Monday Blogaround

5 10 2009

Here are some things that popped up on my feminist radar:

What Counts as Real Rape? – More from Gwen on the Roman Polanski case

Concerns About Racism Are “Weird” – The trivialization and dismissal of racism by saying “it’s weird”

US Fence Causes Increase in Border Deaths – Today marks the 15th anniversary of the poorly misguided border strategy known as Operation Gatekeeper

Childbirth at the Global Crossroads – The implications of surrogacy and assisted reproductive technology on women in the “developing” world

End the War in Afghanistan – Peter Rothberg’s lists ways you can help end the war in Afghanistan

Fiona Pilkington inquest: how ableism can lead to suicide – ableism has been instituted and normalized in our society, thus marginalizing and erasing certain existences

Woody’s To Face Boycott – The Fairness Campaign is calling for a boycott of Woody’s Tavern at 4 PM Tuesday

My Weight – Stomp out weight bigotry and fatism. As Joy Nash says, “Tell people how much you weigh. It’s just a stinking number.”

Reclaim the Night (For Cis Women Only) and the London Cis Feminism Network – Feminism is not fully functional if it excludes trans people

Activist Modus Operandi: Methods of Communication – a great post from Genderbitch on activism for marginalized groups and tips on how to be an effective activist





Bravo, Chris Rock!

5 10 2009

Chris Rock has taken a stance against Roman Polanski and has made it clear that he is not going to join the long list of Hollywood celebrities defending Polanski.  On the Jay Leno show, he said:

He made good movies, THIRTY YEARS AGO. Even Johnnie Cochran don’t have the nerve to go, ‘Well, did you see O.J. play against New England?’

Click here to watch the video.





Tufts’ “No-Sex” Policy creates quite a stir

4 10 2009

As most Tufts students already know, Residential Life has established new rules to regulate sexual activity in dorm rooms. As the Tufts Daily reported:

The Office of Residential Life and Learning (ResLife) has added a new stipulation to its guest policy that prohibits any sex act in a dorm room while one’s roommate is present. The stipulation further states that any sexual activity in the room should not interfere with a roommate’s privacy, study habits or sleep.

This has caused a buzz around campus and on lots of news stations. The SAFER blog has a post up containing their thoughts about this. It links to the Tufts University Survivors of Rape and Sexual Assault blog which writes:

Hmmm…you know what else is of a sensitive nature and uncomfortable to talk about? SEXUAL ASSAULT. Why is Tufts so willing to take initiative to create policies about consensual sexual activities, but failed for so long to acknowledge that sexual assault is a problem for the students (not just the school’s reputation) and to “take the lead” in addressing it? I’m obviously very invested in sexual assault at Tufts for very unfortunate reasons, but this rule made me think. What goes on behind closed doors during meetings addressing sexual assault? Do these key players think that the assaults are only rare occurrences? Have they always thought that what they do is okay and that they’ve addressed this crisis properly? It is very possible that the administration has merely been ignorant, but ignorance is not an excuse. This is why a good administration would make sure everyone is well-educated and trained to know how to deal with sexual assault.





Why is this petition circulating?!?! And why are so many people signing it?!?!

30 09 2009

There is a petition circulating to Free Roman Polanski.  PUKE!  Some names of celebrities who have signed it so far:

Natalie Portman (this surprises me)

Pedro Almodovar

Gael Garcia Bernal

Woody Allen

Wes Anderson

Martin Scorsese

Penelope Cruz

Harrison Ford

This is all really depressing.  The petition states:

Roman Polanski is a French citizen, a renown and international artist now facing extradition. This extradition, if it takes place, will be heavy in consequences and will take away his freedom.

Um, have people forgotten that he raped a 13 year old girl?!?!?!  Whether or not he is a French citizen, a renown and international artist, a wealthy and powerful man, he should not just be let off the hook for his crime!!  And people should not be so quick to defend a rapist!!  (Unfortunately we do live in a rape culture where this sort of shit is not atypical.)

Even though Samantha Gailey has expressed no desire to pursue the case, as Melissa writes on Shakesville:

The simple answer for that is because justice doesn’t operate on the principle of what’s best for the victim; it operates on the principle of what’s best for the community. (That’s why prosecutors represent “the people.”) Particularly in a case of sexual assault of a minor, there is additional pressure to prosecute, even if the victim(s) don’t support the prosecution, because interviews of convicted/admitted child rapists in prisons suggest that the rapist who only rapes once and never again has about as much supporting evidence for his existence as does the unicorn. (To wit: Roman Polanski’s ensuing relationship with then-15-year-old Nastassja Kinski.) Some of those who understand this principle nonetheless argue that Polanski is now an “old man,” as if old men don’t rape. Unfortunately, they can and they do.

The more complicated answer to If even the girl he raped wants to let it go, why shouldn’t we? begins with this statement of fact: Her reasons are not yours.

Samantha Gailey’s primary reason for not wanting the case pursued, according to the public statements I’ve read, have to do with her not wanting to subject herself and her family to the public scrutiny and media circus that will inevitably surround Polanski’s return to the US and any subsequent court proceedings.

She’s not motivated by sympathy—in fact, she has explicitly said she harbors no “hard feelings” but also feels “no sympathy” for Polanski, and in recent years publicly stated she wished he’s come back just so she could put the whole thing behind her, irrespective of the outcome.

The truth not being spoken is that the people incorporating Samantha Gailey’s wishes as part of their arguments aren’t doing so because they want to protect Samantha Gailey. They’re doing it because they want to protect Roman Polanski.





Roman Polanski Arrested on Saturday in Switzerland

29 09 2009

Roman Polanski was arrested on Saturday in Switzerland. He fled the States for 32 years after being tried for raping a 13-year old girl, Samantha Gailey, in 1977.  Much has been said already in the feminist blogosphere about this, so I’ll just guide you to other bloggers’ insights:

Reminder: Roman Polanski raped a child.

Roman Polanski’s life of crime.

Puzzle Activity Time.

Can arresting Roman Polanski make a difference?

Good news from Pandagon.

Roman Polanski Understands Women: Repulsion.

Rape Apologists: Roman Polanski’s Rape of  Child Not That Bad.





A Look at some of Graph Jam’s stuff

27 09 2009

I saw this on Unapologetically Female and laughed out loud (because it’s so true):

axe

Then I went to the website to see what other graphs they had up and I saw this one:

heels

Now this one is problematic and irritates me for the following reasons:

1. First of all, the axes are switched. The graph is meant to show that the higher your heels are, the more retarded you look, not that the more retarded you look, the higher your heels are.

2. People need to stop saying “retarded”. It is ableist language that is used in a pejorative way and has been normalized in society which adds to the stigma against different-abled people.

3. This is misogynist and reinforces the patriarchal objectification of women, that women are just their bodies and nothing more. Some of the comments that follow the graph are misogynist as well and make me want to cringe. For example:

A commenter named Karen said: “FINALLY! I was wondering if I was the only person who thought this. I want to beat these girls to death with their own shoes!”

Prisbro wrote: “What about all the dumb bimbos who wear big fuzzy boots with mini skirts in august?? Can we throw them into some quicksand?”

Pencilsharpener wrote: “The rapist who murders you will find them adorable and very practical, as they will help him catch you easily.”

Um. Wow. This last comment seems to be based off of and perpetuates the rape myth that a rapist is a sketchy guy lurking on the street corner who will chase a woman down the street, and the myth that what you wear influences your likelihood of being raped. Wrong and wrong.

These comments are disturbing and symptomatic of the the patriarchal culture that we live in, with misogyny (and internalized misogyny) so deeply entrenched.





Weekly Feminist Reader

27 09 2009

Cara covers the story of a Trans Woman Murdered in Hollywood

Partisan Politican Contributions by US Companies

A Take on The Good Wife: The Wrong Side of the Mommy Track

Health Care Reform — at the Price of Women’s Health?

Nike Makes Black Athlete Look Like…an Animal? An Alien? What?

Cross-generational discussions can be difficult – but we need to have them

Trans-misogyny? There’s an app for that

A topic that’s worth revisiting over and over again: How to be an ally

The Reverse of Discrimination is “Not Discrimination”

Minor Offenses: The Tragedy of Youth in Adult Prisons

What’s wrong with [not just young people] everybody now

Malkin’s venom knows no bounds: Obama “doesn’t like this country very much”, is the “Groveler in Chief”





G20RP Sexual Consent Guidelines

27 09 2009

At the G-20 Conference in Pittsburg last Friday, a lot of protesters gathered outside. Since it was a major economic conference featuring leaders from the world’s 20 largest economies, there were many protesters advocating for better wages and working conditions, unemployment rate and hiking violence at the US-Mexico border, clean energy, etc. There was one group of protesters who called attention to sexual assault, establishing procedures and safe spaces for people who are assaulted at the conference or in the crowd. Furthermore, they made a clear statement that sexual harassment and sexual assault will NOT be tolerated.

The following is the G20RP Sexual Consent Guidelines that they disseminated to the crowd. I think it’s pretty awesome! The definitions are thorough and well-informed. Check it out for yourself:

Announcing the G20RP Sexual Consent Guidelines. Please disseminate widely.Perpetrators of sexual violence, assault, and harassment are not welcome in Pittsburgh or any G20 protest organizational spaces.

Support Structure for Survivors of Sexualized Violence and Assault:

If you experience harassment, abuse, sexual assault, or any other kind of consent violation while resisting the G20 this September, or if a perpetrator of sexual violence is interfering with your participation in the G20 resistance movement, or for any other reason you need support to deal with sexualized violence, please come to us.There will be trained and experienced advocates and support people for survivors of sexual assault at the WELLNESS SPACE (located in the clinic).

G20RP Sexual Consent Guidelines: No Perpetrators Welcome!

Perpetrators of Sexual Assault, Abuse, and Harassment Are Not Welcome in G20 Resistance Spaces

Perpetrators of sexual violence/assault/harassment are not welcome in Pittsburgh or any G20 protest organizational spaces. This includes people who have perpetrated in the past*, people currently engaged in or running away from accountability processes, and people who refuse to respect the ResistG20 consent guidelines. People who violate consent guidelines will be directed to leave G20 organizational spaces and housing arrangements. Given the short time frame, lack of people resources, and likelihood of state repression we don’t have the ability to deal with these situations in this artificially constructed community.

Perpetrators’ presence should not hinder survivors’ participation in G20 mobilizations (Perps: You are not welcome regardless of the survivor’s plans). We are resisting the G20 in large part because the G20 acts WITHOUT accountability to or consent of the people it fucks over. Don’t replicate the same paradigm of domination and abuse that you’re claiming to want to smash.

*We understand and respect that other communities have engaged in their own processes around these incidents. If you have gone through an accountability process and the survivor, joined by the community, feels you have sufficiently dealt with your shit, this statement does not include you.

Support Structure for Survivors of Sexualized Violence and Assault

If you experience harassment, abuse, sexual assault, or any other kind of consent violation while resisting the G20 this September, or if a perpetrator of sexual violence is interfering with your participation in the G20 resistance movement, or for any other reason you need support to deal with sexualized violence, please come to us.

There will be trained and experienced advocates and support people for survivors of sexual assault at the WELLNESS SPACE (located in the clinic). People staffing housing and other spaces, as well as medics and (A)-minded legal observers (note: not the ACLU kind) should also be able to put you in contact with us.

We can offer you:

*Support, caring, and listening

*Advocacy on your behalf, including the removal of perpetrators of violence

*Emergency housing changes to quiet, safer space housing

*Transport to the Pittsburgh rape crisis center

*Medical, herbal, and wellness (massage, acupressure, music therapy) resources

*Resources for further support and/or action

*Support, with the legal team, to document sexual abuse by law enforcement

Consent Guidelines for G20 Resistance Spaces and Housing

Consistently asking for consent and listening to your sexual partner at every step in every sexual encounter, regardless of length, history, or specific situation, is the only way to prevent sexual assault from happening. Consent includes asking, listening, and respecting; it does not include coercion, expectations, or assumptions.

Consent: Consent is actively and voluntarily expressed agreement. Doing personal work to consistently seek consent and respect the times when it is not given helps to combat rape culture, and informed consent, sexual and otherwise, is necessary in the building of strong, healthy anti-authoritarian communities. The following do not qualify as consent: silence, passivity, and coerced acquiescence. Body movements, non-verbal responses such as moans, or the appearance of physical arousal do not, necessarily, constitute consent. Further, if someone is intoxicated, they may not be in a position to give you consent. Consent is required each and every time there is sexual activity, regardless of the parties’ relationship, prior sexual history, or current activity.

Sexual Assault: Sexual assault is any non-consensual sexual interaction. Sexual assault happens, and it happens in activist and radical communities as much as anywhere else. Sexual assault can be perpetrated by a complete stranger, but is often perpetrated by someone known and trusted by the survivor and community. Sexual assault is a tool of domination, of taking power, and can rob someone of their self respect, self worth, and autonomy. Sexual assault is rooted in broader systems of oppression- such as patriarchy, white supremacy, capitalism, homophobia, and colonialism- and is not separable from them in how and why it is perpetrated, experienced, and dealt with.

Rape Culture: Rape culture is the culture in which sexual assault and other forms of sexual violence are condoned, excused and even encouraged. Rape culture is part of a broader culture of violence, wherein people are socialized to inhabit different positions in hierarchical relationships, to commodify their fellow human beings, and to relate to each other through violence and coercion.

We are survivor centric and survivor oriented. When a decision needs to be made to give “benefit of the doubt” to a perpetrator or support to a survivor, the preference will be to support the survivor. State language which serves to cast doubt onto survivors experiences (eg referring to experiences as “allegations”) has zero space in radical support and communities.

Thank you G20RP, Antioch College Consent Policy, Denver on Fire, Unconventional Denver, and the RNC Welcoming Committee





Feminist Reader

19 09 2009

Here’s some stuff that’s out there on the interwebs right now.  Check it out.

A piece by Ann at Feministing about the Hofstra case and rape culture.

All female trains in India.

Rush Limbaugh once again being a jackass, says that we should return to racially segregated buses.

Cara at The Curvature does an excellent job explaining why we should not pressure rape survivors into naming their attackers.

Stuff white people do-  feel entitled to touch black women’s hair.

Marvel writer has rape in storyline, then responds to criticism with rape-culture apologism.

Katrina’s lessons are as important as 9/11’s.

In upcoming stuff:  “Sex, Lies, and Gender” will appear on the National Geographic channel Tuesday Sept. 22 at 6 PM.  Check out the airing times near you.  I have seen it.  I will watch it again.  You should definitely watch it too.

ACORN pimp sting, child prostitution, and accountability” by Atlasien at Racialicious

Tenured Radical goes to Washington D.C., offers some thoughts on the Tea Party rally.





Call it what it really is: rape

25 08 2009

One way that rape culture functions and continues to thrive is through invisibility. The mainstream media poorly covers sexual violence (if they cover it at all). Often times sexual assault and rape get erased from the picture – instead of using the words sexual assault or rape, mainstream news sources will just use sex. So instead of saying that Person X raped Person Y, headlines or articles will say things along the lines of Person X had sex with Person Y. Case in point:

From NBC: A police officer in Connecticut is being charged with first degree sexual assault and criminal impersonation after police say he posed as his twin brother to have sex with a woman.

Okay, so at least they explicitly state that the officer is charged with first degree sexual assault. But then they go on to say “he posed as his twin brother to have sex with a woman”. Wrong, he did not have sex with a woman, he raped a woman. There was no consent. She did not have consented to having sex with him because he was impersonating his twin brother and fooling her so that he could rape her.

Here’s another one describing the same violation from The Telegraph UK:

Jared Rohrig, 25, pretended to be his brother Joe to trick the woman into bed.

Again, the words sexual assault or rape are entirely omitted from the story. The language used here is extremely trivializing and makes it seem more like some kind of soap opera story or some ridiculous drama you’d see on television.

By continuing to unidentify and unexamine rape, we are enabling it to persist without taking notice of its heinous criminal nature.  Failing to name rape as rape simply bolsters rape culture and belittles the severity of the crime.  We need to call it what it is: rape.

H/t Womanist Musings.








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