Original painting of a small scared looking doll. Perhaps she’s tired of keeping quiet. Colors are layered, dark and rich.
Painting is 10″x20″ encaustic medium on wood.
Encaustic is a wax based medium that must be applied while hot and in a liquid state. The paint is applied painstakingly in layers and fused with heat between each successive application to prevent cracking. The medium is thousands of years old and more durable than oil paint. The painting may be buffed with a clean cloth to give it a nice luster and keep it clean.
Via Eugenics Archive, a clipping from the New York Herald dated August 23, 1932 — a review of Third Eugenics Congress:
If you don’t have time to read the whole thing, here’s a snippet that might change your mind:
Feminist Aims All Nonsense, Says Eugenist
Dr. Sanders Holds Sex Equality Nonexistent Physically and Socially
Favors Large Families
Deplores Motif of Slenderness in Fashion World
The size of families was one of the dominating topics in the papers read yesterday at the Third International Congress of Eugenics held in the American Museum of Natural History, and Dr. J. Sanders, of Rotterdam, proved himself to be the leading advocate of the large family.
He deplored feminism, saying that the so-called equality of the sexes was nonsense physiologically, biologically, socially and politically. He urged women hasten back to the fireside, give up their outside aspirations and produce healthy babies in quantity.
Dr. Sanders, a genial Hollander with the clear, penetrating blue eyes of his race, and curly fair hair, gave the successful business and professional women short shrift in his spirited address, delivered in perfect English.
“Nowadays women prefer fashion to children,” said Dr. Sanders scathingly, but with a twinkle in his eye, “for large families are inimical to the slim figure. Fashion designers should cooperate by introducing models which do not emphasize slenderness.
“Woman is indeed man’s equivalent, but they each have their own particular task to perform in the world. The woman’s main duty always has been and always will be the family. The university woman must know, understand, feel that marriage and children represent, after all is said and done, the highest ideal. This can be so only if women accept the task which nature has imposed upon them — the care of their offspring.”
Vivian Cherry photograph of Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker newspaper, picketing against the Atomic Bomb, New York, 1959.
There you could select your t-shirt style (ringers were de rigueur, but then the baseball shirts with contrasting sleeves came in — oooh!), get your size, choose a color, pick out the funkiest iron-on, and even have it all personalized with letters (including glittery & puffy versions) spelling out your name.
Ah, those were the days, my friend…
Sure, now you can use your computer to design your own graphic and print it out at home on some iron-on paper and iron it on yourself (if you even own or can find your iron), but it’s not the same.
The 70’s were the Golden Age of Iron-Ons.
There were rock iron-ons, iron-ons with drug references and slang (that you had to be cool to ‘get’) — all sorts of stuff.
But the best, the most memorable, were the risque & down-right lewd t-shirts which had designs running the polarized gambit of responses to women’s liberation. You had sexist men, trying to exert their dominance through sexual bravado, sometimes cloaked as jokes, one one end; and on the other end, women trying to make their point that they were equal & could be dirty too.
I’m not sure that Typists Do It Sitting Down was exactly liberating or showing support of the ERA (more likey to feed the naughty secretary mythology), but, hell, they were worn by the libbers at PTA meetings — I mean literally worn at PTA meetings.
Sometimes a chauvinist pig & a demonstrating libber had on the same shirts. Was “Sex is Like a Bank Account, as soon as you make a Withdrawl, you lose Interest” supposed to be sex positive? Or was it ironic? You didn’t always know…
I’m pretty sure a lot of the adults wearing them didn’t know either.
It was confusing.
I’m sure part of the reason so many of these iron-ons and finished tees were seared into my brain as if the press-iron had melted the plastic goo-graphics into my brain had a lot to with my age.
Being a teen-aged girl standing behind a guy who’d just made/bought a “mustache rides” tee — who smiled at you just a little too long — makes you understand the classless menace even if you don’t know what that sort of ride is… And then, when a friend’s older sibling tells you what it means, you die another special little death.
Ah, good times.
But what’s really surprising is to look at what’s left of these original retro iron-ons and realize just how many you don’t understand. It’s not just that I don’t recall seeing them before; I honestly don’t understand them.
Like “LAB Large American Breasts” — was that for men or for women? The nipples on the ‘B’ indicate, a large American no. And was “LAB” supposed to be a parody of another LAB? The League of American Bicyclists? The Liberation Army… Uh. I don’t know.
Maybe it’s just as simple as men boasting they wanted big breasted women & I’m over thinking it.
But what about this? If “The more I know MEN… The better I like my DOG” was an iron-on for woman to wear, does that mean “The More I Know Women… The Better I Like My PUSSY!” was for men? Um, that iron-on doesn’t really transfer — the concept, I mean (I’m sure the image went/goes on a shirt fine). …There aren’t any rainbows or triangles to signify any LGBT significance.
Maybe I’m just too obtuse. Or too cerebral… This was the 70’s. I probably shouldn’t expect a lot.
But I want to add these iron-ons to my collection. That way, as usual, I’ll have some time to ponder the individual messages and their part in the collective message — and maybe that will help me make more sense of it all. Maybe.
In Margaret Sanger in Context, Tracey McCormick defends the vilified Margaret Sanger. Sanger, who founded Planned Parenthood and advocated for planned parenting & birth control before women even had the right to vote, is often misquoted or quoted out of context.
McCormick takes up defense of Sanger against New Jersey Congressman Christopher Smith’s quoting of Sanger from Sanger’s book, Woman and the New Race (1920): “The most merciful things a family does for one of its infant members is to kill it.”
This is McCormick’s response:
The line in question comes from Chapter 5, “The Wickedness of Creating Large Families.” Upon closer inspection, we see that Congressman Smith has left out the word “large” before family.
…But what if we read the entire paragraph or even the whole chapter?
…Apparently she hated miner families. Excessive childbirth in these families caused ill health in mothers, financial hardship to fathers, and I’ll quote directly for its effect on the children: “In the United States, some 300,000 children under one year of age die each twelve months. Approximately ninety per cent of these deaths are directly or indirectly due to malnutrition, to other diseased conditions resulting from poverty, or to excessive childbearing by the mother.
To demonstrate her hate, Sanger provides us mortality statistics of miner children, quotes a study by Arthur Geissler, which was later cited by Dr. Alfred Ploetz before the First International Eugenic Congress. (Eugenics is a scary word; if we took it out of context we’d realize that that’s what Hitler was up to. And if we practiced some really sloppy thinking, we’d say Sanger = Hitler. But we’re much smarter than that.)
To return to the statistics of children surviving through their first year. The first five children of these large miner families had about a 75% survival rate. The sixth-, seventh- and eighth-born approach a 70% survival rate. The eighth and ninth, about a 65% chance. The tenth, 60%; the eleventh, 50%; and the twelfth, 40%.
Five sentences later, Sanger drops her bomb: “The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.”
I didn’t know the woman personally, but I don’t think Sanger was a proponent of infanticide: I think she was trying to say and do something about the infant mortality rate. But you shouldn’t believe me. This is, after all, nothing more than a 750-word soundbite.
For context, you can read the entire chapter here.
For more-more context, the entire book, Woman and the New Race, is available here.
If you have four hours to spare, you can watch the entire hearing, “New Beginnings: Foreign Policy Priorities in the Obama Administration,” here. (Thanks, C-Span!)
Then, you’ll have context of Sanger and her relationship to “New Beginnings.
I applaud McCormick for taking up the fight here — both in terms of Sanger specifically and the issue of context in general. But one thing is missing from this conversation: The subject of eugenics itself.
The word “eugenics” has become an ugly thing, and rightfully so; but it too has its own context which must be understood. Understanding the context & origins of eugenics is key not only to understanding Sanger (and others), but its lessons are the epitome of the cornerstone of studying history: So that we do not repeat it.
Eugenics should not be simply or only equated with racism or even a scientific excuse for racism; that fine institution, racism, had already been in long practice. Eugenics has been around since the dawn of man; ancient societies, of all races, practiced infanticide for such purposes and Plato advocated that human reproduction should be monitored and controlled by the state. At the root of eugenics is a drive to improve human genetic qualities, better sustain the species, which includes everything from prenatal care for mothers to euthanasia.
But, yeah; racism sure was a part of eugenics for many.
American eugenics, as we speak of it here (referring to movements and social policies), was born in a post Civil War world where rapid growth of industrialization (including the increased mechanization of agriculture) created the first major migration away from farms, including former slaves. At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution there were a plethora of problems from such rapid urban growth. Cities were unable to keep up with the increasing populations; the exploitation of labor created militant labor organizations; swings in prices bankrupted many businesses — all of this led, in 1873, to a series of depressions which occurred roughly every decade through the early 1900s.
The depressions further fueled labor & over population issues, which were then additionally burdened by huge waves of immigrants (especially from southern and eastern Europe), which peaked just before World War I (and again after the war too). Then, as today, many Americans began to resent immigrants “stealing” their jobs, their housing, and even their spots in charity programs.
At first, “the poor” and the social & economic problems were, philosophically and physically (via social work, charity organizations, churches, etc.), addressed by Social Darwinism, the application (if not perversion) of Charles Darwin’s biological theory. While Darwin himself did not extend his theories to either social or economic levels, many educated people believed that “survival of the fittest” applied to (and therefore could be used to explain as well as manipulate) social and economic inequalities. But the irony was that the wealthy & powerful, “the fittest,” were endangered. Not only were the working class and the poverty stricken organizing themselves against the wealthy, but a declining birthrate among the captains of industry meant that the lower classes were out-reproducing them too.
Progressive reformers believe(d) in the increased role of government to manage & plan for economic and social issues. Beneath working for the passage of legislation advancing the rights of the newly freed slaves; the establishment of labor unions, child-labor protections, & minimum wage laws; conservation of natural resources; direct elections in primaries, fairer taxation, & control of lobbyists; legislation to control monopolies, banking reform, & trust-busting; and working for women’s suffrage, lay science. (And a managerial class of educated experts capable of long-range planning.)
It didn’t take much for progressive reformers to convert inventive Americans to a strong faith in science as the way to address the problems plaguing the country. This opened the door, using the new science of genetics to spawn an even newer science of social engineering — eugenics. If genetics held the key to such things as alcoholism, criminality, “feeble-mindedness,” and poverty, eugenicists argued, society, who paid a high price caring for such individuals and their issues, should invest in the knowledge & planning to ensure a better genetic America.
Some went as far as to say that sterilization of one “defective” adult could save society thousands of dollars over future generations. So when researchers became interested in the heritability of such illnesses as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression, the findings of their studies were used by the eugenics movement as proof of its legitimacy, prompting state laws prohibiting marriages for and forced sterilization of the mentally ill in order to prevent the “passing on” of mental illness to the next generation. (These laws were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court as recently as 1927 and were not abolished until the mid-20th century.)
Now remember the afore mentioned context; not only were social & economic issues a matter of The Haves & The Have Nots, but great tension arose from the fears of going from the former to the latter. The power of labor unions & the rise of the American socialist party combined with world events such as the successful Bolshevik Revolution, increased these fears, inspiring the wealthy to support eugenics. As today, funding for research & media meant that the wealthy could steer, if not actually dictate, the work of eugenicists. The repugnance for class struggles and political radicalism certainly figured into eugenics, resulting in selective immigration restriction.
In short, eugenics put such a focus on defective genes, individuals, and ethnic groups that it removed the focus from all the problems of the structure of American society itself. And the copious amounts of “scientific evidence” for eugenics being the rational and efficient plan for a harmonious future allowed the wealthiest in society to feel justified in blaming & controlling the victims.
I won’t go so far as to say that Margret Sanger was only philosophically identified with eugenics from the point of view of individual families using birth control to combat their economic & societal problems; there’s too much evidence that Sanger was into eugenics far deeper (& dirtier) than that. (While her work with The Negro Project & her acceptance of invitations to speak to women in the KKK remain controversial, there’s no arguing that Sanger was an eugenicist, including a proponent of using immigration laws to keep out those with “objectionable traits”.) I’m not even saying we should forgive & forget Sanger’s association eugenics because it gave us birth control. I’m saying we have to look at the context of the times — societal issues & individual concerns, education & prevailing science, fears & beliefs. And it’s clear that for a century, from the mid-1800’s through the mid-1900’s, eugenics was a huge part of the culture. So I think we should if not forgive, then at least not entirely condemn; but we certainly should not forget — not to be kind, but to see… To not dismiss. As Garland E. Allen wrote:
The problem with demonizing the older American eugenicists (many of whom thought they were taking the most modern, scientific and progressive approach to social problems) is that we distance ourselves from them and so can easily fall prey to our own biases today.
Margaret Sanger was not perfect. But looking at her life & work in context we are able to admire what is valid and also learn to accept the warnings we must heed about what is not valid.
Last month, AskMen.com (50,000 AskMen.com readers) & Shine (19,000 respondents over a four week period) conducted its second annual online survey, where real women and men answered questions on such topics as online dating, money, careers, soul mates, marriage, romance, cheating, etc.
One area where men really weighed-in differently was the matter of weight gain. Seems fatty-fatty-two-by-four will be kicked out of the couple’s door — by (surprise!) males.
An overwhelming 70% of women responded to “Would you dump a boyfriend if he became fat?” with “No, his appearance does not affect my love for him.” But 48% of men said they would dump their girlfriend. Shocking? No. Superficial? Yes.
While 75% of US men (just a few points off of their male counterparts in the UK, Canada & Australia) and 63% of the women believe marriage “is a necessary institution, and one that I will participate in to help preserve,” there’s something funky going on… I guess marriage as an “institution to preserve” only applies to skinny folks — for men, anyway.
But perhaps most upsetting to me were the results regarding divorce (as in “she’s too fat to remain with me”). When asked, “Do men get screwed by the courts in divorce?” 83% of the men said “Yes.” I guess I’m not surprised to hear men continue to whine about their victimization (as if!), but the women? While the 44% who said, “No, men and women generally get fair and equal treatment,” may seem comforting, look closer and you’ll see that 40% also said “Yes” — 40% of women believe that men are victimized by divorce courts.
I guess these women aren’t really listening to their friends’ divorce stories.
Yet 35% of these whining & irrational men who believed they are treated unfairly by divorce courts say prenups are “Not at all important.” Isn’t that a dumb reaction, to not protect yourself from what you (irrationally) fear?
But that’s only part of the story, really; just look at the questions & results:
How important is it to you for your future wife to sign a prenup?
35% Not at all important
33% Not very important
22% Somewhat important
10% Very important
Do you want your future husband to sign a prenup?
73% No, I will marry a man who I trust enough to not need a prenup
11% Yes, but I won’t risk jeopardizing our relationship by asking him to sign one
9% Yes, I won’t marry him unless she does
7% No, I’m out to steal his money
And that sexist difference in the survey questions & responses may be the most telling thing of all.
Women too insecure to ask for a prenup? But not the big strong he-man. (He’s just too dumb not to ask, even when he thinks the male created & controlled courts are out to get him because he has a penis. A-duh.) Women asked a question in which they are offered the golden opportunity to self-identify as gold diggers? Where are the men’s sugar daddy responses? And that confusing typo (see 9% female response) — for a minute there I thought they were actually including lesbians. Yeah. Right.
If such sexism was ignored or thought “cute” by the female respondents, then no wonder they themselves are sexist enough in their thinking to believe that men have it bad in divorces.
I do believe now we know why this is called The Great Male Survey; Long Live The Great Male.
Last night’s Royal Pains gave me a royal pain in my donkey. Normally I love the show (especially the MacGyver-medical stuff), but last night…
One of the plots in this episode (titled Crazy Love) revolves around a “passionate Latino couple” from Caracas. (I’ll spare you my diatribe on the stereotypical ick of that — and most of the hour long show’s plot — and just get to the part that makes me want to slap Royal Pains with a fine.) “Passionate Latina” Sophie (played by the lovely Roselyn Sanchez), discovers that along with paying for her boob job, her adoring husband (who is having financial troubles and so fears his beautiful wife will leave him) has had a GPS device implanted in her without her permission. This is discovered when she’s having an MRI and the device tries to pop through her chest (incredibly gross!), and gives her radiation poisoning.
We never see Sophia upset (though the concierge doc, when confronting the husband with moral & medical outrage, tells the husband to “give her some space now” — and Divya, when asked by the doc how Sophia is doing, says, “She just keeps saying (in mocking Spanish accent), ‘Why me? Why me?'”). When Sophia lays in the hospital bed, recovering from the surgery to save her from the radiation poisoning, her sheepish husband shows up at the door to her room and asks if he may come in. Sophia says yes; he says he’s so sorry. Sophia’s reply?
(Get ready for it, because it’s so infuriating!)
Sophia’s reply to her controlling spouse who has had her secretively implanted with a GPS device so that he can track her, to a man who nearly killed her with such abusive behavior, is… “I didn’t know you loved me so much.” And then they kiss so much that everyone leaves the room.
Didn’t anyone during the writing, acting, editing — any part of making this show — violently puke at the idea of even suggesting a happy, sexy, “forgive & forget” reaction to the discovery that a man has violated his wife by secretively implanting her with a tracking device?!
I guess it’s all a-OK because he was stressed over money & insecure; isn’t that the excuse we so often offer abusers? We see the incidents (at least the reports) increase during times of economic down-turns, and we study those connections, but do nothing about it — other than use it to justify, to excuse the control & violence. Here, in this show, literally.
And they didn’t even leave it at that!
This lovely-dovey stuff makes Divya covet such passion for herself with her (presumably arranged) engagement. Barf barf barf barf barf.
Isn’t one woman mistaking love for abuse enough? No, you had to show us another woman craving it, thinking that’s the secret sauce missing from her happiness sandwich.
Knowing all this, doesn’t it make the episode’s title of Crazy Love wildly inappropriate? You’re going to inform us that you can check for blood type matches in a jiffy using a silver tray, but you’ll pass along the dangerous mythinformation that love = control? Bad math, bad science, bad idea.
Shame on all of you at Royal Pains. I sentence to you to a fine of $60 million to, payable to two different abuse & crisis centers (each receiving $30 million) — one organization specifically helping Hispanic women.
And don’t ever do this again. I want to keep watching your show — but if you ever do this again… Well, let’s just say that I doubt you’ll be responding to me with a “I didn’t know you loved me so much.”
When I was in college I was a single parent. Finding myself struggling personally with the demands of continuing education and single parenting (a special needs child too yet) was challenging enough; but this was at the time that Tommy Thompson was governor & he made bashing single moms & welfare a public sport. (Yeah, some of us fought back; like the Welfare Warriors.)
It was incomprehensible how those of us left with children were not only held accountable while biological dads walked away Scott-free, but were to blame for all of society’s ills. Even those who raised children alone by design & without public assistance were vilified, a la Murphy Brown. It wasn’t just moral outrage (though that did & does exist); it wasn’t an ignorance — these were educated people saddling us with unrealistic responsibilities and ludicrous outcomes. We were being scapegoated with such an intensity that it must be hiding a deep fear of some sort… Was it simply another way to display the classic fear & hatred of “female,” or was there more?
It got me thinking: Certainly being a single parent had never been easy, but had it ever been easier? At least from a societal point of view?
A classmate & friend, another single mother herself (shout-out to Vicki Davidson, if she can hear me!), decided to investigate. What we found would later be presented at one of those extra-curricular brown-nosing events (in the history department, which didn’t help with any of our majors; but we did, I will say, impress the department staff with work that, I quote, “was at or above masters work”).
What we discovered, was that the vilification of women having (&/or raising) babies out of wedlock dated back to Victorian times. This may not surprise many who would attach such times to the origins of our currently held morality — but it wasn’t (at least entirely) Queen Victoria’s morality that had done the deed & made single mothers dirty; it was mainly a byproduct of the Industrial Revolution.
Before the Industrial Revolution, children had great value in farming; any additional mouths you have to feed come with additional, literal, farm hands. Mom, dad, older siblings still did their work as they watched the littler ones; little ones automatically observed the work and therefore received on-the-job training under the auspices of childcare. Large families meant there was no need to hire help — and mom & dad were assured someone would be there to care for them as they aged.
This, more than church-hurled slurs about paganism, is the more practical reason why when Mr. or Mrs. Farmer wandered down to the next farm for a roll in the hay, no one worried about an illegitimate child. Why fuss about Mrs. Farmer being knocked up by a neighboring farmer when it’s just more farm hands? Especially when you spotted proof of your own afternoon delight working at a neighbor’s farm. (It was not uncommon for casual acknowledgment of such situations; no rows ensued, unless someone wanted those little hands for their own farms. And it begs for some research regarding jokes about the farmer’s daughters.)
But the rapid growth of industry, including the increased mechanization of agriculture, created the first major migration away from farms to cities and changed everything.
Among the many problems with such rapid urbanization comes the devaluation of children. Children are not only less desirable industrial workers (especially after childhood labor reform acts), but they also become an economic drain; more mouths to feed, but no automatic work hands.
From 1861 through 1885, several Acts were instituted which significantly affected the working-class mother. The first of these Acts was the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act. According to Carol Smart, in her essay “Disruptive Bodies and Unruly Sex: The Regulation of Reproduction and Sexuality in the Nineteenth Century,” this was established to deal with “rape, procuring, carnal knowledge, abortion, concealment of birth and exposing children to danger” (13). Throughout the nineteenth century, incidents of infanticide were continually on the rise, in large part because little was done to convict the guilty party. Violent acts by desperate working-class women resulted in a movement to put more emphasis on holding someone, namely the mother, responsible for these deaths came to a head with the passing of the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act. As working-class women oftentimes found themselves financially challenged, they would accordingly find themselves financially unable to support their children (Smart 17). Women who gave birth to illegitimate children found themselves in a particularly questionable situation. On the one hand, if a woman kept the baby, she would likely be unable to properly provide for it; however, if she concealed her pregnancy and abandoned the child, she would be held liable, with the potential of being sentenced to hang, regardless of whether the baby was born alive or dead (Smart 16). Women who had children out of wedlock, who were unable to financially support their children had to face the difficult decision whether to keep the child or turn the infant over to another’s care, thus avoiding the repercussions of being found guilty of infanticide.
But what of the children?
Those visions you may have of beautiful Victorian cherub-children, the history which boasts of Victorian times “finally” bringing about children’s toys & a time “when children could finally be children,” these are not representative of most children. The average child in Victorian times was trapped the poverty, grime & disease of the Industrial Revolution — just as their parents were. The juxtaposition of the images isn’t graphic fantasy; there were two worlds. (Just as there were two worlds in terms of Victorian morals & sexuality; but that is for another time.)
The wealthy children may have found themselves clean, well dressed & with plenty of playtime on their hands, but most rural children spend their time hungry & packed in one room with 3-9 siblings & their parents or working as hard as their parents to ensure the family’s survival. And those were the lucky ones. Some went to prison — yes, children went to prison for their crimes, and some were even hung for them.
Disease & injury at work, along with other conditions of urban poverty, did leave some children orphaned; and with no family nearby, or none willing & able to take them in, there became the street urchins of Oliver Twist tales. However, orphans were not the only urchins running the streets.
Along with orphans, there were abandoned children & children of the homeless living on the streets. The streets were littered with trash & children (including some children who were there just trying to help their families eek out a living). These children were often called “street Arabs,” an ethnic slur for nomadic activities that weren’t understood.
To care for the orphaned & stray children, the Victorians built many large orphanages (along with lunatic asylums and infirmaries to house, if not care for, those unable to work, and workhouses).
Once built, orphanages housed more then orphaned & abandoned children. Poor mothers and fathers negotiated with institutions to place their children there temporarily, for assistance to overcome short-term family and economic crises. These children were called the “ins and outs” or “casual children” because of there frequent short stays at institutions.
As you can imagine, what with all the popular “fallen woman” & prostitution stories from this time, a large number of casual children came from single parent households. Not all single parents were unwed or even single mothers. Some single parent situations were created by deaths, of course, but it was also not that uncommon for one parent to be institutionalized, put in a dreaded workhouse, or in prison; leaving the other parent to fend for themselves and the children alone. But single mothers were among the majority of those who used the orphanages as temporary shelter for their children or abandoned them there entirely. Some even used the institutions as a sort of childcare; placing their children there while they went to work as live-in maids etc., visiting the children on days off.
Whether these buildings were public works or run by private charities, at some point people began to stand up and ask themselves, “Why am I paying to support someone else’s child?”
Great pains were taken to interrogate mothers & the children themselves to ascertain the name of the father, so that he could be held accountable. This meant financially responsible — but not in payments or support of any kind to the child or the mother herself; no, responsibility was only a matter of repaying the state or institution, or claiming the child so that the father’s household supported the child. In cases of wealthy fathers, women were sometimes paid not to name them, lest wives or potential wives would use the current morality to dismiss the marriage or diminish (shame) them socially. (This is the start of many of those fantasies of a wealthy parent who will come for a child & rescue them.)
More then simple resentment at having to part with money though, the was another moral issue: Poverty.
Poverty was seen as a character defect; not a circumstance. The poor were poor because they were vagrants, drunkards, morally bankrupt prostitutes, etc., and when it came to their children it wasn’t only that no one wanted to fork over their money to feed a little hungry mouth they did not create, it was a mistrust of the irresponsibility involved.
Because it’s always been easier to vilify victims than to address the problematic social structure.
The most offensive & objectionable children the charitable organizations & social institutions served were the casual children who went back & forth between decent orphanages and “no good” poor parents. These children were commonly referred to as sources of “evil,” suggestive of their status as disease carriers & corruptors of morality (including alleged sexual knowledge), infecting the innocent & redeemable orphaned & abandoned children. It was the attitudes about these casual children which actually infected the general society with a sense of distrust about orphanages.
To combat societal distrust, reformers & social workers began PR campaigns to paint all the children in orphanages as orphans and strays. This may have begun simply to improve the images of orphanages & garner funds, to distance the children themselves from the sins of their pauper parents, but in many cases the positive spin shifted to advocating legislation.
Attempts were made by so-called social reformers to do away with casual children by removing their parents from the picture, making them into situational orphans, often using legal maneuvers & legislation to prevent pauper parents from having rights to their children. Such removal of parental rights was, understandably, feared even more than being sent to the workhouses and argued against. But the legislation was pushed hard by many. One of the reformers, Florence Hill, put it this way, “Parents who have cast the burden of their children on the State should not be free to interrupt their being made good citizens, for evil purposes of their own.”
But in their quest to increase charity and government aid to children, such reformers cast the poor not only in a poor light but cast them even further away from the Victorian social body. The poor became even more disenfranchised, more vilified.
And this, my friends, is why single mothers continue to be scapegoated today. The poor continue to be judged as possessing character defects, children remain an economic drain — or “investment” if you prefer (so much money in before you might expect any return), and society doesn’t want to help with either the investment in those children or take a serious look at the very structure of society which in all actuality creates the poverty in the first place.
This is made worse for single mothers who continue (despite scientific knowledge to the contrary) to be blamed for bringing their children into this world. Ironically, the very women we blame for (further) impoverishing themselves by having children have the least access to family planning, are the most restricted regarding exercising their rights to their own bodies, and continue to be courted by religious & “moral majority” groups who judge, condemn, & ostracize them.
History repeats, continues, if we do not learn from it.
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.
For every bit of useful information (research help, household tips & recipes), there is the moment of shocking disgust that even though you already knew of its existence (or at least expected to find something like that there) results in the auditory combination of frontal forehead slap and an “arg!”
This sport has become quite popular, even among the non-collecting set, who have exploited the kitsch of yesteryear & reclaimed it in the names of feminism and/or capitalism, spawning a bajillion blogs and inspiring Anne Taintor, among others.
Derogatory statements & words (like the B-word, bitch) were often reclaimed by women, much like the N-word; only we women could use those words, label one another & our products with them.
Obviously, sometimes, it was pure capitalism. Perhaps even with a pinch of misogyny — or at least irony — as it was men like Ed Polish & Darren Wotz who really capitalized on women’s mockery of their own history by selling them bold & defiant sayings juxtaposed with domesticated retro images of women.
At some point whatever genuine interest there may have been in giving females a hearty last laugh at female history was perverted into a glut of raunchy retro styled products which twisted & sometimes down-right confused sexism with sexy. At first, it felt only natural to mock & rebel against the ridiculous notion of woman as virgin & then (married) mother — with never a thought to her own pleasure or desires.
So, much like the B-word, we took over the S-word, co-opting it for our own use, putting “slut” on a slew of merchandise.
Bur then we went too far, I think, including putting “slut” on clothing for kids. *gasp* (No, I won’t link to or promote any of that.)
Products such as Bitch & Slut Body Detergents are no longer are around (hello, collectible!) — but in the specific case of the body detergents, the problem was with the icky gritty soap, not the packaging. (And it should be noted, in the interests of accuracy and equality, that Mabel’s LaundrOmat also served silly, dirty & derogatory soaps about men too.) However, it seems the company continues to make stereotypical sundries which may chafe & chap those without the ability to laugh at things such as Extra High Maintenance & Extra Dizzy Blond Lip Balm.
Today, it’s difficult to enter a hip gift shop, bookstore, or boutique and not be bombarded with such humorous merch. A lot of it is funny. But some of it seems to actually be reinforcing the old myths & stereotypes. And many of the profits in the process of using humor to free women from the humiliating shackles of the past are lining the pockets of men, not women… Is that really liberating? Or funny?
I wonder about that stuff when I buy it for my collection. Because even while I may be “documenting history” (and modern items are both “today” and “history”), I don’t want to be buying the old party line when I buy my trinkets, you know?
I was kitsch-slapped myself, reading this line (in one my feeds) from Linda Lowen’s post regarding Farrah Fawcett’s death:
Considering the fact that Fawcett was one of those impossible-to-live-up-to female images that feminists rail against, there’s been surprisingly little commentary about her passing or about her role in pop culture history from feminist circles.
Ugh, where do I even begin?
I could try to rectify the “little commentary from feminists” comment by showing all the other posts I’d read (and skimmed in feeds) in which feminists eulogize Farrah; but I’m a bit too lazy — and hot under the collar — to gather them all.
Then there’s the matter of this, Lowen’s response to Lisa Westerfield’s “feminist Farrah Fawcett” piece (originally published prior to Fawcett’s death; republished the day the actress died):
Still Expected to Cook Dinner
Westerfield doesn’t make this point, but Fawcett’s marriage to actor Lee Majors (who played the Six Million Dollar Man) was more of the same old ‘Cinderella marries the Prince’ story than a fresh, modern tale of a strong woman controlling her own destiny. (Westerfield, however, does acknowledge that Fawcett had to leave the show in time to go home to make dinner for her husband each night.)
Sorry, but this is not the stuff that feminist icons are made off.
So marriage makes one less of a feminist? Or is it just specific kinds of marriages, left undefined, that Lowen doesn’t like? I can’t tell. And then she mentions the whole “making dinner for her husband thing.” So boring. But more upsetting actually that here I go again…
The truth is, we cannot know exactly why Farrah wanted out of Charlie’s Angel’s… Whether if was for “bigger bolder career reasons” or if she “had” to be there to make Lee’s daily dinners, or maybe, and this is too often left out of the conversation, Farrah herself wanted to be there make, serve & enjoy those meals with Majors more than be on TV. If she wanted to be there to make his man-meals after work or instead of her own career, that was her damn choice.
That’s what feminism is about; a woman’s right to choose the life she leads.
And yes, that includes the right to play 1950’s atomic “mommy” to her man. It may be, for some folks, harder to swallow than that retro lime Jell-O with its suspended carrot shavings; but suck it up & choke it down, because that’s still an option a woman has the right to choose. You have no more right to tell her she can’t than anyone else can tell her she must.
If she made that choice to be “Mrs.” rather than focus on a “career,” that is the stuff feminist icons are made of.
If she didn’t really, or freely, make that choice, as many claim, let’s look at why that would be… She went, as most women then did (and many still do — or are expected to), from Daddy’s Little Girl to The Little Woman. Breaking out of such family dynamics isn’t as easy as marching on Washington, you know. It is an individual act, done in isolation, railing against a patriarch you love; while the latter is undertaken en mass, railing against a The Patriarchy. Standing up to a man you love (whose face you adore), as opposed to standing up to The Man (who is anonymous & faceless), requires a maturity most women, especially without personally accessible role models, do not achieve until they are in their 30’s or beyond.
This Farrah did.
Isn’t that the stuff feminist icons are made of too? Or must we only be recognized if we are born with the power of rebellion, railing against things we don’t yet understand?
But what sticks in my craw most, are all the assumptions packed into one neat line in Lowen’s article: “the fact that Fawcett was one of those impossible-to-live-up-to female images that feminists rail against.”
Fact?! Who the hell says that all feminists rail against beauty? Most of us may rail against the need &/or pressure to conform to (white male) versions of “beauty,” but many of us are wise enough to realize that when a female is beautiful, impossible to live up to or not, she’s, well, she’s just beautiful.
Beauty, by itself, means nothing more, nothing less; no objectification necessary.
Nor is there a need for hatred or jealousy, or whatever pretense the stereotypical snark is supposedly serving. Such things are patriarchal constructions to divide & conquer women; crap I, and others, simply won’t perpetuate.
Some of us are also wise enough to see how beauty can & will be used against the one who possesses it. Not just in Hollywood, which rakes in money exploiting fair face & figure, while unfairly limiting actresses (such as Marilyn Monroe, Farrah Fawcett, Lucille Ball, and, recently, even Tina Fey) to (stereo)type; but everywhere.
Farrah fought against such things, not just with her stage & screen roles which eventually earned her some respect, but in her own life. Why diminish her to mean-spirited comments disguised as wit, like this comment left at Correctly Impolitic:
Here’s why the hoopla about MJ and not FF:
Michael Jackson was a spectacular talent who had mediocre hair.
Farrah Fawcett was a mediocre talent who had spectacular hair.
To mock a woman & diminish her value to only that of an icon of beauty, or “spectacular hair,” is abusive. Like an abusive spouse, such devaluation at the hands of an individual or a group culturally is an attempt to isolate and control.
To mock a woman & diminish her value to only that of an icon of beauty, or “spectacular hair,” is objectification. You are objectifying her.
Fawcett fought to have others see her many facets. She fought to make some decidedly feminist productions. But even if she had opted to make a career out of jiggle TV & silly bimbo roles (stuff our culture digs with a big spoon, allowing “dumb bimbos” to laugh all the way to the bank), she’d still be a feminist in my book. As long as she had choices to make & was exercising her right to choice, she was a feminist.
A beautiful feminist.
Why is that so difficult to accept?
You know, it’s so damn weird that people actually spend time discussing whether or not so-and-so’s hair coloring is real — and if she colored/bleached it, if she’s doing it for the patriarchy. Why waste your time on that? Isn’t it enough that there’s an asshat ready to call you old, fat & ugly the minute you stand up for yourself or dare to assert your rights as a female? While their words are no sticks & stones that can break our bones, they are designed to hurt us, discredit us, and I resent the attempts. Are my words less important if I am ugly? No. Making oneself ugly to be taken more seriously or make one “more feminist” doesn’t work either. So beauty, even great amounts of it, do not remove one’s ability to be smart or dilute one’s ability to be a feminist.
It’s such a damn mess being a judged woman. You can be a bitched at beauty, or simply dismissed as a bimbo, one minute and then called a fat cow the next just for asserting yourself or educating another with some fact or other (maybe even for daring to mock Sanjaya). It happens at Wal*Mart, in academia, in the blogosphere, at family reunion picnics… Everywhere & anywhere. And I’m sick of it.
Stop this incessant bitching about who is and isn’t being a good feminist or feminist role model. Stop worry about who wears lip gloss, bleaches her hair, & why. Stop making snide gossipy comments about who is a stay at home mom, a working mom, or a true career woman; who does or doesn’t have kids; who does or doesn’t have a man — who doesn’t even want a man — and why. Just stop worrying about what people choose to do (99 times out of 100, it has nothing to do with anyone’s safety or your life) and start worrying about whether people have equal rights to control their own lives.
That’s what feminism & true equality are all about.
And if you’ve got spectacular hair, a killer smile, and only-too-happy-to-be-seen perky nipples, good for you. You’re beautiful! Why on earth should I make that your cross to bear or discuss if that makes you “feminist enough?” I’m only worried if you’ve got the right to make your own choices in life.
And to hell with the rest of ’em who want to put you in a box.
Especially when the only box you really are in is your coffin.
Farrah exercised her ability to choose how to live her life as best she could; and that’s as feminist as it gets.
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.
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.
I was reminded the other day (details to follow) of Christopher Titus & his stand-up bit where he hates on Capri pants, saying that they are butt-widening, leg-stumpifying, pasty-white-cankle-showcasing monstrosities that are neither pants nor shorts. Who can argue? Few can face the bottom (or leg) line of Capri pants.
But the point of Capri pants is not to make you hate yourself for not being able to mold yourself into the (physical) ideal of Hepburn (Audrey, not Kate; Kate eschewed skirts and wore tailored “men’s” pants and was far more shocking than fashion-trend-setting Audrey) — Capri pants were supposed to be liberating.
Frankly, the discernible characteristics between Capri pants and peddle pushers (and, sometimes, leggings & stirrup pants — hello, 1980’s!) are few and fuzzy. I’m not just talking about fabric pilling on the knit versions either. Strictly speaking, Carpi pants are supposed to be a tad shorter and looser than peddle pushers, but for the sake of this post I won’t split hairs, except to give credit where credit is due — and the credit for peddle pushers goes to designer Lynn Eccleston in the 1940’s. Eccleston experimented with shortening the legs of women’s slacks and the sporty look caught on with active women who, like those who abandoned their corsets in at the end of the 1800’s, wanted more ease in riding bicycles — thus the term “pedal pushers.”
Some credit Mary Tyler Moore for making the pedal pusher and other pants fashionable; others prefer to cite Audrey Hepburn. Technically speaking, Audrey sported pants in the 50’s while Mary’s Laura Petrie didn’t hit small screens until the 60’s.
But for our purposes of discussion today, it’s tomato tomato — not tomato tomatoe — because both babes had figures to carry off the slim look.
And this, my friends, is the reason for the, “Yer momma wears Capri pants” slur.
Most women wearing pedal pushers have stopped pushing pedals. If they continued the liberating exercise of exercising, they wouldn’t end up being the (wide) butts of Titus’ jokes. Even the middle-age spread would limit itself to some thickening of the torso, rather than the pear and apple shaped figures most now have. (And even liberal use of sunscreen wouldn’t keep us pasty-cankle bound.)
But, by & large, we’ve stopped pushing pedals; now we’re just large. And so maybe we should stop wearing peddle pushers and Capri pants. No, not even with the “over-sized” tees, sweaters, and tunics we think hide all the problem areas. (Notice where Mary Tyler Moore’s sweater sits; she doesn’t need to hide hips, belly or behind.)
I don’t wear Capri pants or pedal pushers, but I know why other women do. Like Titus said, they are neither shorts nor pants, so they seem to provide the middle of the road not-too-formal, not-too-casual fashion needs for summer. And if we had more choices, like we did in the 70’s and 80’s for light-weight colored denim and cotton pants, maybe we’d feel less pressed to push ourselves into unflattering butt-widening, cankle-baring pants. (Back then you could find warm-weather friendly pants in shades of watermelon, sunny yellow, every shade of Caribbean azuree inspired blue… Far more then today’s white & navy.)
OK, and some women wear these shorter length pants to show off their shoes. (And yes, Titus is right, this does include cork wedges.)
But mostly Capri pants are worn for physical comfort; not to be posing like the pedal pushers we aren’t.
What started me thinking about all this was spotting a young man at an outdoor event last week. In a display of teenage fashion defiance, he was wearing all black — from head-to-toe in the sweltering high temperatures. Following the solid, if somewhat wash-faded, black line of t-shirt to canvas belt to jeans, I was jerked to a stop at the wide folded denim cuffs at his calf where a 4-6 inch wide white swatch of pasty mid-west skin glowed glared behind its decorative tufts of hair. From there, more black: black socks over the edge of comically huge black combat boots. Seriously, clown shoes are smaller.
Between the heat, the black clothing, & the weight of those shoes, he half-crawled to his seat where he tried to make it look like he was nonchalantly sprawling himself instead of, as he was, stumbling towards & falling to a seated rescue.
The only thing that kept me from bringing him some water to revive him was the knowing look his white Capri pants wearing, non-heatstroke affected mother and I shared. (And then I had to turn away and make a non-related animated conversation with hubby so that I could release my held laughter.)
My point is, if you missed it and insist that I have one, is this: He was a poser, hiding behind his costume.
If over-weight women are to be mocked for exposing their least flattering sides (physical attributes and the attitudes which created them), then I feel the need to point out the ridiculousness of faux poser cool melting in the sun.
So the next time you want to mock someone’s momma for wearing Capri pants, be sure you & yours are not equally guilty of some fashion posing; I assure you, your sacrifice of comfort (and health) is no more flattering and it is equally noticeable.
And while we’re talking about such things, let me say, “Get on your bike and ride it!” Whatever you’re wearing, you’ll look & feel better for it.
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?
At Collectors’ Quest I just reviewed Louis P. Masur’s The Soiling of Old Glory: The Story of a Photograph That Shocked America — a book I can’t recommend highly enough.
While the book is based on a very famous photograph, the Pulitzer Prize–winning photograph by Stanley Forman, taken on April 5, 1976 at a Boston rally against forced school busing, I’d never heard of or seen the photo before.
I don’t know why.
I was 12 years old at that time and I remember vividly Watergate, Viet Nam, etc.; so I obviously absorbed news. And I’ve always been interested in, sensitive to, and emotional regarding matters of race — something I’ve since put down not only to a combination of being human, being female (and so recognizing oppression), and “white guilt,” but as spiritual residue from being born on June 21, 1964, the date of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner were murdered (something I never knew until I was about 25 and rented Mississippi Burning). Plus, I’ve been a very avid student of history. So just how the incident & photograph escaped my knowledge is a mystery to me…
But once I found Masur’s book, my ignorance left.
And not just my ignorance regarding this (and other) incidents of relatively recent racism in this country (and in “the liberal north” yet!), but about photography, art, symbolism… And this country’s flag.
I had no idea that someone from my home-state of Wisconsin was so influential in the creation of National Flag Day, or that the Milwaukee Daughters of the American Revolution played a role in early anti flag desecration legislation. In fact, I had no idea that there was such concern over flag desecration as early as the late 1800’s. But what really rocked my cynical world was the reasoning behind it. Masur wrote (pages 98-99):
Even as the flag came to be venerated in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it became subject to another kind of treatment: desecration. Of course, it makes perfect sense that the two might emerge side by side, an object worshipped and reviled, an icon and a target. Reports and pamphlets in support of legislation against federal flag desecration began to appear, primarily in response not to overt acts of destruction but to the commercial use of the image of the flag. Arguing that “old glory is too sacred a symbol to be misused by any party, creed, or faction,” one writer included a list of objects on which “old glory… is treated with grave disrespect or used for mercenary purposes.” The items ranged from pocket handkerchiefs and doormats to lemon wrappers and whiskey bottles. In 1890, the House Judiciary Committee recommended passage of a law that made it a misdemeanor to “use the national flag, either by printing, painting, or affixing said flag, or otherwise attaching to the same any advertisement for public display, or private gain.”
What strikes me so odd — not that it should, I suppose — is that folks were so upset by the commercialization of the U.S. flag.
What on earth would they think of today’s patriotism? Of our current state of ridicule of anyone not wearing or displaying, on person or product, an American flag?
That sound you hear is the thud of fainting conservatives from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Or maybe it is the screams of horror from the same.
Once I wrapped my mind around such societal flip-flop, I then was left to revisit my own memories of the flag. A flag I’d seen on so many things… And that was before 9/11.
Heck, walk down any major isle at oh-holy-Wal*Mart this week, and try not to find something with the U.S. flag printed on it — tank tops with the flag & little white puppies, disposable plates with flags on them, socks with flags & fireworks, seat cushions… Endless. And all made to be profited from.
Was the Bicentennial responsible for this?
Back then (and I don’t mean just 1976, but the years surrounding it too) we had our school pictures taken with flag backgrounds, ate off flag forks, plastered cafeterias with flag-printed crepe paper & balloons, even applied flag printed toilet paper to clean our dirty butts. It was as bad as Masur notes, and, as he quotes, by then at least one member of the Sons of the American Revolution was OK with such kitsch: “I see no harm in these Bicentennial products. There is no harm in making a buck.”
But while the Bicentennial was the height of flag kitsch, I had some memories of flag use and “abuse” before then…
Again from Masur (page 107):
The meaning of America and the meaning of the flag went together. As the counterculture of the late 1950s and the 1960s came into prominence, attempts to redefine America often meant desacralizing the flag by wearing it. The cultural rebellion of the 1960s necessarily implicated the flag. [Allen] Ginsberg came to sport a top hat with the American flag motif. In discussing Ken Kesey, the Merry Pranksters, and the drug culture of the 1960s, Ginsberg argued that “they didn’t reject the American flag but instead washed it and took it back from the neoconservatives and right wingers and war hawks who were wrapping themselves in the flag, so Kesey painted the flag on his sneakers and had a little flag in his teeth filling.”
This was as I recalled from my television set. The protest film footage, the body paint on Goldie Hawn & Judy Carne on Laugh-In (and if the girls hadn’t actually worn flags painted on their bodies, well, I said it was as I recalled it…) It may not all have been as commercial as the Bicentennial kitsch was; but it was there, making it’s own statement, whether you dug it or not.
In the end, I agree with Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson who, ruling on West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette in 1943, said:
To believe that patriotism will not flourish if patriotic ceremonies are voluntary and spontaneous instead of a compulsory routine is to make an unflattering estimate of the appeal of our institutions to free minds. We can have intellectual individualism and the rich cultural diversities that we owe to exceptional minds only at the price of occasional eccentricity and abnormal attitudes. When they are so harmless to others or to the state as those we deal with here, the price is not too great. But freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order.”
I don’t for a moment consider the use of the flag as a weapon to be anything other than criminal; that’s not my intent in any way. While the photo and exploration of the cult of flag connect in Masur’s book (they have to; the flag as symbol must be discussed), that’s not his point either. But what you have to see is a time, not long ago, when many felt the flag, like the country, didn’t represent them any more.
Here Masur repeats a quote Kenneth Clark published in Dark Ghetto:
The flag here in America is for the white man. The blue is for justice; the fifty white stars you see in the blue are for the fifty white states; and the white you see in it is the White House. It represents white folks. The red in it is the white man’s blood — he doesn’t even respect your blood, that’s why he will lynch you, hang you, barbecue you, and fry you.
There are many times I feel that way. Not just in theory. Not just as continuing amateur historian. But as a woman living her life here as a second class citizen. Without equal pay. Without the same recourse & credibility when she stands to seek justice. Without recognized rights to her own body. And with far greater (& societal accepted) risk of violence & sexual assault.
Why isn’t my gender’s blood part of the red on the flag?
I feel a reclamation-of-the-flag art project coming on.
Happy Fourth of July.
Goldstein shares her exploration of Disney Princesses in Fallen Princesses at JPG Magazine:
These works place Fairy Tale characters in modern day scenarios. In all of the images the Princess is placed in an environment that articulates her conflict. The ‘…happily ever after’ is replaced with a realistic outcome and addresses current issues.
The project was inspired by my observation of three-year-old girls, who were developing an interest in Disney’s Fairy tales. As a new mother I have been able to get a close up look at the phenomenon of young girls fascinated with Princesses and their desire to dress up like them. The Disney versions almost always have sad beginning, with an overbearing female villain, and the end is predictably a happy one. The Prince usually saves the day and makes the victimized young beauty into a Princess.
As a young girl, growing up abroad, I was not exposed to Fairy tales. These new discoveries lead to my fascination with the origins of Fairy tales. I explored the original brothers Grimm’s stories and found that they have very dark and sometimes gruesome aspects, many of which were changed by Disney. I began to imagine Disney’s perfect Princesses juxtaposed with real issues that were affecting women around me, such as illness, addiction and self-image issues.
There are 2 more to be shot for this series which is going on exhibit on Oct. 15/09
The images are striking; the subject matter near to my heart.
I did some work in college on the messages in Disney images & stories. My project, Damaged By Disney, was similarly inspired by watching my then very young daughter digest Disney images — and now that I’ve had nearly two more decades of additional experiences I find I am only more interested.
I had to talk with Dina to see just what the two planned photographs would be about.
I was hoping she’d use one of the last two works to explore violence against women — it’s such a huge problem, one that’s not very well understood, in large part because few want to discuss it. Domestic violence and sexual assault of women are not covered as often as they should be; they are dismissed from discussion, deemed one part “taboo” and one part “drag.” But as both a survivor of domestic violence and a victim of date rape, I was hoping Goldstein would use her considerable talents to bring up the subjects.
When I asked Goldstein, she confessed that the two planned photos, featuring Ariel and The Princess & The Pea, would not address domestic violence or violence against women.
But I do think that I’ve planted a seed — Nay! I’ve placed the Domestic Violence & Violence Against Women peas beneath her mattress, and now I must just wait to see how many sleepless nights it takes to convince the photographer to lend her visual voice to the issues.
Vittorio at Toronto Men Unite, a blog encouraging “open and honest discussion” about “the problems many men face in the ‘trenches’ of modern dating,” writes the following in Why Men Lose Interest After Sex:
Many women mistakenly believe that the only reason guys lose interest after sex is because they gave it up too soon. While this is true sometimes, there are other reasons as well. One reason is that the men only wanted to have sex one time, and then move on. So witholding sex will not change this outcome.
Another reason is, men lose interest because the women have difficult personalities. Let’s look at this one more closely. Some women have difficult personalities, and guys will put up with them until they get the sex, and then they will bail shortly after. If these women had sex after one date or several dates the result would have been the same – the men would have ditched them regardless.
Sometimes, these women mistakenly assume that the solution is to hold out on sex even longer the next time. It never occurs to them that they are the problem.
Yeah, that sure sounds like women are the problem — why won’t we just understand & accept that, despite what they tell us on dates, that all men want is sex. Even if that sex is with a woman with a “difficult personality.” What are we women, stupid or something?
But why would we consider the problem is “us” when men play such games?
If all a man wants is to get laid, why doesn’t he walk up to a woman & say so? “Hi, I’m Bob and all I want to do is screw you.”
He doesn’t do it because he’s afraid of the, “No way, Jose,” response. So he decides to lie to get his lay. And then complains about what happens.
Worse yet, he uses the “cycle of f***-and-dump,” as he calls it, as a way to explain women and their “difficult personalities” — of course, he neatly leaves out any responsibility from men in their creation; this is all something that just happens to women. It is to be expected:
If the cycle of [f***]-and-dump continues, it can feed increasingly neurotic behaviour. These women can become increasingly demanding before and after they have sex with a man, needing constant attention and affirmation from the men that they will stick around. This of course has the opposite effect, driving the men away, which in turn can further compound the problem, causing the women to further “ratchet” up their efforts. The result is an insanely demanding woman who pulls out all the stops, even by going so far as screening men right away to make sure they can provide all that she needs, so that she doesn’t “waste time”. It’s a sick cycle.
You’re right, Vittorio; it is a sick cycle. But it’s not neurotic; it’s a learned self-preservation mechanism. And it begins with men who pretend to want more than sex.
If you want to break the sick cycle of “neurotic cock-blocking,” why not stop the “f-and-dump” cycle? Be honest, admit you’re just after sex and take getting shot-down like a man.
Vittorio finishes up his post with the following advice to men:
As men, you need to trust your instincts. If a woman shows signs of insecurity and possessiveness at the beginning, she is most likely a time bomb ready to explode. So cut your losses early.
Me? I say first of all that males need to act like men, be honest and face the rejection. And second, women, follow your instincts; if he shows signs of being a dawg, he probably is a dawg and block him accordingly. And feel free to be as neurotic as you like about it. You’ve got my permission.
On the other hand, when an honest guy actually says he justs wants sex with you, please praise him for his honesty. Your praise need not include putting out (unless you’re already agreeable!), but at least throw the guy a bone for being honest about the fact that he’s only in it for the bone.
I know many people don’t like reading about “stuff like this” — it’s too depressing &/or too upsetting, but the 72nd edition of the Carnival Against Sexual Violence has been published.
You should read it because 1 in 6 women (and 1 in 33 men) will be a victim of sexual assault in their lifetime — and if it’s not you, you will know someone who has been a victim. The issue matters now, before you or someone you love is assaulted; it matters because ignorance and avoidance of the issue helps perpetuate the violence.
Most of us tend to think of the 60’s & 70’s when those women’s libbers pushed and sued for the opportunity to be equals (including police officers) and Angie baby was in full mod swing then, so naturally we “see” her as the face (and bod) of the mod we’ve-come-a-long-way-baby policewoman. And the plethora of Police Woman dolls & toys — like this ridiculous “Sabotage Under The Sea” set with octopus — helped solidify this image for a lot of us.
But in truth, there not only were female cops before then, but they were the result of what we’d now call “unlikely feminists” — and some bad male behavior. These battles would be more dangerous than tangling with an octopus.
You may have heard of Isabella Goodwin, the first US woman detective appointed in New York City on March 1, 1912 (it’s the sort of “fun historical fact” people like to blog about, say, on March 1st). But few take the time to give you some real information about her — or at least some cultural context. But you know I’m all about the context, right?
There’s little information available on the web about Isabella Goodwin (save for the fact one-liner), but there is a story & a setting alright.
The story begins in the mid 1800’s when female prisoners were housed with male prisoners and so male officers, their wives, widows of policemen (called “bedmakers,” these women were paid out of the policemen’s own pockets), or “the maid at the police station” performed searches on female prisoners. Such mingling of the sexes shocked the general public — mainly because of the high number of poor men and women who came to New York City often found themselves forced to find shelter at station houses (these people were called “casuals”). According to the NYPD, “in 1887, at various times, up to 42,000 of these homeless women spent at least one night in a station house.” However, things were about to change.
The Women’s Prison Association of New York and the American Female Christian Temperance Union petitioned the Board of Estimate and Apportionment for the appointment of police matrons, and for the creation of separate prison cells for men and women. If it sounds odd to you that Christian women of the 1800’s would be involved in a feminist push for equal career opportunities, you misunderstand. The push was not for careers for women, but for the protection of women who could be victimized by men. And you must remember that once upon a time, Christians saw their role in society as to help the less fortunate, including through social reform, as opposed to the current day philosophy of “”convert them or judge them & leave them to rot.”
Pressured by groups seeking social reforms, the New York State Legislature passed a law requiring that female doctors treat female patients in mental institutions & that every precinct station house has Police Matrons to tend to female arrestees. This legislation was passed in 1888. But the New York City Board of Police Commissioners does not make any Matron appointments until 1891 — after Governor David B. Hill signed a bill that mandated the hiring of Police Matrons and the establishment of separate cells for men and women under arrest. This was a direct result of a police officer being found guilty the attempted assault of a fifteen-year-old girl at a station house and sentenced to prison in 1890.
Months later, the first civil service test was held for the title of Police Matron — with applicants being required to have letters of recommendation from at least twenty women “of good standing.”
In an attempt at humor, I suppose, Jay Maeder sums up the “new” police matrons with “thus creating the jail-matron system that remained a sinecure for many a stern, stout Irishwoman well into the 20th century.”
Maeder’s stereotype isn’t the worst, or even the first. Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History notes:
Of course the matrons were not installed without criticism, which by the way ranged from the prediction that women would become totally incapacitated at the sighting of a mere rodent to criticism that men wouldn’t stand a chance because women would completely take over, dominating the station house and their fellow male employees.
Police Matrons worked long hours, receiving only one day off per month, and just one week’s vacation per year. In 1896, there is one Matron per shift (one day, one night) per station house. Their duties increase too. Matrons are now assigned to search subjects; process, escort and supervise inmates; and to care for lost children. As of 1899, they were paid $1,000 per year as of 1899, and they would not receive a pay increase until 1918.
It is in 1896 that police widow Isabella Goodwin (noted as having four children) is hired as a Police Matron and begins her police career, which will culminate in making First Grade Detective in March of 1912, and being appointed second in command of the first Women’s Police Precinct in April that same year.
Goodwin’s appointment to detective came about through the Police Chief bypassing Civil Service requirements that discriminated against women — presumably in large part due to pressure from the public and lots of press regarding her role in “bringing to justice of the taxicab bandits,” as evidenced in Goodwin’s interview in The New York Times, March 3, 1912 (below).
You really should read it; where else can you read a real news story which includes characters called Swede Annie and Eddie The Boob?
The old newspaper article also includes Goodwin’s story of a bust of a (male) fortune teller. The problem of $2 readings were apparently quite prevalent, for The New York Supplement details of Goodwin’s testimony & the judge’s affirmation of the conviction of fake fortune teller Maude Malcolm on Janurary 18, 1915 (beginning on page 919).
Goodwin, naturally, ends the interview with a, “Despite my peculiar work I try not to neglect my home. A woman’s first duty is to her family, and I have tried always to remember that.” To which the author is only too happy to pander, prove (with assertions from Isabella’s children & the author’s own eyes) & compliment.
But if this seems, well, less satisfactory than the loud “long way baby” route of the mod 60’s women’s lib ladies, consider the following…
Such public adoration may have been new to Goodwin and to female policewomen at the time, but Jay Maeder notes it wouldn’t stay that way:
Matrons did women pretty much exclusively until 1912, when one Isabella Goodwin, theretofore detailed to the wayward-lass wing of the Mercer St. station, was assigned to take a position as a domestic in a household full of suspected bank robbers. Goodwin, swiftly getting the goods on this bunch, then became New York’s first female detective first grade. Subsequently, more and more women began to get pulled into crime-busting duties, and a full-fledged Bureau of Policewomen was established in 1926.
The city’s lady cops, many of them nurses and lawyers and social workers and other such college-educated professionals, were celebrated public figures all through the 1930s and ’40s and ’50s, always good press copy as they went often quite dangerously undercover to lure sexual predators and smash abortion rings and whatnot.
Isabella Goodwin may never have had a doll or octopus made in her honor; but then again, she was probably never called “a bitch of a detective” in some sort of twisted praise. Angie Dickinson, on the other hand, only played a detective on TV and got the doll, the octopus, the pinup poses in men’s magazines, and had her then-husband, Burt Bacharach, “compliment” her by saying, “”If she’s down a notch from me in the public eye these days, well, she should be up a notch—she’s a bitch of an actress.”
So I ask you, who was the more respected woman? Who should we think of when we think of “police woman?”
And why hasn’t someone made a collectible Isabella Goodwin doll?
Maybe instead of an octopus accessory, it can have a fake fortune teller accessory kit.
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
Charitable Registration 14105 0708 RR0001
You can also keep up with them at Twitter. (I am.)
As usual, I spotted a retro game at the thrift store and had to spend a whopping $1.99 — and make someone play it. This time the game was Parker Brothers’ Careers and the victim was the husband, Derek. Fortunately, the only pieces missing were two dice — and, after lengthy searching, I was able to remedy that so we could play. (No one escaped playing games with me that easily!)
Unlike the What Shall I Be? games by Selchow & Righter Co., this game isn’t so much about the rah-rah-sis-boom-bah “you can be anything you want to be” as it is about the “success formula.”
Instead of exploring career options and considering the education and work involved in landing that dream job, Parker Brothers Career Game reminds game players that success not only is about the games we play, but that one can actually define their success. I’m not just waxing poetic; it’s right there on the game’s box: “Fame… Fortune… Happiness… The Choice is yours in Parker Brothers game of Careers.” (Parker Brothers even registered it’s board game and equipment trademark under the “Fame, Fortune and Happiness.”)
Game play seems a bit complicated (there’s not only a set of instructions, but what we’d now call an FAQ printed inside the game box) and might be a bit intimidating at the start (hubby & I were awfully glad we hadn’t opened any wine coolers to drink while playing), but once you set up the board & roll the dice, it’s much easier than all the type implies.
Like Monopoly, you begin at start and get paid every time you pass it; unlike Monopoly, this game doesn’t need to be all about money, for before you roll the dice, each player sets their own goals.
Each player must define their own idea of success by designating their individual Success Formula — and actual equation by which they will win. While each player must get 60 points, they may divide their points up, in any way, between the three categories of Fame (stars), Fortune (money – each $1,000 being 1 point) & Happiness (hearts). Since we were a bit bewildered at first, we just guessed numbers to fill in the blanks. Hubby went for the mathematical “divided by three” and gave himself a goal of of 20 each. I went for $30,000 (30 points), and 15 each for Fame & Happiness.
The you move around the board, based on the number of spaces the dice rolls tell you & the information based on the cards you get, and the directions on the spaces themselves. Along the way you have options to pay for publicity (earning Fame Stars), gamble in the stock market & at Las Vegas (earning money), and spend time in Paris and Hawaii (earning Happiness Hearts) — again, if you have the money to spend on such things. Of course, just as with real life, you may also fall prey to hospital stays, unemployment, taxes & rent.
You earn college degrees & work experience by following the individual career paths (using only one die for those areas). Some of the career paths offer more money to earn, raises in salary (what you earn each time you pass “start”), Fame & Happiness points, as well as “Opportunity Knocks” and “Experience” cards.
In this game, your specific career paths are limited to Big Business, Politics, Show Biz, Sports and Space; which sort of parallels the pop culture ideas of careers in the late 70’s. (More on that here.) Navigating the side trip career paths which offer the best possibilities for your self-created Success Formula is how you attempt to control your destiny. Want more money in your pocket? Try Sports (it apparently brings lots of Happiness too). Want pay raises? Try Big Business. Politics and Space bring the most Fame; Show Biz is one of the shortest career paths, but you can find some Money and Happiness there too. But it won’t be easy…
Not only must you rely on the roll of the dice to bring you to your hopeful career path, the luck of Opportunity Knocks cards, and avoid the treachery of not only spaces but other player’s actions “bumping” you into Unemployment, but you will need to pay your way into each career, have the proper college degree &/or work experience to get into each career. Since Derek had some poor luck of the dice early on, he was unable enter any careers for quite awhile, forcing him to stay on the outside tack and pay taxes etc., prompting hit to comment that this game was a lesson in “no matter how hard you try, if you don’t start with enough money, you’re doomed.”
Real life? Meh. I’m more of an optimist.
But then, I did win.
Seems Derek, the one reading the instructions, misunderstood the difference between “Money” and “Pay” on the score pads, resulting in the mistaken notion that your Pay needed to reach the same amount of Money in your equation (it doesn’t; Money equals cash you have in hand). So at that time, since I had gobs of money, I was declared the winner.
The irony of two Bohemian “creative types” screwing up the money component of the equation was not lost on us.
Overall, I think it’s a very cool game. But then, maybe my standards are low; I just love board games & when they are “old” I’m twice as happy to play them.
The game has many variations (you know I looked ’em all up!), some of which are very cool; others nauseating. The worst of which came in 1990 when Parker Brothers thought a hot pink pandering Careers for Girls board game would profit big time.
The career paths girls could travel in this game were schoolteacher, rock star, fashion designer, college graduate, supermom, and animal doctor. And the game’s strategy was greatly simplified — because females can’t be bothered by adhering to strategy; we’re restricted to the whims of our biology, emotional whims, and itty-bitty brains. (Heck, we don’t even know what a veterinarian is; we use “animal doctor.”) So, to keep us entertained and flushed as pink as the game’s box, players were asked to perform dopey things like “Describe your dream husband” & “Show us how you dance with your main squeeze.”
When Susan Engeleiter, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, caught wind of this game, she knew it was more than hot air — it came from Parker Brother’s derrière. This is how she responded:
Engeleiter said she was amazed the game didn’t include such careers as business executives, government leaders, astronauts, scientists or moms without the prefix “super.” “Parker Brothers is sending the wrong message to young girls,” she said. “Even Barbie dolls come with business suits these days.” Then she added, “I am raising my daughter to believe there are no limits on career choices for women. If the Parker ‘Brothers’ were the Parker ‘Sisters’ this game would never have passed ‘Go.'”
In response, Parker Brothers’ spokeswoman (note: that’s not company “super spokeswoman”) Patricia McGovern stressed the game is purely for entertainment and “is certainly not to communicate that only certain careers are limited to women,” adding that the game was designed by a woman, art was managed by a woman and the product manager was a
woman. (No word on how many of those women threw-up Pepto-Bismol, hence the game’s profuse pinkosity.)
But you know what? I want them all the versions of this game — including the nauseating “girls version,” because it’s part of our history. Let’s hope I can find the other versions of this game at my local thrift stores.
The June issue of Cosmo has a cover screaming the usual predatory scare tactics about love, lust, sex and how not to be a fatty. But buried on page 44, the pickle-sized beef patty on an obnoxiously condiment loaded burger, is the meet of the issue.
Is It Ever Okay To Stay If He’s Hit You? is an article prompted by the Rihanna/Chris Brown situation (another topic I should sink my teeth into, eventually), and it discusses how even a shove is dating violence.
While the one page (large font & image laden) article isn’t bad, it barely covers the subject of dating & domestic violence past the surface stuff. However, given Cosmo‘s poor & even dangerous presentation of such serious issues, I suppose I should count my lucky stars that the topic even made it into the glossy — even if it, as it usually does these days, took a celeb situation to warrant any coverage at all.
Not just because it’s skimpy coverage, designed to provide assistance in gossiping about Rihanna and her “shocking” decision to “take Chris back.” But because it’s buried on page 44 — and the issue isn’t even put on the cover.
Yeah, I know that the domestic violence issue, like rape, is a downer and that it won’t make copies fly off the news stands like Best. Sex. Ever. (I know this from writing Relationship Underarm Stick.) But is it too much to ask that Cosmo give attention where attention is due and at least try to look like it gives a damn about the safety of women? More in-depth — and accurate — articles, please; and load the cover with ’em when you run ’em.
Because while the chicks who read this stuff are probably the least likely to be drawn to important personal safety information, they are probably the most in need of it.
At first glance what I’m about to post may seem to be back-peddling on my stance regarding rape (the lengthy debate of which you can follow with these posts); but keep reading, because I think what I’m about to share has a lot more to say about society than what’s presented…
CNN reports on a recent study, lead by Jennie G. Noll of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Ohio, published in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics titled Childhood Abuse, Avatar Choices, and Other Risk Factors Associated With Internet-Initiated Victimization of Adolescent Girls. From CNN’s report:
“Results indicated that abuse status was significantly related to online sexual advances, which were, in turn, related to offline, in-person encounters,” the study says.
The authors say there was no direct link between abuse and offline encounters, but that a history of abuse puts girls at greater risk.
Looking at the girls’ avatar choices, the authors found that girls who present themselves provocatively in body and clothing choices are more likely to have had online sexual advances.
That risk is tied not just to an avatar, but to the overall image a girl projects online, they say. On sites that don’t use avatars, such as MySpace or Facebook, simply compiling suggestive photographs or narrative descriptions can increase girls’ vulnerability, they say.
“Those adolescents who may be unaware of how their appearance might be perceived may not, from a developmental perspective, possess the social sophistication necessary to field and ward off sexual advances in ways that protect them from sexually explicit suggestions,” the study says.
“This may be a particularly important lesson to convey to female adolescents who are especially vulnerable to exploitation and victimization, such as those who have been victims of childhood abuse,” it says.
CNN ends their report with the mandatory, “watch your kids!” mantra.
“Caregiver presence was associated with significantly fewer reports by adolescents of online solicitations,” the study says. “As such, the importance of parental monitoring of adolescent Internet use cannot be understated.”
I’m not against such things; I not only believe in such parental involvement, I participate in it with my own children. But, as Diana Hartman notes, this bland bit of advice might actually be counter-productive when it comes to adolescent victims of abuse:
While the study found “caregiver presence was associated with significantly fewer reports by adolescents of online solicitations,” it is also important to note that 62 percent of females under the age of 18 were abused by someone known to them. Furthermore, in more than half these cases the biological father was the perpetrator.
Hartman ends her fine post with this sentiment:
Instead of studying the girls, the authors might seriously consider the best way to treat them.
I agree — but equally important, where’s the study &/or training of would-be victimizers and exploiters?
Once again, the behavior of victims & potential victims is what is scrutinized and therefore held accountable rather than that of perpetrators.
It’s easy to dismissively wave your hand at such a thought, to poo-poo me with a, “Where are we going to get honest perps from?” But that poo-pooing only leaves us with more of this shit.
We keep identifying victims, defining their behavior as risqué and risky (and doesn’t that just stink of judgment and victim blaming), regurgitating that information to dictate behaviors of potential victims (mainly women), and through it all, we turn a blind eye to the culprits — the very people who need to stop/be stopped.
You might not think this has much to do with adults online &/or adults dating, but honestly, yesterday’s adolescents are today’s adults; has that much changed? I don’t think so.
And today’s adolescents are the adults of tomorrow; are we educating them for the creation of a better world tomorrow? I don’t think we’re doing that either.
This retro ringer tee from Vintage Vantage is sure to remind our fellow citizens to march to the same beat for women’s safety — or, at the very least, piss off the male chauvinist pigs who are still sore that Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs. And those men, my friend, are not good dating material.
All that for $10? What are you waiting for?
PS I have no explanation for what appears to be panties on the model’s head.
While nurses, like secretaries, may have been grudgingly accepted as appropriate occupations for women, the stereotypes about them were dangerously fed to men & women alike. And books like Cinderella Nurse by Jane Converse only helped the sexist notions.
This retro paperback novel, published in 1967, was part of not only A Signet Nurse Book series, but part of a very long line of nurse novels, mostly designed to make girls (and women) moon-eyed over the career — not for its noble work in healing, not for its healthy paycheck, but for its lucrative lure of marrying a rich male doctor. As such, Cinderella Nurse has a cast of comic (yet infuriating) characters — which were supposed to be serious lessons regarding society’s moral compass.
Before we get to our heroine, Rita Ambler, there’s her “eccentric” mom who finds “her answers in the cards” and other things “occult” — on Rita’s salary. And Rita’s “beautiful” sister, Nadine, who “can’t say no” (to anything but responsibility and nursing school) and yet the spoiled brat has devious plans…
At work, Rita’s supportive female cast includes Head Nurse Eloise Carrington, nicknamed “Giggles” because, of course, she is anything-but. “Giggles” is the old maid who has foolishly spent her life dedicated to healing — and the love-from-afar of a doctor she can never have (one who mocks “Giggles” & pursues our nurse Rita as well).
Rita doesn’t have a BFF, but the only friendly associate at work (or anywhere else) and therefore can loosely be called a “gal pal,” is nurse Connie Howell. Nurse Connie is a slutty but harmless-because-she’s-a-comical-hoot-of-a-cougar — as well as a good dedicated professional. But when Connie has a career high in which she assists in an operation — “not as a scrub nurse, as an operator” — she proves she’s at the hospital to go from RN to MRS and marry herself a doctor. Despite this professional thrill, nurse Connie doesn’t even consider pursuit of advancing her career but instead concentrates on young residents… And, of course, falls for the unrequited love Rita once had.
But it’s our heroine, nurse Rita, who is probably the worst of all pandering role models in this book.
Long suffering, self-abusive, her first chance at love with Glenn Seabrook was ruined by her inability to stop being a “dishrag” or doormat for her widowed mother and younger spoiled sister. That’s what we are sold on. But really, Rita’s failed at love because she’s failed to make herself a dishrag for hubby-to-be. Glenn can’t stand Rita’s kowtowing — and she must prove she’s no dishrag by kowtowing to his wishes and dropping the caretaker’s role in her family. When Glen won’t marry Rita because he’s too proud to live off of her nursing salary while he continues his very important doctor education, the couple splits up.
This has all happened before our book begins and we meet over-worked and under-appreciated Rita after she has soiled herself with a failed marriage.
To make her likable — pitiable, even — she’s redeemed by widowhood (via the tragic death of her frivolous alcoholic husband) and plays the dutiful mother to her son, Timmy (who has the only smiles she lives for, the only arms who wait for her) while she supports her family (lazy-kooky mom, lazy-yet-plotting sister, and tiny lovable tot).
In just 128 pages, we also encounter not-quite-funny comedy of errors (misunderstandings which keep lovers apart, end friendships, force our lovely nurse into another bad relationship with another drunk — excuse me, “alcoholic”), a near-death by criminally drug-induced abortion, and almost remarkably, some sort of (twisted for the dishrag character — but typical for the genre) pride which keeps Rita from advancing upon her romantic goals and having a lifetime of bliss.
Along the way, the best friend, Nurse Cougar Connie, has to be lost because Nurse Cougar Connie can’t handle losing the man she loves to her friend, Rita — no matter how amicably she feels towards the couple, even sacrificing herself to reunite the lovers.
In the end, it’s the love her child which is said to force Rita to make the tough choices & win herself the man she loves — but only upon hearing that Glenn loves her.
It is supposedly convenient, in terms of book length, for mom & sister to send themselves packing at this time. They run off with money obtained from the wealthy doctor in town who wishes to cover-up the fact that not only did his son knock Nadine up but is the person responsible for giving Nadine the near-fatal Ergot. (I could applaud that the author didn’t give us the standard evil girl fakes pregnancy plot, but we are given the equally typical morality of Evil Immoral Nadine using an abortion juxtaposed against Good Girl Nurse Rita becoming a mother.) In any case, when the lazy money-hungry duo leave town, they leave a huge legal issue for our nurse Rita who is suspected of at least dispensing the Ergot — but the author has decided just-never-you-mind-that because our heroine’s got her baby a daddy & herself a man!
The final words of the book leave us with the happy couple discussing nuptials and the love nurse Rita & her son have for their soon-to-be new names. We are, thankfully, spared the “Mrs. Dr.” part; but one doesn’t need any real imagination to see the writing on the wall…
Liberated non-dishrag Rita will sacrifice her career for her man’s, her needs for his needs — and if she doesn’t sacrifice herself further for her son’s needs, the son’s needs will be sacrificed for hubby’s.
Eventually, Rita will be the alcoholic.
Or maybe I’m just reading to damn much into this.
No, I don’t think so.
Astonishingly, aficionados of nurse novels claim that books by Cinderella Nurse author Jane Converse are “more sophisticated” than most — of course, you’ll have to decide for yourself if that comment, posted by Jenny here, is accurate or not:
Speaking from experience: the story lines of most nurse books make the plot of any episode of Scooby-Doo look like Plato’s “Republic”—in the original Greek.
I say most nurse books, because the story lines of the more sophisticated nurse books (“Cherry Ames,” “Sue Barton,” any Jane Converse) only make Scooby-Doo look like, say, “Hedda Gabler”–or maybe “The Mill on the Floss”–in comparison.
I can’t say that Cinderella Nurse is a good book; but I can’t say it wasn’t worth the read either… For 50 cents, I was able to sigh, groan and rant — which has some value. So perhaps, given it’s short length & low price one could say that this retro nurse romance novel (for others are not quite as bad) is a fine beach read — provided you & the girls are at the beach with margaritas. You’ll have plenty of snark to rim your glasses with.
The Philistine: A Periodical of Protest was published by Elbert Hubbard, and so is yet another thing Roycrofter-tian. One of my husband’s obsessions, I am granted free access to and use of all of our duplicate copies, so you should expect to see them here from time to time.
Today I present advertisements for White Hyacinths and Woman’s Work — prominently featured in The Philistine because the books were written by none other than Elbert Hubbard & his wife, Alice Hubbard, respectively.
The first book, as you can see by the old ads, is “a book for lovers — married or unmarried” — but don’t think it’s recommending scandalous romantic relationships prior to marriage; White Hyacinths is a book about one’s love affair with life & the earth, as seen in the book’s most complete title “So here cometh WHITE HYACINTHS Being a book of the heart by Elbert Hubbard wherein is an attempt to body forth ideas and ideals for the betterment of men, eke women, who are preparing for life by living.”
Intriguing, yes; but my personal vintage book lust is currently in hot pursuit of the second book, Alice’s Woman’s Work.
Tell me, ladies, that this ad copy doesn’t make you clap your hands with joy:
Woman has always been demoneized by male men. Mrs. Hubbard thinks this is an error for both parties and gurgles her disapprobation in Caslon. Woman’s services have been paid for in clearing house promises payable in Heaven.
…Scripture charges her with disarranging the plans of Deity; the Puritans invented and operated the ducking stool for her benefit; all of the twenty witches hanged at Salem were women; she was voted out of the General Conference of Methodists — although the mother of John and Charles Wesley, and seventeen other Wesleys, was a woman, and a preacher; a woman was recently sentenced to prison in England because she insisted on having her political preferences recorded; Blackstone calls her an undeveloped man; women are not allowed to speak in Episcopal nor Catholic churches; good priests refrain from loving women as a matter of conscience, and spiritual expediency, so it seemed necessary for Mrs. Hubbard to write this book as an apology for being on earth and an explanation regarding the weaker sect, and also the unfair sex.
Or this, from the second ad for the same book:
Here is heresy, proud and patent, telling why woman is a plaything for men when she is pink and twenty, and a drudge and scullion when winter touches her hair with the frost of years — sometimes. The worst about the Marital Steam Roller is that the race suffers.
Let no presumptuous person arise and dispute this fact: women are the mothers of men. And in spite of all we can do, the qualities of the mother are the heritage of her sons. To have a truthful, direct and gentle race of men who are strong enough to look each day in the eye, who are afraid of no man, and of whom no man is afraid, we must evolve a race of mothers who are not burdened by idleness, overwork, skimped allowances or the masculine idea of Run-and-Fetch-my-Slippers.
Mrs. Hubbard is a working woman. She is Vice-President and General Manager of The Roycrofters, a corporation that employs five hundred people. She has thoughts and expresses them.
(See full scans of ads, above and below, by clicking on them.)
What’s not to love?
Sadly, copies of Women’s Work are difficult to come by. Isn’t that usually my luck? Or is that simply human nature to desire the harder to find object?
I suspect that even among the Roycrofters and fans of Roycrofters, that White Hyacinths’ beauty was far more appealing than the self & societal work presented in Alice’s book. I’m only guessing; I haven’t gotten my hands on either yet. (My Hubbard Cupboard is bare.)
The opening line in the 1909 ad for Woman’s Work read, “Men afraid of an Idea, or women incapable of the same, will do well to eschew the book by Alice Hubbard entitled Woman’s Work.”
From the looks of what few copies remain, most people preferred to eschew.
Or, maybe, just maybe, those who have the book love it so that they keep it close to their bosom.
In celebration of what is looking more & more like (knock wood) Al Franken’s seat filling the Senate seat and the recent publication of Ohio State University’s study on satire (The Irony of Satire: Political Ideology and the Motivation to See What You Want to See in The Colbert Report, April edition of the International Journal of Press/Politics), I’m reposting something I wrote 11 months ago… Because, as you’ll see, it’s more ironic to reread this than to rewrite it.
First republicans were actually using comedian Steven Colbert’s satirical works to push their agendas, and now ABC reports that the Minnesota Republican Party’s released a letter, signed by a whopping six GOP women, attacking comedian Al Franken who was then running for United States Senate in Minnesota:
Eight years ago, Franken penned a column for Playboy called “Porn-O-Rama!” in which the former Saturday Night Live comedian wrote about visiting a made-up sex institute where he takes part in sexual acts with humans and machines.
“While you may attempt to defend your writing as satire, we hardly find anything defensible about your finding humor in your desire to have sex with women or robots that look like women simply to give yourself a good time,” the Minnesota GOP women wrote in the letter. “This column is at its worst, an extreme example of the kind of disrespect for the role of women in society that all of us have fought our entire lives. At best, it is the disrespectful writings of a nearly 50-year-old man who seems to think that women’s bodies are the domain of a man who just wants to have a good time.”
“Denounce this article and apologize immediately,” read the letter.
Sheesh. And they say feminists have no sense of humor…
Perhaps too many republicans suffer from frontotemporal dementia and therefore cannot process sarcasm. (It’s funny because it’s true.)
Meanwhile, for those suffering from a poor sense of humor, an dementia-induced inability to recognize sarcasm, or a fundamental ignorance of humor ~ including satire ~ and its historical use as social protest, the Franken camp’s response (via ABC) should help clarify things a bit:
The Franken campaign said the Playboy column was written as a satire.
“Al had a long career as a satirist,” said Jess McIntosh of the Franken campaign. “But he understands the difference between what you say as a satirist and what you do as a senator. And as a senator, Norm Coleman has disrespected the people of Minnesota by putting the Exxons and Halliburtons ahead of working families. And there’s nothing funny about that.”
You don’t have to be an Al Franken fan (though I am) to love the “he understands the difference between what you say as a satirist and what you do as a senator”.
Maybe a little remedial reading, via the links here, would help those six GOP ladies… Or lobotomies. Hey, Dr. Katherine P. Rankin, do they do parahippocampal gyrus lobotomies for the sarcasm impaired?
Related: In the New York Times article on sarcasm, Dr. Rankin is quoted as saying, “I bet Jon Stewart has a huge right frontal lobe; that’s where the sense of humor is detected on M.R.I.”
And now you know how to spot all the smart funny people (who are happy to see you). Bet there are few bulging lobes in today’s republican party.
Then again, they are rarely happy to see me.
Ashley writes in with a personal problem stemming from the Steve Ward/Vh1 mess:
I’ve been following along with the Steve Ward fiasco (what a piece of work that jerk is!) and I wonder what you think of the situation that I now find myself in…
While I was drafting my letters of outrage, my boyfriend of 3 years (you can call him Bob lol) came on over. Because I was feeling pretty intense about things, when he greeted me with the casual, “Whatcha doin’?” I actually answered him. I told him of Ward’s hurtful stupidity, the lack of concern on the parts of show producers etc., and my overwhelming grief to discover (via reading all the comments etc.) just how widely held & deeply rooted such irrational beliefs are in our world.
At first I thought Bob’s lack of concern over the situation was because he hadn’t seen the show and maybe he thought I twisted the words… So I sat him at the computer and ordered him to read. But when he read, he wasn’t as outraged as I had thought he would be.
Not only did he not share my opinions, but he started to argue Ward’s side!
Now, after years of dating I was shocked! I mean we’ve discussed rape and violence towards women (and children too) and he’s always seemed educated, concerned for women’s safety and nearly apologetic in that male way of like “I can’t believe there are men who would do that.” So I was flabbergasted that Bob would hold Arian or any women accountable for what a man or men do.
I want to rant on & on about this, but you’ve covered the issue really well and I know I’m preaching to the choir, so I’ll get to the problem here. ;)
After three years of dating we’ve been talking marriage. (The only reason we aren’t officially engaged is the money thing — until I get to the next level at work, I’m still not able to afford an apartment of my own which is something I insist upon doing before I marry.) But now that I see that Bob is holding onto some archaic, dangerous, misogynistic and mean victim blaming beliefs, I just don’t know…
I sent him away that day and our conversations since then have mostly been short. Anytime the elephant on the phone line is mentioned, we just end up debating at best, arguing at worst.
Bob thinks I’m over reacting; I should know after three years that he’s a good guy. But I can’t get past the fact that good guys don’t ever excuse the behavior of bad guys — let alone hold the victims responsible for what the bad guys do.
I still love him… Otherwise this wouldn’t hurt so much. But I don’t trust him the way I used to — and I’ve lost some respect for him. I think, as hard as it will be, that I need to end things with him.
Am I being overly sensitive? Am I irrational or otherwise sabotaging a good relationship for a small thing?
Biting my nails with anxiety & heartache while I await your reply,
I probably should say that I’m sorry my blogging has disrupted your relationship with Bob — but I can’t honestly say that.
I’m sorry to hear that Bob’s not the good guy you thought he was, but,see, from where I sit, I think you are better off for making this discovery now. Even three years of dating in is better than making this discovery after three years of marriage & building a family. That’s what dating is for, to learn all you can about one another.
I don’t think I even have anything to tell you that you don’t already know…
You know that if trust and respect for your partner diminishes you are faced with two choices: Work it out, with compromise & communication (maybe some counseling), or walk away safely.*
And there are some things we just can’t compromise on.
This situation is not purely one of political difference, like say gun control, where you might compromise by owning a gun but keeping it in a locked gun safe in the garage or something– and by knowing that each of your votes cancels-out the other’s vote.
This is far more than theory, philosophy, or ideals; this is a fundamental framework of every day living. It’s a matter of freedom, equality & safety because, as you know, even if Bob is not personally a threat to you or others, he insists upon perpetuating an environment which places women with the responsibility to control male behaviors — and when that (obviously & maddeningly ridiculously) doesn’t work, he leaves victims to suffer the guilt & blame.
Heaven forbid any violence should ever befall you or someone you love, Ashley (knocking wood!) — but given the odds… How would you cope or assist another survivor in their recovery with Bob at your side? Even if his mouth never uttered a blaming sentence, you’d see it, feel it.
Whether or not you & Bob should have children of your own, building a family between yourselves involves each of your extended families and you community of friends. Can you live with Bob passing along his views about the responsibilities women (or potential victims) have to control the behaviors of rapists and abusers to your nieces & nephews, your friends’ children?
You know Bob’s views help shape our world; and you’ve clearly said that his views help shape a world you don’t want to (continue to) live in. So you know what the math is: If Bob can’t be educated out of this, you’re better off living without him. There’s no sense in living in a toxic relationship.
This is definitely a relationship deal breaker.
In the interest of fairness to your relationship with Bob, and your heart, you owe it to yourselves to communicate this as plainly as you can to Bob.
Wherever the chips fall, I wish you well.
* Note how when a human being has less respect for another human being, that the first human is not entitled to hurt, abuse or force the less-respected human to do whatever they want.
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.
NOW, the National Organization for Women, is celebrating Equal Pay Day, Tuesday April 28, with a cartoon caption contest:
We need to increase recognition that the wage gap is a problem for women and families, and what better way than humor? Enter NOW’s Equal Pay Cartoon Contest and help us spread the word about pay equity.
It sounds like a good idea to raise awareness about the wage gap for women — and to put to rest the horrid myth that feminists have no sense of humor. Two birds with one stone, right?
But then the cartoon we’re supposed to caption is this one:
What on earth is funny about that? It’s not even especially charming or quirky.
Thanks, NOW, for helping to perpetuate the myth that we feminists have no sense of humor, even when we run humor caption contests.