Compare / Contrast

Have a look at these two articles, and see if you can spot the difference:

Man loses testicle after strange young woman on street kicks him

Canwest News Service
Published: Thursday, October 29, 2009

Police in Langley, B.C., are investigating after a woman kicked a man in the groin so hard he lost a testicle — the latest in a series of similar assaults. “I just want to know what her problem is,” victim Anthony Clark, 22, said this week. Mr. Clark was walking in Langley in early September when he passed his assailant on the sidewalk. “I was looking down and then I took a passing glance and saw her walk up to me,” he said. That is when the young woman inexplicably kicked him in the groin hard enough to send one of his testicles into his abdomen. Mr. Clark said he was not aware of the severity of his injury until later that night when he “noticed something was missing.” The force of the assault caused his testicle to rupture. It had to be removed and will be replaced by a prosthetic before Christmas. Constables have told him there have been three or four similar assaults on other men, Mr. Clark said.

And this:

10-Year-Old Boys Arrested Over Alleged Rape in U.K.

SkyNews (Emma Rowley, Sky News Online)
Thursday, October 29, 2009

Two 10-year-old boys in the U.K. have been arrested over a claim of rape, according to Sky News.

The alleged victim is an 8-year-old girl who was out playing with the boys on Tuesday.

She went with them to a park where she says she was sexually assaulted, Sky News reported.

The allegation was reported to police on the same day and is being investigated by police.

Quick Hit: Political Progress

I am happy to say I can now officially update my numbers re: the demographics of the United States government: Sonia Sotomayor was sworn in as a Justice of the United States Supreme Court Saturday.

The numbers again:

Supreme Court:

  • 5 women, 4 men
  • at least one per racial group**
    • White, non-Hispanic
    • Black/African-American
    • Hispanic/Latin@
    • Asian
    • Native American/Alaskan Native
    • Native Hawai’ian/Pacific Islander
    • Other***
  • One justice would have a disability
  • At least once justice would be LGB, and preferably another be T/I

Current gender demographics: 1 woman, 8 men 2 women, 7 men
Current racial demographics: 1 African-American (a man), 8 white non-Hispanic 1 Hispanic/Latin@ (a woman), 7 non-Hispanic whites.

Courage

Declaration: I am a feminist.

I. Am. A. Feminist.

I am a radical feminist. I believe with all my being that all women are human beings, inherently worthy of all the rights and dignities that other human beings (men) enjoy.

I have been hesitant to ‘out’ myself to certain people I know; mostly conservative men, all of whom have no actual authority over me, some of whom are relatives, all of whom I consider to be friends. I have been afraid of losing their friendships and love because of my beliefs.

No more.

If I can remain friends with them, despite having serious objections to some of their beliefs, then they can remain my friends, if they don’t agree with me. If they can’t they were never friends to begin with. If they can’t love me and know I believe these things, they cannot really love me.

We women are asked, every day, to be silent about disagreeing with others so that we don’t upset them, so we don’t ‘rock the boat’, so we ‘aren’t a bother’.

No more.

Listen up: I am a radical feminist.

I don’t believe in limiting a woman’s control over her own body; I don’t believe any man has any right to exercise any control over a woman’s body, mind, speech or actions; I don’t believe any woman has any right to control other women either, whether of her own choosing or in the name of a man.

I believe anyone who attempts to control women’s bodies, minds, speech or actions are misogynist: including rape apologists, rape celebrants, Men’s Rights Activists, promoters or supporters of pornography, promoters or supporters of prostitution, people who seek to limit or obstruct women’s access to health care, contraception, safe and legal abortion, STD prevention, higher education, a living wage, food for her children, her choice of partner(s), her choice of clothing, her choice of sexuality and sexual expression, her bodily autonomy.

If any of these terms or concepts are confusing to you, or if you aren’t sure what I mean by any of them, you may read for yourself at any of the sources listed below. I will be happy to have a civil conversation with any of you about any of these things, where ‘civil conversation’ means you listen to what I have to say, and I listen to what you have to say, and we respond to each others’ concerns. Basically, all the caveats of this blog apply.

If you cannot understand, that is fine. If you will not try to understand, or will not read those things which I suggest that might help you understand, I will have neither sympathy nor time for you. If you cannot treat me like a human being, I will not stay around for the abuse.


Places to Learn:
Finally, a Feminism 101 Blog
Official Shrub dot com Blog (right hand menu)
Andrea Dworkin, I Want Twenty-Four-Hour Truce In Which There Is No Rape

Creepy Proselytizer (Part One, probably)

So I’m sitting at home with da spouse, minding my own business when a middle aged man shows up at our door. The screen door was the only one closed, so we saw him before he had a chance to knock.

Da Spouse gets up to see what he wants. “Have you accepted the Lord Jesus Christ?” the man says. “We’re not interested,” Da Spouse says, and the man went away.

This being a fairly common experience in the not-terribly-urban Midwest, I didn’t think much about it.

Then I spoke with my neighbor, a slightly younger woman than me who lives in the studio apartment (convered garage) that my now-spouse lived in when I met him. Apparently, the wannabe preacher went to see her after trying to talk to us.

This is where the creepy comes in. Continue reading

Excuse me, but is that your privilege?

So I was having a conversation with two (female) co-workers. It was actually a moderately serious one, at that; J had seen “The Future of Food” and we were discussing the state of American agriculture (did I mention I’m working in the produce dept. of a co-op? It was even relevant.)

And this other guy, from another department, comes in, hears J and the subject matter, and interrupts her to playfully mock her with “Ooh, J has an opinion!!!”

How demeaning is it to just interrupt a conversation that’s not yours with something that not only doesn’t contribute to the conversation, but makes fun of the participants for having an opinion in the first place.

Privilege is being able to automatically assume that whatever conversation was going on 1) isn’t as important as your contribution, however inappropriate and 2) has earned your mockery if it is even remotely controversial.

Addendum to: Who *would* cry rape?

Having read Thinking Girl‘s first guest post on Slant Truth (which boils down to “if you have privilege where another person doesn’t, and they feel marginalized, demeaned, etc.: shut up, listen and believe them. It’s their experience, not yours”), this thought ran across my head while catching up on the Twisty archives:

I believe a rape allegation because I wasn’t there, and she/he was, and that was her experience. If a woman says she was raped, the case needs to be taken seriously. Let the courts/judge decide, based on actual evidence, presented fairly.

Virtually everyone calls the reliability of a rape victim into question. The general consensus by the ugly side of the media machine (FOX News, I’m talking about YOU), once the declaration of insufficient evidence has been made, suddenly nothing has happened and ‘the girl’
made it all up.

Just because the prosecution couldn’t get up enough witnesses / the witnesses were not treated as credible doesn’t mean nothing happened.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Defense rests.

*RANT*

I usually consider myself a fairly accepting, patient person.

BUT IF MY FUCKING NEIGHBORS KEEP FUCKING SMOKING IN THEIR FUCKING HOUSE WHEN WE SHARE THE SAME FUCKING VENTILATION SYSTEM AND IT’S IN THEIR FUCKING LEASE THAT THEY’RE FUCKING NOT SUPPOSED TO SMOKE IN THE FUCKING HOUSE, I’M GOING TO GO DOWN THERE AND RIP THEIR FUCKING HEADS OFF GIVE THEM A PIECE OF MY MIND!

Either that, or I’m going to insist that 1) the landlord fix the damn ventilation system or 2) we move in August.

It was cigarettes at 5:30 (right after work is my guess) and for the last 30 minutes, it’s been pot smoke.

Now, cigarette smoke gives me headaches and pot? Pot turns my stomach and pisses me off.

DO WHATEVER FUCKING DRUGS YOU WANT BUT DON’T FUCKING BRING THEM INTO MY HOUSE!

I”m going out. At 8:30. When I don’t WANT to go out, because the fuckwads downstairs can’t keep their fucking filthy habits out of my fucking house.

//edit: Two hours later the smoke’s gone, and I’m finally going to bed. I’ve incidentally just finished reading a bit about the silencing tactics used on folks in the minority (opinion, gender, race, whatever) and I thought about editing this post for … well, to sound more “ladylike”. But no. I really felt like that. I’m not going to cover it up now and apologize to all the people with potentially hurt fee-fees from me ranting about my inconsiderate neighbors downstairs. No mantras of “I probably shouldn’t have yelled” or “I probably should have been more calm” or “I’m exaggerating things”. I don’t have to doubt myself that way. I don’t have to behave ‘appropriately’ in my anger at the imposition of other’s lifestyles on my own. I am a human being, and therefore entitled to feel anger, along with the rest of the bag-o-emotions.

The factoids here: I don’t have to live anywhere I don’t want to. If they don’t move out, and the LL doesn’t throw them out, or the LL doesn’t fix the vents, so that, basically, what we have to look forward to is another year of smelling other people’s smoke, then we’ll find someplace else to live. The lease is up in August. If I have to live with this garbage for another four months, then it’ll just reinforce the idea that moving = good.

File this under ‘H’ for “Not necessarily”

Charlotte Allen over at IWF defended her use of “crying rape” in a headline as having a neutral connotation, thus:

Just to clarify: The expression “crying rape” (like “crying murder” or “crying theft”) doesn’t mean the accuser is necessarily a liar. It just means she’s an accuser.

“Crying rape” does not bring the phrases “crying murder” or “crying theft” immediately to my mind (in fact, I’d never heard them used before Ms. Allen did so) but instead, evokes the phrase “crying wolf” from Aesop’s fable, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf“.

This most definitely does not have a neutral connotation, but a negative one: that of a false claim.

To be completely anal about it, I will do the most heinous of acts and consult a dictionary of the English language:

The Idioms section of The Free Dictionary:

  • cry wolf:
    to ask for help when you do not need it, with the result that no one believes you when help is necessary.
    She had repeatedly rung the police for trivial reasons and perhaps she had cried wolf too often.
    [search link]

Not satisfied? How about these:

  • [dictionary.com], under ‘wolf’: (11) cry wolf, to give a false alarm: Is she really sick or is she just crying wolf?
  • [Merriam Webster], under ‘cry’: cry wolf : to give alarm unnecessarily
  • [Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable], under ‘wolf’: To cry “Wolf!” To give a false alarm. The allusion is to the well-known fable of the shepherd lad who used to cry “Wolf!” merely to make fun of the neighbours, but when at last the wolf came no one would believe him.

Incidentally, I did Google both “crying murder” and “crying theft“, and the connotations were generally negative.

Compare this with some of the phrases captured when googling “crying rape“:

And those are just three of the top ten hits. Imagine if I went through all 130,000 of them.

I’d say there is substantial evidence that the phrase “crying rape” is not as neutral as you make out, Ms. Allen. That may be your intention, but I don’t think that’s how many people interpret it.

You would be correct if you insisted that “the lion’s share” does mean all of it, but if you insist on that meaning, who will now understand you? … Do not be so right that you will be misunderstood. Language is what we make of it by a language convention. — John Ciardi