An awesomely ranty video:
I’ve given you my priceless opinion before about changing Facebook avatars for a cause. For the most part, it does little in terms of action or funds for whatever the cause of the month actually is. I’ve been vocal about not participating in these avatar changes because it feels like an easy way to pat yourself on the back for being an activist.
Today I eat my words.
Today I am changing my Facebook avatar.
Today I am changing it to this:
Over the next few days, the Supreme Court will hear testimony and decide if Proposition 8 will be repealed – allowing same sex marriages in California. Today gay and lesbian couples are asking the Supreme Court to allow them the right to be married, and the Federal benefits that go with it. Honestly, because of the very nature of the word “right” – it is theirs already, and they are simply asking that it not be denied.
I don’t need to change my avatar to show you I support gay marriage – I’ve never been quiet about where my support lies. Will my avatar change or effect the Supreme Court’s decision? Probably not, but what DOMA and anti-same-sex marriage activists are trying to do is not what I would call “protecting the institution of marriage”. They are trying to make same sex marriage unworthy, unequal, and shameful.
Of all the human attributes that have ever been known…
love is the least worthy of shame.
So I add my avatar – a drop into the sea of red that is growing as you read this.
I have always felt that the best way to battle shame is with openness.
Light in the dark.
Loud voices instead of secret whispers.
Public instead of private.
Somewhere there is a child too ashamed to come out to his parents. Somewhere there are same sex couples who were married where it was permitted, but are still shy about telling anyone but their close friends.
I don’t do it for most of my gay and lesbian friends, because they know how I feel. They are out and proud and battle the open injustice every day. I’m doing it to possibly open the minds of a few who thought this issue was for a “small fraction of liberals”. I’m doing it for the visual – for the very tangible stream of red profile pictures that will swell someone’s heart or make someone else question theirs.
I’m doing it because a legion of supporters grows one person at a time – and I will make myself known as a supporter in every way I can.
I’m doing it for those who are made to doubt their love…
for those who are scared…
or saddened by the fact
that certain human beings must still fight to be equal.
In the wake of the Steubenville High School students who were convicted of raping a sixteen year old girl, the internet has bounced me from blog to blog, from article to article…
I’m overloaded, and raw, and thoughtful, and angry, and strangely stirred.
The internet is on fire and I’m glad. The term “rape culture” has never seen so much play. Turns out everyone’s got a lot to say. Reactions have been divided and loud… but we need reactions – we need discussion, because something that happens as often as sexual assault should have gotten a hell of a lot more discussion a lot sooner. In fact, let’s all keep talking about it until everyone is so exhausted hearing about it that no one ever rapes again.
There has been a lot of the usual victim blaming in this case, and most of the media coverage has been about the loss of the “promising futures” the convicted boys had ahead of them. The general reaction to the media coverage from the blogosphere seems to be “How did this even happen?” “Glad the rapists will pay for their crime.” and “Holy Rape Culture, Steubenville!”.
Presently, I am struck by the lack of humanizing the young girl who survived the rape. She was violated, photographed, and then those pictures were distributed far and wide – accompanied by various disgusting jokes. Whatever trust she had in the world around her has been violently ripped away, and it’s likely she’ll spend a lifetime healing from this.
I, like many, are shocked at the coverage, sympathy, and rallying behind the rapists. Most of all, I am ill over the arrogance of these football players and those that surrounded them – the arrogance that made them think it was okay to violate another human being the way they did, and the culture that led these boys to believe that what they were doing wasn’t all that wrong – that allowed the complete dehumanization of a young girl.
The rape culture is alive and well. Women are still often portrayed as objects… to be owned or given… to be controlled. Objects aren’t human. Kicking a box is a lot more acceptable to the mind than kicking a person. These football players were raised in a culture that values violence and aggression in its masculinity. They were town football heroes – “better than” and “powerful”. They also sadly ended up doing one of the least masculine things there is – taking advantage of the weak. When they came across a young girl sick from alcohol and barely conscious, where was the masculine urge to protect? When friends witnessed the violation of this girl, where was the instinct to be brave… to stop it… to fight for someone who couldn’t?
A friend in the Steubenville case on the night of the party fought to take keys away from a friend who was going to drive home drunk. Moments later he walked in on a naked girl sprawled on the floor being violated and did nothing.
Yes, the rape culture is alive and well, but I haven’t lost hope.
The shift in this culture must and will come from the men and future men. I see it happening.
As a feminist and a survivor, I not too long ago realized why I gave birth to boys, and not the girl I wanted. A new generation of boys is rising and they will have the power to truly shake the structure of the rape culture. More and more parents, like myself, are steering away from gender stereotyping our young kids. I am teaching empathy and compassion. I am not valuing aggression simply because my kids are male. I am emphasizing respect for fellow human beings and honoring both (classically defined) feminine and male qualities. As my boys get older, I’m hoping to foster the knowledge that violence toward another person is usually done by the weak and out of control.
They will know that the strong take care of the less strong…
and that they can never be brave without first being afraid.
They will always know that they are loved, that they are worthy, and that others are worthy too.
When they are age appropriate, I will talk to them about sex…
and I will talk to them about rape - because the two are not the same.
We can actually teach our sons not to rape. We can teach them to step up, and speak out against rape (and any other violent dehumanizing act). The groundwork for human decency starts at a young age.
When you truly see someone else as a fellow human being – as an equal, an act like rape is unfathomable – it doesn’t make sense.
We can teach our children to hold the door open for someone, and to cover their mouths when they sneeze. We can teach them to shovel snow off of an an ill neighbor’s driveway. We can teach them to hold a crying friend’s hand. We can teach them to tell the truth. We can teach them not to rape.
This past week has brought a slew of blog posts from parents on rape culture and boys… and how to change it.
There is a new generation of boys rising, and mine will be among them.
I believe it is possible that someday…
and common decency
will be more common than rape.
** Some posts on the subject I recommend:
1.the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.
2.a literary composition, in verse or prose, in which human folly and vice are held up to scorn,derision, or ridicule…
Satire is a genre of literature, and sometimes graphic and performing arts, in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement. Although satire is usually meant to be funny, its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism…
Yes… it is the infamous musical number that ruffled a million feathers. I’ve read angry, “Seth is a dick” articles. I’ve read defensive, “this is comedy” articles. I’ve read thoughtful, “Seth isn’t the head writer… or the problem” articles.
I watched the musical and laughed at some parts. I was also offended at some parts. I also had a big smile on my face when the gay chorus, the sliver of the population that could care less about boobs, sang so joyously about seeing them.
Yes, I know that four of the actresses he called out in the song were depicting rape scenes in those films. The sad truth of it is that even in a movie as disturbing as The Accused, there are still young men smacking each other on the arm while watching the gang rape scene saying, “They showed her boob. Did you see her boob?” The impact of that scene is actually lost on a large percent of the population. I can’t tell you how many times as a young adult I heard movies described as the “one where so-and-so shows her boobs”. Even in a rape scene, many young men rejoice in seeing breasts, many women are shocked or put off by it, and only a small number of people can actually take the scene for what it’s worth. Yet, women in Hollywood still feel pressured to show their breasts to be “artistic”, to make it “real”, or simply to get the part.
The entertainment industry makes sex… and violence…
and we consume it.
The “We Saw Your Boobs” musical number took very talented, Oscar nominated actresses, and reduced them to the sum of their parts – something we as a society are still guilty of doing. It highlighted an already very prominent societal ill. Some people found it funny. Some people found it in very poor taste. I found it to be both. It made us uncomfortable to look in the mirror – to see a sick part of society magnified. I’ve watched it spur the most amazing debate. I found it guilty of trying to shame society into improvement.
I found it to be the very definition of satire.
Facebook is where I consume and share news and opinions. It is also where I connect with long lost school friends, and socialize with other online mothers. Lastly, it is an amplifier for my blog, my name, and my brand.
Facebook is also not real.
Facebook is the modern equivalent to the family portrait and family newsletter. We post when our kids do well, when they look their best, and when we get a new haircut. If we have babies, we post a million pictures of them because babies are perfect and adorable… even when they’re not. That’s what Facebook is for.
Facebook is not for the ugly.
Even in the rare event that someone shares “the ugly”, it is still a crafted ugly – it is thought about and refined and chosen to be shared.
Am I saying I’m not honest with all of you on Facebook? No – I’m quite guilty of being honest…
But what I choose to share is only half a percent of what I am.
Facebook is a filtered reality that occupies so very much of our time. Yes, it’s an incredible tool for connecting with people from all over the globe. Yes, for many it fills a great need for a sense of support and community. Yes, it is a lightning fast way to share current events in real time and experience a collective consciousness.
It is also a stage.
It is like one of those video games where you get to pick and choose your attributes.
Everyone can be a humorist…
and everyone gets to have an audience.
I’m grateful for the role I play…
and for the roles you’ve played in my Facebook life.
We are all a little more of our ideal selves. We care, interact, laugh, and pat on the back more than we do in person.
Fake it til you make it…
Because sooner or later,
changing your facebook avatar for a cause may make you think about real activism…
That witty comeback you finally posted days later may shake the dust off of your “in real life” wit…
The opinions you so heatedly type might lead to expressing them in your real voice…
and that “cyber hug” you posted on someone’s wall has the possibility to become a real gesture to make someone’s life easier.
Facebook is not real…
but it sure is good practice.
By PDGACO payday loans
Stealing hurts your soul.
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I am fiercely protective of what's mine.
I will find you.
Feel free to link back to this site - I like link love.
But DON'T STEAL.
I will kick you in the thigh.