Oh no! If we teach boys to respect women it’ll hurt their feelings!

15 04 2009

The New York Times has an article in its 18 and Under Section called “Another Awkward Sex Talk: Respect and Violence” by Dr.  Perri Klass.  She writes about how to talk to adolescent boys about sexual violence and healthy relationships.  What should you walk away with?  That it’s incredibly hard to teach boys to respect women because it hurts their feelings!

Dr. Klass writes:

We live with an endless parade of hypersexualized images — and a constant soundtrack of adults lamenting children’s exposure to that endless parade. There’s increasing knowledge of dating violence, including well-publicized celebrity incidents. And there’s always a new movie to see about how adolescent boys are clueless, sex-obsessed goofballs.

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If you want the hot body and the hot chicas, don’t smoke

15 04 2009

I saw this anti-smoking ad on Sociological Images:


It says:

Smokefree Instinct #33. Hot Body. Your instict was right. You took off his shirt–his body, those abs, DAMN! You could trace that definition with your lips for hours. Nothing is grosser than a shirtless dude with belly fat caused from smoking. But no worries, you trusted your instincts.

Yes, because having no belly fat and having firm abs and a hot body is the only reason to not smoke, or to quit smoking.  What about the fact that smoking harms every organ in the body?  Or that smoking causes lung cancer?   Sex certainly sells, but is it really necessarily to use sex and “being hot” to fuel an anti-smoking campaign?

Not only is this ad highly heteronormative but it also objectifies both men and women.  The woman’s cleavage is right up in your face and the blurb about his hot body highlights that it’s the hot body and the firm abs that count.  It seems that this ad is geared more towards men, with the message being something like: Don’t smoke otherwise you won’t have a hot body!   And if you don’t have the hot bod then you won’t get with the ladies!

Again, you are blinded by your white privilege

15 04 2009

In his column in the Tufts Daily yesterday, Will Ehrenfeld wonders what exactly makes last week’s bias incident involving the KSA and a drunk freshman in Lewis a “bias incident.” He asks:

Was it a bias incident because of what the kid said? He allegedly employed racial slurs to verbally abuse the dancers after the physical altercation had ended, calling them names and telling them to “go back to China.” I suppose this makes what up until then would have been considered merely a fight or, depending on which side you fall, assault, into an incident of racial bias. I know what you’re thinking: Well, duh. But think — what do the kid’s words after a fight have to do with the apparent motivations for the fight?

Well, Will, a bias incident is of harassment (abusive conduct that is persistent, severe, or pervasive and threatens or limits an individual’s ability to go participate in his/her activities) that is motivated by prejudice against people based on their race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. Tufts defines a bias incident as:

any act directed against a person or property that includes the use of slurs or epithets expressing bias on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression.

In this case it was clearly motivated by racism (remember, racism = power/privilege + prejudice).  I find it insulting that Will belittles the bias incident and writes it off as “merely a fight or, depending on which side you fall, assault, into an incident of racial bias.”  It is a very ignorant comment that demonstrates that because he has never had any experiences with neither covert nor overt racism that he cannot even fathom what it’s like for those who experience racism on a daily basis.

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Same sex marriage bill to be introduced in New York

15 04 2009

Tomorrow at 10 AM, Governor David Paterson of New York is going to introduce legislation to legalize same sex marriages in New York State.  While this introduction will be just the start, and cannot guarantee that the Legislature will enact this soon, it is certainly a step in the right direction.  From the New York Times:

While Mr. Paterson has said he would like to see lawmakers “fight it out” and debate the bill on the floor of both houses even if it fails, Albany tradition dictates that the bill is likely to come to a vote only when it has enough support to pass. Senator Thomas K. Duane, a Democrat and the bill’s chief supporter in the Senate, has said he opposes the governor’s notion of fast-tracking it. And the Senate majority leader, Malcolm A. Smith, has said he would bring the bill to the floor when it has enough support.

Even though this may be an attenuated and uphill battle, it is great that Governor Paterson is recognizing the need to expand the scope of civil rights to include same-sex couples as well.  He is recognizing that same-sex couples deserve and should be entitled to equal treatment under the law as well.   Let’s stay tuned with our fingers crossed and see what becomes of this.

Tufts Annual Day of Silence TODAY

15 04 2009

This is just a reminder that today is the annual observance of the GLSEN National Day of Silence!  The National Day of Silence brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Each year the event has grown, now with hundreds of thousands of students coming together to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior.  Even if you are silent for a portion of the day, we would appreciate you joining us.  You can pick up “speaking cards” explaining your choice to remain silent all over campus.  Also, QSA suggests that you wear red to show your support for the event.

At the end of the day, we will be Breaking of the Silence at 7:30pm in front of Tisch.

At 8 PM in Cabot 205, the QSA “Night of Noise” performer Elizabeth Whitney will be featured in “Pop Culture Princess.”


Also, the Clothesline Project is going on today and tomorrow outside the Campus Center.  Come out and decorate a t-shirt in honor of the courage of sexual assault and violence survivors.