Patriarchal Dads On Dating – Disgusting

Straight out of the creepy files, dads are viewing their daughters as their own property — property which can be defended like some backward “stand your ground” law. The following exhibits were all found at Etsy.

10 Rules For Dating My Daughter includes references to threats of violence & legal prosecution. “Get the 411 Before You Need 911.”

10 Rules For Dating My Daughter

Naturally, this whole “Dads Against Daughters Dating” or “D.A.D.D.” thing appeals to the gun-toting crowd. “Shoot the first one and the word will spread” is another variation.

Dads Against Daughters Dating guns

This version makes it clear that only the pretty daughters will be “protected”.

Guns Don't Kill People Dads With Pretty Daughters Kill People

Oh, and be sure to dress your daughter up with the warning — in a shoulder-baring tee.

Rules For Dating My Daughter Off Shoulder Slouchy

Likely these protective fathers have spent too much time at these “dating sites” and assume all boys are as bad as they were.

I’m also insulted for our sons. Not all of them are predators, worthy of violent disposal at the mere idea of offending some twisted notion of “protective paternity.” Nor are boys completely free of hurt from girls either.

Why Jezebel Has The Wrong Approach To Feminism, Period.

Unfortunately, we Mary Tyler Moore city gals present a real conundrum for the writers Jezebel, since we are mostly living out uneventful and drama-free lives as non-raped women who buy birth control and have jobs and get abortions as we please. There aren’t enough actual stories in the metro area to warrant running a frivolous, highly trafficked blog that pulls in ad revenue from outraged feminists. And so, they manufacture them.

Deanna Dahlsad‘s insight:

Takes ovaries to take on the pandering pop culture phenom that is Jezebel; a round of applause is given by me.

See on

Grassroots 1960s Push Reformed Women’s Health Care


The women’s health movement of the 1960s and 1970s transformed the doctor-patient relationship and yielded the novel concept that women can take control of their own health, says Laurie Edwards in this excerpt from “In the Kingdom of the Sick.”…


For women, this change started with the radical notion that they had a right to know about their own bodies, had a right to control their own health care and belonged in medical schools where they could fully participate in the very health care decisions that have such significance in their lives. The grassroots women’s health activism that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s was fostered by an equally diverse group of advocates, among them middle-class white women, middle- and working-class African Americans, lesbians and heterosexuals.


Deanna Dahlsad‘s insight:

Remember that scene in Mad Men, where Betty’s doctor calls Don & talks to him about Betty as if she were the child? This is how we got away from that.


“Feminism challenged social practices in the doctor’s office and recast relationships between compliant patient and infallible physician as part of the larger process to keep women down.”


But we must also look at this history and see how we are moving backwards in America;  this is also a dire warning about where we are headed.


“The landmark court case Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in 1973 by finding that preventing a woman’s right to end her pregnancy violated her due process, was a pivotal piece of legislation in terms of reproductive rights, women’s health and women’s ability to make decisions regarding their bodies. ”

See on

Image: Nicole Marie Edine on Flickr.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren: Reproductive rights isn’t just a women’s issue

Republican’s attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act is part of their assault on reproductive rights, according to Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).


Speaking at Planned Parenthood’s Organizing and Policy Summit this month, Warren said access to health care and family planning services was not just a women’s issue.


“Certainly it is a women’s issue, but it’s a family issue,” she explained. “It effects everyone in the family. We have healthier families because of the things we fight for here at Planned Parenthood.”


See on

Don’t Tell Me I Give Feminism A Bad Name

In her post, Phony Feminists and Super Bowl Commercials, Karen Townsend says that the “outdated, outmoded, out of touch [with the] feminist movement” females who’ve “loudly bellowed” in a “snit” that CBS — a network which has blocked other advocacy groups from such an opportunity — would give a radically anti-choice group like Focus on the Family a platform to expose its extreme agenda to millions of people have “hijacked a perfectly good movement have brought shame to those of us who are feminists.”

They have given the term a bad name.

What was the snit about? CBS allowed the showing of a message ad, not allowed before in Super Bowl time. The message? A pro-life testamony given by the mother of widely known college quarterback, Tim Tebow. The silliness of the brouhaha was evident, once the audience actually saw the commercials. Not only were they so benign that if you were not paying attention you may not have realized what the message was-

I hate to interrupt Townsend, but as this is writing, not speaking, and it’s easier to read if I respond to points as they occur, I will interject. Spelling errors aside (it’s “testimony,” not “testamony”), it’s not wise to label something as a “brouhaha” or “benign” when your evidence is that the message isn’t discernible to those who are not paying attention; “not realized” is the definition of not paying attention, and inattentiveness is quite often a danger to one’s health. The only “silliness” here is that her last statement completely refutes the former statement.

Townsend continues:

…now they are complaining that one of the ads promotes violence against women. Why? Because in one of the ads – they were run in a bit of a story line – Tebow appears to tackle his mother and then she bounces right back up. Obviously done in a campy kind of humor, the loud in the feminist movement have been reduced to whining over a non-act. There was nothing to their concern over a pro-life message ad, so they had to do something to attempt to save face.

They are shameful and not at all effective.

Personally, as a subscriber to several “feminist” and/or pro-life newsletters, I didn’t read any such commentary regarding the campy tackle violence. And Townsend didn’t link to any such statements, let alone from any organizations. (I’m sure I could Google for such things — but then this conversation would veer off-course.) But I can tell you that personally, my ire over the ad aside, I am a feminist with a sense of humor who did see the mother-son tackle as “campy.” And I’m a survivor of domestic violence and other violent acts directed at me because I am a woman. Many feminists have a sense of humor. Even about “touchy” issues.

Townsend says those of us who were offended by the ad — or, more specifically, the hate group which sponsored the ad being allowed to spew its tainted philosophy while other groups are not allowed to use the network’s time and powerful audicne pull for their messages — are “shameful and not at all effective.” That’s a two-pronged argument; with neither prong supported.

To stand up for what we believe in, to point out unethical practices — especially those which will limit our message, is not shameful. (The misogynistic, unhealthy, fear-based, hate-filled, discriminatory, and down-right mean “focus on the family” that the Focus on the Family organization has is what is shameful. That organization is unmistakably not only anti-choice, but anti-birth-control and anti-sex-education, as well as anti-gay.)

Since Townsend did not define what “effectiveness” would be, it’s difficult to debate her. Obviously the campaign to motivate CBS to reject the commercial was unsuccessful. But such a “brouhaha” has also helped expose the lies in the ad. And overall the “loud bellowing” has done what Palin et all do for the far right: motivated the base. Hardly ineffective.

Townsend continues:

Sad, really. Many women who have come before all of us worked very hard to make the lives of us better today. We stand on their shoulders. These women make a mockery out of serious women everywhere.

Despite my early mention of a sense of humor, I am indeed a serious woman. A woman, even a feminist, can possess both traits.

And I thank the women and men who came before me, working to ensure that both myself and Townsend would have the right to be heard, among other things.

Unlike Townsend, I believe in a woman’s fundamental right to control her own body. I also believe in a woman’s fundamental right to control her own soul. So if, in the act of controlling her own body, she uses birth control or aborts a fetus or otherwise exercises a legal right which is revealed in some afterlife to have been a sin against a god, I trust her to handle that too.

I would just agree to disagree, but how can Townsend or anyone else say that feminists such as myself “have given the term a bad name” when they themselves seek to limit the rights, the equality, of women?

Seeking prohibition on female autonomy, free will, and health is not “feminism.”

Townsend finishes her post with this parting shot which exposes her ignorance of the actual issue at hand:

Hey, did I miss all the outrage by the loud over the Go-Daddy commercials? Now, those are demeaning to women.

The point of our “snit” was not the demeaning sexual message, or even the message of anti-choice; it was the unethical practices of CBS. First to allow such advocacy on the network when other ads from other organizations with a different point of view or agenda are not allowed. Second to allow false advertising.

Such unethical practices should offend everyone, especially those in a capitalistic society, where the free hand of the market is supposed to dictate fair play; if an organization has the funds for the ad, they ought to be able to buy it. Or, if the network’s policy is slanted or assists a specific agenda, it out to be stated clearly so that the consumer can make a clear choice about consumption — surely that’s one choice you can agree to.

Related video (or read Davis Fleetwood’s response to the Tim Tebow SuperBowl Ad):

Stand with the National Equality March in October

From my NOW newsletter…

No woman will have full equality until all women have full equality, and we must seize every opportunity to ensure equal rights under the law for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The National Organization for Women has proudly endorsed the National Equality March taking place in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 11, 2009. Read the official statement of NOW President Terry O’Neill here.

March for Equality! Join activists on Facebook
take action

After taking action, please support our work!

Here are three ways you can stand with the National Equality March this October:

1. Ask your chapter to endorse the National Equality March.

2. If you can make it to Washington, bring your NOW rounds, put on a NOW National Equality March T-shirt and join the NOW delegation in the march. Grassroots activists from chapters around the country are meeting in Farragut Square park at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday. Please gather at the corner of 17th and K (northeast portion of the park).

If you have questions, Pacific Shore NOW President Zoe Nicholson is serving as NOW National Equality March Lead and can be reached through this Facebook group for NOW activists.

Follow this link for travel tips from Equality Across America.

3. If you can’t make it to Washington, consider organizing a solidarity event in your community. Be sure to link it to the March for Equality NOW Facebook group.

take action and then donate

Men Who Get It — And Do Something About It (#2)

men-can-stop-rape-incContinuing my support of men who “get it,”, today I salute Men Can Stop Rape, Inc. (MCSR), an international organization that mobilizes men to use their strength for creating cultures free from violence, especially men’s violence against women.

MCSR provides agencies, schools, and organizations with direct services for youth, public service messaging, and leadership training.

Our Mission
To mobilize men to use their strength for creating cultures free from violence, especially men’s violence against women.

Our Vision
To institutionalize primary prevention of men’s violence against women through sustained initiatives that generate positive, measurable outcomes in populations throughout the world.

A World Leader
Since its inception in 1997, MCSR has led the call to redefine masculinity and male strength as part of preventing men’s violence against women. In 2007, MCSR was named the United States Changemakers winner in the competition to identify the world’s most innovative domestic violence prevention programs, sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

A Comprehensive Approach
In contrast to traditional efforts that address men as “the problem,” MCSR’s pioneering Strength Campaign embraces men as vital allies with the will and character to make healthy choices and foster safe, equitable relationships. Our youth development programming, public education messaging, and leadership training together constitute a unified and comprehensive campaign that has been launched in states and cities around the country.

Give MCSR your fingers — not the finger! Help Men Can Stop Rape with their upcoming mailing:

DATE: Wed, August 5

TIME: 5:00 – 8:00

Ste 200

MORE: MCSR needs your help for our upcoming mailing! We’ll provide dinner, you provide your invaluable stamp-sticking, envelope-stuffing skills. Please RSVP (email cporter-borden (at) if you can attend. We greatly appreciate your help!

For more information, visit the MCSR website, or contact them directly:

Men Can Stop Rape, Inc. (MCSR)
1003 K Street, NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202.265.6530
Fax: 202.265.4362

The Corrected Word

I was understandably distraught when I read Christina Hoff Sommers’ Persistent Myths in Feminist Scholarship, in which she finds fault in Berkeley law prof Nancy Lemon & her widely used textbook, Domestic Violence Law, saying:

False assertions, hyperbole, and crying wolf undermine the credibility and effectiveness of feminism. The United States, and the world, would greatly benefit from an intellectually responsible, reality-based women’s movement.

I’ve not read Lemon’s book, but naturally I agree — false statements are not good & undermine the very causes I hold dear.

But so do false accusations about such work, and Sommers isn’t as pure as any ethical now in my book — she’s got an agenda. OK, so maybe we all do — but hers is not exactly pro-female. Sommers is (white hetero male) conservative and she’s well-connected, meaning her false assertions, hyperbole, and crying wolf greatly undermines the credibility and effectiveness of feminism because her voice is deemed worthy & given lots of media push.

This weakens Lemon’s book and therefore weakens educational & societal concern over the validity of domestic violence, diminishing the issue of violence towards women, and, because Lemon is a woman (and I gather a self-proclaimed feminist), such attacks by Sommers discredit Lemon and female authors (at least those who identify as feminist and aren’t conservative foundation teat-suckers & ass-kissers of the patriarchy), turning the “conversation” in general into a feminist bashing event.

All very horrendous & vomitous indeed.

But thankfully, Tenured Radical rides to the rescue.

Just go read it — now! — and see how deeply sucking (figuratively & literally) Sommers is — and how Tenured Radical gets to the truth of the very historical facts Sommers questions.

You may not feel “all is well,” but it’s good to know that others are in the battle.

I try to help by magnifying & spreading the corrected word.

Men Claim They Are Dumb Animals With No Ability To Control Their Violence

G, aka ToxicShockTaco, commented here about some stupid comments she’s read & frustrating conversations she’s had online which prompted her to write this blog post. Following her links, I found the usual victim blaming mentality which serves to excuse criminal acts; things which shouldn’t surprise me because they are so commonplace. But still, like G, I can’t help but feel compelled to say what I can in hopes that there’s a chance to educate.

Among “Jimbo’s Jems”:

So, I guess if a girl decided it would be cool to smear raw ground beef all over herself & walk inside a pen full of hungry lions, getting eaten alive wouldn’t be her fault either, eh?

Or, on a more plausible note, if she thought it would be cool to walk into an outlaw biker bar & strut around half naked, she wouldn’t be considered to hold one shred of responsibility for anything that happened to her there, either.


OK, don’t you love how he compares himself & men in general to a predatory beast? And how he thinks sex = food?

Yes, the sex drive is biological, like hunger; but they are neither equal in need nor imperative. And even when it comes to hunger, humans — even the male ones who joke about the 5 second rule for food on the floor, would consider the possible consequences of eating raw (or even cooked) meat they just stumbled upon.

If I were a man, I’d be insulted that you forfeit male ability to exercise self-control. As the mother of a son, I’m angry. How dare you say that penis or testosterone equals inability to control one’s self! As if being male limits a person to some sort of reptilian, reactionary response — of a violent nature yet!

Even the comparison to “outlaw bikers” is ridiculous.

First of all, the very word “outlaw” means criminal, so obviously, the matter of safety is an issue for anyone — and if he meant Outlaw with a capital “O”, well, I’m not sure that violence towards women is in the bylaws… And in either case, I don’t think I’d toss around that implication lightly. (Frankly, I suspect, Jimbo is just throwing around pejoratives, playing with fears &/or negative opinions of bikers; my personal experiences with bikers of any sort, including Outlaws with a capital “O,” have been nothing but respectful — in fact, they have been the first to back me up when a drunk jerk hasn’t backed-off when told to.)

Secondly, with regards to his questions/accusations that a woman “strutting around half-naked” in any sort of a bar believes herself free from the responsibility of the actions of others, let me help Jimbo out here. Such a woman may be risking legal actions such as “indecent,” “disorderly,” and “harassment” — not to mention just plain rude — depending upon what exactly “half-naked” is, what the location is (strippers, for example, are more than 1/2 naked and they are not allowed to be assaulted or raped), and other situational issues. But yeah, she’s not responsible for what other’s do.

Jimbo continues:

Because as we all know, a woman should be able to wear anything she damn well pleases with no thought to the possible consequences, and any consequences she may suffer, will never be considered to be even partially her responsibility, even though she engaged in behavior that expopsed her to risk to begin with.


No, of course not. A woman shouldn’t be outside wearing a bikini in temperatures 40 degrees below zero. A woman should not violate dress codes at the place of her employment. A woman should not wear clothing soaked in gasoline, even if she’s not standing next to a burning building. And there are countless other situations in which women should follow rules of safety & convention. But “scantily dressed” or even “nude” does not mean that she has put herself in the path of sexual danger — the criminals stalk her down on her path, regardless of how she is dressed.

In case you can’t see the difference between sexual assault & the to-be-expected dangers of my particular examples, let me make them clear for you. In the case of bikinis outside in winter, the elements are not controllable, so humans must dress for the weather or risk threats of exposure to the cold. In the case of employer dress codes, the employee has agreed to the dress codes and risks loss of job if they do not comply. In the case of wearing gasoline-soaked clothing, well, frankly, there’s no reason to wear it and it would be risking burns & death from a spark from anything anywhere along with other health issues — all immutable laws of science which can & should be avoided by not being an idiot. However, in the case of being “half-naked” or whatever, becoming a victim of sexual crimes is not dependent upon immutable laws of science or medicine or legal contracts — it is based upon the actions of another, something one has no control over, outside of societal agreements & norms (which criminals are willing to break, no matter how the victim is dressed or acts) or, after the fact, courtrooms.

In any other area of life, all people, both men & women, are considered responsible for their own safety & well being. If you have unprotected sex with strangers & get aids, it will be considered your fault for engaing in risky behavior. Drive without your seat belt & get injured in a wreck, even your insurance company will successfully argue in court that you share some of the responsibility for your injuries. But when it comes to fashion choices & how a gal presents herself in public, whether by dressing in skimpy, revealing clothes or posting sexually suggestive pictures of herself online, suddenly reponsibility goes out the window & it’s a ghastly social faux-pas to even hint that she may have brought something on herself by the choices she made.

OK, so my other examples should make most of this clear, but…

Are you, Jimbo, saying that if a woman is raped by a stranger who doesn’t use a condom & ends up with HIV or AIDS, that she is at fault? Maybe that’s not what you intended, but I’m pretty sure it’s implied there somewhere.

Even if it’s not, when a person consents to sex with anyone, stranger or not, condom use or not, this act of sex cannot be be compared with rape in any way because rape is by definition lacking consent, you freaking idiot!

Ditto the seatbelt. Use or non-use of a seatbelt is a matter of consent. And when a woman dresses skimpy, the only thing she is consenting to is being dressed skimpy. She is not consenting to sex. In fact, the question hasn’t even come up yet.

Assaults, rape and other sex crimes are without consent. Which means she said “No” or was unable to say “Yes” by virtue of physical or mental state, and what she had on or off is absolutely meaningless. At this point of “no” or inability to give consent, any action or continuation is solely the act & responsibility of the rapist/attacker/criminal.

He is the perpetrator, she the victim; and he carries all the blame. Period.

So yes, it is “a ghastly social faux-pas to even hint that she may have brought something on herself by the choices she made,” you misogynistic twit.

Furthermore, when talking about rape, do not condescendingly refer to females as “gals.”

Of course stalking or raping a woman is criminal & morally wrong. But that doesn’t mean that it’s just perfectly OK for women to exacerbate their chances by making themselves a target.

How do we, exactly, “exacerbate our chances” of making ourselves targets of crimes which are perpetuated by criminals who hate women? That is the million dollar question. But this has nothing to do with, as you ignorantly believe & argue, the dress, talk or actions of women/potential victims, attractive or not. Simply by opting to remain ignorant (because you refuse to read the actual information, studies &/or statistics), you show no concern for the realities and safety of women and are exposing yourself as a danger to women.

More from Jimbo:

I don’t think most women really understand what the sight of an attractive, nearly naked female does to a man with an active libido. Most men can control themselves, but some just can’t. And those guys have eyes, too.

This is the belief system which exposes you as a man afraid of women. You believe women have “power over men,” rendering men, if they are not already unable to control themselves, powerless to T&A. I guess in your fear of the big bad women, you see on the horizon nothing but a future of weakness, pity & self-loathing for you & your gender and so you think men have the right to take what they want to ward this off. But, Jimbo, that’s not a man.

In another comment, Jimbo wraps up his philosophy:

You make it sound like I’m somehow excusing the act of rape, when I’m not. But I will state categorically, any woman who goes out to nightclubs by herself or even with another girl or group of girls, dressed in an ultra short, tight-fitting skirt with a plunging neckline showing off a lot of cleavage & wearing what Amy Winehouse referred to in song as “Fuck Me Pumps”, then spends the evening hanging out & flirting with strange men, is putting herself in a dangerous situation. And if something bad happens to her, while it might not be technically “her fault”, SHE BEARS A PORTION OF THE RESPONSIBILITY for doing all the things that put her in that situation.

So let me recap too.

By removing any of the responsibility from the person who committed the crime, you are excusing the perpetrator of that crime.

By placing any percentage of the responsibility, no matter how small, on the part of the victim, you are blaming the victim.

Here’s the math, Jimbo: The person who commits rape is 100% responsible.

Of course, I’m aware that Jimbo, if he reads this or G’s post, will just sneer. He’ll likely dismiss this post with his usual rhetoric, “It’s a total lack of a sense of humor & an air of deathly self-seriousness that all feminists seem to have in common.” Or maybe he’ll just call me a “fat old hag” — because that’s the other usual attack. *yawn* (Even if I was, it wouldn’t make me any less right, pinheads.)

But maybe, just maybe, we can reach a few more enlightened folks who at least want to believe that males can & should control themselves & their predatory instincts.

Whether they do or not, they are 100% responsible for their actions.

We’re Sick, Sick, Sick Of Violence & Hatred Towards Women

The following was written by Tenured Radical after the May 2009 campus shooting at Wesleyan, but it sums up so much for me and others (some of which wonder if the US flag flies for women too) that I had to share it:

But can I say one thing? I am sad, but I am also angry. I am sick, sick, sick of men beating, brutalizing and killing women and children, of boys brutalizing their girlfriends, of fathers raping and killing their wives and daughters. All these years after second wave feminists first raised this as a fundamental problem in our culture during the 1970s, the media, the police and our judicial system still treats each of these things like an isolated incident of individual pathology. And there seems to be no organized feminist movement left to insist, in contradiction to this vapid construction, that the hatred of women by men is a systemic cultural and political problem in the United States. I am sick of men who think they acquire ownership rights to women because they fall in “love” with them, men who think that “love” entitles them to do whatever the hell they please to keep women under their control so they can “love” them even more. I am tired right now and have nothing eloquent or intelligent to say on the topic, but if this short rant feeds your feminist outrage too, go to this post by Historiann about the Loyola University tragedy, where Daddy decided that his life wasn’t worth living and then imagined that the rest of the family would be better off dead too, a not uncommon scenario. I end with a quote from Historiann’s post:

Just curious: how many women and children (especially girl children, as in this case–2 women and one girl were the victims here) have to die before someone notices? One woman is accused of a child murder out in California, and that’s all we hear about all day long. But husbands apparently have carte blanche when it comes to murdering the women and girls who lived in their homes?

What’s your guess, friends? (Are you holding your breath?) If 2,100 women and children are killed simultaneously on live television by their male partners and fathers, even if it’s not by jetliners crashing into buildings, do you think anyone will notice then?

Men Who Get It — And Do Something About It (#1)

I do a lot of talking here about the fact that men need to take responsibility for their personal roles in rape and violence against women — this includes making a loud vocal stand against such crimes & attitudes. So I figured it was about time to show some of the men who are doing such work.


To debut the series saluting men who care, the work of the White Ribbon Campaign, the largest effort in the world of men working to end violence against women (VAW):

In over fifty-five countries, campaigns are led by both men and women, even though the focus is on educating men and boys.

… Wearing a white ribbon is a personal pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls. Wearing a white ribbon is a way of saying, “Our future has no violence against women.”


We do not think that men are naturally violent and we don’t think that men are bad, however we do think all men have roles and responsibilities in ending violence against women. The majority of men are not physically violent. Researchers tell us many past cultures had little or no violence.

At the same time, we do think that some men have learned to express their anger or insecurity through violence. Far too many men have come to believe that violence against a woman, child or another man is an acceptable way to control another person, especially an intimate partner.

By remaining silent about these things, we allow other men to poison our work, schools and homes.

The good news is that more and more men and boys want to make a difference. Caring men are tired of the sexism that hurts the women around them. Caring men are also concerned with the impact of this violence on the lives of men and boys.

All images shown here are posters belonging to the White Ribbon organization; go get yourself some & spread the word while supporting the cause.

For more on the White Ribbon Campaign:

The White Ribbon Campaign
365 Bloor St. East, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4W 3L4
Phone: (416) 920-6684 | Toll Free: 1-800-328-2228 | Fax: (416) 920-1678
Email: info(at)whiteribbon(dot)ca
Charitable Registration 14105 0708 RR0001

You can also keep up with them at Twitter. (I am.)


Follow Up On Tough Love Rape Stance

If you’ve been living under a rock and somehow missed the slimy activities going on with Steve Ward and VH1’s Tough Love show…

It starts here, with Giving Steve Ward & VH1 Some Tough Love Of My Own, continues with More On Moron Steve Ward & The Rape Issue & Mommy, Make The Bad Man Stop, and, frustrated with all that, I then directed you to contact the producers etc.

I’ve been contacting them all, one by one, and thought you might be interested in my progress…

First I contacted Flower Films, the commercial film production company founded by Drew Barrymore & Nancy Juvonen which is a partner in Tough Love‘s production. If you thought for just one moment that being “woman owned” would make the company receptive to this issue of blaming women for rape you’d be dead wrong.

During a phone conversation last week, with a woman who refused to give her name, I was told that “all complaints/comments are to be posted to VH1’s blog.” When I explained that this had been done, but Ward was only continuing his misogynistic statements, I was told, “We read the blogs, we are aware.” I’ll admit, that set me back a bit, so I countered with a, “Don’t you wish to make a public statement to at least clarify Flower Films’ views — to separate them from those of Ward?” Her reply was to say that there would be “no statement on the subject” and I was dismissed.

Can you feel my hackles rise?


Next I contacted the other production partner in the making of the show, High Noon Entertainment “one of America’s largest creators of unscripted television.”

There I spoke with Paul Taylor, Executive In Charge Of Production, who began by plainly & dismissively informing me that they had “been in touch with their legal department and they were protected.” Because, you know, the litigious are all they ought to be worried about.

I countered by restating my concerns for the perpetuation of misogynistic rape mythology; he countered with, “Well, you know, VH1 is a controversial network…”

So profiting from dangerous myth-information is a-OK?

Ready to spew (both anger and vomit), I thought about High Noon Entertainment’s primary concern regarding legal action… They have a legal team & they know how to use it — which is not the case for victims of rape. That smug “been in touch with legal & we’re protected” line…

Well, if that was their line then I was going to jerk it.

So I told Mr. Taylor that next on my list was to inform those involved in the federal lawsuit regarding trademark infringement, trademark dilution and related claims against MTV Networks, Drew Barrymore’s Flower Films and High Noon Entertainment based on the unauthorized use of the trademark “Tough Love,” of which Toughlove America is the exclusive licensee. (See details here.) He interrupted, countering with noise about how unfounded the lawsuit was — so I interrupted right back with an, “Oh, given that the lawsuit expressly states a desire to collect damages for the harm being done to their brand by the show’s use of the name, I imagine that they’d be interested to know just how many of us are now associating the phrase “tough love” with blaming rape victims.”

Now I had more of Paul’s attention. He wasn’t quite conceding anything, mind you, but he was now actively asking questions, such as my name, my telephone number, and the name and location of this blog. (I cooperated fully — and I totally welcome any further contact, should it occur.)

Feeling that perhaps he had moved past the party-line deafness and that he might just hear me now, I reiterated my concerns about Ward’s statements especially in light of the interviews Ward has done. In the interviews since the show aired and we responded, he’s defending his beliefs, not budging an inch; antagonizing, not apologizing.

Either Taylor began to hear my concerns or he’s just really good at the old “neutralize a complainer by being a good listener” thing because we ended the call with Taylor informing me that he would share my concerns but, due to a staff wedding that week, I likely wouldn’t hear from anyone until this week.

Not that I’m holding my breath.

But I will call back, Mr. Taylor, to see just what High Noon Entertainment intends to do about this mess Steve Ward has gotten them into.

And when I do, I’ll share it with you. As I will all my contact with those involved with this issue.

Now I have to go puke. Again.

Enough Is Enough

Now that Steve Ward & VH1 have shown us their true colors, showing indifference to concerns of misogyny and perpetuating inaccurate information which could add to the danger of women and other victims of rape, we must take action.

Before I urged you to contact VH1 via their blog and Ward at his Match Makers website, and Marge has suggested emailing VH1 at; but as we’re not making enough of an impact with those methods…

Flower Films and High Noon Entertainment are partners with VH1 to produce VH1 Tough Love. High Noon Entertainment is one of America’s largest creators of unscripted television, and Flower Films is a commercial film production company founded by Drew Barrymore & Nancy Juvonen.

Here’s how you contact them:

Flower Films
7360 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90046
Phone: 323-876-7400
Fax: 323-876-7401

High Noon Entertainment
12233 W. Olympic Blvd
Ste 328
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Phone: 310-820-7500

Jeff Olde is the Executive Vice President in charge of Original Programming and Production at VH1.

VH1 Television
2600 Colorado Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Phn: 310-752-8000

VH1 Television
1515 Broadway
New York, NY 10036
Phone: 212-846-6000

Also, Toughlove(R) America, LLC filed a lawsuit in federal court in Los Angeles on March 4th for trademark infringement, trademark dilution and related claims against MTV Networks, Drew Barrymore’s Flower Films and High Noon Entertainment based on the defendants’ unauthorized use of the trademark “Tough Love,” of which Toughlove America is the exclusive licensee.

Igal J. Feibush, the company’s CEO said, “We believe that the actions of MTV/VH1 constitute a clear violation of our federal and state intellectual property rights. We have always vigilantly protected both our mark and the integrity of our proprietary program. With this lawsuit, we intend to stop VH1 from continuing to use our name and to collect damages for the harm being done to our brand by their use of it.” Toughlove America has stopped other media companies, including Sony Corporation and News Corporation, from using its trademark.

I’m sure they’d like to know that we think the show & it’s name are linked with misogyny and rape; that ought to raise damages.

Especially as Toughlove America has plans for its own show.

Matthew Lifschultz, Partner of Toughlove America, LLC

William J. Robinson and Miriam Claire Beezy, partners in the Los Angeles office of Foley & Lardner LLP, are representing Toughlove America, LLC in the action:

William J. Robinson

Miriam Claire Beezy

As you can see, I’m no longer messing around; I’m furious & I’m serious.

I am working on a list of VH1 advertisers too; any/all help is appreciated — as are all your letters, emails and calls of outrage.

PS Steve Ward is also, apparently, on Twitter: @stevenbward.

Mommy, Make The Bad Man Stop

Whatever benefit of the doubt I gave to Master Matchmaker and VH1 Tough Love “commander” Steve Ward has been taken away — by Ward himself.

In an interview with some nameless VH1 bot, Ward defends the indefensible:

You said that Arian is going to end getting raped if she continues her behavior.


You know it’s going to go down hill from there; he’s admitted that what he said wasn’t a mis-step, an ill-formed phrase, or something said quickly that “came out wrong.”

There was some talk around the Internet that your mindset was not unlike that of those who blame victims for being raped.

Well, that just goes to show how naive people are.

Wait, wait, wait; did Ward just call me naive?! I’m the one with the facts! He’s not merely “naive” or even “ignorant” — because we’ve told him, he’s got access to (at least) the same facts, experts and research as we do, yet he’s sticking with fiction. Dangerous fiction too yet.

I wasn’t blaming anybody for anything.

But, as you’ll soon see, Ward is doing just that.

I was explaining to her that there are risks to her behavior. She seems to feel that there are no consequences to her behavior. Like nothing bad can happen from her being as raunchy and as inappropriate as she was. And I was trying to explain to her that when you do things like that you put yourself in harm’s way. And there are men out there that because they are f***ed up in the head, for whatever reasons, they may take it as some sort of an invite, or that you really want it or this or that. I mean why would you sit there and rub a guy’s d*** under a table? You don’t know who he is or where he is from or what he is about. And you know what, a couple of beers later he may go try to rub you and you might not like it and he is not gonna stop. That’s all I was trying to point out them.

There are risks to her behavior — but not rape. The risks are that Arian is limiting herself, reducing her value to her looks, her body & sex. This is a pattern of behavior based on low self-esteem which will not bring her respectful relationships but continue with a parade of one-night-stands (who may be around for multiple nights, but are invested in her only as far as they are inserted in her). These are all fine issues to be discussed — and they certainly fit the context of the show and Ward’s (quickly diminishing In my eyes) expertise. However, everything else he discusses is the exact definition of blaming the victim.

This “if she, then he” line of thinking places the burden of responsibility for his (crappy) behavior upon her shoulders. He’s literally,”Hey, she asked for it.”

And I’ve got news for you; even when you are appropriate, “classy,” and “a good girl” — and even when he’s had no beers or alcohol whatsoever — he may try to rub you and you do not like it and he is not gonna stop. I know. Personally.

And that’s why there wasn’t backlash from the rest of the girls in the room, because they agreed with me.

Oh, so if everyone in the room agreed that you could fly, that would make it true?

The reason the women in the room agreed with you is because such bullshit thinking is so prevalent in our society — which is precisely why I continue to harp on this topic. I hope you all educate yourselves to the facts.

It’s time you, the women in the room, the VH1 producers, the Stepford Wives’ leaving comments in defense of your misogynist mythology, the asshats who like things the way they are, and, yes, the frightened & desperate who want to believe that such things won’t happen if they are “good” — you all need to be educated. You present a clear and present danger.

The reality, though, is that Arian wasn’t going to get raped in this situation. You’re there, cameras are there, producers are there. I wonder if there’s any suspicion that she might be playing up the salaciousness for the sake of the show.

No, I believe that she does this in her daily life. She is truly like that.

I too believe this is, more or less, Arians MO. But scaring her with lies & threatening her with violence is not the answer.

And she enjoys taking the risk and putting herself in that position. It is a very precarious situation. She doesn’t realize that there may be consequences. I’m not blaming the victim, but if the girl would act a little bit more appropriate, then I’m sure she wouldn’t be treated the way she is by men.

You are blaming the (in your eyes, potential) victim. If (desperately knocking wood!) Arian were to be raped, you’d be all, “I told you so!” and therefore not holding the rapist 100% accountable.

If she walked around like a classy woman and treated herself with respect, she would command respect and men would respect her.

I agree with you, she would command more respect — at least from non-violent, non-controlling, rapists.

With a personality like she has, why would anyone respect her? That was the point I was trying to make. She was trying to say that there were trust issues, and she doesn’t trust men. And of course, why should she trust men? Men don’t respect her.

True. But there’s a HUGE leap between men not respecting a woman, not wanting to “bring her home to mom,” and rape. I myself have not respected people who have not warranted respect — like you right now, Ward — but I’m not raping or assaulting any of them.

Honestly, Ward — and the rest of you at VH1 who refuse to correct the gross errors of your words and ways and continue to perpetuate myth-information, placing more women in danger — you make me feel violated.

And for every woman and man who feels that they must teach their daughters to “be good” so that the bad men won’t hurt them rather than addressing the issue of bad men, it’s another forced entry.

“Show mommy where the bad man touched you on this doll, honey.” I’m pointing all over, because that’s where it hurts.

And there’s no place on the doll for my soul.

You know what else? There are no, “And what did you do to the man to make him touch you,” or, “And what were you wearing,” or, “And what do you do for a living” questions when you show a child victim of rape or abuse the doll. Why not? Because it’s not ever the victim’s fault.

Ward, your statements perpetuate misogynistic mythology and generate the same sense of shame which victimizers, abusers, and rapists use to keep victims silent, docile, and in control.

You may not be raping women, Steve Ward, but you are adding to the exploitation of their shame and you are reducing the responsibility of rapists & perpetrators of abuse; things which punish victims and prevent them from receiving justice. And that just adds to the power of the rapists & abusers, creating more victims.

You, sir, are more of a threat to Arian than any “dangerous behaviors” she exhibited. You are a threat to me, to women every where.

UPDATE See how to take action: Enough Is Enough!

More On Moron Steve Ward & The Rape Issue

The conversation about Steve Ward’s stupidity is continuing — thank Gawd.

But all the talk brings up a few points I’d like to clarify.

1) I was really enjoying Tough Love up to this point. Ward (and the shows producers) seemed to be operating from the old BDSM mantra, “Safe, sane & consensual,” something pretty rare in reality television.

Most remarkably seemed to be the “consensual” part, in which scripted tricks were not played on either the female participants nor their male “possibilities.” (You might be able to debate the use of physically using electronic shocks to modify the women’s behaviors, but it’s not like these were stun-guns or something. It was no worse than having Ward or another coach standing beside them going, “Bup-bup-bup!” when they did something dumb.)

Overall — and up until the misuse of “rape” (both in diagnosis and as a fear-mongering tool) — I’ve been appreciative of the combination of tact & honest bluntness in confronting the women’s baggage — both the emotional issues & the bad habits. So it pains me to see the show go so low.

2) I’m not condoning Arian’s actions. I understand them; but I do worry for her. (A number of the other women on the show too.)

But there is a clear distinction between Arian’s self-hurtful behaviors and the predatory act of rape performed by another. She, and women like her, need to be held responsible for their own actions — but not the actions of others. In this case, Arian needs to be aware of what she is doing, how her perception of the effectiveness of her defense mechanism as inaccurate and is in fact detrimental to herself and her objective of finding a good relationship. She needs to see this in order to change her behaviors — in order to bring her the happiness she both deserves and seeks.

This is what Ward was trying to do/say. And it would have been a great lesson for all those watching too. He started well, but… *shudder*

This would have been one of those educational & self-help moments; a lesson for all of us at home, young & old who need to learn it, or at least understand it. But…

3) What about the other side? When comments are left at VH1’s blog about this “educational moment”, they go something like this one by Kaya:

To all of you who are so upset with Steve, let me ask you this: is this what you will teach your daughters? That it’s okay to get drunk, dress suggestively, act in a sexually agressive manner and take home anybody you like, and nothing will ever happen to them? Many rapists are predators, just like child molestors. A child molestor will seek out a victime when he or she is most vulnerable and least able to resist. So will a rapistt; in this case, a drunk woman eager to be alone with him. Sure, the rapist is at fault, but that doesn’t make the woman less raped, beaten, emotionally scarred, dead, etc….

If you aren’t teaching your daughters how to protect themselves, you shouldn’t be a parent.

Ignoring my desire to nit-pick some of your comments on the behaviors of rapists, let me say that I agree totally that parents should teach their daughters how to protect themselves. And when, for whatever reason, they haven’t learned such things — or have adopted bad or unsafe habits — they need to be reeducated. See all of the above.

This brings up the post I linked to in my original Ward/rape post (read it; I link for a reason, yo). I too wish the world wasn’t the way it is, but it is and we need to safeguard our daughters, our girls, our women. But what are we teaching our sons, our boys, our men? (Incidentally, that same blogger — the author of the main author here at Kitsch Slapped — has a post about talking to her son about such things.)

In all this talk about rape, where’s the part about parents teaching their sons?

Kaya’s statements completely ignore the lessons here about teaching young men that rape & other abuse is not to be tolerated. Like Ward’s original statement and those of the other show participants, such language of omission isn’t an accident. They are excusing bad male behaviors, placing the blame for “enticing” upon Arian’s shoulders — and all women’s shoulders — when the blame clearly belongs to men who commit rape, assaults, and abuse of any sort.

This sort of complacent language dismisses male responsibility & diminishes the crime. It complicates how we as a society react to charges of assault & rape. It’s why Ward said what he did, why the other women agreed with him, and why the comments at VH1 have been so stupid. It perpetuates the myths, blames the victims, and places other women in danger with misinformation. All things I’ve already spoken of, so I’ll stop now. For now.

4) Because I have a lot of friends who are sex workers * (escorts, phone sex operators, erotica authors, strippers, etc.), I also feel I need to clarify my statements about Arian, her stripping, and my thoughts on what I see regarding a history of her past abuse.

This is the toughest part of the post, actually, because what I’m about to discuss is a stereotype as old as the oldest profession. And incredibly hurtful too. So, let me say for the record that abuse & sex work do not go hand in hand.

Like any segment of society, especially female segments, abuse is a part of the demographic — but abuse is not an identifying characteristic. It should not be assumed to be a part of any sex worker’s history.

Unfortunately for sex workers who wish stories that reinforce such stereotypes would just go away, Arian, the sex worker, exhibits a hyper sexuality that moves past a self-described “bad girl” let alone a content within her own skin, sex positive person.

The true tell-tale signs for me, just in this last episode, were her approval seeking glances at her fellow house mates when she sat in the “hot seat,” her upping the loud & raunchy display & talk when she found no support, and her lashing out in pain like a wounded animal when the rape word hit the fan. (As I said before, she was looking for a reason to leave and explode — but watch closely, she’s got more pain than fire in her eyes at that point.)

In past episodes, we’ve seen her both use her sexuality to garner attention and react dramatically when it’s been of no help to her. Most obvious in her dealings with Ward himself, when she feels she not only has no control but no value to Ward.

I can’t speak for sex workers everywhere, but none of the sex workers I know behave like Arian has on the show.

And so it is this set of behaviors I speak of when I say I believe Arian has been abused; these are the behaviors which are dangerous. Her employment as stripper or sex worker has nothing to do with it.

There. I think I covered every thing I intended to.

Oh, except for the fact that I still urge you to contact Steve via his matchmaking service’s site, Master Matchmakers, and VH1 to demand an apology.

* Don’t act so shocked that I know and cavort with sex workers. They are damn fine people.

If you are “just surprised to hear this because I never mentioned them before”, well, I also don’t identify my computer programming friends. I also don’t identify my gay friends, my black friends, my white traditional straight vanilla mom friends, etc. How horrible would I be if I identified them as such for no reason? I only mention such identifiers when I feel it is relevant.

UPDATE See how the story unfolds:

Mommy, Make The Bad Man Stop

Enough Is Enough

Please take action!

Giving Steve Ward & VH1 Some Tough Love Of My Own

I’ve been watching VH1’s Tough Love for the past few weeks now and, despite his somewhat slower-than-I up-take on females and a need to nurse along a viewing audience, I have agreed with Steve Ward nearly word for word — up until tonight that is.

Tonight Steve Ward began to very tactfully, once again, help Arian to see that her automatic defense mechanism, using overt hyper sexuality to turn away men before any attachments could be made (and so avoid being hurt herself), was a bad thing. True, such actions will keep her from being hurt; but they will also keep her from finding what she really wants: to be in an honest, truthful, committed, loving relationship. Where Ward went wrong was saying that if Arian continued on this path, she’d end up raped. Now the already defensive and shut-down Arian used the powerful word of rape as her cue to end the conversation. She was going to do that anyway because she is in complete denial — and wishes to remain there. But Ward was way out of line here.

Rape is not about sex. It is not borne of lust. It is not caused by the penis’ desire for pleasure, nor a biological drive to pass on DNA. Rape is an assault of rage, anger & power. The penis (&/or other objects) are used because the physical penetration and friction of intimate walls violates emotional and spiritual worlds, echoing on in the psyche, forever haunting that person (and those who love them). Whereas death is but a moment’s passing, and therefore finite.

Ward’s perpetuation of such dangerous misogynistic mythology not only places (once again) the responsibility for male behaviors squarely on the shoulders of females, leaving victims to face guilt, but by covering up the truth, leaves more women ill-prepared and therefore vulnerable to attack.

Ward should apologize. And undergo the proper education.

So should everyone behind the show at VH1.

But perhaps even more alarming than Ward’s perpetuation of this dangerous myth, was the fact that all the other women present did not correct Ward — in fact they repeated what he was saying as if it were the truth! (I at least expected my girl Jody to speak the truth!) They are as brainwashed by the rape myth as Ward.

Can you see the huge tears rolling down my face?

As for Arian & the show, she was set to run off set anyway. But it was stupid to even try to talk to a woman who is so wrapped-up in the belief-fear that her only value is her body, by talking about her bodily risks.

It’s been clear to me from the start that Arian’s projection of hyper-sexuality is based upon a fear that this is all anyone sees her as. (And some sexual abuse signals were seen by me with the first watching of the show; so watch for that reveal too.) If she is to feel valued for herself, Ward’s conversation should have focused (more accurately) on the fact that, with continued use of her defense mechanism, the danger Arian faces the continuation of a succession of one night stands — but if she express more value of herself past her sexuality, exhibits less signs of sexual availability, then she increases her odds of finding men who will view her in terms of total person-hood and not just a great lay.

So Ward f-ed up all over tonight.

You’ll notice, if you’ve seen the show, that VH1 conveniently doesn’t have a clip of Ward saying she’ll be raped — they have the clip just before that line (which, if you haven’t seen the show, is evidence of Arian’s hyper-sexuality) and the clip after it, of Arian leaving & the other women’s reactions.

No go to VH1 & demand an apology and proper education for all.

You can also contact Steve via his matchmaking service’s site: Master Matchmakers.

UPDATE See how the story unfolds:
More On Moron Steve Ward & The Rape Issue

Mommy, Make The Bad Man Stop

Enough Is Enough

Please take action!

Quick, Check Your Stone Tablet For Today’s Date: More Legalized Rape News

At BUST Magazine‘s blog, a post that Afghanistan Legalizes Marital Rape — which naturally reminded me that it wasn’t so long ago that we were writing on the same stone tablet. (I did post a comment there to that effect; but so far, it is not showing up at the site. I hate that.)

Anyway, as Peter at BUST‘s blog writes:

Want to read something mortifying? The Guardian just released an article stating that Hamid Karzai, Prime Minister of Afghanistan just rushed a bill through the Afghan parliament which will legalize marital rape. ‘The final document has not been published, but the law is believed to contain articles that rule women cannot leave the house without their husbands’ permission, that they can only seek work, education or visit the doctor with their husbands’ permission, and that they cannot refuse their husband sex.’

At the post, Allison left the following helpful comment:

Revolting and infuriating.

If you are not aware of them already, please check out, a group that has been trying to help Afghan women find a voice and equality against fundamentalist/sexist power in their country since 1997:

1965: Legal Marital Rape

Can a husband legally force his wife to have sexual relations when she doesn’t wish to? That 1965 Dell Purse Book by Richard T. Gallen, Wives Legal Rights, says, “Yes.” As long as his demands are “reasonable and her health is not impaired or endangered.”


No mention of hitting or physically forcing her exists (apparently because on page five they’ve already said no hitting allowed).  But what’s really implied here with this notion that a husband’s legal right to force his wife to have sex so long as it doesn’t impair her physical health, is a side-step of physical abuse on the part of the man, neatly placing responsibility for any altercations at the feet of wives, for a wife can’t/ought not resist or she would be at fault for denying him his sexual rights.

All of this completely denies the existence of any other reason for sexual denial. As if her body & mind are indeed his property, subject to his whims.

We could just ignore this, write it off as “history,” but these idiotic notions are still with us. They linger in court decisions, media coverage, and even family reactions, even 40+ years later.

They only specifically mention sex during pregnancy, which clearly shows the fetus (or ‘baby’) has more value than the mother-to-be.

Then again, I know many women who while pregnant, wanted sex at least every night; those hormones, you know…

And there’s no mention of her right to have sex, pregnant or not. The stereotype that women don’t want sex was is so prevalent, that it doesn’t even warrant discussion of women’s marital rights to sex. *snort*

Yes, I’m A Domestic Violence Survivor

This snippet on page five in Wives Legal Rights, by Richard T. Gallen (Dell Purse Book, 1965), breaks my heart. Not just because it’s about what we’d now call domestic violence which “may be” pursued as a crime, but because while the publication is over 40 years old, the cultural lag is so much further behind.


You see, I’m a survivor of domestic violence. Times two. I’m not proud to say that I’ve lived it twice; but it’s important to know because once the abuse damages your world, you may be even more susceptible in the future. This is contrary to what most would call “common sense” or even a natural human instinct to survive by avoiding the warning signs (should there actually be any prior to being in the middle of the madness), but it’s the truth.

I’ll be posting a lot more about domestic violence… I hope sharing my experiences not only educate and support others living it — or even provide a means to strengthen my own voice on a subject I’ve long been afraid to speak of outside of court rooms and therapist offices — but that talking about this serves as a catalyst for awareness and change from the rest of the world who feels they are exempt for the blight. Whether they know it or not, they are part of the problem.

And yes, if that feels accusatory, like I’m pointing a finger at you, I am. Too many people are locking their doors and windows under the mistaken assumption that they are then safe (which is so not what the numbers say). And when they do so, they lock out the realities, putting themselves and their children at risk as well as perpetuating the myths and, by placing judgments on those involved (including the victims), they further allow domestic violence to live — not in dark corners or under rocks, but in the light of day.

You have been put on notice.

Marriage: We’ve Come Along Way, Baby?

In Wives Legal Rights, by Richard T. Gallen, a Dell Purse Book, © 1965, marriage is defined as both an emotional relationship and a legal arrangement, “a valid contract between a man and a woman, granting certain rights to each, demanding certain responsibilities of each.” It’s taken decades for Webster’s to catch up on the definition of marriage to include same sex couples (which, as you’ll see at that link, is upsetting to co-called conservatives — selfish, intolerant bastards), and the legal definition is even worse. So it shouldn’t be surprising that other concepts are having an equally long a culture lag.


Paging through this retro Dell booklet, it’s easy to see that the gender split isn’t just regarding who is in a marriage, but what role each gender has within a marriage. Women are legally required to perform domestic chores and to care for husband and children. On the flip-side, men are required to support, protect and maintain wives and children (but nowhere is is listed that husbands are to care for their wives and/or children).


This may not seem very alarming on the surface (to me it’s a giant WTF?! moment), but the antiquated way of legally assigning roles in a personal relationship sure is government dictating personal lives. Even if marriage laws are no longer written this way, the cultural lag exists and for many, such shifts in change have not been made, making it more difficult even for those who do believe differently.

It’s easy to see where the cultural assumptions of women having the ‘home sphere’ impacts equal pay for equal work, the pink ghetto from pink collar jobs etc. Women are still not true equals in society because we are not seen as having equal footing and participation, which leads to attitudes & assumptions about women’s roles in society and individual marriages.

It’s not just the cave men (and their families) who wish to keep women in their (historical) place, but the insidious perceptions off of which people operate — sometimes unaware they hold such notions (or the unhappiness they instill) until they are tested. But once you are married, it is often too late to renegotiate what has already been seen as accepted.

My advice to you is to clearly discuss your expectations about roles in relationships with prospective mates. Be clear about what you and won’t do or tolerate — and be equally clear what you expect. Better to leave that old fashioned thinking fish in the pond, than to forever be on the hook.

My Pajamas Made Him Kill Me (Or, In Which I Review A Film I Haven’t Seen)

Most would say it’s not fair to review a movie you haven’t seen — and normally I’d agree. It’s an ethics thing. But sometimes you hear about a movie (based on the opinions of those who have seen the film), and you just have to say something…

This is especially true when the movie is based on a true story.

In this case, the film is based on a crime — but the real crime here is not (just) that the makers of the film have sensationalized and exploited a murder, but have missed the very points which make the story moving and important.

The film is The Pyjama Girl Case (1977), and it’s based on the real life story of the unidentified charred remains of a woman discovered in Australia in 1934.

Let’s begin with the reviews…

Stanley Runk “Runkdapunk” says:

On the books this film is a giallo, but it is only in the most basic sense. Yeah it’s a murder mystery, it deals with sexual themes and it’s Italian. That’s where all comparissons end though. No rampaging killer with gloves and a hat/hood and no real body count to speak of other than the Pyjama girl herself. Sure there are a few more deaths, but not until the end of the film.

J. B. Hoyos says:

“The Pyjama Girl Case” disappointed me for several reasons. First, and foremost, it is not a true Italian giallo. Absent is the typical black-gloved serial killer. Only two people are murdered. Second, this movie doesn’t contain any major shocks or plot twists. The plot is very linear. Third, there is only one attractive woman and that is actress Dalila Di Lazzaro who later went on to act in Dario Argento’s superb “Phenomena,” which is definitely an Italian giallo.

(Oh, and “Runkdapunk” also says that Dalila Di Lazzaro is “yummy except for the armpit hair” — just in case you wanted to know.)

And those are the people who gave it three stars at Amazon; there are worse reviews with less stars.

Now I don’t know what a “giallo” is, let alone an Italian one, but that’s neither here nor there because I’m not going to judge this film by whatever standards either may have. And I’m not going to even discuss if a movie can have enough killing (I’m totally one girl who doesn’t go in for body-count flicks). But I do have a lot to say.

Again, this movie is based on a true story. The real-life “Pyjama Girl” was a brutally murdered unknown woman, whose battered and partially burnt body was found dumped roadside in Albury, New South Wales on September 1, 1934. Normally I find the phrase “brutally murdered” to be redundant or excessive — nearly an expletive to induce horror — but the details, according to Australian Screen, make it pretty clear that one can easily use the extra word:

The victim’s head was wrapped in a bloody towel and her body was pushed headfirst into a hessian bag. The body had then been set alight. A post-mortem revealed that she had been shot below the right eye, but the cause of death was probably eight blows to her face.

“Brutal murder” no longer seems to be just for shock-value, does it?

Anyway, as her identity was not known, the woman was dubbed the “Pyjama Girl” because she was found wearing pieces of pyjama fabric.

After coroner’s inquest failed to establish the identity of the woman, artists’ sketches and a forensic facial reconstruction were created to represent what the victim may have looked like, with the images shown around the world, in hopes that someone would identify her.

And her body was preserved in order to be put on display and shown to hundreds of people. Yes, hundreds of people paraded past her post-mortem. For ten years.

Her death was naturally shocking, but her death became a mystery which fascinated the nation and, for some, became an obsession. To the extent that in 1939 an entertainment “newsreel” was made to be shown in cinemas before feature films (and, in some cases, was, like other newsreels, shown continuously).

Again, a quote from the Australian Screen (where you can catch clips):

The Pyjama Girl Murder Case newsreel, produced in 1939 after the coronial inquest, is considered to be Australia’s first true crime film. Filmmakers Rupert Kathner and Alma Brooks defied a ban by the New South Wales Police Commissioner, William MacKay, on newsreel coverage of the case and even tried to break into Sydney University to film the body. The use of adverbs such as ‘stealthily’ and emotive phrases such as ‘fiend in human form’, as well as the re-creations of various episodes of the case, indicate the ways in which the filmmakers sought to sensationalise the case.

In 1944, ten years after her body was found, a man was convicted not of her murder, but of manslaughter. Rat-bastard Antonio Agostini confessed to the police commissioner that he had “accidentally shot” his wife, Linda Agostini, “during an argument.”

Just how unlikely it is that Linda was Pyjama Girl (Linda Agostini had brown eyes; Pyjama Girl’s eyes were blue), is as astonishing as a husband who confesses to murdering his wife but only gets 6 years — and serves less then 3. And this is stuff that Richard Evans tells in his book, The Pyjama Girl Mystery (also available via Amazon).

But what we end up with now, are two dead women — both of which were likely killed by men they knew. (The odds say it’s true; and who else has access to a woman in her pajamas?)

Author Evans’ investigation into this case is far more fascinating than the story told in that 1977 movie — but that’s not even my main (or only) point.

Apparently in 2004, Australia’s ABC’s Rewind program ran a story on the Pyjama Girl mystery and, along with an extremely interesting interview with Evans, they presented this fascinating bit of cultural commentary:

MICHAEL CATHCART: In the 1930s, pyjamas were exotic, the sort of thing worn by young flappers. These so-called ‘new women’ dressed in skimpy clothes, they smoked, they drank, they partied and they laughed at convention. The straitlaced moral guardians of the day held up the Pyjama Girl as an example, a warning of what happens to young women who go astray.

CALEB WILLIAMS, CURATOR, JUSTICE AND POLICE MUSEUM: It was a wonderful trope for the newsmen of the day to play with. The idea of, you know, this wonderful, gorgeous, sexy woman abandoned bashed in a ditch in a pair of exotic silk pyjamas – it was sort of media heaven, basically.

In case you missed it, let me highlight the most offensive part here: The straitlaced moral guardians of the day held the Pyjama Girl up as a warning of what happens to young women who go astray. Why did they think the young woman had “gone astray”? Because she wore pajamas.


Pajamas were, at the time, the “exotic” sort of thing worn by young flappers. And flappers were amoral women. Women who, apparently, deserve to be beaten, shot, burned and left dead in a ditch.

That’s a whole lot of conclusion jumping and victim blaming.

Just like the crap said about Linda Agostini.

Wikipedia (a site I trust about as much as I do the investigation into the Pyjama Girl case), says that Linda was a “penniless glamour girl” who “worked at a picture theatre in the city and lived in a boarding house on Darlinghurst Road in Kings Cross where all accounts tell she ‘entertained’ more than her fair share of young, attractive men. Platt was a heavy drinker and a flighty Jazz Age party-goer who had difficulty adjusting to stability.” Lovely. Who writes and edits at Wiki? Tony Agostini’s family?

Wiki does not reference those particular sentiments (for they sure aren’t facts), but none of the sites referenced says such things. One of the sites referenced, Australian Dictionary of Biography, says the following:

Tony and Linda were a popular couple. He was 5 ft 7 ins (170 cm) tall, trim and dark haired; she was only five feet (153 cm) tall, attractive and well liked. Yet, according to Tony, their relationship was not an easy one.

Linda sometimes left him for long periods and drank too much which shamed him within the Italian community. In 1933 the couple moved to Carlton, Melbourne, where he worked on the newspaper, Il Giornale Italiano, and she took a job at Ferrari’s hairdressing salon in the Manchester Unity Building. Agostini later claimed that there were frequent altercations. During one quarrel in bed, Linda was fatally shot with a pistol which Tony alleged she had held.

“They were well liked,” but… Tony says “their relationship was not an easy one,” Tony says there were “frequent altercations,” Tony says they argued in bed and she had a pistol. *snort*

Tony says it was an accident — but the bitch had it coming.

Who is here to speak for Linda? (And couldn’t I argue that with an ass-hat like Tony for a husband, I’d take off and drink too. Only I wouldn’t return to where he lives — by my choice, not his hand.) But let’s all blame the victims.

Linda’s treatment is like Pyjama Girl’s: Unfair and unwarranted crap which absolves their murderers from any responsibility. Which makes me really, really upset. The kind of upset that renders me unable to even swear properly.

How can anyone ven suggest that a woman was somehow responsible for her own murder because of the PJs she wore or drinking?

That Pyjama Girl’s death & “murder case” was reduced to media hype, social agendas, sloppy & corrupt police work — and just plain political no matter how you cut it — is a story which deserves to be told. If only because it may be the only way this woman (and Linda Agostini and other victims) can be honored. And because it just might be of value in teaching people what matters.

And that isn’t a woman’s pajamas. Or her short skirt. Or the number of drinks she’s had, who she knows, where she goes. She’s human and her life was taken — and likely by someone she trusted.

So, just how ridiculous does that not-giallo-enough film made in 1977 seem now? Like some chick’s armpit hair, it just doesn’t matter. Other than it was an insignificant waste of time.

And yeah, I could be all wet because, as I readily admit, I didn’t see this 1977 film. But then “Runkdapunk” says, “The disc has a half hour documentary about the actual Pyjama girl murder case which is actually more interesting than the film.” So I rest my case.

Now if only poor “Pyjama Girl” could only rest in peace.

From The “Wha Wha Wha Poor Men” Files

This is a relatively-new blog so I have not yet had the time to get into Everything, but if there’s one thing that irks me (and let’s face it, we know there are sooo many things that do bother me), it’s men complaining about how bad they have it.

Poor poor men with their hugely disproportionate power base. Poor poor men who — despite a 100+ year old suffrage and other assorted women’s movements — still retain a huge majority of the economic, legal and brute force (via armies etc.) power in the world. Poor poor men who can’t deal with (amazingly small) micro-changes in gender roles. Wha wha, my heart so does not bleed for you.

Not that we women hate me; many of us who complain the loudest have men for fathers & grandfathers, are married-to and happily live-with men — some of us even lovingly raise male children. Who knew?!

But every time we point out the disparity, the inequality, and yes, the personally & publicly horrifying things that men do, we are man-haters. It can’t possibly be that we are offended & disappointed by the male refusal to accept the responsibility which comes with power; we must simply hate them.

I tell a true story about a dog that mauls a child and, whether I have a dog or not, that doesn’t make me a dog hater; but tell a true story about a man who beats a woman and I’m a man hater. Totally stupid. :snort:

But it happens.

And if you dare to point out just how stupid that thinking is, you are only more of a man-hater. :sigh:

Today, on Twitter, a public conversation about this man-hating phallacy fallacy which highlights a seemingly rather benign conversation about women and their hate of men…

Briancarter, self-described SEO optimizer and “funny keynote speaker/stand up comedian” (it will become crystal clear in a few minutes why the funny-man makes a living being the opposite of funny), asks: Is there an antonym for misogynist? And to be perfectly clear, he is searching for “a hater of men” — and, yes, lesbian jokes will be made ha ha ha — let’s laugh at the lesbian-man-hating stereotype.

Two minutes later he tweets: lol classic! I asked is there an antonym to misogynist, RT @zainyk: @briancarter The View.

He gets a more serious reply from shellerae: @briancarter a misandrist hates persons of the male sex, a misogynist hates persons of the female sex, & a misanthrope is a hater of mankind

He replies: @shellerae nice, but no one ever uses misandrist…?

And then it disintegrates into more mocking of The View and women while Brian ignores more insight from shellerae, who tweets both “I love men {shrug} so would be hard for me to use & would avoid people who described themselves as such!” and “I think there are people who don’t hate the “gender” but more don’t respect it.”

And then we get to the meat of the matter when Brain says, “ya I was thinking: there are women who hate men, so why don’t we hear a word for that as often as we hear misogynist?”

Maybe it’s because man-hating is — if not a complete myth — then far, far less prevalent than the hatred of women. Duh.

As Astrogirl426 says: And anyway, there is a word for man-haters (of either sex): misandrope. Perhaps there just arent as many of us– I mean them ;)

It seems that the conversation ended with Brian’s lame tweet: lol no I think you took it way too personally- a lot of people answered that way… sorry :-)

Sorry? Sorry?! That’s all you have to say?

You start a conversation, one that adds to larger public discourse, which reduces valid female complaints of factual disparity to the simplistic, nonsensical, and dismissive “women hate men” — and then, between making and encouraging lame negative stereotypical jokes and ignoring sane comments, when you learn that you offend people, and all you can do is blame them for taking it “way too personally” — ending with a “sorry” which reads more like you are sorry for what they did or said than taking responsibility for your own actions?!


Let’s Date Like My Sister Eileen?

I made issue #14 of the Feminist Carnival of Sexual Freedom and Autonomy (yea me!), which reminds me that I should give you an update on that media and relationships survey I’m participating in

The survey is based on your TV and movie viewing habits of the past week, which means you’re reporting on your holiday season habits. Personally, my sitting-on-my-butt and watching television &/or films time has been very limited by holiday stuff — but also because TV programing has sucked the past month. This means I’ve watched mainly The History Channel and NatGeo (which, unless you categorize this watching as “news” puts your viewing in the “other” category on this survey) and it has had, upon reflection, little to do with my relationship values — other than to find great pleasure in the fact that my partner also likes geek TV.

I’ve also snuck in the occasional TCM (and other old film) viewing. This has been secretive alone-at-night-while-working movie watching — but not because it’s some naughty or guilty pleasure to watch a “chick flick”. Writing, being a solitary pursuit most enjoyed by night owls, lends itself to complete remote control domination when one is well, you know, screwing around and not working. However, my point is, that the movies I’ve watched (including The Pleasure Seekers, My Sister Eileen, and Sabrina) were retro films, if not all Classic Films with capital C & F, and as such it’s damn near impossible for a feminist to watch those films and not giggle, smirk, or groan at the sexist roles and actions. They are entertainment (served with an equally entertaining side dish of snark that I am unable to turn off) not some map for relationship bliss.

If they were, then I guess my first tip in getting a date would be to go out drinking with your sister & two fellas, walk drunkenly to a gazebo, and have the four of you burst into song, dance, and imaginary instrument playing a la My Sister Eileen. But then, you’ll also end up with some other guy… Which involves some lying, lots more song and dance, the Brazilian Navy, and lots more…

My point is, if I (and any other intelligent sentient being) can realize that musicals are fantasies, why would anyone expect to find tips on relationships & romance in such films?

Oh, and I also watched Elf; and that didn’t make me think that I might have missed an opportunity to mate a real elf and get myself closer to Santa’s Nice List.

So, over all, my feelings regarding media and relationships have neither changed nor become more enlightened by this survey process. While there’s still weeks to go (and I am interested in what may come from the experience), I’m still amazed that there are people out there — that I’m sharing this same world with — who honest to gawd, still base their real world relationship expectations upon images in film and television.

May gawd help us all.

Do Romantic Comedies Ruin Relationships?

The Telegraph has an article saying that romantic comedies can ruin relationships. Their proof is a study a team at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh did. They studied 40 top box office films released between 1995 and 2005, looking for patterns & common themes to establish common themes, and then asked hundreds of people to fill out a questionnaire to describe their beliefs and expectations when it came to relationships. The results?

The psychologists found that fans of films such as You’ve Got Mail, The Wedding Planner and While You Were Sleeping, often fail to communicate with their partners effectively, with many holding the view that if someone is meant to be with you, then they should know what you want without you needing to tell them.

In what certainly will not be news to feminists who have long argued that images in & portrayals by the media, the bottom line was, according to Dr Bjarne Holmes, a psychologist who led the research, “We now have some emerging evidence that suggests popular media play a role in perpetuating these ideas in people’s minds.”

Years a go, a friend of mine in college did a presentation on this subject — but hers focused on even earlier , more formative years. Her project was called Damaged By Disney, and it explored the messages sent to children — especially girls — regarding relationships. She found the following themes:

  • Women often have to change themselves to get the attention of a man &/or acquiesce to get him.
  • Once a girl gets her guy, the story ends — as if all the work exists in ‘getting’ and there’s no effort needed after that.
  • Love is presented as magical, two-dimensional, and unlikely as any of the other animated fantasy creatures used in the film.

I did and still do see her points; but why we’d choose to believe massages delivered by talking mice is beyond me. Similarly with films where humans play fictional characters — where Matthew McConaughey plays a character as real as talking mice — why do we opt to believe fantasy rather than reality, and then claim to be disappointed in the results?

In order to find out more the researchers have launched a much larger, international study on the effects of the media on relationships. At, the researchers have a questionnaire about personality, relationships, and media consumption habits called the Media, Personality and Well-Being Study. Perhaps if enough of us participate we’ll get more clues.

And if such lofty altruistic goals do not seduce you, the folks behind the Media, Personality and Well-Being Study have sweetened the pot for you:

Starting in the week following completion of this initial set of questionnaires, you will be asked to complete a shorter set of questionnaires once a week for up to 24 weeks. Each set of these questionnaires takes approximately 10 minutes to complete and assesses your television viewing, mood, and feelings of well-being for that week.

You do not have to participate beyond completing the initial set of questionnaires. However, if you do decide to participate further in completing weekly questionnaires, for each weekly set you complete, you will be entered into a single cash drawing in which you will have the chance to win £500, held exclusively for participants in this study only. For example, if you complete all 24 weekly sets of questionnaires, you will be entered into the £500 draw 24 times.

So that ought to encourage you to participate in the Media, Personality and Well-Being Study.