Sunday, January 23, 2011
Saturday, January 22, 2011
|While toying with drugged women on his|
bed, Kanye muses whether women are
"best living or dead."
I was surfing the Net when I found this article on the cleverly-titled feminist blog Reclaiming Roe. I am absolutely disgusted and outraged by the content of the article, which talks about a new music video by "artist" (I use the term loosely) Kanye West. The video is for a song called "Monster" and features drugged or dead women (I can't tell which) who are either in chains or in the process of being sexually assaulted.
Anyway, while I struggle to find PG words to capture my fury, please sign the online petition Prevent the Official Release of Kanye West's Women-Hating 'Monster' Video, and get all of your friends to do the same!
The petition reads as followed:
We the undersigned write in response to the leaked video teaser of Kanye West's video "Monster," released by HipHipConnection.com. The shocking and demeaning images of slain women, fetishized and eroticized in the video clip, suggest that violence against women is sexy. The 30-second clip sends the message that women as lifeless and passive objects are sexually appealing.
The mainstreaming of videos of this nature, combined with accessible and repeated exposure contributes to desensitized and callous attitudes toward violence against women, which is a scourge around the world. Becoming numb to violent images makes violent acts easier to commit and condone.
We ask you to consider the fact that much of West's fan base is comprised of young people in the formative stages of their development. Possibly millions of them globally will absorb and potentially internalize the unhealthy and harmful messages that women are playthings and objects of male pleasure - even if dead or drugged - and that they do not deserve basic human rights.
We hope you will agree with us that the music industry portrayals of women's pain, suffering, abuse, objectification, and victimization as valid forms of entertainment are not acceptable.
An official release date of the full-length video has yet to be announced. We respectfully request that you take a stand against the official release of "Monster" by refusing to promote, support, and/or give it airtime.
We await your response.
|Google has spoken, and Google knows all.|
Friday, January 21, 2011
|The future of feminism.|
I wrote this for my AP Language and Composition class. We had to pick an issue that we're passionate about (in my case it's gender equality) and write a speech that mimics Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream."
I’m so happy to be speaking to you today. My generation—and possibly yours, as well—has been accused of taking many things for granted, including prior triumphs for women’s rights.
They say that feminism is dead; perhaps we need to dispel a few things. I know that this conversation will substantiate the strength and determination possessed by our nation’s youngest activists. I know that this conversation is one for the history books.
More than a century ago one of the first women's rights conventions was held in New York state, immortalized—in the feminist arena, anyway—as the Seneca Falls Convention. Influential activists such as Susan B. Anthony, Amelia Bloomer, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton gave lively presentations in front of a crowd of 300, concluding with a re-write of the national promise made seven decades earlier: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal."
What these 300 women—and men—had was a simple dream: a world in which both parties would be treated equally, in society and under the strict peripherals of the law. The women, it seems, were tired of being seen as sub-par and treated as sub-human. The men, tired of seeing their mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters reduced to the status of livestock.
What these people wanted was justice. What they got was a world against them.
It took nearly 60 years for the United States government to take those like Anthony, Bloomer, and Stanton seriously, but finally on August 26, 1920 what I can only describe as the glorious 19th Amendment was ratified, and women were allowed to enter the political sphere as undisputed, legitimate, registered voters.
|This is very similar to my school's motto:|
"Failure is not an option." Is it just me,
or is this button freaking awesome?
To say that our progress has halted would be a gross miscalculation. In the past five decades women have seen the legalization of birth control and laws like Roe v. Wade. Women have worked their way into the bloodstream of universities and hospitals, police academies and the military. We are slamming gavels, writing novels, catching criminals, running, jumping, performing, dancing, literately and figuratively building bridges.
When one thinks of things this way, it’s almost too easy to say that we have come “far enough.” Perhaps men and women really are equal. Perhaps we need to just keep quiet, and quit while we’re ahead. Perhaps feminism really is outdated. Perhaps it really is “the dreaded f-word.”
You can think any number of those statements, but you would be wrong. Because what I’ve neglected to say is that while women are going to school, saving lives, and dispelling old myths about womanhood, they’re doing so on $0.77.
$0.77 for every dollar that a man makes for doing the same job. (That number is even lower for women of color.)
Sit there with a straight face and tell me that feminism is dead when:
Forty years after the fact women are being denied birth control and fed misleading information about their sexual health.
Forty years after the fact federally funded abstinence-only programs are feeding young girls (yes, only girls) slogans like “You are... a beautiful rose. Each time you engage in pre-marital sex, a precious petal is stripped away. Don’t leave your future husband holding a bare stem. Abstain.”
Forty years after the fact women have higher rates for depression and eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia.
Forty years after the fact women’s bodies are continually degraded in all areas of the media, and violence against them is often glorified or ridiculed.
Forty years after the fact little girls have to suffer broken hearts as they’re told they’re not strong enough, smart enough, worthy enough...
...and yet when we do stand up for ourselves we’re called prudes, whiny, mannish, and a thousand other things that probably aren't appropriate for this speech! We’re told to sit back down!
But now is not the time to sit back down. Now is the time to stand up on our tip-toes, extend our arms to the sky, and confess to the world that we are sick being called whores, sluts, and bitches. We are sick of people taking one look at us and automatically assuming we’re secretaries and nurses, not CEOs and brain surgeons. We are so sick of being seen as less than a sum of our parts.
My greatest dream is that one day, I’ll have a little son and daughter of my own. When my son asks me what it means to be a man, and when my daughter asks me what it means to be a woman, I’ll be able to tell them the same thing:
“The world is going to try to tell you what to do, how to be, and what to think based on the body you’ve got. But what all of those people have forgotten is that we’re all just people. People who cry, bleed, feel the ache of sorrow, and the sweet embrace of pure joy. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what you are in life, but how you live it, how you love yourself, and how you love others.”
|Life should be a cat's game.|
I truly believe that if we come together—every gender and every race, every age and every creed—we will be able to stop the vicious cycle of gender stereotypes and degradation. If we learn to love and respect each other based on internal qualities such as compassion and understanding, and pay less attention to outer qualities such as the absence or presence of breasts, we’ll all be able to live better lives.
I’m not an intensely religious person, but I’ll never forget that little saying that goes something like Eve was taken from Adam’s rib. Not from his foot to be trampled on, nor his head to be above him. But from his chest to walk beside him.
Right beside him.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
|Darrin C. Burch |
(Sept. 2, 1964 - Jan. 17, 2011)
As an "angsty" teenager, I feel like I never gave people the true story about my dad. It was always "yeah, my dad did this," or "he makes me so angry sometimes!" But did I ever tell anybody about how he used to pay me to try to get him to laugh by tickling his feet - and after seventeen years I finally succeeded? Did I ever tell anybody about how he used to flaunt his "moves" (especially one he made up called the Praying Mantis), or how he used to rub my earlobes "for power"? Did I ever tell anybody all the silly, simple, amazing things about him? Did I?
Let this be one of my greatest tributes to my dad: the true story.
|Me and my dad on Christmas morning. |
(Can't you just feel the excitement?)
"I'll like anything," he'd say.
"So you're saying I can get you a rock with some mud on it, and you'll be happy?!"
He always said "yes." That's the kind of guy he was.
|One time my dad saved me from choking on a chip,|
another time he jumped into a pool - fully clothed -
to stop me from drowning. This guy was my hero.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
My friend Erika asked me this question a while back, and I think it's an important one. We all know that one gross misconception about feminists is that we all hate men*, so it's probably also a preconception that feminists despise chivalry, or "special courtesy afforded to women by men."
I honestly had a heckuva time coming up with an answer to this question. I mean, if a boy insisted on opening my car door, pulling out my seat at dinner, whatever - would that go against my beliefs as a feminist because, in all actuality, I'm perfectly capable of doing all of those things by myself?
As they say, this issue is a double-edged sword. If a feminist woman denies chivalry, people will call her a man-hater (just check out the shirts that say "Chivalry is dead, and women killed it!"). If, on the other hand, a feminist woman accepts chivalry, people will call her a hypocrite.
We just can't get a break, can we?
Well, here's my answer to this brain-bending question. You might agree, you might not, but either way I'd love to hear your opinion.
Q: "What are your feelings on chivalry? Legitimate, heart-felt, pure chivalry?"
A: First of all, interesting question! But it makes all the difference that you said "Legitimate, heart-felt, pure chivalry." I think there's a huge difference between a boy doing something nice for a girl because he expects to "get something" in return, and a boy doing something nice for a girl because he genuinely cares for her.
But I also don't think chivalry is necessarily something that a man should do for a woman* - it's common courtesy that all people should exhibit. It's the little things you do each and every day for people to show respect: holding doors and elevators, helping somebody with their groceries, giving somebody the bigger slice of pizza . . .
So, am I against a boy holding a door open for a girl? No way. But tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that, I would expect that same girl to hold a door open for the person behind her, that person to hold a door for the person behind him, and so on.
In the long run, everybody deserves respect. Guys should respect girls, guys should respect guys, girls should respect guys, girls should respect girls . . . and I'm pretty sure I should respect you, and you should respect me. Because we're all people, right?
*Don't get me started on the "feminists hate men" stereotype . . .
*Yes, I know the official definition of chivalry is "The qualities idealized by knighthood, such as bravery, courtesy, honor, and gallantry toward women." But we're not in the 10th Century anymore. If knights are characterized by bravery, courtesy, and honor, women sure as hell can be modern-day "knights"!
Friday, January 7, 2011
About a month ago a woman from HighWire, a program at Lancaster University in the UK, contacted me about a video made by some of her students. On top of earning PhDs, they're part of something called the "EmpowerMe" project. How cool does that sound?
"The power of Gendolene isn’t something that comes in a bottle. It’s our collective ability to resist and reverse the tide of pinkification that has gradually washed its way across so many toys, clothes, accessories and household items targeted at girls and young women.
Our goal is to challenge the production and marketing of items that simply reinforce restrictive and damaging stereotypes about what it means to be a girl.
The culture of pink segregates boys and girls into different aisles. In one it’s cool to be active, adventurous and explore the world; in the other it’s cool just to look pretty and explore as far as the next pair of shoes or shade of lipstick.