I admit, I used to subscribe to The Economist. I let the issues pile up, promising I’d get to them eventually, whenever I felt like reading pretentious, dry and humorless reading on world affairs. But that day never really came. And so after about a year, my subscription ran out, and I traded it in for a sub to The New Yorker, which I happily devour each week. When I saw this delightful little pamphlet put out by the mag’s clearly-misguided marketing team, it only further confirmed my decision to get the eff away from the First World Order boy’s club that seems to be running the place. “Why should women be reading The Economist?” it queries, and answers, “They shouldn’t.” Instead! “Accomplished, influential people should read us. People like you.” Which of course, assumes that women couldn’tpossibly be accomplished or influential. (Ladies! I know, right?) Oh, old guard, you really got us there. A better question might be ,”Why should anyone be readingThe Economist?” Because obviously, they really, really shouldn’t.
On November 2, feminist activists organized together to protest Facebook’s refusal to remove pages that contained jokes about rape and violence against women from their site. Facebook’s Terms of Service bans language that is “hateful, threatening,” or contains “graphic or gratuitous violence” — which you will quickly find out if you make a “joke” about, say, dragging a black man behind a pickup truck. And if you post pics of yourself breastfeeding or anything just “too sexy,” like Courtney Stodden did, you’re in trouble. But Facebook rationalizes that their Terms of Service doesn’t include “jokes” of hate, threats, or gratuitous violence against women — because those are joke-jokes, right, bro?
The progressive web site Change.org collected 188,000 signatures asking Facebook to ban rape jokes and jokes about violence against women. Throughout the day on November 2, activists tweeted the names of offensive pages like “We’re gonna have sex tonight” “Why?” “Because im stronger than you are” to the @Facebook handle on Twitter. And finally — finally! — Facebook listened and responded.
Sort of. Keep reading »
Lock up the Kotex, Mom and Dad! Teens are apparently inserting vodka-soaked tampons vaginally and rectally to get drunk. Granted, this could be another urban legend like so-called “rainbow parties.” But it also could be a legit way the kids are getting wasted these days: A super-sized tampon can hold about a shot of vodka, and when consumed in such a manner, the booze absorbs directly into the blood stream. Keep reading »
Earlier today, I wrote about the firing of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno in the aftermath of the sexual abuse allegations against his former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky. It is an utterly tragic case for obvious reasons; Sandusky is accused of molesting and raping eight boys over a period of 15 years and when a witness to one of his assaults reported it to his superiors, they didn’t go to the police. The case has illuminated just how far people will go to protect their “reputations” and to adhere to a chain of command rather than their own moral compass. The student protest/riot in State College, PA, following Paterno’s firing further emphasized that hero worship leaves otherwise decent people blind. The more I read, the more depressed I feel.
But I also came across one article that left me incredibly annoyed. Over at Jezebel, Erin Gloria Ryan has written a piece which asks the question, “What if Penn State’s coach had victimized girls?” and tries to make the point that if Sandusky’s victims had been female, the public, private, and media response to the allegations would be very different. While I wholeheartedly agree that female sexual assault victims are very often not taken seriously, and that they are somehow blamed, at least in part, for the crimes against them, etc., I have a serious problem with the Penn State scandal being used as an example of how male sexual assault victims are treated somehow “better” than female sexual assault victims. Keep reading »