Monday’s Maddening Meme 1.10.16

Ok, there’s no reason to spend a lot of time on this ridiculous meme, bc as with most of the shit tumbling forth from the “men’s rights activists” at AVfM, this isn’t based in reality. Here’s  quick rundown of just what is wrong with the image:

Continue reading “Monday’s Maddening Meme 1.10.16”

Monday’s Maddening Meme 1.10.16
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There is no "perfect rape victim"

CONTENT NOTE: SEXUAL ASSAULT AND RAPE

Ah, victim blaming. One of the most ubiquitous manifestations of Rape Culture. Whether its blaming rape victims for their sexual assault due to their clothing, level of sobriety, flirtatiousness, or the company they keep, victim blaming can take on many forms. It is horrible because rape occurs regardless of how much or how little clothing a victim wears, their level of sobriety, how much they flirt, or who they choose to associate with. This is because the only person who can decide whether or not a rape will happen is a rapist. Victims have no control over the actions of a rapist. On its own, blaming a rape victim for their assault is horrible enough because it shifts the blame for the sexual assault from the rapist to the victim. Some rape victims have to endure victim blaming on top of another level of social humiliation: slut-shaming.

Continue reading “There is no "perfect rape victim"”

There is no "perfect rape victim"

There is no “perfect rape victim”

CONTENT NOTE: SEXUAL ASSAULT AND RAPE

Ah, victim blaming. One of the most ubiquitous manifestations of Rape Culture. Whether its blaming rape victims for their sexual assault due to their clothing, level of sobriety, flirtatiousness, or the company they keep, victim blaming can take on many forms. It is horrible because rape occurs regardless of how much or how little clothing a victim wears, their level of sobriety, how much they flirt, or who they choose to associate with. This is because the only person who can decide whether or not a rape will happen is a rapist. Victims have no control over the actions of a rapist. On its own, blaming a rape victim for their assault is horrible enough because it shifts the blame for the sexual assault from the rapist to the victim. Some rape victims have to endure victim blaming on top of another level of social humiliation: slut-shaming.

Continue reading “There is no “perfect rape victim””

There is no “perfect rape victim”

3 more women accuse Bill Cosby of drugging and raping them

First it was a trickle. Then it was a slow but steady stream. Then it was a fast-moving river. Now it’s like Niagara Falls.  Three more women have alleged that Bill Cosby drugged and raped them, bringing the total to 41.

Forty-fucking-one

Well-known civil rights attorney Gloria Allred is representing these women (as well as several others). According to Allred, the women are speaking up because Cosby continues to refuse to “acknowledge and take responsibility for his conduct towards women.” The three women include Janice Baker-Kenney:

On the night of the alleged assault, Kinney, who was 24 at the time, said a friend invited her to the house for a “pizza party.” There, she says Cosby offered her two pills. “I thought it must be OK,” she said. “Bill Cosby said it was.”

She woke up later in the living room area on the couch with her jeans unzipped and her blouse opened and remembered Cosby bringing her upstairs to the bedroom.

The following morning, she woke up next to a naked Cosby who was touching her belly and genital area. She said she quickly got dressed and before she walked out the front door Cosby allegedly said: “‘this is between you and me’ and he put his finger to his mouth like a ‘shhhh’ sign.”

Marcella Tate:

Marcella Tate was a 27-year-old Wilhelmina model when she was assaulted by Cosby at the Playboy Mansion’s Chicago location in 1975. He gave her a drink, and the last thing she remembered was him laying next to her in bed, naked. The Playboy Mansion has been a frequent setting for the alleged assaults.

and Autumn Burns:

Burns said she met Cosby in 1970 at a Las Vegas casino in which she worked when she was 20 years old. She said she was invited to his suite where he made her a drink, after which she felt “woozy and not in control”. She said the comedian then forced her into sex acts.

Of course, as expected, Cosby’s defenders show up in the comment sections of these articles to defend their icon. Apparently he’s such a virtuous individual that he is unassailable and so obviously not a rapist. I’m so motherfucking sick and tired of the lack of empathy and compassion for rape victims and I say that as someone who has never been raped. I cannot image how awful it must be for sexual assault victims to watch people defend a rapist, no matter how much of a celebrity he is.

3 more women accuse Bill Cosby of drugging and raping them

Saying goodbye isn't always difficult

Whether its a 19-year-old heading off to college in another state, a military service member receiving an assignment overseas, or a long-time employee of a company leaving for greener pastures, saying goodbye can be difficult. For the younger sibling of that 19-year-old…for the father of that service member…for the friend of the long-time employee, for all that they may be happy for their sibling/son/friend, there is often a great degree of sadness. Sadness over being unable to go fishing with that older sibling-at least not for the foreseeable future. Sadness from the father who hates the thought of spending the holidays without one of his children. Sadness from the friend who will miss the daily talks with that long-time employee.

There are other times, however, when we say goodbye to someone and the accompanying emotion is joy, rather than sadness. Over at Addicting Info (don’t click the link yet), I just learned that a particularly odious individual may soon be making Costa Rica his home. Were it someone I cared about, someone like a sibling, or one of my [hypothetical] children, or a much-loved co-worker, I would no doubt be filled with sadness. In this case, I do not feel an ounce of sadness. I feel much joy.

Joy at the thought that USAmerican airwaves will have one less slut-shaming asshole spewing shit like this:

“A Georgetown coed told Nancy Pelosi’s hearing that the women in her law school program are having so much sex they’re going broke, so you and I should have to pay for their birth control. So what would you call that? I called it what it is. So, I’m offering a compromise today: I will buy all of the women at Georgetown University as much aspirin to put between their knees as they want. … So Miss Fluke and the rest of you feminazis, here’s the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.”

One less so-called “pro-lifer” polluting the airwaves demonstrating that they really don’t care about children? Joy fills me.

“If you feed them, if you feed the children, three square meals a day during the school year, how can you expect them to feed themselves in the summer? Wanton little waifs and serfs dependent on the State. Pure and simple.”

Who wouldn’t be happy to hear less sexist bullshit like this?

“I’m a huge supporter of women. What I’m not is a supporter of liberalism. Feminism is what I oppose. Feminism has led women astray. I love the women’s movement — especially when walking behind it.”

One less science-denying nincomfuck? Yippee!

“Cholesterol has nothing to do with heart disease. Nothing wrong with saturated fats.”

I could very nearly jump for joy at the thought of one less person perpetuating Rape Culture.

“Public and private polling indicates that Ohioans, by a substantial margin, want to overturn the new law. Which means, if this is true, that people in Ohio want to rape themselves”

How could I not be filled with joy at the thought of a racist asshole departing the U.S.?

“Holocaust? Ninety million Indians? Only four million left? They all have casinos — what’s to complain about?”

Or the homophobia. I can definitely do without the homophobia (as well as the sexism).

“When a gay person turns his back on you, it is anything but an insult; it’s an invitation.”

Have you figured out the identity of the mystery man? Do you know who this racist, homophobic, sexist, misogynistic, Rape Culture enabling, faux “pro-lifer” is?  No? Here’s a hint:

Why am I saying goodbye to this bigoted, bloviating blowhard? He told us he was leaving back in 2010:

“If this [Obamacare] passes, and it’s five years from now, and all that stuff [from Obamacare] gets implemented, I’m leaving the country. I’ll go to Costa Rica.”

Well Rush? It’s been 5 years. Have you made all the necessary preparations? Have you bought your plane ticket? Is your stuff packed?

Dammit, turns out he wasn’t serious!

Now I’m sad.

A Limbaugh-less U.S. would be better for us all. For Rush, it would mean he wouldn’t have to bear the indignity of living in a country where millions of previously uninsured people now have health insurance. For the rest of us, we’d have one less hatemonger on the airwaves. Win-win! Of course if he did move, that wouldn’t be good for the citizens of Costa Rica. Perhaps a one-way trip to a deserted island would be better.

Saying goodbye isn't always difficult

Saying goodbye isn’t always difficult

Whether its a 19-year-old heading off to college in another state, a military service member receiving an assignment overseas, or a long-time employee of a company leaving for greener pastures, saying goodbye can be difficult. For the younger sibling of that 19-year-old…for the father of that service member…for the friend of the long-time employee, for all that they may be happy for their sibling/son/friend, there is often a great degree of sadness. Sadness over being unable to go fishing with that older sibling-at least not for the foreseeable future. Sadness from the father who hates the thought of spending the holidays without one of his children. Sadness from the friend who will miss the daily talks with that long-time employee.

There are other times, however, when we say goodbye to someone and the accompanying emotion is joy, rather than sadness. Over at Addicting Info (don’t click the link yet), I just learned that a particularly odious individual may soon be making Costa Rica his home. Were it someone I cared about, someone like a sibling, or one of my [hypothetical] children, or a much-loved co-worker, I would no doubt be filled with sadness. In this case, I do not feel an ounce of sadness. I feel much joy.

Joy at the thought that USAmerican airwaves will have one less slut-shaming asshole spewing shit like this:

“A Georgetown coed told Nancy Pelosi’s hearing that the women in her law school program are having so much sex they’re going broke, so you and I should have to pay for their birth control. So what would you call that? I called it what it is. So, I’m offering a compromise today: I will buy all of the women at Georgetown University as much aspirin to put between their knees as they want. … So Miss Fluke and the rest of you feminazis, here’s the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.”

One less so-called “pro-lifer” polluting the airwaves demonstrating that they really don’t care about children? Joy fills me.

“If you feed them, if you feed the children, three square meals a day during the school year, how can you expect them to feed themselves in the summer? Wanton little waifs and serfs dependent on the State. Pure and simple.”

Who wouldn’t be happy to hear less sexist bullshit like this?

“I’m a huge supporter of women. What I’m not is a supporter of liberalism. Feminism is what I oppose. Feminism has led women astray. I love the women’s movement — especially when walking behind it.”

One less science-denying nincomfuck? Yippee!

“Cholesterol has nothing to do with heart disease. Nothing wrong with saturated fats.”

I could very nearly jump for joy at the thought of one less person perpetuating Rape Culture.

“Public and private polling indicates that Ohioans, by a substantial margin, want to overturn the new law. Which means, if this is true, that people in Ohio want to rape themselves”

How could I not be filled with joy at the thought of a racist asshole departing the U.S.?

“Holocaust? Ninety million Indians? Only four million left? They all have casinos — what’s to complain about?”

Or the homophobia. I can definitely do without the homophobia (as well as the sexism).

“When a gay person turns his back on you, it is anything but an insult; it’s an invitation.”

Have you figured out the identity of the mystery man? Do you know who this racist, homophobic, sexist, misogynistic, Rape Culture enabling, faux “pro-lifer” is?  No? Here’s a hint:

Why am I saying goodbye to this bigoted, bloviating blowhard? He told us he was leaving back in 2010:

“If this [Obamacare] passes, and it’s five years from now, and all that stuff [from Obamacare] gets implemented, I’m leaving the country. I’ll go to Costa Rica.”

Well Rush? It’s been 5 years. Have you made all the necessary preparations? Have you bought your plane ticket? Is your stuff packed?

Dammit, turns out he wasn’t serious!

Now I’m sad.

A Limbaugh-less U.S. would be better for us all. For Rush, it would mean he wouldn’t have to bear the indignity of living in a country where millions of previously uninsured people now have health insurance. For the rest of us, we’d have one less hatemonger on the airwaves. Win-win! Of course if he did move, that wouldn’t be good for the citizens of Costa Rica. Perhaps a one-way trip to a deserted island would be better.

Saying goodbye isn’t always difficult

I could never become this upset about not getting my dream home

When I think of Craigslist, I tend to think of one thing: a place I can go to find jobs. I certainly spent my fair share of time searching through the job openings on Craigslist during my four months of unemployment last year (I found my current job through the site).  I know you can seek dates on there. I know there are communities for people who share the same hobbies. I know you can sell everything from refrigerators to dryers, from furniture to cars on Craigslist (you can even sell comic books, though I wasn’t successful when I tried that). One thing that I’d never think to use Craigslist for? Putting up ads to get a homeowner raped because I was outbid:

A bitter woman who put out Craigslist ads to get a homeowner raped after she outbid her on her dream home in San Diego has been sentenced to house arrest.

Kathy J. Rowe, 53, was sentenced on Friday to a year of house arrest and five years of probation stemming from the case where she tormented couple Jerry Rice, 40, and Janice Ruhter, 37, for months after they purchased the Carmel Valley home that she badly wanted back in 2011, according to PEOPLE. She’s also ordered to stay away from the couple for 10 years.

That’s not only bitter, that’s utterly contemptible. “I couldn’t get my dream home, so I’m going to send people to your home hoping they’ll rape you”?! Whatever happened to this woman’s moral compass I don’t know, but she needs to get it fixed. ASAP.

Rowe, who won a San Diego “Mother of the Year” award in 2006 for her dedication in taking care of her mentally handicapped daughter, had a laundry list of egregious things she did to the couple to make their lives a living hell.

It’s more than possible for a human being to perform admirable deeds while also engaging in vile activities. Even though I know this in my head, it’s still hard to reconcile the apparent contradiction of a woman who won a ‘Mother of the Year’ award while being the kind of person who would try to get someone raped. It’s just so fucking horrible.

What started off as lame pranks—like sending the couple a $1,000-worth of magazine subscriptions they hadn’t ordered to having their mail stop getting sent to them—grew into more disturbing acts as the months wore on. There was that furious neighbor who demanded to know from Rice why he was sending his wife a Valentine’s Day card. It turned out that the neighbor wasn’t the only one upset—eight other wives in the area received similar romantic cards that Rowe sent out posing as Rice.

If she’d stopped there, I’d still think her actions were problematic (and in the case of interfering with their mail, criminal). She was trying to continuously and deliberately annoy the couple, but at least she wasn’t actively trying to harm them. But this, this is beyond the pale:

Then there were the Craigslist sex ads Rice found online—with one of them titled “Carmel Valley Freak Show”—that encouraged strangers to swing by the couple’s home and surprise Ruhter while the husband wasn’t home, reported U-T San Diego. Rowe pretended to be Ruhter while writing responses to these men, one of which read, “I love to be surprised and have a man just show up at my door and force his way in the door and on me, totally taking me while I say no.”

She was trying to weaponize rape.  That’s so fucking disgusting. She actively wanted someone in that household to get raped…to have their consent violated…to have their bodily autonomy completely ignored. This is someone who doesn’t value the rights of others. The awfulness doesn’t stop there, as her attempts to get the couple raped came close to succeeding:

The couple says that one man responded to one of the ads and showed up unannounced at their door twice.

I hope he never tried to enter the home and fuck both him and Kathy Rowe, but hey, she says this isn’t representative of the kind of person she is, so I guess it’s all good:

Rowe was arrested in 2012, and although she was originally charged with solicitation of rape and sodomy, and harassment, she pleaded guilty last November to a stalking charge.

“A home should be a place of safety and sanctuary, but I never truly felt this way in our house,” Ruhter said in court on Friday. “I felt most secure away from my home. The house became my prison.”

Rowe had told prosecutors that she was “devastated” that she lost the home to the couple because it was the perfect one-story house with a pool and yard for her family; she was taking care of her disabled daughter and husband who was recovering from a heart attack, according to ABC News.

“I just want to say how humiliated I am for my behavior,” Rowe said in court. “This is not representative of who I am. I’ve never behaved like this. How much I wish I could go back and take all this away. … All the things I put them through, the stress, the lack of privacy, I’m just very sorry.”

Yes, I’m sympathetic to what was going on in her life. I’m sure she was under a lot of stress. None of that excuses her actions though. Given that she was trying weaponize rape, I wonder if she understands how horrible rape is. I’m guessing no. And I hope she never has to find out, because rape is, IMO, the ultimate violation of a human being and the complete denial of our rights and our dignity.

I could never become this upset about not getting my dream home

Feminist Link Round Up 1.14.15

Despite what many make think, as creators and fans, women have been part of the comic book world from the beginning. A new documentary, She Makes Comics, interviews several industry creators as it traces the history of women in the world of comic books.

I’d like to see this doc.

* * * *

 Florida man allegedly sold his pregnant girlfriend 

Trigger Warning

The Miami Herald reports that Justin Robert Muoio forced his 23-year-old girlfriend to advertise herself as a sex worker for “fetish clientele” and demanded that she have sex with them for two months while she was pregnant in 2013.

Prior to that, the woman alleges that since 2009, Muoio had “physically forced her” to work as a sex worker for an agency called VIP Escort Services, where “she would average 8 to 10 dates a day,” six days a week, according to court documents.

Muoio was arrested back in August during a domestic dispute with the woman, which the police reported as a “heated altercation … related to infidelity.” When the woman tried to escape, Muoio tried to escape, Muoio dead-bolted the door and refused to allow her to leave. She eventually escaped by climbing out of a window while Muoio was talking to his mother.

It gets even worse: Muoio’s mother, Louise Henig-Muoio, 66, an “independent real estate professional” in Miami/Fort Lauderdale, was allegedly also involved, with cops saying she threatened the woman and refused to allow her to leave. Henig-Muoio has been arrested and charged with false imprisonment.

* * * *

 Fraternities at UVA must have ‘sober monitors’ at every party

[Fr]aternities wanting to throw parties at the University of Virginia will have to get three members to stay “sober and lucid” to monitor behavior and bedrooms, under new rules imposed after a media report of a gang rape at one of the gatherings.

The student houses will also have to post a guard at the front door and ban pre-mixed drinks, according to the safety regulations the university announced on Tuesday.

At least one of the sober monitors will have to be posted on the staircase leading to bedrooms and have access to every room in the house, the university said.

UVA banned all social events at fraternities and sororities after Rolling Stone magazine published an article in November detailing an alleged rape at a party in September 2012, and accusations that the university failed to respond.

Rolling Stone later said there were editorial mistakes in its story and asked Columbia University’s journalism school to review the coverage.

UVA President Teresa Sullivan said the ban would be lifted, as long as the organizations signed onto the new regulations meant to guard against excessive drinking and the risk of sexual violence.

“I believe the new safety measures recommended by the student leaders in the Greek community (the fraternities and sororities) will help provide a safer environment for their members and guests,” Sullivan said.

* * * *

Pay transparency.

That’s one of the positive aspects of the recent Sony hack.

Charlize Theron had to negotiate to get paid as much as her male co-star

Leaked documents showed that Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence were getting a smaller cut of the profits than their male costars for appearing in American Hustle. And that has led movie studios to take a hard look at how they compensate women.

So when Charlize Theron signed on to film a sequel to the 2012 blockbuster Snow White and the Huntsman, she apparently wouldn’t settle until she got what she was worth. According to Page Six, she insisted she be paid as much as costar, Chris Hemsworth, and her persistence paid off. She’ll reportedly be making more than $10 million – just as much as Thor himself.

* * * *

Take a good look at this picture:

Now look at this one:

The first image was taken at a Charlie Hebdo photo-op of various world leaders and you’ll notice the presence of several female heads of state.  The second image however? An ultra-orthodox Jewish newspaper photoshopped the female leaders out of the image.

[Th]e march was to express solidarity between nations and included leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, and Anne Hidalgo, the current Mayor of Paris, among a majority of male leaders from around the world. Later in the day all the world leaders posed for a picture together.

But you wouldn’t know that any women were in attendance according to an ultra-Orthodox Jewish newspaper, The Announcer, which removed the ladies from the photo and ran the shopped picture on the front page of the publication.

Feminist Link Round Up 1.14.15

Feminist Link Round Up 12.25.14

This is ‘artistic rape’, terrorism

So said pop artist Madonna following leaked demos of her new album.

After tracks purportedly from an unreleased thirteenth studio album leaked to the internet, Madonna took to Instagram to decry her treatment as “artistic rape.”

“These are early leaked demo’s half of which wont even make it on my album the other half have changed and evolved [sic]. This is a form of terrorism,” the “Like a Prayer” singer wrote in a caption on Instagram. (Update: On Wednesday afternoon, the singer deleted the post.) In another caption, Madonna wrote “Thank you for not listening! Thank you for your loyalty!”

Diminishing the severity of rape by comparing it to the theft and online leaking of an artists album? That’s Rape Culture.  Rape is one thing: non-consensual sex.

* * * *

 Female MIT Computer Scientists host Reddit AMA session

Needless to say, many of the responses demonstrated the necessity of feminism.

As computer science PhD students, we were interested in fielding questions about programming, academia, MIT CSAIL, and how we got interested in the subject in the first place. As three of the few women in our department and as supporters of women pursuing STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics], we also wanted to let people know that we were interested in answering questions about what it is like to be women in a male-dominated field. We decided to actively highlight the fact that we were three female computer scientists doing an AMA, to serve as role models in a field that’s less than 20 percent female.

As it turned out, people were extremely interested in our AMA, though some not for the reasons we expected. Within an hour, the thread had rocketed to the Reddit front page, with hundreds of thousands of pageviews and more than 4,700 comments. But to our surprise, the most common questions were about why our gender was relevant at all. Some people wondered why we did not simply present ourselves as “computer scientists.” Others questioned if calling attention to gender perpetuated sexism. Yet others felt that we were taking advantage of the fact that we were women to get more attention for our AMA.

The interactions in the AMA itself showed that gender does still matter. Many of the comments and questions illustrated how women are often treated in male-dominated STEM fields. Commenters interacted with us in a way they would not have interacted with men, asking us about our bra sizes, how often we “copy male classmates’ answers,” and even demanding we show our contributions “or GTFO [Get The **** Out]”. One redditor helpfully called out the double standard, saying, “Don’t worry guys – when the male dog groomer did his AMA (where he specifically identified as male), there were also dozens of comments asking why his sex mattered. Oh no, wait, there weren’t.”

As for the question of whether we brought this treatment upon ourselves by mentioning our two X chromosomes, it is well known people give women on the internet a hard time whether they call attention to their gender or not. And as one redditor says, “Gender neutrality and a push for equal rights is prevalent precisely because men and women have fought for it to become a topic of discussion.”

The dynamics of our AMA reflects gender issues that lead to disparities in who chooses to pursue careers in STEM fields. People treat girls and boys differently from an early age, giving them different feedback and expectations. There is strong evidence that American culture discourages even girls who demonstrate exceptional talent from pursuing STEM disciplines. For those few young women who continue to study science or engineering in college, there is still a good chance that they will leave afterward. There has recently been much discussion about how tech culture causes women to leave “in droves;” the “leaky pipeline” phenomenon of females choosing to stop pursuing careers in STEM is a well-known problem.

* * * *

 President Obama strikes a blow against gendered toys (Video)

“You know what? I just want to make sure some girls play some ball,” President Obama said as he knocked out the idea of gendered toys at the annual Toys for Tots volunteer event in early December.

In her opening speech, Michelle Obama welcomed her husband and promised to “break him in slowly” on his first visit. The president got right to work as he sorted toys into separate bins for boys and girls at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C. A basketball, tool kit and tee ball game went straight into the girl bins as families looked on.

“I’m just trying to break down these gender stereotypes,” he said.

Ooh, palpable hit. With the power and privilege the President has, he ought to help shatter gender stereotypes more often.  Here’s the video:

* * * *

 Brave Iranian woman defies Iran’s ban on dancing in public

Posted earlier this week on the Facebook page My Stealthy Freedom, the grainy video shows a young Iranian woman dancing like Taylor Swift at an awards show to a song by the British pop group Little Mix in the middle of a subway car.

In any other context, this energetic display would be of little note. But this dancing is political: It’s an act of protest against Iran’s strict laws prohibiting dancing in public. Not only does she dance in public, but she continues to do so even after her hijab slips from her head. The woman therefore ends up breaking two Iranian laws, one against dancing in public and the other against appearing in public without her head covering. 

My Stealthy Freedom is run by Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad, who spoke to the Independent about the video as well as the growing cultural war in Iran. “Every day in Iran there is a cultural war between the Iranian government and young people. … If you live as a free person in Iran you are living as a criminal every day.”

“Facebook and social media is showing a hidden face of Iran that is never seen in the media,” Alinejad, who lives in the United States, continued. “It allows Iranian people who have never had a voice or a chance to speak to form their own media.”

Alinejad — a well-known activist — said she was initially reluctant to post the video in light of the recent punishment of the six Iranian youths who made a video dancing to Pharrell’s “Happy” this past spring. In September they were each sentenced to six months in jail and 91 lashes. Alinejad told the Independentshe published the video on Facebook because the young woman’s face was blurred, making her unrecognizable in a court of law.

* * * *

 Let’s talk about female masturbation

A competition in Sweden has renewed debate over what is still one of the most stigmatized subjects of modern sexuality: female masturbation.

The competition is centered on declaring a new name for female masturbation, and the winner will be selected from over 1,000 entries in June 2015. While the competition represents a step in the right direction toward legitimizing this healthy sexual act that remains taboo for women, its mere existence underscores a universal insecurity surrounding the issue.

Research backs this up: Some people believe it’s actually impossible for women to masturbate, while others think it happens too infrequently to warrant any discussion. Meanwhile, a survey of 20,000 people conducted by the Australian Study of Health and Relationships shows that most women refrain from masturbating, arguably largely due to embarrassment and discomfort caused by the stigma around it.

“Less than half of all women aged between 16 and 69 said they had masturbated in the past year, and for girls aged between 16 and 19 the figure falls to 30%,” the Brisbane Times reported. “By contrast, a resounding … 76% men engaged in self-pleasuring.”

Here’s the point:Women need to get over ourselves when it comes to getting off.

Which is why the Swedish competition is such good news — naming the act gives it credibility. “When it comes to masturbation,” Kristina Ljungros, spokeswoman for Swedish Association for Sexuality Education, said, “People mostly think about just men doing it, and we don’t think of it as common for women. If we don’t have a word in the language, how can we even talk about it?”

Some would argue the existing stigma can be traced back men’s desire to control women’s sexuality. Masturbation inherently removes men from women’s lives, making women independent in a way that still makes society uncomfortable. Even A-list women celebrities are castigated for too outwardly displaying sexuality — as recently as last year, Miley Cyrus and Beyoncé were criticized for the odes to female masturbation they conveyed in “Adore You” and “Rocket,” respectively.

But while female sexuality is threatening to men because it is seen as aggressive, female masturbation is doubly threatening because masturbation is seen as an act only men do. Furthermore, masturbation is evidence that women do not need men for sexual pleasure — not surprising when statistics prove that women only climax 64% of the time during heterosexual, vaginal sex.

“Stigma around female masturbation is part of a longer legacy of stigma against displays of autonomous female sexuality,” Amber Jamilla Musser, assistant professor of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, told Mic.

Culture has long declared women should only exhibit passive, responsive desires when it comes to sex. Early psychiatrists turned this into a medical truth by labeling female sexuality, and masturbation in particular, as a psychological disease most clearly with “female hysteria.” These psychiatrists, Musser said, “hinted at independence from men and the potential participation in a sexual underworld of lesbianism, masturbation and miscegenation.”

Reading the above and knowing there are pissants who don’t accept that Patriarchy is a thing…argh!

Feminist Link Round Up 12.25.14

3 more women come forward with accusations against Bill Cosby

At last count 23 women had stepped forward and accused comedian Bill Cosby of drugging, sexually assaulting, or raping them. That number has risen by three more. In an article at Vanity Fair, former supermodel Beverly Johnson revealed that Cosby drugged her in the 80s:

Looking back, that first invite from Cosby to his home seems like part of a perfectly laid out plan, a way to make me feel secure with him at all times. It worked like a charm. Cosby suggested I come back to his house a few days later to read for the part. I agreed, and one late afternoon the following week I returned. His staff served a light dinner and Bill and I talked more about my plans for the future.

After the meal, we walked upstairs to a huge living area of his home that featured a massive bar. A huge brass espresso contraption took up half the counter. At the time, it seemed rare for someone to have such a machine in his home for personal use.

Cosby said he wanted to see how I handled various scenes, so he suggested that I pretend to be drunk. (When did a pregnant woman ever appear drunk on The Cosby Show? Probably never, but I went with it.)

As I readied myself to be the best drunk I could be, he offered me a cappuccino from the espresso machine. I told him I didn’t drink coffee that late in the afternoon because it made getting to sleep at night more difficult. He wouldn’t let it go. He insisted that his espresso machine was the best model on the market and promised I’d never tasted a cappuccino quite like this one.

It’s nuts, I know, but it felt oddly inappropriate arguing with Bill Cosby so I took a few sips of the coffee just to appease him.

Now let me explain this: I was a top model during the 70s, a period when drugs flowed at parties and photo shoots like bottled water at a health spa. I’d had my fun and experimented with my fair share of mood enhancers. I knew by the second sip of the drink Cosby had given me that I’d been drugged—and drugged good.

[Editor’s Note: Cosby’s attorneys did not respond to Vanity Fair’s requests for comment.]

My head became woozy, my speech became slurred, and the room began to spin nonstop. Cosby motioned for me to come over to him as though we were really about to act out the scene. He put his hands around my waist, and I managed to put my hand on his shoulder in order to steady myself.

As I felt my body go completely limp, my brain switched into automatic-survival mode. That meant making sure Cosby understood that I knew exactly what was happening at that very moment.

“You are a motherfucker aren’t you?”

That’s the exact question I yelled at him as he stood there holding me, expecting me to bend to his will. I rapidly called him several more “motherfuckers.” By the fifth, I could tell that I was really pissing him off. At one point he dropped his hands from my waist and just stood there looking at me like I’d lost my mind.

What happened next is somewhat cloudy for me because the drug was in fuller play by that time. I recall his seething anger at my tirade and then him grabbing me by my left arm hard and yanking all 110 pounds of me down a bunch of stairs as my high heels clicked and clacked on every step. I feared my neck was going to break with the force he was using to pull me down those stairs.

It was still late afternoon and the sun hadn’t completely gone down yet. When we reached the front door, he pulled me outside of the brownstone and then, with his hand still tightly clenched around my arm, stood in the middle of the street waving down taxis.

When one stopped, Cosby opened the door, shoved me into it and slammed the door behind me without ever saying a word. I somehow managed to tell the driver my address and before blacking out, I looked at the cabbie and asked, as if he knew: “Did I really just call Bill Cosby ‘a motherfucker’?”

Why that was even a concern of mine after what I’d just been through is still a mystery to me? I think my mind refused to process it.

The next day I woke up in my own bed after falling into a deep sleep that lasted most of the day. I had no memory of how I got into my apartment or into my bed, though most likely my doorman helped me out.

I sat in there still stunned by what happened the night before, confused and devastated by the idea that someone I admired so much had tried to take advantage of me, and used drugs to do so. Had I done something to encourage his actions?

In reality, I knew I’d done nothing to encourage Cosby but my mind kept turning with question after question.

It took a few days for the drug to completely wear off and soon I had to get back to work. I headed to California for an acting audition. Not long after arriving, I decided I needed to confront Cosby for my own sanity’s sake. I thought if I just called him, he would come clean and explain why he’d done what he had.

I dialed the private number he’d given me expecting to hear his voice on the other end. But he didn’t answer. His wife did. A little shocked, I quickly identified myself to her in the most respectful way possible and then asked to speak to Bill. Camille politely informed me that it was very late, 11:00 P.M. and that they were both in bed together.

I apologized for the late call and explained that I was in Los Angeles and had forgotten about the three-hour time difference. I added that I would call back tomorrow.

I didn’t call back the next day or any other day after that. At a certain moment it became clear that I would be fighting a losing battle with a powerful man so callous he not only drugged me, but he also gave me the number to the bedroom he shared with his wife. How could I fight someone that boldly arrogant and out of touch? In the end, just like the other women, I had too much to lose to go after Bill Cosby. I had a career that would no doubt take a huge hit if I went public with my story and I certainly couldn’t afford that after my costly divorce and on going court fees.

For a long time I thought it was something that only happened to me, and that I was somehow responsible. So I kept my secret to myself, believing this truth needed to remain in the darkness. But the last four weeks have changed everything, as so many women have shared similar stories, of which the press have belatedly taken heed.

Then there’s Chloe Goins:

One woman in particular who will sit down with LAPD is Chloe Goins. The 24-year-old model recently claimed that Cosby, now 77, spiked her drink and attacked her back in 2008 at the Playboy Mansion.

“I have had lengthy communications with the Los Angeles Police Department and there is now a definitive open investigation which is ongoing for, it’s my understanding, not only with Chloe’s case but other unnamed victims who have yet to be revealed publicly,” Mr. Kuvin added. “They want to get all their information first before sitting down and having an interview with Chloe about her incident. This is scheduled to happen early in the new year.”

Another woman, by the name of Lisa, has also come forward:

In an exclusive interview with Dr. Phil, Lisa speaks out for the first time about her alleged experience as a 21-year-old aspiring model when she says Cosby offered to help her career. She joins more than 20 women who have come forward in the media claiming that the legendary actor drugged and/or sexually assaulted them years ago.

“I was very excited to go and see him. I was star struck. I felt invincible. I couldn’t believe that he wanted to see me,” Lisa tells Dr. Phil. “I got to the hotel, he was a gentlemen and he was respectful and kind. And he seemed very interested in me, and that made me feel very secure in seeing him again … My mother trusted Bill completely.”

But Lisa claims he ended up betraying that trust during a mentoring session in his hotel suite.

 […]

“He made a second drink and had me drink the second drink as well,” she recalls. “I noticed myself getting a little dizzy. Bill had sat down on the edge of the couch. He said, ‘Come over here and have a seat.’ And he had his legs open and when I sat down, I was sitting down in between his legs with my back to his crotch. And he started to stroke my hair back in a petting motion like this. The last thing I remember is just feeling the strokes on my head. After that, I don’t remember anything else.”

Dr. Phil asks, “Do you know if he molested you in some way, do you know, you don’t really know what did happen?”

“No,” responds Lisa, who says she is coming forward after Janice Dickinson’s allegations against Cosby made Lisa concerned for what may have happened to her.

Cosby has remained largely silent in the face of these allegations, apparently at the behest of his lawyers. He did speak up recently with some advice for black media:

Bill Cosby broke his silence Friday, albeit briefly, to lecture the media on remaining “neutral” and to say that his wife is standing by him.

Reached at his Massachusetts home, the star declined to address the rape and sex abuse allegations from an ever-growing list of women that now includes supermodel Beverly Johnson.

Instead, Cosby, 77, said that the African-American media — for which this reporter often writes — should be impartial.

“Let me say this. I only expect the black media to uphold the standards of excellence in journalism and when you do that you have to go in with a neutral mind,” Cosby said.

Two thoughts:

1- A ‘neutral mind’? In the articles I’ve read about the ever-mounting allegations, I haven’t seen the media taking sides. I’ve seen them interviewing the women who have stepped forward with these claims. I guess in Cosby’s eyes, the mere fact that the media is reporting on the subject somehow shows a bias against him.  That’s not true in the slightest.  His call for black media to have a neutral mind sounds to me like someone who wants to silence the women who have bravely stepped forward.

2- In the wake of these allegations, Cosby has been pressed by the media, but aside from his lawyers dismissing the accusations as preposterous, he’s said nothing of substance. He hasn’t personally refuted these women, and even if he did, his word shouldn’t (and in my eyes doesn’t) outweigh even one of these women, let alone 24 of them.  I suspect he’s gambling on the affection the black community has for him, hoping that the love of Cliff Huxtable…the love of the guy who created Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids…the love of the guy who criticizes black men for wearing their pants “down around the crack”…all that love is enough for people to dismiss the charges against him.  Can’t speak for anyone else, but that’s not the case for me.  It doesn’t matter what accomplishments he has. It doesn’t matter how popular he is. It doesn’t matter how beloved he is. At the end of the day this is a question of whether or not to believe the accusations against him.  Me, I believe them.

3 more women come forward with accusations against Bill Cosby