In Rape Tragedies, the Shame Is Ours
Yes, rape is illegal; in theory, we take it seriously. But in reality, rape jokes are still considered funny, women are told that what they wear has some bearing on whether or not they’ll be attacked, and the definition of rape is still not widely understood. That’s why we still hear qualifiers like “date,” “gray,” “forcible” and “legitimate”—because so many don’t understand that all nonconsensual sex is rape.
March 2013 in Review
The Casual Vacany – J.K. Rowling
Another month, another book purposely unfinished. Like many others, I was curious about J.K. Rowling’s first foray into fiction after Harry Potter, and picked it up without looking past the author. I should have done a little more research, as I would have pretty easily found that this book is a far cry from anything Potter-related. Instead, Rowling used this opportunity to create a looong character study into too many characters. I got about 100 pages and 15 “main” characters into this 500+ page book before I couldn’t take it anymore. I don’t recommend picking this one up – stick with Harry Potter instead! [did not complete on purpose]
Defending Jacob – William Landay
I had heard a lot of great things about this book, and desperately wanted something as engaging and intense as the incredible “Gone Girl” after wrapping that up the month before. I was not disappointed in “Defending Jacob”, which offered interesting characters, a creative storytelling technique, and a hell of a plot twist at the end. [completed]
Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity – Andrew Solomon
Consider this my nerdiest discovery of 2013. NPR covered this book in January, and I was instantly interested in the subject matter. Soloman interviews hundreds of families with “difficult” or “different” children to talk about how these children affect their families, and how the children’s identity formation is affected as well. I found the 900-page book at the library and got about 40 pages in before deciding I just needed to buy it. I’m still only about 100 pages in, but enjoying every page and learning so much new stuff. [in process (and probably will be for the next several months)]
Donovan Woods – Don’t Get Too Grand
Donovan Woods is an incredible folk artist with a beautiful voice. This new album is perfect to listen to on a rainy day.
The Story So Far – What You Don’t See
I both credit and blame my boyfriend, Matt, for getting me back into pop punk music. At 25 when I met Matt, I thought I was done discovering new pop punk bands. I was ready to resign myself to folk and Americana and other hip stuff like 20-somethings are supposed to do. Instead, Matt has reinvigorated my love of the pop punk genre and continues to introduce me to new bands on a monthly (sometimes weekly and even daily!) basis. He introduced me to The Story So Far a few months ago, and I’m loving their new release. Excellent windows down music.
Fireworks & The Wonder Years at Harmony Grange in Wilmington, DE
Fireworks is another pop punk band that Matt introduced me to, and I’m so thankful for that. Matt is friends with the guys in the band, which allowed us to watch their set from the side of the stage (a first for me!). It was such an awesome experience. While we were definitely the oldest people in the crowd, I was still happy to be there, singing along to the music that speaks so well to my generation.
Tina Fey + Paul Rudd = game over, must see movie. I wasn’t as impressed with the content of this movie as I had hoped to be, as it tackled some touchy adoption issues. Still, it was fun to see two of my favorite actors together.
March brought news of the Veronica Mars movie, funded in less than 24 hours through Kickstarter!! I’ve been a VMars fan for years, and am so excited to introduce new fans to the show before the movie comes out next winter. Matt and I started watching from Season 1, Episode 1, and only about 6 episodes in, he’s already hooked!
After eating our weight in taco salads, Matt and I decided to branch out in our Mexican food pursuits by making nachos. The results were more delicious than we ever expected with the discovery of Tostitos Artisan chips and Trader Joe’s Cowboy Caviar.
A great article from XO Jane about raising kids in this rape culture, and some ways to counteract it.
full text of article below - it’s too important not to post.
Yesterday, the verdict was handed down in the Steubenville rape case. The defendants, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, were found guilty. Mays will serve at least two years in the state juvenile system; Richmond was sentenced to at least one year. And the attorney general may also bring charges against others who turned a blind eye to the assault.
I feel great relief that I’m not writing about a “not guilt” verdict today. Justice was served–as best it could be by an imperfect system–in this case. Since it so often isn’t, that is something–not only for Jane Doe, who I hope has the support she surely needs right now, but also for the rest of us, who live in a rape culture that’s perpetuated each time someone commits sexual violence and is not held accountable.
But it’s hard to hold on to that sense of relief–to realize that this ending was the best one possible in this particular case–when the problem is so much bigger. Nearly everything about the case–from start to finish–reflects a world that I just really don’t want to live in anymore.
I don’t want to live in a world in which a mainstream media outlet reporting on the verdict barely mentions the victim in their rush to lament the fact that the “promising lives” of the defendants have been ruined and that this “will haunt them for the rest of their lives.” I want to live in a world in which negative consequences are considered the logical effect of committing a terrible crime, and a sentence for rape that is shorter than those regularly doled out for drug possession or downloading academic papers is viewed as pretty damn lenient.
I don’t want to live in a world in which girls are so well-schooled in the consequences they’re sure to face for speaking up about a sexual assault that the victim immediately tried to assure people that she “wasn’t being a slut” and initially didn’t want to name the defendants ”because I knew everyone would just blame me.” I don’t want to live in a world that proves these fears justified time and time again.
I don’t want to live in a world in which the victim’s former best friends testify against her. I don’t want to live in a world in which girls learn to slut-shame and victim-blame other girls in order to maintain a sense of false security for themselves. I want to live in a world in which we stick together and fight the forces that seek to split us apart, recognizing that victim-blaming anywhere makes us all less safe and less free.
I don’t want to live in a world in which a coach is seen as someone who will “take care of it” if his players are accused of rape. I don’t want to live in a world in which young athletes are treated like gods and arrogantly learn that there are no consequences for their bad behavior. I want to live in a world in which coaches take seriously the great and potentially wonderful influence they have in young people’s lives and act as valuable mentors who hold their players to high standards–on and off the field.
I don’t want to live in a world in which dozens of kids see a girl who was so drunk she was passing out and don’t take her home. I don’t want to live in a world in which kids see a girl who was so drunk she was puking and joke about urinating on her. I want to live in a world in which people can get too drunk–while out with friends or aquaintances or total strangers–and expect that they will be hungover, not sexually violated, in the morning. I want to live in a world in which girls have the right to be reckless and not get raped, and I want this to not be a controversial statement.
I don’t want to live in a world in which many people seem to truly believe that women must be constantly “aware of their surroundings” and vigilantly guarded against being taken advantage of, or else they bear some “some accountability for the incident.” I don’t want to live in a world in which anyone believes that Mays and Richmond “did what most people in their situation would have done.” I don’t want to live in a world that assumes guys are naturally sexual aggressors who will opportunistically take advantage of an incapacitated girl, or forever push, push, push at the boundaries of consent until they hear a clear and forceful “no.” I want to live in a world that gives boys more credit than that.
I don’t want to live in a world in which a boy describes a girl as “like a dead body” yet still claims that the acts were consensual. I want to live in a world in which female sexual agency is respected and girls are seen as active and equal participants in sex, and so the idea that it would be at all unclear if someone had or had not consented would seem totally ludicrous. I want to live in a world in which it is universally assumed that no one except a rapist would want to have sex with someone who ”wasn’t participating.”
I don’t want to live in a world in which kids witness a rape in progress and record a video or take a photo instead of stopping it. I don’t want to live in a world in which a kid sees his friends assaulting an unconscious girl and claims that he didn’t intervene because he didn’t realize it was rape. “Well, it wasn’t violent,” Evan Westlake explained. ”I didn’t know exactly what rape was. I always pictured it as forcing yourself on someone.” I don’t want to live in a world in which this could ever be a believable excuse. I want to live in a world in which there is universal mandatory education on enthusiastic consent in schools and public figures do not make distinctions between “forcible rape” and other kinds of not-so-serious rape and the media clearly, unequivocally calls non-consensual sex what it is.
Ultimately, the perpetrators alone are held legally responsible for their actions. As they should be. But rapists are created, not born. And they are enabled by a culture that excuses their actions. It is hard, but not impossible, for me to muster much empathy for these boys–the ones convicted as well as the bystanders who watched–when they showed absolutely none for their victim. But again: “We socialize empathy out of boys all the time.” These kids are not particularly unique and Steubenville could be any town in America. And until we accept that we are collectively responsible for that, nothing will change.
We should all feel a little guilty today.
This is an excellent comparison of CNN’s actual coverage compared to what they should have said. I don’t think I could have said it better.
“It’s about a 16-year-old girl who was raped by two young men who thought that being good at throwing and catching an inflated ovoid meant that they had cultural carte blanche to behave however they wanted. Being good at a sport doesn’t entitle anyone to automatic public sympathy, and delving into our cultural sympathy reservoirs to bemoan the tragedy of a football player’s young career cut cruelly short does not make news coverage sensitive.”
*be prepared for an onslaught of Steubenville/CNN posts here. I celebrated with the report of a guilty (or “delinquent”) verdict for these boys, a victory for this 16-year old victim, as well as rape victims everywhere. I am outraged, appalled, and PISSED OFF that new coverage of the trial and verdict are more concerned with the ruined lives of these athletes rather than the victim or justice.
If Barbie was an actual woman, she would be 5’9” tall, have a 39” bust, an 18” waist, 33” hips and a size 3 shoe.
• Barbie calls this a “full figure” and likes her weight at 110 lbs.
• At 5’9” tall and weighing 110 lbs, Barbie would have a BMI of 16.24 and fit the weight criteria for anorexia. She likely would not menstruate.
• If Barbie was a real woman, she’d have to walk on all fours due to her proportions.
• Slumber Party Barbie was introduced in 1965 and came with a bathroom scale permanently set at 110 lbs with a book entitled “How to Lose Weight” with directions inside stating simply “Don’t eat.”
i’m always reblogging this.
I’ve reblogged this a million times and will ALWAYS reblog it. She is so beautiful…It’s a great message.
I always reblog this when I see it on my dash.
You cant just NOT reblog this
This should have more notes. I reblog every time.
February 2013 In Review
Sure, March is half over, but there’s still time to catch up on February
The Paris Wife - Paula McLain
This book was on many people’s best of 2012 lists, and seemed so promising. A fictionalized account of Paris, in the 20s, with Ernest Hemingway and the rest of the Lost Generation? How could you go wrong? Unfortunately, a lot more easily than it seemed possible. I read about half of it, and tried to power through the end, but I just couldn’t make it. The whole story is told from the perspective of Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley. I guess I was just so disappointed at what a thin, underdeveloped character she was. Hadley became so reliant on Ernest that she couldn’t function as a full person or character when she was alone. As a feminist, I couldn’t handle such a non-character narrating this novel, and quit halfway through. I wouldn’t recommend this one to anyone. [did not finish, on purpose]
The Midwife of Hope River - Patricia Harman
This book is a fictionalized account of a midwife’s life and work in 1920s Appalachia. I’m always intrigued by the stories of midwives, and clearly was into this time period in February. :) I happened upon this book in the “new” section at my local library and I’m so glad I did. There is an overarching storyline that goes into the personal history of main character, Patience, but I think the part I liked the best was the mini-stories about the births Patience attends. It was also interesting to hear about the state of the country and births in the 20s. Patience is a well-traveled woman with some experience in the labor movement that brought a strength and context to her character. I love a book with a strong female lead, and Patience definitely fit the bill. [Completed]
Where We Belong - Emily Giffin
I’ve read and enjoyed Giffin’s brand of chick lit in the past, and found the storyline of this particular book too appealing to pass up in my library’s audiobook section. The premise involves a successful 30-something reconnecting with the child she placed for adoption 18 years later, and learning a lot about herself and her past in the process. The story is told from both the mother’s and the daughter’s perspectives in alternating chapters. As an adoption social worker, it was really interesting to think about both perspectives in a closed adoption. [Completed - audio book]
I totally failed on the music front in February. I didn’t download a single new album, and basically listened to the Lumineers’ Pandora station and a little POS all month. I will try harder in March!!
No live shows in February either. Boo.
Movies, on the other hand, were the name of the game this month. With the Oscars at the end of February, I wanted to see as many nominated movies as possible.
I’m not much of a fan Tarantino’s bloody style, but the boyfriend picked this for his birthday activity, so saw it we did. I was pleasantly surprised by the storyline and character development of Django and Dr. King Schultz. I hated how bloody and almost predictable some of the story was, and absolutely despised that Kerry Washington’s character could have been replaced with a cardboard cutout. Still, I enjoyed the interesting storyline and would recommend to Tarantino fans.
Zero Dark Thirty
I wasn’t sure I wanted to see this one, but I was again pleasantly surprised by how engaging the storyline was. I was expecting something that primarily focused on the ground game in actually tracking down Bin Ladin (clearly I didn’t do any research or reading about this before seeing the movie - whoops!). Instead, I was interested to watch the slow, deliberate hunt and behind the scenes moves involved. Jessica Chastain’s performance was incredible.
Beasts of the Southern Wild
After Quvenzhane Wallis’ Oscar nomination at only 9 years old, I knew I had to see this movie. I spent much of the beginning in a state of confusion, trying to determine how much of Hushpuppy’s world was real. I was also trying hard to shut my social worker brain off, seeing too many signs of child abuse and neglect than would be acceptable in our modern world. When I started to let that go a bit, I allowed myself to get swept away by Hushpuppy and her companions’ incredible strength and spirit. While it certainly wasn’t my favorite movie of the year, or even the Oscar nominations, there is no denying Quvenzhane’s amazing acting ability and sweet spirit.
West of Memphis
For an ultra-romantic Valentine’s day date, Matt and I ate at a hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant, then saw this documentary about the West Memphis Three case. One of the West Memphis Three himself, Damien Echols, helped to produce this documentary, and I think this insider viewpoint showed throughout. The documentary covered the basics of the case, and then took things a few steps further than the Paradise Lost triology of documentaries. First, West of Memphis showed the release of all three men, and gave some insight into their lives outside of prison. Also, the documentary cleverly showcased a lot of new evidence and began pointing the finger in the still-unsolved case at a promising suspect. It was excellent, and something about it tells me the West Memphis Three case isn’t entirely finished.
Matt and I dove into Boardwalk Empire with a vengeance in early February. We also went to see the Prohibition exhibit at the Constitution Center in recent weeks, so we were primed to learn more about the era. Boardwalk Empire presents intriguing, fully developed characters facing the realities and secrecies of Prohibition in Atlantic City. The costumes are incredible and story lines are pretty great too.
We tried a recipe with Pillsbury pizza crust and ricotta, mozzarella, and red peppers inside. They needed a little more flavor, so we’ll probably try a different crust next time around.
We finally broke down and dropped the $11 for the Perfect Tortilla bowls, and have been eating taco salads about once a week every since.