Tuesday, August 31, 2010
What the hell? I was flabbergasted but managed to hide my true reaction; I even told her I loved her at the end of the call. Maybe I should have told her that it hurt my feelings that she wanted me to come home, not just to visit, but to help her clean. I know she loves me and misses me, but as evidenced by her query, she’s missing my help around the house more than anything else.
I’ve always helped out around the house, and especially now that she’s shown me so much (financial) support as I’ve transitioned to grad school, I want to help her. But I can’t help but be a little bit angry at her for asking me to help clean. My step-brother did his undergraduate degree here at Northern Illinois. She often talks about how he would come home with laundry and she would do it for him. She never does my laundry and I can’t for the life of me picture her calling him and saying, “Will you come home to clean this weekend?”
Yeah, right. He’s getting old, but not that old. She wouldn’t expect my father to clean the bathroom or give the kitchen a real scrubbing—she never has, no matter how inconsiderately messy he is. She has scolded me and told me to my face, that, “As a woman, you should want to live in a clean house. Women prefer these things.” I had to look her in the eye, in a rare moment of defiance, and say, “I don’t agree with that. Because I’m a woman I’m supposed to naturally want to clean the bathroom? No way.”
She didn’t come to see things my way during that particular encounter. She believes in clearly defined gender roles. So even though I expressed my views and stood up for myself, I still went upstairs that day and scrubbed the bathroom, just as I did this past weekend. Sigh.
Friday, August 27, 2010
This really struck a cord with me since I feel this happens all too often, reinforcing the idea that people judge others based on appearances. It is always refreshing to read articles like this: one that addresses an issue most people shy away from in fear of offending someone or simply not knowing enough speak up. People should really remember how adaptable and resilient humans can be, and at least try to stop those ever-flowing preconceived notions.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
The novels and the films are jam-packed with feminism and female empowerment embodied by the feisty heroine, Lisbeth. Its overt feminism was the big shocker. In our culture where anything even mildly feminist is mocked, I was thrilled to find a place in pop culture where feminism was so well received.
One reccurring theme throughout the series is that Lisbeth takes care of herself. And others. She’s no damsel in distress, and she certainly doesn’t call on the help of men when faced with tough situations. She’s a taking-care-of-business kind of woman. And that’s something I can get behind.
So, if you’re looking for your next feminist fix, this is it.
*Warning: The film is violent and does contain a graphic rape scene.
Monday, August 16, 2010
I cannot believe that so many media outlets demonized Gisele and, subsequently, bashed breastfeeding. When you look at Gisele’s entire comment, it is clear that it is more of an idealist vision rather than something she is going to promote on her next run for president:
"Some people here [in the U.S.] think they don't have to breastfeed, and I think 'Are you going to give chemical food to your child when they are so little?’… I think there should be a worldwide law, in my opinion, that mothers should breastfeed their babies for six months."
Gisele is merely making a point that breastfeeding is often pushed aside and formulas, which do have chemicals that may or may not be good for babies, are used instead. She even had to make a statement to clarify her comment. Breastfeeding (in the majority of cases) has been proven to be better for newborns than formula. And let’s not forget, breast milk is the result of thousands of years of evolution and completely natural, compared to formula which is a relatively new invention and, again as Gisele noted, made up of chemicals.
I think that breastfeeding should be talked about more, but I think that these media outlets did a disservice to many mothers. I also feel that this was total crap that so many portrayed Gisele as an irrational dumb model when she was merely trying to make a point and advocating something quite smart.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
A student at Upper St. Claire School in Pennsylvania reported to her teacher that she, along with another student, was raped by one of her classmates on school property after school. Her teacher immediately informed the school officials of the rape, and offered to walk the girls to the bus after school to ensure their safety. The Principal, Dr. Michael Ghilani, denied this request, and instead decided to use the rape survivors as bait to catch students whom he believed were having sex on school grounds.
The girls were prevented from going home after school so that school officers could follow them and try to catch students in sexual acts. Instead, the girls were violently raped again, by the same offender as before.
Legal proceedings are in progress, however the school is still denying that the girls were ever raped. They claim that the girls liked the boy in question and had had consensual relationships with him. They further claim that the girls were jealous of his involvement with other girls.
Now, there is also a concern that the school district may be lying on their annual Safe Schools report, as no rapes were reported for the year that these girls were raped.
This is outrageous. Schools are supposed to be a safe place for students to go to. For some students, this may be the only safe place that they have. However, with bullying, harassment, and sexual assaults occurring at school, it is no wonder that many students do not feel safe. Both the boy and the school district in question need to be punished to the fullest extent possible in order to send a message to others that this type of behavior will not be tolerated at schools - or anywhere else for that matter.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
Of course, many people (myself included) have taken a whack at trying to analyze this video and the meaning of the lyrics, but these are all only speculative. To me, it doesn’t really matter what side people take on the video’s intention, as long as they are engaging in conversation about the issue and impact of domestic abuse. Somewhere, someone in an abusive relationship might be touched by the song or outraged by it. Either way, it has sparked discussion about domestic abuse, a conversation that is normally left in the dark. The most important thing to do now is to take something positive from this whole thing, despite what the artist’s intentions were. Megan Fox donated her entire paycheck from the video to a center for battered women and children. So, clearly some good is coming from this song.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
The reason I bring this up is because I recently read an article on Change.org, where a woman took her husband to court on chargers of “domestic abuse that took the form of pinching all over her body, including her breasts and genitals, hard enough to leave bruises; repeated slapping, leaving her face bloody; deprivation of food; and repeated rape” (DiBranco, 2010). However, the judge ruled that no sexual assault occurred, he stated:
“This court does not feel that, under the circumstances, that this defendant had a criminal desire to or intent to sexually assault or to sexually contact the plaintiff when he did. The court believes that he was operating under his belief that it is, as the husband, his desire to have sex when and whether he wanted to, was something that was consistent with his practices and it was something that was not prohibited.”
Now, if you hadn’t taken a look at the article, you might assume that this court case was happening in an Islamic nation where Sharia law is the norm, but this was in the U.S. In the U.S. civil law is the rule, no matter what your religious beliefs are you do not get a blank check to go around and break the law and be exempted because your religion Okayed it. Fortunately, this judge’s decision was later overruled in an appeals court, but it still shows that women all around the world need to fight for the right to their own bodies. Now, I don’t want this article to come off as a bashing of Islam, after all as noted in the article, Christians have tried to get away with a similar argument as well. The ever-so-wise Phyllis Schlafly stated, "[b]y getting married, the woman has consented to sex" (DiBranco, 2010).
So, for all of you who think that Islam is to blame,or that it cannot be used as a tool of liberation,I recommend you to check out the Sisters of Islam. They are doing some great work in Malaysia, urging religious scholars to reinterpret the male-centeredness of Islam and see that Islam is actually intended to give women rights rather than take them away. Personally, I think this is a really cool take on Islam, and they have a really great argument. Maybe, if the grassroots effort by the Sister of Islam is successful the new pro-woman Islamic paradigm can be exported to the world.