Saturday, February 19, 2011

Stuatory Rape

Brewster woman, 23, charged in rape of Kent boy, 16

At 16, the boy cannot consent to sexual acts. Apparently he doesn't have the mental maturity to do so. He can, however, be tried as an adult in the New York State judicial system should he be the one committing a crime. In that sense, the state does believe him to have enough mental capacity to understand his own actions. He can consent to a crime, but not sex.


I think this charge is completely uncalled for, which may be surprising. And don't get me wrong, if the genders were reversed, and the ages the same I still would be against pressing charges. The average age of virginity loss in the United States is between 16 and 17 - the same age as the "victim". Undoubtedly this sexual relationship was entirely consensual on behalf of both parties (as nothing to the contrary was even insinuated in the article. With an age gap of only 7 years, this is hardly a crime worth investigating.

I don't know how a relationship involving a high schooler and college grad (or someone of that age) would really work, but to each their own. Do I think it's normal? no. Do I think it's creepy? Slightly. Do I think it should be illegal? Definitely not.

Honestly, I think it comes back to the idea of sex being a taboo subject in America. For whatever reason, the government does not want people having sex. Talking about it, seeing it, doing it, is all kept under wraps. Maybe we think 16 year olds aren't mature enough to be having sex because no one is talking to them about sex.

Maybe that's why he seeking it from someone older.

You may not be an adult at 16. There's still a lot of learning to do when you're that young. But I'm hoping we're giving driving licenses to people who are old enough to understand the world around them. At 16, you're free to operate a motor vehicle, to work, to go to jail, you should also be free to have sex.

Doesn't law enforcement have better things to worry about?

Sunday, February 6, 2011


I recently had the misfortune of hearing Rihanna's new song "S&M." At least I believe it's new - I don't listen to the radio much, and apparently that's for a good reason. The lyrics are truly a paragon for class:

"I may be bad, but I'm perfectly good at it,
Sex in the air, I don't care, I love the smell of it.
Sticks and stones may break my bones
but whips and chains excite me"

Rihanna - S&M

I don't even know where to begin. First of all, the song itself, regardless of who is singing it, is completely over the proverbial line. Why anyone wants to listen to a song about what sexual fetishes is beyond me. The beat being as catchy as it is just adds insult to injury. Not only does the song offend me, now I also can't get it out of my head.

I digress. My biggest issue with the song is the person who sings it. Rihanna's career was skyrocketed by an early relationship with singer Chris Brown. More infamously, that relationship turned out to be an abusive one, culminating in Brown's arrest. Rihanna quickly became the celebrity face for domestic violence, much like Howie Mandel and obsessive compulsive disorder. After the arrest, stemming from a fight the night prior to the 2010 Grammy's that led to hospitalization, Rihanna returned to Brown to rekindle the relationship. Shortly thereafter she left him, apparently solely because she doesn't want another's coffin on her conscience. According to an interview with Good Morning, America, she cites her "uncoditional love" for Brown as the reason she stayed with him throughout the abuse, and her realization that she could be a role model for other girls in similar situations as her reason for finally leaving.

Basically, had she not been in the spotlight, she'd still be with him.

But again, I digress. Now that I've reviewed Rihanna's history with domestic violence and abuse, her new single should be that much more appalling. Especially coming on the heels of her duet with Eminem "Love the Way You Lie" which documents an abusive relationship, culminating in

"if she ever tries to fucking leave again,
i'ma tie her to the bed and set this house on fire...
just gonna stand there and watch me burn,
but that's alright because I like the way it hurts,
just gonna stand there and hear me cry,
but that's alright, because i love the way you lie,
love the way you lie"

Eminem has been arrested and convicted several times of assault on his (ex?)wife Kim, and as mentioned, Rihanna has been on the receiving end of such assault. With such graphic lyrics, the two of them both say it is not glorifying domestic violence or abusive relationships, but simply exhibiting the cycle of abuse involved. The constant apologies and lies by Eminem in the song, according to interviews with him, are there to show how those who abuse are liars - that the Honeymoon phase that follows a fight in the cycle of violence is transient.

You gotta hand it to her. She really was trying to be posterchild for domestic violence awareness.

But then she comes out with this new gem. The S&M song that this is all really about. I guess having undergone such trauma, and having helped raise public awareness of such violence provided only a short lived high for Rihanna. Instead of helping to take a stand against abuse, she'd rather sing about enjoying it.

How appropriate is it for a woman who just last year quite publicly ended a relationship with a man who had been arrested for abusing her to sing about enjoying violence, whether that violence is sexual in nature or not. I understand that the fetish is completely separate from domestic violence, and one certainly does not denote the other, but Rihanna herself admitted she is a role model for young girls.

How can you call yourself a role model and then sing about pain being your pleasure? Whether the song deals directly with abusive relationships or not is irrelevant - of course the connection to her past will be made.

"For some, S&M is hot. Fine. To each their own. If you want to be whipped, deprived of oxygen, paddled, and scratched, good for you. But please do not decry violence on a national stage, proclaim yourself a victim, and then talk about how violence is a turn-on. If violence gets you going, keep it private, especially when you're such a public victim."
The Stir

If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.

Take a stand against domestic violence and relationship abuse, Rihanna. Don't fall for the business of selling sex.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Men's Fitness vs Women's Magazines

My boyfriend and his two roommates all have jobs which require them to be in top shape. As such, they have a plethora of men's fitness magazines. Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Muscle and Fitness, etc, are pretty prominent in their house. Every now and then I flip through them to peruse the articles and ads. Every page seems to be body builders, personal trainers, or military men describing their usual workout, or how to incorporate a slightly easier workout into a normal man's life.

It's no secret that women's magazines are chock full of diet nad makeup ads next to articles about building confidence. But that's the Cosmopolitan genre of women's mags. What about women's fitness magazines? Are they more similar in articles to men's? Do they focus on getting in shape, with ads that better mirror those articles? Or is the name of the magazine irrelevant to the actual content?

and thus began the research. I have a whole host of men's fitness magazines to work with, but I have little desire to spend money on women's, so I only have one Shape, and then the internet. I won't claim this experiment to be scientifically sound. But I think the results are interesting nonetheless.

For example, both magazines had ads geared towards pets. But Shape had more cat tailored ads, while Men's Fitness had dogs.

But more along my hypothesis, the Shape I purchased is 200 pages long. The first workout plan comes at page 66, and is for flat abs to make one swimsuit ready. Men's Fitness is 137 pages long and the first workout oriented article is on page 24, and is on building upper body strength for the sake of...building upper body strength.

After the fist shaping article in the women's mag (ending on page 70), pages 71-96 focused solely on makeup and clothing style. I guess now that you have those killer abs, all that's left is the lingerie, little black dress (lbd), and, of course, painting your face in layers of makeup. Literally. What exactly does makeup and heels have to do with getting in shape?

The only article in Men's Fitness that wasn't about getting in shape was: half a page on shaving, a page on offroading, and an article on Mark Wahlberg (about his training).

(Well both magazines had a short stint on sex. But given they were part of both magazines, they're canceled out and irrelevant to the study.)

My favorite article in Shape was the page "the Stay-Gorgeous Guide for Runners". These tips included how to prevent split ends due to pulling your hair into a ponytail. I run fairly frequently. I'll be the first to admit I look like crap while doing it and certainly when I'm done. I'm sweaty, my face is bright red, my hair's a mess, definitely not exactly prom ready. And I love it. Few things feel better than coming home from a good run. Why am I going to worry about what I look like?

The kicker? The subtitle of the article is "Putting in major miles is no excuse for appearing run-down. Use these tips to look stunning all season long."

Certainly nowhere in Men's Fitness does "look[ing] stunning" appear.

Because that's not what getting in shape is about. It's about getting in shape. It's about being fit and reducing your chance of a heart attack, diabetes, or stroke.

you don't even need to open the magazine to see the differences. The cover models are in completely different outfits and stances. Mark Wahlberg is in a muscle tee, standing straight up facing the camera, hands in his pockets, confident and laid back. Marisa Miller is in a pink lacey "dress" that comes just below her butt, and is more skin than clothes from the waist down. She's wearing 5 inch heels and sitting on her heels. Her hair covers half her face. Do I want to look like Marisa Miller? Sure. But she doesn't look like she's on the cover of a fitness magazine so much as Playboy.

Men's Fitness has every headline about working out (with again the sole exception of coverman Mark Wahlberg) whereas Shape has one: "Flat abs, Tight Tush, Killer Legs". My personal favorite is "5 Ways to beat the Winter Blues: Hint: They're in your makeup bag".

Seriously? The key to beating Seasonal Affective Disorder is in my makeup bag? The magazine barely even pretends to be about fitness.

Women's Magazines are a joke. Even fitness and health magazines can't even get it right. We don't need to hear how to put makeup on, or what clothes to wear. I don't want to learn how get in shape for the summer, or how to not sweat during a run. I want to know how to learn good eating and exercise habits that I can keep with me for life. I want to know how to lower my risk for obesity, not just because I want to snatch up a husband, but because I want to develop healthy eating habits that I can then instill in my kids.

I don't think anyone would be surprised to find out there are no makeup ads in men's magazines. Men don't wear makeup. What they look like is all they have. When will we be allowed to wear our own faces out in public?

And who's gonna give first? Does society change, and the magazines and social media follow suit? Or does the media change its message, and affect the public?