Blue Ivy: Catalyst for Change?

If you don’t know who Blue Ivy is …. that shit cray.

Beyonce and Jay-Z’s daughter was recently born and there has been plenty of news coverage, speculation and rumors about her. Proud daddy Jay-Z even created the song “Glory” in her honor.

But this is my favorite article yet.

In his article “Why Jay-Z’s “Glory” Dedication to Blue Ivy Made This Black Man Cry”, Jeffrey Q. McCune, Jr. discusses the implications behind Jay-Z’s lyrics, and how being a father can help create a profound change on how men treat and view women. He writes:

What I hear haunting the tune of “Glory” is the beginning of Jay Z’s recognition that the wreaked “havoc on the world”—through sexism and destructive gender-speak—may need to come crashing to a halt. Knowing that he has such rhetorical power and popularity within the masses, this song may call forth a trend to move from exploitation of women and women’s sexuality to a more mediated location, where women’s sexual autonomy is privileged and their presence is not simply peripheral.

McCune is an Assistant Professor of Amercan Studies and Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland-College Park, as well as author of the upcoming book “Sexual Discretion:  Black Masculinity and the Politics of Passing”.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under EFF YES!, parenting

NYT article’s coverage of gang rape was careless

Last week the New York Times author James McKinley wrote a story on the gang rape of an 11-year-old girl in Cleveland, Texas. In today’s culture, rape and violence towards women is unfortunately saturating our media, and McKinley’s piece played into the most common errors of reporting rape. 

His article, titled “Vicious Assault Shakes Texas Town” (was it the town that was assaulted? really? no it was a CHILD), not only has concerns about the young men that assaulted the girl, but goes on to almost suggest this attack was the girls fault, and even her mother’s fault for not knowing where her daughter is at all times (why was there no mention of the girl’s father?).

Classic victim blaming excerpt from the article:

Residents in the neighborhood where the abandoned trailer stands — known as the Quarters — said the victim had been visiting various friends there for months. They said she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s. She would hang out with teenage boys at a playground, some said.

“Where was her mother? What was her mother thinking?” said Ms. Harrison, one of a handful of neighbors who would speak on the record. “How can you have an 11-year-old child missing down in the Quarters?” 

It is appalling that Times would allow such an article to be published. But it is yet another example of the rape narrative in our movies, tv shows, and language (“Dude, that test raped me!”) that is replacing the horror of rape with drama, victim blaming, and carelessness.

What’s more this article on “The Official Douche Roni Weiss Blog” suggests that in fact the responsibility of the victim is to be taken into account – that if women didn’t walk down dark alleys alone or kept pepper spray with them, they wouldn’t be attacked.

No. 

Women get raped in bikinis and buquas, drunk or sober, in a dark alley or not – the problem is NOT the preparedness of the women against attacks, but the fact that rapists are present. As one rape survivor says,

“Left to my own devices, I never would have been raped. The rapist was really the key component to the whole thing. I was sober; hardly scantily clad (another phrase appearing once in the article), I was wearing sweatpants and an oversized t-shirt; I was at home; my sexual history was, literally, nonexistent—I was a virgin; I struggled; I said no. There have been times since when I have been walking home, alone, after a few drinks, wearing something that might have shown a bit of leg or cleavage, and I wasn’t raped. The difference was not in what I was doing. The difference was the presence of a rapist.”

But back to the main idea of the depiction of rape in the media.

As Roxane Gay puts it, “The way we currently represent rape, in books, in newspapers, on television, on the silver screen, often allows us to ignore the material realities of rape, the impact of rape, the meaning of rape.”

Our language and use of language effects our reality. As journalists, writers, and consumers of media we need to do a better job of treating sexual assault crimes and rape more carefully and consciously.

2 Comments

Filed under some effin' advice for ya!

Well, I like the sound of that

Subversion: a systematic attempt to overthrow or undermine a government or political system by persons working secretly from within

I was reading Sex and the Fat Girl: The Beauty Industrial Complex and You, which prompted me to look “subversive” up.

Good article. Good word.

Leave a comment

Filed under some effin' advice for ya!

The troubling Christian Patriarchy Movement: Are stay-at-home-daughters here to stay?

“[The] prime purposes of feminism are to establish a lesbian-socialist republic and to dismantle the family unit.” (Fathers for Life)

“[Feminism is a] socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians.” – Pat Robertson

Statements such as these are the cornerstones of fear indoctrinated in “stay at home daughters”. To not comply with a father or husbands will is to go against God.

After all, “a marriage bonds man (the symbol of Christ) to woman (the symbol of the Church). It’s a model that situates husbands and fathers in a position of absolute power: If a woman disobeys her “master,” whether father or husband, she’s defying God”.

There have been articles over the past year about the growing numbers of young women are part of the Christian Patriarchy Movement  (CPM) which promotes “homemaking, theology, hospitality, and femininity” , females not going to college (that’s selfish), and obeying their fathers until they marry (and then they obey every whim of their husband). 

Many young people -no matter their gender- have the freedom to choose not to go to college and to be homemakers and I respect that.

The trouble with the CPM is that it takes the choice out of the equation. The culture that the CPM breeds is sexist and highly gendered. According to the Bitch Magazine article even the books and toys hawked to those in the CPM include swords and bow and arrows, while girls have dolls or sewing kits.

These girls are being prescribed their roles and then kept in them. Literally being treated as little girls even as they are women – leaving all decisions up to fathers or husbands. As Bitch Magazine puts it,

“In a complex world where women have more choices than ever, perhaps the appeal of this lifestyle for both men and women is perpetual female childhood. Men make all decisions and are never told they are wrong, always getting their way, while women are free of any decision-making…”

The CPM may be growing due to this idea (^above) –  that marriage can be uncomplicated because there is no balancing act of equality in the relationship. The growing population of evangelicals and fundamentalists in the U.S. may be susceptible to these values and it is troubling that this movement may be on the rise because it takes the freedom of choice out of young women’s lives

1 Comment

Filed under EFF NO!, parenting

“I’ve lived out there with the guys”

Near the end of February, NPR brought us a series of stories on Women in War.

An excerpt from Part 1:

At one point during her deployment, she [Sgt. Kayla Williams] and her unit were sent to a remote outpost in the northern part of Iraq. For six months, she was the only woman living with an all-male unit on the side of a mountain…

“They played a game of throwing rocks to try to get the rocks through the holes that had developed in the crotches of all their pants, and later, they started throwing rocks at my boobs as well as part of this game,” Williams says. “So is that harassing me or including me? Treating me the way they were treating one another? I thought I was being included and treated as one of the guys, but it’s never that simple.”

In fact, it got really complicated.

“They would include me in their camaraderie, but every once in a while it would slip over a line, and they would want to see my boobs. It was just tricky,” Williams says. “Later, I came to think that if I wanted to avoid things going in a direction I wasn’t comfortable with, I had to keep that line much crisper.”

Currently the military has a combat exclusion policy that “prevents women from being assigned to direct ground combat units.”

It is thought that having a women there interrupts group cohesion, there is risk of a women getting pregnant (and not able to deploy with group), and issues of sexual harassment.

This NPR report points out, however, that women already are in combat due to the nature of the current wars.

Also, the exclusion of them is part of a vicious cycle – – the more women are excluded, the more male troops may view them as “less than fully soldiers” or seen as equals and thus the problems of sexual harassment and lack of commraderie are perpetuated.

Leave a comment

Filed under NPR, U.S. military

Egyptian women optimistic

 

Egypt has been in the spotlight lately (hello revolution). And with the assault on Lara Logan, the country’s treatment of women and history of sexual assault have also made headlines.

But in this new era for Egypt, women have found a renewed strength for ending harassment and fighting for their rights.

Eff yes!

Leave a comment

Filed under EFF YES!, sexual assault

Don’t be fooled by Washington State “pregnancy centers”: As if we needed another reason to love Planned Parenthood

This week’s Stranger, a Seattle weekly, ran a compelling story on pregnancy centers in Washington state. Reporter Cienna Madrid  visited the Christian run centers, signing up for pregnancy tests and experiencing them first hand.

The pregnancy centers often offer free baby clothes, diaper services and parenting classes, which are helpful –  but these centers are also misleading. They advertise free pregnancy tests and call themselves “medical clinics”, when really:

 “They’re largely staffed by volunteers, not nurses or doctors, and their services are far from comprehensive. Some of the centers offer sexually transmitted infection testing or ultrasounds (no diagnostic analysis, just moody pictures of your insides) but no other medical care. None of them provide information about or access to birth control or condoms (just abstinence and Jesus). When you visit their websites or call to make an appointment, it’s rarely made clear that these are Christian organizations. Based on anecdotal evidence, only occasionally do they voluntarily disclose before appointments that they’re opposed to abortion and won’t refer women to providers who offer those services.”

The past few years Washington women’s advocacy groups have lobbied to pass a bill that would “would make it clear to women what services these centers do—and don’t—provide.” The bill would also require the centers to inform patients that they have religious affiliation, they don’t provide medical care, and they oppose any birth control that’s not abstinance. Since they aren’t medically licensed, the information you give them isn’t protected by HIPPA laws. Also they will not refer you for an abortion.

Religious activists continue to organize every year to block the bill, basing their argument on free speech and claiming the bill goes too far.

                                          

The article is full of information and important not to just those in Washington State, but all over the country. I’m sure “medical clinics” like these are cropping up everywhere. Spread the word.

What really resonated with me were the closing remarks of the story – – that a frightened, possibly pregnant woman in this situation would be very vulnerable, and “clinics” like these may pressure or shame her to make an ill-informed decision.

We can’t let this happen. This bill must pass so these pregnancy centers give full disclosure of their agenda to women looking for help.

Just another reason why we all must appreciate and support Planned Parenthood.
                  

1 Comment

Filed under Reproduction, sex, some effin' advice for ya!