Sunday, February 26, 2012

Why, People, Just Why?

(In response to a question asked by MTV's The Challenge "Have questions for Johnny or Mark? Here's your chance to ask 'em. We're gonna grab the best fan questions and ask them during The Challenge after show."

I'm not sure what bothers me more. The fact that someone would actually post this comment, or the fact that the two "likes" are from females.

Why couldn't he just ask who Johnny would want to have sex with? Why did he have to make the question involve a violent crime? Why is rape considered an appropriate crime to promote? AND WHY HASN'T MTV DELETED IT?!

There isn't much to say. It makes me sick.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Marriage vs Committment

One thing I will never understand is women's obsession with marriage. Well that's not entirely true - I mean, I certainly think about my future wedding. But what I want most in my wedding, is the man I can spend the rest of my life with. The details are really irrelevant.

The average age of a person's first divorce is 30. The average first (and second) marriage lasts 7 years. Yet, despite these disappointing statistics, women are still putting a wedding ahead of love. Take Jennifer Aniston in "He's Just Not That Into You" - she breaks it off with Ben Affleck after 7 years because he never wants to get married, or Phoebe from Friends, when she breaks up wtih Mike for the same reason. Even Monica almost broke up with Chandler when she thought he would never marry her (And if you know all those endings, then I know what you're thinking, so...) My ex boyfriend had an ex who pressured him for marriage and when he never caved, she left him after 5 years and married someone else.

When was the last time you heard about a man leaving his girlfriend because she doesn't want to get married? Either in real life or otherwise? Why are women still putting such a high priority on a wedding? On what amounts to a piece of paper stating a lifelong commitment, followed by a big expensive party?

Why can't people see the logical fallacy involved in leaving the man you want to spend the rest of your life with, so you can have a wedding? Women are literally willing to lose the love of their life in favor of materialism!

The most important aspect of a wedding is the love between the bride and groom. And that love will be there with or without a wedding. More than half of all marriages end in divorce, and yet, still, women are putting the pressure on themselves, and on their SO's to partake in an expensive probably-not-once-in-a-lifetime event.

Where does this start? The pressure to get married? It's not even the pressure to meet the "prince charming;" it's the actual white dress vows ring cake affair that we're pressured to have.

I'll be more than happy to settle for that prince charming (and a nice diamond ring). And if I had to choose between the man I want to spend the rest of my life with or that ring, I'd undoubtedly choose the man. Because I'd want the same from him.

What are we saying to the man we love when we tell them a wedding is more important than them? Is this the most pressing issue facing women today? Not by a longshot, but I think it's important for everyone to focus on the truly essential things in life.

And what's more important than love?

If there's anything, it sure as hell isn't a wedding.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Self Deprecation

I went to a hockey game last night with a small group of quite fun people. The group sitting just behind us was also a funny, energetic, hockey-loving bunch, that helped fuel my intrigue in the game.

Unfortunately, there was the token girl who was trying to hard to hang with the guys. Inevitably, that requires self-deprecation. Not just self, though - it's one thing to make fun of one's own person, but don't bring the whole gender down with you.

"I had a lot of problems with Verizon because, well, I'm a girl (haha!), so I'm like always dropping my phone..."

HAHA! Isn't it like so hilarious how clumsy and incapable of taking care of electronics women are? I'm sure the guys she was with had so much more respect for her, and women in general, after that comment.

How often do you hear men talk like that? "As a man..." or "since I'm a man..." or other similar phrases, if used at all, or used in conjunction with pride. Women seem to have missed that memo.

We equate any inadequacies, perceived or actual, to our gender. And publicly. Because women don't have enough obstacles to overcome, so it's good that anytime we talk about our flaws, we make sure to mention that it's standard practice for the female half of the species to have such imperfections.

I wanted to say something to that woman. About how, as a woman, I rarely, if ever drop my phone, and only once had any problems with my phone. In 10 years.

And, that, as a woman, it offends me that she would talk about my gender in that way. That if she is clumsy and can't take care of her own expensive electronics, then that is her problem, not women's. But, admittedly, I didn't.

I wonder if it would have made a difference. I pick my battles, and a sports arena during a close game is not the best venue.

I have my flaws, but those are my flaws, that I alone am responsible for. That I alone can strive to change. Attributing imperfections to the fault of women everywhere serves to help keep a patriarchy in place. How can we ask men to respect women when clearly, we aren't even respecting ourselves?

Being a woman does not mean being clumsy, or dumb, or a bad driver, anymore than it means we have to clean and cook and be Suzy Homemaker.

So, to the woman who sat behind me at last night's Rangers game, please show some pride in your gender. Some respect for what it means to be a woman. There is no need to belittle women, especially in a culture designed to tear us down.

Stand tall, strong, and proud. Because that's what it means to be a woman.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Nothing to do with Feminism

One of my good friends from high school co-wrote an article for the Huffington Post about the failing War on Drugs.

Tony Bennett Is Right That Legalizing Drugs Would Save Lives

"First it was Michael Jackson, then it was Amy Winehouse and now the magnificent Whitney Houston. I'd like to have every gentleman and lady in this room commit themselves to get our government to legalize drugs. So they have to get it through a doctor, not just some gangsters that sell it under the table."

That's what Tony Bennett said at a pre-Grammy Awards party on Saturday night, shortly after learning of the tragic death of Whitney Houston, and he's exactly right. One of us (Neill) is a former police officer who fought -- and lost friends -- on the front lines of the failed "war on drugs." One of us (Katharine) learned about the commonality of human pain in another difficult way, spending two years in a residential facility ("rehab"). She wasn't there for drugs, but many of those struggling alongside her were.

Continue reading HERE

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I realize the Super Bowl was a little bit ago but bear with the tardiness.

I'm sure every woman remembers the H&M ad with David Beckham. Let's be honest, the man is gorgeous. And when it came on, I'm sure the women I was with at the time were all intrigued. And I'm equally sure all the men were thinking the same thing.

And then one of them said it out loud.

"Every man in here is definitely gonna be hitting the gym tomorrow. We're all looking at ourselves like damn..."

Well men, welcome to the life of a woman. If men really do look at that ad and feel inadequate, well then imagine that on tv, on billboards, in magazines, at bus stops, made you feel that way.

I think the H&M ad was over the top, in that objectification of men is certainly not what people mean when they look for gender equality. But at least he was advertising underwear! If it was for...say, a domain host like, then I'm sure there'd be more confusion over the use of an almost naked man.

The truly odd part about advertising is that it seems companies are marketing to the wrong gender. Victoria's Secret ads have gone so far as to show completely naked women in their ads. Assuming heterosexuality (since that is the majority), men will be more intrigued than women towards these ads. The people who would actually be the consumers aren't even shown the product!

How are naked women supposed to garner female customers?

Likewise, how is the image of a naked David Beckham supposed to entice male customers? Can't we all just agree that the objectification of PEOPLE, male or female, is not only inappropriate, but seriously poor marketing.

Everyday women are bombarded with images of scantily clad models....models who despite having ideal (per societal standards) bodies, are further photoshopped to look even thinner, younger, taller. These images are used to advertise everything from diet pills to shoes to vodka to cars.

I'm, in some respect, glad that the H&M ad made men feel uncomfortable. I just hope they realize that that feeling is the norm for half the population. I hope men notice the images of women a little more, and not in the way they have been, but through the eyes of a woman. And I truly hope that the comparable images of men are not going to become the norm.

Take a look around, men. It shouldn't take the objectification of a man to turn the light on.

Seriously, companies just need to hire better marketing personnel.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

MTV Finally Caught On

I am an avid MTV Reality Show Watcher. As much as people love to make fun of Teen Mom (1 and 2), Jersey Shore, Real World, and the Challenges, I watch all of them. Every week. Especially the Challenges.

Teen Mom inevitably shows domestic violence, and prefaces and ends each episode with a help line for those viewers who may be suffering also. Jersey Shore exemplifies the worst of young adults with their excessive binge drinking and sexcapades. And Real World and the Challenges are infamous for the sexual harassment. Both the show and the challenge have the same set of rules for castmates. No drugs, no violence. Committing either sin is automatic exile from the show (although you're still in the pool for later challenges). At least one rape occurred on air (behind bathroom doors), and one still alleged sexual assault apparently on camera, though never aired.

And that second instance, after the victim filed a lawsuit, I guess MTV got nervous. Originally their contract for any show states that non consenual touching resulting in STD's or pregnancy may occur and MTV is not liable (although apparently should you actually become pregnant due to consensual or nonconsenual sex, you're automatically kicked off the show). So really even if Tonya's telling the truth, she'll have a hard time winning, having signed that contract.

Nobody likes bad publicity. Not even MTV who can call every claim baseless, and show the contract everyone willingly signed to not sue over sexual harassment or assault. So now it seems the rules have changed.

Last night, on the Challenge, MTV sent all the castmates to a club (as often they do to stir up drama), and lo, an incident happened. Honestly, all I saw was Mandi dancing, and then a black box covering her breast that had apparently popped out. Turns out a cast member named Vinny had untied the back of her shirt, to make the whole thing drop. Vinny never denied doing this, and while he worried he'd get kicked off the show, that was the closest he came to seeming apologetic about it.

He voted Mandi into the elimination duel the next night.

But enough about what an asshole he is, I honestly didn't expect him to leave. While I don't remember an exactly similar incident in previous seasons, I'm almost certain there have been enough sexist talk and bikinis coming off, and grabbing, that I'm sure things at least that bad have happened on the show. So when Vinny expressed his anxiety about leaving to Mark, Mark agreed MTV doesn't allow it.

WHAT?! Since when?? Not to say I'm not happy about it, I am, of course, but happily surprised that indeed, Vinny was kicked off the show (still without apology). Goodbye, and Good Riddance.

More importantly, Hello. To MTV's apparently new zero tolerance policy to sexual harassment (and presumably, hopefully, assault). Although they've never been good at sticking to past precedents, I do believe this is a big step in the right direction for the network. Physical abuse and substance abuse have long been punished; finally MTV is recognizing that sexual abuse is equally the network, and more importantly, the cast.

By MTV now recognizing this as grounds for dismissal, it makes it more likely that the viewers (I'll admit most of them are young and impressionable) will see it as something dangerous. Something to avoid. For right now, I'm not concerned with the rationale involved in young boys when they decide not to rip the shirt off a girl. For now, I don't need them to be thinking about how they need to respect women. Right now, I just want it to end.

And finally, MTV is helping to do just that.

End Sexual Harassment.