Monthly Archives: May 2014

#YesAllWomen

The shootings over the weekend have really struck a note, and all over you see commentary on how this violence is not out of the norm, or an isolated incident, rather it speaks to a larger norm that is so pervasive.

The statements made by Elliot Rodger are not uncommon, all anyone needs to do is read the comments section on an article dealing with men and women.  It was disturbing to  once again read, see, hear this young man blame is his issues on women, as if he is owed something by women, or that there is this sense that women are supposed to want to sleep with guys, that it is a given.  If she does not reciprocate a man’s advances it is her fault for not being enlightened enough or smart enough to know that she should be falling down at this man’s feet.

I have heard too many guys say, ” I am a nice guy. I did this or that and when I asked her out she said, ‘no’.”  Statements such as that cancel out being a nice guy; the expectation that you are owed something, furthermore that you have a right or claim to a woman because you did something decent is deplorable. It just speaks to the larger issue of women not being seen as whole or independent people.  Women are often seen as an addition to the man that they are seemingly attached to, and that is where their worth is, not as people with independent thought feelings, and paths of their own. This gets even more complicated when you factor is sexuality, because lesbians are often either categorized as masculine or just needing the “right man” to show her the way.  Transgender women are often punished for not being normal.

So when people claim that this is an isolated incident, no, it is another violent incident that follows a long tradition of violence against women, whether it is physical, emotional, or creating atmosphere that is threatening.

Leslie Jones SNL Skit

This past weekend on SNL, comedian Leslie Jones managed to offend viewers with her jokes referring “to how both her sex life and dating options would have been much better if it was back in slave times.” There also was reference to “producing super babies” due to being paired with the strongest, most capable black male slave on the plantation.

You can catch the segment below.

Leslie Jones SNL Skit

It is fairly obvious why folks were upset by this, but despite her casual tone, she did manage to kind of point out how strong black males that are built to be able to either perform well in the field,  court, or playing field is something that was desired long ago, and is still today. While people seem to think that she is condoning systematic,  I think the suggestion that she would have been paired with the best male slave indicates that lack of consent, as well as that  slaves were viewed as a product.  Slavery is always going to be hard to talk about, especially with how deeply entrenched it is in today’s ongoing racial tensions and systemic issues.

SNL was probably not the best venue to deliver those jokes, but either way, her comments are not any less false, that she would have been prized for her size and strength.  This reminds me of Kara Walker’s exhibit which was quite controversial, but addressed this romanticized notion of slavery and how able bodies were such an appealing commodity.   The installation surrounded you, so there was the force of it weighing down on you. I think she has captured the perverse nature of it, better than anyone else.

Kara Walker

I have mixed feelings about the skit, but I like that she is getting people to talk about it. I think she is bringing more light to a bigger issue.

Sexual Assault and Colleges

There has been a lot of talk about the task force Obama plans to implement in order to combat sexual assault on campuses. It is no secret that sexual assault is horrific problem across college campuses.  We all probably know at least one someone who has been a survivor of an assault, and they probably watched their attacker walk away unscathed. This could be a very powerful initiative that is desperately needed overall, but especially after the many disrespectful and ignorant comments that politicians have been making, essentially victim blaming.

Schools have not been doing their part in supporting survivors of attacks, and while they may not have the systems in place to deal with it, there have not been enough questions of how we can implement a system to effectively deal with sexual assault and rape.  The call to action’s desire to have more definitive standards when dealing with

This initiative is apart of a larger initiative to address sexual violence: Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action, which contains the full report on statistical findings, as well as the amount of work it will take to implement proper safeguards to better help survivors. I strongly encourage folks to at least read the executive that includes some great language that is quite different than much of the rhetoric that has been passed around by politicians as of late.

 There is a lot of work that needs to be done, but this seems like a good place to start, and hopefully this helps prevent people from being assaulted, and helps educate folks on the troubling realities that accompany these attacks.

Thus far 55 colleges are being investigated for how they have handled sexual complaints. Hopefully these investigations bring about better practices in dealing with sexual assaults, and ensuring that survivors are able to name their attackers and bring charges if they so desire, as well as making sure that they get the help that they need.

The End of the Semester

With the end of the semester fast approaching, we hope everyone is in good spirits and not letting the stress of taking finals or grading finals weigh them down.  Summer break is coming upon us, and it is a good time to catch up on some reading that often falls to the wayside between classes and other activities.

Throughout the summer we will be adding books to keep you entertained during the hot days of summer, or some of the rainy ones too.

The first book is a book that originally came out in 2012, “Overdressed: The  Shockingly High Cost  of Cheap Fashion” by Elizabeth Cline.  Here is an excellent review  of Overdressed that really emphasizes not only the ethics of where our clothes come from, but how it impacts our society as whole, from the people who produce the items, to the conditions they work in, and how we dispose of them once we are done with them.

Once again, Good luck on finals everyone!