“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.

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.

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/

Dear Mom Who Cant Afford Organic Food

Dear Mom Who Cant Afford Organic Food

I should first start with a disclaimer…my philosophy on life in general is weigh choices individually, not blindly via some (or any) blanket cause. I buy organic food whenever possible. I shop locally whenever possible. However this lady describes me. My family is lower income but too high for food stamps. We have a tight grocery budget which gets tighter if an emergency arises. That said I disagree with the insinuation that a bag of chips is cheaper tan an organic apple. That may be true but…there are plenty of other healthier choices that are inexpensive. Rice cakes? Pretzels? Yogurt?

THAT SAID….my personal opinion & direct observation is that there is a definite segment of the pro-natural living movement that  are downright ignorant and elitist. I do mystery shopping & get to use a gift card 1x month at a natural foods grocery chain. A $50 gift card buys me 2 bags of groceries there. I COULD NOT afford to my regular shopping at this store.Nio matter how important my family’s health is (and it is) to me, I DO NOT have $600 month for groceries.  However just because one cant shop full time at Whole Foods etc doesnt mean they are sentenced to a life of processed cheese food and soda. Theres a lot people can do to be healthy & cut out processed foods etc w/o killing their budget but the ppl who insist only organic food from independent stores etc seem to be separated from reality a little.

 

And I am pretty pro-natural living, we compromise on a few things at the grocery store ($3 ranch dressing NOT Made with corn syrup, real honey not made w/ corn syrup, etc I have my priorities intact) And I would never buy a bag of Chips in lieu of healthy food. ITs more a matter of being informed AND staying within your budget. The farmers markets can be cheaper than the Whole Foods for instance. Grocery Outlet is a good place to buy some cheaper natural foods.

How We Teach Kids Women Are Liars

This article is long but interesting & makes valid points all around. From a Facebook thread where I picked this up” It’s true that humans lie (men AND women), however there is definitely a cultural bias against believing what women say.The article isn’t saying that women don’t lie. It’s not talking about whether one gender lies more than another. The article is talking about the fact that women commonly presumed to be lying because of sexism and misogyny built into our culture.” This is a very astute honest collection of statements regarding our society.  Our culture is very male-centric, giving validity to statements made by men but second guesses to women. This applies not only in serious areas (Like a woman accusing a man of rape and not being believed) but in the workplace, schools, etc. The article reinforces my opinion in stating “first, lessons about women’s untrustworthiness are in our words, pictures, art, and memory. It’s simple enough to see how we are overwhelmingly portrayed as flawed, supplemental, ornamental, or unattainably perfect. It’s also easy to find examples of girls and women routinely, entertainingly cast as liars and schemers. For example, on TV we have Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl, Don’t Trust The Bitch in Apartment 23, Devious Maids, and, because its serpent imagery is so basic to feminized evil, American Horror Story: Coven.” Its everywhere, and we soak in these ideas without realizing the effect. Men lie to folks. A lot. Bill Clinton “I did not have sex with that woman”? There ARE women who lie about being raped…just as there are men who lie about not raping someone. It works both ways. We are all HUMAN. We are all EQUAL in this regard that we all have the ability to be honest or dishonest. Hows about if we just heed to the notion innocent until proven guilty and not presume and project? Can we do that? I think we can.

http://www.rolereboot.org/culture-and-politics/details/2013-11-how-we-teach-our-kids-that-women-are-liars

Glee, gender and a dozen other things

Forgive me a moment for deviating from news commentary but I just finished watching this week’s episode of “Glee” and wow! There was a lot of exploration of gender in it (more so than normal). The head cheerleader whose name escaped me floated terms like “fem-phobic” and “Slut shaming” in the same conversation she accused someone of bullying her…. which was ironic since this was the same cheerleader who bullied the transgender Unique for using the girl’s bathroom. I have to say, that at first I wasn’t sure how I felt about the character Unique. It seemed like she was a caricature of stereotypes that people think “trans” people are. .However this week’s Glee episode was fairly comprehensive in terms of issues faced by transgender people, especially younger transgender people. As viewers we get to see her difficulty in not knowing which bathroom to use. We get to see her discomfort in both. Its eye opening for us non-trans types to see this. If Unique identifies as female, why would she feel uncomfortable in a girls bathroom? Then we see the reason. Other girls. This leads into the next question,”If Unique is a boy biologically wouldn’t she be more comfortable in a boys restroom with urinals? As viewers it becomes apparent very quickly why she cant easily use the boys restroom either. Whereas in the girls room there were demeaning remarks and insults, the boys restroom is filled with physical aggression and intimidation.  This is also a good way to showcase different types of bullying commonly used by different groups.    I think there IS a place Unique if only to make people comfortable with seeing transgender characters on TV. This is also a step towards acceptance.  In this week’s episode we as viewers can see and experience what Unique goes through when attempting to use the girl’s bathroom…and the boy’s bathroom. We see bullying in both forms but from boys and girls against her. It brought tears to my eyes listening (and watching) her sing “If I Were A Boy” In ways Beyonce probably never considered but said so much. http://youtu.be/UPF6JUsB1r4

Boys will be boys, but what is that? (Part 2)

In the same day the news reported the incident about Skylar and The Purse Incident, a more serious event with similar undertones occurred in Berkeley where a man was lit on fire for wearing a skirt. I will let that sink in for a moment.

Per the Oakland Tribune, “Police on Tuesday arrested a 16-year-old Oakland High School student suspected of lighting a man’s skirt on fire aboard an AC Transit bus Monday night, causing second- and third-degree burns, police said.

The victim, 18-year-old Luke Fleischman, was in stable condition Tuesday at the St. Francis Memorial Hospital burn unit in San Francisco, his mother Debbie Fleischman said. He is going to require massive skin grafting and a long recovery period, she said.”

The article went on to explain, “the victim, a senior at Maybeck High School in Berkeley, does not identify as male or female but rather as nonbinary gender, an umbrella term covering any gender identity that does not fit within the gender binary.”  While its good that this was explained so people can become educated on issues related to gender, there also need not be an explanation at all. Luke Fleischman was wearing a skirt because he wanted to. Because he felt comfortable in it. Because he is free to.

Berkeley has long been a place where diversity and subcultures are the norm. Its mind blowing to realize that not only can this happen anywhere but it happened THERE. As the news reports further information on this event I ponder questions that cannot be answered yet. What affect will this have on the city as a safe haven for people  with alternate lifestyles? Was this event a direct statement on a man wearing a skirt and someones overwhelming rage at seeing him or is this a statement being issued to all Berkeley residents?

The act of lighting someone on fire has many implications. It is a horrifying act with permanent effects. It can not only maim but it can kill and completely destroy. The fact that a person was so filled with rage at the sight of a (biological) man in a skirt is horrifying and reprehensible. This person  had many choices: they  could have chosen a different bus route, read a book, averted their eyes or minded their own damn business altogether. Yet this person took it upon themselves to make sure Luke Fleischman wouldn’t be able to comfortably wear a skirt again.

Supporters had donated nearly $2,000 as of Tuesday night. The page can be found at http://fundly.com/helping-sasha-fleischman-have-a-speedy-recovery.

boys will be boys…and that can be anything they want it to be

What a strange group of events in the news this week….This morning in the news a boy named Skylar Davis, age 13, was suspended from school for carrying a colorful purse to school. A purse. IN the age of school shootings and kids carrying guns to schools, its nice to see some educators would rather focuis their energy on more pressing matters such as what accessories a boy chooses to bring to school.

Per ABC News…”Skylar Davis, an eighth-grader at Anderson County Junior/Senior High School in Garnett, said he was called into Principal Don Hillard’s office Wednesday and told to take off the purse he has worn to school every day since the start of the school year, KCTV, Kansas City, Mo., reported Friday. ‘I was told to go put it up, and I went to the office, and they told me that I had to. I refused to take it off and they suspended me,’ Davis said. Leslie Willis, Skylar’s mother, said she checked the school’s student handbook and it makes no mention of rules regarding bags and purses.” The news article wet on to state that Skylar was told he could not return to school until he complied with the principals request.

It will be interesting to see how this story unfolds. Will the ACLU get involved? Will Skylar’s absences from school be unexcused even though he is not technically breaking any school rules? Will he or wont he return without the purse for the sake of education? Obviously I don’t want Skylar to be hung up as a martyr for gender rights. He is 13. HE needs an education. As much I would love to see him take on the school and file suit or appeal to the school board. That said I think itd also be just as effective to go to a new school that will welcome his spirit (I mean at this point I cant imagine he has a strong desire to return to this school) . I DO however think  ADULTS should band together not only for this boys sake but for the sake of all kids whom the school could randomly choose to send home. Pink hair? I”m sorry you have to leave. Punk shirt? Nope not allowed. You look “goth”? Go home. The possibilities for allowing them to have their way on this unfortunately are more numerous than just sending Skylar home for wearing a handbag.

I appeal not only to the parents of Skylar but parents of all the students at the school, the PTA & the teachers to speak out. Organize a “Purse In” and have everyone wear purses to school one day. Its unlikely the school wants to lose any student or send all of them home. In my experience, hitting school in the pocketbook (no pun intended) seems to be the most effective thing. When all is said and done it is doubtful they are willing to pay a few thousands dollars in lost revenue (per pupil) for that handbag.

The larger question to ponder is, what’s so bad about perceived female-ness? Women have worn pants for decades and no one blinks an eyes. Men in many cultures wear all sorts of clothing items that are skirt like. Yet in our “modern day” society, there are people that find it an offense for a man to be “womanly.” Men and traits associated with  them have always been treated as the norm in our society. It wasn’t until the past decade or two that more focus has been put on women in medicine trials, equal pay for women in “men’s” job fields, women in combat, etc. There should not be a need to for “equal” pay but there is because society at large perceives men as the standard by which we measure things. Being a woman or having items associated with being a woman are not things to be ashamed of nor should it be tolerated for a government institution to propagate this idea.  TO do so has implications far beyond this one event. This is not meant to take away from the events mentioned but to give background to the greater picture.

7 Cowardly Words from a Sexist Stranger

http://www.upworthy.com/7-cowardly-words-from-a-totally-sexist-stranger-sparked-this-courageous

Pages Matam “Pinata”
This is a video I saw on the interwebs this morning. Its a bit long but a powerful & pointed statement on sexual assault. Give this man some kind words & share this on your own blogs, Twitter, Facebook…
BIanca