Monday, May 16, 2011


International Monetary Fund Cheif Remains Jailed in NYC Sex Assault Case

Hey Dom,

Having all the money in the world doesn't mean every woman you come across is gonna want you. And it certainly doesn't mean that any woman you come across is yours to do with as you please.

Too often having money (or fame) equals a perceived sense of power and entitlement. Don Vito, Ben Roethlisberger, Brett Favre, Steven Seagal, Noel Fisher ("Detail"), Kobe Bryan, Fat Joe, Basshunter, Remy Gonzalez, and now the IMF chief, are just some of the celebrities who have been accused (not all have been convicted) of sexual assault.

Studies have shown that athletes - both professional and college - have a greater rate of acquittal in sex assault cases than average. Some victims are pressured to drop charges to avoid ruining the athlete's career. Other times, juries are tempted to rule in favor of the famous for the same reason.

I'd imagine having the money to hire a great lawyer probably doesn't hurt the acquittal rate.

Money can't buy happiness. But it can and does buy power.

The famous need to learn to harness this sway and use it for the betterment of society. Women are not here to dance around half naked in your rap videos, or to take care of your sexual needs while you're touring the country or the world.

Isn't having money and fame enough?

Do something for the less fortunate. Don't do it to them.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sweetie in the Workplace

I hate being called sweetie. By anyone. Ever. Even my boyfriend doesn’t really call me that. I find it to be condescending in any context, even when used by another female. A girl I used to work with, who was just 2 years my senior used to use the term, and even at one point called me a baby (because of my age). I politely informed her that I was neither a baby nor her sweetie.

But what’s even more patronizing is being called sweetie by a man. And worse, during a fight. Even worse is in the workplace. But what takes the cake is a man using the term during a fight in the workplace.

As was apparently the case during Celebrity Apprentice. Star Jones allegedly called Meatloaf out on the term “Sweetie,” and the implications the word carries. I’ll fully admit this is all hearsay, as I heard the story and the clip on the radio yesterday morning, but the point is worth mentioning. Calling a woman by any term of endearment in the workplace (or really anywhere) is belittling. It’s an act of superiority. It’s a term notoriously used to infer innocence, youth, and, essentially, inexperience. And it’s entirely inappropriate.

Give me ONE pet name people call men on a regular basis. Men they’ve never met before. Men they work with, men they work for, men who work for them. It’s always “sir” or it’s nothing at all. There is no male equivalent of “sweetie.”

Trump apparently says to Star that she must have been called worse things than “sweetie” over the years. Most people have. That doesn’t make the word any less demeaning. It just makes Donald Trump that much more of a patronizing misogynistic…you finish that one.

And Meatloaf? You lost my respect too.

I never thought I’d agree with Star Jones. But sweetie, you’re damn right.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Realism vs Idealism

If I walked into the middle of an Al-qaeda terrorist camp with a mini skirt and high heels preaching Catholicism, chances are I'd be killed before I could even get to the preaching part.

I don't even need to go that far. Back when Road Rules was still on the air, one season brought the 6 strangers to Morocco. While there, one girl wore short shorts and a tank top to a mission, and was pelted with stones by the country's natives. It's inappropriate for women to wear such revealing outfits in that culture.

In those cultures, one might expect such treatment, and thus alter they way one dresses and/or acts. We change our behavior based on our faith in the people around us. Should we then, here in America, expect men to be ravenously sexual animals, and thus never consider wearing revealing clothing?

There's a whole of host of problems with that comparison. Some people, like the Toronto cop, seem to believe that rape is about sexual gratification, and an uncontrollable urge of men to descend on women like hawks. It's not. Rape is almost always about control. It's not about a man becoming so turned on by a woman's dress or actions that he simply cannot keep his hands off his date, but about a man believing it is his right to do with woman as he wants.

Has anyone ever done a research study on the outfits rape victims were wearing at the time of their assault? I'm willing to be that a majority of them were not in anything abnormally provocative. I bet a good amount of them were even in jeans. No matter what a woman wears, she is in danger of being sexually assaulted. And one outfit does not increase the risk over another.

It does however, increase victim blaming. In a study I did for a Psychology Research class in college, I asked participants to read one of 4 vignettes describing a sexual assault. The victim was either dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt or a short black dress, and was either raped by a stranger on her way home from a party, or by a friend whose house she had gone back to.

Interestingly enough there was no statistically significant difference in victim blaming between males and females. There was however, a difference in blame placement when given the change of outfit. In the date rape scenario, the girl is going home with the guy. Yet, if she does so in jeans and a sweatshirt, the man is a rapist. If she does so in a dress, the woman is an idiot.

I just don't get it. I will not expect to get raped just by walking out of my house in a skirt. I will not let people scare me into being fearful of men. If we want to change the world, it will not happen by telling women to dress conservatively. It will not happen by calling women sluts if they choose to do otherwise. It will not happen if we continue to lay blame on everyone and everything involved in an assault EXCEPT the man committing it.

If all those people who put so much energy into telling women how to dress and act, put that same energy into telling men how to respect women, maybe the former tactic wouldn't have to be employed.

Met a Slut Today? Don't Assault Her.

Met a slut today? Don't assault her

(thank you to my sister Laur for bringing this to my attention)

SlutWalking gets rolling after cop's loose talk about provocative clothing

Lecture to Toronto students ignites protests across Canada and US at culture of blaming rape victims
by Ed Pilkington

When a police officer from Toronto went on a routine visit to Osgoode Hall Law School to advise the students on personal safety, little did he know that he would unwittingly inspire a movement that has caught fire across Canada and the US.

"You know, I think we're beating around the bush here," Michael Sanguinetti began, blandly enough, as he addressed the 10 students who turned up for the pep talk. Then he said: "I've been told I'm not supposed to say this – however, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised."

Fast forward three months from Sanguinetti's unfortunate remarks, and a movement that was born in riposte to his loose talk has now gone international. "SlutWalking" is attracting thousands of people to take to the streets to put an end to what they believe is a culture in which it is considered acceptable to blame the victim.

Some 2,351 people have signed up via Facebook to attend a SlutWalk through Boston on Saturday, when they will chant "Yes means yes, no means no," and "Hey hey, ho ho, patriarchy has to go."

Further SlutWalks are planned in the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

And that's before you get to Argentina, Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden and the UK.

Had it been under any other circumstance, Sanguinetti might have been quite proud of his global impact. In the circumstances, facing internal discipline by the Toronto police, he has grovelled profusely.

"I am embarrassed by the comment I made and it shall not be repeated," he said.

But there is no holding back the SlutWalkers now. Word spread like wildfire through Facebook and Twitter, and anger about the comments began to coalesce around the idea of taking to the streets in protest. The SlutWalk was born. The first march was held in Toronto itself last month. Organisers had expected about 100 people to turn out, and were astonished when almost 3,000 people did so.

The participants, both female and male, carried placards saying "Met a slut today? Don't assault her," "Sluts pay taxes" and "We're here, we're sluts, get used to it."

Another sign at the rally read: "It was Christmas Day. I was 14 and raped in a stairwell wearing snowshoes and layers. Did I deserve it too?"

Some women attended the protest wearing jeans and T-shirts, while others took the mission of reclaiming the word "slut" – one of the stated objectives of the movement – more literally and turned out in overtly provocative fishnets and stilettos. But they were all united by the same belief: that rape is about the rapist, not his victim.

"We live in a society where rape isn't taken as seriously as it should be," said Katt Schott-Mancini, one of the organisers of the Boston SlutWalk.

"There's victim blaming: the idea that the victim of rape did something wrong. What you are wearing doesn't cause rape – the rapist causes it."

Schott-Mancini said she was herself a survivor of abuse by a former partner. "People belittled me, implying that it was my fault and that I shouldn't be an independent woman," she added.

The SlutWalks have particularly taken off among college students, given the location of the officer's remarks and the high prevalence of sexual violence on campus. The US government's Centres for Disease Control and Prevention found that up to one in four women in US universities report having experienced an attempted or completed rape while in college.

SlutWalk Toronto continues to be the organisational focal point. Its website – motto: "being a slut and getting pissed off" – proclaims that the word "slut" is being reappropriated.

"Whether a fellow slut or simply an ally, you don't have to wear your sexual proclivities on your sleeve: we just ask that you come. Singles, couples, parents, sisters, brothers, children, friends. Come walk or roll or strut or holler or stomp with us."