver: Denny Hamlin. OK, this sends mixed signals, we know. But it is his hometown.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Jeanne Phillips, who formally took over the column when her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease five years ago, has continued plugging the group, as well as its affiliate for parents with children who identify as transgender, and a suicide hot line aimed at gay teenagers.
“I’m trying to tell kids if they are gay, it’s OK to be gay. I’ve tried to tell families if they have a gay family member to accept them and love them as they always have,” she said Friday.
PFLAG director Jody Huckaby said Abby is the perfect choice for the first “Straight for Equality” award, part of the group’s new campaign to engage more heterosexuals as allies.
Monday, October 08, 2007
·Domestic violence is virtually impossible to measure with absolute precision due to numerous complications, including the social stigma that inhibits victims from disclosing their abuse and the varying definitions of abuse used from study to study. Estimates range from 691,710 incidents of violence against a current or former partner per year to three million women who are physically abused by their husband or boyfriend per year.
·In 2001, about 85 percent of victimizations by intimate partners were against women (588,490) and 15 percent of victimizations were against men (103,220).
·Nearly one-third of American women (31 percent) report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives.
·Every nine seconds in the United States, a woman is beaten by her husband, boyfriend or live-in partner
·Thirty percent of Americans say they know a woman who has been physically abused by her husband or boyfriend in the past year.
·70% of men who abuse their female partners also abuse their children
·Domestic violence is often passed on to the next generation: Boys who witness domestic violence are three times more likely to hit their wives than those who have not. Data also suggests that girls who witness maternal abuse may tolerate abuse as adults more than girls who do not.
·Up to 50% of all homeless women and children are fleeing domestic violence. (Schneider, Legal Reform Efforts for Battered Women, 1990)
Things that might be keeping you from saying something:
The violence can’t really be that serious. Dating violence includes threats, pushing, punching, slapping, choking, sexual assault, and assault with weapons. It is rarely a one-time occurrence and usually escalates in frequency and severity. Even if the violence is “only” verbal, it can seriously affect the victim’s health and well-being, so any act of dating violence is something to take seriously.
My friend must be doing something to provoke the violence. A victim of dating violence is never to blame for another person’s choice to use violence against her/him. Problems exist in any relationship, but the use of violence is never acceptable.
If it’s so bad, why doesn’t s/he just leave? Your friend’s emotional ties to her/his partner may be strong, supporting the hope that the violence will end. Perhaps your friend doesn’t know about available resources, or maybe social and justice systems may have been unhelpful in the past. Perhaps when your friend has tried to end the relationship in the past, her/his partner may have used violence to stop her/him.
I shouldn’t get involved in a private matter. Dating violence is not a “personal problem”. It is a crime with serious repercussions for your friend, your friend’s partner, your campus, and your entire community.
I know the abusive person– I really don’t think he/she could hurt anyone. Many abusers are not violent in other relationships and can be charming in social situations, yet be extremely violent in private.
The abusive person must be sick. Using violence and abuse is a learned behavior, not a mental illness. People who use violence and abuse to control their partners choose such behavior; viewing them as “sick” wrongly excuses them from taking responsibility for it.
How can my friend still care for someone who abuses her/him? Chances are, the abuser is not always abusive. S/he may show remorse for the violence after it happens and promise to change. Your friend may understandably hope for such changes. Their relationship probably involves good times, bad times, and in-between times.
If you are living in an abusive relationship, help is available:
Virginia Family Violence & Sexual Assault Hotline - 1.800.838.8238
I am delighted to see that The Clothesline Project is reappearing at VCU this year. I'm just devastated that they're only having it during the day so only VCU kids can see it.
The Clothesline Project gives victim/survivors who have been affected by violence a chance to express their emotions through the decoration of a shirt. The shirt is then hung on display as a testimony to the problem of violence against women.
Date: Wednesday, October 10th, 2007
Time: 10:00am – 4:00 pm
Place: VCU Student Commons Plaza
Beating Hearts--Stories of Domestic Violence. Interactive.
Some of these just make your heart pang. I almost get teary at work reading these again.
Then he turned to me and his eyes scared me. He just stared at me, like a blind person does, without blinking. And he told me he was going to get the back hoe, and after he dug the hole, he was putting me and the kids in it. He said the only thing he hadn't decided was whether he'd kill us first, or just bury us alive.
Sexism, Identity, and Intimacy in a Pornographic Culture –
Lecture by Dr. Gail Dines;
What does it meant to live in a stomach stapling, breast enhancing, diet loving, hook up junk-sex culture? Why is porn to sex, what McDonald’s is to food? Why does porn ruin men’s sex lives as well as women’s? Why do women’s magazines do stories about the dangers of over-dieting and then only use size two models? Why do the media celebrate Paris, Brittany and Lindsay and denigrate feminists? Why is porn more profitable than the Hollywood film and music industries combined? These are just some of the questions answered in Gail Dines’ compelling lecture.
Sponsored by: VCUVOX - a student run organization affiliated with the nationally-run Planned Parenthood- Contact: Leah Fremouw at email@example.com
Date: Thursday, October 11, 2007
Time: 7:00 pm
Place: VCU Student Commons - Richmond Salons 3 & 4
A Rose for Toni - A dramatic monologue about the dynamics of dating violence. The story is conveyed through the character of Toni, a nineteen-year-old young woman who grew up in a physically abusive home. Although, Toni recognizes physical abuse, her current relationship depicts symbolic, emotional, and verbal abuse. The audience will become emotionally engaged with the plight of Toni as the story of this abusive relationship unfolds.
Date: Tuesday, October 16th, 2007
Place: VCU Commons Theater
Friday, September 21, 2007
I recently changed the comments to disallow anonymous comments. This was not meant to discourage discussion or opinions, but I simply do not want posters who have no identity at all. I encourage people to use aliases if they'd like. I value the ability for us to be somewhat anonymous online, but do not believe in commenters being a blind face with an opinion. Logistically, it is also hard to keep track of which person said what when everyone is anon.
Thanks. Happy commenting.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
The men's group was, on some level, criticizing women for repressing them. They were using a variation of the argument I can't stand, Boys Will Be Boys. I'm sure there is tons written up about this particular subject, but I'd like to know what you, readers, think as well.
I think a lot of how boys and girls/men and women behave is due to socialization, but in my gender studies, I have seen enough to concede that there are some sex differences in behavior between boys and girls. However, this "bwbb" argument oversimplifies it. It is often used to justify violent or sexist behavior, defining those behaviors or preferences as "masculine." Not only is this dangerous, it is often just untrue.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
BIG CREEK, W.Va. - Inside a shed on a remote hillside of this coalfield community, authorities say a young black woman was tortured for days, sexually assaulted, beaten and forced to eat rat droppings.
Her captors, all of them white, choked her with a cable cord, poured hot water over her and stabbed her in the leg while calling her a racial slur, according to criminal complaints. It wasn't until an anonymous tip led Logan County Sheriff's deputies to the property on Saturday that her ordeal ended and she was able to limp to safety, arms outstretched as she cried "help me!
Others in the article, including the mother of the 20-year-old victim, kept saying things to the likes of, "I can't believe people like this exist."
"I don't understand a human being doing another human being the way they did my daughter," Carmen Williams said Tuesday from her daughter's hospital room. "I didn't know there were people like that out here."
Which makes me wonder, are we naive to think that our fellow citizens aren't capable of such horrific acts? Has history taught us nothing? Is it awful and defeatist for us to presume that people will continue to perpetuate hate crimes and human rights violations? It happens routinely in many, many parts of the world, so why are we surprised? Certainly this is an inexcusable, terrible occurrence, but if similar things are happening everywhere else in the world, why are we shocked when it happens here? Is that ethnocentric of us, in the same vein as "It could never happen here" or "Not in my backyard" ?
Friday, September 07, 2007
Immigrants' Labors Lost
The New York Times
IMAGINE we wanted to create a huge Latino underclass in this country. We would induce more than 500,000 illegal immigrants to enter annually. We would see Latinos account for half of America’s population growth. We would turn a hardened eye toward all 44 million Latinos, because 12 million jumped our borders to meet our labor demand.
We would know that if we paid them, they would come, but we would offer no legitimate employment. We would adopt a let’s-pretend labor policy in our fields, yards, factories and restaurants, and for child care, construction and cleaning, with a wage fakery worthy of the Soviet Union. There, the joke was “we pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us.” Here they would work, hard — and we would pay them, sort of, but pretend not to, denying ourselves the future tax revenue needed to pay for services we faulted them for needing.
Rather than fencing aspiring contributors out, comprehensive reform means Congress getting serious about entry-level job training and midcareer education programs for all workers. They deliver better economic returns than border patrols do.
The guy with the leaf-blower not only can learn English, he — like the unemployed steelworker — should have a chance to learn auto repair or programming. He’ll start with the jobs “ordinary Americans” won’t do. But we impair our economic future if we leave him there, imagining that’s all he or his children will ever do.
Saturday, September 01, 2007
I've got new ideas though and look forward to writing again.
But first, readers, tell me, what's your definition of postmodernism? Now I know you can go to the Internets and look up a definition, but I want to know what you personally consider the definition to be. I've never been able to deduce a coherent, concrete definition. I also think that's a fault of the theory. I know it best to be an architectural definition--a push back against the idea that modernism was too cold, impersonal. Adding more details, instead of having just clean lines, taking note and including the surrounding environment when designing urban buildings, and more of a reference to historical decorative forms.
Much as I hate that everyone uses Wikipedia as if it's an academic source, I was referred to their page about postmod here and think it has quite a lot of information.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Monday, April 30, 2007
The Twistolutionary manifesto argues that anything called “porn,” whether or not it is explicitly violent or BDSM-y or designed to titillate ‘feminists’ vs. sweaty, beer-gutted pervs, exists only to enthrobulate the fetishization of culturally-generated (and, frankly, comically hokey) constructs. It is readily apparent to the visitor from the planet Obstreperon that these constructs include arbitrary standards of physical sexihotness, arch-backed-heavy-eyelidded-ooo-baby body language, penetration worship, dominance and submission, corny fashion accessories, “the art of seduction” et al — and that they have, at their root, everything to do with a paradigm of dominance and nothing to do with actual sex between individuals with equivalent personal sovereignty.
So what’s the big whoop, the empowerful young feminist asks?
Well, in addition to pornography’s negative philosophic value, which anyone possessing even a sliver of sapience can see is reason enough to give it the old stink-eye , our world order is predicated on binary sex roles, one of which is privileged and dominant, the other of which is oppressed and submissive. In such a society, where a woman is a member of the oppressed sex class, her performance of sex in a film which is then consumed by paying customers to satisfy their prurience, this is not even remotely a politically neutral act. Porn — gay, straight, bi, live-action, animated, or ‘feminist’ — is the graphic representation of the oppression of the sex class. Until the sex class is liberated from male oppression, porn can be nothing else, no matter how many fun feminists claim it empowerfuls them.
Or, if you prefer, in order for porn to be politically neutral, it can’t be porn. Merely announcing ... that one’s participation in porn, whether as a consumer or as a prostituted woman, is voluntary does not make it so. This is because the women doing the announcing are, and have been since birth, deprived of such privilege as is necessary for them to freely make that choice.
When you’re already oppressed, it is, in fact, impossible to volunteer for oppression. A woman is a member of the sex class whether she “chooses” it or not. This pre-existing condition forms the backdrop to any fun feminist’s conclusion that her compliance with the patriarchal sexbot mandate is voluntary. She may believe otherwise, but her belief does not alter the fact that patriarchy — a social order predicated on an oppression to which she is already subject — is real and in effect and entirely beyond any unrestricted control she may wish to exert and only too glad to welcome her as a team player and sign her up for the rewards program.
The fun feminist confuses “empowerment” with the decision to acquiesce. This is understandable; it’s the one actual choice she has in this game: surrender, or stand and fight. She doesn’t have to be Candida Royalle to recognize that if she chooses the latter all she’ll get for her trouble is ridicule, hostility, suspicion, and the threat of bodily harm.
Whereas the rewards for surrender to male porn culture are not inconsiderable: social acceptance, male approval, little psuedo-privileges that accrue according to the degree of one’s conformity, and of course the enormous relief at not having to fight it anymore. The if-you-can’t-beatem-joinem gambit has enjoyed millennia of popularity for good reason. It gives the appearance of the shortest and easiest route to life’s rich pageant. Too bad that, once they get there, chicks are only eligible for the women’s auxiliary.
1. Porn’s negative philosophic value, in addition to its general assault on T & B (Truth and Beauty) spans the whole of women’s oppression, from Maybelline to rape culture.
Friday, April 27, 2007
And for the anonymous female poster who commented on the right for women to choose porn, I wasn't necessarily arguing that there was one right choice and choosing porn was the wrong one. I'm at the moment, mostly not anti-porn. But the problem is everyone looks at it as if it's only about individual choice. There are larger and complicated interweaving institutions at play here. Those who have not extensively studied institutions have a tendency to jump in with the "but it's a free country" and "free will" arguments. Anonymous girl (you have to leave some sort of pen name or else I can't keep track of who's who), you esp need to read this part (emphasis mine):
"It starts with the idea that people, even people who as a group are poor and powerless, do what they do voluntarily, so that women who pose for Playboy are there by their own free will. Forget the realities of women's sexual/economic situation. When women express our free will, we spread our legs for a camera.
Implicit here, too, is the idea that a natural physical body exists, prior to its social construction through being viewed, which can be captured and photographed, even or especially, when "attractively posed" -- that's a quote from the Playboy Philosophy. Then we are told that to criticize this is to criticize "ideas," not what is being done either to the women in the magazine or to women in society as a whole. Any critique of what is done is then cast as a moral critique, which, as liberals know, can involve only opinions or ideas, not facts about life. This entire defensive edifice, illogical as it may seem, relies utterly coherently on the five cardinal dimensions of liberalism; individualism, naturalism, voluntarism, idealism, and moralism. I mean: members of groups who have no choice but to live life as members of groups are taken as if they are unique individuals; the social characteristics are then reduced to natural characteristics; preclusion of choices becomes free will; material reality is turned into "ideas about" reality; and concrete positions of power and powerlessness are transformed into relative value judgements, as to which reasonable people can form different but equally valid preferences."
The Virginia Tech shooter had a history of stalking women. Not just following them with starry eyes as the kindly (towards men) patriarchal imagination paints those poor misunderstood stalkers:Notice a pattern with these guys? Hello? Anyone? These serial killers and mass murderers who “suddenly snap” almost invariably have a problem with women. They almost always have a long history of stalking women, accusations of date rape or “domestic” violence (which are finally listed as “unfounded” and dismissed), and glorification of violence notable even for our violence-enamored society, often with a focus on violence done in sexual ways toward women.
But because women don’t matter, because women aren’t seen as people, these warning signs are not taken seriously. The campus police did not move to secure the campus early in the day when he shot the first two people because they blew it off as probably a “domestic” incident of murder/suicide - police shorthand for “He only killed a woman he’d had sex with before, so she’d probably asked for it anyway and of course he isn’t going to hurt any REAL people, just the bitch who pushed him over the edge.” Because they don’t take violence against women seriously, even murder of women, 30 more people were killed. They did track down her boyfriend to question him, but they didn’t lock down the campus in case they were wrong - they assumed a man who shoots his girlfriend isn’t a danger to any real people.
There’s a double mistake in this thinking. First of all, violence against one woman - even if the offender has a past or current relationship with her - should mean the offender is immediately taken to jail. Who cares if she wants to press charges? If someone starts beating up strangers on the street and the police are alerted, the offender goes straight to jail and the charges are sorted out later. Why? Because - and here’s a radical idea - even if she fucked him before, SHE’S STILL A HUMAN BEING WHO DOESN’T DESERVE TO GET BEATEN, RAPED, OR KILLED FOR IT. Secondly, while some men are happy to have just their own personal punching bag/gun target in the form of a woman on whom they perpetrate “intimate violence”, often a man uses women (or other low status humans, like the homeless or prostitutes) as practice before moving on to killing “real people” (like men, or unrelated university students with a career in front of them, or people with jobs, or chaste women who are married to/property of some other man). Even if you don’t take violence against an individual woman seriously, from a law enforcement perspective and a public safety perspective it is FUCKING STUPID to blow off someone who shoots, rapes, or beats his girlfriend as not being a danger to society. Yet law enforcement does this all the time.
I had been surprised to hear about all the stalking he had done and the judge-ordered mental health treatment, and then that the media and students all kept saying "well that didn't mean he was going to do anything dangerous". WHY NOT? When does it? I thought it seemed unusual that all that was so downplayed. Screaming into the Void makes good points about mass murderers usually having a problem with women. And then her second point how if it had been a stranger he went out and beat up/killed, he would still go to jail without having to "check with the partner" to see if she wants to press charges.
So, why write this tremendously verbose explanation for this picture? Dear Readers, it personifies the horrendous conditions under which women were bartered in a marriage system designed to benefit a patriarchal society. Collectively, these attitudes still remain entrenched in our society.
We need to be responsible for our own survival. As women, we cannot, in good faith, hinge all of our hope for the future upon another person’s care of us. And this needs to be addressed on all levels in our lives, financially, emotionally, physically, we must be learn to care for ourselves with the same dedication we were taught, as women, to care for others.
The woman in the picture didn’t have choice. In the old system, women were property (and still remain so in other parts of the world today!) and distributed to their masters accordingly. Now, we do have choice, and choice is an amazing thing, it provides for the freedom we’ve been craving.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Author talks about loving hip-hop but hating the misogyny in it. This is relevant to news lately about Imus, and Russell Simmons' latest comment about suggesting banning certain words from music lyrics.
The comment thread on this is quite good. There are lots of perspectives from all sides. Go read it. Really, do it.
I myself am often torn while dancing heartily to songs with obviously offensive and disgusting messages. I recently saw the video for Beyonce's "Crazy In Love" all the way through, and was appalled at how objectified she seemed. And it was HER VIDEO. I mean, the girl looks good, and coined some new dance moves, but for most of it, she's crawling on the ground, making Maxim-cover-arched-back poses and writhing up on Jay-Z (and the fact that he's her boyfriend makes it seem even trashier). This isn't some rap video no name girl--this is Beyonce. She's a star. And still in her own video, she is reduced to the slut class.
She writes (emphasis mine):
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If women were not systemically oppressed, pornography could not exist. In a post-patriarchal society, free of the degrading paradigm of dominance and submission, pictures of people fucking would have all the prurient allure of a podiatrist appointment. It is the rape-based degradation to which consumers of pornography respond, dum-dum!
But I digress.
The remaining part of my theory is that the populus is so desperately invested in patriarchy that they are unwilling, even in the interest of justice, to part with one of its primary cornerstones: the slut class. Patriarchy depends on the slut class to serve as the receptacle for its pornsick incontinence. A slut class naturally implies a good-girl class, from whose virginal ranks the privileged male selects his unpaid housekeeper/fetus incubator/childcare worker. It naturally follows that if you go around convicting rapists, you diminish the she-was-asking-for-it slut class, which in turn, as distinctions between the two become more and more nebulous, diminishes the good-girl class. See, convicting rapists has the undesirable side effect of making women a bit more human.
You know, if I were a little more on the ball this morning, I might dip a querulous toe into the argument that society will never stand for the eradication of rape. Such success as capitalism enjoys is largely based on the wide availability of unpaid domestic labor created out of the sex class. Which sex class could not exist if women were not rapeable. Can you dig it? The global economy would collapse without rape.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
On a separate note, Brickweekly.com is actually a lot more fun to read than the actual newspaper (and I rarely say that because I love actually holding a newspaper. I think all papers should be the size/specs of Style Weekly and Brick because they are much easier to hold and read. ) As a foodie, I also love all of Brick's food/drink articles.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
A friend sent me a link to this article, which is a history of porn and how it functions in society currently. It's a very long article, but well worth a good skim. The good bits are down at the bottom, including this part, which I thought was quite good (but you kinda have to read the rest to really get it):
The power of art is that it lets us see, in someone else’s work, an idea that we dimly formed but lacked the skill to realise or convey, and in this way makes us feel less alone. Pornography as we conceive of it today, however, does the opposite. It isn’t art, cannot be openly admired or discussed, serves only to convince us of our isolation...
As a feminist, I have been interested lately by the debate of those feminists who are vehemently anti-porn and those who are advocating a free for all of it and sex workers, prostitution, etc. I think that gets into a different, though related area, including all those other sex related institutions.
I can see where anti-porn feminists are coming from (and so does the author of this article, but he also has some critiques). The problem is, as Porn functions now in society, it is hidden, dirty, embarrassing, shameful, and perhaps, gasp, am I going to say it, unregulated. The regulate it and everything will be fine argument about prostitution is one that gets me up on my soapbox to disagree with because it is just not that simple.
No time for more commentary right now, but you, readers, please discuss.
EDIT: Oh, and hey look, one of my blog friendlies has a post and a good comment discussion going on about some potential porn/obscene material censorship in the UK.
Friday, March 09, 2007
Thanks to West of Shockoe for the heads up about this:
Sexual assault of female US soldiers by their male colleagues in Iraq is a widely known problem, reports Salon.com. Comprehensive statistics on the sexual assault of female soldiers in Iraq have not been collected, but early numbers revealed a problem so bad that former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld ordered a task force in 2004 to investigate. The military's definition of sexual assault includes "rape; nonconsensual sodomy; unwanted inappropriate sexual contact or fondling; or attempts to commit these acts." Salon.com article
"The knife wasn't for the Iraqis," she told me. "It was for the guys on my own side."
I am so outraged at this! This is truly a case of "if you aren't outraged, you aren't paying attention." It makes it very hard to go on living a mundane, everyday life when injustices like this are happening within our own military. As if the military doesn't have enough bad image to deal with right now. They're not doing a so great job at making us support them with stuff like this.
I've got to say I'm not surprised that this kind of hush-hush and suppression of detractors or tattletales happens in the military because isn't that always how it's been for a long time? An individual doesn't have independent thought--you work as a unit. The military still has lots of "good ole boys club" in its blood. I would think that it'd be very hard to stand up and have integrity as just one of the cogs in the system. As with any institution, if you don't have any power or status, you don't have the ability to effect change.
Not having been in their shoes, it's easy for me and others to say "Well how come the women aren't saying anything?" You can't know how you'd react in that situation until it really happens, especially with the stigma of sexual assault, and how restrictive the military is. As one of the women said:
Jennifer Spranger, 23, who was deployed at the beginning of the war with the Military Police to build and guard Camp Bucca, a prison camp for Iraqis, had a similar experience. "My team leader offered me up to $250 for a hand job. He would always make sure that we were out alone together at the beginning, and he wouldn't stop pressuring me for sex. If somebody did that to my daughter I'd want to kill the guy. But you can't fit in if you make waves about it. You rat somebody out, you're screwed. You're gonna be a loner until they eventually push you out."
And there's more to that. Fellow soldiers thinking you're a traitor because you've reported a rape, no women counselors, no way to report anonymously. It makes me want to cry.
And then there's the classic typecasting as listed here:
"There are only three kinds of female the men let you be in the military: a bitch, a ho or a dyke."
This is all relevant to recent events as well, because any time my seemingly liberal, progressive-thinking friends claim that "women are equal already," my answer to that is always one word: "RAPE". As long as rape happens in the scale and quantity that it does, all over the world, but especially in developed nations, women are not equal. This is also related to an ongoing discussion I've been having with some people, and had with some friends at an art reception the other night about sex workers/prostitution/porn and whether that was an act of oppression or not. More posts about that later.
Monday, February 26, 2007
Take action today to make sure that Congress passes comprehensive hate crimes legislation this session. Fill out the form below to tell your Representative to become an original cosponsor of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act that will soon be introduced in the House.
This legislation is a common sense, anti-bias crime measure which brings our nation's laws into the 21st century and is strongly supported by religious organizations, civil rights organizations and law enforcement officials. It is also widely supported by the American public.
You can go to the Human Rights Campaign Website to take action.
On a related note, I recently read this report at work and was so overcome with sadness I had to take a moment to compose myself. "50 Under 30: Masculinity and the War on America's Youth". Click on the big image on the bottom left of the screen to download the report. It details all the hate crime killings that have happened simply because of one's gender expression, and not even necessarily because of their sexual orientation.
From the report: Few of us realize just how many young people are dying violently each year simply because they don't fit someone's ideal for masculinity and femininity. Yet if federal law mandated the FBI to track genderbased hate crimes, they would outweigh every other category except race.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
At this coffee shop, the java is free
Freakonomics has a running commentary
I haven't had time to read it all yet but think it's an interesting concept. Share what you think with me!
I agree with what this commenter said:
From Freakonomics: 06 Feb 2007 at 10:12 pm # psteinx
...I agree with the other posters that these situations, when I’ve encountered them, make me uncomfortable. I would probably be inclined to overpay because I don’t want to feel like a cheapskate/freeloader, but I’d also be uncomfortable overpaying. Just tell me how much you want for your coffee. Let me feel happy when I feel like I’m getting a bargain, and let me choose another cafe if I feel I’m being overcharged.
Another aspect to this that makes me uncomfortable is the idea that everyone will likely be paying a different price. It reminds me of going on an airplane, where you never know whether you’re a chump or not without spending far more time than I prefer to in comparing prices…
CELEBRATE MARRIAGE WEEK in Richmond
Yet another blow to us single folk on Vday week. Ha.
On one hand, strong families=good
I think the idea of teaching responsible fatherhood, actions and consequences, and healthy relationships is good.
On the other, this is of course only saying heterosexual families are good, and that marriage is the ideal (which I'm not sure is something we should be saying). I think yes, it probably is a good idea for a strong family, but I think it's rather...arrogant, self righteous, offensive? to be saying marriage is the only ideal.
The org that runs it was originally started by churches, and that always makes me a bit wary of their intentions. I wonder if that's bad. I like a firm separation between church and state.
Hrm. Thoughts, readers?
Thursday, February 01, 2007
I Blame The Patriarchy exists to advance the radical feminist views of Twisty Faster, a gentleman farmer and spinster aunt eating dinner in Austin, Texas. I Blame The Patriarchy is intended for advanced patriarchy-blamers. It is not a feminist primer. See Patriarchy-Blaming The Twisty Way for details.
I dig that it isn't trying to be middle of the road. Part of discussions about social justice involve points of view that aren't on the fence, and that not everyone will agree with. I admire anyone who is willing to say what they think without trying to compromise. As one who thinks taking your husband's last name at marriage is a completely patriarchal and identity stealing practice, I like where this blog is going.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Virginia is doing well in lots of areas, including having the top Bond ratings.
Delaware (my home state) kicked butt in a ton of other areas as well. They also have the second largest foreign-born population growth. Odd.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
The point was, it was interesting that one person's personal opinion became a national agenda.
That last sentence there is really striking. That's incredibly empowering and scary at the same time. The article notes that China is a country with the second most Internet users, after the US. I didn't know that. How startling. The author of the blog said, "Blogging is giving ordinary grassroots Chinese people a chance to express themselves." Which is true. But if bloggers are getting up in arms about a coffee shop, imagine the power they might have if they actually put it to a better use, like for some social justice issues. And they are young bloggers (The Chinese man was 29), so perhaps the hope for generation next to care about issues like globalization and consumerism still exist. The blogger says he is a regular Starbucks customer and his goal was not to drum up anti-American sentiment:
Tony Ip, the China general manager of WPP Group PLC's G2 Relationship Marketing (that title is long and unnecessary here) said, "When bloggers get a chance to talk to the CEO of Starbucks, they will want to show their power. Then an individual consumer's point of view can become a public agenda."
"This became an issue because Starbucks is a symbol of Western popular culture," he says. "The question is, how do we absorb and embrace the Western world without losing our own identity. This is an issue that everybody is thinking about. I just happened to write about it."
What do you all think about this?
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
The Civic Engagement House of the University of Richmond invites you to attend a free screening of four student documentary films on Wednesday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. in the Brown Alley Room of Weinstein Hall. The films to be shown are:
- Cross Over Ministries: Improving Health Care in the Latino Community
- Homelessness: It Could Be You
- Not Just Sticks and Bricks: Affordable Housing in Richmond
- Youth, Violence and Gangs
Please join us to learn more about these important social issues and show your support for the student filmmakers. A brief reception will follow the screenings at 8:30 p.m. For directions or parking information please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO - Members of an all-male singing group from Yale University say they were taunted with anti-gay slurs, attacked and beaten after singing "The Star Stangled Banner" at a New Year's Eve party in San Francisco.
So now they're gay just beccause they're in an all-male singing group? Jeez. Or they just targeted the ones that "looked" gay? And in SAN FRANCISCO, for crying out loud.
Police said they arrived and found about 20 people fighting in the street. They interviewed some of the participants but let them go after taking their names.
WHAT!? No one was arrested? Taken in for questioning for a HATE CRIME? What the hell?
While I think this is great, I do worry about repercussions from businesses, what with the now higher payroll costs. This also will be bad for my job, bc the companies we work with pay our students minimum wage, with a 50 cent increase each summer (3). It's a lot easier to sell a 16 year old to a company at $5.15/hour. I'm pretty sure the raise will make it harder for us to find business sponsors for internships. Drat.
Tackling a top priority, House Democrats pushed a $2.10 an hour increase in the federal minimum wage toward passage Wednesday, calling it only a partial restoration of purchasing power for America's lowest-paid workers.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, said passing the boost "is simply a matter of doing what's right, what's just, and what's fair. If the minimum wage had been adjusted with the cost of living on an annual basis since 1968, a minimum wage worker would not be making $5.15, not be making $7.25, would be making $9.05," he said.
I also don't understand why this has to be such a partisan thing. Bush is supportive, which surprises me. I can see how big business is going to freak and say, AGHH, it's expensive, etc, but better paid workers mean a better economy, less strain on gov't programs, more stable households, and all sorts of good things, that aren't partisan. I really hate that concept. Partisan. It's become a dirty word. To be behind things that your party supports. It has taken to being considered a synonym for divisive. Let's look up the meaning, shall we?...
an adherent or supporter of a person, group, party, or cause, esp. a person who shows a biased, emotional allegiance.
Synonyms 1. See follower. 3. biased, prejudiced.
Wow, that's interesting. I had the definition in my mind not to really mean that. I was thinking it meant just an adherent to a cause, which it does say, but the definition also emphasizes the "biased" part. Hrm.
Somewhat unrelated conversation I had on IM with a friend:
me: is anyone else annoyed at newspapers and online news' sites' attempts to include "technology" in their articles by putting video links to everything?
friend: u dont like the video?
me: I don't want to watch a video. i want to read about it. it's faster to read. and when i'm at work, i can't watch the video usually anyway
friend: some ppl dont like to read
me: i'm usually subject to a commercial first too
friend: because they cant!
me: dumbing down of america
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
He's really quite good on the show.
Monday, January 08, 2007
I liked that in the previews for the movie, Al Gore says, "This is not a political issue" which I completely agree on. We all have to live on this Earth. All of us should care what happens to it, in our lifetimes or later.
This is also relevant given all the coverage given to global warming this weekend with the 60 and 70 degree weather. It seemed like every channel I turned on was discussing this (and I did watch a fair bit of the Weather Channel). The consensus seems to be that one or two warm days or months are not enough to cry global warming, but the fact is, is that the Earth's core temperature has been rising steadily for a long time, especially in the last 50 years or so (or longer?). I feel another "End of the World" movie coming up based on global warming. I'm surprised we haven't had a "Deadly Hurricane" or "Tsunami" movie, but I suppose it's too soon after them to do that yet. Remember all the fuss when "World Trade Center" came out? That was also one of the previews of the movie I rented, and now I want to see it.
One of RD's commenters noted:
The Sunday Supper Club will be having a public viewing of this film in the very near future. See their website:sundaysupperclub.org.
Though it appears that group is based out of Fauquier County, VA (I'm not even sure where that is).
They also have a page of links of other organizations dedicated to peace and justice. Will need to go check those out soon.
Friday, January 05, 2007
For Raechelle Ellison, 11, transition was marked by tears, nightly pleadings to her mother that she did not want to return and the composition of poetry with verses like, “Life in despair/I don’t really care.”
“Being in middle school is just like a bird being kicked out of its nest by its mother,” Raechelle mused in the cafeteria one recent morning.
A friend from college is doing Teach for America in a middle school in Houston, TX and hearing his stories of classes full of failing students, no students on task, arrests, and death threats make my mouth fall open most of the time. I don't know how teachers stay motivated in that environment, especially the inexperienced TFA ones. Based on what I've heard from 2 people I know who've done TFA, it seems the program is only discouraging young, motivated people from becoming permanent teachers by scaring them away with these poor schools, as opposed to the opposite, which is the intent. More thoughts to come on TFA later... I'll have to get my friend to chime in on that.
L. Douglas Wilder was of course, the first, of VA.
He was even there :
Wilder, the shoe-in favorite for the new Richmond "strong mayor", now rapidly falling from pedestal with his strong opinions and sweeping actions.
Why do you think there have been only 2? That seems embarrasing and disappointing. This is also evidence I use when I tell people that I don't think Americans are ready for a woman president. I'd love for it to happen, but I don't think they're ready. I think they will choose a minority first (ala, Santos from The West Wing?). Colin Powell has been in the spotlight for quite some time now, and there's Barack Obama, currently serving as the "celebrity" favorite (I don't think he's even that good looking).
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for enough good men to do nothing. "
- Edmund Burke
(definitely relevant to the idea of this blog..I think I might add it to the title)
"What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal."
— Albert Pike, Scottish Rite Freemason (1809-1891)
(a quote I live by in my professional life)
"To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting."
— e e cummings, poet, artist, playwright and novelist (1894-1962)
"I've got all the money I'll ever need, if I die by four o'clock."
-- Henny Youngman
(related to our continued pattern of living beyond our needs)
"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself."
— Count Leo Tolstoy, Russian novelist (1828-1910)
(ah, so true)
I also noticed that the students I work with (high school) and even college students (including my classmates when I was a student) don't seem to talk about these types of issues. Social justice. Race/class/gender/orientation. Poverty. Oppression. Rich/Poor Gap. Education access. Feminism. Equality. What do those things mean to them? They (we) are supposed to be Generation Next--the ones who'll be in charge next of the world. Why aren't we engaged in discussions about these issues? Why are only students permitted access to these types of debates?
Being post college, there are few venues to discuss this (other than online, I suppose).
Please join/follow my blog with your insights and comments. I want us to start talking.