It’s perfectly …

It’s perfectly understandable, when reporting on a rape trial, to discuss the length and severity of the sentence; it is less understandable to discuss the end of two convicted rapists’ future athletic and academic careers as if it were somehow divorced from the laws of cause and effect. Their dreams and hopes were not crushed by an impersonal, inexorable legal system; Mays and Richmond raped a girl and have been sentenced accordingly. Had they not raped her, they would not be spending at least one year each in a juvenile detention facility.

It is unlikely that Candy Crowley and Poppy Harlow are committed rape apologists; more likely they simply wanted a showy, emotional angle at the close of a messy and sensationalized trial. Since the identity of the victim is protected, and the rapists obliged the camera crews by memorably breaking down and crying in court, they found an angle to match: extremely gifted young men were brought tragically low by… mumblemumblesomething.

That isn’t how rape trials ought to be discussed by professional journalists.

Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond are not the “stars” of the Steubenville rape trial. They aren’t the only characters in a drama playing out in eastern Ohio. And yet a CNN viewer learning about the Steubenville rape verdict is presented with dynamic, sympathetic, complicated male figures, and a nonentity of an anonymous victim, the “lasting effects” of whose graphic, public sexual assault are ignored. Small wonder, then, that anyone would find themselves on the side of these men—these poor young men, who were very good at taking tests and playing sports when they were not raping their classmates. –

The boys reactions are emotional, but then again, they made decisions that ruined their future … and ruined the victim’s future.  They hurt her.  They victimized her.  They raped her.  One boy took a photograph of her naked.  The ramifications and seriousness of their conduct was lost on them, until the court case and verdict.

The lasting effect of their being convicted of rape was justice.  Justice that leads them to live their lives differently.  And justice that hopefully creates repentance, grace, and allows them to experience through and give mercy to other people.  Other people like rapists, rape victims, and young people just thinking it is a ‘normal’ high school alcohol party.


The Numbers Game – Gender Double Standard

Ask E. Jean: My Boyfriend Thinks I’m

If you can count the number of lovers you’ve had on one hand, and that number is too high for your man, E. Jean has some words of advice

April 10, 2012

Relationship Advice Expert E. Jean
Gregg Delman

Dear E. Jean:  My boyfriend’s ex-fiancée is an overbearing, success-starved lunatic who dresses like a grandma and listens to Celine Dion. She’s 31 and has slept with two men in her entire life, one of whom was my boyfriend. Recently he compared me with her and told me I was too sexually “easy.” And last night he went so far as to call me a slut and state that I “may not be the girl for him.”

This sent me into a fit of hysteria for the rest of the evening. I’ve never had a one-night stand in my life! I barely enjoyed a boob-grope till college. I’m 24, and I’ve dealt with my fair share of men—but don’t worry, I can still count the guys I’ve had sex with on one hand. His comparing me with her cut deeper than any of his absurd accusations and insults. Can I write this off to his being intoxicated? Or to his being 10 years older? I don’t want to lose him! He’s the best man I’ve ever known, and I don’t know what to do. —Easy A

Miss A, My Little Artichoke:  If you want to keep “the best man” you’ve “ever known,” be ready to don a pair of iron underpants with locks. His worldview is medieval. He may be blessed with a thousand fine virtues, but he’s also a narrow-minded, sexist half-wit—cruel, vindictive, and a fool who’ll probably forsake you in the end for a 20-year-old spinster wearing puffed sleeves and a skirt to her ankles. You can’t change the man’s thinking. I advise you to ruuuuunnnnnnnnnn like hell.

P.S. Never tell a fellow how many people you’ve slept with—ever. No matter what your sample size, it will sound extreme.

The Numbers Game – Gender Double Standard

There is still a double standard where women can’t complain about how many (or how?!) sexual partners a man has had.  And every woman who has had a past sexual partner is a slut … regardless of the fact that the said soliciting male is asking for premarital sex which is presumably what the males before asked, demanded, or took (rape).

All this serves to make open communication between sexual partners more impossible: with men lying about experiences with prostitution and women pretending to be virginal because their only other choice is a whore.  And make men who choose love and sex over a mere physical act to be less masculine or capable and women condemn themselves for their sexuality.

Well, fuck that!  I want real relationships between men and women – not just destructive role-playing.  So, what can we do?  See each person as an individual … worthy of love, not to be compared to another, and as a continuing discovery and revelation of themselves.  Everyone is unique and everyone can change.

‘Pornland’: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality – a review by Kate Dailey

‘Pornland’: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality – a review by Kate Dailey

“Porn message boards. Much of the book’s arguments are bolstered by the anonymous comments of men on sites … The comments are so filled with bile and misogyny that it’s almost impossible to find one suitable for reprint, but they make great fodder for Dines’s point: that modern porn culture both desensitizes users to women while also making porn seem like a an acceptable option for girls.” – Kate Dailey


Gender Double Standards: Anger

Damn You, Little Rock

Jimmy StewartRecently, some friends and I were talking about actors we like.

When Jimmy Stewart died 15 years ago, I remember a discussion of how he seemed to be such a good guy. He was Hollywood’s “nice guy.” Who would take his place? It seemed almost universally agreed Tom Hanks would be the new Mr. Nice Guy.

In many ways, I agree. Both have played characters with big hearts. But in so many of those characters, there is an undercurrent of anger. Deep down, they are consumed with rage. For example, George Bailey:

Young women, let me give you some advice. If a man shakes you by the shoulders and declares he does not want to get married, believe him. It’s only in a Frank Capra movie that relationship plays out to a happy ending. Do not hitch your wagon to someone who so deeply disappointed in the outcome of his…

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Daily Life in Korea 22

A monkey's face in simple shapes.

I have seen two grown women wearing sweaters with this on them.  Yes, respectfully attired women in all other regards wearing a cartoonish monkey head that seems perfect for the baby-to-pre-school-age child.  I live in South Korea.  One of them works with me.  The other was on the street in the neighborhood I work in.

Other views of the monkey head image: Yes, this is the latest trend in South Korea.  I see it already starting.

A pretty similar monkey image was the design for the winter hats from Baskin Robbins last year.

Last summer it was Guess T-shirts.  You know, the kind that was popular in the 1990s in the greatest country in the world (hint-the one that made the shared modern world culture you are mostly likely enjoying right now).

I wouldn’t wear a GAP logo hoodie in the states, but they are a popular brand here.  You wouldn’t even find a GAP logo hoodie in women’s sizes in the stores in the states.  But GAP logo Ts and hoodies are the most popular item from the GAP store here.

Asian fashion is not reliable.  And not made for women who don’t need butt pads or padded bras and boob jobs.

Thankfully what comes quickly into style in this small country will go out of style quickly too.  I say, by summer there will be a new must-have clothing item for men, women, and children alike.  Maybe a penguin face or a farting chicken.


Daily Life in Korea 14

Another day in Korea, another day of Korean men beating up  women in public.

I found out about this viral video through a Facebook link to this blog.

I clearly am somewhat biased, but there have been videos of groups of men drinking soju on the a much more crowded subway car in the middle of the floor.  Sure, smoking on the subway is wrong.  So is most of the things Koreans do because something being illegal isn’t the same as it being prohibited.  This is a country that still struggles with corruption and views age, money, and power as irrefutable “might makes right” conditions.  However, male is better than female, so a man making some scene is ignored while a woman making a scene is physically assaulted.

So, there is your fix of daily life in Korea.  Women getting put in their place by force.


The Ides of March

The Ides of March is a movie about a governor running for the democratic nomination.  And the sordid world of politics that help propel him forward into the public’s good opinion.  And about the idealistic youth of politics being eaten up by a corrupt, older generation.

The official synopsis is “An idealistic staffer for a new presidential candidate gets a crash course on dirty politics during his stint on the campaign trail.”  –IMDB

It is even set in Ohio.  You can see locations in Cincinnati.

But the interesting point of this story for me is the women.  There aren’t many women in American politics.

This movie has a flirting, sarcastic, ruthless journalist named Ida.  She plays friend or extortionist depending on the mood to try to get a quote to put in the next day’s paper.  She isn’t glamorous.  Ida is smart.  She is not young.  Rather, Ida is a journalism professional and a jaded American woman.

And then you have the wife of the governor.  She is supportive.  She has a vested interest in her husband’s success.  She is not young but a partner in her husband’s ambitions.  She lays her head on his shoulder.  She makes social arrangements.  She listens and questions the next political move.  She is almost like a necessary piece of jewelry, although to see her role as limited to merely as ornamentation would be naive.

Then there is Molly, an intern.  Molly was twenty years old.  Her father is in charge of the DNC.  The senior manager of the governor’s campaign got her the internship and he has known her since she was small.  Molly sleeps with the idealistic junior campaign manager.  But Molly is already pregnant and she can’t afford an abortion.  The father is the governor seeking the presidential nomination.

So the idealistic junior campaign manager makes it possible for her to have an abortion quickly, without a word to anyone else.  But  in between dropping her off at the Oakley women’s clinic and his promise to pick her up, the idealist staffer is fired.  As he scrambles around, trying to salvage his career, Molly waits at a coffee shop, eventually takes a taxi to her room, and listens to another staff member tell her about the day’s dramatic upheaval.  Now she knows her “protector” intends to turn her into the next day’s headlines in his quest to squash the governor who betrayed him.

Molly dies from an overdose of alcohol and pills.

After her funeral, idealistic staffer uses this to secure his career, becoming the senior campaign manager.  Molly is replaced by a new, young female intern bringing in coffee.  She is named Jill Morris.

And these are the women of the movie.

I thought it was interesting that Molly was very unprotected, although she had connections to so many powerful men in politics.  Her choices in many ways were taken away from her.  She was used and thrown away.  Her last words in the film are “I’m not going away!”  But these are heard by the idealist staffer on his cell phone, after she has already passed on.  It is almost ironic, and seems slightly sinister in light of how her body was found collapsed on her room’s floor, which a suited man exited just before the idealist staffer enters and hears from a hotel employee that she is already gone.

Molly dislikes her father (for unknown reasons), is used sexually by the governor, is bedded and then handled by the idealist staffer (what was attraction quickly becomes dehumanizing insensitivity and aloofness), and is never even shown to talk to the first senior campaign manager who has apparently known her all her life.  The father gives a moving speech at her funeral and given his political position it might be more dramatic than sincere.  In fact, hardly any of the male characters in the film seem to look to Molly’s character beyond what they can get out of her.

After the idealist staffer learns Molly’s secret, his demeanor totally changes.  When Molly begs him not make a call on her phone to find out who called her (which he does, prompted by playful jealousy), he doesn’t listen.  And when he knows, he immediately drills her for information.  She is no longer a twenty year old woman, but a potential train crash for his candidate.  The next day, ideal staffer writes a note for her to read, rather than talk directly to her, then shreds the note in front of her, and meets her a stairway to give her money to pay for the abortion he tells her to have immediately.  He takes her to the abortion clinic, and drops her off.  Molly looks devastated to be left on her own, but idealist staffer’s response is to use physical affection before leaving-a kiss on the forehead.  This is the first time we see idealist staffer use affection since he discovered her secret.  He uses it to push her towards the politically-expedient solution.  However, when idealistic staffer is fired, then he completes forgets about Molly.  She is left waiting and finally has to find her own way back to the hotel.

The treatment of Molly by the men in the film seems so brutal and harsh.  But it seems very unsurprising when humans become less important than causes, lusts, or props.  Molly was a young woman who wasn’t protected by any of the older men around her.


Little Things that Make You Smile

After listening to mainly Korean guys tell me how short girls are much cuter (aka, attractive>better), it was refreshing to hear a guy talk about being interested in tall women.  Now yes, he is very tall himself, and I generally only know short couples, tall couples, and a few very short women with very tall men.  But maybe height isn’t that important.  Just like all that other stuff that makes me cry because I can’t be perfect and match the popular opinion.  Although, why care about the consensus anyway?  I just need to be aware of each person’s opinion one at a time and maybe one day just one person’s opinion will matter.