Slate published an article, in which the author exposed an advertisement from the Disney company that he had seen in China. It is a rather large billboard that features a girl that cannot be over the age of thirteen... in her underwear.
The author of the article, Daniel Brook, sent the ad to Disney and got a call from Disney spokesman Gary Foster. He said that they were completely unaware of the advertisement, as it can be difficult to regulate every advertisement that markets their products. Foster is now in China to deal with this inappropriate ad (thank God). I really think that when you have a brand that is as huge as Disney, and it is being marketed to young children, you really can't be too careful in regulating it. I see no reason to axe Jamie Lynn Spears for getting pregnant or Miley Cyrus for bearing her back in Vanity Fair, but a pre-pubescent girl in her underwear? That's where I draw the line.
The findings of the study show that those who are convicted of killing whites are more likely to receive the death sentence than those who kill blacks. Moreover, the race of the actual defendant plays a part as well, with studies showing that blacks are more likely to receive the death penalty than whites are.
Ridiculous. Racism is so deeply ingrained in our society it sickens me.
See the full article in The New York Times for more information on the study.
Films such as Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Knocked Up and Superbad - all from the production stable of Judd Apatow - show that the young male box-office stars of today’s romantic comedies are goofy schlubs and nerds. As unlikely as it seems, actors such as Segel (Sarah Marshall), Seth Rogen (Knocked Up) and Michael Cera and Jonah Hill(Superbad) now define the paradigm of a Hollywood romantic lead. Cary Grant they are not. They’re not even Hugh Grant. They may know the appeal of sex, but they have no sex appeal. Yet this is Hollywood, and these pathetic, if well-meaning, losers inevitably end up with the hottest chicks.
Goodwin complains that there are no modern equivalents to actors like John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. I can't speak for everyone, but personally, I find the adorable and endearing Michael Cera to be much more swoon-worthy than Sylvester Stalone and his bulging biceps. What Goodwin fails to realize is that our conceptions on masculinity are changing, and that's a positive thing. Just like women face pressure to act "feminine," men face the same kind of pressure to behave "manly" and "macho." And what does this pressure lead to? Boys picking fights with each other to prove who has more testosterone, school shootings committed by males who are outcasts and thus turn to guns to reaffirm their masculinity, men raping women to exert dominance and control, high rates of binge drinking and reckless driving among males, etc etc etc. I watched a documentary in my Sociology of Gender class, entitled "Tough Guise," and it examined these exact issues. Males are experiencing pressure from every which way - pressure to be a "real man," and these pressures cause some of them to crack. Over the years, male role models have become progressively more "macho," from professional wrestlers:
...to G.I. Joes:
So I would say that the good-hearted Evan in "Superbad" or the surprisingly sweet Ben in "Knocked Up" are positive role models for men today. These new kinds of heroes teach men that you don't have to sport enormous muscles or carry guns to achieve happiness and get the girl. In his article, Goodwin even has the nerve to mention that feminism might be a cause of this "decline of masculinity," which actually makes very little sense because it is more likely that men will have the desire to act more "macho" in response to feminism in an attempt to gain back some of the power that women are trying to obtain by becoming liberated.
Bottom line: this article is highly misguided. Instead of deeming today's heroes as stuck in a "sorry state of masculinity," we should see these new stars as an indication that harmful stereotypes are finally being broken down. It's a positive thing.
(Thanks to Jennifer for sending me this story).
See it here.
(Thanks for Jennifer for sending me the link!)
"What's nice about 'Baby Mama,'" said Poehler, "is, and I don't know if we necessarily, collectively decided for this to happen or not, but that as the movie goes on, our characters have to depend less and less on the men in the film." Angie decides to move on from a man who is holding her back, and in doing so realizes that she is happier on her own. "Tina's character," said Poehler, "is ready to start a family with or without a husband, which is, one could argue, maybe a different kind of story."
Read that entire interview in Salon, and you will fall in love with them. Poehler also discusses her and Tina's roles on Saturday Night Live, and how the stereotype that SNL is a "boys club" was truly abolished when Tina Fey became their first female head writer. Honestly, who better to write for SNL than the incredibly sharp, witty, and cynical Tina?
And for those of you who don't know, Amy Poehler has been splitting sides with her hysterical impression of Hillary Clinton.
Poehler told Salon: "There are so many women to play. So many strong women in politics and entertainment and in positions of power that you get to impersonate, it's really cool."
I don't think I need to further convince you how awesome these ladies are. Don't miss "Baby Mama." With Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, I can't imagine it being anything short of hilarious.
Ahem. On Wednesday, health groups told Congress that sex education programs that only preach abstinence do not cut down on teen pregnancies or STDs, nor do they cause teenagers to start having sex at an older age.
However, the Bush administration is STILL supporting abstinence-only education (God only knows why), and they voiced that support during a hearing before a House of Representatives panel.
Point: Dr. Margaret Blythe of the American Academy of Pediatrics told the committee: "vast sums of federal monies continue to be directed toward these programs. And, in fact, there is evidence to suggest that some of these programs are even harmful and have negative consequences by not providing adequate information for those teens who do become sexually active."
Counterpoint: Rep. John Duncan, a Tennessee Republican, said that it seems "rather elitist" that people with academic degrees in health think they know better than parents what type of sex education is appropriate. "I don't think it's something we should abandon," he said of abstinence-only funding.
"Elitist"?! People with health degrees have the expertise to decide what is going to protect children, and what isn't. Parents shouldn't be the ones to decide because they have a bias! Of course nearly all parents are going to want their children to wait to have sex, but that isn't realistic. What everyone needs to come to terms with is the fact that abstinence-only education is a great way to leave teenagers completely misinformed, thus causing them to do stupid things, like drinking bleach because they think it can beat HIV, or not using a condom because they have no idea how to use one.
"Charles Keckler of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said the Bush administration believes abstinence education programs send the healthiest message."
Yeah, and that's why statistics show that 1 in 4 teenage girls has an STD, and 30% of girls become pregnant before the age of 20. Doesn't sound very healthy to me.
These beliefs are shockingly prominent in the Congo... and they can be quite harmful. When I was watching "The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo," rapists were interviewed and asked why they committed rapes. Some of them responded that they had a magic potion to cure their nation, and that the potion only works if they rape women. Yeah, seriously.
- Two different heads to put on your doll: a calm head, and a "frazzled" head.
- A baby, that can switch between being a "little angel" and a "mini monster."
- A "mommy bag" to hold work and other important mommy accessories.
- A cell phone to call school and the office.
- A super long to-do list.
- A bag of groceries.
- Work shoes and casual shoes.
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act will fix the Court's constitutional misinterpretation and ensure that pay discrimination victims get their fair day in court. This Act will simply return us to the longstanding rule that treated each and every discriminatory paycheck as a new act of discrimination.
It's sad enough that women are still only paid 77 cents or less to men's dollar, even though civil rights laws banned wage discrimination over four decades ago. The Supreme Court's decision could push back much of the progress that women have been making in closing the wage gap. Congress must restore those rights.
Call the Senate switchboard tomorrow at 1-866-338-1015. The operator will answer, and ask to be connected to the Senators from your state. You will then have the opportunity to leave a message for your Senators - tell them that you strongly urge them to vote for the Fair Pay Act.
I can't imagine living in a country that won't let me peacefully rally for a better society. I've heard haters claim that feminism isn't necessary anymore because we already got everything we want ("everything" essentially meaning the right to vote), but I highly doubt these people are remotely informed of the appalling situations of women abroad. For God's sake, these women are going to be stripped, tied down, and whipped repeatedly... for speaking their mind.
As part of Take Action Tuesday, I want all of you to consider doing something to help the situation of the women in Iran. The Women's Forum Against Fundamentalism in Iran has a list of things you can do, people you can write to, petitions you can sign, to help stop the mistreatment of women in Iran. Here's a few other websites that can offer you information about this situation as well:
At least for the Marines, who are facing difficulty with recruiting during this highly unpopular war. Their solution? Why, reach out to the women, of course! The Marine Corps have begun running women-friendly ads in magazines with a female audience, such as Shape.
The Marine Corps started accepting women for clerical duties in 1918. In 1973, when the military dropped the draft, the Marines attempted to appeal to women by distributing brochures to college women. The brochure cover had a picture of a flower on it. Other than that, the Marines predominantly ran ads with its "few good men" slogan. In the 1990s, the Marines began having trouble reaching recruitment goals, and thus ran ads in magazines like Seventeen and Sports Illustrated for Women:
The tagline reads, "Get a make-over that's more than skin deep." Other ads during this time had the slogan, "You can look at models, or you can be one." I don't think I have to make any comments about gender stereotyping here.
Today, the Marines are again looking for a "few good women."
To me, it seems as if the Marines don't particularly give two shits about "reaching out to women" unless they're in a jam. Appealing to women doesn't seem to be a top priority unless recruitment numbers are down. That makes me angry.
Okay, first let's talk about the fact that the curviest woman in the commercial is the one to bring up "muffin tops." And THEN let's discuss the fantastic ending: "Gravity is no longer my enemy... but brownies are."
OF COURSE brownies are the enemy of the one plus-sized woman in the commercial! It's not enough to just put curvy women in your commercials, but you have to take the extra step to promote the belief that curvy is sexy. If the curvy woman is afraid of brownies, obviously being curvy is not something she aspires to be. Ergo, curvy is undesirable. Oh, Playtex, you were so close...
Heh. It was pretty badass. After all the festivities were over and done with, we did the annual march around campus, and eventually through town. We chanted the entire way, which got extremely exhausting. A few of the chants were: "Sexist! Rapist! Anti-gay! You can't take our night away!" "2, 4, 6, 8! Stop the violence, stop the hate!" "Whatever we wear, wherever we go, yes means yes, and no means no!"
Here's a short video that I took, in which we're marching down Main Street and chanting, "Out of the bars and into the streets! We won't be raped, we won't be beat!"
We marched to the court house, where we stood outside and listened to a speech about the numerous police officers and judges that are supposed to protect us, but instead fail to take rape and sexual assualt seriously. The best part of this was the fact that our march had police escorts, so there were cops standing right there, being forced to listen to what we had to say.
I managed to capture a little bit of the speech in a video:
After the march, we had a speak-out, in which everyone sat in a circle and shared experiences and feelings they had regarding sexual violence. It was really powerful. If any of you attend a college that doesn't participate in Take Back the Night, I highly recommend you get some people together and organize it for next Spring. It's a great experience.
For an art project, a female Yale student had multiple abortions. According to the Yale Daily News, this project is "a documentation of a nine-month process during which she artificially inseminated herself 'as often as possible' while periodically taking abortifacient drugs to induce miscarriages. Her exhibition will feature video recordings of these forced miscarriages as well as preserved collections of the blood from the process."
Aliza Schvarts, the artist, said the point of her project is "to spark conversation and debate on the relationship between art and the human body." Yale students are utterly shocked by Schvarts's subject matter.
Personally, I don't see this as a good thing at all. I fully support art and creativity, but I don't believe in aborting fetuses for artistic purposes. I think there were many other ways that Schvarts could have done this project to get across a similar message that wouldn't have involved partaking in miscarriages. Moreover, I think this creates a negative image around pro-choicers and is giving anti-choicers more ammunition in their war against reproductive freedom. Aliza succeeded in getting people's attention, but went to unjustifiable lengths to achieve it.
It's a fun and liberating way to unwind after the stress of planning a wedding, while challenging rigid social norms surrounding marriage and weddings. I actually never heard of this trend until I saw this article on MSN.com today. A giant smile spread across my face when I Google'd images of newlyweds trashing dresses. They all look like they're having a BLAST, and the photos are undoubtedly much more interesting than your traditional "smile because I have to" photos that are taken during the wedding. This is something that I definitely want to partake in.
Really? Really? As if being a stripper makes someone a person that isn't worthy of his time. As if strippers don't have real feelings and lack the ability to make connections with other humans. Forgive me if I completely don't understand your logic, Will.
We have enormous progress that still needs to be made, but look at what has happened just in the past month! The first pregnant transgendered man to go public in the U.S., and the first transgendered woman to go public in China. I think that first person is so important, because he/she can inspire others to go public as well. And putting people who are "different" in the limelight is an important way to get others to fully understand them and to stop fearing the unknown.
The full article can be found here, on a Chinese news website. The lack of understanding in China can be seen solely in the title of the article, as it uses the term "transsexual," which isn't quite PC. But hopefully this is the first of many important steps to come.
Empowering. Not that cheerleading isn't an acceptable sport, but why of ALL activities, does it have to be such a stereotypically female activity? Ugh.
Full story here.
But has anyone noticed a frightening increase in the number of animated ads that are perpetuating gender stereotypes? Whether it's a talking elephant selling air fresheners, or mama and baby bear discussing children's cough syrup, I have definitely noticed more of these over the past couple of years.
What worries me about these animated ads is the fact that because they're animated, they will probably appeal to children more and will be more effective in grabbing the attention of any kid sitting in front of a TV set. It seems like another outlet to implant gender roles in their young vulnerable minds. And with all the Barbies, Ty Girlz, toy cooking sets, baby dolls, and Easy Bake ovens in this world, God knows we don't need that.
I think it's great that alternative options are emerging for those of us who are sick of flipping through magazines that feature "how to please your man" articles and are loaded with beauty tips, but hardly any world news. However, the "feminet" has a long way to go. Salon particularly mentioned Yahoo's new women-centered website, Shine, which I actually posted an entry about awhile back. Salon comments:
"Shine as yet feels like more of an extension of the glossies than an alternative (many of Shine's stories come directly from publishers like Condé Nast, Hearst, Rodale and Time). Shine seems less interested in creating a distinct voice than it does in becoming a portal."
I agree. I have surfed Shine many times, hoping to find that it was a better website than I thought, but I keep having trouble with finding anything of substance on there. It is truly an electronic women's magazine.
But alas, there is hope. I do think that over time, these sites will improve, provided they listen to feedback from their public (i.e. the overwhelming amount of angry comments left on that Shine article I posted about... you know, the one that called the pregnant Jessica Alba a "blimp"). Salon mentions Wowowow.com, which I think is an improvement over Shine, and a step in the right direction. It focuses more on news and politics than how to survive a bad hair day. So okay, we're making progress, but let's make more, eh?
Full story here.
"...I respect President Bush and we have a friendly relationship. There are issues that we've disagreed on, the conduct of the war for four years, spending, climate change. There's a list of issues that we have open and honest disagreements, keeping within the overall philosophy of less government is better government, lower taxes, strong national defense, etc., etc."
He didn't even touch women's rights. I'm sorry, Mr. McCain, but I highly doubt you're going to get as many female voters as you desire. If you want more women to vote for you, I would suggest you stop opposing our right to choose. Voting for the Federal Abortion Ban, denying access to low-income women who need abortions, opposing an act that would establish penalties for those who use violence against clinic employees, and supporting spending 75 million dollars on abstinence-only education isn't going to get you very many points with the ladies. Making nice with the women of The View doesn't change the fact that for years, you have actively opposed giving a woman control over her body.
A big "fuck you" to John McCain. You don't get my vote.
"We're spending large sums of money to kick highly qualified gays or lesbians out of our military... That doesn't make us more safe."
Well put. There are so many things wrong with the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Aside from the fact that it requires gays and lesbians to shut their mouths about their sexuality while straight people can talk about it freely, it really says something about our priorities when the armed forces cares more about a person's sexuality than their qualifications and ability to protect our country.
...the article was instead about the deeper meaning behind fashion ads and how they can "tell a story." Not what I was hoping for. So, when is a fashion ad really not a fashion ad? In my opinion:
I'd say when the focus of the advertisement is anything but the clothes. Get it right next time, New York Times.
It's amazing how scary anti-choicers can be sometimes. Personally, I will never understand those who pride themselves on being "pro-life" and then shoot a doctor in the head. This Summer, I'm volunteering to be a clinic escort at a Planned Parenthood in Hempstead. Even though there has never been an incident of violence at this particular clinic, I can't help but be a little worried. You never know when someone's going to take their cause just a little too far.
This story killed me, especially after seeing a picture of the little girl. It makes me wonder how often this happens and how many children are abused each year. According to statistics, almost 900,000 in 2005 alone.
Help stop it:
- Helpguide.org - for information and facts on child abuse.
- CASA - locate a center in your area to volunteer at or make a donation to help.
- Endabuse.org - utilize their "prevention toolbox" to help stop abuse before it starts.
- Darkness2light.org - learn how to properly report child abuse if you see it happening.
- Childhelp.org - locate an advocacy center, volunteer your time, or donate money.
- Stopitnow.org - specifically dedicated to stopping sexual abuse against children.
- Stop Domestic Violence & Child Abuse - a Facebook group you can join.
No. No no no no no. Although I have to wonder... what would they do for female sex offenders?
I think there's undoubtedly a difference between sexism and misogyny.
Sexism: Discrimination or devaluation based on a person's sex.
Misogyny: Hatred and mistrust of women.
Kristof brings up instances of violence against women. He makes the interesting point that many men who are violent towards their wives or girlfriends don't do it out of hatred, which is true. Many batterers claim that they love their partners, so it can't exactly be called misogyny, can it? I would sooner call it sexism because I don't think most violence committed by men against women comes from hatred of them, but rather a notion that women are weaker and submissive, and therefore as the dominant sex, men have the right to try and "control" them through violence. Sexism.
But random acid attacks in South Asia and brutal rapes in the Republic of Congo? Misogyny. Although I think a case can be made for sexism as well, I feel that if violence is committed against women randomly, it can only stem from a general dislike and hostility towards females.
Maybe thieves will soon learn to stop targeting "helpless" women as their victims.
Ah, the wonderful advertising from decades ago. Looking at these, I tried to take comfort in the fact that ads promoting the obedient housewife and the submissive woman are no longer as common as they once were, but I can't lie to myself. Advertising, I think, has gotten worse. Now, ads promote women as sex objects, and many utilize underlying messages of domination, abuse, and rape. Some examples:
(Reads "The Axe Effect")
Ugh. It's everywhere. And people ignorantly claim that sexism hardly exists anymore. It exists, just in different forms. Today, we are so used to seeing sexualized images of women that we often fail to notice them and acknowledge how harmful they are. Keep an eye out, and try your best to avoid becoming numb to them.
Here are your samplings of current events from around the world!
- POPLINE - a popular online health database - recently, for some absurd reason, removed the word "abortion" as an acceptable search term. However, after much scrutiny, they restored our right to search for "abortion" on their database.
- A recent study has shown the desperate need for comprehensive sex education in Florida. The survey showed that some teenagers believe in dangerous myths, such as drinking bleach will prevent HIV infection, or smoking marijuana will prevent pregnancy.
- 25,000 people rallied in Pakistan over an anti-Muslim film that sets verses from the Koran against a background of images of terror attacks.
- A ranch in Texas was recently raided and found to be owned by a polygamist, who had taken an obscene amount of children captive. On Saturday, more children were removed by police, bringing the total amount of children at the ranch to 137.
- The disgusting sexism of Fox News continues in this video examining the "decreasing trend" of women bearing their cleavage.
- A new law in Wisconsin allows victims of domestic abuse to terminate rental agreements without penalty.
- Hillary Clinton was accused of telling a false story several times in her campaign about a pregnant woman being turned away from a hospital for lack of insurance, only to die shortly after. The angry and upset family of the departed woman has come out to explain that Clinton has not been telling the story properly.
- A new study finds abuse and neglect in about 1 out of every 43 infants.
- Images of sexy female dancers are being used to sell apartments.
- Because of the extremely negative social stigma surrounding pre-marital sex in China, single mothers have a very difficult time maintaining a happy lifestyle for them and their children.
- A new study shows that women do significantly more housework than men, although the hours per week of housework for women has decreased over the past couple decades.
Anything I missed?