Sunday, July 15, 2012

Petition to End...

I'm watching an old season of MTV's Real World and there's one girl, i think about 21, who has a much lower tolerance than anyone else. From day 1, she talked about how she blacks out way more than she means to. And when she gets "black out" (as we see), random men start talking to her. All too often, these men are at least ten years her senior.  And seemingly sober. He roommate sits her down after one of these nights saying she's nervous that someone might "take advantage of" her. Which is a common saying. You know, when a guy sees a really drunk girl at the bar and has sex with her, he's "taking advantage of her."

Except, no. No he's not. If he's sober, and he's preying on the drunk girl at the bar, if he goes after the drunk girl, takes her home and sleeps with her, that's rape. It is illegal by federal law to have sex with someone without their consent, and included in that law is the fact that you cannot legally give consent when you're incapacitated. That is not "taking advantage." Taking advantage is....buying things you don't need now but will later just because it's on sale. It's grabbing that $5 DVD you'll never watch just because it's in the checkout line. It is NOT sleeping with a woman because you know if she were sober she'd want nothing to do with you. That is NOT taking advantage. That is rape.

There's another euphemism for rape I can't stand. And that's date rape. Oh, you were raped by someone you knew? Ok, so it was just date rape. Yeah, like no bigs, I was just sexually assaulted, so it's totally okay to down play it by throwing the word "date" in front of it.

Rape is a physically violent act. Like any assault. Do we throw the term "date" in front of anything else? Like, oh i was totally "date robbed." I went on a date with this guy who got too drunk to go home, so after i let him sleep on my couch, he took all of my cash, credit cards, jewelry and keys. So it sucks but at least I wasn't really robbed. I was just date-robbed. Or what about date-carjacked? You know, when I was too drunk, so I let my boyfriend drive us home, except when we got back to my place, he kicked me out and stole my car. But, hey, it was my boyfriend, so that's like NBD.

Seriously, when a woman is assaulted by a friend, a date, a boyfriend, or husband, is it any less damaging? When someone is murdered by someone they know, do we throw the term "date" in front of it to show that it's not quite as bad as when a stranger does it.

Why do we ascribe so many euphemisms to rape?

Plain and simple. If someone says no to sex, he/she means NO. I don't care if the two people involved know each other. I don't care if one party is drunk. There is no such thing as "taking advantage of someone" there is no such thing as "date rape"

There is only RAPE

NO means STOP

Rape Jokes and Daniel Tosh

Given all the controversy surrounding Daniel Tosh and his rape threat joke, I had a difficult time looking up what other kinds of jokes this man tells. Because the number one reason I've heard for why this shouldn't be an issue is "well he makes fun of everyone!" Besides for the fact that laughing at a woman being gang raped isn't making fun as much as threatening, it also raises the question of why any of it is okay.

So I had heard that he made a joke about his own sister getting raped, which kind of removes all doubt that this man is entirely classless, talentless, and a disgusting excuse for a human. But does he ever say anything funny? Does he actually know how to be a comic, or does his act revolve around humiliating women and minorities?

To be honest, I couldn't find anything else quite so tasteless. Supposedly he makes racist and homophobic jokes, but if these and these are what people are talking about, then they are definitely not comparable to rape jokes. Those are more akin to the "women belong in the kitchen" bs. Stereotypical, unimaginative, and harmless.

But I did find two previous rape jokes made by Daniel Tosh. This one:

Anal sex is a lot like spinach: if you're forced to have it as a child, you won't enjoy it as an adult.

is horribly inappropriate. Why anyone would put child rape into a comedy is beyond me, but even inappropriate factor aside, this just isn't funny. If you're going to go out of your way to offend people, at least do it well. But the next rape joke is:

The first thing Michael Phelps should have done when that photo came out was call Kobe Bryant's publicist. Cuz Kobe was accused of rape, and all he had to do was settle in court for millions of dollars, change his jersey number and win a championship and that soulless town in LA couldn't be prouder. I just hope that when parents let their kids run around in #24 jerseys, they have the decency to say: 'well come on, number 8 was the rapist.'

THIS one I'm okay with it. It's been said many times before, and I'll reiterate. This joke, about rape, works because the ridicule is on the society that embraces a rapist. The joke is on us, not on the victim, or on the rape itself. It's a social commentary that makes sense, and has a comedic element. Clearly, now, Tosh does know how to be tasteful in his jokes. He just chooses to ignore sensibility sometimes.

So the real problem. If he makes fun of everything, why can't he make fun of rape?

Well, does he? Does he actually make fun of everything? Because as I saw, his racism and homophobia aren't truly offensive, anymore than generic sexism is. The quotes on his wiki page (where I found the two used) are pretty innocuous. I'd like to hear some of his material on the Holocaust. All I found was one tweet of "I hate Holocaust jokes, Anne Frankly they are very rude"  which is once again, fairly weak. It's not threatening.

If he had been making antisemitic jokes, and a Jew told him to stop, would his response have been how funny it would be to throw him in Aushwitz?

If he was making racist jokes and a black man told him to stop, would his response have been how funny it would be if five men hung him from a tree and burned him?

And would people still be defending him?

Sunday, July 8, 2012


Heels do a lot for a woman. They elongate and thin the legs and ankles. They make a woman appear taller and more confident and "stately," and because of all of this, women wearing heels in the workplace are seen as more sophisticated and higher class. It's a status symbol. A woman wearing heels (and makeup) to a job interview is more likely to get hired than a woman who chooses to avoid dangerous footwear and slapping dirt on her face. Ironic?

What else do heels do for women?

They vastly increase pressure put on the knees and toes. With just a three inch heel, the pressure is increased up to 76%. How many women wear 4 or 5 inch heels? This increases their chance of developing a debilitating condition - osteoarthritis. And women already have a higher susceptibility to bone problems like osteoporosis. The spine is forced to readjust to the change in alignment, causing increased stress on the back, and negatively affecting posture. Since the calf muscle of a woman in heels is shortened, contracted, the muscle can remain tight even after changing footwear. Eventually, a woman who wears heels regularly may experience pain when switching to flats, or even barefoot. 

And how about those gorgeous pointy tips? You know, shoes like this one:

Where the toes are nicely crunched together? Just looks so damn comfortable doesn't it? It can cause bunions, which are bony outgrowths on the foot. That way, even if you think your foot looks oh-so-pretty in those glorified elf shoes, they're gonna look pretty destroyed once that shoe comes off, what with your toes permanently cramped together. It can even cause your toes to become bent (called hammertoes). The foot is now disfigured, regardless of footwear. 

There's even more - all of which can be seen here: On Your Feet: High Heels' Effects on the Body

So why do women continue to wear these painful and dangerous footwear? Style? Fashion? Impress the opposite sex? Many women will say they genuinely enjoy wearing them. I love the way they look! They make you feel elegant. At what price?

Years ago (but as recently as the early 1900's), the Chinese used to bind the feet of women from the time they were small children. Their feet wouldn't grow, and the smaller the foot, the more attractive the woman. It was an obviously painful process which started with breaking the arch of the foot and binding the toes to the ankle. The foot grew into itself. It was designed to make women more feminine. They were unable to walk normally - only able to shuffle along. It's believed to have been started by the upper-class, showcasing that they didn't have to work, and of course, middle and lower class began emulating that. The lower class families would bind only the foot of the eldest daughter (since the rest did have to work). 

Eventually, foot binding was outlawed. So the Chinese found a way around that. They created shoes that caused women to walk in much the same way those with bound feet did. 

I am certainly not suggesting that the feet binding practices are in any way comparable to heels, as one requires breaking the bone of a child no older than 5 while the other is a fashion choice women make on their own. What I am saying is that the idea behind the two are the same. It's designed to hold women back, to make them more feminine, and in both cases the belief was/is that they became more attractive. In both cases it causes severe strain on the body (obviously foot binding vastly more so). 

I don't expect high heels to be outlawed, or even want them to be. I think in a free country, such personal choices should not be criminal. I only draw the comparison to show that women are hurting themselves, causing bodily harm for fashion. For style, for grace, for elegance, for things that men don't need to worry about.

Men wear ties. Which are uncomfortable sure, but is there lasting harm done to the body? No. And is there anything else men are expected to do that is at all comparable to the myriad things expected of women? 

I think my legs look great in heels. I think my face looks prettier with makeup on. And so I do wear them both occasionally (once a month perhaps). So perhaps I'm a hypocrite when I talk about these things. Because every time I wear either, I'm buying into a patriarchal society that values women's beauty over women's health. 

We all are. 

I see no reason for women to put themselves at harm, while men do not. And for beauty no less. 

Health and well-being should always trump everything. Especially beauty.