“Feminists want us to define these ugly sexual encounters as rape “

Recently I came across an article written by Cathy Young of the Washington Post. It was titled what you see above in quotations. This piece bothered me for what it said as well as what it didn’t say. Not only was Cathy Young highly critical of “feminists” but she was seemingly against any modern day terminology surrounding rape. While I do agree, it can be confusing nowadays in the social world, the fact of the matter is, things arent straightforward in many situations. Are there grey areas in sexual situations? Of course. And on that  note, this is all the more reason (not less) to be clear in matters of consent.

A little bit of Ms. Young’s background: Young is a research associate at the Washington, D.C.-based libertarian think tank Cato Institute, for which she co-authored a 1996 policy analysis paper, “Feminist Jurisprudence: Equal Rights or Neo-Paternalism?”. Her writing covers a variety of topics in politics and culture, with particular focus on gender issues and feminism,  frequently agreeing with men’s rights activists, while criticizing them for emulating the identity politics associated with some forms of feminism. Ms. Young has made a career out of castigating women’s movements as well as railing against any kind of topic around sexual violence. To that end, one could consider her opinion to be one of extreme bias in this regard. I find it hard to take her opinion or her articles at all seriously considering her history and complete lack of neutrality.

In the aforementioned article, Young refers in the general term to “feminists” and the “feminist movement”
while seemingly unaware that there are in fact many types of feminists not one singular stereotype. The fact that Young does not seem to know this tells me off the bat that she has little idea of what shes talking about, but nonetheless onward….

Young  then proceeds to criticize modern day terminology and ideas around rape implying that women everywhere are encouraged to label sexual encounters rape more often than not. I highly doubt this is the case, esp given that Young has no facts or statistics to support this implication. Terns such as “date rape” “consent” “spousal rape” and “rape culture” have real meaning in our modern day society. These ideas did not come about out of thin air but out of time, education, experience and understanding. The fact that Young broadly sweeps all of that under the rug shows she could use quite a bit more of all of those things  (education, experience and understanding)  before airing such ill informed opinions.

Advertisements

Patriarchy, gender roles & the quote/unquote war on men (part 3)

It seems recently there has been an influx of people I’m coming across in various social media settings, who decry injustices that are seemingly being inflicted upon them as a result of…equal rights.. Its strange, confusing and appalling all at the same time In this past week I fielded a thread (explained in my previous blog post)  about how women lie about being raped. This thread evolved (or is that devolved?) into hill of comments built upon slut shaming. Next came a post or reposting rather of a blog written by Suzanne Venker, “niece of Phylis Schafly & FOX News correspondent” about the “war on men.” I went back and forth about replying to this posting but decided rather than start a flame war which would result in no one listening to each other (Internet-wise) I’d post something else on a related topic & comment on that so those that know me got a clearer idea of my views. Lead by example, I’ll let you know how that works out for me……

But since this is my pwn personal space I can explain and respond to the article in question.

So Suzanne Venker whose website lists her as an “author and social critic” writes books. Her latest is entitled “The War On Men” and under the header advertising that are several blog pieces covering a range of topics such as gender roles in modern marriage, the “luxury” of at home motherhood and how fathers roles in society are devalued. Dont get me wrong I believe these issues are alive and well in modern day United States…just not from the angle she’s throwing at. The initial quote I read by her stated “you’ll never hear that in the media. All the articles and books (and television programs, for that matter) put women front and center, while men and children sit in the back seat. But after decades of browbeating the American male, men are tired. Tired of being told there’s something fundamentally wrong with them. Tired of being told that if women aren’t happy, it’s men’s fault.”

This quote along with her multiple blog pieces give me more material to opine about than I could possibly cover in one blog post so I’ll start by responding to her quote and the points it raises. I don’t know what era Ms. Venker grew up in, but when I was growing up in the 80’s father centered families were the norm on TV -Who’s The Boss, Full House etc- not to mention numerous upon numerous fairytales without moms (but maybe distant fathers & evil stepmoms) . It was in fact almost more common to see a father-only scenario than a nuclear family almost and definitely in most Disney movies of that time. In modern day 2014, there really seem to be a wide scope of shows which range from nuclear family to two mom-households or two-dad households. To be sure, the media still holds up the standard fare of two kids, a mom, a dad and a dog but a viewer doesn’t have to flip channels as long as they would have in the 1980’s, in order to find alternatives to this mold.
Additionally,  I know tons of dads who stay home with kids, or women that work & don’t have kids. It really goes both ways, the questioning & raised eyebrows….Many of Venker’s pieces  completely miss the mark or overlook some points. Venker’s blog piece about “modern marriage”  decries women who joined the work force because being home wasn’t good enough. It also misses several key things. Women didn’t join the work force because they were power hungry to control two spheres. Some women flat out rejected the role of housewife/mother  because they wanted more from life than a domestic role — and  there’s nothing wrong with that. Not to mention its near impossible to be a one income family in the middle class nowadays (which Venker more or less acknowledges). Certainly she cant criticize women for joining the work force than claim a war on men who want to be home. It doesnt really work out that way logically. To be fair I agree that women who choose to stay home and be a wife and/or mother are undervalued in society. I also agree that those women shouldnt be made to feel that way….but yet she doesnt claim there is a war on women. She claims this roots from their own insecurities…..yet fathers who are made to feel under valued feel this way as a result of society. Hmm.
Fathers should be able to stay home without criticism also, just to put that  out there lest anyone wonder how I feel..
 I think anyone who wants to stay home should, as long as their partner is okay with that, then what does it matter to me? to us?
Her Aug 17th blog about fatherhood in America, quotes two  women-who are neither married or have kids, but do have careers & money- saying they dont need men to have children..I think its safe to say thats hardly representative of a war on men. Katy Perry and Jennifer Aniston are beyond rich. They have both been married and divorced. Maybe they have decided marriage isnt for them, and thats ok (Refer back to your own words on this Suzanne). Lesbians have kids too, are they part of this war or do they get a free pass?
What I find most obvious about Suzanne Venker and others like her is the use of a classic formulaic argument about a perceived war on the part of <group seeking more rights/less suppression> waged against <group whose seen as the norm for whatever the perceived right/privilege is>.. Whites in the 1960s had similar arguments against black people who didnt want separate schools, jobs, restaurant seating etc. “Traditional Marriage” pundits use this argument every day on FOX News blubbering about the War on Traditional Marriage wrought by LGBT people seeking to marry. One could literally take out the parts where Venker uses “women” and plug in LGBT then take out “Men” and plug in “traditional family” and have almost vebatim the same paragraph, example “Those gay & lesbian people wanted an alternative lifetsyle and now they want a traditional one and take away from us straight people” But gays & lesbians never said they wanted an alternative lifestyle. Maybe some do. And maybe some want to be married. And it doesnt take away anything from straight people for tat to happen. I use this as an example because I think it shows what I’m talking about more clearly. Regardless of whether someone shares your view or a different one, be warned by use of an us/them dichotomy or extremist talk “This is how it is/I’m right so I dont need to hear any further opinions/You’re wrong because its not my view/ I already know youre wrong” etc type stuff (Or when in doubt, expletives and grammar insults). Cant we all just get along?

Patriarchy, gender roles & the quote/unquote war on men (part 2) “A lot of women lie about being raped”

Recently I had someone I know post an article about a female that accused a man of rape & then retracted. The thread that followed comprised of: curse words, slut shaming and generalizations about how women “all lie” about rape and put “innocent men” in prison. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely believe there are people on death row for murders they didn’t commit as a result of faulty eyewitnesses and the like, but….rape is a bit of a different story in terms of the proof needed to prosecute. Rarely are there “eyewitness” and mostly whats relied on are DNA obtained from a rape kit which is a very invasive exam that frankly a woman probably wouldn’t endure just to scare a man. Additionally, getting a rape conviction would involve either one of two things: evidence of a rape or confession of a crime (or a plea bargain) . I find it highly unlikely either of things would occur without guilt but alas who am I? The aforementioned “thread” in this case was almost entirely comprised of male voices who I cant imagine truly understand the ramifications of prosecuting a rape conviction, thus those same voices alluding that “a lot of women lie” show their own ignorance in laying down such claims. The irony of this claim lies in its ignorance. The fact of the matter is that statistically most rapes are not reported. Not because they didn’t happen but because most women DON’T want to endure an rape exam and a trial where their reputation will be torn apart. This doesn’t make them less innocent or their attacker less guilty, it just is the truth of the matter.  Just my two cents out here in my own space.

 

Post note: and to be fair, yes I acknowledge there have been and are women who lie about being raped. However these cases quickly become undone once its discovered whats involved in prosecuting the claim of rape. (my opinion) In certainly dont think its a regular “thing” among women that they would choose this path lightly or en masse just to be vindictive. (again, my opinion, as a human being and a person with thirty seven years experience as a woman)

Emma Watson, Ambassador for ALL

“We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that that they are and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence…

I want men to take up this mantle. So their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too – reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so be a more true and complete version of themselves.” – Emma Watson, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador

Hobby Lobby for the win. Hobby Lobby female employees…for the lose.

This morning, Hobby Lobby won their case against the Supreme Court regarding birth control coverage through the ACA, For those who haven’t read my previous post on the subject, or who haven’t followed this story in the news, Hobby Lobby, a for-profit and privately held corporation owned by a family of evangelical Christians, sued the Department of Health and Human Services in September 2012 because it believed that the contraception requirement of the Affordable Care Act was an unconstitutional violation of its sincerely held religious beliefs. While I’m certain no one has contested  the religious beliefs held by Hobby Lobby founder and CEO David Green and his family, but the Greens are not on the hook to provide their 13,000 full-time employees with contraceptive coverage. In reality, their privately held corporation is responsible for that coverage. Because that’s what it means to be incorporated. One of the questions brought before the high court is whether or not the company itself can have sincerely held religious beliefs, and — if the court is willing to recognize corporate religion — whether the contraception mandate places an “undue burden” on those beliefs.

Hobby Lobby has based its claim in its religious opposition to abortion; according to lawyers for the company, the main issue here is four forms of birth control that it doesn’t want to cover because it believes they are abortion-inducing drugs. This is incorrect!Hobby Lobby already covered 16 of the 20 methods of contraception mandated under the Affordable Care Act, but it didn’t cover Plan B One-Step, ella (another brand of emergency contraception) and two forms of intrauterine devices because of aforementioned ideologically driven and not medically based ideas about abortion.“These medications are there to prevent or delay ovulation,” Dr. Petra Casey, an obstetrician-gynecologist at the Mayo Clinic, stated  in an article on the science behind emergency contraception. “They don’t act after fertilization.” As noted in that article, which first appeared in the New York Times,  emergency contraception like Plan B, ella and the hormonal IUD do not work by preventing fertilized eggs from implanting in the womb. Instead, these methods of birth control delay ovulation 0r thicken cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching the egg, meaning that fertilization never even occurs. That said, when used as a form of emergency contraception, the copper IUD can interrupt implantation, but this still does not mean a pregnancy has occurred. Thus even the “logic” of Hobby Lobby (the people behind it, excuse me) Is unfounded & flawed.

I respect Hobby Lobby being a “Christian run” company. I think its great that they are closed on Sundays and some of the other small things they have infused into their company. I understand SLIGHTLY where they are coming from BUT …it is incredible UN-Christian in my opinion to not provide for your employees health, or ability to have more family than one can care for…Unless Hobby Lobby plans to have a kick ass daycare, extra money to those with families, bonuses for additional children, etc then their views on family have no place being pushed onto employees. Its one thing to decide YOUR PLACE OF BUSINESS should be closed Sundays because the Bible says that is the day of rest (I think that’s great & I suppotr that). Its entirely different to say that because the Bible says “go forth & multiply” that you’ve made the executive order that no employee shall have means to choose not birth control options. I could say this affects women more than men, which it does, but Hobby Lobby employed men should be equally offended at essentially having their right to decide the size of their family stripped from them by their employer.

That said, any amount of research can reveal some inconsistencies in HL’s “morals.’ Hobby Lobby has a retirement plan that invests very heavily in the manufacturers of the forms of contraception it claims to abhor so much. According to a report from Molly Redden at Mother Jones, the Hobby Lobby 401(k) “held more than $73 million in mutual funds with investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs commonly used in abortions.” I myself HAVE a hormonal IUD. I know several other ladies who are Christians that have IUDs (side note not all denominations specially denounce birth control) They are wonderful. God gave me the children I wanted. He also gave me the tools i needed to not have more so that I could care for the ones I have (just my opinion)

I myself say NO…as I hope all people agree. A corporation is an entity. It is not a person. It does not have feelings. I’m a Christian, I believe in birth control. I also believe God gives us the ability to choose that. Furthermore, I do not believe the Bible says to go make and disciples of your company. God cares about relationships with people and corporations aren’t them, no matter what legal mumbo jumbo one wants to use to argue the point. However I’m not trying to make this blog piece about religion, mine or yours or anyone’s. The main issue here, I feel, is that the Supreme Court in voting YES to this decision has created a slippery slope in which ANY company can pick & choose coverage that they have a “moral objection” to. Not oly that, but this creates a mask for corporations to hide behind whether they have moral objections or not – I can see companies trying to save a couple corporate earned dollars by citing “moral objections” left and right. Thank you Supreme Court for your complete inability to see the big picture.

 

Again it is my personal belief that this is less about morals and more about money. Unfortunately, my fear-and I can realistically see his happening- is that other corporations will follow. As Justice Sonia Sotomeyer stated in her objection  “If corporations could claim a religious objection to providing contraception coverage couldn’t they also object to vaccinations or blood transfusions?”  There are a number of other medical treatments that are not considered legitimate under certain religious doctrine, what is to stop corporations from objecting to covering those as well? We are entering a scary territory where corporations could essentially pick apart the things in the ACA which they “object” to. Again, follow the money not the morals and you can see where this is going to go…this isnt about morals, this is right wing hijacking of the ACA. Theres other powers behind this than just HL> If HL felt that strongly about this one issue they could simply have chosen not to offer coverage & told employees to seek it through the exchange.

In her dissent Ginsburg stated. :”Reading the Act expansively, as the court does, raises a host of “Me, too” questions. Can an employer in business for profit opt out of coverage for blood transfusions, vaccinations, antidepressants, or medications derived from pigs, based on the employer’s sincerely held religious beliefs opposing those medical practices?”  No. At least…not yet.

#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.

 

#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/

Call the President

Phone Numbers

Comments: 202-456-1111

Switchboard: 202-456-1414

TTY/TTD

Comments: 202-456-6213

Visitor’s Office: 202-456-2121