Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Quoted: MeMe Roth

File this under "NO"

From the Guardian an interview with an "anti-fat advocate" who is not interested in questioning and challenging the myriad of ways in which capitalism, trauma, poverty, mis-education, media, 9-5 desk jobs, etc interact to influence obesity. She wants to shame Jennifer Love Hewitt into doing more lunges.

"The defence [sic] has been made in the case of sex criminals that there is pleasure on the part of the victim. The same is true with what we're doing with food. We may abuse our bodies with food, but it's incredibly pleasurable. From a food marketer's point of view, when your quote unquote victim is so willing and enjoying of the process, who's fighting back?"

1. "self" abuse is not the same as someone forcibly invading your personal and bodily space.
2. blaming the victim doesn't help in speaking of food industries and it certainly doesn't help victims of sexual assault
3. comparing the two in such terms minimizes both issues
4. comparing the two in such terms completely bans any nuanced conversation about issues that critically affect real people's real lives
5. shaming and scare tactics are not helpful. ever.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Beyond GHB

Man charged for cow abortion drug in girl's drink
The Associated Press

A Pennsylvania man is in jail on charges he tried to kill the fetus of a 17-year-old girl by helping two teenage boys put an abortion-inducing cow hormone into her drink.

Forty-six-year-old Jonathan Imler, of Williamsburg, was charged and jailed in Blair County on Tuesday.

Police say the girl's 16-year-old boyfriend, who is the father of the child, another 17-year-old boy and Imler stole the hormone ProstaMate from a farm. The 17-year-old allegedly put a drop of it in the girl's Gatorade in March 2008.

The girl's mother has said a friend told her daughter about the drink's contents later that day.

Police say they plan to charge the boys.

The girl has since given birth. Her mother says the hormone apparently didn't harm the baby.

Information from: Altoona Mirror

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I Blame the Rapists

Blame Rapists for Rape, Not Women
Jaclyn Friedman

Last Tuesday, in the debut of Double X, Linda Hirshman said that the bloggers at Jezebel need to accept that they may be raped if they’re going to insist on being such public sluts (I'm paraphrasing here, but not as much as I wish I were). Latoya Peterson responded by rightly pointing out that screeds like Hirshman's give feminism a bad name. The internets erupted. And now, just what we needed, the Observer has swooped in to Explain It All To Us, clucking their editorial tongue about the whole "infighting" mess.

Missing from this entire kerfuffle is one crucial point. Women aren't raped because they're being sexual in public or private, and they're not raped because they're drunk. Women are raped because they're women.

Statistics vary, but we know that the vast majority of rapists aren't the men we randomly meet in bars one night—they're the ones we already know. The idea that women are more likely to be raped while they're being "bad" is a nasty myth created to keep women in our places. Rape has never been an act of sexual incontinence committed because we’re just too darn available and tempting, and being “smart” or “good” isn’t going to keep us safe.

Sure, men rape women in drunken party atmospheres. They also rape women on quiet nights in, but we get no warnings about the dangers of playing Trivial Pursuit in mixed company. Yes, rape risk increases when alcohol is involved, but if someone is drunk during a rape, it's more likely to have been the attacker than the victim. And yet where is the public service message warning men against the dangers of drinking and raping?

I'm not a big Jezebel defender on this subject, precisely because of the type of posts that Hirshman and the Observer point out. They excuse rapists' behavior and perpetuate the myth that if a woman was drinking or being sexual, she is in some way responsible for another person assaulting her. But Hirshman's complaints about Jezebel fall into the exact same—very dangerous—trap. If it's possible for women who are raped to deserve it as a "consequence of their own acts," as Hirshman says, then you can hardly blame the rapist for that act, now, can you?

This controversy isn't about "choice feminism"—dressing in skimpy clothing, drinking, and having casual sex aren't inherently feminist choices any more than wearing billowy skirts and Birkenstocks, drinking herbal tea, and being celibate are. But our approach to rape prevention is a feminist choice. We need to face the fact that focusing on the consequences of women’s actions instead of on the actions of rapists has done precious little to reduce the incidence of rape.

You know what else is a feminist choice? Refusing to do the work of the patriarchy. So if refusing to police my own sexuality and blaming rapists for rape in all circumstances makes me a slut, then I wear the name proudly.

Monday, May 18, 2009

To the dogs

Clarification: having hidden cameras targeting women and taking pictures of their cleavage is not clever, it's sexual harassment. Also I find the idea of using pets/babies/etc to "lure" women equally creepy.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Just Say No

Youth [abstinence] counselor accused of sex assault

Trumbull (AP) - Connecticut police have arrested a youth adviser accused of sexually assaulting a Trumbull girl being counseled to abstain from sex.

Vernitt Hoheb, 31, of Stratford surrendered Monday. He had been a youth counselor at Mount Aery Baptist Church in Bridgeport until the allegations were made against him.

Trumbull police say Hoheb supervised a youth group at the church. The 16-year-old girl claims Hoheb sexually assaulted her in his car in the parking lot of a Trumbull gym where he had stopped while driving her home in March.

Hoheb allegedly said he had been counseling teenage girls, including the victim, on how to say "no" to sexual advances from adults.

In light of recent conversation - mostly stemming from Jessica Valenti's The Purity Myth release - this seems an especially highlighting example of how ideas of purity/virginity/abstinence still focus on girls as solely sexual objects, not as empowered, agent human beings.

Thomas has a brief analysis, I most appreciate his closing "As long as women have no voice in how their bodies are sexual, he’s happy."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Rape Prevention/Victim Blaming

"When you tell me that I shouldn't drink too much alcohol because that increases my risk of being sexually assaulted, I hear that I was responsible for being raped because I was drunk.

When you tell me to take self-defense classes, or to yell and fight back if I am being attacked, I hear that my natural defense reaction to freeze was wrong.

When you tell me to walk confidently, I hear that my body posture made my offender want to sexually assault me.

When you offer me "tips" for my own safety, I hear that it was my behaviour in question, and not my offender's."

- Monika Penner