AlterNet.org: Soraya Chemaly http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/authors/soraya-chemaly en The White Male Effect Is Real and Dangerous to Us All http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/election-2016/white-male-effect-real-and-dangerous-us-all <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1070416'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1070416" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">A lack of inclusivity in leadership across sectors is putting our democracy at risk.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_389347753.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p id="3a63" name="3a63"><em>Want more on contemporary culture and gender roles? Visit <a href="http://rolereboot.org">Role Reboot</a>.</em></p><p name="3a63" id="3a63">In the face of crushing evidence to the contrary, president-elect Donald Trump announced over the weekend that “nobody really knows” if climate change is real. His failure to accurately assess the risk that climate change poses places him in specific company: In 2011, Aaron McCright and Riley Dunlap released a<a data-="" href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S095937801100104X" target="_blank">study</a> of people’s attitudes toward climate change and its risks that concluded 48.4% of a <a data-="" href="http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2011/10/05/05climatewire-why-conservative-white-males-are-more-likely-11613.html?pagewanted=all" target="_blank">well-defined group of conservative white men</a>, whom researches described as “confident” in their beliefs think global warming won’t happen, compared to 8.6% of all other adults. Fully 29.6% of white men denied that global warming effects will ever happen. This isn’t healthy skepticism, it’s dangerous ideology rooted in social anxiety.</p><p id="d289" name="d289">But climate change is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to white male denial. Indeed, the phenomenon has a name, <a data-="" href="http://www.stat.columbia.edu/~gelman/stuff_for_blog/SSRN-id723762.pdf" target="_blank">the white male effect</a>, which explains this demographic cohort’s perceptions of everything from<a data-="" href="https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/aer.20130683" target="_blank"> financial markets</a> to gun control. Sociologists <a data-="" href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/713670162?src=recsys" target="_blank">attribute</a> the effect to a very<a data-="" href="https://books.google.com/books?id=HsgsIFdevIcC&amp;pg=PA170&amp;lpg=PA170&amp;dq=guns+Buckner,+1994+male+virtues&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=31Ivj6QPeb&amp;sig=hMD-3iDfriw4LmYf28-vQjfLifw&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwjA8MrjrdbQAhXI4SYKHWmzACEQ6AEIGjAA#v=onepage&amp;q=guns%20Buckner%2C%20" target="_blank"> specific subset of</a> conservative, “risk-skeptical” white men who hold hierarchical and individualistic world views.</p><p id="9093" name="9093">In 2005, Yale Law School professor Dan Kahan, who <a data-="" href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=995634" target="_blank">introduced</a> the perspective of “cultural cognition” to the theory,<a data-="" href="https://balkin.blogspot.com/2005/08/what-fearless-white-men-are-afraid-of.html" target="_blank"> explained</a>, “the reason white males are less fearful of various risks is that they are more afraid of something else: namely, the loss of status they experience when activities symbolic of their cultural worldviews are stigmatized as socially undesirable.” <a data-="" href="http://www.psych.ucsb.edu/~d_sherma/advances.final.pdf" target="_blank">Identity protective cognition</a>, or thinking that attempts to maintain and uphold the status quo, is part and parcel of this same phenomenon.</p><p id="fef2" name="fef2">In the United States today, the white male effect pervades practically every level of government. “<a data-="" href="http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/13/politics/donald-trump-cabinet-diversity/index.html" target="_blank">White males dominate Trump’s top cabinet posts</a>,” 12 out of 15 members, is the actual headline from a CNN article published yesterday. White men, overwhelmingly <a data-="" href="https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/race/news/2016/02/05/130647/what-about-white-voters/" target="_blank">conservative</a> men, are only 31% of the population, but<a data-="" href="https://thinkprogress.org/the-excessive-political-power-of-white-men-in-the-united-states-in-one-chart-bbc11d4f52b7#.p9qgyn4rj" target="_blank"> hold</a> 65% of elected offices. They make up between 73 and 100% of police departments Fortune 500 companies, <a data-="" href="http://www.browndailyherald.com/2012/04/19/gender-gap-persists-among-tenured-faculty/" target="_blank">tenured professorships</a>, and <a data-="" href="https://bitchmedia.org/article/major-hollywood-film-studios-100-top-executives-are-men" target="_blank">Hollywood management</a>. In Silicon Valley,<a data-="" href="http://www.theverge.com/2015/8/20/9179853/tech-diversity-scorecard-apple-google-microsoft-facebook-intel-twitter-amazon" target="_blank"> numbers</a>reflect the same institutionalized imbalances, despite the best intentions of any individual men who benefit from this fraternity. Such is the cultural force of these imbalances that even using the words “White” and “Men” descriptively in the same sentence is considered by many to be <a data-="" href="http://sjwiki.org/images/8/88/Racism_pyramid.png" target="_blank">sexist and racist</a>.</p><p id="fe43" name="fe43">Donald Trump’s cabinet picks, too, share a remarkably consistent level of denial. For example, the man selected to run the Environmental Protection Agency, Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt, is not only a climate change denier, but, according to 2014 news reports, forged an “unprecedented, secretive alliance” with the country’s top energy producers to develop more, not less, fossil fuels. Rick Perry, whose policies have for years been <a data-="" href="https://www.texasobserver.org/get-ready-america-rick-perrys-environmental-energy-record-awful/" target="_blank">damaging to the environment</a>, is future head of the Department of Energy.</p><p id="1c25" name="1c25">So how does the white male effect influence public policy already? <a data-="" href="https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/does-white-male-effect-explain-cyber-woes-stephen-cobb" target="_blank">According</a> to digital security expert Stephen Cobb, due to a preponderance of white men in tech, companies have repeatedly failed to properly assess cyber<a data-="" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZktSOH_pVU" target="_blank"> risks</a>, the import of which is routinely downplayed. Similarly, the fight over gun control has historically been tied to the protection of white male citizenship in the U.S. Firearms represent <a data-="" href="https://books.google.com/books?id=HsgsIFdevIcC&amp;pg=PA170&amp;lpg=PA170&amp;dq=guns+Buckner,+1994+male+virtues&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=31Ivj6QPeb&amp;sig=hMD-3iDfriw4LmYf28-vQjfLifw&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwjA8MrjrdbQAhXI4SYKHWmzACEQ6AEIGjAA#v=onepage&amp;q=guns%20Buckner%2C%20" target="_blank">virtues</a> like strength, patriotism, and being the family breadwinner, all things that have been denied minority men and women — the people most at risk of gun violence. Trying to use data to pass gun reforms does not work because there is no separating gun control from the implicit understanding that guns are necessary to maintain the social power of the white American male.</p><p id="c808" name="c808">The consequences of the white male effect on women’s health and rights is similarly acute when looking at public attitudes toward sexual violence and reproductive rights. Most men, but particularly <a data-="" href="http://www.d.umn.edu/cla/faculty/jhamlin/3925/Readings/MythsReligiosity.html" target="_blank">religious</a> and <a data-="" href="http://digitalcommons.sacredheart.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1001&amp;context=sociol_stu" target="_blank">conservative</a>men and women, have significantly <a data-="" href="http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11199-006-9101-4" target="_blank">higher</a><a data-="" href="http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1025671021697" target="_blank"> rape myth acceptance</a> and <a data-="" href="http://fcx.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/04/29/1557085113484788.abstract" target="_blank">victim-blaming beliefs</a> than do most women.</p><p id="45e6" name="45e6">In terms of institutions, this results in <a data-="" href="http://www.chitaskforce.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Chicago-Taskforce-Media-Toolkit.pdf" target="_blank">newsrooms</a> and <a data-="" href="http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/bs-md-ci-doj-report-sexual-assaul-20160810-story.html" target="_blank">police department</a>that enable rape-supportive and perpetrator-sympathetic language, framing, and investigative methodologies. In the United States, abortion rights have been defined by conservative resistance to the idea that the right to <a data-="" href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/657328?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents" target="_blank">abortion</a>is a fundamental human right for women. The <a data-="" href="http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2015/04/24/in-parts-of-the-us-maternal-death-rates-are-on-par-with-sub-saharan-africa/" target="_blank">dangers of denying abortion and related reproductive health care to women</a>, particularly women of color, are pervasively <a data-="" href="http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1100&amp;context=fss_papers" target="_blank">downplayed</a> and ignored by legislators who show a stunning degree of ignorance regarding science, anatomy, or women’s needs.</p><p id="2251" name="2251">But more surprising has been the way media outlets allowed skewed risk perception to influence their editorial decisions and reporting during the presidential election.</p><p id="a5b8" name="a5b8">One of the greatest unacknowledged risks this election cycle was the danger posed by misogyny and implicit bias. The gap between men’s and women’s perceptions of sexism, which after all is a <em>serious risk to women</em> — economically, politically, and socially — is large on both the left and the right. Today, <a data-="" href="http://fortune.com/2016/08/22/men-sexism-survey/" target="_blank">56% of American men</a> say that sexism is a thing of the past, compared to 63% of women. The gap between older conservative men and younger liberal women is even larger, with 75% of men saying sexism is gone and 75% of women saying it’s a significant factor in their lives.</p><p id="3541" name="3541">It’s not as though media, in which men remain the overwhelming majorities of people who assign, edit, write, and talk about the hard news stories, is made up of the 44% of men who believe there’s a problem for women. White men make up the great majority of <a data-="" href="http://wmc.3cdn.net/83bf6082a319460eb1_hsrm680x2.pdf" target="_blank">hard news</a> editors, reporters, political analysts, and television and podcast talking heads — between 65 and 90%, depending on the format. That’s not a “slur,” or an attack, just a description of fact. If you don’t think a problem exists (sexism), is “really” serious, how can you properly assess and address the risk it represents?</p><p id="b35a" name="b35a">Gender bias and sexism were manifested at every level of media. They played a role in why women had to <a data-="" href="https://www.good.is/articles/the-secret-facebook-groups-where-women-commune-and-heal" target="_blank">turn</a> to secret groups to avoid harassment, and from visibly grotesque Trump<a data-="" href="http://nymag.com/thecut/2016/10/the-most-misogynistic-things-people-wore-to-trump-rallies.html" target="_blank"> paraphernalia</a> to violent<a data-="" href="https://t.co/QFXyrfn4Vj" target="_blank">attacks on Clinton supporters</a> and major imbalances in coverage of Clinton and Trump, including ignoring Russia’s participation in bringing down a woman candidate. If Russia’s destructive meddling tells us anything, it is that making the United States its “bitch” was easier in an environment in which bias, misogyny, and sexism could be counted on to distract and appease people.</p><p id="91c6" name="91c6">The media, often <a data-="" href="https://newrepublic.com/minutes/136884/television-networks-continue-fall-trumps-shenanigans-hook-line-sinker" target="_blank">referring</a> to Trump’s “<a data-="" href="http://www.heraldstandard.com/columns/national/no-end-to-trump-s-shenanigans/article_66e590b8-cdb7-5572-8aa0-3321ff6fc9d0.html" target="_blank">shenanigans</a>,” <a data-="" href="http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2016-09-06/medias-sexist-coverage-of-hillary-clinton" target="_blank">chose</a> to focus on Clinton’s <a data-="" href="http://www.inquisitr.com/3543919/why-does-hillary-clinton-always-wear-pants-here-are-photos-of-hillary-in-skirts-and-dresses/" target="_blank">appearance</a>,<a data-="" href="https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&amp;ion=1&amp;espv=2&amp;ie=UTF-8#q=Hillary+clinton%27s+voice" target="_blank"> voice</a>, husband, <a data-="" href="http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/oct/16/hillary-clintons-health-problems/" target="_blank">health</a>,<a data-="" href="http://mediamatters.org/research/2016/11/04/study-top-newspapers-give-clinton-email-story-more-coverage-all-other-trump-stories/214309" target="_blank"> emails</a>, and debunked <a data-="" href="http://observer.com/2016/11/trump-defeated-hillary-and-the-seemingly-dominant-media-sdm/" target="_blank">criminality</a>. During weeks in which fake reports, the DNC hacking, Russian troll farms, and Trump’s predatory sexual behavior were all in the news, five of the nation’s biggest media outlets<a data-="" href="http://mediamatters.org/research/2016/11/04/study-top-newspapers-give-clinton-email-story-more-coverage-all-other-trump-stories/214309" target="_blank"> ran twice as many articles</a> referencing Clinton’s emails as they did articles about Trump. According to researcher Zeynep Tufecki, between the <em>New York Times, Washington Post,</em>and<em> Politico</em>, stories about Clinton’s emails <a data-="" href="https://twitter.com/zeynep/media" target="_blank">outnumbered stories</a> about Trump’s conflicts of interest five to one. Among the top 53 media outlets in the United States, images of Trump, for better or worse, were used <a data-="" href="http://polygraph.cool/elections/" target="_blank">twice as often</a> as images of Clinton.</p><p id="cc28" name="cc28">During the last two weeks of the election, thanks to a cascade of issues, negative media coverage of Clinton spiked — seven negative stories for every two positive ones — as coverage of Trump improved. <a data-="" href="http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2016/09/clinton_trump_and_the_issue_of_false_balance.html" target="_blank">False equivalencies</a>between Clinton and Trump, portrayed as equally corrupt, dangerous, or unprepared for the presidency also abounded. Trump’s near constant lying, documented by fact-checkers, existed in sharp relief to Clinton’s consistent truthfulness — whereas <a data-="" href="http://www.politifact.com/personalities/hillary-clinton/" target="_blank">27% </a>of her claims were mostly false or worse, <a data-="" href="http://www.politifact.com/personalities/donald-trump/" target="_blank">70%</a> of his were. Media, however, <a data-="" href="http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/09/26/the-falsity-of-false-equivalence/?_r=0" target="_blank">treated</a> Clinton’s occasional misrepresentations or gaffes as the same as Trump’s lying or worse (fixating on her emails, for example, and not his business conflicts). The risk that Trump posed — to the truth, stability, democracy, and the electoral system — was overlooked repeatedly in the construction of media headlines, stories, and photos that created a misperception of equal harm.</p><p id="8cb7" name="8cb7">Mainly, however, media denied the very real risk that their own lack of diversity, implicit biases, and systems justifications were valid propellants of Trump’s victory. Not only was the risk Trump poses downplayed, but it was enabled, a process that was decades in the making, including the treatment of Trump’s grossly sexist behavior, which was viewed as harmless entertainment. Today, professional talkers everywhere are scratching their heads trying to rationalize the fact that Wikileaks, the FBI, and Russia, in addition to the conservative media machine long invested in denigrating Clinton, simultaneously targeted Clinton’s campaign. And yet, overlapping misogyny and fraternal power still make “reasonable” editors scoff.</p><p id="4af1" name="4af1">A lack of inclusivity in leadership across sectors is clearly putting our democracy at risk today. The homogeneity that persists in leadership eliminates any reasonable checks or balances, such as vitally important nuanced and expansive perceptions of what constitutes public risk. Donald Trump did not defeat Hillary Clinton in some sort of glorified arm wrestling match. Nor did he win because Democrats’ “identity politics” failed. Trump won because the identity politics that his platform cultivated with malice leveraged mainstream white male institutional power, including media, on both the left and the right, <a data-="" href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/13/us/politics/russia-hack-election-dnc.html?_r=0" target="_blank">nationally and internationally</a>.</p><p name="4af1" id="4af1"><em>This originally appeared on </em><a data-="" href="http://www.rolereboot.org/culture-and-politics/details/2016-12-white-male-effect-real-dangerous-us/" target="_blank"><em>Role Reboot</em></a><em> and is republished here with permission.</em></p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2017 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1070416'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1070416" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 12 Jan 2017 08:11:00 -0800 Soraya Chemaly, Role Reboot 1070416 at http://enforcementwww.alternet.org Election 2016 Culture Election 2016 democracy white men racism hat donald trump Fake News and Online Harassment Are More Than Social Media Byproducts—They're Powerful Profit Drivers http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/media/fake-news-and-online-harassment-are-more-social-media-byproducts-theyre-powerful-profit <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1069007'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1069007" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Banning fake-news sites doesn&#039;t address the real problem: Social-media companies make big money off lies and hate.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/fake_news_computer_upset.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>Fake news is being tied to everything from the influence of Russian troll farms on the presidential election to an <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/12/05/armed-gunman-investigates-d-c-pizzeria-comet-ping-pong-because-of-bogus-hoax-perpetrated-by-donald-trump-fans/" target="_blank">armed man’s invasion</a> of a Washington, D.C., restaurant as the ludicrous but terrifying culmination of an incident known as <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/12/10/pizzagate-explained-everything-you-want-to-know-about-the-comet-ping-pong-pizzeria-conspiracy-theory-but-are-too-afraid-to-search-for-on-reddit/" target="_blank">Pizzagate</a>. Fake news isn’t just dangerous because it distorts public understanding but, as in the case of Pizzagate, or Gamergate before that, because it is frequently implicated in targeted online harassment and threats.</p><p>Most media commentary about this issue centers on three primary areas: the nature of the “truth,” the responsibilities of social media companies to the public good, and the question of why people believe outrageous and unverified claims. Very little has been said, however, about a critical factor in the spread of fake news and harassment: They are powerful drivers of profit.</p><p>Lies, conspiracies, threats and harassment generate a great deal of money for everyone from teenagers in Macedonia to executives in Silicon Valley. Recognition of this fact led in November to Google and Facebook, and later Reddit, announcing that they would ban sites identified as “fake news” outlets from using their ad networks, thereby cutting off a profit motive. While this step might cut off funds to a relatively small handful of ever-changing platforms, it does not address the vast bulk of the fake-news economy.</p><p>Fake stories and harassment have a point of origin, but the real problem lies elsewhere — in the network effects of user-generated content, and the engagement it drives. <em>Engagement,</em> not content, – good or bad, true or false — is what generates Internet revenues and profit. So in that sense it makes no difference whether the content is “good” or “bad,” true or false. Our posting, sharing, commenting, liking and tweeting  produces behavioral and demographic data that is then packaged and sold, repackaged and resold. In this economy, one that cuts across platforms, hateful or false representations are as easily converted into analytical, behavioral and ad-sales products as truthful or compassionate ones. Indeed, they are probably more lucrative.</p><p>Pizzagate is the perfect example. The delusional fantasy that Hillary Clinton and her campaign manager, John Podesta, were involved in a child sex-trafficking network run by global elites out of a neighborhood restaurant may have had its origins in political smears and propaganda, and was initially shared by “fake news” platforms. But most people’s exposure to this “news” came from user-generated content, tied in turn to revenue generation.</p><p>If you search for “Pizzagate” on YouTube right now, you will find more than 180,000 videos. People are uploading new videos by the hour, and hundreds of thousands of people are viewing them. They’re also viewing and clicking on the ads that almost always appear in and alongside them.</p><p>A banner ad for Toyota, for example, appeared in a video called “PizzaGate is 100% Real, Why is Media Lying?” when I watched it. That video has more than 87,000 views. The channel hosting it had 118,175 subscribers, as of my visit, and had <a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/davidseamanonline/videos?view=0&amp;sort=dd&amp;shelf_id=2" target="_blank">produced</a> more than two dozen Pizzagate-related videos in the previous two weeks.</p><p>An ad for Grammarly, the spellchecking and grammar app and extension, was front and center on another one, “YouTube is Deleting My #PizzaGate Videos Without My Permission.” One of the most popular in this collection, with more than 273,000 views, starts with an ad for “Assassin’s Creed,” 20th Century Fox’s upcoming action-adventure film based on a hugely popular video game series.</p><p>All a person anywhere in the world has to do to start making money on YouTube is click a button agreeing that Google can sell advertising attached to their videos. Advertisers pay the network after viewers see at least a portion of an ad, which is why ads often appear before the content. Google retains 45 percent of all ad revenue generated by user videos, regardless of what those videos are about.</p><p>At roughly $1.50 in revenue per 1,000 views, making a lot of money takes a lot of work and millions of views. While it’s hard to rack up serious money, some people do. YouTube analytics site Statsheep <a href="http://www.statsheep.com/pewdiepie" target="_blank">estimates</a> that with more than 49 million subscribers and 13 billion views, the top-rated YouTube Channel, PewDiePie, has potential earnings of $34 million. For the average YouTuber, making huge sums of money is extremely unlikely. But that doesn’t matter to YouTube, which has, in the aggregate, more than 4 billion total views a day.  The company does not release details of its earnings, but <a href="http://moneynation.com/youtube-worth/" target="_blank">analysts</a> estimated that in 2016 YouTube revenues represented approximately 15 percent of Google’s earnings, or $77 billion.</p><p>YouTube is a relatively simple example because you can see ads directly on videos. But the best way to grow an audience is to share links or memes as profusely as possible across multiple platforms. On Twitter, for example, fake news and sustained episodes of online harassment can create hundreds of millions of tweets that become part of what is called the “firehose,” a stream of public data comprising up to 500 million tweets each day.</p><p>The #Pizzagate hashtag, for example, has <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/pizzagate-from-rumor-to-hashtag-to-gunfire-in-dc/2016/12/06/4c7def50-bbd4-11e6-94ac-3d324840106c_story.html" target="_blank">generated</a> hundreds of thousands of tweets and retweets. This engagement data is what Twitter, which earns 85 percent or more of its revenues from advertising, has to sell whether via targeted promoted tweets, sponsored moments or data licensing. In theory, episodes like Gamergate or Pizzagate or the <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/08/24/they-want-to-destroy-leslie-jones-harassment-targeting-ghostbusters-star-exposes-the-ugliness-driving-the-new-right/" target="_blank">harassment of actress Leslie Jones</a> can even be recast in socially palatable ways. “See How Twitter Shut Down Racist Harassment” can be turned into a Moment, for example, and advertisers can embed sponsored tweets in the flow.</p><p>Last December, Twitter was charging $1 million for an advertising bundle that included the sale of a Moment of an advertiser’s choice. While the top Twitter moments of 2015, which included #JeSuisParis, #BlackLivesMatter, #MarriageEquality and #RefugeesWelcome, might not themselves have contained ugly abuse, discussions of all those topics, across all platforms, unquestionably did.</p><p>On Facebook, fake news, and especially fake news posts in support of Donald Trump, came to <a data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&amp;q=http://www.npr.org/2016/12/14/505547295/fake-news-expert-on-how-false-stories-spread-and-why-people-believe-them&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1481991074130000&amp;usg=AFQjCNGGQlNDWCpAFUaBK6ieG95hocIK0g" href="http://www.npr.org/2016/12/14/505547295/fake-news-expert-on-how-false-stories-spread-and-why-people-believe-them" target="_blank">dominate information</a> about the election. It also contributed to an overall environment of hostility that degraded public discourse. Analysts have concluded that hyper-partisan, conservative misinformation “performed better” on Facebook, the <a data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&amp;q=http://www.npr.org/2016/12/14/505547295/fake-news-expert-on-how-false-stories-spread-and-why-people-believe-them&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1481991074130000&amp;usg=AFQjCNGGQlNDWCpAFUaBK6ieG95hocIK0g" href="http://www.npr.org/2016/12/14/505547295/fake-news-expert-on-how-false-stories-spread-and-why-people-believe-them" target="_blank">faker the better</a> in terms of its viral potential.</p><p>Such content didn’t just target Hillary Clinton as a candidate and a woman, but engaged an audience that expressed itself in aggressive and threatening interactions with women more broadly. Clinton supporters on Facebook responded by forming hundreds of secret and closed groups, so they could share their political beliefs without being attacked online. Strong bonds between Facebook users are a key asset to the company, because they create “stickiness,” meaning closer ties, longer time spent and more personal investment. Viral fake news and harassment become compelling gravity wells for user engagement because they confirm people’s beliefs and enable them to take action by sharing or finding more of the same. This emotional resonance feeds algorithmic processes that compound the spread of negative content, because such algorithms are designed to deliver content similar to what users are already consuming.</p><p>All of which means money. Facebook turned that stickiness, last year, into <a data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&amp;q=http://money.cnn.com/2016/01/27/technology/facebook-earnings/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1481991074130000&amp;usg=AFQjCNH85dSFyjsMFheqXI40ErwmFOnkqw" href="http://money.cnn.com/2016/01/27/technology/facebook-earnings/" target="_blank">$1.6 billion in profits</a>. While the company wants to keep its users safe, it also wants to do so at the lowest possible cost. Why worry too much about harassment, or the negative effects that fake news and harassment have on civic and political participation, if people can engage in secret? Their behavior is captured either way and everyone finds a place to express themselves. It would cost social-media companies far more money and time to ensure that public discourse is civil and promotes democracy.</p><p>Troll farms, “revenge porn” and sextortion sites and fraudulent follower services all similarly trade in false news, lies and harassment — whether about people or policy — to monetize misinformation and abuse. Downstream, “legitimate” media outlets, fueled by the same advertising networks, inevitably become part of this sprawling advertising and data sales machine.</p><p>The effect is diffuse but visible: Media professor and data analyst Jonathan Albright recently <a href="https://medium.com/@d1gi[email protected]6" target="_blank">mapped</a> the trajectory of fake news to illustrate what he calls the “ecosystem of real-time propaganda.” In addition to showing the role of mainstream media outlets in spreading lies and misinformation, Albright’s analysis revealed the role that cookies played in propagation of content. For example, Albright visited 117 sites but ended up being indirectly linked to more than 450 others via cookies, the tracking mechanisms that enable wider monetization of harmful content. Cookies are also used by advertisers to keep track of user behaviors and preferences and capture marketing data.</p><p>An additional economic factor in the profitability of fake news and harassment is the exploding use of bots, or non-human actors, that generate Internet traffic at virtually no cost and at scale. During the election, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/14/arts/on-twitter-a-battle-among-political-bots.html?_r=0" target="_blank">politicized bots</a> were a major node in the spread of fake news. Bots, meaning non-human user accounts, were employed in Twitter by both Trump and Clinton supporters. Oxford University’s Project on Computational Propaganda <a href="http://www.recode.net/2016/11/1/13488020/trump-bots-clinton-twitter-third-debate-twitterbots-election" target="_blank">estimates</a>, however, that during the third presidential debate, bots sharing pro-Trump content outnumbered pro-Clinton bots by a factor of seven.</p><p>Between the first and second debates, one third of pro-Trump tweets were shared by bots, many spreading fake news and misinformation. It is estimated that more than <a href="http://qz.com/248063/twitter-admits-that-as-many-as-23-million-of-its-active-users-are-actually-bots/" target="_blank">23 million</a> Twitter accounts are bots feeding the firehose. The fraudulent use of bots is well understood in the advertising industry; a <a href="http://www.ana.net/content/show/id/botfraud-2016" target="_blank">2015 study</a> by the Association of National Advertisers concluded that advertisers would lose more than $7.2 billion globally due to botnet fraud, simply a flavor of “fake news.”</p><p>This hyper-networked, content-neutral schema is perfectly optimized not just for profit from online harassment or fake news, but also for the efficient spread of state-sponsored propaganda. Leveraging a distribution system in which every one of us is, in effect, a free digital laborer, sinister actors (such as the Russian government, perhaps) have adapted tried-and-true tactics to feed what <a href="http://www.rand.org/pubs/perspectives/PE198.html" target="_blank">security analysts</a> call the “firehose of falsehood.” Hiring trolls to seed key nodes in the system with lies or doctored pictures can now be done with a fraction of the care and effort that was historically necessary. Propagandists don’t need to be consistent, or to incorporate credible images or sources; lies are given strength by the sheer profusion of “sources” that become enmeshed in their free and swift distribution.</p><p>While anyone can take advantage of this business model, the fact is that fake news and harassment thrive at the nexus of America’s free-market and free-speech ideologies. The United States is home to virtually every major social media platform and innovative Internet technology in the world. We have erected virtually no financial, ethical or legal incentives for either individuals or social media companies to address fake news or harassment. Instead we prioritize profit, at great cost to people and society.</p><p>Social media companies, acting globally, constantly respond to laws and regulations of countries around the world. But they are grounded in American law and regulatory frameworks. The result is a sprawling social and technical system of immense power that not only doesn’t care about truth, democracy or human dignity, but is likely to undermine them.</p><p>Just this week, Facebook <a data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&amp;q=https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2016/12/news-feed-fyi-addressing-hoaxes-and-fake-news/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1482081676340000&amp;usg=AFQjCNEv9NUZzY-WNSb9WemRejnyYkGAdg" href="https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2016/12/news-feed-fyi-addressing-hoaxes-and-fake-news/" target="_blank">announced</a> that it recognized a responsibility to “address the issue of fake news and hoaxes.” In addition to the current bans on ad -ales linkages meant to remove financial incentives to fake sites and spammers, the company will partner with <a data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&amp;q=https://www.poynter.org/tag/international-fact-checking-network/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1482081676340000&amp;usg=AFQjCNHTKVOXUyhyaZZ-jF_MFWwdGR0KbQ" href="https://www.poynter.org/tag/international-fact-checking-network/" target="_blank">the Poynter International Fact-Checking Network</a> to create a flagging system that will score news items for users.</p><p>Facebook’s vice president of product development, Adam Mosseri, <a data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&amp;q=https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2016/12/15/facebook-will-start-telling-you-when-a-story-may-be-fake/?utm_term%3D.3764c0b4f4a1&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1482081676340000&amp;usg=AFQjCNFWLRvvm_5-yKxaRsVVwawxGi9raQ" href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2016/12/15/facebook-will-start-telling-you-when-a-story-may-be-fake/?utm_term=.3764c0b4f4a1" target="_blank">explained</a> that this arrangement will address “bottom of the barrel” websites, meaning those that produce flagrant untruths, such as fake reports of a celebrity’s death. Users will also be able to report items they feel are fake. Essentially, the company is trying to stay out of the business of deciding what constitutes the truth, while inhibiting fake news sites that pose as legitimate sources. Poynter’s members will not be paid for this work. Users will also be able to report items that they feel are false, which raises the risky possibility that harassers, seeking to game the system, could mass-report pages or people in an effort to get Facebook to block content. Readers of Breitbart News, for example, might try to mass-report Poynter-verified content from legitimate news publications.</p><p>What can we do about all this? A good first step for any serious effort is to understand these incentives. Fake news and harassment are both enabled by what is known, somewhat ironically, as “the Good Samaritan clause” of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. <a href="https://www.eff.org/issues/cda230" target="_blank">Section 230 of the Act</a>, regarded by many as the most important law on the Internet, absolves platforms of most forms of liability related to user-generated content. It was written to make sure that the Internet could expand quickly and with minimal restrictions, and so it has. David Post, a legal scholar and fellow at the Center for Democracy and Technology, credits Section 230 with the creation of a “trillion or so dollars of value.”</p><p>This law, like it or hate it, is centrally important to the conversion of false information into financial gain, conspiracies into political disruption, and pain into widely dispersed profit. There is virtually no reason under current law for any node in this system — a person or a corporation — to act in a socially responsible way to change this economy. This is why barring “fake news” sites is little more than a public panacea. Given that our president-elect is himself a major vector for both fake news and online harassment, addressing the complicated array of problems we face just got even harder.</p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1069007'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1069007" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Sun, 18 Dec 2016 10:45:00 -0800 Soraya Chemaly, Salon 1069007 at http://enforcementwww.alternet.org Media Election 2016 Media donald trump Editor's Picks facebook fake news internet Internet trolls Online harassment online trolls pizzagate russia RUSSIAN HACK social media SOCIAL MEDIA CULTURE twitter youtube INNOVATION NEWS Technology News business news news Is Technology to Blame for Threats Against Female Journalists? http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/media/technology-blame-threats-against-female-journalists <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1055970'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1055970" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The two female sports writers in the #morethanmean campaign demonstrate that it’s way past the time to recognize the difference between trash talk and gender-based abuse. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/10948923353_90e2273cdc_z.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p><em>This article was originally published in <a href="http://www.damemagazine.com/2016/04/27/technology-blame-threats-against-female-journalists#sthash.YZ91wU4X.dpufhttps://shar.es/1eWeSv">DAME Magazine</a>. </em></p><p>Women who share their opinions and thoughts online, particularly professionally, are frequently targeted for heightened, often criminal and discriminatory, <a href="http://wmcspeechproject.com/" target="_blank">harassment</a>. They are more likely to start their work days and often end their work nights with graphic attacks on their credibility, intelligence, bodies, sex, sexuality, looks and more, frequently famed in violent terms. A recent in-depth analysis of tens of millions of comments by <em>The Guardian</em> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/apr/12/the-dark-side-of-guardian-comments" target="_blank">found</a> that eight of the top ten writers who got the most abuse are women (four White and four non-White). The other two are Black men. All ten of the least harassed writers were men. Sexism and racism combined result in this disparate impact.</p><p>Among women journalists, women in sports might are encountering some of the most vile resistance to their working.  The <em>Guardian</em>’s analysis revealed that the more male-dominated a topical area, such as sports and tech<strong>, </strong>the more abusive the commentary on women writers’ work.</p><p>Julie DiCaro and Sarah Spain are two sports journalists very familiar with this problem. Spain is one of three women that host <em>The Trifecta</em>, an ESPNW sports-talk-radio show and DiCaro is a long-time Chicago sports-radio host. They are both featured in #MoreThanMean— Women in Sports ‘Face’ Harassment, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tU-D-m2JY8" target="_blank">new “reading mean tweets” video</a>, which launched today as part of a campaign to raise awareness about what is frequently referred to with the anodyne “online harassment.” In the video, men read messages that have been sent to the women. They have not seen the messages prior to their filmed reading. As the tweets and messages get increasingly more violent and hateful, the men stumble and pause. A typical example: “One of the players should beat you to death with their hockey stick like the whore you are.” Another: “This is why we don’t hire any females unless we need our cocks sucked or our food cooked.”</p><p>As they read, the men come to look physically uncomfortable. They experience the displaced but the jarring effects that the women live with every day. “I’m having trouble looking at you when I’m saying these things,” says one man to Spain before he finishes reading: “Sarah Spain is a bitch I would hatefuck.”  </p><p>It’s not just that people still find women in sports “unnatural” but that they feel that women should be punished for violating their ideas about <a href="http://www.cdonohue.com/nrj/pdf/Hardin.pdf" target="_blank">masculinity</a> and gender roles.</p><p>The video is highly effective in showing that “mean” does not capture what is going on, which ranges from run of the mill gendered insults to rape and death threats to the stalking and sharing of nonconsensual porn in the recent <a href="http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2016/03/02/dicaro-erin-andrews-the-devaluing-of-women-in-sports-media/" target="_blank">case</a> of sportscaster Erin Andrews.  While its arresting to see the men reading the tweets come to appreciate the inadequacy of the word “mean” it is also frustrating. Like many similar or related videos that engage in role reversals to further understanding there is the very real, frustrating and unavoidable dimension of having to have male validation before people are willing to take what women say seriously.  </p><p>In February, the Women’s Media Center launched the <a href="http://wmcspeechproject.com/" target="_blank">Speech Project</a>, which I direct. The purpose of the project is to raise public and media awareness of the scope and impact of this type of harassment on women’s ability to go to school, to work and to participate in civic and public arenas. The project largely came into being after Ashley Judd, who chairs the initiative, <a href="http://mic.com/articles/113226/forget-your-team-your-online-violence-toward-girls-and-women-is-what-can-kiss-my-ass#.NJ8eVVvU9" target="_blank">experienced</a> first-hand what hostility toward a woman with an opinion about sports looked like. After she tweeted a comment about a March Madness basketball game she was deluged by tweets from men calling her a cunt, a whore, and a bitch. They described and threated her with rape and other violence. “The volume of hatred that exploded at me in response was staggering,” she <a href="http://mic.com/articles/113226/forget-your-team-your-online-violence-toward-girls-and-women-is-what-can-kiss-my-ass#.uz2dPVMcx" target="_blank">wrote</a> of the incident. This level of aggression is, unfortunately, <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/10/the-unsafety-net-how-social-media-turned-against-women/381261/" target="_blank">standard</a> for many women.</p><p>Many people chose not to understand the difference between trash-talking and the abuse hurled at women, which tends to be gendered, reference historic discrimination, and leverage legitimate threats. Online threats of stalking and rape are easier to dismiss as “just words” if rape or avoiding being raped doesn’t shape your passage through life as it does most women’s.  Like Sara Spain, and one out of five women, Judd is a survivor of sexual assault.</p><p>Professional sports are hegemonically male and hostility towards women—as journalists, coaches, athletes or fans—is <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rhett-grametbauer/women-have-no-place-in-pr_b_9074154.html" target="_blank">hardly new</a>. The cultured illuminated in “mean tweets” goes hand-in-hand with the one on ample display in an industry where masculine ideology pervasively makes sports a zone of harassment for women is written off as “fun and games.”</p><p>As coaches, women have made only scant, hard-fought for headway. Title IX, ironically, opened the door for <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/college/2015/02/23/women-college-coaches-title-9-ix/23917353/"><em>male</em> coaches</a> in the growing arena of women’s sports, but has done little to make space for women coaches. The NFL recently <a href="http://www.si.com/nfl/2016/01/20/buffalo-bills-hire-kathryn-smith-first-female-full-time-assistant-coach" target="_top">hired</a> Kathryn Smith as the first female full-time assistant coach in the league’s history. Smith joins a very small group of <a href="http://nymag.com/thecut/2016/01/history-of-women-working-in-mens-pro-sports.html" target="_blank">women</a> in men’s sports.</p><p>Women players and journalists face everyday sexism and sexual harassment, both the institutional and casual fan-based kinds. In March, the director of the BNP Paribas Open Tournament in Indian Wells, California, Raymond Moore, thought nothing of <a href="https://rewire.news/article/2016/04/01/raymond-moore-may-resigned-comments-womens-tennis-betray-broader-problem/" target="_blank">explaining</a> that in his next life he wants to “be someone in the WTA [Women’s Tennis Association], because they ride on the coattails of the men.” He then went on to reference women athletes on the basis of their level of physical attractiveness to him personally. </p><p>Women athlete’s uniforms are often designed to sexualize them, a <a href="http://ftw.usatoday.com/2015/05/missy-franklin-swimming-sexualization-of-female-athletes" target="_blank">problem</a> that exists more broadly in media. Dress codes that mandate skirts, skimpy shorts and more ensure that women aren’t simply dressing to perform optimally, but to please optimally.  </p><p>While top American soccer players are <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/01/sports/soccer/uswnt-us-women-carli-lloyd-alex-morgan-hope-solo-complain.html" target="_blank">suing</a> U.S. Soccer for wage discrimination, Brazilian superstars Marta struggles to be paid at all in a country where her male counterpart, Neymar makes $15 million a year. As a soccer player, Karen Gibson  grew used to fans <a href="http://www.womenshealthmag.co.uk/fitness/fitness-blog/3545/sexism-in-sport-forbes-highest-paid-athletes-women#ixzz46yIXhzDl" target="_blank">calling</a>, “Get your tits out” when she ran onto the field.</p><p>It was only in 2002 that <em>60 Minutes</em>’ Andy Rooney loudly proclaimed, “The only thing that really bugs me about television’s coverage is those damn women they have down on the sidelines who don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.” Until 2012, when a woman brought it to public attention, ESPN’s online complaint form <a href="http://mashable.com/2012/02/08/espn-female-announcers/#TI7Gtk2BNGqq" target="_blank">included</a> the dropdown option: "Commentator—dislike female commentators.” As recently as last October, several women sportswriters were illegally <a href="http://time.com/4061116/female-journalists-locker-room-nfl-jaguars-colts/" target="_blank">barred from locker-rooms </a>after a Jaguars-Colts football game. “It’s still 2015, right?” <a href="https://twitter.com/Joey_TNews/status/650785221349142528" target="_blank">asked</a> Joey Chandler of the Tuscaloosa <em>News</em>. </p><p>All of this implicit bias and overt sexism is evident every day online, where there are very few restraints on hateful expression, particularly against women journalists, who tend to bear the brunt of abuse, from <a href="http://www.demos.co.uk/files/MISOGYNY_ON_TWITTER.pdf" target="_blank">men and women</a> both.  Online comments are a symptom of deep cultural misgivings about women’s equality and rapidly shifting gender roles. Their profusion reflects an abiding societal tolerance for this kind of discrimination. However, technology isn’t limiting women’s public participation or workplace opportunities. Sexism is.</p><p>Every day, readers and viewers in the hundreds, sometimes thousands, feel sufficiently socially and culturally entitled to send women sports professionals messages meant to humiliate, denigrate, intimidate and shame them <em>because they are women</em>.  There are costs: financial, professional and personal.  This culture of abusing women professionals for doing their jobs gains power when we pretend that the people targeted are not materially affected. It gains power when we use words that hide the ugliness and violence of the expression. It gains power when the focus is on the “evils” of tech and not the cruelty of sexism and racism that are clearly manifest. It gains power when there is little or not counter speech from the public or support from employers.   It makes no sense to hide what is going on by using family friendly, homogenizing language or to minimize the importance, meaning or effect of the profound sexism at play.</p><p>This morning at breakfast, after reading a related article, my daughter asked what reddit was and my husband provided an example of how a particular sports reddit works to build a community where “people” can share information, talk about games, and generally have fun while engaging in sports culture.  She’s a girl and an athlete, but the experience that she would have online, as a participant in such a forum, would <a href="http://www.wired.com/2014/12/mit-scientists-on-women-in-stem/" target="_blank">radically differ</a> from her father’s if she was identifiable as female. It’s important that girls and, particularly, boys, understand the difference and in those terms.</p><p>Women have made major strides as athletes, coaches, journalists and other sports professionals. But, there is a long way to go.  </p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1055970'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1055970" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 05 May 2016 14:21:00 -0700 Soraya Chemaly, DAME Magazine 1055970 at http://enforcementwww.alternet.org Media LGBTQ Media media female journalists sexism in media sexism #morethanmean sports writers The Shocking Sexualization of Female Politicians in Porn http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/election-2016/shocking-sexualization-female-politicians-porn <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1053668'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1053668" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The effects of sexualizing and slut-shaming women candidates are massive—and dire.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/4641974226_0d1ca5f490_z.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>Google the names<a href="https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&amp;ion=1&amp;espv=2&amp;ie=UTF-8#q=donald%20trump%20porn" target="_blank"> Donald Trump</a>,<a href="https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&amp;ion=1&amp;espv=2&amp;ie=UTF-8#q=ted%20cruz%20porn" target="_blank"> Ted Cruz</a>, or <a href="https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&amp;ion=1&amp;espv=2&amp;ie=UTF-8#q=bernie%20sanders%20porn" target="_blank">Bernie Sanders</a>and the word “porn” and the results are benign lists of links to articles and images that do little to degrade perceptions of the candidates’ competence or morality. Do the same for <a href="https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&amp;ion=1&amp;espv=2&amp;ie=UTF-8#q=hillary%20clinton%20porn" target="_blank">Hillary Clinton</a>, <a href="https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&amp;ion=1&amp;espv=2&amp;ie=UTF-8#q=condaleeza%20rice%20porn" target="_blank">Condoleezza Rice</a>, <a href="https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&amp;ion=1&amp;espv=2&amp;ie=UTF-8#q=Nancy+Pelosi+porn" target="_blank">Nancy Pelosi</a>, or<a href="https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&amp;ion=1&amp;espv=2&amp;ie=UTF-8#q=sarah+palin+porn" target="_blank"> Sarah Palin</a> and you’ll surface page after page of actual porn sites, using the women’s names and photographs of their faces to portray them in bestial and brutally sexually objectifying videos and photos. Additionally, and even more disturbingly, women politicians’<a href="http://www.imagefap.com/photo/2084786575/?pgid=&amp;gid=3361936&amp;page=0&amp;idx=1" target="_blank"> daughters</a> are also made into the subjects of non-consensual pornography,sometimes<a href="http://chi-photography.com/uploads/image/image/thumb_123815_20-_20Chelsea_Clinton_20Hillary_Clinton_20fakes.jpg" target="_blank"> simultaneously</a>, as consequence of their mothers seeking office.</p><p>“These images treat female politicians not as individuals, but symbols of the idea of womanhood, which must always be subjugated to manhood,” explains Jaclyn Friedman, author of<a href="http://www.amazon.com/What-You-Really-Want-Shame-Free/dp/1580053440" target="_blank">What You Really, Really Want</a> and host of “<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/yes-means-yes/id580230127?mt=2" target="_blank">Unscrewed</a>,“ a popular podcast on sexual politics. “We can’t seem to criticize female political candidates on their merits or lack thereof.”</p><p><strong>When Porn And Political Strategy Collide</strong></p><p>In an essay in <a href="http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674064317" target="_blank">The Offensive Internet: Speech, Privacy and Reputation</a>, philosopher Martha Nussbaum<a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Offensive-Internet-Privacy-Reputation/dp/0674064313" target="_blank"> writes</a> about the misogynistic cultural drive to degrade powerful women by reducing them to body parts and sexual instrumentality. Shedescribes widespread cultural endorsement of the desire to give outspoken women “a stigmatized, spoiled identity.” Everything from the gendered and racialized slurs of <a href="https://twitter.com/EverydaySexism/status/704785392512401409" target="_blank">Internet commentary</a> to non-consensual porn and impersonation illustrate Nussbaum’s point.</p><p>What’s worse, sexualized representations of women politicians are generally thought of as funny, giving a pass to discriminatory outcomes. For example, two weeks ago a colorful <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BB-rGOHE_l5/" target="_blank">illustration</a> of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders showed up on Instagram. It showed a photograph of Clinton’s smiling face on a cartoon body. She was propped up, her face down by her hands, legs held open by a seated, similarly Photoshopped Sanders, penetrating her from behind. On the same day, a viral <a href="https://www.facebook.com/darren.kendrick.18/videos/10153991752484993/" target="_blank">video</a> on Facebook featured a scantily clad Clinton pole dancing, singing about her “Hillary Humps” and being called a “White House Ho.”</p><p>“Saying ‘it was just a joke’ is an attempt to keep aggression invisible, even if the aggression was not intended,” explainsProfessor Shira Tarrant, author of the recently released, <a href="https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-pornography-industry-9780190205126?cc=us&amp;lang=en&amp;" target="_blank">The Pornography Industry: What Everyone Needs to Know</a>. “Online sexual depictions of female politicians are insidious when people try to sweep it away as if it’s satire or ‘just a joke.’ One way we can understand jokes or satire is to look at the effect of the joke instead of the intent of the person telling it.”</p><p>Arguably, these sexist words and images are part of a long<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/29/books/29book.html?_r=0"> history</a>of political satire employing sexualization. However, while male politicians have been and are sometimes<a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/12/the-fanfictionalization-of-politics/282417/"> skewered</a> in similar ways, it happens relatively rarely and with very different outcomes in terms of potential voter perceptions. Sexualization affects men and women, and ideas about them, differently. Women and girls, who are far more likely to be <a href="http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1568&amp;context=psychfacpub" target="_blank">hypersexualized</a>, are pervasively <a href="https://www.academia.edu/9229693/Instrumentality_and_the_denial_of_personhood_The_social_psychology_of_objectifying_others" target="_blank">dehumanized</a> by <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ejsp.755/abstract" target="_blank">objectification</a>. Just seeing a woman in a bikini <a href="http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode/women-as-sex-objects-09-02-17/" target="_blank">deactivates</a> men’s medial prefrontal cortex, where thinking about people and their intentions, feelings, and actions happens. After exposure to images of sexually objectified people, viewers are more likely to associate them with animals, and sensitivity to subjects’ <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-big-questions/201105/sexual-objectification-reduces-pain-concern">feelings or expressions of pain</a> are measurably reduced.  </p><p>When women are <a href="http://spr.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/05/16/0265407513487638.full.pdf" target="_blank">perceived as “slutty,”</a>—which is one of the primary effects of pornified images of women politicians—people rate them less able and emotionally stable. Further, <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S002210311000288X" target="_blank">sexually objectified women</a>, <a href="http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1568&amp;context=psychfacpub" target="_blank">but not</a><a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022103185710220"> men</a>, are<a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/229920077_Objectification_Leads_to_Depersonalization_The_Denial_of_Mind_and_Moral_Concern_to_Objectified_Others" target="_blank"> evaluated</a> by viewers as less moral, less warm (read: less human), less intelligent, and less competent. Lastly, after watching mainstream porn, people are more likely to <a href="https://comm.arizona.edu/sites/comm.arizona.edu/files/JOBEM_aubrey%20et%20al.pdf" target="_blank">express</a> adversarial beliefs about sex and gender, hold more negative beliefs about sexual harassment, have higher rates of acceptance for interpersonal violence, and aremeasurably <a href="http://www.psmag.com/books-and-culture/porn-viewing-impacts-attitudes-women-workplace-66280" target="_blank">less likely</a> to support policies and programs designed to meet women’s needs. Neither political party affiliation, nor the fact of a woman’s consent in representation, mitigates these effects.</p><p>Using graphic sexualization to comment on a woman candidate’s worthiness for office isn’t pornography, it’s political strategy.During her gubernatorial campaign, former Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, who rose to national prominence after her marathon <a href="http://time.com/3318582/wendy-davis-filibuster-memoir/" target="_blank">filibuster</a> to protect women’s rights to abortion, was portrayed as a naked “<a href="http://jezebel.com/here-are-the-abortion-barbie-posters-nobody-asked-for-1580656401" target="_blank">Abortion Barbie</a>” and depicted by opponents as<a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B39ay2aAb1IXZHZLeFJqUEVNX3c/view" target="_blank"> hypersexual</a>. She believes that <a href="https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BZeNXcPCIAAT7vx.jpg">suggestive images</a>were part of active efforts to delegitimize her accomplishments and leadership. This coded messaging, which she calls“dogwhistling,” encouraged voters to see her “not as someone who had a lot to offer in terms of policies.” </p><p>Her assessment aligns with the results of a study conducted after the 2009 release of the hardcore “parody,” “Who’s Nailin’ Paylin?”Researchers<a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022103109000432"> found</a> that voters who focused on Sarah Palin’s appearance (not even on her pornification) demonstrated reduced confidence in her abilities and that prior willingness to vote for the McCain-Palin ticket declined. Thus when The Onion runs a<a href="http://www.theonion.com/article/hillary-clinton-appears-rally-completely-nude-bid--52516">piece</a> about Hillary Clinton, in which she is manipulated to appear fully frontally nude—as it did last week—it erases the enduring effects of historic discrimination, legitimizes biases against women as leaders, and misrepresents and distorts the purpose of satire.</p><p><strong>Telling Trends In Porn</strong></p><p>Years worth of research <a href="http://www.psmag.com/books-and-culture/porn-viewing-impacts-attitudes-women-workplace-66280">show</a> that pornography viewers are more likely to hold a variety of “antisocial attitudes towards women” and resist steps taken to improve women’s status. Nine out of ten young adult men <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?index=books&amp;linkCode=qs&amp;keywords=9780190205126">report</a> using pornography, compared to one third of women. And American men make up the largest segment of the 76% of Pornhub’s<a href="http://www.pornhub.com/insights/millennials-demographics-statistics" target="_blank"> customers</a> who are male, 60% of whom are Millennials. Two weeks ago, Pornhub released the findings of a Presidential Election<a href="http://www.pornhub.com/insights/2016-presidential-election-survey"> survey</a> of 371,000 customers that showed self-described Democrats preferring Sanders 73.4% to Clinton’s 26.6%. (A January USA Today/RocktheVote general population<a href="https://www.ipsos-na.com/download/pr.aspx?id=15208">survey</a> showed Sanders with 46% of Millennial support.) Donald Trump got 60.5% of Republican support on the site, far outpacing his opponents.</p><p>Despite emerging<a href="http://gender.stanford.edu/news/2014/feminist-pornography" target="_blank"> feminist and indie production</a>, mainstream porn has grown<a href="http://www.dbknews.com/archives/article_b6818026-6c7d-11e5-9f3e-7fdc8dc36797.html" target="_blank"> more, not less misogynistic</a>, and continues to<a href="http://psp.sagepub.com/content/16/2/296.short">reinforce</a>, rather than debunk, traditional and conservative gender schemas. Researchers believe this is the reason a 30-year gender gap in approval for porn<a href="http://scu.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/09/21/2329496515604170.abstract"> continues to grow</a>. Pornography remains, according to Tarrant, a “predominantly male adult pastime.” Three quarters of men between the ages of 18-35 making more than $75K report watching or sharing porn while at work, a practice that came to startling light last year when Philadelphia Attorney General Kathleen Kane, in an episode dubbed #Porngate,<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/pornographic-email-scandal-ripples-through-pennsylvania-politics/2015/12/26/fc411a76-a374-11e5-b53d-972e2751f433_story.html" target="_blank">released</a> hundreds of pornographic sexist and racist emails exchanged by state employees, including prosecutors and a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice, on government servers.One, for example, was a photo of a woman on her knees, pantless, performing oral sex on a man, with the caption, “Making your boss happy is your only job.” As the Washington Post <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/pornographic-email-scandal-ripples-through-pennsylvania-politics/2015/12/26/fc411a76-a374-11e5-b53d-972e2751f433_story.html" target="_blank">reported</a> last fall, the incident “produced little uproar among state residents.”</p><p>Men tend to be<a href="http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~search1/pdf/Eagley_Role_Conguity_Theory.pdf" target="_blank"> especially</a><a href="http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=buy.optionToBuy&amp;id=2014-21414-001"> resistant</a> to the idea of women with power, and non-consensually sexualizing women is a traditional and culturally acceptable way of expressing male dominance and putting women “back in their place.” Consider that four ofMillennials’ top six searches on Pornhub are “mom,” “stepmom,” “MILF,” and “lesbian.” While these areas of sexual interest can be thought of as predictable taboo violations, they can just as easily be understood in terms of how men are thinking about women either with authority over them or, interestingly and contrary to popular narratives about the appeal of girl-on-girl sex, those who reject them outright.</p><p><strong>Pornification And Political Ambition</strong></p><p>There is nothing inherently wrong with pornography, which has many positive aspects. However, the effects of treating women leaders this way are particularly notable in the United States, which produces 80% of the world’s pornography,<a href="http://www.representation2020.com/women-in-parliaments.html" target="_blank"> ranks</a> 95th in the world for women’s national legislative political representation, and has never had a woman president.</p><p>Jennifer Lawless, a professor at the American University Department of Government and<a href="http://www.american.edu/spa/wpi/" target="_blank"> Director, Women &amp; Politics Institute, School of Public Affairs</a>, studies gender, ambition, and political participation. “While it’s true that women who run for office win their races as often as men do, raise just as much money, and receive similar media coverage—both in volume and substance—few people know this to be the case,” explains Lawless. She goes on:</p><blockquote><p>“Instead, high-profile examples of sexism and discrimination shape women’s perceptions of what it must be like for women on the campaign trail. If you see Hillary Clinton or Sarah Palin depicted in sexualized and pornographic ways, it makes sense to think that if you, as a woman, were to run, you’d be portrayed in much the same way.”</p></blockquote><p>It is telling that one of the only male politicians with similar outcomes, perhaps predictably, is Barack Obama, a black man in a country with a<a href="http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674724846" target="_blank"> legacy</a> of hypersexualizing black men to justify public violence against them.  </p><p>“We need to understand that posting sexual images of women online without their agreement is a form of attack intended to degrade and silence women,” says Tarrant. “Especially women with authority, opinions, and a strong public voice.”</p><p>Becoming the subject of debasing non-consensual porn shouldn’t be the cost American women pay for participating in the political process.</p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1053668'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1053668" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 31 Mar 2016 09:06:00 -0700 Soraya Chemaly, The Establishment 1053668 at http://enforcementwww.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 LGBTQ Sex & Relationships hillary clinton porn politicians in porn sexualization of politicians Why Aren't We Discussing How Men Feel About a Woman President? http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/election-2016/why-arent-we-discussing-how-men-feel-about-woman-president <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1053604'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1053604" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Only a smattering of stories mention a persistent bias for male leadership as driving supporters’ behavior. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_328795193.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>A <a href="http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2016/02/men-underestimate-the-grades-of-the-women-in-their-science-classes.html" target="_blank">recent study</a> of more than 1,700 students showed that college-aged men consistently underestimate the intellect and abilities of their female peers and over-estimate those of other men. Last year, another <a href="http://mcc.gse.harvard.edu/files/gse-mcc/files/leanout-executive-summary.pdf?m=1448058152" target="_blank">study</a> of high school students conducted by Harvard’s Graduate School of Education showed even more disturbing findings: When indicating a preference for student leaders, students—all of them—showed the most confidence in young white boys and the least confidence in young white girls. The study included almost 20,000 kids from across the country.</p><p>While media has recently been fixated on women voters and their support, or lack of support, for women candidates, very little has been said about young men’s beliefs. Only a smattering of stories mention a persistent bias for male leadership as driving supporters’ behavior. Jackson Katz’s <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Leading-Men-Presidential-Campaigns-Politics/dp/1566569036" target="_blank">work</a> explaining American presidential campaigns as referendums on competing versions of American manhood, a reality that is intrinsically hostile to Hillary Clinton, is nowhere to be seen. Not only are girls and women not “voting with their vaginas,” but the majority of people, whether implicitly or explicitly, are still voting, to put it in equally crass terms, in favor of a candidate’s penis, especially male voters. But, mum’s the word.</p><p>The conservative gender ideas of a large percentage of millennials, particularly men, are a serious problem for women candidates, both in terms of party affiliation and intra-party competitions.</p><p>Consider, for example, gender role expectations. Millennials may be marrying later, but 40 percent of millennials are parents and, as parents, neo-traditionalists. A Pew Research <a href="http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/03/07/millennials-in-adulthood/" target="_blank">study</a> revealed that 35 percent of millennial men without kids think women should “take care of the home and children,” compared to only 26 percent of Gen Xers and 21 percent of men older than 45. That number jumps to 53 percent after millennial men have children. Prior to having children, 24 percent of millennial men, who over all tend to have the most gender-equal ideas and aspirations of any generation measured, say they expect to have equal responsibility for childcare. The percentage drops to 8 percent after the birth of a child.</p><p>For women, also likely to describe egalitarian parenting goals, there is no drop. Instead, they consistently <a href="http://asr.sagepub.com/content/80/1/116.abstract" target="_blank">express</a> the belief that their spouses will participate equally in care of children, and they reveal the need and desire to work outside of their homes with parity, for money.</p><p>However, today, it is primarily working millennial mothers, like those in earlier generations, who are stepping away from work once children enter the picture. College-educated millennial women are more likely to fall back on traditional gender roles than working class women, who opt, instead for the harder economic road of self-sufficiency. Either way, millennial women with toddler children, working or not, spend more than twice the amount of time than millennial men do on childcare. Just to cap it all off, for good measure, men who are taking advantage of new paternity leave policies are apparently <a href="http://qz.com/564775/men-are-much-more-likely-to-take-paternity-leave-if-they-have-sons/" target="_blank">only doing so if their baby is a boy</a>, especially firstborn.</p><p>Instead of focusing on men’s attitudes toward gender or toward women as leaders and workers, what we are getting from media is an endlessly dull and predictable stream of cat fighting narratives about intergenerational conflict about Hillary Clinton. It’s a media whose thinking is inherently shaped by sex segregation. What about intergenerational conflict among men? Or cross-gender differences in generational attitudes? Nada.</p><div>Because what does matter is that we reinforce sex difference and segregation and make male domination and bias invisible. That, and making sure while we do that we excessively criticize and <a href="http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/dnc-blasts-disgusting-breitbart-california-pelosi-ad" target="_blank">denigrate</a> the few experienced women and leaders we do have.</div><p>In other words, misogyny.</p><p>“While some dictionaries consider the word to accurately mean ‘dislike of’ or ‘prejudice against’ women,” wrote the Washington Post’s <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/people/esther-j-cepeda" target="_blank">Esther J. Cepeda</a> in the summer of 2014, in an article that is currently recirculating, “Merriam-Webster defines misogyny as ‘a hatred of women.’” According to the <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/esther-cepeda-too-many-women-ignore-their-own-misogyny/2014/06/03/d5cd4d44-eb6d-11e3-9f5c-9075d5508f0a_story.html">piece</a>, titled, “Too many women ignore their own misogyny,” editors at Merriam-Webster explained, “’hatred’ is broad enough to encompass everything from feelings of dislike to entrenched prejudice and hostility.”</p><p>Without delving into the errors of assuming neutrality in <a href="https://medium.com/space-anthropology/sexism-in-the-oxford-dictionary-of-english-6d335c6a77b5#.f7113isan" target="_blank">the writing of dictionaries</a>, it is a gross misrepresentation to say that misogyny is a matter of individuals or something that women are biologically immune from. Misogyny—political, public, and systemic—is the defining ideology of patriarchal societies and it has been for millennia. It is the basis of oppression of women in male-dominated societies and the <a href="http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/45a/252.html" target="_blank">whole matrix of domination</a>. It invades girls’ imaginations and ambitions just as it does boys’.</p><p>Today still, women, particularly ethnic and racial minority women—regardless of what country they live in—remain in subordinate positions, doing either unpaid or low wage work, in lowest status job sectors, with highly limited access to resources and power.</p><p>What does “subordinate positions” look like in terms of leadership the United States? Here’s my standard paragraph, which I will continue to share until it’s no longer true: In the United States, white men make up more than 80 percent of Congress, 78 percent of <a href="http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/fast_facts/levels_of_office/Current_Numbers.php" target="_blank">state political executives</a>, 75 percent of <a href="http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/fast_facts/levels_of_office/Current_Numbers.php">state legislators</a>, 84 percent <a href="http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/fast_facts/levels_of_office/Current_Numbers.php" target="_blank">of mayors of the top 100 cities</a>, 85 percent of <a href="http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/statistical-overview-women-workplace" target="_blank">corporate executive officers</a>, 100 percent of <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/09/the-real-reason-why-women-are-leaving-wall-street/279379/">CEOs of Wall Street firms</a>, 95 percent of <a href="http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/women-ceos-sp-500">Fortune 500 CEOs</a>, 73 percent of <a href="http://www.browndailyherald.com/2012/04/19/gender-gap-persists-among-tenured-faculty/">tenured professors</a>, 64 percent of <a href="http://wmc.3cdn.net/6dd3de8ca65852dbd4_fjm6yck9o.pdf">newsroom staffers</a>, 97 percent of <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2014-09-30/venture-capital-firms-have-even-fewer-women-than-they-did-in-1999" target="_blank">heads of venture capital firms</a>, 90 percent <a href="http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/3/16/silicon-valley-diversity-problem.html" target="_blank">of tech jobs in Silicon Valley</a>, 97 percent of owners of <a href="http://www.freepress.net/diversity-media-ownership" target="_blank">television and radio licenses</a>, 87 percent of <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/09/03/us/the-race-gap-in-americas-police-departments.html" target="_blank">police departments</a> and 68 percent of U.S. Circuit Court Judges. Men have been 100 percent of our presidents. If I wrote this list as a novel in which the genders were reversed, reviewers would describe this world as a violent and emasculating feminist tyranny or a frightening male dystopia.</p><p>Interestingly, millennial men are the least likely to think that these numbers are related to bias or discrimination that needs to be addressed systemically. Nearly 75 percent of millennial women <a href="http://publicreligion.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Millennials-Topline-V5-FINAL.pdf" target="_blank">believe</a> that women aren’t paid fairly for equal work compared to 56 percent of men. Sixty-eight percent of women think companies should have policies to address discrimination and improve diversity. Fifty-three percent of men agree, but only 46 percent of white men.</p><p>As we are waxing on about liberty and equality, it pays to remember the third leg of the historic stool: fraternity. As long as women’s access to power remains so marginal, women competing on the basis of youth, fertility, and beauty is rational and predictable.</p><p>Women don’t instinctively support other women as a function of chromosomes. The very idea of sisterhood in the mainstream, and in the United States, historically white culture, is routinely eviscerated. <a href="http://www.afterellen.com/exclusive-alison-bechdel-on-the-bechdel-test-and-the-new-fun-home-musical/11/2013/" target="_blank">Liz Wallace and Alison</a> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLF6sAAMb4s">Bechdel’s Test</a>, Katha Pollitt’s <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1991/04/07/magazine/hers-the-smurfette-principle.html" target="_blank">Smurfette Principle</a> and Ariel Levy’s “<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Female-Chauvinist-Pigs-Raunch-Culture/dp/0743284283" target="_blank">loophole women</a>” are all ways of analyzing the same phenomenon: the isolation of women from one another in depictions of male-dominated culture.</p><p>It’s rare to see women publicly portrayed as <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/closeread/2013/10/what-women-in-congress-really-got-done.html" target="_blank">working together</a> for the common good. Despite obvious everyday acts of female cooperation and friendship, the bulk of our cultural production continues to render us invisible and inaccessible to one another. One of the only times we are portrayed together with relish is as witches—which groups women in covens and categorizes us, when powerful, as frightening, ugly, otherworldly, unnatural, and dangerous. But how many <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/who-gets-to-be-a-leader-t_b_2535702.html" target="_blank">band of brothers, father-son movies can we make</a>? Apparently an infinite number. From ensemble casts in <a href="http://annenberg.usc.edu/Faculty/Communication%20and%20Journalism/~/media/A41FBC3E62084AC8A8C047A9D4A54033.ashx" target="_blank">films</a>, <a href="http://filebox.vt.edu/users/jivory/JIvory2006MassCommunicationandSociety.pdf" target="_blank">gaming</a>, and <a href="http://griid.org/2013/02/12/normalizing-male-dominance-gender-representation-in-2012-films/" target="_blank">animated movies</a> to <a href="http://www.4thestate.net/female-voices-in-media-infographic/" target="_blank">television talk shows</a> and sports, our brains are bombarded by tens of thousands of images and stories of male fraternity and solidarity, including a vast number of which the lone woman is the source of all evil, competition among men, and societal chaos. This is as true of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/why-are-childrens-books-are-still-about-white-boys_b_4227163.html" target="_blank">children’s</a> media as it is of adult entertainment.</p><p>This is why the high school students trust men more and why the least likely to support white girls as leaders are other white girls. Black girls, already culturally alienated from the dominant power structure, demonstrate greater confidence, imagination, resilience, and ability. However, it’s harder for them to succeed.</p><p>Women are loyal friends and we regularly work and rely on one another, but women have to fight to unlearn these lessons and support each other. Given the incredible dearth of women role models, it makes sense that <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/01/05/parents-of-daughters-support-hillary-clinton-more-than-parents-of-sons/?tid=a_inl" target="_blank">parents of girls</a> are more likely to support a woman running for president than the parents of boys are. Just seeing a <a href="http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-04/seeing-hillary-clintons-face-improves-womens-public-speaking">picture</a> of a powerful, non-sexually objectified woman improves a woman’s ability to overcome stereotypes so she can speak more confidently in public.</p><p>Boys <a href="http://pwq.sagepub.com/content/30/1/36.short" target="_blank">don’t need</a> male role models they way girls need female ones, because they are so profusely abundant, and, particularly if they are white, they don’t face the same stereotypes about public and professional incompetence. It is actually more important for boys to have female role models than for girls to. Too many boys are way too comfortable assuming their superiority on the basis of their sex and they will grow up to be men who have the power to change legal, corporate, religious, and governmental norms. But will they?</p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1053604'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1053604" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 30 Mar 2016 12:19:00 -0700 Soraya Chemaly, The Establishment 1053604 at http://enforcementwww.alternet.org Election 2016 Culture Election 2016 LGBTQ women in power female president hillary clinton democratic primary election 2016 The Shocking Ways Sexism Affects Women’s Health Every Day http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/shocking-ways-sexism-affects-womens-health-every-day <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1038409'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1038409" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Doctors discount women’s reports of pain and are more likely to discount women’s experiences of pain as emotional. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2015-06-25_at_4.14.55_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>I had a headache that lasted for years. It was there when I woke up and there when I went to sleep. I got so used to it that one day, when my husband, bemoaning a rare headache, asked if we had any painkillers, I realized that for me the exceptional day was not having a headache. The doctors I consulted suggested a whole range of reasons and prescriptions, but none helped. Turns out, I did what most women not only do but are encouraged to do: live with the pain and discomfort.</p><p>All over the world, women, for a variety of reasons, experience <a href="http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2015/02/13/chronic-pain-overwhelmingly-experienced-women-trouble-getting-care/">much higher rates of pain</a> than men. More than 100 million Americans report <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304691904579349212319995486">living with chronic pain</a>, and the vast majority are women. Yet, doctors discount women’s reports of pain and are more likely, when treating women, to discount women’s experiences of pain as emotional or psychological discomfort that they have to learn to live with.</p><p>First, people have a difficult time recognizing women’s pain. Not in an abstract sense, but in an actual, practical, “Does that expression on her face mean she is in pain?” way. People are much better at reflexively decoding pain <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21435925">when a man’s face reflects it</a> than when a woman’s does.</p><p>This is also true when a white person is experiencing pain versus a black person. Interestingly, when a person’s face is androgynous and displaying pain, observers identify it as male. Even if and when girls and women say, out loud, that they are experiencing pain, people, including medical professionals, are more likely to minimize or dismiss what they say. On one end of the spectrum, this problem results in real discomfort for girls and women, on the other, misdiagnoses, exacerbated pain, and higher likelihood of mortality.</p><p>Second, gender bias and stereotypes infuse the way doctors treat women’s pain. A 2014 <a href="http://nationalpainreport.com/women-in-pain-survey-results-8824686.html">survey</a>of more than 2,000 women, conducted by the National Pain Report and <a href="http://www.forgrace.org/women/in/pain_home/">For Grace,</a> a non-profit devoted to finding solutions for women in pain, found that three quarters of the women surveyed were told at least once by a doctor that nothing could be done for them and that they would just have to live with chronic physical hurt.</p><ul><li>57% report being told by a doctor, “I don’t know what’s wrong with you.”</li><li>51% report having doctors say, “You look good, so you must be feeling better.”</li><li>45% reported that they were told, “The pain is all in your head.”</li></ul><p>My personal favorites? “You are too pretty to have so many problems,” and “You can’t be too sick because you have makeup on and you are not in your sweatpants.”</p><p>Third, men and women experience <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22192712">different kinds of pain differently</a>, but women report feeling <a href="http://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2012/01/women-report-feeling-pain-more-intensely-than-men-says-study-of-electronic-records.html">more intense pain</a>. However, when men report pain, they are treated more seriously. Doctors, for example, are more likely to prescribe <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304691904579349212319995486">painkillers for men, but sedatives</a> for women. One study showed that men are also more likely to be sent to <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19427166">intensive care units</a>. In an extensive <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304691904579349212319995486">essay on pain</a> last year, Judy Foreman shared research showing that women are far less likely to get hip or knee replacements and that doctors are disinclined to think that women have heart problems, even when they have symptoms. Women are more likely to seek treatment for chronic pain, but are also more likely to be inadequately treated by health care providers.</p><p>Fourth, there is an additional aspect of pain recognition and relief that, despite being tracked for decades, remains under-examined and misunderstood by doctors. Despite the fact that men have higher rates of recognized trauma leading to post traumatic stress disorder, women are more than twice as likely to have <a href="http://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/women">anxiety disorders</a> and to <a href="http://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/why-are-women-more-exhausted-than-men">report fatigue</a> than men. Women’s higher rates of symptoms for PTSD has puzzled doctors, who frequently write the effects off to women’s nerves or over-emotionality. However, researchers have <a href="http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11199-014-0444-y#page-1">documented</a> the link between concerns about physical safety and psychological harm. Consider, for example, that before puberty, boys and girls experience depression and anxiety at similar rates, but, upon puberty, when street harassment, awareness of physical vulnerability and rape begin, girls are <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/teen-depression_b_1719534.html">up to six times</a> as likely to suffer from anxiety as teenage boys.</p><p>Researchers have now concluded that women are more likely to have a whole host of physical problems due to the accumulated effects of hyper-vigilance, sexual objectification, and harassment. Recently, scientists at the <a href="http://www.umw.edu/">University of Mary Washington</a>’s Psychology Department <a href="http://pwq.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/11/03/0361684314561018?papetoc">showed</a> the effects of sexual harassment on women, effects that are even stronger in women who have been sexually abused. They concluded that women are experiencing “insidious trauma,” something most doctors are oblivious about.</p><p>Lastly, medical research continues to fail to take sex-specific issues into account, mistakenly assuming that male, mostly white male, test subjects sufficiently represent all of humanity. This discriminatory skewing of research, in favor of male physiology, has <a href="http://www.brighamandwomens.org/Departments_and_Services/womenshealth/ConnorsCenter/Policy/ConnorsReportFINAL.pdf">considerable impact on women’s health</a>, including pain and pain mitigation.</p><p>Sometimes, the effects of sexism and implicit gender bias are difficult to show. However, in the case of women’s health care, there’s very little ambiguity. Women should be aware of what these problems look like, so that they can identify doctors who similarly understand them and can fairly diagnose and treat them.</p><p>Last year, I had occasion to visit my doctor, who prescribed some medicine. When I asked him if any of the clinical trials for the medicine had included women, he admitted that he didn’t know, but assured me that it was the best solution available. So I looked it up. The trials showed that the medication worked for men, but actually had several high risks and contraindications for women. So I found a new doctor, one who didn’t dismiss my concerns with a paternalistic and sexist arrogance.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2015 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1038409'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1038409" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 25 Jun 2015 13:10:00 -0700 Soraya Chemaly, Role Reboot 1038409 at http://enforcementwww.alternet.org health 10 Frighteningly Dangerous Laws From Around the World http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/gender/10-frighteningly-dangerous-laws-around-world <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1031933'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1031933" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Men in Nigeria are permitted to use violence for the purpose of &quot;correcting&quot; their wives. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_124237600.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>Once in a while in the U.S. we hear about a bill or a law that seems like it must be a joke. For example, in Florida it is illegal for a single woman to <a href="http://www.kshb.com/news/local-news/water-cooler/no-unmarried-woman-can-parachute-on-sundays-is-just-one-of-floridas-most-bizarre-laws">parachute or skydive</a> on a Sunday. This week in Montana, a legislator <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/02/montana-legislator-wants-ban-yoga-pants">explained</a> that he <a href="http://gph.is/1kJXDwx">seriously wants</a> to make it illegal for women to wear yoga pants in public.</p><p>These examples might seem silly and inconsequential, but even so, at their core, they speak to very discriminatory ideas about gender, authority and rights that manifest themselves in much more dangerous ways all over the world, including in the United States. Last year in California, an appeals court <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/US/calif-court-finds-single-woman-protected-rape-law/story?id=18132972">overturned</a> a rapist's conviction after a judge cited a standing 1872 law stating only married women could legally be raped. Last December, a legislator in Missouri <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/12/republican-wants-women-get-permission-father-having-abortion">proposed</a> a bill reading, "No abortion shall be performed or induced unless and until the father of the unborn child provides written, notarized consent to the abortion." And it is still <a href="http://www.thewire.com/national/2012/08/31-states-grant-rapists-custody-and-visitation-rights/56118/">legal</a> in more than 30 states in the United States for a rapist to sue his rape victim for child visitation and custody if his forcible insemination resulted in a pregnancy.</p><p>As ridiculous as these sound to some of us, they were not included in a top 10 list of misogynist laws compiled in a <a href="http://www.equalitynow.org/sites/default/files/B+20_Report_EN.pdf" target="_hplink">report</a> released today by women's rights advocacy group <a href="http://www.equalitynow.org/beijing20" target="_hplink">Equality Now</a>. The report describes laws maintained by more than 50 governments. Many reflect the institutionalization of men's entitlement to rape or beat wives and to "own" children. Others limit women's movements and ability to work based on what a husband wants. Here are the top 10.</p><p><strong>1. Saudi Arabia maintains its 1990 fatwa prohibiting "women's driving of automobiles" as "a source of undeniable vices."</strong></p><p>Last week, in a TV talk show, an historian <a href="http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/02/watch-tv-host-facepalms-after-saudi-historian-says-rape-is-not-a-big-deal-for-women-drivers/">defending</a> this prohibition suggested that foreign female drivers be imported wholesale to avoid the shame that the rape ("not a big deal" for a woman) would bring to the family. Of course, Saudi Arabia is only one of a handful of countries, including the Vatican, <a href="http://www.ibtimes.com/saudi-women-vote-which-countries-still-dont-allow-womens-suffrage-318260">where women cannot vote</a>. Saudi women are also, effectively, <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/25/world/meast/saudi-arabia-women/">electronically tagged</a>... if they try to travel out of the country, their guardians are automatically contacted.</p><p><strong>2. A 2013 Indian act confirmed the legality of marital rape: "Sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under 15 years of age, is not rape."</strong></p><p>India has the world's <a href="http://www.icrw.org/child-marriage-facts-and-figures" target="_hplink">highest number</a> of early marriages and while fewer girls younger than 15 are being married (18.2 percent), the rates for girls aged 15-18 have increased to 29.2 percent. Waiting a year eliminates "rape."</p><p><strong>3. In the U.S., a child born outside of marriage can only be granted citizenship in certain cases relating to the father.</strong></p><p>For example, when "a blood relationship between the person and the father is established by clear and convincing evidence" or "the father (unless dead) agreed, in writing, to provide financially for the person until they reach age of 18." Somehow, I doubt that millennials, for whom out-of-wedlock births are the norm, know this might be the case where they live.</p><p><strong>4. Yemen's 1992 act says a wife "must permit [her husband] to have legitimate intercourse with her when she is fit to do so."</strong></p><p>No age limit. Fourteen percent of girls in Yemen are <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/oct/01/story-yemen-child-bride">married</a> to adult men before they are 15. Periodically, the news cycle is interrupted by a sad and enraging story about girls and women assaulted, sometimes <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/08/13-year-old-yemeni-bride_n_530349.html">to death</a>, by their husbands. While <a href="http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/23/yemen-takes-a-step-toward-law-ending-child-marriage/">efforts are underway</a> to change the legal age of marriage to 18, marital rape is a separate issue. In either case, Yemen is in the <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/un-warns-yemen-collapsing-qaeda-seizes-army-camp-182153883.html">process of falling apart</a> as I type.</p><p><strong>5. In Malta, a kidnapper "after abducting a person, shall marry such person, he shall not be liable to prosecution."</strong></p><p>This may seem like a strange law to some; however, it is a <a href="http://www.stopvaw.org/harmful_practices_bride_kidnapping">real problem</a> in many countries and common in certain cultures.</p><p><strong>6. In Nigeria, violence "by a husband for the purpose of correcting his wife" is just fine.</strong></p><p>It is difficult for some, however, to live in a country where this is true and then move to another where it is not. Two weeks ago, Sahara Reporters' Abidodun Ladepo <a href="http://saharareporters.com/2014/01/22/epidemic-nigerian-men-killing-their-nurse-wives-us-abiodun-ladepo">wrote</a> about multiple cases of Nigerian men beating and killing their wives in the U.S. These women are among the three who die each day in the U.S. at the hands of their spouses.</p><p>7. During the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, an <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/may/12/48-women-raped-hour-congo">estimated 48 women</a> were raped per hour. Rape, including <a href="http://www.womenundersiegeproject.org/conflicts/profile/democratic-republic-of-congo">rape tied</a> <strong>to intimate partner violence, continues at horrific rates, and a woman is "obliged to live with her husband and follow him wherever he sees fit to reside."</strong></p><p>Marital rape is not a punishable offense.</p><p><strong>8. In Guinea women are not allowed to have "a separate profession from that of her husband" if he objects.</strong></p><p><strong>9. Kenya's 2014 Marriage Act legitimizes polygamy.</strong></p><p>"A marriage celebrated under customary law or Islamic law is presumed to be polygamous or potentially polygamous." This <a href="http://www.ielrc.org/content/a9501.pdf">law is one</a> thread in a very thick cloth and complicated cloth. Women's rights groups in the country seemed torn. Some <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/01/world/africa/kenya-polygamy-law/">applauded the law</a> because polygamy is so widely practiced and the law extended vital protections to all wives that were previously denied.</p><p>10. A Bahamian act dating from 1991, two years before the <a href="http://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/marital-rape-laws.html">last U.S. state</a> <strong>outlawed marital rape, defines rape as anyone older than 14 "having sexual intercourse with another person who is not his spouse."</strong></p><p>In addition, married Bahamian women cannot pass their nationality to children, with foreign fathers, born outside of the country. <a href="http://www.unhcr.org/4f5886306.html">This is not true</a> for children born to Bahamian men. It's also easier for <a href="http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?year=2013%20&amp;dlid=220417#wrapper">men</a> to get citizenship for spouses.</p><p>Rape laws, laws governing movement or work or children's nationality are reflections of deeply rooted ideas about women being the property of men. The common law <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2012/08/men-defining-rape-history">history</a> of rape laws in particular show that rape was, and in many cases still is, not about a woman's human rights being violated, but about a man—her father, brother, husband—having his property stolen. The laws were <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Rape-The-Price-Coercive-Sexuality/dp/0889610320">never meant</a> to actually protect women, but rather to defend these property rights. Rape, domestic violence and control of movement are, by many men and the countries they govern, understood as entitlements. Men <a href="http://www.ibtimes.co.in/sexual-entitlement-primary-reason-for-rapes-by-asian-men-almost-a-quarter-admit-to-crime-un-survey-505224">surveyed</a> in the largest global study of gender-based violence cited "entitlement" as the "primary reason" that they sexually assaulted women.</p><p>Women living in countries where they face multiple forms of legal discrimination are rendered exceptionally vulnerable to both spousal <em>and</em> state abuse. If they marry foreigners, or bear their children abroad, they constantly fear deportation of their families if they get "out of line." Because they are women, their families are economically disadvantaged in terms of property ownership and access to financial tools.</p><p>When women cannot pass nationality on to children or their spouses it also frequently means their families have no access to public services. Their children have no automatic and equal right to be educated in public schools, and their families might not have access to national heathcare. If they are in abusive relationships they are much more likely to fear the loss of their children, who can be used to extort and control them. The inability to pass nationality on to male spouses and to children puts women at risk. Combined with other discriminatory laws, it hurts them and their families every day.</p><p>Equality Now has, for several years, led a global campaign to <a href="http://www.equalitynow.org/sites/default/files/NationalityReport_EN.pdf">end sexism</a> in laws governing nationality. In the wake of the newly released report, the organization is pursuing <a href="http://www.equalitynow.org/Beijing20">country-by-country</a> #unsexylaws campaigns, which include opportunities for interested people and organizations to support grassroots activists.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2015 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1031933'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1031933" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Mon, 16 Feb 2015 05:31:00 -0800 Soraya Chemaly, Huffington Post 1031933 at http://enforcementwww.alternet.org LGBTQ LGBTQ World sexism racism world laws rape laws legal discrimination women gender domestic violence Why You Should Talk To Your Kids About ’50 Shades Of Grey’ http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/sex-amp-relationships/why-you-should-talk-your-kids-about-50-shades-grey <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1031725'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1031725" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The book and movie perpetuate the idea that the abuse and sexual control of women is sexy.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/fifty-shades-of-grey-scandal-trailer-631x324.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>One of the great virtues of insomnia, otherwise a deplorable problem, is the found time to do silly things for no good reason. During two sleepless weeks in 2013, I stayed up every night and read the <em>Twilight</em> books and then, for good measure, their fan fiction follow up, the <em>Fifty Shades</em> trilogy. As I read, I vacillated between giggling at some <a href="http://jezebel.com/5892524/is-the-bestselling-mommy-porn-book-worth-the-hype">execrable, entertaining writing</a> and amazement that anyone could think these books were transgressive.</p><p>It was like eating too much sweet, pink, and airy cotton candy. Then eating some more. Then feeling kind of sick and wishing you hadn’t because of the empty calories. Then being glad you did, because you probably wouldn’t touch the stuff again.</p><p>The disturbing thing about these stories, however, was that young teenagers voraciously consumed <em>Twilight</em> and many of them will see <em>Fifty Shades of Grey</em>. A few years ago, many people thought the <em>Twilight</em> books and movies were just fine for early teens because <em>Twilight</em> had “no sex.” Those children, only a few years older, are a prime target market for the film <em>Fifty Shades of Grey</em> and millions have, no doubt, also read the books. Both franchises normalize coercive sexuality and abuse. If you put them on a spectrum, however, you’d have to start with Disney’s <em>Beauty and the Beast</em>. Consider the immediate narrative similarities:</p><ul><li>Innocent, younger, virginal girl/woman</li><li>Damaged, older, more experienced boy/man</li><li>Female characters are relatively poor</li><li>Male characters are relatively wealthy and their lives filled with luxury</li><li>Male characters engage in controlling access to food, clothes</li><li>Male characters practice controlling/stalking behaviors such as following, eavesdropping, spying and this is considered a sign of love</li><li>Female characters are systematically isolated from their friends and family</li><li>Male characters are violent and physically overwhelming</li><li>Female character’s love, or the quest for that love, “change” the male character and make him less “monstrous”</li><li>Female characters learn to anticipate and “manage” male anger to reduce stress, risk.</li></ul><p>There are many ways to interpret all three as portraying strong women, in control of their destinies. Regardless, however, these similarities remain valid, and both subtle and not-so-subtle abuse fills these stories. (Practitioners of BDSM disavow the books’ portrayals, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/society/2012/aug/25/fifty-shades-submissive-sophie-morgan">arguing</a> that the depictions do not reflect safe/consensual practices, but are about indefensible sexual and emotional violence.)</p><p>In the case of <em>Fifty Shades</em>, a recent <a href="http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/jwh.2013.4344?journalCode=jwh&amp;">analysis</a> of the books revealed that “Emotional abuse is present in nearly every interaction.” Researchers make a compelling case, and provide backup for it, that stalking, intimidation, and sexual violence (including using alcohol to compromise consent) are pervasive. Anastasia, the protagonist, is described many times as feeling constant threat and described experiencing physical symptoms associated with it (“my stomach churns from his threats”); her identity changes and she becomes quick to “manage” Christian’s anger so that there is no violence.</p><p>When I was 12 I had limited access to books and an insatiable appetite, so to speak, for reading. So I raided my strict and pious Anglican great aunt’s library and over the course of six months, in compulsive fashion, read more than 200 of Barbara Cartland’s yummy, romance novels. These books were fluff and their sexual submission/dominance themes were hilariously masked in language, not sex. Without fail, these slim volumes featured innocent virginal girls “locked” in embraces with masculine men—the “strapping” kind. They were permeated by imagery in which the protagonists were represented, for sublimation and discretion, by or as horses. These men, who were surrounded by “lustrous” leather and carried exquisite riding crops, were almost always characterized by how they handled their “mounts,” through the use of said crops, bridles, saddles, boots, brushes, and more.</p><p>The horses the girl and man “rode” were “uncontrollable” and needed “taming.” Passion was literally “unbridled.” The girl, when she did ride, was special because she could, unlike her peers, “handle” a “powerful stallion.” The man was almost always filled with rage and damaged by his mother.</p><p>Barbara Cartland, by the way, sold more than 700 MILLION books long before <em>Fifty Shades</em> “transformed” the romance book industry which is a $1.3 billion a year genre, bigger than science fiction, mystery, or religion/inspirational categories. There is no more a “renewed popular interest in the stylized theater of female powerlessness,” suggested as a criticism of feminism, evidenced by the coincidence of these themes with the publication of books like <em>The Richer Sex</em> or <em>The End of Men</em>, than was evidenced by the coincidence of the success of the Marquis de Sade’s near simultaneous 18th century <em>Justine</em> with Mary Wollstonecraft’s <em>Vindication of the Rights of Women</em>.</p><p>The only revolutionary thing about the books was that they were read by millions of women who used the privacy of e-readers to bypass traditional shame regarding women’s consumption of sexually explicit materials. A woman sitting in a carpool line or on a bus as she commutes to work can’t very well read a book with an explicit name or cover, or magazine filled with porn, but an e-reader? No problem.</p><p>Which gets us back to teenagers consuming this media with virtually no helpful input from adults.</p><p>Seventy-three percent of parents <a href="http://www.avonfoundation.org/assets/nomore-avonfoundation-studyfinal.pdf">never talk to their children</a> about intimate partner abuse. An Avon Foundation <a href="http://www.avonfoundation.org/assets/nomore-avonfoundation-studyfinal.pdf">study</a> conducted last year by the No More anti-domestic violence coalition found that 1 in 10 people between the ages of 14 and 21 have already committed an act of sexual violence, most but not nearly all of them, boys. Eighty percent those on the receiving end of violence are girls (18% were boys and 5% were transgender youth). Twenty-five percent of teenage girls <a href="https://beta.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-teen-dating-violence">report being physically assaulted</a> by boys they are involved with. Coercive sexual practices are readily evident in the <a href="http://bitchmagazine.org/post/teen-sexting-isn%E2%80%99t-the-problem%E2%80%94non-consensual-forwarding-of-photos-ishttp://bitchmagazine.org/post/teen-sexting-isn%E2%80%99t-the-problem%E2%80%94non-consensual-forwarding-of-photos-is">texting patterns</a> of kids as young as 12.</p><p>The teenagers most likely to have sexually assaulted a peer are affluent, white boys. Those with the highest propensity consumed more pornography, a cultural artifact that is, arguably the ultimate expression of angry, controlling, <a href="http://byuresearch.org/ssrp/research.html">gendered sexual entitlement</a>.</p><p>“He was polite, intense, smart, really intimidating,”</p><p>“There’s really not much to know about me,”</p><p>“I exercise control in all things,”</p><p>“I am incapable of leaving you alone,”</p><p>“I had a rough start in life…”</p><p><em>Beauty and the Beast</em>? <em>Twilight</em>? Or the best direct quotes from the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQERFnGvi_A"><em>Fifty Shades</em> movie</a> voiceover? How can people not talk to their kids about this? (The first time I had to have this conversation with a roomful of 12 and 14 year old kids was when they were loudly singing along to Rihanna’s “S&amp;M”: <em>Now the pain is my pleasure…Sticks and stones may break my bones…But chains and whips excite me.</em>” They had no idea what this song was about and no one had discussed it with them. The song spent <a href="http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/471954/rihannas-sm-reigns-on-hot-100-lady-gagas-judas-debuts">months</a> at the top of the charts.)</p><p>The movie has a Valentine’s Day release and will, almost inevitably, be phenomenally successful. The story is a traditionally comforting and familiar one. Actors are sympathetic and beautiful, the sexual tension high, the soundtrack filled with excellent performers and millions are being poured into its marketing. Many people will write about how feminist or anti-feminist the movie is and the morality police will freak out.</p><p>None of this is new.</p><p>From my perspective, this movie perpetuates the idea that the abuse and sexual control of women is sexy and what “real” and “edgy” sex is about. This is hardly the first time that a young woman, overwhelmingly portrayed in our media as sexually passive objects, will be depicted as a naïve, manipulated, physically overwhelmed savior of a hurt, damaged, “controlling” rich man.</p><p>What <em>would</em> be new this time is if parents used the film to talk to openly to teenagers about how love, romance, trust, consent, anger, control, and gender are represented and distorted in these narratives.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2015 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1031725'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1031725" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 11 Feb 2015 11:14:00 -0800 Soraya Chemaly, Role Reboot 1031725 at http://enforcementwww.alternet.org Sex & Relationships Sex & Relationships fifty shades of grey sex women control abuse Woman-Only Taxis? Latest Rape Prevention Method That Burdens Women, Not Men Who Rape http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/woman-only-taxis-latest-rape-prevention-method-burdens-women-not-men-who-rape <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1018625'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1018625" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The deeper, systemic issues fall by the wayside in favor of focusing on what victims can do to avoid the violence or how individual abusers should be dealt with.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2014-09-09_at_10.11.06_am.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/08/nyregion/new-service-offers-taxis-exclusively-for-women.html">SheTaxis</a> (known as SheRides in New York City) is a newly-launched app that will help women-only passengers find women-only taxi drivers. If you are a woman, the creators argue, it makes sense to use this car service, because taking taxis and Ubers driven by men can be dangerous. There is a whole lot of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/stop-minimizing-the-costs-of-teaching-girls-to-stay-safe_b_5611019.html" target="_hplink">money to be made helping women adapt</a> to this problem.</p><p>This approach to "keeping women safe" is based on the sex segregation model of harassment and stranger rape avoidance at the heart of women-only subway cars in<a href="http://www.citylab.com/commute/2012/02/why-women-only-transit-options-have-caught/1171/">Japan</a> and women-only train compartments in <a href="http://www.npr.org/2013/03/28/175471907/on-indias-trains-seeking-safety-in-the-women-s-compartment">India</a>. It's the car version of a million "don't get raped" products, the latest of which is <a href="http://time.com/3183170/rape-nail-polish-anti-rape-products/">drug-sensing nail polish</a> that women can paint onto their fingertips and dip into drinks. Most solutions advocating segregation or self-defense are variations of "shrink it and pink it" consumer product and public space design. Even <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/08/27/women_com_susan_johnson_creates_the_first_social_network_for_women.html" target="_hplink">Women.Com</a>, a new social network designed as a (safe) space for women only, takes this approach -- that women have to take themselves out of spaces shared by men or risk the consequences.</p><p>The reason many feminists don't embrace these products and services enthusiastically is that, while they help individual women avoid rape, none of them prevents rape or other violence that it is often related to. They don't reduce terror, but diffuse it. They don't dismantle myths (like the relative risk of stranger sexual assault versus acquaintance and intimate assault), they capitalize on them. They not only operate within parameters that accept the violence, but commodify it.</p><p>Products and services that "empower" women, from <a href="http://www.antirape.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&amp;view=article&amp;id=6&amp;Itemid=18" target="_hplink">Rape Axe</a> to <a href="http://www.bustle.com/articles/29655-indias-electric-shock-anti-rape-bra-society-harnessing-equipment-is-terrifying-and-necessary" target="_hplink">electrified bras,</a> are not <a href="http://www.nyu.edu/projects/nissenbaum/papers/Sorting%20out%20the%20Question%20of%20Feminist%20Technology.pdf" target="_hplink">feminist technologies</a> in the sense that they do not challenge the systems that oppress women. Besides, what response, in those two cases in particular, do people think a rapist is going to have to having his penis shredded or being given an electric shock?</p><p>Nor do the stop violence; they just displace it. I like the idea of the taxi service because it offers a momentary respite. I hate it because that respite, useless to another woman, dissolves the minute a person exits the car. What if she can't afford the car? What if the car drops her off at home where her ex-boyfriend rapes her? What if her housemate does?</p><p>The very phrase "violence against women" avoids the word "men," although men and masculinity are a central fact of this violence. We don't, for example, commonly see headlines such as "male-perpetrated violence reaches epidemic levels." The phrase we use, violence against women, disembodies the person enacting the violence, and that's not helpful. "Violence against women" is an incomplete way of talking about the problem and products and services like this are the logical outcome of that approach.</p><p>This is the part of the conversation where the feminist says, "Most men are not raping and physically assaulting women," but an unconscionably high proportion of men, in fact, do. The largest international <a href="http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS2214-109X(13)70069-X/abstract">study</a> of rape, involving more than 10,000 men, found one in four admitted to raping women and that their reason for raping was sexual entitlement: they thought it was their right. Almost half admitted to using physical violence. This is, as the World Heath Organization has been <a href="http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2013/violence_against_women_20130620/en/">documenting and explaining</a> for year, "a global health problem of epidemic proportions.</p><p>That explains how it is that ONE IN TEN GIRLS on earth are sexually assaulted or raped. Last week, a new UN <a href="http://www.unicef.org/publications/index_74865.html">report</a> detailed this finding. Unicef's executive director, Anthony Lake, explains this happens "every day, everywhere" and "cuts across boundaries of age, geography, religion, ethnicity and income brackets."</p><p>It's a huge number: 125 million children. "Children" is inaccurate, too; It's girls. As with coverage of the recent <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-28955170">Rotherham abuses</a>, in which more than 1,400 underage girls were raped, sometimes brutally for years, and in which the authorities showed as much contempt for them as their rapists did, most reports refer to "child sexual abuse." While boys are victims and suffer tremendous, lifelong harm, the vast majority of those targeted for physical, sexual assault are girls and women and the vast majority of those <a href="http://wehuntedthemammoth.com/2013/10/29/cdc-mra-claims-that-40-of-rapists-are-women-are-based-on-bad-math-and-misuse-of-our-data/">perpetrating</a> crimes are men -- this is true regardless of the sex of the victim. In the U.S., <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/nisvs/">one in 77 men report</a> being sexually assaulted (compared with one in five women, one in three in some areas), and 28% of men report being assaulted as boys.)</p><p>The international study of rape conducted last year "reaffirms that violence against women is preventable, not inevitable," <a href="http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/presscenter/pressreleases/2013/09/10/un-survey-of-10-000-men-in-asia-and-the-pacific-reveals-why-some-men-use-violence-against-women-and-girls-/">explained</a> James Lang, a program coordinator with Partners for Prevention. "Prevention is crucial because of the high prevalence of men's use of violence found across the study sites and it is achievable because the majority of the factors associated with men's use of violence can be changed."</p><p>Rape is, of course, only one dimension of pandemic threat that women have to be alert to, usually in their own homes. Globally, one in three women lives with intimate partner violence. In the United States, <a href="http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2013/09/18/a-grim-tally-abusers-guns-and-the-women-they-kill/" target="_hplink">three women a day are killed by men they know</a>. Every week, there are between 9-<a href="https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/230412.pdf">12 murder suicides</a> in which women are 85% of those killed, and <a href="http://drexelmed.edu/portals/0/BHE/Murder-Suicide%20in%20PA.pdf">men 95% of those killing</a>. There are <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/domestic-violence_b_4912228.html">66,000 calls a day to domestic shelters</a> from people, most of them women, asking for help escaping daily terrorism.</p><p>Raising awareness of this violence has complicated effects. First, solutions like these taxis can subtly and not-to-subtly spread fear in women as a class. It's more of the "be careful always" message girls grow up with. Second, when it is evident that predatory rapists target women who are, ultimately, interchangeable, then the idea of "good" and "bad" women, those who "deserve" and "don't deserve," "invite," or "don't invite," abuse falls away as an enabling cultural myths. That can be scary for a lot of people who rely on those myths to feel safe. Count on avoidance products and services to increase, not decrease. Third, visible violence -- <a href="http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/09/06/time-to-get-ld-college-wrestler-filmed-self-rping-18-year-old-after-drinking-game/">like boys who film their rapes</a> or <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/ray-rice-video-shows-moment-punched-fiancee-elevator/story?id=25347953">men who bludgeon their wives in elevators</a> -- is easy to understand and object to, but focusing on what it means is easier to ignore. The deeper, systemic issues fall by the wayside in favor of focusing on what victims can do to avoid the violence or how individual abusers should be dealt with.</p><p>If you consider the entertainment and porn industries, our economy already substantively benefits from enactments and depictions of male-perpetrated violence and eroticized masculine physical dominance. The flip side of those things is enactments, depictions and commercial exploitation of women's vulnerability, fear and pain. We wrap it all up in "free speech," and "What an innovative idea!" to make it politically palatable, pragmatic and seemingly painless. We put the onus on the victims to avoid violence, leaving the perpetrator to find someone else and the culture to enable him to.</p><p>SheTaxis' drivers will wear hot pink pashmina scarves. You know when a pink scarf becomes a culture-changing feminist rape and abuse prevention strategy fighting a culture of institutionally tolerated violence? When a member of the <a href="http://www.gulabigang.in/">Gulabi Gang</a> is wearing it. People may not be keen on their violence as a response, but there is no doubt that their grass-roots solution is dismantling a traditional system that makes women less vulnerable and discriminates against them as a class of people.</p><p>In order to effect meaningful change, and not just shift everything around so that different people get hurt, we have to focus on how we grow boys into men. As Zerlina Maxwell said, in what was to so many a <a href="http://colorlines.com/archives/2013/03/5_ways_we_can_teach_men_not_to_rape.html">scandalous and horrifying suggestion</a>, we have to teach boys not to rape, and otherwise grow up to abuse children and women whom they ultimately feel they own. <a href="http://breakthrough.tv/ringthebell/">Breakthrough's Ring The Bell</a> initiative, Men Can Stop Rape's <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/y">Healthy Masculinity Action Project</a>, which work with boys ad men to change these cultures, are doing that. Segregating ourselves, while understandable, will never fix this problem and might significantly prolong it.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2014 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1018625'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1018625" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 06:48:00 -0700 Soraya Chemaly, Huffington Post 1018625 at http://enforcementwww.alternet.org News & Politics rape violence 10 Words Every Girl Should Learn http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/gender/10-words-every-girl-should-learn <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1009404'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1009404" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Socialized male speech dominance is a significant issue, not just in school.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_149959244-edited.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p><em>Editor's Note: This article updated from original, which <a href="http://www.rolereboot.org/culture-and-politics/details/2014-05-10-simple-words-every-girl-learn/" target="_hplink">appeared in Role Reboot</a>.</em></p><p><em>"Stop interrupting me." </em></p><p><em>"I just said that."</em></p><p><em>"No explanation needed."</em></p><p>In fifth grade, I won the school courtesy prize. In other words, I won an award for being polite. My brother, on the other hand, was considered the class comedian. We were very typically socialized as a "young lady" and a "boy being a boy." Globally, childhood politeness lessons are gender asymmetrical. We socialize girls to take turns, listen more carefully, not curse and resist interrupting in ways <a href="http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2013/may/%E2%80%9Cboys-will-be-boys%E2%80%9D-us-not-asia" target="_blank">we do not expect boys to</a>. Put another way, we generally teach girls subservient habits and boys to exercise dominance.</p><p>I routinely find myself in mixed-gender environments (life) where men interrupt me. Now that I've decided to try and keep track, just out of curiosity, it's quite amazing how often it happens. It's particularly pronounced when other men are around.</p><p>This irksome reality goes along with another -- men who make no eye contact. For example, a waiter who only directs information and questions to men at a table, or the man last week who simply pretended I wasn't part of a circle of five people (I was the only woman). We'd never met before and barely exchanged 10 words, so it couldn't have been my not-so-shrinking-violet opinions.</p><p>These two ways of establishing dominance in conversation, frequently based on gender, go hand-in-hand with this last one: A woman, speaking clearly and out loud, can say something that no one appears to hear, only to have a man repeat it minutes, maybe seconds later, to accolades and group discussion.</p><p>After I wrote about the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/10-ways-society-can-close-the-confidence-gap_b_5200419.html" target="_blank">gender confidence gap</a> recently, of the 10 items on a list, the one that resonated the most was the issue of whose speech is considered important. In sympathetic response to what I wrote, a person on Twitter sent me a <a href="http://sorayachemaly.tumblr.com/post/84061311965" target="_blank">cartoon</a> in which one woman and five men sit around a conference table. The caption reads, "That's an excellent suggestion, Miss Triggs. Perhaps one of the men here would like to make it." I don't think there is a woman alive who has not had this happen.</p><p>The cartoon may seem funny, until you realize exactly how often it <a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/13/130519-women-scientists-overlooked-dna-history-science/" target="_blank">seriously happens</a>. And -- as in the cases of <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/elizabeth-warren-white-house-wanted-me-to-be-a-cheerleader/" target="_blank">Elizabeth Warren</a> or say, <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/25/AR2009052502108.html" target="_blank">Brooksley Born</a> -- how broadly consequential the impact can be. When you add <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Silenced-Voices-Extraordinary-Conversations-Re-Imagining/dp/0807742848" target="_blank">race and class</a> to the equation the incidence of this marginalization is even higher.</p><p>This <a href="http://www.salon.com/2014/04/28/the_problem_with_saying_the_media_has_a_%E2%80%9Cwoman_problem%E2%80%9D/" target="_blank">suppressing</a> of women's voices, in case you are trying to figure out what Miss Triggs was wearing or drinking or might have said to provoke this response, is what sexism sounds like.</p><p>These behaviors, the interrupting and the over-talking, also happen as the result of difference in <a href="http://www.linguistik-online.de/1_00/KUNSMANN.HTM" target="_blank">status</a>, but gender <a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=YJ-wDp7CJYAC&amp;printsec=frontcover&amp;dq=gender+and+conversational+interaction+amazon&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=uwJTU7TiJcmysQSrqoG4Cw&amp;ved=0CC0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&amp;q&amp;f=false" target="_blank">rules</a>. For example, male doctors invariably <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11456245" target="_blank">interrupt patients</a> when they speak, especially female patients, but patients rarely interrupt doctors in return. Unless the <a href="http://www.linguistik-online.de/1_00/KUNSMANN.HTM" target="_blank">doctor is a woman</a>. When that is the case, she interrupts far less and is herself interrupted more. This is also true of senior managers in the workplace. Male bosses are not frequently talked over or stopped by those working for them, especially if they are women; however, female bosses are routinely interrupted by their male subordinates.</p><p>This preference for what men have to say, supported by men and women both, is a variant on "mansplaining." The word came out of an <a href="http://www.guernicamag.com/daily/rebecca-solnit-men-explain-things-to-me/" target="_blank">article</a> by writer Rebecca Solnit, who explained that the tendency some men have to grant their own speech greater import than a perfectly competent woman's is not a universal male trait, but the "intersection between overconfidence and cluelessness where some portion of that gender gets stuck."</p><p>Solnit's tipping point experience really did take the cake. She was talking to a man at a cocktail party when he asked her what she did. She replied that she wrote books and she described her most recent one, <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0142004103/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=0142004103&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=gueamagofarta-20" target="_blank">River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West</a>. </em>The man interrupted her soon after she said the word Muybridge and asked, "And have you heard about the <em>very important</em> Muybridge book that came out this year?" He then waxed on, based on his reading of a review of the book, not even the book itself, until finally, a friend said, "That's her book." He ignored that friend (also a woman) and she had to say it more than three times before "he went ashen" and walked away. If you are not a woman, ask any woman you know what this is like, because it is not fun and happens to all of us.</p><p>In the wake of Larry Summers' "women can't do math" controversy several years ago, scientist Ben Barres <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/12/AR2006071201883.html" target="_blank">wrote</a> publicly about his experiences, first as a woman and later in life, as a male. As a female student at MIT, Barbara Barres was told by a professor after solving a particularly difficult math problem, "Your boyfriend must have solved it for you." Several years after, as Ben Barres, he gave a well-received scientific speech and he overheard a member of the audience say, "His work is much better than his sister's."</p><p>Most notably, he concluded that one of the major benefits of being male was that he could now "even complete a whole sentence without being interrupted by a man."</p><p>I've had teenage boys, irritatingly but hysterically, excuse what they think is "lack of understanding" to [my] "youthful indiscretion." Last week as I sat in a cafe, a man in his 60s stopped to ask me what I was writing. I told him I was writing a book about gender and media and he said, "I went to a conference where someone talked about that a few years ago. I read a paper about it a few years ago. Did you know that car manufacturers use slightly denigrating images of women to sell cars? I'd be happy to help you." After I suggested, smiling cheerily, that the images were beyond denigrating and definitively injurious to women's dignity, free speech and parity in culture, he drifted off.</p><p>It's not hard to fathom <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/360676/why-do-men-assume-theyre-so-great/" target="_blank">why so many men tend to assume they are great</a> and that what they have to say is more legitimate. It starts in <a href="http://www.salon.com/2014/04/28/the_problem_with_saying_the_media_has_a_%E2%80%9Cwoman_problem%E2%80%9D/" target="_blank">childhood and never ends</a>. Parents interrupt girls twice as often and hold them to stricter politeness norms. Teachers engage boys, who correctly see disruptive speech as a marker of dominant masculinity, more often and more dynamically than girls.</p><p>As adults, women's speech is granted less authority and <a href="http://www.rolereboot.org/culture-and-politics/details/2013-11-how-we-teach-our-kids-that-women-are-liars" target="_hplink">credibility</a>. We aren't thought of as able <a href="http://www.grubstreet.com/2014/04/female-critics-gender.html" target="_blank">critics</a> or<a href="http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2007/01/hitchens200701" target="_blank"> as funny</a>. Men <a href="http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/html/icb.topic58474/krupnick.html" target="_blank">speak</a> <a href="http://das.sagepub.com/content/3/2/131.refs" target="_blank">more</a>, <a href="http://citeseer.uark.edu:8080/citeseerx/showciting;jsessionid=671D97A4EC266880B7578230C0DBC5B1?cid=3620911" target="_blank">more often</a>, and longer than women in mixed groups (<a href="http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/html/icb.topic58474/krupnick.html" target="_blank">classrooms</a>, <a href="http://news.byu.edu/archive12-sep-women.aspx" target="_blank">boardrooms</a>, <a href="http://news.byu.edu/archive12-sep-women.aspx" target="_blank">legis<wbr></wbr>lative bodies</a>, <a href="http://www.4thestate.net/female-voices-in-media-infographic/" target="_blank">expert media commentary</a> and, for obvious reasons <a href="http://sorayachemaly.tumblr.com/post/83717593699/catholic-cardinals-moslem-imams-hindu" target="_blank">religious institutions</a>.) Indeed, <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2205502/The-great-gender-debate-Men-dominate-75-conversation-conference-meetings-study-suggests.html">in male-dominated problem solving groups</a> including boards, committees and legislatures, men speak 75% more than women, with negative effects on decisions reached. That's why, as researchers summed up, "Having a seat at the table is not the same as having a voice."</p><p>Even in movies and television, male actors engage in more <a href="http://www.interruptions.net/literature/Zhao-JCommunication03.pdf" target="_blank">disruptive</a> speech and garner twice as much <a href="http://www.themarysue.com/oscars-lead-actresses-screen-time/" target="_blank">speaking and screen time</a> as their female peers. This is by no means limited by history or to old media but is replicated online. <a href="http://www.cios.org/EJCPUBLIC/003/2/00328.HTML" target="_blank">Listserve</a> topics introduced by men have a much higher rate of response and on Twitter, people <a href="http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/twee-q-sexist-twitter_b26170" target="_blank">retweet men two times as often</a> as women.</p><p>These linguistic patterns are consequential in many ways, not the least of which is the way that they result in <a href="http://nyupress.org/books/book-details.aspx?bookId=6518#.U7GG4Y1dWcY" target="_hplink">unjust courtroom dynamics</a>, where adversarial speech governs proceedings and gendered expression results in women's testimonies being interrupted, discounted and portrayed as not credible according to masculinized speech norms. Courtrooms also show exactly how credibility and status, women's being lower, are also doubly affected by race. If Black women <a href="http://nyupress.org/books/book-details.aspx?bookId=6518#.U7GOKI1dWcY" target="_hplink">testifying in court</a> adopt what is often categorized as "[white] women's language," they are considered less credible. However, if they are more assertive, white jurors find them "rude, hostile, out of control, and, hence [again], less credible." Silence might be an approach taken by women to adapt to the double bind, but silence doesn't help when you're testifying.</p><p><strong>The best part though is that we are socialized to think women talk more.</strong> Listener bias results in most people <a href="http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&amp;aid=2746840" target="_blank">thinking that women are hogging the floor when men are actually dominating.</a> Linguists have concluded that much of what is popularly understood about women and men being from different planets, verbally, <a href="http://www.courts.wa.gov/programs_orgs/pos_interpret/content/signLanguageMaterials/oBarrandAtkins.pdf" target="_blank">confuses</a> "women's language" with "powerless language."</p><p>There are, of course, exceptions that illustrate the role that gender (and not biological sex) plays. For example, I have a very funny child who regularly engages in simultaneous speech, disruptively interrupts and randomly changes topics. If you read a script of one of our typical conversations, you would probably guess the child is a boy based on the fact that these speech habits are what we think of as "masculine." The child is a girl, however. She's more comfortable with overt displays of assertiveness and confidence than the average girl speaker. It's hard to balance making sure she keeps her confidence with teaching her to be polite. However, excessive politeness norms for girls, <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/US/nj-catholic-school-girls-swear-swearing-february/story?id=18386855" target="_hplink">expected to set an example for boys</a>, have real impact on women who are, as we constantly hear, supposed to override their childhood socialization and learn to talk like men to succeed (learn to negotiate, demand higher pay, etc.).</p><p>The first time I ran this post, I kid you not, the first response I got was from a Twitter user, a man, who, without a shred of self-awareness, asked, "What would you say if a man said those things to you mid-conversation?"</p><p>Socialized male speech dominance is a significant issue, not just in school, but everywhere. If you doubt me, sit quietly and keep track of speech dynamics at your own dinner table, workplace, classroom. In the school bus, the sidelines of fields, in places of worship. It's significant and consequential.</p><p>People often ask me what to teach girls or what they themselves can do to challenge sexism when they see it. "What can I do if I encounter sexism? It's hard to say anything, especially at school." In general, I'm loath to take the approach that girls should be responsible for the world's responses to them, but I say to them, practice these words, every day:</p><p><em>"Stop interrupting me,"</em><br /><br /><em>"I just said that,"</em> and </p><p><em>"No explanation needed."</em></p><p>It will do both boys and girls a world of good. And no small number of adults, as well.</p><p>WATCH: Hollywood actresses Reese Witherspoon, Elizabeth Banks and Kerry Washington share their experiences with sexism, assertion and exceeding expectations in their careers.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="270" src="//www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/x3qbg4u" width="480"></iframe><br /><a href="http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3qbg4u_reese-witherspoon-kerry-washington-and-more-speak-on-hollywood-sexism_people" target="_blank">Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington, and More...</a> <i>by <a href="http://www.dailymotion.com/HollyscoopTV" target="_blank">HollyscoopTV</a></i></p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2014 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1009404'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1009404" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Sat, 05 Jul 2014 12:42:00 -0700 Soraya Chemaly, The Huffington Post 1009404 at http://enforcementwww.alternet.org LGBTQ Culture LGBTQ News & Politics girls words How Did the FBI Miss Over 1 Million Rapes? http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/gender/how-did-fbi-miss-over-1-million-rapes <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1008088'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1008088" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">According to a study, police departments throughout the U.S. systematically undercounted and underreported sexual assaults during a nearly 20-year period.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_145403950-edited.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Earlier this month, a 911 dispatcher in Ohio was <a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://abcnews.go.com/US/911-dispatcher-tells-rape-victim-quit-crying/story?id=24103774">recorded</a> telling a 20-year-old woman who had just been raped to “quit crying.” After she provided a description of her assailant, the caller went on to say, “They’re not going to be able to find him with the information that you’ve given.” This incident had its viral moment, sparking outrage at the dispatcher’s lack of empathy. But it also speaks to the larger issue of how we are counting rapes in the United States. Sixty-nine percent of police departments <a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://www.policeforum.org/assets/docs/Critical_Issues_Series/improving%20the%20police%20response%20to%20sexual%20assault%202012.pdf">surveyed</a> in 2012 said that dispatchers like this one, often with little training, are authorized to do the initial coding of sexual assault crimes.</p><p>That’s important, because miscoding of such crimes is masking the high incidence of rape in the United States. We don’t have an overestimation of rape; we have a gross underestimation. A thorough analysis of federal data <a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://blogs.law.uiowa.edu/ilr/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/A5_Yung.pdf">published</a> earlier this year by Corey Rayburn Yung, associate professor at the University of Kansas School of Law, concludes that between 1995 and 2012, police departments across the country systematically undercounted and underreported sexual assaults.</p><p>Yung used murder rates—the statistic with the most reliable measure of accuracy and one that is historically highly correlated with the incidence of rape—as a baseline for his analysis. After nearly two years of work, he estimates conservatively that between 796,213 and 1,145,309 sexual assault cases never made it into national FBI counts during the studied period.</p><p>That’s more than 1 million rapes.</p><p>The estimates are conservative for two reasons. First, in order to consistently analyze the data over time, Yung looked only at cases defined by the FBI’s <a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://www.policeforum.org/assets/docs/Critical_Issues_Series/improving%20the%20police%20response%20to%20sexual%20assault%202012.pdf">pre-2012</a> <a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2012/crime-in-the-u.s.-2012/violent-crime/rape">definition of rape</a> (one established in 1927): “carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.” This definition did not include anal or oral rape, cases involving drugging or alcohol, or the rape of boys and men. The Federal Criminal Code was recently <a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://snow.vawnet.org/research/print-document.php?doc_id=2103&amp;find_type=web_desc_AR">broadened</a> to include these categories. Second, the FBI and crime experts estimate that anywhere from <a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/cv11.pdf">60 percent</a>to <a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2011-09-29/news/bs-md-ci-fbi-rape-definition-20110929_1_sexual-assaults-definition-fbi-plans">80 percent</a>of rapes are never reported to the police.</p><p>Yung’s analysis, which focused on cities with populations of more than 100,000, found that 22 percent of the 210 studied police departments demonstrated “substantial statistical irregularities in their rape data.”</p><p>“It’s probably true that in all cities there is undercounting,” explains Yung<ins cite="mailto:Andrew%20Feder" datetime="2014-06-24T19:23">.</ins> “However, forty-six outlier cities appear to be undercounting on a consistent, high level, which makes sense because you have to show [improved crime statistics] results year over year, and you get into a trap where you have to improve upon already low numbers.” Even worse, the number of jurisdictions that appear to be undercounting has <em>increased</em> by 61 percent during the period studied.</p><p>How are police departments undercounting sexual assault?</p><p>One of the primary ways is that officers discount victim testimony, categorizing complaints as “unfounded” or reclassifying allegations of rape as “noncriminal” minor offenses. In 2013, a 196-page <a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://www.hrw.org/reports/2013/01/24/capitol-offense-0">report</a> by Human Rights Watch documented widespread, systemic failures in the Washington, DC, police department’s handling and downgrading of sexual assault cases. Last month, an externally run audit of the New Orleans police department found that 46 percent of forcible rapes were misclassified. The New Orleans study <a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2014/05/rape_nopd_misclassified.html">indicted</a>the department for having submitted rape statistics that were 43 percent lower than those from twenty-four comparable cities. And in Baltimore, reported rapes showed a suspicious <a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2011-09-29/news/bs-md-ci-fbi-rape-definition-20110929_1_sexual-assaults-definition-fbi-plans">80 percent decline</a> between 1995 and 2010, compared with a 7 percent national reduction. Yung also reveals that officers sometimes simply fail to write up reports after rape victims are interviewed.</p><p>Second, police departments have been found to <a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://dartcenter.org/content/what-rape-3#.U5tvXo1dWcY">destroy records</a> and ignore or mishandle evidence, which leads not only to undercounting but dismissal of cases. Many of the jurisdictions showing consistent undercounting are also, unsurprisingly, those with rape kit backlogs (there are more than <a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://www.usatoday.com/videos/news/nation/2014/05/14/9078025/">400,000 untested kits</a>in the United States). Many cities and states don’t even keep accurate track of the number of <a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/05/14/rape_exam_study_the_doj_reports_on_the_funding_for_and_accessibility_of.html">rape exams</a> or of kits languishing, expired or in <a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/413120-Kit-Storage-Issues.pdf">storerooms</a>—but when they do, the numbers improve. The arrest rate for sex assault in New York City <a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/long-forgotten-rape-evidence-finally-reveals-its-clues-in-northern-virginia-lab/2014/06/16/e4aa1aea-d538-11e3-95d3-3bcd77cd4e11_story.html">went from 40 percent to 70 percent</a> after the city successfully processed an estimated 17,000 kits in the early 2000s. However, it is only in the past year, after embarrassing and critical news coverage, that most departments have begun to process backlogs. After being publicly shamed for having abandoned more than 11,000 rape kits, the Michigan State Police began testing them, <a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://www.wxyz.com/news/100-serial-rapists-identified-after-rape-kits-from-detroit-crime-lab-are-finally-processed">identifying 100 serial rapists</a> as a result.</p><p>Third, police departments continue to <a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://dartcenter.org/content/what-rape-3#.U6nU6RaH_fN">ignore</a> rapes of women thought of as “fringe,” including <a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://www.nj.com/camden/index.ssf/2014/04/camden_police_serial_rapist_likely_targeted_multiple_prostitutes.html">prostitutes</a>, runaways, trans women, drug addicts and people considered transient. Women of color in particular face difficulties. For example, for years, <a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/05/08/cleveland-kidnapping-anthony-sowell-case-linked-by-indifferent-police.html">women repeatedly went to the police</a> in Cleveland to report that Anthony Sowell had raped, beaten or otherwise violently assaulted them at his house. Little was done until 2009, when police finally found eleven decomposing bodies of women there.</p><p>Fourth, people making complaints are often harassed out of pursing them. In 2012, the police department of Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, was held <a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://www.vice.com/read/i-was-rapedand-then-the-police-told-me-i-made-it-up">liable</a> in a case in which police accused a reporting victim of lying during her interview, at one point telling her, “Your tears won’t save you now,” and failing to pursue the investigation. In St. Louis, victims were strongly urged by police to sign <a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://dartcenter.org/content/what-rape-4#.U5tvS41dWcY">Sexual Assault Victim Waivers</a> absolving police from responsibility to investigate or report the crime as a rape to the FBI. Yung points out in his report that until relatively recently, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department defied the law by using so-called “<a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://digitalcommons.law.villanova.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1002&amp;context=wps">corroboration requirements</a>” and reporting only those assaults deemed, in the words of LA police and prosecutors, “winnable” in court (“corroboration requirements,” referring to evidence supporting victims’ claims such as bloody clothes or bruises, have deep roots in jurisprudence but are no longer legal in most of the country, including California).</p><p>Victims of sexual assault still encounter hostility, doubt and <a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/america-tonight/articles/2014/5/19/why-college-rapevictimsdonatgotothepolice.html">aggressive questioning</a>. When they do <a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2013/06/why_cops_don_t_believe_rape_victims_and_how_brain_science_can_solve_the.html">not conform</a> to officers’ preconceived ideas about how rape victims “should” act, officers’ implicit biases come into play and, as a result, victims often feel they are the ones being investigated. These issues are often compounded by racism. Native American women, who suffer the highest rates of sexual assault in the country, describe being questioned about mental illness, drug use, alcohol abuse and more when reporting assaults. While some jurisdictions have substantially improved their policies, with many women reporting compassionate treatment by police, many others continue to report the opposite.</p><p>These preconceptions, rooted in myths about rape and a still-powerful cultural predisposition to blame victims, are serious and consequential. Police officers display the same implicit biases as the general public, a tendency also <a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://www.publicintegrity.org/accountability/education/sexual-assault-campus">evident</a>at colleges and universities, where campus police are often more focused on investigating the credibility of victims than in whether or not their vulnerability was exploited in a predatory way. Studies show a strong correlation among police officers between rape-myth acceptance, sexist attitudes and an unwillingness to process or investigate reported assaults.</p><p>Interestingly, the longer an officer has worked in a sexual assault unit, the less likely he or she is to believe in false claims. A majority of detectives with between one and seven years of experience believe that 40 percent of claims are false—in some cases that number is as high as 80 percent. But among officers with more than eight years’ experience, the rate drops precipitously, to 10 percent. On campus or off, these beliefs persist, despite the fact that <a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://www.nsvrc.org/publications/articles/false-reports-moving-beyond-issue-successfully-investigate-and-prosecute-non-s">rates of false allegations of rape</a> are <a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://www.ndaa.org/pdf/the_voice_vol_3_no_1_2009.pdf">well understood</a> by criminologists and other social scientists to be between 2 percent and 8 percent, in line with false allegations of other crimes.</p><p>The other aspect of bias is that it informs not only attitudes toward victims but also those regarding perpetrators. Racism and sexism conspire both in police assessments of the credibility of victims and in the targeting of potential perpetrators. Estelle Freedman describes the sex- and race-based historical roots and contemporary legacies of both of these biases in her sprawling examination of rape in America, <em>Redefining Rape</em>.</p><p>While police departments are not immune from these legacies, change is possible. In 1999, the Philadelphia Police Department improperly handled <a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2010-09-07/news/bs-md-senate-hearing-rapes-20100907_1_patrol-officers-philadelphia-police-police-departments">2,300 out of 2,500 rape cases</a>. As late as 2003, the unit investigating sex crimes was jokingly referred to as “<a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://inquirer.philly.com/packages/crime/2003/062303inqmain.asp">the lying bitch unit</a>.” In the wake of widespread criticism and protest, the department began a partnership with the <a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://www.womenslawproject.org/">Women’s Law Project</a> to improve response to sex crimes, in an approach that subsequently became known as “the Philadelphia Model.” Both Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and WLP executive director Carol Tracy testified at a 2010 Senate hearing that reviewed police handling of sex crimes, and in 2011, Ramsey convened a Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) summit. The resulting 2012 report, <em><a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://www.policeforum.org/assets/docs/Critical_Issues_Series/improving%20the%20police%20response%20to%20sexual%20assault%202012.pdf">Improving the Police Response to Sexual Assault</a></em>, which included research and commentary from multiple jurisdictions and advocacy groups, concluded that while progress is being made, many of the problems that existed in Philadelphia persist in other police jurisdictions.</p><p>Two weeks ago, Tallahassee police chief Michael DeLeo <a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/13/us/after-florida-state-rape-case-police-will-revise-procedures.html?_r=0">agreed to allow</a> PERF to review and analyze his department’s policies, largely because of critical coverage of his department’s egregious <a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/04/16/sports/errors-in-inquiry-on-rape-allegations-against-fsu-jameis-winston.html">mishandling</a> of the 2012–13 sexual assault case involving Florida State University football player Jameis Winston. Almost all of the common procedural failures responsible for undercounting were illustrated in that case, so it is unlikely the complaints against Winston were included in the FBI’s annual count.</p><p>If we are to improve the handling and reporting of sexual assault crimes, external audits are critical, as is training of police departments by advocacy groups like the WLP. The fundamental approach of most police departments hasn’t change much in thirty years: training is not uniform or reliable, and often comes only at the behest of community advocates. Last year, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, whose membership comprises 21,000 departments, received a $450,000 grant from the federal Office on Violence Against Women to conduct training. While heartening, that comes out to roughly $22.50 per department.</p><p>In the meantime, as Yung puts it, “the sheer magnitude of the missing data…is staggering.” Of course, we need far more than improved police work, and undercounting is only part of the problem. Even when cases are properly recorded and investigated, the patterns evidenced in Yung’s analysis and the PERF report are reproduced in courtrooms, where rapists in most states still have <a data-ls-seen="1" href="http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/22/opinion/prewitt-rapist-visitation-rights/">the right to sue for custody</a> of the children born of their assaults. And only <a data-ls-seen="1" href="https://rainn.org/news-room/97-of-every-100-rapists-receive-no-punishment">3 percent of rapists</a> are ever imprisoned—that’s a crime we aren’t talking about.</p><p>Yung believes that these statistical distortions have significantly altered the nation’s historical record and understanding of rape in America. Accurate counts are vitally important—not only for the historical record, but because the data are used by academics, analysts, legislators, law enforcement officials, social justice advocates and media to determine trends, analyze crime, set policy and allocate resources. Law enforcement officials who are dedicated to addressing these problems understand that higher reporting numbers are a sign of trust in police departments.</p><p>Yung’s report, by the way, is titled “How to Lie with Rape Statistics: America’s Hidden Rape Crisis.”</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2014 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1008088'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1008088" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Mon, 30 Jun 2014 08:43:00 -0700 Soraya Chemaly, The Nation 1008088 at http://enforcementwww.alternet.org LGBTQ LGBTQ rape reports fbi crime sexual assault The Words Every Woman Should Know http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/words-every-woman-should-know <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '996277'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=996277" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Men discount what women say with surprising regularity. Here’s how women should respond. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2014-05-26_at_11.51.43_am.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p><em>The following article first appeared on <a href="http://www.rolereboot.org/culture-and-politics/details/2014-05-10-simple-words-every-girl-learn/">Role/Reboot. </a></em></p><p>“Stop interrupting me.” </p><p>“I just said that.”</p><p>“No explanation needed.”</p><p>In fifth grade, I won the school courtesy prize. In other words, I won for being polite. My brother, on the other hand, was considered the class comedian. We were very typically socialized as a “young lady” and a “boy being a boy.” Globally, childhood politeness lessons are gender asymmetrical. We socialize girls to take turns, listen more carefully, not curse, and resist interrupting in ways <a href="http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2013/may/%E2%80%9Cboys-will-be-boys%E2%80%9D-us-not-asia" target="_blank">we do not expect boys to</a>. Put another way, we generally teach girls subservient habits and boys to exercise dominance.</p><p>I routinely find myself in mixed-gender environments (life) where men interrupt me. Now that I’ve decided to try and keep track, just out of curiosity, it’s quite amazing how often it happens. It’s particularly pronounced when other men are around.</p><p>This irksome reality goes along with another—men who make no eye contact. For example, a waiter who only directs information and questions to men at a table, or the man last week who simply pretended I wasn’t part of a circle of five people (I was the only woman). We’d never met before, and barely exchanged 10 words, so it couldn’t have been my not-so-shrinking-violet opinions.</p><p>These two ways of establishing dominance in conversation, frequently based on gender, go hand-in-hand with this last one: A woman, speaking clearly and out loud, can say something that no one appears to hear, only to have a man repeat it minutes, maybe seconds later, to accolades and group discussion.</p><p>After I wrote about the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/10-ways-society-can-close-the-confidence-gap_b_5200419.html" target="_blank">gender confidence gap</a> recently, of the 10 items on a list, the one that resonated the most was the issue of whose speech is considered important. In sympathetic response to what I wrote, a person on Twitter sent me a <a href="http://sorayachemaly.tumblr.com/post/84061311965" target="_blank">cartoon</a> in which one woman and five men sit around a conference table. The caption reads, “That’s an excellent suggestion, Miss Triggs. Perhaps one of the men here would like to make it.” I don’t think there is a woman alive who has not had this happen.</p><p>The cartoon may seem funny, until you realize exactly how often it <a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/13/130519-women-scientists-overlooked-dna-history-science/" target="_blank">seriously happens</a>. And—as in the cases of <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/elizabeth-warren-white-house-wanted-me-to-be-a-cheerleader/" target="_blank">Elizabeth Warren</a> or say, <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/25/AR2009052502108.html" target="_blank">Brooksley Born</a>—how broadly consequential the impact can be. When you add <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Silenced-Voices-Extraordinary-Conversations-Re-Imagining/dp/0807742848" target="_blank">race and class</a> to the equation the incidence of this marginalization is even higher.</p><p>This <a href="http://www.salon.com/2014/04/28/the_problem_with_saying_the_media_has_a_%E2%80%9Cwoman_problem%E2%80%9D/" target="_blank">suppressing</a> of women’s voices, in case you are trying to figure out what Miss Triggs was wearing or drinking or might have said to provoke this response, is what sexism sounds like.</p><p>These behaviors, the interrupting and the over-talking, also happen as the result of difference in <a href="http://www.linguistik-online.de/1_00/KUNSMANN.HTM" target="_blank">status</a>, but gender <a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=YJ-wDp7CJYAC&amp;printsec=frontcover&amp;dq=gender+and+conversational+interaction+amazon&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=uwJTU7TiJcmysQSrqoG4Cw&amp;ved=0CC0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&amp;q&amp;f=false" target="_blank">rules</a>. For example, male doctors invariably <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11456245" target="_blank">interrupt patients</a> when they speak, especially female patients but patients rarely interrupt doctors in return. Unless the <a href="http://www.linguistik-online.de/1_00/KUNSMANN.HTM" target="_blank">doctor is a woman</a>. When that is the case, she interrupts far less and is herself interrupted more. This is also true of senior managers in the workplace. Male bosses are not frequently talked over or stopped by those working for them, especially if they are women; however, female bosses are routinely interrupted by their male subordinates.</p><p>This preference for what men have to say, supported by men and women both, is a variant on “mansplaining.” The word came out of an <a href="http://www.guernicamag.com/daily/rebecca-solnit-men-explain-things-to-me/" target="_blank">article</a> by writer Rebecca Solnit, who explained that the tendency some men have to grant their own speech greater import than a perfectly competent woman’s is not a universal male trait, but the “intersection between overconfidence and cluelessness where some portion of that gender gets stuck.”</p><p>Solnit’s tipping point experience really did take the cake. She was talking to a man at a cocktail party when he asked her what she did. She replied that she wrote books, and she described her most recent one, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0142004103/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=0142004103&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=gueamagofarta-20" target="_blank">River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West</a>. The man interrupted her soon after she said the word Muybridge and asked, “And have you heard about the very important Muybridge book that came out this year?” He then waxed on, based on his reading of a review of the book, not even the book itself, until finally a friend said, “That’s her book.” He ignored that friend (also a woman) and she had to say it more than three times before “he went ashen” and walked away. If you are not a woman, ask any woman you know what this is like, because it is not fun and happens to all of us.</p><p>In the wake of Larry Summers’ “women can’t do math” controversy several years ago, scientist Ben Barres <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/12/AR2006071201883.html" target="_blank">wrote</a> publicly about his experiences, first as a woman and later in life, as a male. As a female student at MIT, Barbara Barres was told by a professor after solving a particularly difficult math problem, “Your boyfriend must have solved it for you.” When several years after, as Ben Barres, he gave a well-received scientific speech, he overhead a member of the audience say, “His work is much better than his sister’s.”</p><p>Most notably, he concluded that one of the major benefits of being male was that he could now “even complete a whole sentence without being interrupted by a man.”</p><p>I’ve had teenage boys, irritatingly but hysterically, excuse what they think is “lack of understanding” to [my] “youthful indiscretion.” Last week as I sat in a cafe, a man in his 60′s stopped to ask me what I was writing. I told him, a book about gender and media and he said, “I went to a conference where someone talked about that a few years ago. I read a paper about it a few years ago. Did you know that car manufacturers use slightly denigrating images of women to sell cars? I’d be happy to help you.” After I suggested, smiling cheerily, that the images were beyond denigrating and definitively injurious to women’s dignity, free speech, and parity in culture he drifted off.</p><p>It’s not hard to fathom <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/360676/why-do-men-assume-theyre-so-great/" target="_blank">why so many men tend to assume they are great</a> and that what they have to say is more legitimate. It starts in <a href="http://www.salon.com/2014/04/28/the_problem_with_saying_the_media_has_a_%E2%80%9Cwoman_problem%E2%80%9D/" target="_blank">childhood and never ends</a>. Parents interrupt girls twice as often and hold them to stricter politeness norms. Teachers engage boys, who correctly see disruptive speech as a marker of dominant masculinity, more often and more dynamically than girls.</p><p>As adults, women’s speech is granted less authority. We aren’t thought of as able <a href="http://www.grubstreet.com/2014/04/female-critics-gender.html" target="_blank">critics</a> or<a href="http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2007/01/hitchens200701" target="_blank"> as funny</a>. Men <a href="http://dooku.miun.se/engelska/englishC/C-essay/D_essays/Jessikafinalversion.pdf" target="_blank">speak</a> <a href="http://das.sagepub.com/content/3/2/131.refs" target="_blank">more</a>, <a href="http://citeseer.uark.edu:8080/citeseerx/showciting;jsessionid=671D97A4EC266880B7578230C0DBC5B1?cid=3620911" target="_blank">more often</a>, and longer than women in mixed groups (<a href="http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/html/icb.topic58474/krupnick.html" target="_blank">classrooms</a>, <a href="http://news.byu.edu/archive12-sep-women.aspx" target="_blank">boardrooms</a>, <a href="http://news.byu.edu/archive12-sep-women.aspx" target="_blank">legis<wbr></wbr>lative bodies</a>, <a href="http://www.4thestate.net/female-voices-in-media-infographic/" target="_blank">expert media commentary</a> and, for obvious reasons <a href="http://sorayachemaly.tumblr.com/post/83717593699/catholic-cardinals-moslem-imams-hindu" target="_blank">religious institutions</a>.) Indeed, <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2205502/The-great-gender-debate-Men-dominate-75-conversation-conference-meetings-study-suggests.html">in male-dominated problem solving groups</a> including boards, committees, and legislatures, men speak 75% more than women, with negative effects on decisions reached. That’s why, as researchers summed up, “Having a seat at the table is not the same as having a voice.”</p><p>Even in movies and television, male actors engage in more <a href="http://www.interruptions.net/literature/Zhao-JCommunication03.pdf" target="_blank">disruptive</a> speech and garner twice as much <a href="http://www.themarysue.com/oscars-lead-actresses-screen-time/" target="_blank">speaking and screen time</a> as their female peers. This is by no means limited by history or to old media but is replicated online. <a href="http://www.cios.org/EJCPUBLIC/003/2/00328.HTML" target="_blank">Listserve</a> topics introduced by men have a much higher rate of response and on Twitter, people <a href="http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/twee-q-sexist-twitter_b26170" target="_blank">retweet men two times as often</a> as women.</p><p>The best part though is that we are socialized to think women talk more. Listener bias results in most people <a href="http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&amp;aid=2746840" target="_blank">thinking that women are hogging the floor when men are actually dominating.</a> Linguists have concluded that much of what is popularly understood about women and men being from different planets, verbally, <a href="http://www.courts.wa.gov/programs_orgs/pos_interpret/content/signLanguageMaterials/oBarrandAtkins.pdf" target="_blank">confuses</a> “women’s language” with “powerless language.”</p><p>There are, of course, exceptions that illustrate the role of gender and not sex. I, for example, have a very funny child who regularly engages in simultaneous speech, interrupts, and randomly changes topics. If you read a script of one of our typical conversations, you would probably guess she’s a boy based on the fact that her speech habits are what we think of as “masculine.” She’s more comfortable with overt displays of assertiveness and confidence than most girls. It’s hard to balance making sure she keeps that confidence with teaching her to be polite. However, excessive politeness norms for girls, expected to set an example for boys, have real impact on women who are, as we constantly hear, supposed to override their childhood socialization and learn to talk like men to succeed (learn to negotiate, demand higher pay, etc.).</p><p>People often ask me what to teach girls or what they themselves can do. “What can I do if I encounter sexism? It’s hard to say anything, especially at school.” I tell them to practice these words, every day:</p><p>“Stop interrupting me,” “I just said that,” and “No explanation needed.”</p><p>It will do both boys and girls a world of good.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2014 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '996277'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=996277" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Mon, 26 May 2014 08:36:00 -0700 Soraya Chemaly, Role Reboot 996277 at http://enforcementwww.alternet.org women men sexism 6 Reasons Female Nudity Can be Powerful http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/culture/6-reasons-female-nudity-can-be-powerful <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '951190'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=951190" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">A reporter&#039;s question about Lena Dunham&#039;s nudity pointed to a bigger issue: Naked women can threaten the status quo.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/lena.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Last week, in the midst of what appears to be <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/features/girls-series-3-lena-dunhams-hannah-is-still-naked--and-critics-are-still-perplexed-9065518.html">infinite fascination</a> about Lena Dunham’s nudity, I saw a fundraiser for the documentary “<a href="http://fundanything.com/freethenipple?locale=en">Free the Nipple</a>“ and also, by coincidence, talked to Facebook spokespeople about that company’s ban on visible female nipples.  Like the reporter who recently <a href="http://www.thewrap.com/judd-apatow-lena-dunham-get-mad-asking-shes-naked-much-girls/">asked</a> Dunham why her “Girls” character was “often naked at random times for no reason,” many people seem confounded by expressions of female nudity that are not sexual – because isn’t titillation the whole point of women’s nakedness? The real question about female nudity isn’t why anyone would want to show or see women’s breasts if they’re not titillating.  The real question is about who has the right to say what they’re for, where and when they can be seen and by whom. That’s about power.</p><p>While it’s irksome that the reporter questioning Dunham had to ask at all, it’s an important question. It revealed how little he, and so many others, has thought about a topic that affects all the women he’s ever known.</p><p>Why is exposing the world to non-sexualized female nudity important?</p><p>1.  Women too often are made to embody male power, honor and shame.  It’s not good for us.  Our bodies, and the bodies of people who are gender fluid and non-binary conforming, are sites of moral judgment in ways most men’s are not, especially in public and in protest. Some of us experience our bodies, in particular our nudity, as objects of repression, oppression and powerlessness. Representing them as no one’s but our own, counter to prevailing <a href="http://jezebel.com/5916650/fashions-ongoing-violence-against-women/%22%20%5Ct%20%22_blank">representations</a>, is important.</p><p>2. Female public nudity is usually treated as a moral offense, a cause for concern and discussion, but it’s <a href="http://espn.go.com/espnw/body-issue/6974155/hope-solo%22%20%5Ct%20%22_blank">rarely</a> allowed to be a source of non-sexual female power.  Male nudity is an entirely different thing.  When your average (straight) man is seen nude or semi-nude, it’s often considered humorous, as in frat boys streaking.  Or it’s a sign of virility and athleticism.  When it’s not, for example, the jarring images of the <a href="http://www.womenundersiegeproject.org/blog/entry/what-does-it-mean-when-women-perpetrate-gang-rapes%22%20%5Ct%20%22_blank">torture of Iraqi men</a> in Abu Ghraib, men – vulnerable, humiliated and in pain – are <a href="http://www.mckendree.edu/academics/scholars/issue14/freivogel.htm%22%20%5Ct%20%22_blank">feminized by their nakedness</a>.</p><p>3. Female nudity is not just about sexualization, it’s about maintaining social hierarchies, like those of race and class.  Non-idealized female bodies used autonomously undermine a continuous narrative about body-based sex and race differences. When our cultural production is singularly focused on hyper-gendered, <a href="http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2013/04/pornindustry_racism_whats_behind_it.html">racialized</a> and <a href="http://colorlines.com/archives/2009/04/rethinking_porn_really.html">sexualized representations</a> of nudity, it is easier to maintain <a href="http://www.fireandreamitchell.com/2014/01/20/abortion-barbie-wendy-davis-real-texas-story/">racist and sexist ideas</a> – and nude female bodies outside socially approved, sexualized contexts challenge those.</p><p>The cultural regulation of female nudity and portrayals of sexuality is also a powerful way in which women’s bodies are used to pit us against one another and to reinforce hierarchies among men. Dark bodies, especially women’s, have <a href="http://www.b/">always been available for public consumption</a>: sale, rape, breeding, medical experimentation and more and the staying power of racist and sexist mythologies about white women and black men, rape and sex, are <a href="http://twitchy.com/2014/01/19/shameful-bizarre-foods-chef-agrees-with-vulgar-misogynistic-attack-on-elizabeth-hasselbeck/">evident</a> <a href="http://www.fireandreamitchell.com/">every day</a>.  When women take ownership of the circumstances of their own nudity, they can defy others’ attempts to place them within these hierarchies. Dunham’s casual yet implicitly confrontational nudity in some ways refuses to cater to the myth of the vulnerable, pure, white woman that serves as a racist backdrop to portrayals of black women as inferior.  But very few black women have the ability to <a href="http://www.feminish.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/bell-h">challenge dominant representations of their bodies and roles</a> in the way that Dunham does, however, and that, too, is a function of our hierarchies.</p><p>4. Female public nakedness as protest or social commentary is not new and is critical, expressive and censored speech.  <a href="http://www.railrode.net/wp-admin/%22http:/">Lady Godiva</a> is far from the only woman to use her nudity to achieve political ends. Barbara Sutton’s excellent <a href="http://vc.bridgew.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1390&amp;">recounting of her experiences with naked protests in Brazil</a> is chock-full of historical and analytical insights.  Women have <a href="http://nakedinafrica.com/naked-protests-black-african-women/">regularly used</a> their nakedness to protest <a href="http://karizmwangi.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/when-uganda-women-stripped-to-protest-police-harrassment/%22%20%5Ct%20%22_blank">corruption</a> and <a href="http://www.okayafrica.com/2013/03/28/naked-prost">exploitation</a> that go along with colonialism.  It’s among the most important reasons why <a href="http://nirmukta.com/2013/05/10/the-tactics-and-critical-analysis-of-femen/%22%20%5Ct%20%22_blank">Femen’s</a> (topless) neocolonial narrative is <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/apr/11/femen-nudity-racist-colonial-feminism%22%20%5Ct%20%22_blank">offensive</a>.  Prior to Tunisia’s Amina Sboui’s <a href="http://www.vocativ.com/04-2013/topless-t">topless protest</a> (after which she was arrested, subjected to a virginity test and fled), Egyptian activist <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2011/11/19/world/me">Aalia Magda</a> (also in exile) posted pictures of herself naked to protest Shariah law and censorship. Last January, <a href="http://allafrica.com/stories/201401080080.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&amp;utm_medium=">hundreds of women in the Niger Delta</a> marched half-naked in protests against Shell Oil Company practices in their community.  This was a repeat of <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/1158492.stm%22%20%5Ct%20%22_blank">earlier</a> and <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=79895%22%20%5Ct%20%22_blank">similar protests</a>.  These were peaceful, unlike <a href="http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/between-errands-april-thompson/2013/dec/5/argentina-women-attack-c">last month’s in Argentina</a> when an estimated <a href="http://www.infobae.com/2013/11/26/1526476-en-san-juan-militantes-pro-aborto-quemaron-una-imagen-del-papa%22%20%5Ct%20%22_blank">7,000 women stormed a cathedral</a> defended by 1,500 rosary-bearing Catholic men. They fought, spat, yelled, spray-painted people and were accused, without a shred of <a href="http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2013/02/11/the-pope-pregnant-children-and-violence-against-girls-and-women/">irony</a>, of gender-based violence against Catholic men. Many of these women were topless.</p><p>Nudity is also an enduring and essential part of the <a href="http://www.salon.com/2013/02/09/naked_if_i_want_to_lena_dunhams_body_politic/%22%20%5Ct%20%22_blank">social critique of women artists</a>.  The works of Lorna Simpson, Judy Chicago, Ana Medieta, Carolee Schneemann, Yoko Ono, Marina Abramovic, Hanna Wilke and so many others speak to identity, race, sex and class, using women’s naked bodies to do it.  When newspapers, movie theaters, cable and TV news, online media and social media refuse to show female nudity as part of female-directed political protest or artistic statement they deny them equal freedom of expression. When they do this while proliferating grossly objectifying alternatives, they silence them doubly.</p><p>5.  It’s not just that women have the right not to be sex objects, but also that we have the right to dismantle a discriminatory canon. In her 1977 essay “What’s Wrong With Images of Women?” art historian Griselda Pollock described a global, commercial, patriarchal visual culture that uses women’s bodies symbolically and makes it impossible for us to use our own bodies effectively in challenging that culture.  It’s a symptom of women’s position in the world that the efficacy of using our nudity to protest is tenuous.  Again, take Femen.  Set aside their <a href="http://www.newstatesman.com/bim-adewunmi/2013/04/inconsistency-femens-imperialist-one-size-fits-all-attitude%22%20%5Ct%20%22_blank">execution</a> and <a href="http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/femen-victor-svyatski-russia-weak-bitches-503659%22%20%5Ct%20%22_blank">bizarre provenance</a> and focus on two things: a) their use of naked female bodies to express aggression and rage, and b) the fact that they appear to meet the requirements of Western, increasingly global, ideals of beauty. They are thin, young, tall, topless and almost all white. In Louise Pennington’s words, they pass the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/louise-pennington/femen-reinforcing-the-pat_b_2041500.html%22%20%5Ct%20%22_blank">patriarchal fuckability test.</a>   And so media eat them up. The same media that every day make choices about what not to show: models <a href="http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/11/07/black-models-go-topless-in-rio-to-protest-racism-in-the-fashion-industry/%22%20%5Ct%20%22_blank">protesting racism</a> in their industry; <a href="http://www.infobae.com/2013/11/26/1526476-en-san-juan-militantes-pro-aborto-quemaron-una-imagen-del-papa%22%20%5Ct%20%22_blank">angry, anti-Catholic feminist crowds</a>;  peaceful, determined, old Nigerian women.   That’s not Femen’s fault.  They certainly aren’t the ones making media decisions about what makes the news. Did they use this bias? Should women?  Femen is exactly why many feminists <a href="http://exiledstardust.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/nakedness-isnt-activism-heres-why/%22%20%5Ct%20%22_blank">doubt that female nudity can ever be an effective tool of activism</a>.   However, each controversy that erupts allows us to think about how our own bodies and their “place” are used to undermine our intent and desires.</p><p>6. Self-defined public female nudity is a challenge to capitalism and its uses of women as products, props, assets and distributable resources. Nothing on Earth is used to drive sales and profits and display male wealth and status like women’s, often naked and semi-naked, bodies.  If you are thinking women make choices and are complicit, show contempt for other women because they are women — well, of course some of them do. That is a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/International-Encyclopedia-Masculinities-Michael-Flood/dp/0415333431%22%20%5Ct%20%22_blank">defining feature</a> of misogyny. Until we have equal access to resources, and are not subject to constant <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/50-facts-rape_b_2019338.html%22%20%5Ct%20%22_blank">predation</a>, this is a no-brainer. In the meantime, when women refuse to sexualize themselves and use their bodies to challenge powerful interests that profit from that sexualization, the words we should use aren’t  “lewd” and “obscene”; they’re “threatening” and “destabilizing.”</p><p>Women who use public nudity for social commentary, art and protest are myth-busting along many dimensions: active, not passive; strong not vulnerable; together, not isolated; public, not private; and, usually, angry, not alluring.  The morality offense is misogyny, not nudity.</p><p>In the U.S., there is nothing unique about reporter Tim Molloy’s question about Lena Dunham’s nudity.  Social media company <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/08/">policies</a>, like many city statutes and public ordinances, mirror mainstream norms that clearly privilege heterosexuality, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/15/girls-nudi">conflate women’s bodies with indecency and sex</a> (a bad thing), and insist that those bodies (and sex) be held in reserve, distributed and consumed according to patriarchal rules. These rules, and the puritanical obsessions that drive them, are why we have billion-dollar “<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Female-Chauvinist-Pigs-Raunch-Culture/dp/0743284283%22%20%5Ct%20%22_blank">good girls gone wild</a>” industries and an Internet fueled by gonzo porn, both carefully packaged pseudo-transgressions have little to do with women’s autonomy and do nothing to undermine a well-entrenched, misogynistic status quo.</p><p>We all know that the prohibitions on women’s nipples have nothing to do with women’s nipples, but everything to do with control. The threat that female toplessness and self-articulated nudity poses is culturally defined and can be culturally redefined. So, as a society, we might want to rethink that Photoshop blurring tool.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2014 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '951190'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=951190" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Fri, 24 Jan 2014 12:00:00 -0800 Soraya Chemaly, Salon 951190 at http://enforcementwww.alternet.org Culture Culture LGBTQ Sex & Relationships nudity FEMALE NUDITY lena dunham nakedness gender sexism misogyny Life News entertainment news Why Naked Pictures Aren’t Harmless http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/why-naked-pictures-arent-harmless <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '911683'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=911683" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">A frat flyer featuring naked women contributes to rape culture and objectification, and students are fighting back.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/photo_1379148613331-1-0.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p> </p><p>Last week at Swarthmore College a pledge posted a photograph on Instagram of his offer to join a fraternity. The picture was of a booklet cover featuring a mosaic of hundreds of naked or nearly naked women. The website Total Frat Move lamented that it wasn’t delivered with a note saying, “Enjoy the tits.” The fraternity has used this format for several years — but this year, a<a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/education/Swarthmore_fraternity_faces_recruiting_issues.html"> group of students</a> led by senior Marian Firke protested the use of the photography. They created an alternative version of the composite image and asked the school to suspend the fraternity’s school-funded party budget.</p><p>Swarthmore’s dean of students agreed with protesters and took steps to address their concerns, including requiring members of the fraternity to attend yet-to-be-defined “special training sessions.” The speed with which the administration has responded may have something to do with the fact that the college is one of a growing list of schools, including Occidental, the University of North Carolina, Yale and <a href="http://rt.com/usa/dartmouth-students-rape-protest-022/">Dartmouth</a>, involved in very public complaints for their handling (or mishandling) of sexual assault cases. <a href="http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/10/09/emerson-students-allege-school-failed-properly-investigate-sexual-assaults/cPGivjjm0JtpXinGk87kYP/story.html">Emerson</a> is the latest school to be investigated by the Department of Education for related Title IX violations. While the administration’s responsiveness is laudable, the truth is that given the scope of the problem at hand, entire swaths of our population need “special training sessions,” and before they even make it to college. What do we do about them?</p><p> </p><p>Earlier this week young men at <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelzarrell/email-from-georgia-tech-frat-instructs-luring-rape-bait?utm_campaign=socialflow&amp;utm_source=twitter&amp;utm_medium=buzzfeed">Georgia Tech</a> received an email signed “In luring rapebait” that instructed them to, among other things, grab women “on the hips with your 2 hands and then let them grind against your dick.” In October of last year a woman filed a lawsuit against <a href="http://articles.courant.com/2012-10-05/news/hc-wesleyan-rape-lawsuit-1006-20121005_1_wesleyan-university-student-wesleyan-community-lawsuit">Wesleyan University</a> citing a fraternity known on campus as the “rape factory.” At Miami University of Ohio someone thought it was a good idea hang a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/24/miami-university-rape-flier-students-punished_n_2011184.html">poster</a> titled “Top Ten Ways to Get Away with Rape,” which closed with, “If your [sic] afraid the girl might identify you slit her throat.” A University of Vermont fraternity <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/14/university-of-vermont-fra_n_1148585.html">surveyed</a> members in 2011 with this question: “If you could rape someone, who would it be?” At USC, two years ago, some boys released a <a href="http://www.brobible.com/life/article/usc-fraternity-email-objectifies-women-causes-uproar">Gullet Report</a> (named for a “gullet,” defined as “a target’s mouth and throat. Most often pertains to a target’s throat capacity and it’s [sic] ability to gobble cock. If a target is known to have a good gullet, it can deep-throat dick extremely well. Good Gullet Girls (GGG) are always scooped up well before last call.”). For good measure they added some overtly racist material as well. Five years ago, Yale’s Zeta Psi fraternity took photos of members holding up signs reading, “We love Yale sluts.” Another fraternity had fun running around campus singing, “No means yes! Yes means anal!” Meanwhile, the school’s recommended punishment for sexual assault violations was a written reprimand. In 2012 Yale <a href="http://yaledailynews.com/blog/2012/06/15/department-of-education-ends-title-ix-investigation/">reached an agreement</a> with the Department of Education, which launched a Title IX investigation in the wake of the song and similar incidents.</p><p>None of this is unique to the United States. In the United Kingdom, the first part of the academic year is called <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/the-womens-blog-with-jane-martinson/2013/sep/19/freshers-week-sexism-women">Freshers’ Week</a>, and similar behavior by boys is written off as lad culture. In early September, at <a href="http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/universities-reviewing-frosh-orientation-in-wake-of-offensive-chant-1.1451984">St Mary’s University</a> in Canada, more than 80 students sang this ditty during an orientation event: “Y is for ‘Your sister’, O is for ‘Oh so tight’, U is for ‘Underage’, N is for ‘No consent’, G is for ‘Grab that ass.’” Wales’ Cardiff Metropolitan University hung a <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-23787115">poster for orientation week events</a> that featured a man wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the text: “I was raping a woman last night and she cried.”</p><p>Young men are going to colleges and universities way too comfortable expressing themselves in exploitative, sexist ways that denigrate their female peers and are corrosive to the academic environment. In addition, the notion that rape is a serious crime for which they can be held responsible seems not to have entered their heads. Somehow we’ve gotten to the point where discussing a person’s <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2290789/Glasgow-University-Union-debate-Cambridge-undergraduate-tells-shocking-abuse-male-students-elite-university.html">“rape potential</a>” is a thing.</p><p>No one at the Swarthmore fraternity advocated or suggested rape when they used photographs of naked women to extend invitations to pledges. However, <a href="http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023%2FA%3A1018868913615">sexist media and humor</a> results in greater acceptance of rape myths, trivialization of rape, an increased inclination to blame victims and a lack of desire to either punish rapists or assign responsibility to them for their actions. This media, which hinges on the kind of sexual objectification the students at Swarthmore protested, permeates virtually every form of entertainment and storytelling that we, children included, consume.</p><p>Nude photos, <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jp.aikotoba.opw.opywave2&amp;hl=en">tit</a>-<a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/titstare-and-masturbation-apps-at-techcrunch-disrupt-2013-2013-9">shares</a> and rape games, especially in an <a href="http://www.reducingstereotypethreat.org/definition.html">educational environment</a>, aren’t just denigrating to women or mindless fun for men. Images like these distributed on campus exist alongside the fact that <a href="http://www.campussafetymagazine.com/Channel/Public-Safety/articles/2012/03/Sexual-Assault-Statistics-and-Myths.aspx">20-25% of women and 3% of men will be raped in college</a>. And jokes about rape have <a href="http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023%2FA%3A1018868913615">real and negative effects</a> on behavior.</p><p><a href="http://www.mit.edu/~shaslang/mprg/nussbaumO.pdf">Objectification</a> is the opposite of empathy. While we talk about its effects on <a href="http://www.sanchezlab.com/pdfs/FredricksonRoberts.pdf">girls</a>, the way it <a href="http://newyorksociologist.org/11/Berberick2011.pdf">erodes their confidence, their self-awareness, their sense of security</a>, we rarely actually discuss what the effects of sexually objectifying women are <a href="http://www.ted.com/talks/jackson_katz_violence_against_women_it_s_a_men_s_issue.html">on boys</a> and their psychological or sexual development. It’s not minor. It encourages them to think of girls and women as <a href="http://www.livescience.com/21806-brain-male-female-objectification.html">body parts</a> for pleasure and use — literally, as “things” that don’t have autonomy or self-determination and whose permission is irrelevant. Things that are fungible and are violable. Things that should be silent.</p><p>Objectifying girls and women is tightly bound up with suppressing women’s speech. Consider these comments about Firke on the website <a href="http://totalfratmove.com/phi-psi-chapter-hands-out-bids-featuring-nude-girls-offends-clothed-girls/#WwAr17PbPm78kRRp.99">Total Frat Move</a> in response to the protest: after some throwaway “feminist cunt” ramblings, commenters described her as a “Stupid girl who stick[s] [her] opinions where they do not belong.” Mild enough. But, one commenter went on to say that “somebody needs to send their pledges over to fuck the bitch out of” her. Another, that she “deserved to be face raped so hard that she will be incapable of spewing any more of this bullshit.” The interweaving of violence, objectification and desire for her to shut up are inseparable.</p><p>But student activists aren’t shutting up. They have coalesced into a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/20/education/activists-at-colleges-network-to-fight-sexual-assault.html?pagewanted=all&amp;_r=0">national movement</a> and are taking matters into their own hands. Yesterday FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, whose successful faux <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/04/pink-loves-consent-underw_n_2239534.html">Victoria’s Secret Consent</a> campaign launched a series of an anti-rape activism pranks, named student recipients of its <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/09/stop-sexual-assault-college_n_4067451.html">Consent Revolution Awards</a> at four schools for their efforts to educate their peers. Recently, to great effect, the group created a fake consent-themed <a href="http://partywithplayboy.com/">Playboy 2013 Top Ten Party Commandments</a> that captured national attention. While these projects may seem trivial or funny, they are, in actuality, deadly serious. So are the efforts of <a href="http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/know-your-ix">Know Your IX</a>, a student-led coalition created to educate students about their rights on campus, launched earlier this year.</p><p>Swarthmore’s holding the fraternity to a new standard of behavior makes some people uncomfortable. But it’s an important stepping stone in dismantling a larger culture that tolerates discrimination, depends on <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124272157">misinformation</a>, supports patriarchal norms, and enables <a href="http://www.middlebury.edu/media/view/240951/original/">predatory rapists</a> to function freely.</p><p>“Swarthmore has been a place where this would not have been taken seriously in the past,” explains Firke. “I would have had to make an argument as to why this was hostile and misogynistic.”</p><p>The fact that the college is taking her protest seriously is a step in the right direction. But colleges — and parents — have a lot farther to go.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2013 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '911683'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=911683" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 17 Oct 2013 14:27:00 -0700 Soraya Chemaly, Salon 911683 at http://enforcementwww.alternet.org rape college 5 Ways American Society Dehumanizes Boys http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/5-ways-american-society-dehumanizes-boys <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '901295'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=901295" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Mocking boys for doing &quot;feminine&quot; things forces them to lose essential parts of themselves and leaves them ill-equipped for life.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2013-09-25_at_3.36.00_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p> </p><p>The ability to feel what others feel has many well-documented <a href="http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195341065.001.0001/acprof-9780195341065-chapter-8">benefits</a>, including, for empathetic people, greater psychological and physical health.  The real and socially significant positive impact of empathy, however, is the ways in which it affects behavior towards others. People who are empathetic are less aggressive and prone to denigrate others; they are predisposed to act with care and compassion; they have increased egalitarian beliefs and act with less prejudice and stereotype-based hatred. Empathetic behaviors, however, are associated with being female. And weak.</p><p>The stereotypes that plague our lives teach that the characteristics of empathetic understanding are feminine: listening, sensitivity, quiet consideration and gentleness.  Empathy is feminized and boys learn quickly that what is feminized is, in a man, the source of disgust. While parents, teachers, coaches, grandparents and others whose ideas shape children aren’t sitting around telling boys, “Don’t be empathetic!” they are saying, in daily micro-aggressive ways, “Don’t be like girls!”  The process of “becoming a man” still often means rejecting almost anything that any activity or preference that smacks of cross-gender expression or sympathy.</p><p>Expression and empathy are closely related for children. When boys are taught that they can’t “be like girls” it has the three-fold effect. First, it alienates them from core aspects of themselves. Second, it portrays what is feminine as undesirable and inferior. Third, it forces boys into a “<a href="http://www.ted.com/talks/tony_porter_a_call_to_men.html">man box</a>” from which emotions and empathy are excluded.  An upcoming documentary, <a href="http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jensiebelnewsom/the-mask-you-live-in">The Mask You Live In</a>, carefully examines, from the perspective of boys and men, what this feels like and means in their lives.</p><p>While more and more parents are openly <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/12/fashion/new-challenge-for-parents-childrens-gender-roles.html?pagewanted=all">grappling with how to handle “non conventional” gender behavior</a> in children, many others won’t even consider the behavior as remotely acceptable.  The policing of boys’ gender expression doesn’t require parents who yell, “Stop crying, you sound like a girl!” or homophobic classmates hurling some variation of “<a href="http://news.yahoo.com/homophobia-starts-elementary-school-teachers-little-212151823--abc-news.html">Don’t be so gay</a>!” (which is, sadly, still a serious problem).   A whole range or rules, traditions, daily interactions and media content come together to narrow boys’ options and, ultimately, abilities.  Consider these five everyday ways that boys are taught first not to look like girls, not to be like girls, not to do “girly” things, and then, ultimately, to lose the ability to feel compassion.</p><p><strong>1.     Clothing. </strong> That we <a href="http://jezebel.com/5790638/the-history-of-pink-for-girls-blue-for-boys">color-code kids</a> needs no explanation.  Without getting into the details of how fearful communities can be when it comes to <a href="http://nymag.com/news/features/transgender-children-2012-6/">gender-fluid children</a> and their free self-expression, in general, boys and girls are taught to dress according to binary <a href="http://bbs.boingboing.net/t/on-parenting-a-little-boy-whos-been-scared-off-wearing-pink/7001">gender-types and stereotype</a>s. We seem nationally fixated on making sure that boys and girls not only “know” “what they are,” but communicate it clearly to others.  This is especially true for boys.  We no longer think twice about girls who wear pants, but when women <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_wearing_trousers_in_the_Western_world_after_1900">first started</a> doing so, it was shocking and revolutionary. It meant, for example, that they <a href="http://crankedmag.wordpress.com/issues/issue-4/the-importance-of-the-bicycle-to-the-early-womens-liberation-movement/">could ride bicycles</a> and be independent. Only this past spring was a <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/9845545/Women-in-Paris-finally-allowed-to-wear-trousers.html">200-year old law banning women from wearing trousers</a> revoked in Paris.</p><p>But many girls now have the flexibility to be creative with their clothes, to use more colors, to dress with flair and generally enjoy a broader range of options when it comes to appearance than boys do. There are downsides, of course, because accessorizing in these ways is actually part of a bigger problem, namely, your entire gender being treated as an <a href="http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20130911-where-are-the-female-superheroes">accessory itself</a>.  On the other hand, boys are far more strictly confined in their choices. Boys wearing skirts as a matter of daily habit, in the United States, is as shocking an idea as trousers for women were at the turn of the last century.  Those who challenge limits are regularly <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Gender-Bullying-Harassment-Strategies-Homophobia/dp/0807749532">mocked, bullied and penalized</a> by peers and adults, especially when it comes to school dress <a href="http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Exclusive-Male-Student-Suspended-for-Wearing-a-Skirt-152016685.html">codes</a>.  While most schools make provisions for girls to wear pants, very few include skirt options for boys who might want to wear them, for whatever reason.  For example, Warren Evans, a student in Maryland, was <a href="http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Exclusive-Male-Student-Suspended-for-Wearing-a-Skirt-152016685.html">suspended</a> for wearing a skirt.  For some people the simple idea of a boy wanting to wear a skirt, ever, is bizarre.</p><p><strong>2.     Hair. </strong>Only the most confident of boys, with a supportive family, can sport lengthy locks. Razzing and teasing often ensues.  As one mother of a mop-headed boy <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2243603/He-mocked-bullied-looking-like-girl-despite-abuse-unrepentant-mother-reveals-I-didnt-sons-hair-cut-TEN.html">put it</a>, people considered it a form of “middle class abuse” to allow her son to grow his hair. After, say, a “sissy” comment from a grandfather, or taunts from playground bullies, adults at schools often get involved.  It’s easy to find news of boys <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/29/gareth-shand-locks-love_n_940801.html">suspended</a> and <a href="http://main.stylelist.com/2010/11/04/boy-long-hair-cancer-patients-expelled/">expelled</a> for growing their hair, even if they’re <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/10/ohio-student-suspended-for-growing-out-hair-to-donate/">growing it to donate</a> to cancer patients.  What are children supposed to take away from these experiences? That boys should never look “like girls”? That they cannot express themselves freely? Or care for others? That all these things are punishable offenses?</p><p><strong>3.     Products. </strong>What do we do with girly things? When adult men mock one another by denigrating little girls, boys learn to do the same thing.  Take men’s professional sports where <a href="http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/highschool-prep-rally/iowa-stadium-forced-pink-visitors-locker-room-part-112740357.html">pink locker rooms</a> are designed to demoralize opponents and girls’ backpacks are used to <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/01/sports/baseball/rookies-served-humility-by-the-pack.html?_r=2&amp;pagewanted=all&amp;">humiliate rookies</a>. Or comedy: I have to believe that Will Ferrell is a smart and funny enough man to make a 90-minute movie without mocking little girls (in a non-satirical way) for a profit, but so far, no banana.  At best, these are lazy actions. At worst, they are shallow validations of masculinity at the expense of girls and women. Girls (like the <a href="http://starwarsblog.starwars.com/index.php/2010/11/18/young-girl-bullied-for-liking-star-wars/">Star Wars lunch box girl</a>) and boys (<a href="http://myprincessboy.com/">My Princess Son</a>) regularly encounter children who, even in pre-school, are gender rule enforcers. Some of them have parents who stand up for them, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2008/oct/05/celebrity.fashion">write books</a>, <a href="http://princessfreezone.com/">build communities</a> and launch <a href="http://www.bravegirlswant.com/">social movements</a>. But what about all the others whose parents don’t?</p><p><strong>4.     Sports. </strong>Ballet? Synchronized swimming? Figure skating?  These sports are dominated by girls and women not for physical reasons but for cultural ones. Girls can <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/08/soccer-isnt-for-girly-girls-how-parents-pick-the-sports-their-daughters-play/278386/">play sports like these, or others</a> that have traditionally been thought of as boys’ sports (though they may be excluded from some sports, or taken less seriously as athletes than their male peers). Boys are frequently barred from sports seen as for girls. As a matter of act, the most “boyish” are often <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/08/30/america-kids-need-football-now-more-than-ever/">encouraged to play</a>…<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/youth-football_b_2647601.html">football</a>. This a game where boys, despite what we’re learning about brain injuries, have until recently been uniformly taught to “play through the pain,” (which is another way to say ignore your feelings and emotions), where coaches regularly insult boys with sex-based pejoratives and where girls quite literally can almost only be, with <a href="http://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com/article/20130905/HSSPORTS01/309050036/More-girls-playing-high-school-football">a few exceptions</a>, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/youth-football_b_2647601.html">supportive and on the margins</a>.</p><p><strong>5.     Stories.</strong> Girls regularly immerse themselves in stories with male protagonists and identify with male heroes, boys and men.  But boys aren’t encouraged to identify with female protagonists or to idolize women as heroes to anywhere near the same degree.  57% of <a href="http://www.rolereboot.org/culture-and-politics/details/2013-09-why-are-the-majority-of-childrens-books-still-about">children’s books published</a> each year have male protagonists, versus 31% female. If the books feature animals, 100% of them have male characters and only 33% have female characters, often cast as mothers or romantic interests. The average number of books featuring male characters in the title of the book is 36.5% versus 17.5% for female. Statistics about <a href="http://www.seejane.org/research/">television and movies</a> are the same, where <a href="http://www.seejane.org/downloads/GDIGM_Gender_Stereotypes.pdf">fewer than one out of three</a> (28%) of the speaking characters (both real and animated) are female. It’s not only a quantitative imbalance, but also a qualitative one in which <a href="http://www.missrepresentation.org/">girls and women are misrepresented</a>.  Immediately after girls watch television, their self-esteem drops. (This is true of <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/06/study-of-the-day-watching-tv-may-boost-the-self-esteem-of-white-boys/258096/">all children except young white boys</a>.)</p><p>This all happens way before boys sexuality becomes an issue and when boys are subjected to pervasive messages telling them to objectify girls, be sexually promiscuous and boast about it.  No wonder some men are able to go through life never once considering <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBKieGz5QiM">what it’s like to be a woman or why it matters.</a></p><p>Rigid gender rules and polarized sex segregated ideas about everything from <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/21/opinion/sunday/why-men-need-women.html?pagewanted=all&amp;_r=0">preschool</a> <a href="http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/1131467?uid=3739584&amp;uid=2&amp;uid=4&amp;uid=3739256&amp;sid=21102679013987">playgroups</a> to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/mitt-romneys-faith-is-ent_b_1581284.html">workplace</a> <a href="http://asq.sagepub.com/content/57/4/669.abstract">dynamics</a> come at great cost to everyone. And when parents, teachers, coaches, religious leaders and <a href="http://www.achilleseffect.com/">pop culture</a> all insist on the importance of <a href="http://psych.cornell.edu/sites/default/files/Gender%20Schema%20Theory.pdf">a exaggerated and binary gender dichotomy</a> it is hard to see how children can resist. It’s not as though Julia Serano’s “<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Whipping-Girl-Transsexual-Scapegoating-Femininity/dp/1580051545">Whipping Girl</a>” has made it to many mainstream lists of parental how-to books.</p><p>And restrictive boy codes turn into restrictive man codes. Forcing boys to reject all “feminine” aspects of themselves means not teaching them to be fully human. It reduces their ability to be flexible, adaptable and nimble when encountering new situations. It reduces <a href="http://psychcentral.com/news/2011/03/02/a-depressing-future-for-men/24028.html">their opportunities for happiness</a>.</p><p>Empathy is essential to changing this. Boys with sisters in households where gender roles are stereotypical are far <a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/06/27/why-boys-with-sisters-are-more-likely-to-be-republicans/">more likely</a> to grow up to be conservative men with a similar reliance on stereotypes. They end up, often, as <a href="http://pwq.sagepub.com/content/35/2/227.full#T1">benevolent sexist</a> <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/27/men-dont-recognize-benevolent-sexism_n_885430.html">out of sync</a> with the reality of women’s lives, but, worse, actively involved in making sure they are not successful in the workplace.  One of the things that challenges their beliefs as adults, interestingly, is having daughters, something researchers call a “<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/21/opinion/sunday/why-men-need-women.html?pagewanted=all&amp;_r=0">warming effect</a>.”</p><p>People who to claim have egalitarian ideals while wringing their hands about a boy crises in education, are all the while advocating the exact course of action that limits boys in the first place: a greater emphasis on sex segregation and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Delusions-Gender-Society-Neurosexism-Difference/dp/0393340244">debunked, essentialist ideas</a> about brains, gender and roles in life.  The boy crisis we should be focusing on is how “boys will be boys” ideas and sexist media leave boys ill-equipped to function in diverse societies.  <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2013/09/23/circle_of_friends_christina_hoff_sommers_says_this_game_of_tag_is_feminizing.html">School aren’t emasculating boys</a>, American masculinity is dehumanizing them.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2013 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '901295'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=901295" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 25 Sep 2013 12:32:00 -0700 Soraya Chemaly, Salon 901295 at http://enforcementwww.alternet.org gender “Smile, Baby”: The Words No Woman Wants to Hear http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/civil-liberties/smile-baby-words-no-woman-wants-hear <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '896855'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=896855" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Telling women to &quot;smile&quot; may seem a small thing—until you consider what often happens when women don&#039;t want to.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/stopit.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Yesterday, I missed a train and I was frustrated, hot and tired. A man standing in the station decided it was a good time to pass his hand along my arm as I ran by and whisper, “You’d be even prettier if you smiled.”  Here’s the thing about “Smile, baby,” the more commonly uttered variant of the same sentiment: No woman wants to hear it.  And every woman wonders, no matter how briefly, about what could happen if she doesn’t smile.  I was in a crowded place and perfectly safe, but that is actually, in the end, irrelevant.  I have, in the past, been followed by men like him.</p><p>Without exception, this phrase means a man is entirely comfortable telling a woman, probably one he doesn’t even know, what he wants her to do with her body to please him.  This suggests a lack of respect for other people’s bodily integrity and autonomy.  The phrase, and others more sexually <a href="http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/street-harassment/Content?oid=16951900">explicit</a>, are verbal expressions of male entitlement.  The touching would reinforce that suggestion. Two “inconsequential” little words.  A small thing, until you consider street harassment as the normalization of male dominance. Harassing men are arbiters of public space and their everyday regulation of women in those spaces results in what, in 1993, Cynthia Grant Bowman <a href="http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/1341656?uid=3739584&amp;uid=2&amp;uid=4&amp;uid=3739256&amp;sid=21102629669187">called</a> the “informal ghettoization of women.”   Then it’s not so small.</p><p>Street harassment is very gendered, linked to violence and overwhelmingly heteronormative.  Women are generally not harassing men, <a href="http://www.wusa9.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=229662">grabbing their bodies</a> or otherwise threatening them in public.  I have been called every conceivable gendered slur under the sun for not complying with the sexualized demands of total strangers in public places.  I’m taking about boys and men <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/ailbhemalone/19-examples-of-everyday-sexism">muttering obscenities, making pornographic suggestions</a>,  <a href="http://www.wusa9.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=229662">touching people they don’t know</a> in intimate ways, <a href="http://www.stopstreetharassment.org/blog/stories/">lurking on stoops, staring from benche</a>s, and <a href="http://pleasanton.patch.com/groups/schools/p/report-undressed-man-followed-woman-in-car-near-hart-51b62ed183">following girls in cars</a>.  It puts a damper on a sunny day when you go for a walk and someone <a href="http://www.stopstreetharassment.org/2011/11/4x10minutes/">yells that you’re a “fucking slut</a>” because you don’t respond to their request that you stop and talk to them.</p><p>According to Holly Kearl, the author of “<a href="http://hollykearl.com/writing/docs/AlwaysonGuardOutlookSpring09.pdf">Always On Guard: Women and Street Harassment</a>” and founder of <a href="http://www.stopstreetharassment.org/">Stop Street Harassment</a>, anywhere between 80 percent and 98 percent of women surveyed report persistent, aggressive street harassment.  A spectrum of street harassment is a universal constant for women and it subtly imparts the understanding that girls and women should not feel too safe or confident in public.  It starts when girls are as young as 9 and never ends. Even <a href="http://www.womenundersiegeproject.org/blog/entry/the-myth-of-how-the-hijab-protects-women-against-sexual-assault">covering up entirely</a> has no effect.  The younger the girl, the more negative the possible effects, which are well <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-new-teen-age/201108/hey-baby-hurts">documented</a> and can include depression, shame, headaches, anxiety, withdrawal, fear, self-objectification and <a href="http://inciteblog.wordpress.com/2010/11/22/street-harassment-of-women-and-girls-in-new-york-city/">more</a>.  After the thin veneer of flattery wears off, what is left is a sometimes-daily awareness of vulnerability, sexual objectification, shame at being targeted, and shame at not fighting back. Some women do confront harassers, but the idea of fighting back, or saying “Stop!” has <a href="http://www.xojane.com/issues/why-just-telling-street-harassers-no-doesnt-necessarily-work-for-everybody">class and race implications</a>. As <a href="http://www.xojane.com/author/jamie-nesbitt-golden">Jamie Nesbitt Golden</a> <a href="http://www.xojane.com/issues/why-just-telling-street-harassers-no-doesnt-necessarily-work-for-everybody">noted</a> earlier yesterday, “Just telling men ‘no’ doesn’t necessarily work for everyone – and can even be dangerous.”</p><p>Going to school, commuting to work, or meeting friends should not have to involve an assessment of whether or not you are putting yourself in a “dangerous situation.”  In a country where one in five women will be raped (higher in some groups, for example if a girl or woman is <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/23/us/native-americans-struggle-with-high-rate-of-rape.html?pagewanted=all">Native American</a>,  <a href="http://www.oneinfourusa.org/statistics.php">in college</a>, in the <a href="http://ccasa.org/wp-content/themes/skeleton/documents/Rape-in-the-Military-Environment.pdf">military</a> or between the <a href="http://www.futureswithoutviolence.org/content/features/detail/1356/">ages of 16 and 24</a>), we don’t have the luxury of pretending street harassment is “harmless” or exists in a vacuum.  Regardless of where the harassment takes place, or its virulence, street harassment reflects widespread acceptance of the idea that women’s bodies are a public resource and that men are entitled to them. It derives its power from the threat of violence that simmers under the surface of every interaction, even the “flattering” ones.</p><p>In San Francisco last year, a man <a href="http://sanfrancisco.ihollaback.org/2013/01/09/tenderloin-stabbing/">stabbed a woman</a> in the face and arm after she didn’t respond positively to his sexually harassing her on the street.  In Bradenton, Fla., a man <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/high-school/espn-dick-vitale-pay-funeral-slain-florida-high-school-cheerleader-jasmine-thompson-article-1.403015">shot a high school senior</a> to death after she and her friends refused to perform oral sex at his request. In Chicago, a scared 15-year-old was <a href="http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&amp;id=7320214">hit by a car and died</a> after she tried escaping from harassers on a bus.  Just Google, “Man grabs woman.”  The problem with street harassment isn’t the demand that a woman smile or perform fellatio, the problem is the answer to the question, “What if a woman doesn’t want to?”</p><p>Of the more than 40,000 submissions sent to the site <a href="http://www.everydaysexism.com/">Everyday Sexism</a>, a significant percentage involve common street harassment. Typical submissions look like this: “A guy came up behind me and put his shirt over my head while simultaneously grabbing my breasts, hard,” “Harassed by a group of twenty year olds…shouting ‘Nice rack!’” (to 13-year-old), and “<a href="http://vimeo.com/67582923">A hand grabbed me from behind and pushed between my legs</a>.”  Girls’ and women’s responses range from being intimidated, embarrassed and humiliated to being enraged and <a href="http://16days.thepixelproject.net/16-memorable-ways-of-dealing-with-street-harassment/">fighting back</a>. Most men express amazement that we live with this reality.</p><p>We are, however, at the beginning of a global anti-street harassment groundswell. Organizations like <a href="http://www.ihollaback.org/resources/research/">Hollaback </a>(which encourages people to share their stories and put harassers on neighborhood maps),<a href="http://www.stopstreetharrassment.org/"> Stop Street Harassment</a> and the <a href="http://saynotoviolence.org/sites/default/files/Brief%20Safe%20Cities%20Global%20Initiative%20CSW.pdf">Safe Cities Global Initiative</a> <a href="http://www.razoo.com/story/National-Street-Harassment-Study">conduct</a> and <a href="http://www.ihollaback.org/resources/research/">compile</a> research and work to raise public awareness, educate children and adults and give people the tools to deal with and confront widespread harassment.</p><p>Among the most compelling testaments to the pervasiveness and harms of harassment, however, come from activists and artists.  Last year, a video of <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/aug/03/belgium-film-street-harassment-sofie-peeters">street harassment in Belgium</a> catalyzed public awareness across Europe when the filmmaker captured “regular” guys saying things like “sexy butt” and “naughty slut” to women they followed and talked to.  The documentary <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vp-Eq6QGSfI">“Black Women Walking”</a> paints a clear portrait of racialized harassment in the United States.  Comedian Kamau Bell’s recorded <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WH7b4QCPuXc">street conversations with women and harassers</a> was both humorous and enlightening and revealed a lot about what men think when they engage in this behavior.  Perhaps most provocative, however, is the work of Brooklyn-based artist <a href="http://www.tlynnfaz.com/Stop-Telling-Women-to-Smile">Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. </a> Early this year she began pasting graphite portraits of women accompanied by texts reading, for example, “My Name Is Not Baby, Shorty, Sexy, Sweetie, Honey, Pretty, Boo, Sweetheart, Ma,” and “Women Are Not Outside for Your Entertainment.” She just <a href="http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/910842827/stop-telling-women-to-smile-around-the-country">launched a Kickstarter</a> to expand her public art project, named “Stop Telling Women to Smile,” to more cities.</p><p>Most men are not abusive harassers who <a href="http://unwinona.tumblr.com/post/30861660109/i-debated-whether-or-not-to-share-this-story">yell threatening vulgarities</a> at girls and women, and what a woman wears, her age and her comportment have very little to do with harassment.  It’s important that these men challenge those who harass.  Men who are abusive have license, until recently largely uncontested, to act with entitlement in our culture.  It’s really a good time for this to change.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2013 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '896855'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=896855" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Sun, 15 Sep 2013 14:25:00 -0700 Soraya Chemaly, Salon 896855 at http://enforcementwww.alternet.org Human Rights Human Rights Culture LGBTQ harassment sexism gender objectification street harassment SMILING harassment sexism Life News 6 Ways We Talk About a Teenage Girl's Age—5 of Them Messed Up http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/gender/teenage-girls-cannot-be-older-their-chronological-age <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '892150'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=892150" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The idea that a girl can be &#039;older than her chronological age&#039; makes no sense, and puts young girls in danger.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/girls.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Last week, Montana District Judge G. Todd Baugh declared a troubled, now dead, 16-year-old girl culpable for her own rape. (The girl was just 14 when the crime occurred.) While in the process of reducing her rapist’s 15-year sentence to 30 days, he explained that the victim was “older than her chronological age,” and “as much in control of the situation” as the 49-year-old teacher found guilty of raping her. After <a href="http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-montana-judge-20130829,0,1463530.story">outraged protest</a> and demands that he be removed from the bench, Baugh <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/montana-judge-criticizing-teen-rape-victim-stupid-wrong-article-1.1440163">apologized</a> and has <a href="http://helenair.com/news/local/judge-calls-for-new-hearing-in-rape-case/article_d1c7dc30-1528-11e3-9b3a-001a4bcf887a.html" target="_blank">called for a new hearing</a>. This case bears striking similarity to one in the U.K. earlier this summer in which a 13-year-old girl involved was <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/10227085/Greater-protection-for-child-sex-abuse-victims-after-girl-described-as-predatory.html">described</a>, including by the judge, as sexually “predatory.”</p><div><p>This happens with dulling regularity, and has for years. One month ago, defense lawyers in Louisiana used similar reasoning in a case involving a <a href="http://www.tri-parishtimes.com/news/article_ca005374-f953-11e2-9168-001a4bcf887a.html?TNNoMobile">juvenile detention guard and a 14-year-old</a> in his care. They argued that the girl had consented to sex with the guard, though she was three years younger than the age of consent in Louisiana.</p><p>The language used in these cases demonstrates our confused notions about girls’ ages and what they mean.</p><p>An adolescent girl isn’t allowed to be “her age.” Indeed, she doesn’t actually have one age but many that people assess and judge as she goes through her day. When it comes to<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Boundaries-Her-Body-History-America/dp/1572483687">sexual assault, consent and justice</a>, an individual girl’s “age” is especially a matter of social construction. Society constructs her age in at least six different ways:</p><p>First, there’s her chronological age. This is the easiest one, based on a girl’s birthday. Simple enough.</p><div>Second, there’s the age her body looks — which, for too many people in and out of the justice system, apparently makes a difference in rape. In 2000, a South Carolina Circuit judge <a href="http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1876&amp;dat=20000623&amp;id=PjofAAAAIBAJ&amp;sjid=3M8EAAAAIBAJ&amp;pg=5061,2486817">halved a 27-year-old youth minister’s sentence</a> in a case involving a 14-year-old, explaining, that the girl’s body “was [at] an unusual stage of maturity.” But what does this ridiculous consideration of “physical maturation” mean for girls <a href="http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/wellness/story/2011/04/girls-hit-puberty-earlier-than-ever-and-doctors-arent-sure-why/45989054/1">starting puberty at younger and younger ages</a>? That assault of an older-looking 10-year-old is more forgivable?</div><div data-toggle-group="story-13467154"><p>Third, there’s emotional age. There are 12-year-olds capable of more easygoing conversation, passionate feeling, emotional intimacy and mature deliberation than some 30-year-olds. That does not, however, make them, in any way, the equal of a 30-year-old. These qualities are separate and apart from experience, power differentials, authority, control and consent. Judges generally don’t take emotional maturity into account when adults engage minors in other unlawful activities, and they shouldn’t in cases of sexual assault either. An emotionally and intellectually mature 15-year-old is still not allowed to vote. When a 49-year-old provides a 13-year-old alcohol, does a judge take into account how much the 13-year-old may have wanted to drink, or that the 13-year-old can hold his liquor? We cannot excuse teachers, coaches, priests and mentors from rape prosecution when they assault children in their care. We have legal ages for a reason.</p><p>Fourth, there’s commercially profitable age. This is the age at which a girl begins to be targeted for sexualizing products, often but <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-412195/Tesco-condemned-selling-pole-dancing-toy.html">not always</a> based on her <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2012/07/waxing-for-girls-younger-than-15-ad-sparks-parenting-debate/">appearance</a>. This age has become <a href="http://www.apa.org/pi/women/programs/girls/report.aspx">depressingly young</a>. Girls are <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zKfF40jeCA">saturated</a> with marketing messages about body enhancing products and “fun” ideas about how to <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/6655447/Three-year-old-girls-worry-about-their-weight-study-finds.html">look</a>, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elizabethe-c-payne/slut-gender-policing-as-bullying-ritual_b_1952205.html?utm_hp_ref=women&amp;ir=Women">dress</a>, <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Avoid-Panty-Lines">stand</a>, <a href="http://m.theglobeandmail.com/life/relationships/news-and-views/katrina-onstad/up-high-or-down-low-what-a-womans-voice-says-about-her/article2305577?service=mobile">speak</a>, <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Be-Sexy-While-Playing-Sports-(Girls)">run</a>, <a href="http://www.scienceofpeople.org/2012/03/why-men-take-up-so-much-space-why-men-take-up-so-much-space-why-men-take-up-so-much-space/">sit</a>, <a href="http://www.eatingpretty.com/packages">eat</a>,<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NA2HVY3LkNs">walk</a>, <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/mahaatal/2012/05/23/are-married-men-threatened-by-women-at-work/">work</a>, <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Look-Good-for-Sleep-(For-Girls)">sleep</a>, <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2274227/Teenage-girls-obsessed-celebrity-thigh-gaps-starving-achieve-super-skinny-look.html">starve</a>, <a href="http://www.youngexplorers.com/itemdy00.aspx?T1=Y121080&amp;srccode=NXCYC6&amp;utm_source=google&amp;utm_medium=comparison&amp;utm_campaign=datafeed&amp;gclid=CMLx4aSKr7YCFckx4AodggwA2Q">fix their hair</a>, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/06/salon-ad-waxing-special-discount-girls-15_n_1654214.html">shave</a>, <a href="http://www.cosmopolitan.com/advice/health/anal-bleaching-trend">bleach</a>, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/the-muffia-march-against-_b_1139152.html">cut bits off</a>, <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/08/09/bullied-14-year-old-girl-gets-plastic-surgery-to-fix-ears-nose-chin/">add bits on</a> and <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/jpmoore/men-ups-manly-men-in-classic-pin-up-poses">pose</a> so that they are sexy. In other words, so that they are pleasing to boys and men.</p><p>Fifth, there’s media age. This is the age at which girls begin to be represented as sexual products themselves, as legitimate sexual targets and as prizes for male heroes. We regularly see 12-year-old girls in media who “look older,” and “looking older” is desirable and lauded. Movies and television <a href="http://w2.parentstv.org/main/MediaFiles/PDF/Studies/sexploitation_report_20130709.pdf">portray</a> younger and younger girls as <a href="http://www.seejane.org/research/">hypersexualized</a>, sexually predatory or somehow <a href="http://womenandhollywood.com/2009/10/29/violence-against-women-and-girls-surges-on-tv/">complicit in sexual crimes</a> committed against them in <a href="http://www.seejane.org/downloads/GDIGM_Gender_Stereotypes.pdf">gross disproportion to boys</a>, who remain <a href="http://www.seejane.org/research/">central to narrative, nonsexualized and productive</a>. Girls get a great deal of social sanction for turning themselves into eye candy.</p><p>Lastly, there’s the age at which a girl is portrayed as “fair game” for older men. Mainstream movies regularly feature older male actors with much younger female ones. Older women in media <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2073156/Meryl-Streep-cover-Vogue-Actress-thought-career-40.html">virtually disappear</a> after the age of 40, certainly in relation to younger men, but moviegoers <a href="http://www.vulture.com/2013/04/leading-men-age-but-their-love-interests-dont.html">don’t think twice about pairing</a> aging male stars like Tom Cruise, Denzel Washington, Harrison Ford, George Clooney with ever younger female costars. This double standard glamorizes double-digit age gaps in romantic and sexual entanglements (not to mention perpetuates sex-based, lifetime wage discrimination in the industry).</p><p>Consider the movie “<a href="http://filmguide.sundance.org/film/13081/two_mothers">Two Mothers</a>,” a story about two “older” women who fall in love with each other’s sons, in a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/25/adore-trailer_n_3495741.html">“taboo sex drama</a>.” It was the “most divisive film to screen at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.” The movie is based on a Doris Lessing story actually called, “Two Grandmothers.” Compare this to “American Beauty,” which was based on the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amy_Fisher">Amy Fisher story</a>, in which a man falls for his teenage daughter’s friend. American Beauty wasn’t “taboo” and caused no audience outrage. It was <a href="http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/reviews/american-beauty-19990915#ixzz2dkXv4OZX">described</a> as “poetic and humane.” The “<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unreliable_narrator">unreliable narrator</a>” of Nabokov’s “Lolita” infuses our media and apparently permeates parts of our judicial landscape.</p><p>When you consider the many ages of adolescent girls, it is clear that our cultural imagination encourages boys and men to think of young girls as fair game. By the time a girl is 12, she isn’t even seen as a whole human being, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/25/women-and-objectification_n_1701275.html">but regarded for her parts</a>. She’s “forbidden fruit,” “a temptress,” “a man trap” and “asking for it.” All she has to do to be targeted sexually is go for a walk. If she wears skimpy clothes, is overly friendly with a teacher, dances with abandon, especially if <a href="http://thefeministwire.com/2012/04/silence-equals-death-sexual-violence-and-young-women-of-color/">she’s a girl or young woman of color</a>, she might be blamed for her own assault. This is a male fantasy. And I haven’t even mentioned schoolgirl pornography or <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/the-muffia-march-against-_b_1139152.html">designer vaginas</a>.</p><p>Not one of these many ways of measuring an adolescent girl’s age excuses predatory rapists — and yet time and time again, they’re used to do just that.</p></div></div> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2013 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '892150'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=892150" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 05 Sep 2013 07:26:00 -0700 Soraya Chemaly, Salon 892150 at http://enforcementwww.alternet.org LGBTQ LGBTQ Sex & Relationships rape culture Judge G. Todd Baugh statutory rape sexual predators Miley Cyrus Joins the Boys’ Club http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/media/miley-cyrus-joins-boys-club <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '887896'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=887896" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Miley Cyrus acted like a male pop star at the VMAs. But she&#039;ll get criticized like a female one. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2013-08-27_at_12.03.38_am.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>It’s hard being a living doll.  Ask Miley Cyrus. The singer’s slightly bizarre, teddy-bear twerking performance at last night’s MTV’s Video Music Awards has captured the public imagination. Today’s news is littered with shock, dismay, disgust and approbation, on many different fronts. The Mail and Globe went so far as to write a <a href="http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/the-hot-button/obituary-hannah-montana-dies-of-neglect-and-shame-at-the-vmas/article13948487/">funny mock-obit</a>. As one person <a href="https://twitter.com/Lucaspeebo/status/371944471253897216">tweeted</a>, “She was a great singer and actress. Was. RIP Hannah Montana. RIP childhood.”</p><p>It’s impossible to consider her performance without noting the following: 1) a 36-year-old Robin Thicke, standing onstage while Cyrus gyrated around him; and 2) the use of women as props and accessories, a habit that practically defines music industry productions.  Usually, though, the people using women thus are men. At the VMAs, Cyrus expressed her celebrity and power pretty much the way the most visible and prominent men in her industry do.  And while she deserves some criticism for her performance, the kind she’s likely to get is deeply linked to her gender.</p><p>This summer, Thicke caused an outcry over his sexist “Blurred Lines” video, just the most<a href="http://www.salon.com/2013/07/27/blurred_lines_is_clearly_sexist_partner/">recent</a> example of women used as naked or nearly naked props. In one <a href="http://womeninmusicvideos.angelfire.com/">analysis</a>, researchers found that women dancing in explicitly sexualized ways can be found in 84 percent of videos.  In the same survey, 71 percent of women were found to be wearing revealing and suggestive clothing compared to 35 percent of men. In music videos the sexualization is often racialized. Generally speaking, men, like Thicke, sing fully clothed, while women dance around them, largely not.</p><p>But what happens when the star performer is herself a woman? Cyrus was cocky, she strutted around, she danced (really awkwardly), was brash and confident and made lewd gestures and creative use of her tongue.  In addition, she, like her male peers, sexually and racially objectified <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kia-makarechi/miley-cyrus-race-vmas_b_3817286.html?ref=topbar">other women</a> who were onstage with her, almost all of whom were black — and she has come in for deserved <a href="http://www.vulture.com/2013/08/jody-rosen-miley-cyrus-vmas-minstrel.html">criticism</a> for this.  Cyrus has recently been the topic of conversations regarding race and cultural appropriation and <a href="http://nymag.com/thecut/2013/04/ratchet-the-rap-insult-that-became-a-compliment.html">ratchet culture</a>, and last night further contributed to the debate.  But, Cyrus, as other women performers do, also embodies the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Lolita-Effect-Media-Sexualization/dp/B004JZWMF8">sexualization that can be so problematic</a>.  She acted like a man, objectified herself and other women, and <a href="http://www.vulture.com/2013/08/jody-rosen-miley-cyrus-vmas-minstrel.html?mid=twitter_vulture">appropriated several racial cultural signifiers</a> when she did.  She was<a href="http://www.theory.org.uk/ctr-butl.htm">performing</a> on many different levels.</p><p>Cyrus has, for years, been navigating the treacherous waters of growing up and being successful in front of the world.  She’s been doing it brashly and unapologetically, which takes some <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Cant-Stop-Wont-History-Generation/dp/0312425791"> crotch-grabbing</a>-worthy balls, so to speak. And she consistently demonstrates a high level of control over what she does with her own body.  It’s not limited to sexualization.  Once in a while, a female celebrity alters her appearance in unpopular ways and ripples are felt across the universe. Both Cyrus and Beyoncé recently opted for very androgynous, short blond boy-cuts: the traditional coif of men with power.  The alterations unsettle people, because they often involve rejections of gender conformist ideas about how women, especially sexualized ones, should look.</p><p>Girls and women who too brazenly display power, and are unself-conscious or unapologetic about it, disturb people. When famous women get too big for their, admittedly sometimes really small, britches, our culture likes to make sure that what’s inside that often “pretty head” is seen as crazy.</p><p>Women who want power or get power are often considered “mad,” which has two interesting meanings.  Michele Bachmann’s controversial <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/08/newsweeks-michele-bachman_n_920860.html">Newsweek cover</a> didn’t make her look enraged so much as demented. Film in general is exponentially more likely to <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/27/movies/a-dangerous-method-and-mental-illness-in-movies.html?pagewanted=all&amp;_r=0">portray insanity</a> as essentially the purview of women, especially independent ones.  Given infinite choices about how to portray one of the few female leaders of the 20th century, <a href="http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/iron-lady-meryl-streep-phyllida-loyd-margaret-thatcher-266342">Margaret Thatcher</a>, the producers of “Iron Lady” went with a dementia narrative. The entire <a href="http://www.filmnoirstudies.com/essays/progressive.asp">film noir</a> genre, with its femmes fatales, can be seen as a litany of women confronting gendered restrictions and rebelliously and callously defining themselves to death.</p><p>Last night’s performance brought the public’s perception of Cyrus one step closer to the<a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/dorsey/mika-brzezinski-pathetic-disgusting-miley-cyrus-has-an-eatin">“crazy” narrative</a> — the casually misogynistic, “OMG, quick, look at another crazy, fucked up, slutty girl go down.” It’s often a white girl, because they’re more commonly featured in our dominantly white cultural narrative. But black female performers are criticized too, sometimes in racialized ways.  <a href="http://diaryofahollywoodstreetking.com/lauryn-hill-losing-it/">Lauryn Hill</a>, <a href="http://b96.cbslocal.com/2012/04/24/5-signs-rihanna-may-be-crazy/">Rihanna</a> and <a href="http://madamenoire.com/286709/erykah-rihanna-and-the-assumed-power-of-crazy/b">other popular performers</a> have been portrayed as dangerous, sexually <a href="http://www.nerdyfeminist.com/2012/03/lets-talk-about-rihanna.html">transgressive</a> and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sandy-weiner/rihanna-chris-brown_b_2589629.html">unhinged</a>.  Lauryn Hill went so far as to sing, “<a href="http://www.sohh.com/2012/11/lauryn_hill_breaks_silence_on_wyclef_im.html">I’m not crazy</a>,” at one point.  Our cultural obsessions with the mega flame-outs of Britney Spears, Amanda Bynes, Lindsay Lohan, Whitney Houston and other “troubled divas” have been epic.  And the democratizing effects of the Internet now mean that this kind of micro-examination of girls’ lives and actions is by no means limited to celebrities.</p><p>The shame-filled objections to women like these are simply a double standard about power and worthiness.  The outrage and “disappointment,” cloaked primarily in concerns about, “sluttiness,” “selfishness,” “craziness” and “inappropriateness,” add up to one thing: female unworthiness.</p><p>Women, we’d like everyone to keep thinking, are unworthy of too much agency, authority, power and self-expression. Otherwise, everyday people would be decrying every top-billed male performer for engaging in the exact same behavior that Cyrus did last night.  It would help if we taught kids, in school, to be critical of stereotypes, to understand constructions of gender, race and ethnicity, and to appreciate the important difference between sexiness and sexualization.  Miley Cyrus deserves critique for the racially objectifying elements of her performance, and even for the production of an artistically questionable, odd and distasteful set involving bears and bad dancing. But Cyrus is most likely be criticized instead for being <a href="http://www.kpopstarz.com/articles/38950/20130825/miley-cyrus-mtv-video-music-awards.htm" target="_blank">“slutty”</a>or ”crazy” — and those words matter and speak volumes.</p> <p> </p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2013 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '887896'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=887896" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Mon, 26 Aug 2013 20:58:00 -0700 Soraya Chemaly, Salon 887896 at http://enforcementwww.alternet.org Media Culture Media miley cyrus 5 Ways Avoiding Rape Costs Women http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/5-ways-avoiding-rape-costs-women <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '883127'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=883127" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Teaching girls to constantly modify their behavior in order to avoid stranger rape is a form of social control. But it’s hard to walk away from a lifetime of acculturated fear. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2013-08-15_at_12.37.52_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p> </p><p>Men, have you every made fun of girls and women you know for going to the bathroom together? This habit is often high on the list of “girl” things men claim not to fathom.</p><p>But here’s a simple and easy fact that can dispel a lot of confusion: Women regularly take steps to avoid the threat of rape, even if we don’t explicitly describe them as such.  We train girls early to do things in groups — yes, including going to the bathroom — so that they aren’t vulnerable to sexual assault.</p><p>Ask yourselves, men, <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/155402/women-feel-less-safe-men-developed-countries.aspx">do you feel safe on your neighborhood streets</a>? Do you choose where and when you <a href="http://www.stopstreetharassment.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/STREET-HARASSMENT-LIMITS-WOMEN.pdf">exercise</a> or shop or <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/01/04/indias-rape-problem-is-already-taking-an-economic-toll/">commute</a> carefully?  Do you have <a href="http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist/2009/08/10/rape-prevention-tips-stay-inside-or-die-a-horrible-death/">parking</a> strategies, like not parking near vans? Do you change several times before <a href="http://www.thisisnotaninvitationtorapeme.co.uk/dress/#.UgkpJ2TwJZs">deciding</a> on certain clothes,  even though you like them? Do you use your <a href="http://sorayachemaly.tumblr.com/post/50361809881/why-society-still-needs-feminism-because-to-men">keys</a> as a weapon or take <a href="https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/211201.pdf">other similar</a> measures? Have you considered <a href="http://www.carolinarapeescape.com/locate_girls_on_guard_class.html">specialized fighting</a> techniques?</p><p>These questions will be familiar to most women, but they don’t really address the most common type of sexual assault: that perpetrated by an acquaintance. Some women are indeed assaulted by strangers, but almost 75% of rapists are known to their victims.  The habits we teach girls for avoiding rape reinforce misleading and ultimately dangerous ideas about strangers in alleys. If “don’t get raped” lessons were genuinely meant to help people assess risk and avoid assault, we’d teach girls <a href="https://1in6.org/the-1-in-6-statistic/">and boys</a> (because yes, boys and men can be victims of sexual violence too).  Instead, these rules reinforce a gender hierarchy dependent on girls being vulnerable and boys being invincible. Teaching girls to constantly modify their behavior in order to avoid stranger rape is a form of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/syrian-rape-and-chemical-_b_2370638.html">social control</a>.  And telling girls and women it’s their responsibility to avoid rape doesn’t stop rape, it just perpetuates rape culture.</p><div data-toggle-group="story-13438880"><p>But even when we know the statistics, it’s hard to walk away from a lifetime of acculturated fear.  And it turns out that fear is really expensive.  Here are five ways that modifying our behavior to avoid stranger rape cost us:</p><p><strong>First,</strong> it costs us time and limits our movement in space. We face challenges in everything from daily commuting to traveling to far-flung places.  We go out of our way regularly to find safer walking routes, buses, parking spaces, and exercise spaces. We don’t take shortcuts cavalierly. Aside from these daily “inconveniences,” whether we do it for work or pleasure, we have different travel maps. Our freedom to explore is seriously impaired.</p><p><strong>Second,</strong> it costs money, because it’s expensive to avoid rape.  For example, if a woman can afford it, she will take taxis at night, instead of walking home when she’d like to. Women may join gyms for safety reasons: <a href="http://www.stopstreetharassment.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/STREET-HARASSMENT-LIMITS-WOMEN.pdf">24%</a> of American women avoid recreational exercise outside to avoid “being bothered.” That’s as if the <a href="http://www.worldatlas.com/aatlas/populations/ctypopls.htm">entire population of Canada</a> didn’t ever go outside for sports.  Women who have the means to do so may feel they need to live in neighborhoods that are more expensive, even though they might be interested in other neighborhoods or would rather reduce their housing expenses. And when we travel, we have to spend more money on transportation and guides.</p><p><strong>Third,</strong>it can limit our employment opportunities, because some jobs can become very dangerous in an instant if you are a woman. Just <a href="http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/dutch-journalist-sexually-assaulted-by-578661">ask</a> <a href="http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/showtracker/2011/05/lara-logan-breaks-her-silence-on-60-minutes-.html">reporters</a> and <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2066157/Mona-Eltahawy-Columnist-sexually-assaulted-Egyptian-military-police-shows-casts-hands.html">activists</a>. Or closer to home, ask female taxi or truck drivers how their habits differ, and how their earnings are affected. The military? <a href="http://www.psmag.com/politics/the-most-important-journalism-about-rape-in-the-military-62743/">26,000 people were raped</a> last year, numerically more men, proportionately, more women. One female vet <a href="http://www.npr.org/2013/03/20/174756788/off-the-battlefield-military-women-face-risks-from-male-troops">called</a> rape “part of the job description.” In addition, women who deal with regular threats of violence, like stalking and harassment, are <a href="http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&amp;iid=1211">more likely</a> to have to take time off of work.</p><p><strong>Fourth,</strong> it curtails our speech and public engagement. As a result of being taught to “be safe” and “not get raped” many women silence themselves out of fear. They stop writing about certain topics, or in certain spaces. They don’t confront harassers, they disengage from political and <a href="http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Kathy_Sierra_incident" target="_blank">public</a> speech. Free speech requires freedom from coercion and the threat of violence — in our society, women often don’t have those freedoms.</p><p><strong>Fifth,</strong> it costs us psychic energy. Living like this often feels like the mental equivalent of having a low-grade fever for life, even if we never actually experience sexual assault. And if a woman is assaulted, she’s frequently blamed for not doing a good enough job avoiding it, which can make the experience even worse. And she may experience a whole range of post-traumatic symptoms.</p><p>All of this is why going to the bathroom together isn’t just a fun girly thing that women do. The reality is that moving in packs, taking more time, spending more money, seeming less adventurous, isn’t a luxury. It’s a tax.</p></div><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2013 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '883127'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=883127" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 15 Aug 2013 09:32:00 -0700 Soraya Chemaly, Salon 883127 at http://enforcementwww.alternet.org rape tax 5 Reasons There Aren’t More Women in Atheism http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/5-reasons-there-arent-more-women-atheism <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '875408'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=875408" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Newsflash: sexism exists in atheist communities too.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/images/managed/media_dawkins.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p> </p><p>In a Salon piece last week called, “<a href="http://www.salon.com/2013/07/21/from_hitchens_to_dawkins_where_are_the_women_of_new_atheism/" target="_blank">Where are the women of new atheism</a>?”, Katie Englehardt described what looks like diminishing participation of women in atheist life. She also encouraged atheist women to more openly embrace their beliefs.</p><p>But atheist women are very active. These women aren’t visible — and there aren’t more like them — for at least five reasons.</p><p>First, women are more devout because they have to be. Women’s religiosity is directly related to economic security. The lack of a social safety net means that women, who are still responsible for the bulk of elder and child care, often need to rely on religious organizations to support themselves and their families. The <a href="http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2013/mar/19/frank-keating/does-catholic-church-provide-half-social-services-/" target="_blank">Catholic Church</a> alone has more than 2,500 local organizations that provide critical safety net services for more than 10 million people annually. The network of friends that develop around churches, mosques and temples likewise become essential partners in caring for families. Those communities are necessarily deeply enmeshed in the daily cadence of life. There are, as Sikivu Hutchinson explains in her book on this subject, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Moral-Combat-Atheists-Gender-Politics/dp/057807186X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1374852788&amp;sr=1-1" target="_blank">Moral Combat</a>, necessary connections between gender, religiosity and social justice. “The domino effect of de facto segregation, job discrimination, unemployment, foreclosure, mass incarceration, and educational apartheid has bolstered the influence of religious institutions in many black and Latino neighborhoods where storefront churches line every block,” she <a href="http://www.forharriet.com/2013/03/interview-dr-sikivu-hutchinson-explores.html" target="_blank">explained</a> recently.</p><div data-toggle-group="story-13385636"><p>Second, sexism is real and has an effect on women’s participation and leadership within the atheist community.  Rape jokes and sexual harassment, as <a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2012/10/sexism_in_the_skeptic_community_i_spoke_out_then_came_the_rape_threats.html" target="_blank">penalties</a> and tools to silence women, exist in atheist and secular groups as well as religious ones. Many people hold the tacit belief that atheism equals rationalism and rationalism is gender-neutral, and therefore sexism can’t exist among atheists. But critical thinkers do irrational things all the time — and unless they actively try to resist existing prejudices, they can easily fall into them.  The discrimination based on class, race, gender and sexuality that we see in the broader culture exists in atheist and secular communities too, and requires the same dismantling.</p><p>Third, men of all ideological persuasions are overrepresented in media — why should atheists be any different? There are prominent, activist secular and atheist women in the United States. I started to write a list of names to add here, but I didn’t want to make their weeks a social media misery, because online abuse <a href="http://www.patheos.com/blogs/publiccatholic/2012/09/the-atheist-boys-club-and-misogyny-as-online-sport/" target="_blank">in this community mirrors</a> similarly misogynistic <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/the-point-of-online-haras_b_2931720.html" target="_blank">abuse of public women </a>elsewhere. It’s not that these women don’t exist, but that we are less likely to ever see them or hear their words. We see more male atheists <a href="http://wmc.3cdn.net/51113ed5df3e0d0b79_zzzm6go0b.pdf" target="_blank">because we see more males</a>. Prominent atheist and secular men benefit from media that grossly prefers the speech of men.  This is uncontestable by any meaningful measure. Rational people know this and can understand that it’s a media injustice contributing to power imbalances, but most people don’t do anything about it. Whether or not I respect their work, every time media runs a story featuring the names and photographs of the same three straight, older, white men that we’re so familiar with, these issues are perpetuated.</p><p>Fourth, I know it’s obvious, but it still bears saying: atheism and secularism are part of a movement, with leaders, on Earth. This social movement is no less subject to norms than anything else and we live on a thoroughly patriarchal planet. Have you seen <a href="http://scienceblogs.com/effectmeasure/wp-content/blogs.dir/398/files/2012/05/i-4d8d8efde54f3ecf530e55b63fb5e248-r-ECONOMIC-SUMMIT-large.jpg" target="_blank">pictures of any of the major economic summits</a> in the world? Or the <a href="http://100percentmen.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">100%men</a> tumblr? When disruptive movements occur, women are always involved, but when these movements consolidate themselves, women are usually excluded from power structures. It happened in the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Women-Public-Sphere-French-Revolution/dp/0801494818" target="_blank">French Revolution,</a> it happen in the <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/adams/filmmore/ps_ladies.html" target="_blank">American Revolution</a>, and it’s happening again now in <a href="http://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/Arab%20Awakening%20Marginalizing%20Women_0.pdf" target="_blank">post-revolutionary transitions </a>in the Arab world.  It requires massive and concerted effort to offset prevalent gender biases. It requires men, who have disproportionate power, to engage in seeking balance. The <a href="http://www.womeninsecularism.org/" target="_blank">Women in Secularism Conference</a>, started by Melody Hensley and the <a href="http://www.centerforinquiry.net/" target="_blank">Center for Free Inquiry</a> in 2012 is meant to address imbalance. This year’s conference, which began with an <a href="http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2013/06/17/parsing-cfis-non-statement/" target="_blank">efflorescent expression</a> of the problems at hand, was bigger than last year’s.</p><p>Fifth, it’s no exaggeration to say that managing sexism is exhausting, depressing and distracts from work women could be doing as visible spokespeople of fighting for higher and equal pay, or immigration policies that include uneducated women, or ending sexual predation, or advocating for the right to control our own reproduction. All of which, by the way, would probably <a href="http://www.wfs.org/content/womens-equality-secularism-wealth" target="_blank">contribute to the growth of secular and non-religious culture</a>.  (There are reasons why <a href="http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2013/06/17/parsing-cfis-non-statement/" target="_blank">seven of the ten most religious states</a> in the US are also rated the worse states for women to live in.) The need to constantly struggle against gender-based prejudice leaves women with less time and energy to work on any of these issues.</p><p>Conferences like <a href="http://www.womeninsecularism.org/" target="_blank">Women in Secularism Conference</a> or <a href="http://www.secularwoman.org/BLACKOUT" target="_blank">Blackout</a>, a secular rally celebrating diversity started by Mandisa L. Thomas, president and founder of <a href="http://blacknonbelievers.wordpress.com/blackout-secular-rally-nyc/" target="_blank">Black Nonbelievers</a>, are vibrant events and important to building communities. But they’re not enough.  Kim Rippere, founder of <a href="http://www.secularwoman.org/" target="_blank">Secular Woman</a> explains,  “The secular community needs to be self-reflective regarding acceptance and inclusion both within our community and in society and the media has to stop ignoring women atheists or it will continue to be difficult for women to emerge as atheist leaders.”</p><p>If leaders who have access to media, money and institutional power seek to build the movement in a “business as usual” way, then we will see “business as usual” results.  Just Google, “Where are the women?”</p></div><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2013 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '875408'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=875408" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Mon, 29 Jul 2013 08:49:00 -0700 Soraya Chemaly, Salon 875408 at http://enforcementwww.alternet.org atheism Number of States in Which Rapists Can Sue For Custody and Visitation Rights -- 31 -- and Other Shocking Rape Facts http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/gender/number-states-which-rapists-can-sue-custody-and-visitation-rights-31-and-other-shocking-rape <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '734871'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=734871" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">For months now we&#039;ve been subjected to surreal revelations when it comes to what people think about rape. Here is some real, fact-checked information. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/woman_depressed.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Remember facts? Remember facts about rape? Because it turns out that a whole lot of people know less than nothing about the subject. Indeed what they think they know is a whole lot of something that is wrong and dangerous to our heath, safety and well-being. Republican Representative Richard Mourdock's <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2012/10/23/mourdock-god-intended-for-babies-to-result-from-rape/" target="_hplink">recent "</a><a href="http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/washington/story/2012-08-19/todd-akin-rape/57146944/1" target="_hplink">misspeaking</a>" is unexceptional. Despite what <a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Elections/From-the-Wires/2012/1024/Richard-Mourdock-clarifies-God-does-not-want-rape" target="_hplink">he may have meant</a> when he said "even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that... is something God intended to happen," he is unexceptional. He's not an outlier. Not a <a href="http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/topoftheticket/la-na-tt-mourdocks-rape-comment-20121025,0,1696827.story?track=rss" target="_hplink">radical</a>. In no substantive way different from his conservative peers in this regard (see below if you disagree). Indeed, he and others, like <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/08/19/712251/how-todd-akin-and-paul-ryan-partnered-to-redefine-rape/" target="_hplink">Todd Akin and Paul Ryan</a>, are part of an <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2012/08/men-defining-rape-history" target="_hplink">age-old tradition</a> of men with power defining when women are raped. And others who <a href="http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/263825-romney-reiterates-mourdock-support" target="_hplink">enable them</a> to do it for their own gain. But, they are not just the Republican party's legislative norm, they are a fair reflection of our cultural tolerance, one without party affiliation, for rape and its qualifications. For months now we've been subjected to surreal revelation when it comes to what people think and understand about rape, god and women's magical bodies. Here is some real, fact-checked information from a list originally published last week in<a href="http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/10/22/paula-ryan-rape-index-castration-and-pregnancy" target="_hplink">RHRealityCheck</a>. <em>And this is trigger warning.</em> You may want a strong cup of coffee. Or a drink. Or an empty stomach. There is nothing remotely <a href="http://thehill.com/video/campaign/263985-santorum-mourdock-didnt-say-rape-was-a-gift-from-god" target="_hplink">divine</a> about rape. But steeping our selves in denial or happy oblivion is hurting too many people and has the potential to hurt a lot more.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><strong>50 Facts About Rape</strong></p><blockquote><ol><li>Low estimate of the <a href="https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/210346.pdf">number of women</a> , according to the Department of Justice, raped every year: 300,000</li><li>High estimate of the <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/SV-DataSheet-a.pdf">number of women raped</a>, according to the CDC: 1.3 million</li><li>Percentage of rapes <a href="http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/reporting-rates">not reported</a>: 54 percent</li><li>A woman's <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/SV-DataSheet-a.pdf">chance of being raped</a> in the U.S.: 1 in 5</li><li>Chances that a <a href="http://www.springerlink.com/content/wp5cnp43k6byxj4d/?MUD=MP">raped woman conceives compared to one engaging in consensual sex</a>: at least two times as likely</li><li>Number of women in the US <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8765248">impregnated against their will each year in the U.S.</a> as a result of rape: 32,000</li><li>Number of states in which <a href="http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2012/08/31-states-grant-rapists-custody-and-visitation-rights/56118/">rapists can sue for custody and visitation</a>: 31</li><li>Chances that a woman's body "<a href="http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/21/health/rape-pregnancy/index.html" target="_blank">shuts that whole thing down</a>": 0 in 3.2 billion</li><li>Rank of <a href="http://www.nationmaster.com/compare/Australia/United-States/Crime">U.S. in the world</a> for rape: 13th</li><li>A woman's chance of <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/SV-DataSheet-a.pdf">being raped in college</a>: 1 in 4 or 5</li><li>Chances that a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/23/us/native-americans-struggle-with-high-rate-of-rape.html?pagewanted=all">Native American woman in the U.S. will be raped</a>: 1 in 3</li><li>Percentage of <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/meghancasserly/2012/04/26/most-dangerous-us-cities-women-anchorage-fairbanks-flint/">women in Alaska</a> who have suffered sexual assault: 37 percent</li><li>Number of <a href="http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/More-rape-kits-than-thought-remain-untested-at-HPD-2403903.php">rape kits untested</a> by the Houston police force: 6,000-7,000 (Texas ranked <a href="http://www.statemaster.com/graph/cri_for_rap-crime-forcible-rape" target="_hplink">second</a> in nation for "forcible rape")</li><li>Number of adult men <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/30/eric-mcgowen-texas-rape-trial_n_1838910.html">accused</a> of repeatedly gang raping 11-year-old girl in Texas: 14</li><li>Quote in <a href="http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/making-sense-of-news/123072/new-york-times-houston-chronicle-frame-story-of-11-year-olds-rape-differently/">the <em>New York Times</em></a> regarding the rape: "They said she dressed older than her age."</li><li>Age of <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/14/nyregion/drifter-is-charged-with-raping-73-year-old-woman-in-central-park.html" target="_hplink">woman raped in Central Park</a> in September, 2012: 73</li><li>Number of <a href="http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=34d_1349643514" target="_hplink">rape kits left untested in Detroit</a>, listed by Forbes as <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/meghancasserly/2012/04/26/most-dangerous-us-cities-women-anchorage-fairbanks-flint/" target="_hplink">one of two the most dangerous places for woman</a> to live in the US: 11,303</li><li>U.S. state in which, in September 2012, mentally disabled rape victim was <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/10/03/947981/court-requires-disabled-rape-victim-to-prove-she-fought-back-calls-for-evidence-of-biting-kicking-scratching/" target="_hplink">required to provide evidence of her "kicking, biting, scratching"</a> in objection to her rape: Connecticut</li><li>State seeking to <a href="http://www.care2.com/causes/pennsylvania-bill-would-reduce-welfare-benefits-for-women-who-cannot-prove-they-were-raped.html" target="_hplink">reduce childcare welfare benefits</a> to women cannot provide proof of their pregnancy-causing rapes: Pennsylvannia</li><li>Percentage of sexual assault and rape victims <a href="http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-victims">under the age of 12</a>: 15 percent</li><li>Percentage of <a href="http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-victims">men who have been raped</a>: 3 percent</li><li>Percentage of <a href="http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/reporting-rates">rapists who are never incarcerated</a>: 97 perent</li><li>Percentage of rapes that <a href="http://journals.cluteonline.com/index.php/CIER/article/viewFile/1201/1185">college students think are false claims</a>: 50 percent</li><li>Percentage of rapes that <a href="http://www.nsvrc.org/publications/articles/false-reports-moving-beyond-issue-successfully-investigate-and-prosecute-non-s">studies find are false claims</a>: 2-8 percent</li><li>Number of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/the-invisible-war_b_1205741.html">rapes reported</a> in the military last year: 16,500</li><li>Pentagon's <a href="http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1968110,00.html">estimated percentage</a> of military assuaults not reported: 80-90 percent</li><li>Percentage of military <a href="http://www.law.buffalo.edu/baldycenter/pdfs/milcult05hansen.pdf">rape victims who were gang raped/raped more than once</a>: 14%/20%</li><li>Percentage of <a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Military/2011/0317/Exclusive-1-in-5-Air-Force-women-victim-of-sexual-assault-survey-finds">military rape victims that are men</a>: 8-37 percent</li><li>Percentage of military victims who get an <a href="http://www.humanevents.com/2011/11/22/speier-speaks-out-against-military-handling-of-sexual-assault/" target="_hplink">"involuntarily" discharge</a> <a href="http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1968110,00.html" target="_hplink">compared</a> to percentage of charged and accused who are discharged <em>with honor</em>: 90 percent involuntary to 80 percent with honor</li><li>Chances an <a href="http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/story/2012-06-26/prison-rape-sexual-assault/55844922/1">incarcerated person is raped</a> in the U.S.: 1 in 10</li><li>Increase in <a href="http://www.dallasvoice.com/texas-prison-rape-capital-u-s-10105138.html">chance</a> that LGTB prisoner is raped: 15x greater chance</li><li>Number of <a href="http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/additional-ucr-publications/ucr_handbook.pdf">men raped</a> that could be counted as legally raped before the <a href="http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-01-06/fbi-rape-definition-adds-men/52398350/1" target="_hplink">FBI changed its definition</a> in December of 2011: 0</li><li>Number of rapes <a href="http://www.statisticbrain.com/world-war-ii-statistics/">noted in commonly used World War II statistics:</a> 0</li><li>Number of rapes of WWII c<a href="http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005176">oncentration camp inmates</a>: Untallied millions</li><li>Number of rapes of <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2002/may/01/news.features11">German women by Russian soldiers</a> at the end of WWII: between 1m and 2m</li><li>Number of women <a href="http://www.womenundersiegeproject.org/conflicts/profile/bosnia">raped in 1990s Bosnian conflict</a>: 60,000+</li><li>Number of women <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/12/48-women-raped-hour-congo">raped <em>per hour</em></a> in Congo during war: 48</li><li>Country where 12 year old was <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,288512,00.html">forced to participate in the rape of his mother:</a> U.S.</li><li>Country where women are <a href="http://articles.nydailynews.com/2011-12-02/news/30464765_1_afghan-woman-plight-of-afghan-women-afghanistan">imprisoned</a> for being raped: Afghanistan</li><li>Age of Moroccan <a href="http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/03/14/200577.html">rape victim who committed suicide</a> after being forced to marry her rapist: 16</li><li>Worldwide number of "child brides" under the age of 18 <a href="http://www.care.org/campaigns/childmarriage/index.asp">forced to marry</a> <em>every day</em>: 25,000</li><li>Ages of girls forced to marry a 59-year-old at the <a href="http://articles.cnn.com/2010-06-23/living/o.child.brides.stories_1_jeanne-minors-across-state-lines-amy?_s=PM:LIVING">Tony Alamo Christian Ministry in Arkansas</a>: 8, 14, 15</li><li>Estimated <a href="http://www.philvaz.com/apologetics/PriestAbuseScandal.htm" target="_hplink">number of people, primarily children, sexually abused</a> by priests in the U.S. versus the number of <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/22/us-usa-crime-church-idUSBRE85L13820120622" target="_hplink">senior Catholic officials</a> found guilty of sexual abuse related crimes in the U.S.: 10,667 to 1</li><li>Chances that a woman in the U.S. is raped versus <a href="http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/detection/probability-breast-cancer">gets breast cancer</a>: 2 to 1</li><li>Chances that a victim is "<a href="http://thinkprogress.org/election/2012/10/16/1018891/linda-mcmahon-flip-flops-on-morning-after-pill-for-rape-victims/">Emergency Raped</a>" by a <a href="http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-victims" target="_hplink">stranger</a> versus percentage of victims who consider their rapes emergencies: 7 percent versus 100 percent</li><li>Percentage of victims of rape <a href="http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-offenders">who report the use of a weapon</a>: 11 percent</li><li>Prison <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/13/world/europe/france-appeal-in-gang-rape-case.html">sentences for four men found guilty of</a> participating in gang rapes of two teenage girls in France over two years: one year, six months, suspended sentence</li><li>State where in 2012 a doctor is facing the loss of her medical license for providing an abortion to a pregnant<a href="http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/08/09/kansas-doctor-under-attack-for-not-forcing-ten-year-old-rape-victim-to-give-birth/">10-year old incest rape victim</a>: Kansas</li><li>Country where <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/05/25/490171/brazil-excommunication-for-abortion/">doctors (but not the rapist)</a> were excommunicated for performing a life-saving abortion to nine-year-old incest rape victim: Brazil</li><li>Country where major party's vice-presidential candidate wants to <a href="http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/paul-ryan-supports-personhood" target="_hplink">criminalize all abortions</a> including rape-related ones, because rape is just "<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cat5SyMBSpk">another method of conception</a>": U.S.</li><br /></ol></blockquote><p>Had enough? Me, too. And, believe me, this is the Cliff Notes version. Some people are offended by frank conversation about violence, especially sexualized violence. I'm offended by tolerance for these assaults, scientific denialism, entertainment at the expense of people's safety and bodily integrity, and shame-infused legislation that hurts children and women and is based on the belief that all men are <a href="http://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2012/05/10/just-say-yes-to-sexist-stereotyping/" target="_hplink">animals at heart</a>.</p><p>Rape happens everywhere <a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2012/0109/US-crime-rate-at-lowest-point-in-decades.-Why-America-is-safer-now" target="_hplink">. All over the world rape acceptance, rape tolerance, rape denial and rape ignorance at best are used to restrict women's reproductive rights and impede women's equality. At worse, rape is used strategically and with violence and malevolence as a</a><a href="http://www.womenundersiegeproject.org/" target="_hplink">weapon in war and as a tool of active oppression</a>. Keeping the reality of rape in the shadows has obviously done us a massive disservice and provided cover for rapists and their apologists. So, even though it's not easy information to digest, it's important. Maybe <em>information</em> is part of god's divine plan.</p><p>In an excellent and thorough overview of our problem, <a href="http://www.thenation.com/blog/170767/ending-rape-illiteracy#">Ending Rape Illiteracy,</a> published yesterday in the <em>Nation</em>, Jessica Valenti, coauthor along with Jaclyn Friedman of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Yes-Means-Visions-Female-Without/dp/1580052576/ref=pd_sim_b_2" target="_hplink"><em>Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape</em>,</a> wrote: "Every day, the severity, violence and criminality of what rape is -- its very definition -- is distorted in a way that makes it more difficult for survivors to come forward and for anti-violence advocates to do their work, while making the world easier for victim-blaming and for rapists themselves."</p><p>Akin, Mourdock, Ryan, et al are the distortions. If men like Mitt Romney really doesn't agree with them then he should grow some ovaries, so to speak, and stop playing in the same political sand box. And, please, these men are not alone: "<a href="http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/19/missouri-republican-claims-legitimate-rape-rarely-results-in-pregnancy/">legitimate rape</a>" versus non legitimate rape. "Forcible rape" as "<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/election-2012/wp/2012/08/27/paul-ryan-the-term-forcible-rape-was-stock-language/">stock language</a>," "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/08/sharron-angles-advice-for_n_639294.html">lemons from lemonade</a>." Women "<a href="http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/01/23/409242/santorum-to-rape-victims-make-the-best-out-of-a-bad-situation/?mobile=nc">should make the best of a bad situation</a>," "<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pg5m4Oo7TqM">horribly created gifts from God</a>," <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2008/02/14/19583/tn-state-senator-rape-just-isnt-what-it-used-to-be/" target="_hplink">husbands can't rape their wives</a>, <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/10/rep-walsh-says-no-need-for-abortion-to-save-mothers-life/">because of science and technology no woman ever needs an abortion</a>, "<a href="http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/10/17/1145651/-Daily-Kos-Elections-Morning-Digest-Linda-McMahon-invents-a-new-kind-of-rape-emergency-rape">emergency rape</a>," <a href="http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/indiana-republican-women-may-fake-rape-to-get-an-abortion/">women lie about rape legislation</a>, "<a href="http://jezebel.com/5882692/ron-paul-generously-offers-victims-of-honest-rape-the-right-to-abortion">honest rape</a>," <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2011/06/09/240597/massachusetts-gop-immigrant-rape/">rape blackmail</a>, <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/25/real-republican-party-rape-platform" target="_hplink">"the sodomized virgin" rape</a>, <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2010/02/18/82482/kansas-rape-auto/">rape is like auto theft</a>. But, again, all of this goes hand-in-hand with Facebook <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/09/facebook-controversial-pages_n_1082870.html">rape pages</a>, Daniel Tosh <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/daniel-tosh-rape-joke_b_1666399.html">rape jokes</a>, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/30/reddit-rapists_n_1714854.html">Reddit rapist threads</a>, <a href="http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist/200905/18/top-five-date-rape-anthems/">music</a>, videos, movies, ad infinitum. This recent political display of religiously convoluted rape "reasoning" in legislation is a national shame with <a href="http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/gpr/12/4/gpr120402.html" target="_hplink">deadly consequences</a> for women <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/09/17/sarah-catt-woman-aborted-baby-due-date-jailed-eight-years_n_1889691.html" target="_hplink">here</a> and <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/10/04/963901/47000-women-die-each-year-from-unsafe-abortions/" target="_hplink">abroad</a>. But, just as these legislators want to decide for themselves when a woman is raped, they also want to control when a woman <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2012/08/21/159587120/gop-platform-anti-abortion-language-includes-no-exceptions-for-rape-incest">can and cannot be pregnant</a> and they infuse the same level of <a href="http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/10/19/rep-joe-walsh-no-abortion-exceptions-because-pregnant-women-dont-die/" target="_hplink">malignant know-nothingness</a> into those decisions, too. And, no, it does not make me feel any better that Republican Representative Steve King has "<a href="http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/08/steve-king-statutory-rape.php" target="_hplink">never heard of a girl getting pregnant from rape or incest.</a>" At least he cleared this up for me, I used to think "ignorant buffoon" was spelled with 15 letters.</p><p><br /><u>Resources</u><br />If you want to understand more about the continued use of rape and its role in culture here are some suggested books.</p><p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Yes-Means-Visions-Female-Without/dp/1580052576/ref=pd_sim_b_2" target="_hplink">Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape</a><br />Jaclyn Friedman (Author), Jessica Valenti (Author)</p><p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Transforming-Rape-Culture-Emilie-Buchwald/dp/1571312048" target="_hplink">Transforming a Rape Culture [</a> Emilie Buchwald (Editor), Pamela Fletcher (Editor), Martha Roth (Editor)</p><p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Macho-Paradox-Some-Women/dp/1402204019/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_2" target="_hplink">The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and and How All Men Can Help</a><br />Jackson Katz</p><p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Color-Violence-Incite-Anthology/dp/089608762X/ref=pd_sim_b_6" target="_hplink">The Color of Violence: The Incite! Anthology</a></p><p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Never-Called-Rape-Recognizing-Acquaintance/dp/0060925728/ref=pd_sim_b_9" target="_hplink">I Never Called It Rape</a> by Robin Warshaw</p><p>Voting is a resource, too. Please, don't vote for these people who fundamentally believe that women are essentially incubators first and foremost and that our rapes are of marginal importance to our breeding capabilities. As Jill Filipovic <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/25/real-republican-party-rape-platform" target="_hplink">put it in the <em>Guardian</em></a>:</p><p>"Rape treats women as vessels, disregarding our autonomy and our right to control what happens to us physically and sexually. The Republican position is that women are not entitled to make fundamental decisions about our own bodies and our own sexual and reproductive health. When that position is written into the GOP platform and is a legislative priority, can we really be surprised when it's further reflected in Republican legislators' comments on rape?</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2012 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '734871'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=734871" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Sun, 28 Oct 2012 18:07:00 -0700 Soraya Chemaly, Huffington Post 734871 at http://enforcementwww.alternet.org LGBTQ Human Rights LGBTQ News & Politics Personal Health World paul ryan Rape Facts todd akin rape rape culture Rape Statistics Republicans Women's Health Richard Mourdock Dear Girls -- Here's Why Nasty Old Religious Men Are Terrified of You http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/story/155577/dear_girls_--_here%27s_why_nasty_old_religious_men_are_terrified_of_you <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '670943'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=670943" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Women are powerful beyond words, because they threaten to unravel the control of corrupt men who abuse their authority.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Dear Girls,</p> <p>You are powerful beyond words, because you threaten to unravel the control of corrupt men who abuse their authority.</p> <p>In the United States last week there were people who wouldn't <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/phoenix-catholic-school-forfeits-baseball-championship-game-because-opponent-has-female-player/2012/05/10/gIQA4XaKGU_story.html">let boys play a baseball championship final because a girl</a> was on the opposing team. She'd already had to sit out two games because of their demands. Why? Did she, a competitive athlete and a member of her team, chose to? Was she being good and respectful when she acceded to their demands? Why were they not asked to forfeit their games? What messages were sent to her and her teammates? This is not complicated. It sent the wrong messages. Confusing messages. Incoherent messages. You need to know that she should have been allowed to play and not have had to sit out two games. These people, <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2009/mar/24/sobrinho-abortion-catholic">and others like them, all over the world, led exclusively by religious men</a>, are scared of you and will not let you be. You worry them constantly.</p> <p>If you were not powerful, they would not take you so seriously and they take you very, very seriously. You should, too. You can set the world on fire.</p> <p>It doesn't feel this way, I know. If that were true, you think, I would not have to <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.azcentral.com/sports/preps/articles/2012/05/09/20120509school-balks-over-having-face-girl-state-title-game.html">sit out baseball games</a> out of respect for religious beliefs that require my subservience and call it a <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1590522729/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&amp;pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&amp;pf_rd_t=201&amp;pf_rd_i=0971598525&amp;pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_r=0G01XK46B9SH3B3EGQQA">gift</a>. I would not be <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/protests-of-va-parishs-move-away-from-altar-girls-reflects-wider-catholic-debate/2011/11/17/gIQAnbRLcN_story.html?wpisrc=nl_cuzheads">turned away</a> from serving God with my brothers. I would not be taught that I'm an <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/01/03/did-abstinence-only-ideology-create-bully-generation">evil temptress or the virtue keeper</a> of boys. I would not have virginity <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.exmormon.org/mormwomn.htm">wielded as a weapon</a> against me and my worth determined by my <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=8422">womb</a>. I would not be <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/28/world/middleeast/israeli-girl-at-center-of-tension-over-religious-extremism.html?pagewanted=all">spat on and called a whore by men when I am eight</a> because my arms are bare. I would not be <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/17/us-afghanistan-women-idUSBRE83G0PZ20120417">poisoned</a> for going to school. I would not be <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/brazil-rocked-by-abortion-for-9yearold-rape-victim-1640165.html">forced</a>, at the age of 9, to carry twins borne of child torture. I would not <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2114884/Moroccan-girl-16-kills-judge-forced-marry-man-RAPED-her.html">have to kill myself to avoid marrying my rapist</a>. If this were true, they would pursue my rapists instead of <a target="_hplink" href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7708169.stm">stoning me for their crimes</a>. I, and thousands others, would not be <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57409395-504083/honor-killing-under-growing-scrutiny-in-the-u.s/">killed</a> for "honor."</p> <p>Girls, these things happen because there are men with power who fear you and want to control you. I know that I have equated relatively benign baseball games with deadly, honor killings but, whereas one is a type of daily, seemingly harmless micro-aggression and the other is a lethal macro-aggression they share the same roots. The basis of both, and escalating actions in between, is the same: To teach you, and all girls subject to these men and their authority, a lesson: "Know your place." I also know that there are places where girls are marginalized and hurt that are not religious. But all over the world these hypocritical, pious men, in their shamefully obvious wrongness, represent the sharp-edged tip of an iceberg, the visible surface of a deep and vast harm. They employ the full range of their earthly and divine influence to make sure, as early as possible, that you and the boys around you understand what they want your relative roles to be. Where there are patriarchal religions girls, in dramatically varying and extreme degrees, disproportionately suffer. Understand these men for what they are: bullies. Do not internalize what they would have you believe.</p> <p>Your very existence <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.amazon.com/Authoritarianism-Polarization-American-Politics-Hetherington/dp/052171124X">makes them anxious.</a> And their anxiety is particularly high because you have something no generation of girls has had before -- globally connected communities of men and women who support your equality and freedom. Like <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs-Steel-Fates-Societies/dp/0393317552">guns, germs and steel</a>, this transformative technology, which enables me to write to you here, alters geography, changes societies and dismantles systems of control -- it makes the <a target="_hplink" href="https://jyx.jyu.fi/dspace/bitstream/handle/123456789/20301/9789513936013.pdf?sequence=1">world a smaller place</a> and it creates, even if <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/08/AR2010100806343.html">slowly</a>in some places, positive change for girls like you. You see, until now, these men could count on, indeed they could ensure, that you and the women around you were house-bound and isolated. Many of you still are. But now, there are millions and millions and millions people who are thinking about you and <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.ffrf.org/publications/nontracts/">challenging</a> these men every single day. You have the speed of light on your side and unless someone permanently turns the lights out, those days are gone. So, although you might feel like you are alone, you are not.</p> <p>How do you threaten them? A girl, alone? By being <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.azcentral.com/sports/preps/articles/2012/05/09/20120509school-balks-over-having-face-girl-state-title-game.html">able</a>, <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.southsouthnews.com/pages/NewsDetails.aspx?NewsId=29642739-5bb7-443e-9974-22cd3c324ad2">strong</a>, <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.harpyness.com/2012/01/09/fighting-religious-fanaticism-with-dance/">confident</a> and yes, <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SP5OBR-cSms">shameless</a>. You may not "naturally" be interested in <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.truewoman.com/assets/files/TW_Manifesto.pdf">domesticity, piety, purity and submission</a>, and they rely on your commitment to those things to order their worlds. Their actions, from one end of the spectrum to the other, are designed to fill you with self-doubt and, ultimately, fear -- either bodily or spiritual -- because otherwise you, and the young boys around you, will be fully aware of your strength and potential.</p> <p>Because of this, they single-mindedly focus their attention on you, your body, your clothes, your hair, your abilities, your physical freedom. When their "manners" and "morals" are not universally applicable, but different for boys and girls, you can be sure that this is why. They seek to teach you, subtly, through small slights and gendered expectations, that you are "different," weak, unworthy, incapable. The sadness is that, in their perception, if you are none of these things, then they are not strong, worthy and capable. This is not an excuse, but an explanation. It's why they find infinite <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111004121314.htm">"benevolent" ways to </a><a target="_hplink" href="http://www.infidels.org/kiosk/article203.html">undermine</a> and <a target="_hplink" href="http://userpages.umbc.edu/~korenman/wmst/menstruation3.html">disparage</a> you, all in the name of "God's word." When that fails, they resort to <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/02/15/government-sanctioned-rape-in-state-virginia-and-texas">violence</a>. All over the world, their anxiety is manifest in a spectrum of actions ranging from mild paternalism, respectful of "<a target="_hplink" href="http://www.themarysue.com/girl-wont-play-baseball/">proper boundaries</a>," to deadly <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57409395-504083/honor-killing-under-growing-scrutiny-in-the-u.s/">enforcement</a> of their rules.</p> <p>Fear is why these men <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/11/us/bishops-group-to-investigate-girl-scouts.html?ref=romancatholicchurch">"officially" investigate</a> Girl Scouts while <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/03/world/europe/irish-cardinal-rejects-new-accusations-on-pedophile-priest.html?ref=romancatholicchurch">perversely shielding</a> child rapists. It's why they <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.purityball.com/">obsess over your "purity."</a> It's why they <a target="_hplink" href="http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/12/28/israel-fighting-for-the-soul-of-the-nation-against-ultra-orthodox-segregationist-zealots/">segregate</a> you in public and private spaces. It's why they <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.legalmomentum.org/assets/pdfs/truthabstinenceonly-1.pdf">instruct girls and boys</a> that girls' bodies are either <a target="_hplink" href="http://userpages.umbc.edu/~korenman/wmst/menstruation3.html">shameful and dirty</a> or <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Purity-Myth-Obsession-Virginity/dp/1580052533">sacred</a> and <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.npr.org/2011/12/12/143587131/the-insidious-tradition-of-taking-child-brides">belonging to men</a>. Fear motivates them to teach that you <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/04/23/why_do_they_hate_us?page=0,2">pollute</a> others by your very nature. It makes them intent on making sure you <a target="_hplink" href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/01/17/402438/santorum-staffer-says-women-shouldnt-be-president-because-its-against-gods-will/">stay home</a> and not be fully engaged in the world. It leads them to sanction marriages of <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Latest-News-Wires/2012/0418/Child-brides-Will-Saudi-Arabia-set-age-limit-for-marriage">8-year-olds to old men</a>. It convinces them that rape and its consequences are a "<a target="_hplink" href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2012/jan/25/rick-santorum-rape-pregnancy">gift from God</a>." It's why they <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_ZWTx-QUj4">empower others to stone you</a> to death and<a target="_hplink" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acid_throwing">disfigure you with acid</a>.</p> <p>Even "<a target="_hplink" href="http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/beat-the-gay-out-of-kids-pastor-apology-attacks-homosexuality-as-abomination/politics/2012/05/02/38927">beating the gay</a>" out of children, especially boys who are "more like" you, is aimed at you. Because if boys are "more like girls," something these men <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/10/opinion/10kristof.html">believe is fundamentally inferior</a>, then you can be "more like boys." That causes ambiguity and destroys their carefully defined hierarchies and that is intolerable to them.</p> <p>Fear is why they insist there is something fundamentally wrong with you. Don't believe them. Fear is why they want you to cover your body. There is nothing wrong with your body, and your body is not to blame. Whether you chose to expose your body or to cover it up, consider the degree to which <a target="_hplink" href="http://jessicavalenti.com/books/the-purity-myth/">either choice</a> is defined by a reduction of your character to narrow sexuality by a culture that refuses to hold men accountable for their actions and requires you to either radically display ourself for men's pleasure or withdraw from the world and be held in reserve. Either way, ask who is defining your worth and by what measure. Fear is why they tell you you are so different from boys. You, and the boys you know, understand that your bodies are different, but that you are far more alike than dissimilar. Threatened, insecure, adult men say otherwise. Don't give in. Even if you're quiet. The differences these religious authorities exaggerate are simply pillars of oppression used to teach boys and girls that women's subjugation is "natural" and "divine." Reject them and their ideas.</p> <p>This is hard to do. It requires that you, individually, be <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.amazon.com/Am-Nujood-Age-10-Divorced/dp/0307589676">brave</a>, <a target="_hplink" href="http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/archives/2009/03/9yearolds_abort.html">strong</a>, <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.amazon.com/Good-Catholic-Girls-Leading-Change/dp/006057061X">determined</a>, <a target="_hplink" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Education_of_Shelby_Knox">fearless</a> and <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.ibiswestafrica.com/index.php?option=com_content&amp;view=article&amp;id=175%3Ayou-can-say-no-to-circumcision&amp;catid=51%3Aarticles-and-cases-from-sierra-leone&amp;Itemid=135&amp;lang=es">confident</a>. It requires that you demand that the adults around you pay attention and change their behavior. This is even harder.</p> <p>First, and perhaps the most difficult to understand as a girl, is that women who love you and care for you often <a target="_hplink" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm_syndrome">enable</a> these <a target="_hplink" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quiverfull">men</a>. This is what people say, "It's not JUST men!" And they are right, women support them, individually and in <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.truewoman.com/">groups</a>, in ways that have private, public, political and societal consequences. But, make no mistake -- although women are the <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.truewoman.com/assets/files/TW_Manifesto.pdf">enforcers</a> of rules, they have no real, systemic authority in conservative religious hierarchies, and they know this. Yes, without <a target="_hplink" href="http://articles.cnn.com/2012-05-08/asia/world_asia_afghan-girl-mistreatment_1_rights-groups-afghanistan-afghan-army?_s=PM:ASIA">their support</a>these men could not continue, but until these women are truly free -- bodily, economically, physically, politically -- and their practical and spiritual salvation is no longer mediated by <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.theconservativepundit.net/?p=745">these very men</a>, they will continue to support them. Enforcing the rules is a rational choice that enables them to survive, the world over, in unjust environments. You scare them too, because you call in to question their own complicity and cause conflict within.</p> <p>Second, it is confusing that these men say they do what they do for your own good. They talk about respecting you and your dignity. You want to believe them; they have power and authority over you, your parents, your community and your access to God. They are often kind and benevolent and they love you. So, they must be right. But they are not. They demonstrate their own <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2004702,00.html">hypocrisy</a><a target="_hplink" href="http://pronlinenews.com/?p=9400"> over</a> and <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4184063,00.html">over</a> and <a target="_hplink" href="http://goshareyourfaith.wordpress.com/2009/05/23/for-the-mormon-woman-you-better-be-nice-to-your-man/">over</a> again. They say they know what is best. They do not. You do. Don't believe them when they teach you in hundreds of ways, through <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_sS_EELWyQ&amp;feature=related">sacred text</a>, <a target="_hplink" href="http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1392441">careful words</a>, <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6Iij0aIkw8">cherished traditions</a>, hidden <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.womenundersiegeproject.org/conflicts/profile/egypt">threats</a> and frightening <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57409395-504083/honor-killing-under-growing-scrutiny-in-the-u.s/">examples</a>, that you are inherently more sinful, base and corrupt, less worthy and in need of constant male guidance. Reject them.</p> <p>The adults around you may not appear to support you when you take your humanity to its logical religious conclusions. Do not let them off the hook. Do not let them use "tradition" as an excuse or say it "really doesn't matter." Do not allow them to get away with asking you to "sit out games," "be a good girl," "don't make a fuss," and "put something on." These are micro-aggressions that result in macro-aggressions. Adults often don't think these things through. Sometimes it's scary to them, too.</p> <p>You can say: "There is nothing wrong with me. There is something wrong with you and your world."</p> <p>Otherwise, when you get older, these same men, the ones who fear and hate you, will continue to undermine you. They will seek to <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2102411/Birth-control-hearing-Capitol-Hill-led-male-panel.html">control your body</a>, keep you <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.theopedia.com/Complementarianism">out of the public sphere</a>, subjugate you in the name of a narrowly defined "family," create <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/wage-equality_b_1415560.html">impediments</a> to your equality, shame you at every turn and justify your continued oppression in convoluted ways that <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1883598,00.html">defy reason and morality</a>. They will <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2012/05/11/the-catholic-churchs-treatment-of-nuns-is-polarizing-and-alienating">investigate</a> you for being strong, <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/02/19/ultrasounds-modern-day-version-putting-someone-in-stocks">violate</a> you, <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_ZWTx-QUj4">stone you</a> to death, charge you with <a target="_hplink" href="http://digitaljournal.com/article/316007">witchcraft</a>,<a target="_hplink" href="http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2011/12/jailed-afghan-rape-victim-wins-pardon-after-agreeing-to-marry-attacker.html">punish</a> you in every conceivable way to set an example for ... your children.</p> <p>So, know that you are strong and powerful. Use your reason. Trust your instincts. Seek out those that would support you and, yes, know your place: on the <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/phoenix-catholic-school-forfeits-baseball-championship-game-because-opponent-has-female-player/2012/05/10/gIQA4XaKGU_story.html">field</a>, in the <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/international-street-harassment-week_b_1228198.html">street</a>, on the bus (<a target="_hplink" href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204368104577136253309226604.html">in the front</a>), in <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503543_162-57415118-503543/report-150-afghan-schoolgirls-poisoned/?tag=stack">school</a>, at <a target="_hplink" href="http://www.care2.com/causes/wisconsin-equal-pay-law-repealed-because-money-is-more-important-for-men.html">work</a> and in <a target="_hplink" href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/01/17/402438/santorum-staffer-says-women-shouldnt-be-president-because-its-against-gods-will/">public office</a>.</p> <p>You are not alone and you are brighter than the sun.</p> <p><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/message-to-girls-about-re_b_1518849.html#s327348&amp;title=Dr_Ingrid_Mattson"><em>Take a look at 10 inspiring religious women here. </em></a></p> <p> </p> <p><b><br /></b></p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Soraya L. Chemaly writes about feminism, gender and culture. She writes for The Huffington Post, The Feminist Wire, BitchFlicks and Fem2.0 among others. Follow at <a href="https://twitter.com/schemaly&gt;@schemaly&lt;/a&gt;. &lt;/body&gt;&lt;/html&gt;"></a></div></div></div> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2012 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '670943'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=670943" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 23 May 2012 17:00:01 -0700 Soraya Chemaly, AlterNet 670943 at http://enforcementwww.alternet.org Sex & Relationships LGBTQ Sex & Relationships religion feminism women power sexist respect 6 Absurdly Demeaning Conservative Attacks on Women http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/story/155362/6_absurdly_demeaning_conservative_attacks_on_women <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '670970'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=670970" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Republican politicians are rolling back women&#039;s reproductive rights based on the norms of animal husbandry.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/images/managed/storyimages_1337630594_nursingpig.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Everyone knows women can be bitches sometimes, right? Unless they're cougars, that is, on the prowl -- or if they're a bit younger, they're more like vixens, kinda foxy. They henpeck when married and go wet and wild when single. They can take out their claws out or put them away. (Who doesn't love a good catfight?)</p> <p>Less dangerous are the girls and the young women, softer and fuzzier, who are more like bunnies, or, as the English say, like birds. Either way, diminutive and harmless. Girls like these are more like pets. Chicks or kittens.</p> <p>Everyone does it, using language that renders women as animals;the list is endless. This culturally ingrained misogyny, as reflected in acceptable language that dehumanizes half the world's population, is not limited to any one country or religion, or followers of one or another ideology.</p> <p> But in U.S. politics, a particular trend has emerged among a certain set of conservatives: that of equating a woman with a farm animal. When, last week, Safeway Senior Vice President General Counsel Bob Gordon stood before a shareholders’ meeting telling a quot;<a href="http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/05/16/1092198/-Safeway-s-general-counsel-tells-hilarious-sexist-joke-at-annual-shareholder-meeting">joke</a>quot; that portrayed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as being worth less than a pair of hogs,he clearly had no reservations about publicly making this joke and obviously thought it was funny. After all, he was only elaborating on a meme that's been evolving among right-wing Republican politicians in state legislatures.</p> <p>Let's see. There's state Rep. Terry England, the infamous <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/womens-reproductive-rights_b_1345214.html">Georgia legislator comparing pregnant hogs and cows to women</a> while debating a proposal that became known as the "<a href="http://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2012/03/31/at-11th-hour-georgia-passes-women-as-livestock-bill/">women as livestock bill</a>," which would hold pregnant women to the animal husbandry standard of carrying a dead fetus to term.</p> <p>Then there's Missouri House Majority Leader Tim Jones, explaining that he was well-prepared to propose restrictions on women's health options because his "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/29/missouri-contraception-law-lawmakers-womens-health_n_1388325.html">father's a veterinarian</a>."</p> <p>And Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce's sexist and racist reasoning that immigrant women come here to "<a href="http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy/2010/08/04/sexist-racist-republicans-compare-immigrant-women-to-farm-animals/">drop a child</a>" during their "<a href="http://jezebel.com/5603149/baby+dropping-immigrant-women-targeted-by-republicans">breeding season</a>."</p> <p>Montana Rep. Keith Regier recently explained the higher value of "<a href="http://mtlowdown.blogspot.com/2011/03/gop-reps-cattle-comment-draws-ire-of.html">preg-tested</a>" cows, forcing his opposition to point out that "We do not place price tags on women in the same way that we do on cattle."</p> <p>State Rep. Mary Franson of Minnesota created a video to explain, as a context for discussing food stamps, that "<a href="http://www.bluestemprairie.com/bluestemprairie/2012/03/heartless-in-the-heartland-representative-mary-franson-compares-feeding-food-stamp-recipients-to-fee.html">animals may grow dependent and not learn to take care of themselves</a>." That was similar to South Carolina Lieutenant Gov. Andre Bauer's explanation of welfare mothers as "<a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-6139186-503544.html">stray animals</a>" who will "breed"because they don't "know any better."</p> <p>Last but not least, there's the sexualized bitch category to which Georgetown student Sandra Fluke was dragged, in a sort of gender-bending mode, when Republican state representative Krayton Kerns, an actual "<a href="http://www.kraytonkerns.org/postings/sandra_fluke.html">cow doctor," compared her</a>to a rutting bulldog paid stud fees for sex at Kern's veterinary school.</p> <p>These right-wing politicians and legislators obviously favor pigs, cows and livestock in their "women are not quite human" metaphors and analogies. What does this tell us about how conservatives like their womenfolk? What do these animals share?</p> <blockquote> <p>1) They're domesticated: docile and tame.</p> <p>2) They're often used for controlled breeding and reproductive purposes.</p> <p>3) They're generally considered dumb and unthinking, and there is the implication that they are immature and dependent.</p> <p>4) They're often thought of as unclean.</p> <p>5) They're not dangerous or threatening (i.e. sexual and powerful).</p> <p>6) They're a consumable resource.</p></blockquote> <p>Farm animals don't act independently. They have sex for breeding, not for pleasure, and the choice of partners and conditions of the sex they have are controlled by their masters. They certainly don't try to disturb the natural order of things, namely male dominion.</p> <p>When women are not domesticated -- i.e., operating beyond the control of white men -- whether they're white or women of color, if they demand the right to free agency or a social safety net that spares their children from starvation, they're depicted as sexualized and base, making them dogs or wild animals.</p> <p>Regardless of race or ethnicity, all women are by implication of this language and imagery closer to animals. However, comparisons like these are more extreme in this country for women of color, who have to live with a level of racialized sexual aggression that white women don't, enduring the double-whammy of both gendered and racialized animalistic insults.</p> <p>An enduring racial trope paints American blacks of both sexes as "<a href="http://www.womanist-musings.com/2009/08/naomi-campbell-plays-exotic-african.html">savage and untamable</a>." African-American women have long been described as "wild" and "exotic," and are often portrayed as <a href="http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2009/08/19/another-photoshoot-places-a-black-woman-among-animals/">actual African animals</a>. (Consider this on the "innocent" side of the spectrum: until Disney released <em>The Princess and the Frog</em> in 2009, the only vaguely black prince and princess characters in a Disney film were wild animals on the African savannah (<em>The Lion King</em>). Even in the <em>The Princess and the Frog</em>, Tiana, Disney's first African-American princess, spent at least half of the movie as a green amphibian.)</p> <p>To be sure, there are instances of men referred to as asses or pigs, but just Google images for "women as animals" and then "men as animals" and see what happens. When men are compared to animals, it is usually because they do something disgusting. It is an undesirable behavior, not an undesirable essence. The salient aspect of the animal names that girls and women are called is not their behavior, it is their gender. (Virtually all of the worst words one can call a woman, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/the-slut-vote-a-manifesto_b_1335175.htm">like the word "slut</a>," are gender-specific.) Girls forge their identities through this dense fog of linguistic subjugation while boys tacitly infer their own superiority. Girls and women suffer direct harm because of it -- and boys and men, the indirect harm of living in a disordered and unjust society.</p> <p>In the worldview of many right-wing legislators, it seems that a woman can only be one of two things: dangerously wild, incapable of reason and therefore decision-making on her own behalf, or a docile, breedable resource, entirely dependent and subject to compulsory pregnancy determined by others.In either case, these are dangerous grounds for justifying <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/womens-reproductive-rights_b_1345214.html">legislation</a> that subordinates a woman's rights to her reproductive capacity.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Soraya L. Chemaly writes about feminism, gender and culture. She writes for The Huffington Post, The Feminist Wire, BitchFlicks and Fem2.0 among others. Follow at <a href="https://twitter.com/schemaly&gt;@schemaly&lt;/a&gt;. &lt;/body&gt;&lt;/html&gt;"></a></div></div></div> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2012 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '670970'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=670970" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Mon, 21 May 2012 15:00:01 -0700 Soraya Chemaly, AlterNet 670970 at http://enforcementwww.alternet.org LGBTQ Visions News & Politics LGBTQ The Right Wing animal language misogyny reproductive justice Why Abstinence-Only Sex Ed Makes Kids Into Bullies http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/story/153683/why_abstinence-only_sex_ed_makes_kids_into_bullies <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '669043'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=669043" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Abstinence-only programs, with their emphasis on purity, marriage, and heterosexuality, create hostile environments.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Abstinence-only education creates a petri dish for bullying in schools. There is always a lot of back and forth about the efficacy of these programs, and I fall on the side that they <a href="http://esciencenews.com/articles/2008/09/18/accuracy.efficacy.and.ethics.abstinence.only.programs.questioned.public.health.experts">demonstrably fail</a> to reduce teen pregnancy, the rate of incidence of teen sex, or the transmission of sexutally transmitted infections (STIs) (all you have to do is <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/23/rick-perry-struggles-to-a_n_934172.html">look at Texas</a>). In addition, however, I believe that the heyday of our federal investment in abstinence-only programs had a terrible collateral effect -- namely, kids who were "educated" in this way were more likely to bully and harass because they learned, in ways integral to abstinence provisions, outdated "traditional" ideas about gender and sexuality. Even kids whose parents talked to them at home, about contraception or healthy sex, were taught gendered rules and more and more of them appear to have enforced those rules to great harm.</p> <p>To be clear, I am not saying teaching abstinence is the problem. But, teaching abstinence in the context of fully comprehensive, age-appropriate sex ed is qualitatively different from teaching abstinence-<em style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; ">only</em>. This is the problem. I am saying that there is something inherently harmful about cultures that insist on abstinence-only teaching.</p> <p>From 1982 until 2010 funding for abstinence-only programs grew exponentially, from <a href="http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/publications/429?task=view">$4 million dollars in 1982 to $176 million in 2007</a>. According to The Department of Health and Human Services, during almost the exact same period, 2001-2008, there was a <a href="http://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/news/e-updates/eupdate-7.html">steady rise of bullying at schools</a>. Fourteen percent of students, ages 12 through 18 reported being bullied during school in 2001, a proportion that<a href="http://www.childtrendsdatabank.org/?q=node/369">more than doubled</a>, to 32 percent, in 2007. Some of the bullying increase might be attributable to better recognition and reporting, but I think that the almost straight line correlation in growth trends during that same period is interesting. A correlation is not necessarily a causation, but here is why I think that there is an intimate dynamic between the two trends:</p> <p>Elizabeth Meyer, author of the excellent book, <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Gender-Bullying-Harassment-Strategies-Homophobia/dp/0807749532">Gender, Bullying, and Harassment: Strategies to End Sexism and Homophobia in Schools</a></em> defines bullying and harassment in the following way:</p> <blockquote>Bullying is repeated and intentional hurtful behaviors directed at a specific person, whereas harassment includes unintentional or intentional behaviors that are discriminatory in nature.</blockquote> <p>When bullying occurs it's not in isolation from the culture in which it occurs. The idea that bullying is a one-off instance of rule breaking is a misconception. It is, instead, the systematic enforcement of rules, particularly gender rules. And, yes, that includes same-sex bullying--in some ways an even better example of gender-rule enforcing than opposite-sex bullying. The list of children, with which we are now sadly familiar, who have killed themselves as the result of <a href="http://news.change.org/stories/its-not-just-bullying-its-slut-shaming-the-case-of-phoebe-prince">slut-shaming</a> and <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/04/us/04suicide.html">trans- and homo-phobia</a> is bleak and long. There are serious penalties being paid for not following gender rules.</p> <p>There are three primary ways that abstinence-only programs, with their emphasis on <a href="http://jessicavalenti.com/books/the-purity-myth/">purity</a>, marriage, and heterosexuality, create hostile environments that perpetuate the growth of rule-enforcing bullies, one slut-shaming, homophobic class at a time:</p> <p>1. They rely on offensive, sexist stereotypes about men and women, boys and girls, as <a href="http://www.legalmomentum.org/our-work/sfr/sex-lies-and-stereotypes.html">a foundational teaching tool</a> and pass it off as "biology." They portray "real" boys as unable to control themselves, unemotional (particularly about sex), not interested in female desire or sexual satisfaction, not ultimately responsible for their own sexual feelings (which are portrayed as dependent on how girls chose to tempt them) and definitely heterosexual. Girls, on the other hand, are shown as controlling monitors of aggressive male sexuality. In classic Madonna/whore manner, girls, despite being chaste objects of male desire and not "naturally" interested in having sex, are portrayed as temptresses that need to control what they wear and the messages they send. Also heterosexual, they are definitely not capable of managing their own reproductive lives.(*See footnote for examples from texts or click <a href="http://www.nomoremoney.org/index.cfm?pageid=950">here</a> for some real doozies.) </p><p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; "> </p> <p>2. They marginalize and stigmatize LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) youth by teaching that sex between a woman and a man (obviously within traditional heterosexual marriage) is the only safe, healthy, "normal" behavior. Even if you want to teach your kids abstinence, you don't have to do it this way. Any other form of sexual activity is a perversion to be avoided. There is a <a href="http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/publications/429?task=view">Federal Definition</a> of what constitutes abstinence-only program content (on which we've spent <a href="http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/publications/429?task=view">$1.5 billion dollars</a> since 1982) and it requires that students be told that heterosexual marriage is the "expected standard." In addition, these programs regularly represent LGBTQ relationships as a form of disease and provide <a href="http://the-aids-pandemic.blogspot.com/2008/08/hivaids-role-of-abstinence-only.html">misleading information</a> about HIV and other STIs. Despite the fact that abstinence-only materials were required to provide "medically accurate" information after a 2004<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A26623-2004Dec1">study</a> revealed the persistence of these misrepresentations, the same materials <a href="http://www.nomoremoney.org/index.cfm?pageid=947">continued</a> to be used. The messages sent by these curricula not only reinforce a discriminatory environment, but<em style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; ">cultivate</em> it. What kind of school environment is produced when<a href="http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-sex-education-us"> teachers are forced</a> to provide materials supporting the idea that non-hetero kids are deviant as a matter of federally-mandated policy? No wonder LGBTQ students are <a href="http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/gay-bullying-statistics.html">five times more likely</a> to miss school because they feel unsafe after being bullied due to their sexual orientation. </p><p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; "> </p> <p>3. Lastly, abstinence-only programs teach kids to slut-shame and -blame, and send a victim-blaming message. The flip side of this equation for boys is that they aren't in control of themselves and can't be blamed if a girl "encourages" them. We sometimes call that as "boys being boys" and it's how we laughingly wave away a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/harassment-parents-advice_b_1069581.html">slippery slope of assaultive behaviour</a>. The Legal Matters study concluded that <a href="http://www.legalmomentum.org/our-work/sfr/sex-lies-and-stereotypes.html">abstinence materials consistently defined women as </a>"socially and sexually submissive" and concluded that "Many girls fear that if they broach the topic of safe sex with their partners, they will be thought of as promiscuous and be rejected and ostracized as a result." ***</p> <p>When adults in authority teach stereotypes and hyper-gendered rules as fact, how are children expected to feel and behave? I could not find any longitudinal, granular research studying this relationship, but why would it surprise anyone that bullying would increase greatly in these settings? Marry, no pun intended, these lessons and environments with teens' unregulated access to new social media and it's the perfect recipe for cyber-bullying.</p> <p>The best part of all of this, however, is how our tax dollars pay to implement the pre-modern, fundamentalist social policy agendas of a minority of parents <em style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; ">and</em> teach kids to bully at the same time. You can see why I find it particularly rich when people who proudly tout abstinence-only programs are<a href="http://www.bullypolice.org/tx_law.html">also interested</a> in funding anti-bullying rules and legislation. Abstinence-only was a subtle form of organized hazing and a not-so-subtle form of national policy bullying if you ask me.</p> <p>I know that during the past two years we've significantly <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_education_in_the_United_States">increased commitment and funding for science- and evidence-based</a> teen pregnancy, STI, and HIV prevention programs. I would hazard a guess that this shift in sex ed will have just as much, if not more, effect on reducing bulling and increasing tolerance, than anti-bullying rules and legislation will. But, in the meantime, I think it is unconscionable that we continue to pay a lot of money (a total of <a href="http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2010/03/30/failed-abonly-programs-back-health-care-reform">$250 million</a> was reinstated for 2010-2014) for the Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage program. Maybe schools that teach abstinence-only should reconsider how much they want to waste on anti-bullying rules.</p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> </div></div></div> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2012 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '669043'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=669043" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Fri, 06 Jan 2012 11:00:01 -0800 Soraya Chemaly, RH Reality Check 669043 at http://enforcementwww.alternet.org Sex & Relationships Sex & Relationships LGBTQ sex abstinence kids 6 Ways to Teach Girls How to Deal With Idiots That Sexually Harass Them on the Street http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/story/153102/6_ways_to_teach_girls_how_to_deal_with_idiots_that_sexually_harass_them_on_the_street <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '668481'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=668481" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">By age 12, 22% of girls experience street harassment. By the time they’re 19, it’s 87%.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://enforcementwww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Tahoma, Verdana; line-height: 20px; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 15px; padding-left: 0px; text-decoration: none; text-align: left; ">According to Holly Kearl, author of <a target="_hplink" style="color: rgb(47, 128, 154); " href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2011/0418/Street-harassment-of-women-It-s-a-bigger-problem-than-you-think/(page)/2"><em>Stop Street Harassment: Making Public Places Safe and Welcoming for Women</em></a>, by age 12, 22% of girls experience street harassment. By the time they’re 19, it’s 87%. Today, a <a target="_hplink" style="color: rgb(47, 128, 154); " href="http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iVgm6BRfDXjFKjN9abTtgnlcRZ_g?docId=8b552c3cc6014c688ffa94f885c62b7c">study</a> released by the American Association of University Women, reveals the degree to which sexual harassment occurs to girls (and boys) in 7th-12th grades: 56% of girls surveyed had experienced it in school.</p> <p style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Tahoma, Verdana; line-height: 20px; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 15px; padding-left: 0px; text-decoration: none; ">If you are a man and you are not sure what street harassment is, <a target="_hplink" style="color: rgb(47, 128, 154); " href="http://www.stopstreetharassment.org/male-allies/">check here</a>, because every woman, literally every woman, knows. Regardless of race, class, ethnicity, education, age and especially, clothes, all women are harassed on the street by men, sometimes very aggressively. It’s any public interaction that makes a girl or woman feel vulnerable, intimidated, embarrassed, attacked and almost always sexualized. As I discussed in a recent post, it’s a <a target="_hplink" style="color: rgb(47, 128, 154); " href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/are-you-tired-of-street-h_b_1031032.html?ref=women%3Cbr%20/%3E">gendered form of social control</a>.</p> <p style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Tahoma, Verdana; line-height: 20px; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 15px; padding-left: 0px; text-decoration: none; ">When my daughter asked me if she could go get some ice cream by herself one day, I was flooded by disturbing memories of years of street harassment. Instead of being excited for her, for her sense of independence and her eagerness to be in the world, I was deeply saddened. I wanted her to stay fearless and to explore the world, safely. So, I looked into how things may or may not have changed since I was younger and what resources might be available to young girls and women.</p> <p style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Tahoma, Verdana; line-height: 20px; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 15px; padding-left: 0px; text-decoration: none; text-align: center; ">♦◊♦</p> <p style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Tahoma, Verdana; line-height: 20px; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 15px; padding-left: 0px; text-decoration: none; ">Here are the top six things that I came up with:</p> <p style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Tahoma, Verdana; line-height: 20px; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 15px; padding-left: 0px; text-decoration: none; ">1. Review the basics with her in a “safety rule”—not “scary reality”—way:</p> <ul style="list-style-type: none; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 15px; padding-left: 0px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Tahoma, Verdana; line-height: 20px; "><li style="list-style-type: square; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 30px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; ">Be safe and develop good habits—don’t scare her, but make sure she knows the safety rules relevant to where she’ll be.</li> <li style="list-style-type: square; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 30px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; ">Don’t engage—don’t answer questions, get into a conversation or respond in anger. But, don’t lose confidence. This is hard. Whereas you, as a an adult might be able to stare the guy down and say, “Don’t touch my arm again,” a younger girl may not be equipped to do the same. Even most adult women aren’t. In a recent survey, 69% of women said they <a target="_hplink" style="color: rgb(47, 128, 154); " href="http://www.stopstreetharassment.org/resources/statistic">never make eye contact</a> on the street to avoid harassment.</li> <li style="list-style-type: square; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 30px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; ">Be confident—if she wants the independence to walk around or has to for other reasons, like getting to school, then she needs to feel confident enough to say STOP if she has to, or ask someone for help. She has to speak loudly and clearly. Practice with her. If someone touches her without her consent, she can call 911, and she should.</li> <li style="list-style-type: square; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 30px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; ">If you and she live in a place where the harassment is really prevalent and frightening, find a self-defense class.</li> </ul><p style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Tahoma, Verdana; line-height: 20px; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 15px; padding-left: 0px; text-decoration: none; ">2. Teach her that street harassment is not a compliment and that she has to trust her instincts. Harassment can be confusing to girls and women since the line between a compliment from a well-meaning and polite man and unwanted, potentially threatening harassment from a creep can be fuzzy and often incorporates cultural differences that are hard to parse. For a lot of women, and especially teen girls trying out their newfound, more adult femininity, certain comments can seem flattering. But it’s a precariously thin line between seemingly benign behavior and the threat of something ugly. Girls and women don’t have the time or luxury of determining which is which. I asked my daughter, now 14, if she could come up with a hard and fast cross-cultural rule that all girls could apply when developing their instincts about when to feel threatened and how to respond. She came up with this simple rule to determine the difference between a compliment and harassment: If you can look the person in the eye, confidently and uncoerced, and say “thank you” (even if you don’t actually do)—then it’s not harassment.</p> <p style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Tahoma, Verdana; line-height: 20px; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 15px; padding-left: 0px; text-decoration: none; ">3. Let her know that if she’s groped, yelled at, whispered to, it’s not her fault; she doesn’t have to “like it.” It’s bullying. Let her know it’s doesn’t have to be this way, she’s not alone, and she doesn’t have to shamefully keep the harassment to herself. A recent article in <em>Psychology Today</em>, <a target="_hplink" style="color: rgb(47, 128, 154); " href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-new-teen-age/201108/hey-baby-hurts">“Hey Baby Hurts,”</a> discusses some of the psychological implications for teens, which includes fear, self-objectification, and withdrawal. Often, girls don’t talk to their parents about the street harassment that they are subjected to. The study released today explains:<a target="_hplink" style="color: rgb(47, 128, 154); " href="http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iVgm6BRfDXjFKjN9abTtgnlcRZ_g?docId=8b552c3cc6014c688ffa94f885c62b7c"> ”Nearly a third of the victims said the harassment made them feel sick to their stomach, affected their study habits or fueled reluctance to go to school at all.”</a> Share with her the fact that there is a worldwide movement to combat street harassment. Organizations like <a target="_hplink" style="color: rgb(47, 128, 154); " href="http://www.stopstreetharassment.org/">Stop the Harassment</a>and <a target="_hplink" style="color: rgb(47, 128, 154); " href="http://www.ihollaback.org/">Holla Back!</a> are dedicated to empowering girls and women by teaching them assertive responses, self-defense, and easy mechanisms for reporting harassers.</p> <p style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Tahoma, Verdana; line-height: 20px; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 15px; padding-left: 0px; text-decoration: none; ">4. Set an example if you’re her mom or grandmother or aunt. Stop accepting sexually-based street harassment as the price of being a woman. Men who harass often don’t know they’re being offensive. Tell them. There are places and times when even if you feel threatened you don’t have to be scared. You can look for allies, politely but firmly say, “Stop, that’s offensive,” shame the jerk, call the police. Model fearless behavior for her. If you’re a dad, it’s really important that your daughter understand you don’t think she’s “asking for it.” If she tells you it’s happening, don’t ask her what she was wearing, because she could be wearing <a target="_hplink" style="color: rgb(47, 128, 154); " href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/15/sexual-harassment-plagues_n_392622.html">a burka and it would happen</a>.</p> <p style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Tahoma, Verdana; line-height: 20px; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 15px; padding-left: 0px; text-decoration: none; ">5. Tell boys and men in your life what’s going on. It’s vital. Most men don’t harass women on the street, but they also don’t realize the extent to which their mothers, sisters, daughters, female friends and coworkers go out of their way to adapt to this reality. We have to stop saying street harassment is just “boys being boys.” This excuse is a reductionist and harrowing definition of masculinity that maintains essentially that all men are animals. Most men are not animals. They are capable of respecting civil boundaries and personal space in public. In particular, boys need to learn five things:</p> <ul style="list-style-type: none; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 15px; padding-left: 0px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Tahoma, Verdana; line-height: 20px; "><li style="list-style-type: square; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 30px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; ">That they can participate in bonding experiences, but that harassing girls is an unacceptable way to do it.</li> <li style="list-style-type: square; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 30px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; ">That they need to stop looking the other way and should intervene in support if the situation warrants it.</li> <li style="list-style-type: square; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 30px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; ">How to empathize with what their mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, grandmothers, girlfriends, wives are dealing with.</li> <li style="list-style-type: square; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 30px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; ">How to speak to girls as people, with respect and decency.</li> <li style="list-style-type: square; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 30px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; ">And that all of this is hard in the <a target="_hplink" style="color: rgb(47, 128, 154); " href="http://www.missrepresentation.org/">media environment they’re stewing in</a>.</li> </ul><p style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Tahoma, Verdana; line-height: 20px; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 15px; padding-left: 0px; text-decoration: none; ">The <a target="_hplink" style="color: rgb(47, 128, 154); " href="http://goodmenproject.com/">Good Men Project</a> has an excellent article for boys and men, as well as several pieces about empathizing with what women experience. The international organization Stop Street Harassment also has a page for educating boys.</p> <p style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Tahoma, Verdana; line-height: 20px; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 15px; padding-left: 0px; text-decoration: none; ">6. Remind your school that sexual harassment is bullying and that Title IX <a target="_blank" style="color: rgb(47, 128, 154); " href="http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iVgm6BRfDXjFKjN9abTtgnlcRZ_g?docId=8b552c3cc6014c688ffa94f885c62b7c">makes it illegal</a>:</p> <blockquote style="clear: both; margin-top: 5px; margin-right: 15px; margin-bottom: 20px; margin-left: 15px; padding-top: 15px; padding-right: 20px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 20px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Tahoma, Verdana; line-height: 20px; "><p style="color: rgb(119, 119, 119); font-family: Georgia, Times, 'Times New Roman', serif; font-size: 14px; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 15px; padding-left: 0px; text-decoration: none; font-style: italic; ">The AAUW report observes that sexual harassment and bullying can sometimes overlap, such as the taunting of youths who are perceived to be gay or lesbian, but it says there are important distinctions. For example, there are some state laws against bullying, but serious sexual harassment—at a level which interferes with a student’s education—is prohibited under the federal gender-equality legislation known as Title IX.</p> <p style="color: rgb(119, 119, 119); font-family: Georgia, Times, 'Times New Roman', serif; font-size: 14px; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 15px; padding-left: 0px; text-decoration: none; font-style: italic; ">Too often, the more comfortable term bullying is used to describe sexual harassment, obscuring the role of gender and sex in these incidents,” the report says. “Schools are likely to promote bullying prevention while ignoring or downplaying sexual harassment.”</p></blockquote> <p style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Tahoma, Verdana; line-height: 20px; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 15px; padding-left: 0px; text-decoration: none; ">Fighting against street harassment isn’t silly or futile. Men who harass, who are predatory, do it because they can. For girls and women, half of all humans, there is nothing “normal” about it. It takes place in the context of cultural misogyny, disrespect, discrimination, rape, and power, keeping public places largely male-dominated and impeding equality in the most base and threatening way possible. All this for a scoop of ice cream on a sunny day.</p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> </div></div></div> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2011 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '668481'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=668481" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 16 Nov 2011 10:00:01 -0800 Soraya Chemaly, The Good Men Project 668481 at http://enforcementwww.alternet.org Sex & Relationships Sex & Relationships harassment catcall