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Author Topic: Why Aren't We Shocked?
Shan
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Bob Herbert Op-Ed from NY Times

quote:
“Who needs a brain when you have these?”
— message on an Abercrombie & Fitch T-shirt for young women

In the recent shootings at an Amish schoolhouse in rural Pennsylvania and a large public high school in Colorado, the killers went out of their way to separate the girls from the boys, and then deliberately attacked only the girls.

Ten girls were shot and five killed at the Amish school. One girl was killed and a number of others were molested in the Colorado attack.

In the widespread coverage that followed these crimes, very little was made of the fact that only girls were targeted. Imagine if a gunman had gone into a school, separated the kids up on the basis of race or religion, and then shot only the black kids. Or only the white kids. Or only the Jews.

There would have been thunderous outrage. The country would have first recoiled in horror, and then mobilized in an effort to eradicate that kind of murderous bigotry. There would have been calls for action and reflection. And the attack would have been seen for what it really was: a hate crime.


A colleague sent this along to me. I share it here. I think it's worth a read and discussion. You have to register at the Times, but it's free. It is disturbing. Especially as just last week there was a male prowler on my porch with a big stick. My description of him was enough to alert the police to a man they identified as a "former felon" living in the neighborhood -- whom they had already contacted about prowling and peeping just a few hours before. They weren't able to find him, and even though they know where he lives, they report doing nothing since.

But that's not what I'm here to talk about.

The author makes some pretty bold statements, and I don't think he's far off. Not based on just my personal observations, what my 12 year old reports, etc.

Thoughts? Opinions?

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Tresopax
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quote:
Imagine if a gunman had gone into a school, separated the kids up on the basis of race or religion, and then shot only the black kids. Or only the white kids. Or only the Jews.
Those aren't equivalent things though. Schools around the country regularly separate girls and boys for things, and in some there are girls-only and boys-only classes. There would be outrage if there were black-only classes, or Jew-only classes, etc. - and that outrage clearly does not exist for separation of the genders. I don't see any reason it should exist.
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Theca
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"Why Aren't We Shocked?"

Because he was crazy. I don't know that I think very highly of the article. I'll think about it some overnight.

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dantesparadigm
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I disagree. Completely.

Consider the motivations of the killer of the Amish schoolgirls. He didn’t shoot them because he hated women and he was seeking vengeance. He did it because he had been driven mad by a past sexual indiscretion and he intended to do a kamikaze-molesting marathon in Amish country, where he figured no one would be able to respond quickly. When the cops showed up and ruined his plan, he shot as many as he could and then himself. While that’s one of the most horrible, despicable things a human being has ever done, (with respect to Jim-Me’s thread, which I found quite profound) it’s a lot different than a crime specially meant to target another race or religion.

If, for example, he had gone into the building with the intent of killing as many Amish people as possible, there would be a legitimate public outcry against religious bigotry. The fact of the matter is the Amish school girl shootings were not a hate crime, it was the result of a man who was dead on the inside, finally snapping.

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Shan
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But when taken in context of the general attitude and representation of girls and women in today's society, does it then make a difference?

*pondering*

A few more thoughts from his article for those of you who are leery of registering to read the whole thing.

quote:
The disrespectful, degrading, contemptuous treatment of women is so pervasive and so mainstream that it has just about lost its ability to shock. Guys at sporting events and other public venues have shown no qualms about raising an insistent chant to nearby women to show their breasts. An ad for a major long-distance telephone carrier shows three apparently naked women holding a billing statement from a competitor. The text asks, “When was the last time you got screwed?”

An ad for Clinique moisturizing lotion shows a woman’s face with the lotion spattered across it to simulate the climactic shot of a porn video.

We have a problem. Staggering amounts of violence are unleashed on women every day, and there is no escaping the fact that in the most sensational stories, large segments of the population are titillated by that violence. We’ve been watching the sexualized image of the murdered 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey for 10 years. JonBenet is dead. Her mother is dead. And we’re still watching the video of this poor child prancing in lipstick and high heels.

What have we learned since then? That there’s big money to be made from thongs, spandex tops and sexy makeovers for little girls. In a misogynistic culture, it’s never too early to drill into the minds of girls that what really matters is their appearance and their ability to please men sexually.



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Theca
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No, doesn't make a difference. He's one crazy man. That's all he is.

Maybe if you started the thread over and just talked about certain attitudes about women and skipped over the whole Amish shooting bit I could make more sense out of whatever it is you are trying to discuss right now. [Smile] Because as it is I don't quite get it... I guess I should go to bed. 'Nite.

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Amanecer
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While I think that misogynism in our culture is a relevant topic, I have trouble relating it to the Amish shooting. In my mind, the man could have just as easily gone after boys as girls and the situation would have been the same. His insanity was sexual but not misogynistic.

Or what Theca edited to say. [Razz]

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Shan
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But Theca, if I can keep this going for a bit . . . the article is not "about" the tragedy that happened in the Amish community, per se.

It uses that incident as a launching point for discussion about something that seems to be happening throughout society.

The point of the article, as far as I can tell, is that females are being treated in degrading fashion, in ways that would be headline news and shocking if it were treatment experienced by a particular race or religion . . . but because the treatment is occurring to girls and women, it's overlooked or marginalized.

So, that's what I am pondering.

Care to ponder with me on that particular slant? *smile* Oops -- looks like your logging off for nighty-nite -- sleep tight!

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Shan
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quote:
If, for example, he had gone into the building with the intent of killing as many Amish people as possible, there would be a legitimate public outcry against religious bigotry.
Hmmm. I'm having trouble following. Because truly, I am not seeing the difference between targeting violence at a religious group versus a race-based group vs. a sexual orientation group vs. a gender based group.

Which -- I think -- is what the author is trying to get at . . . there is pervasive violence against women, and if it were against any other "recognized" group, it'd be labeled a hate crime.

But violence against girls and women, according to the author, apparently flies under the radar.

Some of his thinking about reasons are quite interesting:

quote:
That was never clearer than in some of the extreme forms of pornography that have spread like nuclear waste across mainstream America. Forget the embarrassed, inhibited raincoat crowd of the old days. Now Mr. Solid Citizen can come home, log on to this $7 billion mega-industry and get his kicks watching real women being beaten and sexually assaulted on Web sites with names like “Ravished Bride” and “Rough Sex — Where Whores Get Owned.”

Then, of course, there’s gangsta rap, and the video games where the players themselves get to maul and molest women, the rise of pimp culture (the Academy Award-winning song this year was “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp”), and on and on.


*shudders*

Pretty icky.

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Lyrhawn
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Honestly curious questions:

How much of that $7 billion dollars is international business?

Could it be that gangsta rap and pimp culture (with that song being a good example) are more indicative of ills in black culture or in American cross-racial male culture?

What's the equivilant man-hating word for mysogeny? This isn't a man-topia, there's plenty of anti-manness in this culture, PLENTY.

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Dasa
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Honestly curious questions:

What's the equivilant man-hating word for mysogeny?

I think it is misandry.
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Lyrhawn
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Ah, just checked dictionary.com, it IS misandry. Thanks Dasa. Depending on how this thread goes, I may have use for the word later on.
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Fyfe
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I don't think "he's crazy" works as a counterargument. Someone can be racist and crazy and someone can certainly be sexist and crazy. A crazy person could easily go into a school and separate out all the black students and kill them; and "he's crazy" wouldn't mean that he wasn't racist.

The issue isn't that this man represents all society's ills. Whether his singling out of the girls was a product of society's attitudes towards women isn't the issue. The issue is society's response to it. This man singled out the girls and killed them, and by the looks of things he was planning on sexually assaulting them before killing them; and this isn't an attack on women?

I think what the author's saying, really, is that the bigotry against women is far more wide-spread and socially acceptable than we tend to admit. And girls of my generation seem to laugh off or agree with sexist comments a good bit more often than they rebuke them or try to set boundaries; so it just gets reinforced. Makes me proper cross.

Jen

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MightyCow
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It seems like some of these arguments are without much backing. If an adult woman chooses to dress provocatively, how is anyone victimizing her? If she wears a stupid T-shirt about breasts, how is it any different from the T-shirts men wear with "Big Johnson Sporting Goods" or similar sexual ideas? How much of the money in the porn industry goes to pretty mild places like Playboy, or is spent by couples exploring their sexuality together?

I'm sure there's plenty of bad news, there always is. I don't jump on the bandwagon whenever someone starts making blown up statements though.

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Storm Saxon
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I haven't read the whole article yet, I'm not sure that I will, but just from what's been posted, the simple fact that the author seems to be overlooking is that, despite the dramatic 'rise' in so-called destructive images to women, I dn't believe there hasn't been a commensurate rise in crimes against women. There's also the little fact that over the last 20 or 30 years women have been doing better and better at the same time the porn industry has been growing to the point now that there are, as is well known, more women in some co-ed colleges than men.

He also fails to note that long before those pornographic images he berates society for were even vaguely widely seen, there was the same violence against women, almost certainly more due to various factors such as shame, lack of an organized police force, and so on.

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Fyfe
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MightyCow--

Regarding the clothes women wear: Of course women have every right to wear whatever they want. My concern is with the incredibly prevalent attitude that women are sex objects, and the sense of entitlement that men feel. When women dress a certain way and respond a certain way to sexist and sexual comments, it reinforces these ideas, and it makes me angry because these men come to think that their behavior towards women is okay. And it isn't.

Perfect example: My younger sister worked as a hostess at a restaurant in town, and the sexual harassment was constant. One bartender in particular was always touching the girls, trying to give them massages and hugs, making inapproprite sexual comments, asking them questions about their sex lives in a deliberate attempt to make them uncomfortable. Every single girl in that restaurant laughed it off and let it go, and this bartender sees no problem with his behavior. He specifically targeted my sister because she made attempts to set boundaries, and he was harassing her every chance he got. And she, she felt guilty for making a complaint against him.

This is not an exceptional situation.

I'm not saying nothing is getting better. I just wish that more of society would recognize that the problem still exists, and it's a big problem, and we really need to work on it.

SS--The author is a man. There's a picture of him on the top of the article, and his name is Bob.

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Storm Saxon
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I changed it before you said anything, just so you know. [Smile]
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Megan
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Fyfe, thank you for saying what I was trying to find a tactful way to say.

Sexism isn't dead, folks, not by a long shot.

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Dagonee
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quote:
there is pervasive violence against women
There is pervasive violence against men, too.

The big difference between many of the pop-culture references he makes and things recognized as hate-induced is that women are voluntary, even eager, participants.

Why do drunk guys call for women to lift their tops? Because they want to see breasts, and this request is sometimes honored. There are two sides to this tawdry practice.

Women compete fiercely to be the naked woman holding a phone bill, or to be in a Clinique ad, or even to be led around on a leash by rappers on an MTV stage.

Do I think there are problems with all of these things? Yes. Do I think it demonstrates a set of very unhealthy attitudes - existing in both men and women - about gender roles and sexuality? Yes.

When I was an undergrad, they instituted dry fraternity rush. To attract potential pledges, one fraternity hired two strippers.

There was a huge outcry from the women's study department folks about objectifying women. They demanded everything from revocation of the charter (a fraternity death sentence, if you will) to sensitivity training. When someone wrote an editorial about such activities being immoral on more traditional grounds, the author was widely ridiculed for attempting to "impose" his morality on others. Much of the ridicule came from the same people.

We seem to be losing the ability to look at something and say "that is wrong" without coming up with a victim. Both sides of the cultural divide do it: "think of the children" vs. "women are being objectified by this ad."

Our popular culture celebrates those who make sexual displays (I can't come up with a better word right now). A large portion of such displays involves scantily clad women demonstrating their availability for sex or men demonstrating the number of scantily clad women who are available to them. Both sides of that equation receive tremendous benefit from their demonstrations - money, fame, and, most likely, sex.

quote:
When women dress a certain way and respond a certain way to sexist and sexual comments, it reinforces these ideas, and it makes me angry because these men come to think that their behavior towards women is okay. And it isn't.
To some of the women dressed that certain way and responding in that certain way to sexual and sexist comments, that behavior is "OK" (from the accepting woman's perspective only).

So we have a significant number of women who dress and act in order to provoke such comments, and who respond favorably to such comments when made. We have a significant number of men who either don't care if the recipient welcomes the comments or who are not good at making that distinction.

We have made sex public. Some sexist people have used this as an opportunity to indulge their sexism, but that's not the only problem with having done so.

One of the reasons for rules of propriety that exclude seemingly innocent interactions between men and women is because there are significant numbers of people to whom some such interactions aren't innocent. How much more is this likely to occur when we are celebrating decidedly non-innocent interactions and making heroes of men and women who push those boundaries.

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Tresopax
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quote:
The point of the article, as far as I can tell, is that females are being treated in degrading fashion, in ways that would be headline news and shocking if it were treatment experienced by a particular race or religion . . . but because the treatment is occurring to girls and women, it's overlooked or marginalized.
No, these are not headline news stories because they aren't by any means new issues at all. They are the same complaints that feminists have been making for many decades now. It might be read in sociology books, or op-ed articles, but it just isn't news.

In truth, I don't think these complaints are very productive, because the only way to truly solve them would be to erase all distinction between men and women - which seems to be impossible, and a bad idea. And as long as a distinction exists between the two genders, they are going to be treated in different fashions - men will be hurt in certain male-specific ways and females will be hurt in certain female-specific ways. There is an inherent unfairness in separating people by gender, but it is not an aspect of society we can eliminate.

What I don't like is exploiting a tragedy for political purposes, which is what this article seems to be doing. It is taking the fact that the women were the ones that were killed and twisting it into some sort of feminist argument. This is not unlike some conservatives who are taking the fact that Rep. Foley was gay and twisting his scandal into some sort of argument that gay people shouldn't be allowed in the party's leadership.

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Storm Saxon
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I think I basically agree with both Tresopax and Dagonee. *faints*
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blacwolve
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I dislike this article because it starts out completely over the top, so it is instantly dismissed, but myself as well as everyone else. The points at the end of the article are very important and need to be made, but they're going to be ignored because the article starts out so sensationalistically.
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Will B
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I think the author's just trying to win us over to the idea of hate crimes.

The reason we aren't outraged, but saddened, is that there's no point in getting outraged against crazed murderers. The only thing to do is to lock them up or kill them in self-defense -- and this one's dead anyway. If he were still alive and defending his actions on Oprah, then we'd be outraged.

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Fyfe
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Dag--I think the point the author was making with those examples was not primarily that men are victimizing women (although that, obviously, happens as well), but that society is. He says:

quote:
In a misogynistic culture, it’s never too early to drill into the minds of girls that what really matters is their appearance and their ability to please men sexually.
This isn't just an question of sex becoming public and that being immoral. Women are being specifically objectified and victimized by the way society handles sex. Without even pausing to think for a single second, I can think of three--no, four friends of mine who have been sexually exploited in incredibly damaging ways (date rape, rape by strangers, sexual abuse). And these are just the ones I know for certain, the ones who have told me about it. A lot of men feel this sense of entitlement: Here is a woman, I find myself attracted to her, there is no reason I should not proposition/grope/have sex with her. And there is very little in society that contradicts this, and there seem to be precious few women who will set firm boundaries from the outset and stick to them.

I think it's tricky to call this a hate crime, with all the connotations thereof, but the author's assertion that we as a society have become inured to violence against women is certainly true. I'm not totally sure with what parts of the editorial you're disagreeing, Dag, so I won't say anymore until I'm clear on that.

And Tres--what complaints aren't productive? The ones about society degrading women? I must say that I disagree. One in six women have experienced rape or attempted rape. Almost 80% of rapes happen to women. About 80% of the time, the rapist is known to the woman. (This is from the CDC website, in case you're interested.) And that's not even getting into domestic violence. But the only way to solve this would be to erase all distinctions between women and men? It's just one of those female-related injustices that women have to put up with? Or am I misunderstanding you?

(I'm not asking that sarcastically.)

Jen

[ October 20, 2006, 12:06 PM: Message edited by: Fyfe ]

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Stone_Wolf_
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I think Dagonee made a very good point. It is not about right or wrong any more, but about who is the "victim".

This crime was horrible, and wrong. But we should be especially outraged because it targeted females?

While I am an advocate of women's rights and deplore any violence done by a man to a woman, is it any more shocking or wrong that women where singled out here?

About a society teaching girls to be sex objects, I agree with Dag, it isn't about women being degraded it's about sex becoming public and valued as coin.

Personaly, I think it has to do with our culture's loss of gender identity. What is the ideal American man? What is the ideal American woman?

With the focus off of family, community, love and personal responsibility, and on to money, conquest, self involvement, convenience and materialism, we have lost the idea of what a man and woman should be.

What do we aspire to be? Who are our heroes as a society?

The feminist movement is necessary, but has made being a home maker almost an unspeakable sin.

Okay, I'm borderline ranting now, so I'll leave it at that.

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Megan
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I don't think that the feminist movement has made being a homemaker an unspeakable sin. I think that there are people who feel that way, but plenty more who don't. Just like there are men who feel that women have no business working outside the home (or that they're intellectually inferior, etc.), but plenty more men who think that position is absurd.

It seems to me that the main protest about women becoming sex objects in the public eye centers on the idea that advertising is telling women, "All you're really good for is pleasing men. Embrace it!" I have no problem with someone embracing their sexuality, but I DO have a problem with telling young women that that's all they're good for. And that seems to be the main point of Fyfe's quote, above.

Also, I have to say, I dislike very strongly the idea of "the ideal American man/woman." So much for embracing individuality, eh? I prefer to think in terms of "What qualities are valuable in a person, and are to be aspired to?" Why segregate good qualities by gender?

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Storm Saxon:
I think I basically agree with both Tresopax and Dagonee. *faints*

I know.

It's enough to make you pinch yourself, neh?

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Storm Saxon
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Megan, what gives you the idea that any of the stuff mentioned in the article implies that that's all that women are good for?

Rivka,

I kid because I love. [Razz]

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Megan
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I actually wasn't able to read the article (requires an "upgrade to TimesSelect"). I was specifically responding to Stone_Wolf_'s reference to society teaching girls to be sex objects, and trying to elaborate on this quote:
quote:
In a misogynistic culture, it’s never too early to drill into the minds of girls that what really matters is their appearance and their ability to please men sexually.
Edit: I'm actually leaving my office now and heading home, so I won't be able to respond to any answer to this for a while. Just, y'know, fyi. [Big Grin]
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Storm Saxon:
Rivka,

I kid because I love. [Razz]

Aw. [Smile]
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Dagonee
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quote:
This isn't just an question of sex becoming public and that being immoral. Women are being specifically objectified and victimized by the way society handles sex.
What a large portion of society views as objectification and victimization, a large portion (including women) view as empowerment. I don't know which portion is larger. I do know that the latter seems to get more exposure in popular culture.

quote:
I can think of three--no, four friends of mine who have been sexually exploited in incredibly damaging ways (date rape, rape by strangers, sexual abuse). And these are just the ones I know for certain, the ones who have told me about it.
I'm questioning two things: 1) would they're be fewer sexual assaults and less harassment if there were fewer ads and other pop culture displays such as the ads described in the article? 2) Is it possible or likely for a society to make sex public without producing such ads?

I'm also pointing out a third thing: the public nature of sex (as it is made public today) serves men who feel entitled and women who don't mind being desired solely for sex far better than it serves the rest of us. If the answer to #2 is no, then perhaps we as a society need to forgo the enjoy and benefit of whatever aspects of public sex we consider desirable in order to avoid the lesser effects. I never see that considered.

The second question relates to how precisely we can draw the boundaries. It is basically acceptable and not shocking to see women on tv in bra and panties - mainstream, "family-oriented" companies have spent a lot of money determining that this is a net positive for their brands. maybe, if done correctly, such ads don't encourage objectification. But, even if that is true - I haven't formed an opinion - it seems pretty clear that it's a small step to the harmful types of displays from those ads.

It might not be possible, as a society, to enforce boundaries that are close to the border of harmful displays.

in other words, maybe ankles were covered not because we considered ankles provocative, but because there is only a small distance between the ankle and the knee, and the knee and the upper thigh, and the upper thigh and...

A couple of important caveats - the incremental approach can lead to undesirable results in the other direction, as well. See burquas for an example. I think ankle restrictions are orders of magnitude less oppressive than a burqa, but probably on the wrong side of the desirable middle area - in other words, farther from the border than we need to go.

I'm not entirely clear myself on the proper boundary, nor am I advocating legal constraints. I'm simply saying that we may not be able to consider displays near the "harmful" boundary to be acceptable to the mainstream if we desire to maintain that boundary.

quote:
quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Storm Saxon:
I think I basically agree with both Tresopax and Dagonee. *faints*

I know.

It's enough to make you pinch yourself, neh?


*shifty eyes* It's enough to make a guy paranoid. [Wink]
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Megan
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One last thing before I go: I'd like to point out that I am not addressing any of the violence against women points that were made, either by the article, or by any of the posters here. I'm simply pointing out what is, to me, one of the most negative effects of the prevalence of sex in advertising (that some young women embrace the idea that they're only good for pleasing men).
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Storm Saxon
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But there is plenty of other advertising out there....
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Fyfe
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quote:
While I am an advocate of women's rights and deplore any violence done by a man to a woman, is it any more shocking or wrong that women where singled out here?
I think so, though not purely because women were singled out. First of all, it is shocking and wrong that a particular group was singled out for death by the perpetrator while an opposite (for lack of a better word) group was freely let go. Second, it is shocking and wrong that society has not recognized this as a crime against women, when that is what it clearly is.

quote:
The feminist movement is necessary, but has made being a home maker almost an unspeakable sin.
I assume you're deliberately employing hyberbole here. Some feminists get angry with women who choose to become homemakers, yes. I certainly don't; my mother chose to be a SAHM not because it's the woman's place to be in the home, but because she wanted to see to her children's intellectual and moral growth. She dealt with a few snide comments from professional women, but there was no hint of its being an unspeakable sin.

quote:
About a society teaching girls to be sex objects, I agree with Dag, it isn't about women being degraded it's about sex becoming public and valued as coin.
I just disagree with this. Sex has become more public, yes, and it certainly is a commodity, but the pressure on women to make themselves sexually appealing to men is incredibly intense, and girls are aware of it from a very young age. I read that one study of fourth-grade girls in Berkeley, CA (I think) indicated that 80% of them were presently on a diet or had previously dieted to lose weight. Women are reduced to sex objects in innumerable ads and on countless television shows, and kids see that, and it has an impact.

Incidentally, in case anyone is about to say this, I know about the growing (and disturbing) trend that portrays men as stupid and incompetent on television and in films. Yes, I think that is bad too, degrading and insulting to men. I am not seeking to diminish that in any way, and personally I think it's disgusting and we shouldn't let that kind of image perpetuate itself. Bad role models for kids, could easily lead to bad self-images, and I will never ever ever display any approbation for such things in front of any children I might have. It's a problem.

And that doesn't change the fact that society portrays women as sex objects, and that women in all walks of life are constantly subjected to sexual harassment, and we need to recognize that as a problem too.

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Storm Saxon
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What do you make of the trend upward for the number of obese girls?

http://tinyurl.com/yzd5wr

In case you were wondering.

[ October 20, 2006, 02:24 PM: Message edited by: Storm Saxon ]

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Dagonee
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For the record, I think it's about both women being degraded and sex becoming valued as public coin.
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BlackBlade
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With the attacks on the Amish, I was well informed that the man attacked only girls. He let the pregnant women and the boys leave. I think asserting that the media is biased against women in this case commits the fallacy of "Biased sample." I got all my information from easily accessed news outlets that most Americans use. My experience doesnt prove them wrong, its just evidence to the contrary.

"Well I saw it this way, so it must be so."

The shirt reminds me of the Lisa Lionheart episode of the Simpsons where the Malibu Stacy doll says stuff like, "Thinking gives you wrinkles!" and, "Don't ask me, I'm just a girl, hee hee hee."

It will appeal to a certain type of woman, and apparent A&F thinks this type of girl takes up a significant percentage of their customer base. Its a shirt I wouldnt want to see on any of my daughters, but I certainly can do nothing about it besides not purchase such apparel.

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Lyrhawn
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I don't know how anyone can make a clear claim on the issue when women themselves are so divided over it. Some women like feeling sexually empowered, and some women think the objectification of women is wrong, which is why you have equal parts MTV Spring Break and equal parts professional women, and SAHM moms.

I wouldn't even know how to go about making them all happy. And thus I think a more free take on things is fair, it allows women who WANT to be more sexually empowered to do so, and other women to choose not to.

But I wonder, if the ratio of murders in this country was flipped and it was women that were killed three times as much as men, would there be an outcry against that? Men getting killed isn't a big deal, men being victims of abuse isn't a big deal. Young men are under equal pressure to match a physical standard set by culture, from Tommy Hilfiger ads to men in movies, music, and television. There's a level of muscle bound jock like attractiveness that it is VERY early on instilled in them that they must achieve in order to win a mate, or to be accepted.

Research into this area is new, why? Because society before now hasn't really given a lot of thought to boys. And now we find that in increasing numbers, young men have issues with bulemia and anorexia, and self mutilation, and steroid use, which can harm them for the rest of their lives.

Talking about society as if women are victims all the time, and men just roam freely having a good time is dishonest, and I think does irreparable damage by furthering sexist stereotypes and sexist divisions in our culture.

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Stone_Wolf_
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Well said Fyfe...

I have a question for you (not sarcastic). At what point does it become the consumer's responsibility to simply not buy the products which are promoting this negative imagery? If it were not profitable for the company, then they would not do it.

About the attack, I guess the part I don't get it is, this was a sexually motivated act of violence, by a heterosexual man, so, it was on females. If he had been homosexual, it would have been on males, and if bisexual, on both.

That being said, I want to say that I believe that all cases of rape, attempted rape, molestation etc should be punishable by the death sentence. One strike you are out.

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BlackBlade
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I have found it interesting that generally speaking

Men lead feminist movements (though they do not usually start them)

and

Women often oppose feminist movements.

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Belle
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quote:
I have a question for you (not sarcastic). At what point does it become the consumer's responsibility to simply not buy the products which are promoting this negative imagery? If it were not profitable for the company, then they would not do it.

And that is key. Does anyone think A&F is demonstrating some type of social commentary about empowering women's sexuality? No, they're trying to make a buck. That shirt sells, so they put it in their stores. If it stops selling, they will take it out. The problem is not A&F, it's the mentality of the person who thinks that shirt is appropriate.

quote:
Women often oppose feminist movements.
Yah. It's an issue of extremes. I absolutely believe in equal pay for equal work, and I want every woman to have opportunities to do what she wants, whether that be work as an executive in the corporate world or stay at home and concentrate solely on her role as wife and mother, or whatever combination of career/motherhood she desires. But I don't call myself a feminist because in America, the feminist political movement seems to require a pro-choice stance, and I'm staunchly pro-life. If I get to define the term, yes, I'm a feminist. But there are many, many people in the feminist movement who would not label me so because of my view of abortion.
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Megan
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Blackblade, can you give examples, particularly of the former? Because from everything I've read, those are some pretty sweeping and at least partially untrue generalizations.

And no, I don't think women often do oppose feminist movements. I, for one, most certainly do not.

Edit: Belle, because you want men and women to equal rights and opportunities, I would call you a feminist. [Big Grin]

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BaoQingTian
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You've defined feminist in such a way that Blackblade won't be able to back his claim.

Edit: I think under a strict definition of feminism, what you've described as feminist is accurate. However, in the context of the rest of the thread, which was probably what BlackBlade was referring to, feminism becomes something above and beyond simply seeking equal opportunities as men. This is demonstrated by Belle's hesitancy to use the term feminist, even though she agrees with the root of the definition.

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pooka
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I think if the violence had been against a religious group, it wouldn't have been that much different. Well, unless it was a religious/ethnic group that doesn't expect that sort of thing. It's part of being a minority, that it's not that shocking when crap happens to you. Which I guess is why I hate that people want to kick Asians out of the minority bucket, because you still get a certain amount of crap for being a Asian, even though it's often from the other minorities.
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Fyfe
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Lyrhawn--

What do you mean by "more sexually empowered"? Do you mean women who dress in provocative clothing? women who are more free about having casual sex? I agree that women are free to do what they like; and it is also my opinion that some of the things they do cause damage to other women because of the attitudes it creates. If another woman allows a pattern of what I would perceive as inappropriate sexual behavior in men, those men are going to think it's fine to treat me the same way.

Women don't divide into categories of Go ahead and grope me and If you touch me I'll cut your hand off. From what I can tell, a majority (or at least a very large number) of young women are uncomfortable with these things but let them slide because they would find it embarrassing to take a stand.

I have never suggested that men just roam freely having a good time. I never would suggest that. There are obvious pressures on men, just as there are on women.

I'm also not really sure why you think it's relevant that more men are being killed than women in the US. Does that somehow imply that women aren't being objectified and degraded in our society?

Men are murdered nearly four times more frequently, yes. But it might also be useful to point out that men commit ten times more murders than women do. It might also be useful to point out that the female murder victims are killed for sex-related reasons 81% of the time (Bureau of Justice Statistics), compared to 18.8% of male murder victims. So I'm not sure where your argument is really leading.

Stone Wolf--
I try to stay away from products that use this kind of advertising, although of course I don't see all the advertising that goes on. But it's sort of a vicious circle, you know? The attitudes are propagated by the ads, and people are subjected to these attitudes their whole lives, and so they're used to it and it appeals, so it continues to be profitable for the company, etc. I'd be enchanted if people quit buying the products with that kind of advertising.

Sexually motivated? Maybe. Sex-related, obviously. But I don't think it's as simple as you're putting it.

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Kasie H
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I think part of the reason this issue is so contentious and hard to articulate is because not all women have a singular emotion when it comes to being "sexually empowered." In this thread, being "sexually empowered" has been equated to being a "sex object"; that's fine, for argument's sake.

One of the intellectual issues I have with feminism today is the idea that the so-called objectification of women and the professional empowerment of women are fundamentally at odds.

Speaking as a professional: I enjoy being respected in the workplace.

Speaking as a human being with sexual desires: I enjoy being able to attract men.

I think the problem, frankly, is when personal lives/relationships cross over into professional ones. That's when you have problems with sexual harrassment, abuse, inappropriate comments, etc. When I'm at work, for example, I wear conservative clothes, usually suits; I don't discuss my personal life beyond mundane "what are you doing this weekend" conversations; I keep joking around and side conversations strictly PG; etc etc. I don't want the people I work with to see me as a woman, I want them to see me as a colleague, as they should. In the workplace, gender differences shouldn't matter. I should be judged solely on the quality of the work I do.

My personal life is a different matter. Among friends, acquaintences, etc, I am a young single woman unafraid to crack dirty jokes, wear knee-high boots, a low cut top or leather pants if I want to, and generally display my sexuality at my own personal comfort level. That's because I'm interacting with people on a personal level, which means they are free to judge me on my personal attributes - and if I don't like how they respond to me I'm free to not associate with them. Not so with colleagues.

(Edited to note that this "professional" connotation should extend to any environment which requires a professional relationship between two people, regardless of whether the woman works inside the home; parent-teacher conferences or school-organized parent gatherings would fit here, too)

Anyway, this post was prompted by something Lyrhawn said:

quote:
Some women like feeling sexually empowered, and some women think the objectification of women is wrong, which is why you have equal parts MTV Spring Break and equal parts professional women, and SAHM moms.
My ultimate point is that I don't think you can set "MTV Spring Break" and "professional women/SAHM moms" as opposites. They are two distinct, separate parts of life that can't be compared and, in my opinion, can actually coexist peacefully.

In my opinion, the problem is when people can't separate the two. Both men and women can be and are often guilty of bringing inappropriate sexuality into the workplace. I think feminists/feminism is still trying to erase from the collective male consciousness (if you will) the idea that women are strictly personal/sexual beings that are part of a personal/sexual life (as women largely were until recent history).

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pH
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quote:
What do you mean by "more sexually empowered"? Do you mean women who dress in provocative clothing? women who are more free about having casual sex? I agree that women are free to do what they like; and it is also my opinion that some of the things they do cause damage to other women because of the attitudes it creates. If another woman allows a pattern of what I would perceive as inappropriate sexual behavior in men, those men are going to think it's fine to treat me the same way.

...and yet, you give no responsibility to the man who is also taking part in inappropriate sexual behavior? [edit: I mean, what you would consider to be inappropriate, not that everyone should consider it inappropriate.]

Men aren't stupid. They aren't mindless sex drones. It's not like they're incapable of turning down a woman. If a man thinks it's fine to treat you the same way, he does bear responsibilty for making that assumption.

-pH

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MightyCow
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What I find interesting is that men are often treated the same way women are, but the men don't care. If a man is propositioned for sex in a bar, he often thinks it's awesome. If a man could post nude pictures of himself on the Internet and have random strangers pay him to look at them, a lot of men would jump at the chance.

Men frequently wear self-deprecating shirts, dress to try and appear sexy, and feel that it's empowering. A lot of men like the idea of a forward woman who approaches him for sex, makes comments about how hot he is, and gropes him. Holy cow, a random girl in a bar just grabbed my butt? I'm a stud!

I think it's obvious that sexual predators are bad, that rape is a horrible crime, and that everyone should be able to control what happens to their body. Women shouldn't be abused or attacked or forced to do things against their will.

I find it an interesting aspect of American society how the gender rolls play out. Many of the things women complain about, men wish for. I don't know if it's genetic, or a factor of society, or a combination, but it's really too bad that both sides seem to want what the other side largely has.

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Shan
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Wow -- this has sure taken off while I was at work. Thanks for all the thoughtful and civil discussion!

I tend to agree with an earlier comment that the article starts on such a note that the main point about the author's comments on a "social ill" is missed.

Sometimes, imflammatory words are good to get folks reading and thinking -- and sometimes they get in the way.

Seems to be about 50/50 here.

But I do think that as a society we have really gone to an extreme in sexual mores and behavior that has led to negative results . . . and then the part of me that loves history wonders if we are just being more open in society about the behaviors that both men and women participate in.

*still pondering*

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Fyfe
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quote:
...and yet, you give no responsibility to the man who is also taking part in inappropriate sexual behavior?
Uh, no. I give plenty of responsibility to the men who behave this way, and believe me, I do not pull my (verbal) punches when it happens to me personally. Initially I was just agreeing that women also allow this to happen, and then I kept going along that line of thought.

Also if I expressed how furious I was at the time of the post (one of my flatmates has been behaving completely inappropriately in this area), I would have sounded not at all well-reasoned but in fact more like an insane person. So I may have been overcompensating.

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