[Trigger warning: mentions of rape, transphobia, sexual assault, body-shaming and victim-blaming]
This week’s web round-up includes more Steubenville responses, Margaret Cho’s tattoos, and crying bigots.
The hottest national topic of the last week was of the Steubenville rape trial and all the countless responses that have surrounded it after star football players Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richardson from Steubenville, Ohio were found guilty (or delinquent in juvenile court terms) on Sunday, March 17, 2013.
Fortunately, for every victim-blaming diatribe against the 16 year old rape survivor, there were scores of insightful posts that sought to both support her and deconstruct rape culture.
Journalist Emily Yellin wrote an Opinions piece for The New York Times called Waking Up to the Enduring Memory of Rape in which she recalled being raped at the age of 16 and how her situation mirrors the assault in Steubenville, Ohio.
Youtuber Samantha Stendal posted up a video in response to “the Steubenville rapists…or any rapists out there” called A Needed Response which is basically “The Shortest PSA on How to Handle Drunk Girls Passed Out on Your Couch.”
The blog ROLE/REBOOT: Make Sense of Men & Women recently published a list of 10 Small Changes You Can Make To Help Avoid Another Steubenville. Such advice included:
“1) If you use the expression “boys will be boys,” think about why and what it means. Then STOP.”
And, “4) Don’t sugarcoat sexualized violence, don’t laugh at it, and don’t repeat well-debunked rape mythologies.”
In an expose for XOJane called I AM THE BLOGGER WHO ALLEGEDLY “COMPLICATED” THE STEUBENVILLE GANG RAPE CASE — AND I WOULDN’T CHANGE A THING, Alexandria Goddard @prinniedidit revealed that she received numerous death and rape threats for daring to screen-grab tweets of Steubenville teens that “joked about raping and urinating on a girl they thought might be dead.”
2) Margaret Cho
If you were a socially conscious Asian American like me, this topic was the talk of the town: Korean American comedian Margaret Cho recently wrote a post for Jezebel called In a Room Full of Naked Koreans, Margaret Cho’s Body Is an Unwelcome Sight. Cho recalled a humiliating experience of being in a spa in Koreatown, Los Angeles and being told to cover up her naked body because the older Korean women, who were also naked, were reacting negatively to her many tattoos. She made it a point to note that she also saw “a heavily tattooed Korean man in the gym area, and [she doubts] he was asked to cover up at all.”
Warning: Try not to read the web comments on this post as there have been more negative than positive responses to Cho’s words. People have been calling her “ugly,” a “talentless hack,” an “attention whore” — basically every possible complaint about her looks and celebrity that totally and completely missed the point of her message.
3) Transphobia in Arizona
If you thought the Arizona legislature couldn’t get even worse, you’re wrong. According to the Transgender Law Center, who’s been closely watching the the passage of the Arizona anti-transgender bill “NoLoo4U”, the new discriminatory bill has unfortunately passed “the House Appropriations Committee” on Wednesday, March 27.
Introduced by the Arizona Representative John Kavanagh, his legislation “will put transgender and any gender non-conforming people…at increased risk of harassment and degradation when they try to use a restroom or fitting room by explicitly removing all legal protections for them state-wide.”
This bill will allow even more violent rhetoric and prejudice against the already vulnerable trans community, whose gender will now be dictated on the bias of Arizona business owners. As Colorlines has reported in 2011, the greater public has no idea that 70 Percent of Anti-LGBT Murder Victims Are People of Color. The annual report was related by The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs which documented “27 anti-LGBT murders in 2010, which is the second highest annual total recorded since 1996.”
4) Something Mills-related
In a post entitled Interdisciplinary computer science at Mills College for GeekFeminism.org, Mills Professor of Computer Science and Google Senior Research Scientist Ellen Spertus wrote about bringing awareness to her undergraduate computer science program and how there has been “a growing awareness of issues faced by transgender and gender non-conforming students” at Mills due to the recent Transgender Best Practices report.
Included in the post is a link to a blog called bodyhorror: a white genderqueer on hir “transition” & “recovery”, in which the blogger @thedailyhavis has pointed out the vague wording in Mills’ ambiguous admissions policy concerning non-cis students and questions exactly “how welcome transgender students are at Mills.”
For more info about the Transgender Best Practices report, check out The Campanil‘s news story Discussions facilitate deeper understanding of gender.
5) Crying Bigot
Probably the biggest highlight of my day was reading the New York Post story FDNY EMS Lt. spews racist, anti-Semitic tweets, but cried when confronted. 34 year old EMS Lieutenant Timothy Dluhos broke down into tears when The Post reporters confronted him about his bigoted tweets outside of his home in Staten Island. Despite having a Twitter profile photo of Hitler and spewing “a barrage of racist, sexist, anti-Semitic and anti-Asian comments”, he claims he doesn’t “hate anybody.”
As the article also pointed out, this incident is “another black eye for the FDNY, a white-male bastion already under a federal court mandate to become more diverse.”
Honestly, can we do this more often? Any troll who thinks they can get away with saying horrible racist, sexist and homophobic things by hiding behind Internet anonymity should be outed. Make a reality show out of it, even!
OTHER LINKS OF INTEREST
• If I Admit That ‘Hating Men’ Is a Thing, Will You Stop Turning It Into a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy? | Jezebel
“If you really care about those issues as passionately as you say you do, you should be thanking feminists, because feminism is a social movement actively dedicated to dismantling every single one of them. The fact that you blame feminists—your allies—for problems against which they have been struggling for decades suggests that supporting men isn’t nearly as important to you as resenting women. We care about your problems a lot. Could you try caring about ours?”
• New feminist group trains female activists in violent, naked protest techniques | The Raw Story
(Warning: The photo is rather disconcerting to look at)
“The group [Femen] has been protesting topless since 2010, using their bodies to attract attention, to lure journalists, and they have been roundly criticised by some people, who accuse them of playing into sexist stereotypes.”
• From ‘Californication’ To ‘Veep’ The TV Shows That Hired No Women Or Writers Of Color In 2011-2012 | ThinkProgress
“It’s an instruction that the 19 shows that hired no women writers in the 2011-2012 season, and the 55 shows that hired no writers of color during that same time period might take to heart.” (Emphasis mine)
• Malala Yousafzai Goes Back to School! | Ms. Magazine
“Yesterday, marked the triumphant return of Malala Yousafzai to school for the first time since her attempted assassination last October. Malala, 15, has made an almost miraculous recovery from being shot in the head and neck while riding home in a car from school.”
• Black Women’s “Unreasonable” Dating Standards | Gradient Lair
“It’s critical to paint Black women as being both undesirable and the CAUSE of said undesirability so that the racism used to shape conversations about our desires, our relationships and who we choose to love will remained unquestioned. And sadly, Black men are the least likely to challenge this racism.”
I also recommend reading her other Gradient Lair post Stop Re-Writing The Obamas’ History To Justify Your Inadequacy.
“I find myself very annoyed with people who try to portray the early days of the Obamas’ relationship as Michelle Queen of the Earth taking on a bum Obama to love, and then using this hyperbolic representation of their relationship to try to convey to Black women to date men, who in many cases, are not worthy of them (and NOT even because of lack of accomplishments or material wealth, but because of a highly negative, controlling and sexist attitude towards women).”
• Where The Girls At? Invisibility and Police Violence | Prison Culture
“There are countless stories of other women (and gender nonconforming people) who have experienced police violence. Yet, these stories often take a backseat to the police brutality experienced by black and brown men.”
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