Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday Morning Misogynist: MTV



The story of MTV Real World cast member Tonya Cooley's lawsuit and settlement with MTV and parent company Viacom has me reeling.

First of all--good for her for having the courage to speak up. What is most abhorrent about this is the role the network as a whole played in the sexual assault of this woman.

-The cameramen watched and both did nothing to stop it nor said anything to Tonya after it happened (as is noted in the story, she was passed out during the incident.)
-The producers also did not report the incident (I think it's safe to assume they saw the footage.)
-The network proceeded to victim blame, citing Cooley's behavior before the incident and her constant drinking which resulted in her passing out prior to the incident.


I'm not going to describe the incident. If you're interested in it, Jezebel has the details.

Oh, and there's that part where MTV went so far as to protect themselves from such lawsuits (were they anticipating rapes and sexual assaults? sounds like it...) by having participants sign waivers:

       "The main legal issue for Cooley was that she was suing for sexual harassment and 
       wrongful termination, but the extensive waiver she signed with the production company 
       not only says that cast members are not official employees, but that they might have to
       deal with "non-consensual physical contact, of which MTV is not responsible," which 
       means that they could get raped on camera and MTV wouldn't be at fault."

The Jezebel article also refers to a past incident where a Real World cast member was raped but the MTV lawyers stepped in and the case wasn't pursued.   I actually wouldn't be surprised if there were more incidents of rape or sexual assault than this that have occurred during the Real World series.  MTV should be ashamed of themselves and someone has got to hold them accountable for their sexist victim blaming. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Are you outraged?

THIS story about a group of high school football players starting a "fantasy slut league" has me outraged.

There are SO many things wrong with this. No students are going to be disciplined because they couldn't find the names of people associated with the league. I find it hard to believe that they can't do a little investigating to find out who was participating. Also, the fact that the principal called the league a "bonding activity" is abhorrent.

So--the girls at this high school have been sexually exploited and shamed (don't get me started on the word 'slut') and the boys who used the girls as a way to get "points" face no repercussions whatsoever?!

We've got to talk about the commodification of women and girls. Little girls are asking their parents to buy them "sexy" clothes, the show Toddlers in Tiaras is a huge hit on cable TV, everywhere you turn there is an ad selling something (perfume, cars, jeans, etc.) but half the time you can hardly tell what the ad is about because it's focused on a partially nude woman, being used to tell the product (yes, i know that half-nude men are used to sell things too but the sexualization of men and boys is not nearly as pervasive as it is for women and girls.)

This issue is even more in our faces during Halloween when girls and women dress as "sexy" versions of nurses, zombies, cats, devils, etc. all for the gratification of men. A perfect example is from the movie Mean Girls:


Educating our children about the sexualization and commodification of girls isn't the sole responsibility of our schools and teachers (notice that the league came to light after a school rally to educate students on date rape, so kudos to the school on that) but the burden rests largely on the shoulders of us as parents to do everything we can to teach our children about such things.

HOWEVER--until the media and society at large recognize this issue, educating our kids will be a long, hard uphill battle.

Organizations doing great work on this issue include Advocates for Human Rights, Hardy Girls Healthy Women,  and True Child.  I encourage you to check them out.

What do you to to talk to your kids about sexualization?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My Utopia?

Sometimes, when I get frustrated with the current state of politics in the U.S., (which is happening more often than not at this point) I daydream about living on a commune that would be a little feminist utopia. I've thought about this so much that I have my own guidelines for fellow commune dwellers and so I thought I would share that today because thinking about reality right now just seems....scary.

Sam's Earth-Loving-Atheist-Feministy Commune:

1) in order to reside in the commune you must agree with the following

    • religion is nothing more than a tool of the patriarchy to keep men in power and in complete control
    • women will never be equal unless we have full bodily autonomy and control over our reproductive capacities
    • animals are awesome...let's not eat them all the time. actually let's  limit our eating of animals to big celebrations, and let said animals be ones we raise ourselves, in open spaces that are free of any hormones, antibiotics, chemicals, etc.
    • wine and beer are fun when used in moderation and making wine and beer is even better
    • sharing is great
    • knowledge is fantastic and books are the key to the world
    • violence is never, under any circumstance, acceptable
    • it takes a village to raise a child
    • creative outlets like painting, sculpture, gardening, knitting, etc are critical to emotional and intellectual growth
    • daily physical activity is key to healthy living
    • no hateful words that marginalize and offend anyone based on race, sex, ethnicity, immigration status, ability, age, gender identity or expression, marital status, sexual orientation, or class will be tolerated
    • once a week there will be a big party and everyone will contribute at least one item whether it be entertainment, libations, food, decor, etc.
    • everyone will contribute to life on the commune in some way, with positions rotating. One month you could be raising chickens and the next day teaching art class.
2) the commune will be somewhere with rolling hills, green grass and warm weather. we will have lots of animals and a nice big garden

This is as far as my daydream has gotten me. And unfortunately it's just that--a daydream......

Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday Morning Misogynists

Just another instance to add to our disgusting rape culture. A student(s) put up fliers that outlined the "Top Ten Ways to Get Away with Rape" at Miami University in the men's bathrooms of a co-ed dorm hall. They haven't caught the assholes that did this (and probably won't) but I am glad that the students from the Miami U campus group Women Against Violence and Sexual Assault (WAVE) are taking a stand and demanding more action from university officials.  I hope they stand their ground and that officials take this case seriously.


Friday, October 5, 2012

Hysterectomy?

15 days ago, I had my fourth laparascopic surgery to remove endometriosis in my pelvic area.  I don't have my post-op appointment until next week, so I really don't know all of the details of the surgery (where they found the endometrial tissue, how much, etc.)

But I do know this--I've reached my breaking point. Ten years of pain, surgeries, doctors, different oral contraceptives, medical menopause, and more pain. In my pre-op appointment, my surgeon said "do you want more children?" and I told him yes, I want one more but that I need to wait until my husband is out of law school, to which he replied "well, you might consider getting your childbearing over with so that we can take out your uterus and eliminate the disease and the pain."

After the appointment, I told my husband what the surgeon said.  He's not the first doctor to tell me to have a hysterectomy. But I played it down--I felt like this surgery would be different and that I'd have time, like maybe 3 years to just hang with H before getting knocked up again.

Today is a different story. The pain is insurmountable. It hurts to move, to walk, to sit, to breathe. I had to shut my office door so I could cry, and then I thought to myself "Fuck it, I can't wait a few years. Maybe the best thing to do is to get the hysterectomy. We can always adopt." 

So that's where I am today. There's a lot going on with my body that is yucky and I'd rather not divulge the details, but it's gotten me to this point of hopelessness. It'll be interesting to see what the doctor says next week at my follow-up appointment.  It'd be great if he had answers, but somehow I have a feeling that I'll leave with not much more than the option to do medical menopause again, get loaded on pain pills, have a kid asap and then do the hysterectomy, or just go ahead with the hysterectomy now.

It's days like this when I wish I was a dude and didn't have to put up with this shit.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Brief Hiatus

sorry for the lack of posts, y'all! I had surgery last week and have been underwater with work, etc.

I'll be posting soon about how the surgery to remove endometriosis went as well as other fun post on atheist parenting and more!

thanks for your patience!
sam