#YesAllWomen part 2

I’d also like to give the floor, virtually speaking, to the feministsall over that have some very articulate things to say regarding this event.

 

http://feministing.com/2014/05/27/essential-feminist-writing-on-the-isla-vista-shooting/

Some snapshots:

Masculinity, Violence, and Bandaid Solutions by Miri Mogilevsky at Brute Reason

You will not hear that Black people who commit violent acts are never presumed to be mentally ill; they’re just presumed to be Black. You will not hear about how it’s only “terrorism” if a brown person does it; the fact that it’s politically motivated and intended to terrorize a particular group of people is not, apparently, enough. You will hear a lot about “not all men,” but you will not hear that misandry irritates and misogyny kills.

 

Let’s call the Isla Vista killings what they were: misogynist extremism by Laurie Penny at The New Statesman 

The ideology behind these attacks – and there is ideology – is simple. Women owe men. Women, as a class, as a sex, owe men sex, love, attention, “adoration”, in Rodger’s words. We owe them respect and obedience, and our refusal to give it to them is to blame for their anger, their violence – stupid sluts get what they deserve. Most of all, there is an overpowering sense of rage and entitlement: the conviction that men have been denied a birthright of easy power.

 

Yes all women (my thoughts on the shooting in Santa Barbara & the misognyist psychopath that is responsible)

As a self described feminist as well as a “professional” one (I have a dual degree in Sociology & Women’s studies) I have many thoughts on this past week’s events in Santa Barbara (Isla Vista). You can probably gather my opinion simply from the title of this blog piece. That said, I don’t think being mentally unstable alone was cause, nor was being a misogynist, people on the internet, guns, mental illness. At the heart of any answer to this tragedy is a multi-layered cause.

We don’t know if Elliot Rodger was mentally ill. We don’t know if he was a “madman.” We do know that he was desperately lonely and unhappy, and that the Men’s Rights Movement convinced him that his loneliness and unhappiness was intentionally caused by women. But lets me real for a moment, people face rejection every day. People do not go on killing sprees every day. Rejection hurts and it sucks, but it is a part of life. It can make us stronger and more resilient as well as shape us in good ways (ie actors that get rejected from auditions may choose to take acting lessons to sharpen skills…as opposed to shooting the casting agent)

Rape culture: This one’s a big one. Not a lot of people have heard this term, understand it or agree with it. However to ignore its existence is a dangerous thing. Violence and hatred against women permeates our culture in such a way that we believe it to be normal. Of course, the average person isnt in support of domestic violence or rape, but how often do we support these activities when we lok the other way at violent video games that show graphic harm of women, singers that beat their girlfriends, movie directors that molest their daughters (I am looking at you Chris Brown & Woody Allen!) ? IN Washington last month, a bar owner caused upheaval when he added a specialty to drink to his menu entitled “Date rape.” He thought it was “funny.” Women’s rights groups did not think so & protested. Even now, amidst very low patronage, the bar owner has maintained his “right” to have this drink on his menu & call it whatever he wants. He chose to make fun of protesters for “not being able to take a joke.” However taking this “joke” & drinking it would accept that rape is something to make fun of. Given how often date rape occurs among drunken college students, in frat parties, dorms, etc I dont think its a bit funny. But this bar owner & his supporters (few that there are) do not understand their role in holding up rape culture. They have been so steeped in it via so many societal messages that it has become normal.

Mental illness: While no one can say conclusively if Elliott Ridges was diagnosed with a mental illness, he was clearly not well. Men (and women) get turned down for dates every day. Only someone who is a bit unhinged somewhere in the head will respond by killing random strangers.

Lack of initiative by people in society to step in: Of course, people say crazy things off the cuff every day. For example “Oh I wanna KILL them” without meaning it literally. Police cannot arrest you for your thoughts. However I’m wondering if theres not more that could have been done by someone who read his manifesto or watched his video. His parents did the right thing in calling the police. The police probably did only what they could within the law. Rodgers had committed no crime by spewing hatred, awful as it is, I have read worse on news feeds on Facebook. I do think more oversight somewhere could have helped, or offering counseling or some kind of intervention. I don’t know the answers as to what more could have been done in this arena. I DO know that in this country mental illness still has a stigma attached, people are less likely to seek help even if they know it & those that may want it may not find the resources in their area. Its unclear what was done for Rodgers mental health but it is clear he could have benefited dearly by having a professional to talk to.

People on the internet (More misogyny)  Apparently Rodgers was a part of a  “Men’s Rights” Group. While I don’t believe anyone can claim the internet made him do it, it certainly doesn’t help when a lunatic has supporters. This group, as Rodgers did, has the right to the views. Though as a person whose read up on history I’d say somewhere these men (and I used that term VERY loosely) missed the fact that this country was founded and has been running for the last several hundred years on “men’s rights.” Examples by the dozen can be found in your high school U.S. history textbooks.

Misogyny: Yes this is a clear one. Rodgers stated in his manifesto & video a deep hatred towards women that rejected him that he then applied to all women. This was NOT helped by the group he chose to associate with online. He was an active member of the PUAHate,”” an online forum dedicated to “revealing the scams, deception and misleading marketing techniques used by dating gurus and the seduction community to mislead men and profit from them.”  These are men who both feel entitled to have sex with women and also blame all women everywhere for their lack of ability to to acquire sex. .THe overwhelming opinion of this group of men (again, using the term LOOSELY) is that hey want to have sex with a woman because that’s what they deserve. They also hate women for withholding what they view as rightfully theirs. PUAhate forum has on its site (*it was recently taken down I believe*) threads with titles such as  “Are ugly women completely useless to society?” and “Have any hot women ever committed suicide?”Rodgers was encouraged by messages such as “F* women” “those bitches deserve it” (I dont want to etc. Given these eloquent internet rantings, it stands to reason why they didn’t understand how they weren’t attracting any women.  It also tells us Rodgers was not a lone case. There are in fact a percentage of men like that who think similarly to him. This fact alone should scare all of us. .

#BringBackOurGirls

Three weeks ago, 234 girls were kidnapped by an extremist group in Nigeria with the intent to sell the girls into slavery. Why should this be important to us? History tells us where hate is allowed to foster, it can easily spread. THe girls in Nigeria arent just 234 girls in an isolated situation. There are millions of girls worldwide affected by extremists with the same ideas. IN the case of the Nigerian schoolgirls, an extremist group by the name of Boko Haram’s name translates to “Western education is a sin” in the local language. The group especially opposes the education of women. Under its version of Sharia law, women should be at home raising children and looking after their husbands, not at school learning to read and write.

I guess I shouldn’t fail to mention here that I’m mostly a “stay at home” wife/mother who works around my family’s schedule. I also have an AA degree in Communication as well as a dual degree in Sociology and Womens/Gender studies (Double major – oh the horror!) . I think education is important no matter what you do in life. There is no such as thing as being too intelligent, being too articulate, having too much critical thinking skills. Education serves a purpose and advances people in many ways. I’m sorry that there are people in this world who do not see its value. The men that claim education should only be reserved for men show how it is wasted on the likes of them. Clearly there is no cure for stupid. But for those with desire to learn, with the passion to change themselves and the world around them, to better themselves…education  is key.

The extremists in Nigeria could be anyone. They could be anywhere. By that, I don’t mean that terrorists are at every corner. Ignorance is. These women need to be brought home. They need to be brought back to school. The world is watching — and ignorance needs to be fought against so that not only these girls are returned to the education they deserve, but so those who believe otherwise are told that there is no place in this world for such ignorance. These girls aren’t just Nigeria’s girls. They are our girls. Bring back our girls.

(Postscript I have called the White House comment line so President Obama knows my opinion. I urge you to let him know yours too. Write letters to the editors of papers and magazines who arent reporting this story. There is much we can do from our homes to tell our leaders that this will not stand)

http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/03/world/africa/nigeria-abducted-girls/

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To vaccinate or not to vaccinate, is that really a question?

I did a blog on this on a personal blog years ago & got royally flamed by a mass number of random strangers (I’m,not kidding). I’m gonna try this again, why? Because this is my opinion & I Have the right to it. Because PUBLIC Health includes me. Let me start off with stating that I’m up on my vaccinations as are my children. That said, there are several groups of people who cannot get vaccinated for one reason or another. These people rely on whats called “herd immunity.” In other words, the idea tat if everyone else is vaccinated, they are safe from said disease. Well folks “herd immunity” is long becoming a thing of the past with the anti-vaccine movement and the likes of Jenny McCarthy preaching anti-vaccine myths. I say myths b/c in case people don’t know, the original researcher who claimed a connection between the MMR vaccine and autism, later recanted stating he was pressured to make up those results.

Currently in modern day 2014, history is revisiting us, in the forms of measles, polio and other diseases whose eradication were once celebrated.

The state in which I live, California, has seen a tenfold increase of the outbreak compared to last year. In Orange County this year – and its only May, folks – 21 people have been diagnosed with measles.  Health officials have warned citizens that this is the biggest outbreak the state has ever seen in recent history. Tuesday night, members of the Orange County Health Department held a meeting about the astonishing outbreak and are “encouraging members to get vaccinated because the vaccine is 99% effective after only two doses. Measles is a highly contagious disease, and people who have not received the vaccination are putting everyone else at risk.”

Other things I have heard from people in the anti-vaccine camp are “well no one gets those diseases anymore,” “look at the statistics from the CDC, we don’t NEED those vaccines anymore” and “look at how the rates of autism have gone up since vaccines were started.”

Let me start by responding to these statements with some commonsense facts. First off, no one in THE UNITED STATES gets these diseases anymore. Polio, measles, etc all still are alive and well in many, many countries. “No one” gets them here…because we have vaccines for them. So in response to statement #2, yes we still do “need” vaccines. In response to the third statement, this is simply ignorant. People who claim that autism directly correlates with vaccines show their lack of critical thinking skills. Rule number one in research: correlation doesn’t equal causation. There are MANY things that correlate to the rise in autism in the past several decades: environmental changes, higher rates of diagnosing, more awareness, dietary changes including more processed food.California has most likely seen such a rapid spread of the disease because this state gives parents the choice to opt out of having their children vaccinated. The fact that measles was eliminated from the US in 2000 may be quickly changing.

I’m neither pro-conventional medicine or anti-alternative. I actually am a big believer in both as well as the concept of complementary medicine and moderation in many things. I believe vaccines should be spaced out, if anything for the practical reason that 3 shots or more is a lot for a kid. My opinion though is that the anti-vaccine camp seems petrified of information that isn’t in line with their view. I have seen people cite studies about autism rates. I would be curious to see a study done on non-vaccinated children/people to see the rates of autism and other spectrum disorders. Moreover, on the commonsense end of things, is it really worth it? Is having an autistic child really worse than having a dead one? Is having a child with learning or social issues worse than a child crippled from polio? This to me is essentially what extremist anti-vaccine folks are saying in not so many words.

 

Oh I’m sorry, I thought this was another country…

I recently read about a situation in Texas in which a girl was raped. The young girl had the courage to go through a trial and testify against her attacker. The Judge in the case, upon hearing arguments, weighed her decision (yes a female judge!) on the victim’s past sexual history. The judge stated hat given the fact the victim had a baby & previous sexual relationships with other boys that “she was not the victim she portrayed herself to be.” “The victim also testified that she only wanted to kiss Young, and had told him “no” and “stop” during the attack.” (Huffington Post) Correct me if I am wrong, but isnt SAYING NO by definition NOT GIVING CONSENT Thus making it rape? I sure think so! Regardless of what this girl was going prior to the assault, NO MEANS NO. A girl is allowed to kiss a guy & not have sex with him. Plain and simple. This judge could use not only education in sexual assault but the basic laws surrounding it. It is appalling, horrifying, completely absurd that in THIS COUNTRY this kind of ruling is allowed. Next time perhaps the Judge would like to require there to be 3 male witnesses to the crime too?

Here is a link  to the full article http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/01/sir-young-rapist-gets-light-sentence_n_5251116.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000021

And here is a link to the Judge’s webpage in which you may write her  your thoughts on this verdict

http://judgejeaninehoward.com/contact.php#results

My email to the Judge (b/c I cant call her “honorable”): “I’m seriously disturbed by a lot of things going on in the United States today that just defy logic: states where women can charged for miscarrying a child, allowing rape for completely asinine reasons, politicians with no knowledge whatsoever of the female reproductive system talking ab how women can “shut down” if they are “Legitimately” raped…and your recent ruling that a young 14 year old “wasn’t a victim” simple because she’d had previous sexual encounters & had had a child is appalling. ANY woman can be raped regardless of prior sexual history. You not only uphold archaic views when you state this, you send a message to all other rape victims that is appalling. I ask you to rethink your views on rape, and hope to see this appealed for a JUST verdict.”

 

POSTSCRIPT: 5/7/14 The judge has received so much flack for this case that she recused herself from it after sentencing. I”d like to think it’s because of my letter to her (just go with it)  http://aattp.org/judge-recuses-herself-from-case-after-sentencing-14-year-olds-rapist-to-just-45-day-jail-term-video/

Holocaust Remembrance Day

The Holocaust was a horrible mass scale event that was held in plain sight yet not seen by the world until too late. I think it is important to remember what happened, out of respect for the victims, survivors & their families…and to learn so these events arent repeated again. There is no shortage of movies and books available on the subject. I implore everyone to read, watch, ponder. The Holocaust may be an event of the past but it is one we can use to make our present and future better. I have read many books on the subject as well as studied a lot on the history, including a class titled the “Sociology of Genocide” at my alma mater Sonoma State University.For Holocaust Remembrance Day, although I’m a few days late, I thought I’d share one of my academic papers from a few years ago. Its a analysis of the movie “Schindler’s List.”  (I was looking for a paper did on the topic of female bullying ion which I used a lot of examples from the movie “Mean Girls” in honor of the movie’s 10th Anniversary, but as it happens, I got sidetracked)

“Someday this is all going to end you know.” These were the words spoken from Oskar Schindler to his accountant Itzhak Stern in what little reassurance he could in the midst of the Holocaust. Steven Spielberg did an excellent job of bringing to life historical events in a way that showed the human experiences of the Jews. He used a variety of effects to create a realistic and dramatic portrayal of this time. For instance although the film was shot in black and white, there are moments of color to highlight certain things. In one scene, Jews are being forced out of the Krakow ghetto. Oskar Schindler stands atop a balcony watching as chaos and gunfire erupt everywhere. A girl wearing a visibly red jacket is seen walking unnoticed (except of course by Schindler) through the ghetto. This is an ironic scene because Jews were monitored so heavily during this time. It seems strange and miraculous  that a little girl could wander alone through the ghetto and hide under bed unnoticed. This was one of only three times in the film where color was used.

The second scene in which the viewer sees color is in stark contrast to the first. In this scene, a policy had just been ordered for all bodies to be exhumed and incinerated. Jews were seen being shot in cold blood. The blood on the bodies were seen visibly red. This scene was set to dramatic choir music. This scene preceded Schindler compiling his infamous list with Stern.

In other scenes, music was used for dramatic effect. In one scene where people were being lead to the showers music starts out quiet and somber. As the people get closer to the shower the music reaches a more frenetic pace reminiscent of old melodramas. The music was set to evoke the emotions of the people in the scene. In a happier scene, lighthearted marching music is played as the credits roll and the Schindler Jews are seen walking away from their liberated camp. The music becomes louder and more triumphant as Spielberg changes the scene from black and white to color to mark this happy ending.

Oskar Schindler was not only a humanitarian but a shrewd businessman. It was both these

things that ultimately made his actions successful in saving so many Jews during the Holocaust. The film did not give any background as to Schindler. I found myself wondering what moved him to do what he did. I found myself amazed that a man who’d failed at many businesses and marriages according to the film epilogue managed to find success when it counted the most. The film opens with Schindler attending a party and chatting up military officials. His success supports the old adage “it’s not what you know, its who you know.” Miraculously, the war ended as Schindler is told he is broke by his accountant (Itzhak Stern).

At times it was laughable at how much Schindler got away with. When asked how it came to be that he’d hired a metal worker with one arm Schindler simply explained “he was a metal worker. Quite skilled.” In the scene where Schindler requested a hose to water down a train full of Jews, it seemed certain he would be questioned, yet because of his power and influence Goeth and his men said nothing.

Additionally this film was educational for many reasons. The obvious reason being that it is about the Holocaust and everyone should be educated about this monumental event. More to the point, this story showcases what one person can do in the face of adversity. Schindler started out with nothing but confidence and good business skills when he chose to help the Jews. The movie not only documented what he did for the Jews but how he did it. He made contacts, acquired investors for his factory, chose product that people could be convinced they needed and was able to win favor with officials who might otherwise have questioned him. I was incredibly amazed at Oscar Schindler’s talent at using legitimate channels to subvert the Nazi system. For example he explained his reason for hiring only Jews to work in his factory because they were cheap labor as the government imposed a smaller minimum wage on them than the Pols or Germans.

Many things we’ve read about throughout this course were brought out of the texts and into life via this film. For instance, one scene shows how new arrivals had to run naked in front of the guards. The Judenrat was seen being unhelpful and having to deal with peers that viewed them as traitors. Several important dates in Holocaust history were brought to life via this film as well. The dates were clearly noted in these scenes along with a short explanation as to its importance so the viewer would know its significance (Ie the date Jews were given orders to move to the ghetto,). Another example of this can be found early on when Jews were forced from their homes to the ghetto. Wealthy families with beautiful homes and possessions are seen packing up as much as they can and leaving….to tiny, crowded and rundown apartment buildings. Spielberg did an excellent job of contrasting scenes such as this. In this instance, the family is seen visibly shocked at their surroundings. In the next, Schindler is surveying their home and deciding whether or not to move in. These bits of irony are purposefully placed. Scenes such as this show the varied experiences people had of events during this time. Towards the end, Schindler used possessions to bribe officials.He is seen giving his watch to Stern in order to free a woman’s parents. The next scene unfolds showing an official wearing the watch at a party. Viewing real people experience these events brings history to life in ways a text cannot.

In reviewing the film, I found it to be an excellent piece that showed many sides of the Holocaust while focusing on the actions of one man. There was very little I disliked about the film. Blood and bodies in general are things I avoid looking at but for this film it was necessary. I would like to have seen more background on Schindler (what was his position among the Nazi party, how well known & influential was he prior to this event, what made him do what he did). Barring those things, the film was excellent. The ending was a terrific “real life” epilogue. The ending credits brought the film full circle as each actor and the real life person they portrayed stepped forward to place a rock on Schindlers grave.This movie was like all Holocaust films is limited in how much it can explain about such a monumental events in history. This is no fault of Spielberg’s however .Although this was my third time viewing this movie, I felt I got a lot more out of it watching it while simultaneously taking this course. For this reason I would definitely recommend it as required viewing as a Holocaust Lecture Series assignment for future classes. In closing I am again reminded of the slight reassurance Schindler could give to Stern as he was held prisoner in a concentration camp:”someday this is all going to end you know.”