Marianne of xojane. Gray-rape and HBO’s “Girls”
We talk about rape a lot on xoJane. And the rape we talk about is often pretty clear cut. But we also try to talk about the experiences that are more nebulous. Julieanne wrote about it, but most of us have experienced it, too. It’s more than just wishing you’d said no — it’s feeling like you were not able to. That inability might come from a variety of sources: not wanting to cause a scene, not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings, not being conscious enough of what is happening.
Gray rape can be a problematic term — some people use it as a label for rape that they don’t consider “real” or “as bad as real” rape. That is totally bogus. I use the term here to mean the kind of encounter that people sometimes have where consent is not given but it is assumed; it’s a term used to describe “nonstandard” sexual assault and, in some ways, it is a weasel term to cover the conflict we feel about consent.
Because that is the kind of thing that happens all the time in our culture. Our rape culture. And it’s the kind of thing that leaves women (not just women) uncomfortable and unsure, both about their own experiences and when they are watching something like the scene between Adam and Natalia.
It seems like no one wants to call gray rape just plain rape because then it’s really serious. We’d have to talk about why it is so damn common for women to wind up in sexual situations they don’t really want to participate in but feel they cannot refuse. We’d much rather just call it bad sex and move on.
That’s one way that rape culture perpetuates itself. In rape culture, the default status for a woman’s consent is yes. When the assumed state of women is set to “receptive,” you wind up with these grey situations.
“She should have just said no,” people say, placing the responsibility firmly on the woman involved — but why? Why is the responsibility on her to say no instead of on the initiating partner to secure a yes?
We tell people that no means no, that you shouldn’t have sex with someone who is protesting. This is a pretty effing low bar. There is, in fact, a world of difference between not saying no and actively saying yes.
That “saying” can be metaphorical, too — enthusiastic consent does not have to be the kind of explicit verbal consent demonstrated in Adam and Natalia’s first sexual encounter. A lot of long-term partners go with nonverbal cues and it can be pretty obvious even with new partners that everyone is engaged. I don’t think that’s a problem. The idea behind enthusiastic consent is, most simply, that you want someone who is an active and engaged participant, not simply someone who is willing to let you stick it in, dude.
Vidéo de présentation du fest-noz, pour l’inscription à l’UNESCO / Presentation video of the fest-noz for the Unesco inscription
Fest-Noz is a festive gathering based on the collective practice of traditional Breton dances, accompanied by singing or instrumental music. The strong Breton cultural movement has preserved this expression of a living and constantly renewed practice of inherited dance repertoires with several hundred variations, and thousands of tunes. About a thousand Fest-Noz take place every year with participants varying from a hundred to several thousand people, thousands of musicians and singers and tens of thousands of regular dancers. Beyond the practice of the dance, the Fest-Noz is characterized by an intense camaraderie among the singers, musicians and dancers, significant social and intergenerational diversity, and openness to others. Traditionally, transmission occurs through immersion, observation and imitation, although hundreds of devotees have worked with tradition bearers to compile the repertoires and lay the groundwork for new modes of transmission. Today, the Fest-Noz is at the centre of an intense ferment of musical experiences and has spawned a veritable cultural economy. Many meetings are held between singers, musicians and dancers from Brittany and different cultures. Moreover, many new inhabitants of Breton villages use Fest-Noz as a means of integration, as it is heavily implicated in the sense of identity and continuity of the people of Brittany.
You guys, Breton dancing is really fun. I miss Brittany! (Sorry the video is only in French)
you have my attention, sir.
1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.
2. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area, which I can afford and in which I would want to live.
3. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.
4. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.
5. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely
6. When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.
7. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.
8. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.
9. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket
and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can cut my hair.
10. Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of my financial reliability.
11. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.
12. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty, or the illiteracy of my race.
13. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.
14. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.
15. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.
16. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world’s majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.
17. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.
18. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to “the person in charge,” I will be facing a person of my race.
19. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’t been singled out because of my race.
20. I can easily buy posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and children’s magazines featuring people of my race.
21. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance, or feared.
22. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having coworkers on the job suspect that I got it because of race.
23. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the place I have chosen.
24. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help my race will not work against me.
25. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it has racial overtones.
26. I can choose blemish cover or bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match my skin.”
Peggy McIntosh’s Unpacking White Privilege
(can replace “race” with “gender” for male privilege)
When a little bit back Bic came out with their lady pens, I shook my head like I do at most dumb things companies do before realizing that women have the buying power in this country. Some people got really angry, and like most times when people get really angry, really funny stuff happens. This video by Eudora Peterson and also this standup bit by Ellen Degeneres had me laughing aloud in a room by myself. Seriously. I love Ellen.
This is totally real, they’re pens just for ladies. And I know what you’re thinking “it’s about damn time! Where have our pens been?” Can you believe this? We’ve been using man pens all these years!
France’s relationship with women continues to confuse me. But I like things like this.
The lower house of the French Parliament voted on Friday to fully reimburse all abortions and to make contraception free for minors from the age of 15 to 18. France’s national medical insurance pays for abortions for minors and the poor, while other women are reimbursed for up to 80 percent of the procedure’s cost, which can be as much as $580. Contraception is partly reimbursed. The bill now goes to the Senate, where it is likely to pass.
Wonderful documentary of the day. Bookmark this for a watch at lunch - really interesting collection of interviews and opinions
The digital revolution of the last decade has unleashed creativity and talent in an unprecedented way, with unlimited opportunities.
But does democratized culture mean better art or is true talent instead drowned out? This is the question addressed by PressPausePlay, a documentary film containing interviews with some of the world’s most influential creators of the digital era. presspauseplay.com @presspauseplay Facebook: on.fb.me/y4gEK1
Good lazy afternoon watch. Really interesting conversation with people involved in all levels of the creative process, discussing the music, film, and writing industries. It explores the transition of art into the digital age and the effect of democratizing the creative process - its benefits and downfalls. The interviewees touch on the beauty of accessibility in art these days due to improvements in technology, but also the loss of craft that goes along with it. It really makes you think about what it means to be an artist in this day and age.
To emphasize the heroism of Columbus and his successors as navigators and discoverers, and to de-emphasize their genocide, is not a technical necessity but an ideological choice. It serves- unwittingly-to justify what was done. My point is not that we must, in telling history, accuse, judge, condemn Columbus in absentia. It is too late for that; it would be a useless scholarly exercise in morality. But the easy acceptance of atrocities as a deplorable but necessary price to pay for progress (Hiroshima and Vietnam, to save Western civilization; Kronstadt and Hungary, to save socialism; nuclear proliferation, to save us all)-that is still with us. One reason these atrocities are still with us is that we have learned to bury them in a mass of other facts, as radioactive wastes are buried in containers in the earth. We have learned to give them exactly the same proportion of attention that teachers and writers often give them in the most respectable of classrooms and textbooks. This learned sense of moral proportion, coming from the apparent objectivity of the scholar, is accepted more easily than when it comes from politicians at press conferences. It is therefore more deadly.
The treatment of heroes (Columbus) and their victims (the Arawaks)-the quiet acceptance of conquest and murder in the name of progress-is only one aspect of a certain approach to history, in which the past is told from the point of view of governments, conquerors, diplomats, leaders. It is as if they, like Columbus, deserve universal acceptance, as if they-the Founding Fathers, Jackson, Lincoln, Wilson, Roosevelt, Kennedy, the leading members of Congress, the famous Justices of the Supreme Court-represent the nation as a whole. The pretense is that there really is such a thing as “the United States,” subject to occasional conflicts and quarrels, but fundamentally a community of people with common interests. It is as if there really is a “national interest” represented in the Constitution, in territorial expansion, in the laws passed by Congress, the decisions of the courts, the development of capitalism, the culture of education and the mass media.
… My viewpoint, in telling the history of the United States, is different: that we must not accept the memory of states as our own. Nations are not communities and never have been, The history of any country, presented as the history of a family, conceals fierce conflicts of interest (sometimes exploding, most often repressed) between conquerors and conquered, masters and slaves, capitalists and workers, dominators and dominated in race and sex. And in such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, as Albert Camus suggested, not to be on the side of the executioners.
- Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States
(emphasis my own)
At its core, feminism is the belief in equality. It seeks to eliminate the social, cultural and legal barriers between men and women. Its goal is to create a truly egalitarian society. Beyond that, the waters grow murkier. Feminist factions disagree sometimes on what constitutes equality — whether it’s sexual freedom, career advancement or something else. Some people who label themselves feminists perceive that battle for equality as over and done with; others still view society as rife with patriarchal restrictions. Recently, a debate has stirred over whether feminism has become outdated as term and should even be used at all.
So is feminism today a potent force for change? Or is it the “f-word,” spit out like a bitter seed? By examining its unifying philosophies and causes, as well as the schisms within the movement, we can properly evaluate and answer those questions.
A nice Intro to Feminism 101. Besides the fact that they keep capitalizing bell hooks’ name, solid basics.
Some (Chaotic) Thoughts On Race
A few things have happened recently that reminded me that America is not post-racial, still fairly clueless about how to discuss race, that many people are in some strange little bubbles, and that we really need to change the dialogue focus / understanding of racism.
Most recently, one of my best friends, Kenny, wrote this Facebook note that got picked up by the Boston Globe for OpEd, in which he discusses a recent encounter of his running through Harvard Yard to catch a bus, and some strangers called out at him, “Bro, you running from the cops or something?” and “What’d you steal this time?” Kenny is black, and naturally when he confronted these people about how their comments were offensive, they refused to see how, and told him to lighten up because it was a joke. Kenny’s always had a knack for writing/speeching, so it’s a good quick read, and you should read it.
When I first read it on Facebook, it immediately reminded me of this video by J Smooth on how to approach talking about race in the 21st century, which is extremely well done.
I mention these things early on because I really think you should check them out, and I’m afraid things are about to get long-winded/disorganized and I want to make sure you see them first.
Basically, these things sent me on a long thought spiral that brought me back to something that put me on a similar thought spiral a few weeks earlier.
It was first this NYT article: “DNA Gives New Insights Into Michelle Obama’s Roots,” adapted from a book soon to be released by Rachel L. Swarns on the ancestry of Michelle Obama. It essentially outlines Michelle Obama’s family history back to when her ancestors were slaves and reveals that she has some white ancestors and tries to get in touch with her modern day white relatives. I came away from reading it feeling… odd. Odd would be the best word. It took me a while to pinpoint what some of those things were that made me unhappy.
“What is being lost on the coast of Louisiana is more than a neighborhood, or a storm buffer. It’s a piece of our collective memory and a unique piece of heritage that defines us as a nation.”
Kael Alford is the recipient of the 2012 Michael P. Smith Fund for Documentary Photography (MPS Fund) Grant. The MPS Fund awards $5000 annually to a Gulf Coast photographer working on a long-term cultural documentary project.
Kael was awarded for her work “Bottom of da Boot: Losing the Coast of Louisiana.” In this body of work Kael documents the Native American communities of Pointe-aux-Chenes and Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana. Alford’s portraits, tableaux and landscapes describe her maternal grandmother’s birthplace. While the project began out of personal curiosity, Alford’s work has developed into a multi-year documentary chronicling the rapid coastal land-loss that threatens the cultures and environment across southeast Louisiana.
When Americans travel abroad, they are often surprised at how well other countries do the things we used to think America does best. In fact, one reason so many American businesses still lead the world is because they benchmark the competition and emulate best practices. But suggest to an American politician that we should try to learn from other countries, and he will look at you like you are from Mars. It is somehow unpatriotic even to raise such comparisons.
Imagine if a politician were to say, “France has a better health care system than we do.” I can almost guarantee that politician would suffer electoral defeat — even though the statement, in most objective respects, is true. The U.S. is, for too many, the only country that matters; experiences anywhere else are irrelevant. Remember, we have many members of Congress who boast they have no passport.
At a time when many trend lines in the U.S. point to relative decline in this regard, one actually brings hope: More and more young Americans go abroad for some of their education.
Read more. [Image: jbachman01/Flickr]
I was just thinking on the train yesterday how embarrassing America’s rail system is and how embarrassing we are at frankly a lot of other things, and wondering how the world lets us get away with invading other people’s countries and bossing them around when we are clearly not number one anymore, and thinking about how nothing will ever change because too many Americans can’t help but see Europeans as moral-less commies.
This article contemplates these things well.