This video is really well done and worth a watch. I have experienced almost everything shown in this film, except I didn't go to the police. I found it quite moving. People will probably not appreciate this on Valentine's day but perhaps it is one of the better days to promote awareness of how we treat each other.
There is an annoyingly persistent meme in a variety of different media formats where beautiful and thin (but not necessarily smart or if they are there is something unusual about them such as they are from another country) girls get together with nerdy/geeky guys that are often either unattractive by societal standards or are unpopular. The persistence of this is really beginning to piss me off for a number of different reasons and is exemplified by a recent advert that I believe was shown during the Superbowl in the USA yesterday.
The reason that this particular advert bothers me so much are because of the messages that it appears to be putting forward and are as follows (in no particular order);
Geeks are guys, unattractive and make no/little effort to be presentable.
Beautiful women cannot also be smart and computer literate or able to put together a website.
A stereotypical blond, thin, pink and high-heeled wearing Barbie type female is the ideal sexy look.
That geeks are not sexy and are socially inept (Walter starts off the advert by ignoring the audience and working on his computer). And who says geeks have to be computer geeks anyway?
Just before the two of them start to kiss there is an obvious look of disgust on the woman's face and relief when it is over. This offends me. In the first instance because it is obvious she doesn't want to kiss the guy, thus giving me the message that she has been coerced into kissing him (possibly for monetary gain) and, secondly, that Walter couldn't be found to be attractive in his own right. Attraction can be based on a number of factors, not just looks. Had there been any chemistry between the two of them, perhaps fuelled by an attraction to Walter's intelligence, it may have resulted in a less repulsive advert. But this kiss is devoid of any chemistry and highlights the contrast in the two actor's relative beauty. Well, the advert has done a couple of things, caused controversy and certainly stopped me from wanting anything to do with that particular web-hosting agent.
So, the advert pissed me off. But back to the meme "beauty and the geek". It is perpetuated not only in the dreadful reality TV show of the same name but repeatedly in films, TV, adverts (as shown above) and magazines seeking to advise women to date "nerdy" men. Even popular shows such as The Big Bang Theory, which I have to admit I do find funny, also perpetuate the same narrow minded thinking (often the "smart"/"intelligent" girls on this show are not shown to be particularly sexy, with the occasional exception of Bernadette, and the sexy/pretty one is constantly being shown as either unintelligent or uneducated. The "geeks" are not shown in a great light either).
Isn't it about time this meme died, from both sides? Intelligence and beauty do not reside on the same chromosome and thus replace one another. Nor to they act as the other's inhibitor. Lets see more positive exposure for sexy men and women who are intelligent (in my opinion the two go hand in hand anyway) and sexy people who do not fit into the ideal of beauty set by media in today's society. Exposure such as the work done by ScienceGrrl in their latest calendar, showcasing great images of real men and women in science (example image shown below). That is the type of meme I can really get on board with.
Tilly Blyth (l) and Alison Boyle (r) pictured with Babbage's Difference Engine No 2 in this photograph by Greg Funnell and featured in the 2013 ScienceGrrl calendar.
According to the Washington Post (link), the UN's population fund report has stated that legal, cultural and financial barriers that prevent access to contraception and family planning are an infringement of a woman's human rights.
One of the most powerful tools a woman has with regard to making choices about her own life is contraception. The decision about when and whether to have children is an incredibly important one and impacts all areas of our lives. In many areas of the western world it is easy to take for granted such rights. However, there are still countries, such as the USA, where access to contraception is a political issue (USA today) and even in the UK there is a variation in access to some contraceptive services (reproductive health matters).
While the report goes some way to highlighting the issue, the unfortunate reality is that it has no legal effect and probably little will be done in response to the statements.
Another blog entry, retweeted by skepchicks, along the lines of victim blaming and the problems facing rape victims today. But only when they are female. This really bothers me. The continual claims made that only women are victims or are victimized. I tried to comment on the blog post itself but was unable to do so and as such am making a blog postingof my own.
"The video is addressing victim blaming; a female experience. When over 90% of victims are female, it becomes such a statistical rarity (not impossibility, a rarity) that a man is victimized; male victims, who have not been brought up in a culture of being punished for their sexuality, are not within a society that shames them."
The video makes a good point of how people need to be aware of their surroundings and how some women feel about rape. But I disagree with the idea that women are afraid of being raped all the time and that men do not also take care of the situations they are in because of safety issues.
i take more issue with the blog posting itself. One of the problems about claims made like the one quoted above is that rape is not solely an issue for women, neither is the victimization of women following a rape. It may be that the author is restricting their claims to Western society, but such claims, unless qualified by statements of location, are not only misleading but they are harming individuals who badly need help. I would recommend this article, http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/jul/17/the-rape-of-men recently linked to in an earlier post of mine (http://www.skepticrainbows.com/1/post/2011/07/women-are-not-the-only-victims-of-rape.html), about male rape in regions of the world with high levels on conflict and their subsequent victimization.
I take issue with these types of claims for a number of reasons, even though I am female and have also been a victim. One of the issues is not only that the generalized statements seem to be from a particular cultural perspective, but also fail to take into account men in Western societies who may have been abused as children, with some claims as high as 1 in 5 male children (lower than the 1 in 3 female children, yes, but far from the 90% claim made in this blog) http://www.hccac.org/abuse/myths.html. Or does this not count?
I am not saying that many of the issues cited in the article are not relevant to feminists. I am saying issues such as rape and sexual abuse are issues for humanity, regardless of gender, and the claims made that seem to suggest otherwise quite rightly deserve criticism.
Having just read this article, I am horrified but not surprised.
So now women protesters are subject to virginity tests and torture to confirm the preconception that no single woman of moral standing (i.e. a virgin) would participate in the protests. Also is the implication that as long as they weren't virgin's, they could not claim sexual assault or rape by military personnel.
From a senior general,
"We didn't want them to say we had sexually assaulted or raped them, so we wanted to prove that they weren't virgins in the first place," the general added. "None of them were."
It is really sad. Unfortunately, I don't think the situation there will improve any time soon, but the seeds have been sown for change. Hopefully highlighting these issues in the rest of the world will help.
Skeptical kinkster musing on whatever takes my fancy!