Archive for August, 2012


NCADV, the national coalition Against (preventing) Domestic violence has just announced that you can help them with your left over electronic stuff.

Do you have an old cell phone?  Are you letting your kid or little brother play with it…it’s time that phone does more than call imaginary people. That phone can help and be a lifeline for a real person.

See, NCADV partners with Cellular Recycler for the collection of used cell phones. We receive a portion of the monies that come from the sale of refurbished cell phones to support our programming that helps stop violence in the home.

Cellular Recycler’s mission is to create a nationwide cellular recycling program to keep valuable cellular equipment out of landfills. Their warehouse is one of the only facilities in the world dedicated to cell phone recycling that is ISO 9001:2000 and IAER certified. For more information on their programs, e-mail ncadv_info@cellularrecycler.com.

Go out and help the earth and help stop violence in the family!

I go into middle schools, high schools, after school programs, and anywhere that I can talk to people about preventing domestic violence, teen dating violence, sexual assault, rape, and violence in general.

At the end of all of my speeches, even the ones where I actually give everyone ideas, people come up to me and ask what they can do to change this.

That is why the title to this post is what it is.

What can you do to change the way things are?

Well, there’s a website called change.org...you can create a petition to change anything you want.

A young lady by the name of Julia Bluhm decided to put a petition together to stop photoshopping in the pictures of Seventeen. She did this because young ladies read seventeen, look at the models, and believe they could get a body, a figure, and a complexion like they see. Even if they don’t consciously realize that they are thinking this, this si what their mind believes. However, 98% of all the pictures are photoshopped and messed with. Therefore, nobody that is born naturally will EVER have these complexions or bodies because they have been computer created.

This distortion of perception creates body image issues, self esteem problems, etc…the list goes on and on.

Well, Julia’s 5000 signature petition was signed (Yes, I signed it) and she sent it to Seventeen. They said…that;s nice.

So she went to a number of other organizations, and Julia Bluhm has changed how Seventeen does things in their magazine.

So what are you going to do?

Here’s some ideas:
1. Print out flyers about gender equality, stopping dv, etc and hand them out wherever you go.

2. Get a pack of post-it notes and ask everyone to prevent dv or sexual assault by helping you tell everyone its wrong.

3. Make youtube videos about why it needs to be stopped! Now! Get angry. Get happy.  Make it go viral and get the message out.

4. start a blog and tell everyone about it.

5. Get a group of friends and make a pact that everyday you will each post something on facebook about preventing DV or sexual assault.

6. Start a club…all you need is one sponsor at school.

7. Tweet. Tweet. Tweet. Tweet and follow as many people as you can about preventing dv.

8. Start a petition.

9. Start a company that works toward preventing dv and sexual assault.

10. Write and write and write to every company, advertiser, and group that promotes sexist/degrading/and gender violent ideas.

Yes….we can all do this!  Yes….we can all do something!

 

 

Who are women?

This is a very big question when we look at the depictions of women in our world.

But, it doesn’t come from me.  This question comes from a 10 and a 11 year old girls trying to find out who they are in the world.  Scary that they would have to ask this question.

One girl wants to be the owner and creator  of an Art and Design studio that creates works of art in their clothes as well as their paintings.

One of these girls wants to be a marine biologist who helps save the oceans and trains dolphins.

They have been told they can do anything they want to ,a nd have the ability to create any type of future they decide to create.

They were watching TV and they noticed two ads.

1 ad shows women as mindless sex crazed women who will do anything and stop at nothing to get their man when they smell a specific cologne. According to the commercial, if a man sprays this cologne women will loose all thoughts and ideas, and will just go crazy and get this man no matter what! Not only that, the close-ups on the woman’s butt, wet thighs, and breasts show us that these must be the important parts of women.

The two girls looked at me and asked..”why?  Women are so much more than that. They are leaders. They are artists, designers, biologists. Why do they display women as sweaty body parts.”

2. This ad shows women fighting over a grill, that obviously could be shared…but instead they start pushing eachother. Not only that, they are wearing the most scantily clad outfits to bar be cue in. There are constant close ups on the meat (obvious sexual reference) and then back to various parts of the women’s body. Then they sit down, interlock their arms like a wedding toast, and eat the burgers like they’ve never eaten a piece of food in their life.

The two girls looked at me and held up their hands. that is when they asked the question: Who are women? Are these women or are our heroes women?

Who are their heroes? Artists, biologists, the trainor who helped save Winter the dolphin, Eleanor Roosevelt, Hellen Keller, Susan B. Anthony, etc.

That’s a question we as society must answer.  Here are the two commercials:

http://www.adrants.com/2012/08/ladies-would-you-jump-hurdles-to-get.php

http://www.adrants.com/2012/08/scorchingly-hot-squabbling-hotties-have.php

We must answer these girls’ question because it’s the only example many people have of what women do, who women are, and most importantly – Who a girl should grow up to be.

These commercials point out what the men who are the demographic want to see, but they also show us what we accept as “normal” and “okay” in our culture and society.

This view of women as mindless body parts promotes domestic violence and sexual assault…we must do something to end this, or these crimes will continue.

BTW – Pinellas County Florida has had 11 fatalities this year alone because of domestic violence.

This the third and last section/part to our look at comics and their sexism and gender equality problems that are inherent because they are inherent in our own society.

Remember, the main reason for pointing this out is not to lay blame on the comics, the comic creators, the artists or anything that sinister or vindictive. They are merely showing us that this IS our society. It is up to us to change this view.

Much like the ghosts in Charles Dickens’ classic  A Christmas Carol these comics are merely pointing out what is happening now, and what can continue to happen. It is always up to us to decide if we are going to do something about it.

This blog, as it always has, is asking you to take a stand and do something about it.

Wghat…you may ask.

Here are a few ideas…before the last comic:

1. Reblog this so that more people see it and are aware of the problems of our society and culture.

2. start talking about it in every way you can…facebook, twitter,every social media you have your hands on, a blog, a tumblr,e-mail, friendly conversations, etc.

3. Teach. teach. teach. You remember that scene in the Adam Sandler movie: Big Daddy where he is lecturing the pre-schoolers about drinking and driving and smoking. This got a big laugh, but concerning this issue…it’s not funny, it’s real. Pre-schoolers and elementary schoolers are already creating and developing ideas and thoughts about gender roles, relationships, and what is it to be a man and woman in this world and culture we live in.

4. Educate everyone with pamphlets. Help people who are already doing it.

5. Do something!

Now, let us talk about the view of women in our society:

Blondie is created by Dean Young and John Marshall. Blondie has always been a little behind the times when it comes to gender equality. It wasn’t until the beginning of this millennium that Blondie was “allowed” to work and when she became more successful than her husband, it became a very big riff in the comic’s world.

This comic speaks to what exactly is a female. Dagwood wants in after work but his wife won’t let him in. She wants to make herself up because she believes she looks terrible. The plain and simple truth is a woman looks like a woman no matter what they are doing.

A healthy relationship view would state that a person does not fall in love or marry a person based on the physical appearance alone. Therefore, the physical appearance of your wife (even after the 30+ years Blondie has been in the strips) has little to do with her true beauty. In fact, the full and complete acceptance of your mate is the goal of all healthy relationships.

This strip points out that Dagwood agrees with Blondie when she sticks her face out and she’s a mess. This solidifying the fact that unless a wife looks great, she is not acceptable for public display. This is the same idea as a rick or classy object such as a vintage car. When we compare things to women, we roll down the road of seeing women not as living breathing people, but as objects to be used and looked at.

This idea of female objectivity is a major problem that leads to domestic violence. If a person or culture sees a section of that culture as a “thing” than it is easy to hurt, destroy, and beat that section of the culture. This is exactly what we are seeing done to women. Their rights are slowly being eroded. Domestic abuse and fatality is increasing, and the media is showing them as less and less respected. Rape is under question and what they are allowed to do with their own bodies   is decided for them my older men as if they were children.

This strip asks us if this gender inequality is ok or do we agree with Dagwood? Sadly, currently, our culture and many of the women are taught this as well, agree with dagwood.

Now…check yourself.

If you are a woman reading this – will you go out without makeup, a shower, etc? If you won’t you are a product of this society that is being depicted.

If you are a man reading this – do you think a woman should go out without makeup, a shower, etc? If you do you are a product of this society that is being depicted.

 

Men…you know who you are…quick answer this question: What do you do on a daily basis to protect yourself from rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment.

Waiting….

Women…you know who you are…quick answer this question: What do you do on a daily basis to protect yourself from rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment.

The way this usually works is this(Please try it and you might just educate someone about how women are made to feel on a daily basis):

You ask a man…and he’ll look at you weird. He’ll cock his head to one side. He might laugh or chuckle quietly. Then his answer will be…”Nothing really” or “I don’t care”

You ask a woman…her face will get very serious and she will begin listing the long list of all of the things she has learned she has to do to protect herself from these horribly obvious problems.

This is what the following Project Unspoken video is all about. Please watch all of it!

This is the reality that our society says is ok. This is what our culture and our society says is “normal”.

I don’t like NORMAL if this is “normal”.

We, as men, can not walk down a street with our head held high if the women who give the world children, who are the majority of the earths population, and who are mostly not hurting our world have to live in constant fear of how they dress, where they walk, and how safe they are.

This is wrong!

What are you doing to stop this injustice?

Part 2 of 3 examining sexism and gender inequality in comics

This series is about seeing the factors and ideas that promote gender violence, sexual assault,and domestic violence in the comics.

As I said in part 1, comics show us our own culture under a magnifying glass. When this happens, the creator pulls out actual problems in our world and holds it in front of our face for everyone to see.

One of the masters of this was Charles “Sparky” Shultz, the creator of Lil’Folks or what would become known as Peanuts. The Charlie Brown gang asked the world to accept many things and take a stand on many items in their world. It brought a very grown up world to the kids of the world through the speech balloons and thought balloons of a group of kids. In these pages we learned of racial tension with Franklin, societal corruption with Linus and Lucy, freeway and urban expansion with Snoopy who will lose his dog house, pollution with Charlie Brown, and even gender equality with the only character to be called “Sir”…Ms. Pepermint Patty.

It is obvious how didactic comics are, but if this education is seen as “normal” rather than social commentary, we will continue creating and recreating a world of violence and inequality.

Let’s take this comic on gender norms and relationships for example:

This is the widely read Non Sequitur by Wiley. The woman in this comic asks her mate to have a conversation. Like most socialized males, he states that there are boundaries on the conversation.

Let’s talk about this for a moment: Communication is a very important and pinnacle part of a relationship. Some would argue that it is one of the most important parts of a relationship. What is a known fact is that it is an integral part of a healthy relationship. When two people communicate, they are sharing ideas and sharing a life together. When people put rules on communication, you are censoring someones thoughts and ideas. Any person in a relationship that censors a conversation is exerting a certain amount of power and control. This kind of control is on one of the spokes of the power and control wheel:When a person begins using things off of this wheel, or any like it, they are creating red flags that can and will lead down the road of domestic violence.

Let’s continue with our comic. Once he makes his censor (no “stupid and boring topics:decorating and celebrity gossip) the conversation can begin. Not only has the male said that these ideas are stupid and boring, it is obvious that he knows these are the things she wants to talk about. In fact, he just said her ideas and the things she wants to talk about are stupid and boring. This is exactly like saying the real thing…you can spin it however you want, but he just called her stupid and boring. This is verbal abuse. Is this ok?  Are we ok with men talking to women like this?  Is this an example of a “normal” relationship?  Sadly, yes it is. But what Wiley has done is shown us a modern relationship and asked if this is what we want. They have asked if this is what we want our married life to be. Of course it is not. But, what are we doing to change it?

The next panels answer this question…nothing. We become disillusioned with our relationships and climb deeper into our holes of loneliness while sitting right next to the person who we are supposedly in a relationship with. A relationship devoid of conversation, niceties, and happiness.

In the end we, as the lady does, defines happiness as silence instead of the enjoyment she once felt as a new girlfriend or bride.

We must change our view of what a happy relationship is.

We must end the idea that a normal relationship is exciting and fun in the beginning but becomes abusive and silent later.

Sadly, this is exactly what I’ve heard explained to me by teenagers. Teenagers who are learning from our culture that relationships and everything else is transcendent, so it’s just get what you want out of it and leave.

This is the blueprint of an abusive relationship and this is what we are being asked to accept as “normal” in our culture and society!

What are you doing to change this view?

This is part 1 of 3 in a series of comments on comics and how they are influencing the culture and the world at large.

The daily comics page, like commercials, are extremely important to the world. For those adults out there that are currently turning up their noses after reading the first line of this post…you’ll have to excuse me, but this is true. Let me explain:

(Now keep in mind, this is also for commercials{print and nonprint})

Comic strip creators look out at the world and hold a mirror up it for everyone else to see. They look at the things going on in our society, and then hyper-visualize it so that it is made more of than most people ever would. Then they display it right out there for everyone to see. The reason we laugh, cry, say “that’s wrong, or any reaction at all is because we can relate to it. If we can relate to it, it is because the creator has come very very close to the truth. When these things become very popular, they have touched the main nerve of pop-culture.

This is where it becomes scary….Once pop culture smirks, laughs, and then gufaws…it takes over the idea. Then it creates a reality around the idea to such a level that it actually changes and recreates our society in this hyper-visualized way.

Therefore, something very simple like a family eating dinner, shows the general public that this is the way that a family could eat dinner if everything went correctly. When pop-culture gets a hold of it, it say…we “Should” be eating dinner like this. Suddenly, that becomes standard.

A simple idea of this is: what came first Wholesome America or Norman Rockwell (for those of you who know or remember Norman Rockwell)

So, if a comic is talking or pointing it out…it’s something that is really happening in our society. We must examine this idea because it is not just on the surface, it has become a “normaly culturally accepted” thought.

With all of this said, I was reading the Comics a few Sundays ago (2 to be exact) and I noticed this crazy trend of sexism and gender inequality.  Here are three that were the most shocking!

We’ll start with Pickles. This is a great long running strip written by Brian Crane and it is one of those strips that you are happy is in the paper. This strip however shocked me.

First, this strip is about an “Elderly” couple and their retired senior life with their grandchildren and their relationship.

This particular strip was concerning since it dealt with the obvious problem of gender identity and gender equality. The woman in the strip bought a shirt for her husband. He, however, has never worn it because of the color. The color is “salmon” but to all other people it is “pink”.  The gentleman is obviously bothered by the color..since our culture and society tells us that pink is a “girl” color. (I mean they still to this day in 2012 put a pink hat on girl babies and a blue hat boy babies.)

To make him feel better, she explains that it’s not “pink” it’s salmon and salmon is a very[tough guy] aggressive, masculine color.” Did you see what just happened here?

To make him feel better she said he was masculine and that meant he is a tough guy and aggressive. Let’s review – we were just told that masculinity is aggressive and tough. Both of these words denote violence in some way, in fact when you think of a “tough guy”, pictures of gun totting, blood stained, destructive men come to mine. This is the violent destructive patriarchal man that is responsible for the destruction of our environment, wages war, and the power and control hungry man that inflicts domestic violence and causes rape. This man is the man that we are trying to eliminate out of our cultural context in order to create a more peaceful nonviolent world.

What this strip si doing is showing us the mirror to the current thoughts and ideas of our culture and society and then in the end, another man delivers the ultimate put down: “that’s a  lovely pink blouse you’re wearing today.” What does this mean to the socialized male – lovely – female word for females. Pink – female color for females. Blouse (though the shirt is obviously not a blouse but a polo) –  a female piece of clothing. He just called him a girl or female.

This then further shows us the scope on  gender that we are truly used to seeing in this culture and society of ours. One man will put another man down by pointing out all the ways he is emasculating himself, because if masculinity is the top of the food chain, then femininity is definitely below that. And if a man is identified as being below a man, he is the lowest of the low, he is insulted by being called a….woman. Showing just how messed up our society really is: the gender that creates life is below the one that destroys it.

What this comic has shown us is the reality of ourselves. Is this the reality we want to see?  Even if you don’t see this as our reality, there is no mistaking that this is our culture in black and white (well the strip is in color).
We must stop this idea of identifying gender in a color.

We must stop this idea of identifying men as one way of acting and women as another way of acting. Stereotypes and rigid gender norms don’t bring us any closer to coexisting happily; therefore, we must end it!

We must stop this idea that a man is aggressive and violent, or that is what we will get!

Opt 4 ending all things that promote gender violence.

Opt 4 not promoting ideas that hurt other people.

Opt 4 not promoting power and control in any of its forms.

Opt 4 destroying the man/woman box!

 

A major comment on a major director’s patriarchal thoughts and ideas. Why is this so important? Because he is one of the people in the world who are creating the way our society thinks and acts.

Here’s an example (which I’ve actually seen happen):

A young girl and a young boy watch a tv show. The young girl identifies with the female characters and the young boy identifies with the male characters. Suddenly, the girl begins taking on and having ideas similar to the female character and the boy begins having ideas and acting out the way the male character is. This is the normal and a natural way of things.

However, let us give this real context. If the male is sexist and the female is merely a body part or an accessory to the male parts, then we have a little boy that learned to be sexist and treat women as body parts. The boy also has been taught and now believes that men are above women (the beginning of the power and control that causes domestic violence and violence against women) Equally scary – The girl now see herself as nothing but a pretty face, and accepts that she will never be as good as a male. Not only that, she will never aspire to be anything but a male accesory.

This is what this man this article is about…is doing Creating a fertile bed of power and control, sexism, and patriarchy that will continue to promote and increase domestic violence and objectification of women.

Men's Anti-Violence Council

Don’t get me wrong, I REALLY like watching Aaron Sorkin dramas. Studio 60, Sports Night, West Wing, and now Newsroom on HBO. His movies are also really interesting as character studies as well. Whether it is A Few Good Men, Money Ball, or The Social Network; I have seen and enjoyed them all to a varying degree.

But Aaron Sorkin has a Patriarchy Problem. And I don’t think I’m the only one who notices. You can check out some other critiques of Sorkin’s treatment of women here, here, or here.

I am broadly defining patriarchy in this context as a system where men, often prioritized by age, hold power and influence in the absence of and/or to the exclusion of women.

This is by no means a definitive or one size fits all definition, but as a starting point, I think it is an apt definition. Especially…

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Please take a moment and sign this. Sign it for the good of all people. Sign it for the good of women. Sign it for the good of humanity.

Radical Change - A Feminist Blog

Facebook is billed as a family friendly social media platform, yet a few key words entered into their search engine will show you it has become a breeding ground for easy to access pornography, nudity, child pornography, illicit underage content and derogatory language about women and girls.

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More anti rape info!

Who knew there was a website?

Rinj.org…it’s a website and a facebook page. It’s a blog. It has videos. It is the central place to go to help end rape and clarify once and for all…Rape is not a joke!

Who are they?

What is RINJ™

RINJ is an organization that monitors media content; educates social media and other media outlets about the perils of misogyny and rape culture; monitors and reports international law news; monitors and reports on global court proceedings related to sexual assault; promotes a more learned and open discussion of the issues of sexual assault; promotes education for the safety of the person; and seeks a higher adherence to safe community standards. RINJ seeks stiffer penalties for rapists; promotes the creation of a better criminal justice system; and seeks to advance a RAPE-averse social conscience.

Please support them to help end this disease.

Who are the most obvious perpetrators of rape? MEN

I, being a man, am sad to say that men are often the people who are the rapists!  (Ladies, I’m sorry!  😦    )   But there’s hope:

 

Men can stop rape is an organization telling all men that they have the ability to stop rape, what to say to other men who think it’s ok, and how to end it once and for all.

Yes, there are men out there that DO NOT believe that it is ok to rape women!

There are a lot of us!

Arizona Rape Prevention gives us a lot of great information on how to talk to people about preventing rape, as well as ways to prevent rape in general.

They proudly represent on their website their teal ribbon denoting rape awareness…and the need to stop it.

Finally – I’ve put a lot of anti-rape pictures in the last couple of posts. If you want some more anti-rape pictures to put on your blog, facebook, powerpoint, etc…here are some more.

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