April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and, to kick things off, I’d like to take issue with the growing prevalence of the word “rape” as a slang synonym for “dominated”, “rocked’, or “killed”. Both I and a friend have recently had Facebook “friends” (which of course could be anyone from a mere acquaintance to a spouse) claim to have “raped” a final in their status:
her: is hoping that she raped that final!!! PARRRRTTTAYYYY time!!!
him: Fuckin raped 2 finals and now one more to go
I know the author of the second well enough to comment on it. Facebook now allows a user to “like” or give a thumbs up to something someone else has posted. The following thread ensued:
me: “Fuckin raped 2 finals” …I wonder if one can “unlike” a comment.
him: haha possibly… all you gotta do is type that you dont like it.
me: consider it done
He later changed his status to
him: fuckin destroyed all three finals and now time to turn off the brain!
which I considered a win. I “liked” that status.
But now I wish I’d gone farther. I wish I’d made it more clear that I was offended by the status, and that I was offended by “raped 2 finals” rather than “fuckin”. Swearing on your Facebook page is stupid, but inoffensive to me (I know for a fact that all his managers are on Facebook—I’m friends with most of them). Using “rape” as a description of power and of power over an inanimate object is flat out offensive. When I sent my messages, I felt like the Bad Feminist FriendTM: the one who is offended by little things that “normal” people aren’t offended by and don’t even notice; the one who never finds jokes funny and is just a pain to ever be around. But I simply couldn’t let it slide.
I know that others disagree, but I would much rather replace “rape” with “kill” in the above. I have killed finals in the past (I have had finals kill me, too); I have dominated, I have destroyed, but I have never raped a final. Or anything else (besides the earth, with my car…). This is not a term to be used lightly. This is not a word to be normalized.
Apparently some aspect of the LDS temple ceremony will be portrayed on HBO’s Big Love (tonight?). Here’s a picture that was forwarded to me, apparently from TV Guide:
Mormons are decrying this as sacrilegious and disrespectful, of course, but as one of thousands who was hoodwinked into going through the ceremony and socially coerced into accepting its secret oaths and tenets, I think that just about any public airing will help to diminish the power of the ritual. While I would hesitate to characterize Mormonism as a cult, the temple is where it gets the closest to acting like one. So this airing is a Good Thing. And it may be the first episode of Big Love I actually watch.
Late to the party on this one, I know, sorry. It turns out that conservative (read: religious) states have the highest porn rates in the country. Probably because they’re not allowed to have deviant (read: fun) sex at home.
Meanwhile, people living in enlightened areas of the country have other outlets for their sexual urges, since sex is not dirty and can be discussed rationally with one’s partner(s).
This is another lecture that was put on at my school, this time by the ACLU, in response to Prop 8. The California Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments about the Constitutionality of Prop 8 a week from tomorrow. In preparation for that, the local ACLU chapter invited to gay people who grew up in religious families to tell their stories to us—one whose family eventually accepted him and the other whose family is not as accepting.
My first thought at arriving at the appointed time & place was that I must be in the wrong room. There was far too good a turn out (including a number of professors). The president of our local chapter introduced the two panelists and said that she felt it was important, with Prop 8 looming on the horizon, to put a human face on the reality of our homosexual friends and neighbors. She wanted us to hear the story of people struggling for acceptance in their family, community, and faith, but that it was not her story to tell. Read more >>
And watch this vid. An MoF favorite singer and an MoF favorite cause: Regina Spektor and No On H8. Do this before V day and enjoy your partnership on Valentine’s Day guilt-free (and full of hope).
Let’s dedicate this Valentine’s Day to love.
(no, not that one)
“That says, ‘oh, Love Me Dead!’”
or, A Feminist Critique of Ludo’s “Love Me Dead”
Today’s music brought to you courtesy of DH *ahem* who picked it up from a House commercial. Which is funny, since I watch TV & he doesn’t and the song totally escaped my notice. I’ve had it stuck in my head essentially since I first saw the video for it, which I shall present forthwith:
It’s Blog for Choice Day and I encourage everyone to visit the blogroll of bloggers taking part and to visit their blogs, if only for this one post. Also, feel free to revisit my posts from ’07 and ’08. This year’s topic is “What is your top pro-choice hope for President Obama and/or the new Congress.”
I always find these kinds of things difficult. I don’t have a favorite band/book/movie, but I could give you a top five. So I think I’ll take that approach. These aren’t in any order except the order they come in, but they’re all up there.
1. Repeal of the Bush doctrine of the “conscience clause”. This is near the top of my brain right now because I recently read (and was subsequently incensed by) this, the story of a woman whose IUD was removed by a religious nurse, who then proceeded to lecture her about why she was morally opposed to it and then refused to put it back in. The nurse stated, “Everyone in the office always laughs and tells me I pull these out on purpose because I am against them, but it’s not true, they accidentally come out when I tug,” which suggests to me that she’s a serial assaulter.
The medical profession is different from most professions (it’s usually lumped in with the legal profession) in the sense that certain things are required of medical professionals that are not required of anyone else. I’ve likened conscience clauses before to a vegetarian working at Subway and refusing to serve meat. That was probably a wee bit flippant, but I do believe that, since the medical profession is so specialized, when one goes to an doctor, one is entitled to the best medical care that doctor can provide. Having an surgeon refuse to provide a patient with an appendectomy because the surgeon is a Christian Scientist should be illegal. Sure, where it is possible, allow the surgeon to find another surgeon who can provide this (often emergency) procedure. Where none can be found, the trained surgeon employed in the capacity of a surgeon at the hospital the patient has been admitted to may be expected to provide that surgery, regardless of the surgeon’s religious beliefs. The fact that it’s even being considered is repulsive and baffling to me. We require attorneys to provide legal service to criminals, regardless of the attorney’s belief of guilt or innocence. Where attorneys don’t want to face that kind of situation, these attorneys choose a different area of practice.
Replace “appendectomy” with “abortion” and my views do not change.
2. Codification in some way of the right to reproductive health services nationwide. This probably involves both the Congress and the President, since we all know Bush would have vetoed anything that allowed women to have a shot at doing anything for themselves. Roe v. Wade objectors are working their way up the courts inch by inch in an effort to get it repealed. Many states have laws-in-waiting that will go into effect as soon as it is repealed. With a Supreme Court stacked against reproductive rights and a rabid base who routinely files cases intended to make it to that Court regardless of the success of the last case, having a statutory law, rather than a common law, is a necessity.
The oft-quoted fact that Viagra is covered by many insurance companies that do not cover birth control pills is proof positive that there is a problem in this country with treating women as full humans when it comes to health care. Codification of this right would solve the insurance issue as well as the access issue. It may even solve the education issue, since more and more medical schools are removing certain reproductive health care procedures from their required curriculum making them instead optional.
3. Age-appropriate sex-ed classes that have a medical, rather than a religious, basis. How are we even having this conversation?! If I want to learn about god, original sin, or hell, I will go to a religious teacher. If I want to learn about oil, the periodic table, or sulfuric acid, I will go to a chemistry teacher. This is not rocket science, folks: if we want our children to learn about penises, ovaries, and menstruation, what is required is a biology course. Perhaps a sociology course to cover things like “no means no” and the etiquette of being sexually active in a world of STDs. And yes, abstinence should be included in a sex-ed course; but not exclusively. Options and consequences should be truthfully (I know that’s hard for religionists…and some parents) and openly discussed, explored, even debated. Each person will then be able to decide for him or herself what choices will be made. But choices cannot be made if options are not given.
And yes, as indicated above, I think that a rudimentary course in how men and women should act toward one another in a sexual context (“no means no” and epithets like “slut”) should be included.
4. Support for parents in the workplace. Note the plural. Women may well need some physical time to recover following childbirth, but the child itself requires more attention when it is first born than later in life. Whether the parents are two gay men adopting, a het couple having a natural child, or a lesbian couple with a sperm donor (or any of the myriad other options and combinations), both parents should be assured of paid leave to care for the new addition to their family. And, upon returning to the workplace, they should be assured that they have a job.
I’d like to work into this some sort of acknowledgement that often, one parent quits their job and returns to the workplace some years later (above I was thinking more in terms of months), to find that her (it is most often a woman) marketability as a worker has vastly decreased, but I can’t figure out how to work this into legislation.
5. Repeal of the Global Gag Rule. I would hope that, if the above hopes come to pass, this would be an obvious inclusion. If we secure reproductive rights internally, we have no call to presume to infringe upon them externally. But it may slip through the cracks. Not only does the Gag Rule reek of imperialism and I-know-better-than-youism, it is inherently dangerous to men and women alike, especially in regions beset by an AIDS epidemic. People in need of medical care are entitled to the best medical care that society and current medical knowledge can give them—not the best care that the United State wants them to have (how is it that these are two separate things?!). Not only has the US no right to impose religiously-based medical care upon its own citizens, it has no right to do so for citizens of other countries.
Finally, as an aside that I don’t think either the President or Congress has much, if any control over, I think that (daily) birth control pills should be over-the-counter, since there’s no LD50 for them. For morning after pills, an argument may be made for keeping them behind the counter in the same way that cigarettes are.
Jane Doe is standing up to the social stigma attached to having been raped and the attendant indignities she discovered were involved in attempting to report it. In Japan. Although it is both a different culture and legal system, I don’t think there’s any culture that deals with rape without social stigma or the indignities involved in reporting it. Her refusal to be silent and her desire to bring national and international attention to the situation in Japan may help us all look with criticism at our own cultures.
On being a quiet feminist. (Something I’ve never understood, but I have heard the arguments that Kevin espouses and been incensed by them myself.)
Bad advertising. Or, sex sells.
For a few weeks when I first stopped being able to find time to blog, I kept windows open in Safari to the point that it was neigh on impossible to shut down my computer, for fear of losing all the wonderful and amazing links I was going to share! But then I got into the Zen of it and decided that blogging is impermanent and that you all would survive even if you didn’t read that screed I found about Palin or the funny-but-true pic I found about the Constitution. So I let them go.
But I’m back *fanfare* and to celebrate, I have three links to share:
The first is this “Coming Out as an Atheist” survey. It essentially compares atheism (and the social/familial stigmas attached to it) to homosexuality and asks, if applicable to you, which was harder to come out as. (My guess? Homosexual, but who knows.) It’s not the kind of survey where you get results (“Congratulations! You’re a Libertarian!”), but the kind of survey that’s part of a study. So I encourage people who are out-atheists, on-the-fence non-believers, and religion-doubters to go take it (sorry to all you actual religionists, I don’t think there are a lot of options for you).
The second link is for religion geeks (or geeky religionists): If Programming Languages were Religions.
Finally, for peaceniks, today is the Winter Solstice and someone has organized a minute of silence, followed by bell-ringing for peace at noon today. Not a bad way to remain present as the season ramps up in crazy.
That is all.
I’m sorry I’ve not been posting recently, law school has finally caught up with me and consumed my life. I had to cancel the event that makes the holidays bearable for me (a goose-filled gamer fest) because I simply hadn’t the time to prepare and plan it. One of the prospective attendants told me that, while she wasn’t glad to miss it, she was glad that I couldn’t handle it because it made me seem more human. I’ll send her a card when I fail my first semester: “from xJane, now officially a Human.”
I have, however, been reading blogs mostly regularly (I didn’t yesterday, what has happened to me?!) and have compiled a bunch of links that I
wanted to share wanted to dedicate a whole post to each one. I haven’t the time to do so, so this is effectively a link-dump. I’m sorry, but Safari thanks you (“There are 7 windows open in Safari, with a total of 32 tabs.”).
Read more >>
If passed, this law will have nothing to do with me: I am not a teenage girl, I am unlikely to get one pregnant, and I don’t have any children. When I was the age during which I might have been affected by a law like this, I did not live in California. But this reminds me of when I was a teenager. And that is a very personal subject.
Read more >>
or, xJane gets mushy
Yesterday was DH’s and my 3rd anniversary. It gave me a chance to reflect on love, marriage, and rights. Specifically on why I did (and did not) get married & what that makes me think about the rights of others.
I did not get married so that I could bear DH’s children. I did not get married so that his father’s name would be carried on. I did not get married because it was a “respected social institution” that I desperately wanted to be a part of. I did not get married so that I could be a “wife”, nor did DH because he wanted to be a “husband” (whatever those words are supposed to mean). I didn’t get married because my religion told me that marriage was good. I didn’t get married because marriage was the only way for me, as a woman, to be completed or live a full life.
I married DH because I love being around him. I got married because when I am with him, I feel like I’m with only myself—that I don’t need to be anyone else but the true me. I got married because his presence makes me smile. I got married because, when I come home & find him there, the tensions of the day disappear. I got married because I love waking up next to him & watching him sleep (in a totally non-creepy way). I got married because DH is a great cook and I’m a great baker. I got married because we are equal partners in life—each supporting the other. I got married because we love playing video games (separately and together), camping, judo, and computers. I got married because even when he pisses me off, I love him. I got married because even when I piss him off, he loves me. I got married because DH makes me happy.
I got married so we could own property together. I got married so that we would have enforceable rights if anything happened to either of us. I got married because he’s got great insurance benefits & I’ve got a great credit union. I got married because when we weren’t married, the world seemed to look at us differently, like we weren’t really in love. I got married because it made everything (taxes, renting, car ownership, illness, life insurance, nearly everything) easier. Just one document & so many issues simply evaporated.
And that surprised me. Social issues, family issues, governmental issues—completely resolved simply because I had a different last name, a legal document, and a [white] gold ring.
For these reasons and for all the reasons I didn’t list, I cannot condone restrictions on marriage between consenting adults of any gender. Nor can I sit idly by while bigots and homophobes attempt to restrict rights on the basis of religion at best and ill-articulated arguments at worst.
Marriage is not an institution I like. I think it’s misogynistic, religious, and unequal. I think it has been hijacked by people who still believe that women should be property and held in too high esteem by people who think a wedding means white dresses & expensive blood jewelry. I think it needs to be reformed or dismantled. But it’s what we’ve got. And it’s powerful—powerful enough to get my parents to talk to DH, powerful enough to allow me to speak for DH in forums where he is uncomfortable (and he for me), powerful enough to change part of my name for no good reason (but not his). And because of that power, it cannot be denied to people who want it.