Kinda predictable of me but...it's a classic. What can I say?
Have a good weekend!
Kinda predictable of me but...it's a classic. What can I say?
Have a good weekend!
The idea behind sexting, or sending a nude picture via a cell phone text, is not so new. Children played doctor long before grade school students were armed with cell phones capable of snapping photos. They just didn't record an image of the offense.
But technology has created a trail of evidence. Children and teens are capturing nude photos or videos of each other and sending them from friend to friend, and that's landing them in court.
"I think there has always been a sort of, you show me yours and I'll show you mine,
and a curiosity there," Porter County, Ind., Prosecutor Brian Gensel said. "The
problem now is the stakes are so much higher because if a juvenile sends a picture of themselves to someone else, well, that can be disseminated now to the entire world within minutes."
And that's distribution of child pornography, Gensel said.
Last week, two middle school students in Valparaiso, Ind., were caught sending nude pictures of themselves to each other on their cell phones. The students were caught when the 13-year-old girl's cell phone rang in class, and her teacher confiscated it, according to a police report. The girl cried that she would get in trouble because a 12-year-old boy sent her a "dirty picture."
The boy sent the girl a picture of his genitals and requested that she do the same, the report said. The girl then texted him a picture of her naked, police said.
The students have been charged with child exploitation and possession of child pornography, both felonies.
This explains a number of things. First of all, it explains why the attorneys in these cases aren't bothered in the least by the deeply problematic claim that children can exploit themselves. After all, there are naughty pictures in the world, and the only way to explain the existence of naughty pictures is with a narrative of exploitation and pornography (in their worldview, apparently). And this also reveals the profound panic that the existence of pictures of naked children evokes in our culture. You get the sense that the mere existence of naked girlflesh (or boyflesh) is so shocking that it can only have been the result of some crime - there's no other possible explanation for it in this worldview. (Incidentally, this line of thinking also seems to have informed the recent case of the WalMart photo center employee who called child protective services on a couple in Arizona for taking bathtime pics of their kids.)
It's also telling that (in other sexting cases) there's zero interest in prosecuting the other students (most of whom are presumably boys) that have distributed the images to their classmates. I mean, if half the kids in the school suddenly have these images on their phones, weren't there a lot of people both in possession of and distributing the pictures? Why aren't they being prosecuted? I'm gonna go ahead and guess that this one is rooted in the old "women as sexual gatekeepers" meme. After all, if girls wouldn't take nekkid pics of themselves to begin with then the boys (who are really just being boys, the poor dears) wouldn't be in possession of nekkid pics. That's logical, right?
The other thing that strikes me from this particular article is the contrast between the sort of innocent "playing doctor" of the good old days versus the infliction of your naked image upon the masses that occurs in sexting cases. The significant changes that have accompanied recent technological advances are certainly things we should talk about with kids, and something they should be aware of. But charging them with felonies, labeling them as sex offenders, etc seems like the most ridiculous way to deal with this reality of modern-day life imaginable. Seriously, if you sat down and asked yourself "what's the worst possible way I can handle the impulsiveness, lack of foresight, and poor judgment inherent in adolescent sexuality," this is the answer you would come up with. Or maybe abstinence-only sex ed. Or both. They're cut from the same fabric, after all.
I often love the way they poke fun at certain social conventions, or highlight our implicit shared cultural beliefs. But this is one of their best yet. I used this as one of our "state the implicit claims" exercises in my critical thinking course, and here are some of the interesting claims that emerged:
First, it's interesting how this exercise highlights the seemingly contradictory beliefs that coexist in our cultural views of gender. Roughly half the class identified #1 as the implicit claim (which they saw this comic as rejecting) while the other half identified claim #2. The class was also about evenly split on #3 and #4. It seems like the causal relationship can go either way here: being a girl makes you like makeup and pretty clothes, and liking makeup and pretty clothes makes you a girl. And nobody really seems to instinctively object to either of these statements. But, of course, this breaks down when you start talking about transgressive (to our gender system) identities. Because, after all, if liking makeup and pretty clothes makes you a girl, then anyone who likes makeup and pretty clothes can legitimately claim to be a girl, right? And where does that leave trans women who don't particularly like makeup and pretty clothes? How do they defend their girlness without this essential element? I think this also tangentially touches on the common belief in our culture that when a trans or genderqueer individual claims a feminine identity this just amounts to them liking makeup and pretty clothes as well.
In other words, this comic does a really nice job of hitting on the tangled mess of (rather incoherent) beliefs and attitudes that characterizes our cultural approach to gender. Your thoughts?
"Trust women" means a lot of things to me, and this goes way beyond issues like abortion and reproductive freedom. In our culture there is a deep and subtle lack of trust for women that seems to be a remnant from a time when people were explicit about the fact that women could not be trusted to make their own decisions. The explicit lack of trust for women that was common in earlier periods was supported by a whole conceptual framework that justified misogynistic beliefs and practices. But now we're in a strange sort of transitionary period where most people reject this framework (or at least claim to), but the unspoken, often subconscious, attitudes that accompanied it remain. This is evident in legislation that seeks to force women to view ultrasound images or get consent from a parent or spouse before they can terminate a pregnancy. It's evident in the "pro-life" propaganda that's so prevalent around abortion clinics. But it's evident in a number of other places too.
Most feminists who have experienced pregnancy and childbirth can tell you that the childbirth industry is saturated with a profound distrust of women. Most medical professionals act as if pregnant women are wayward children who need to be managed. From the subtle pressure and intimidation that's routine in examining and birthing rooms, to cases where the state orders a pregnant woman to submit to bedrest, a c-section, and any other medical interventions deemed necessary, this attitude toward women is obvious. Ask most women who gave birth in a hospital what responses they got to their questions or requests or birthing plans. In most cases, a pregnant woman who comes in well-informed, and asks questions, and reserves the right to refuse certain tests and interventions is treated like a trouble-maker, a selfish person who doesn't care about the well-being of her child, and/or a conspiracy theorist. From exaggerated sighs and eyerolling to outright threats and refusal of service, the disdain for a woman's capacity to make informed decisions is more than clear. And this is a reproductive rights issue just as much as access to abortion is. Having choices about the way your body will be treated, and having some control over your birth experience, is central to a woman's autonomy, and the contempt that western medicine shows for the ability of women to make informed decisions reveals their deep distrust for women.
Many of the other areas in which this distrust for women is evident also pertain to reproductive choice. Abstinence-only education, purity pledges, and refusals to perform voluntary sterilization on young women who request it are a few of these. But as a society, we also distrust women in other areas. Most marketing campaigns that are specifically targeted to women are troubling for this reason. In our cultural mythology, women buy things based on aesthetics alone. Computers, cellphones, and other electronics are marketed to women based on their appearance. Occasionally, ease of use is a selling point, but functionality is never emphasized in products targeted to women. And this is insulting in the extreme. Buying a computer is a serious purchase that will effect you for a significant period of time. By assuming that women aren't interested in or can't understand the basic information about the product which will shape their experience with it, marketers send the clear message that women are too incompetent to engage in normal adult decision-making. And this is the implicit message that our daughters are absorbing every time they're exposed to this kind of advertising.
So I guess this is what Trust Women means to me. Our practices and policies should reflect the belief that women are competent and capable of making informed decisions. This means that we make clear and complete information and educational opportunities available to them, but we don't shove the segment of the info that seems the most important to us down their throats. This means that we view pregnant women as the central actors in childbirth, and honor their preferences and desires. Mothers deliver babies - doctors and nurses and midwives and doulas just help them through the process. This means that we advertise products in an informative and straight-forward way, and assume that the consumer, regardless of their gender, knows their own needs and preferences. This means that we talk candidly and openly with teens and young women about sex and protecting themselves and the social and emotional implications of sexual relationships, and then let them navigate their own course. By doing this we'll be teaching them the most important lesson of all - we'll be sending them the message that they're intelligent and competent beings who are fully qualified to run their own lives and make their own decisions. And that's what Trust Women means to me.
"We have no evidence that hydraulic fracturing is causing problems," says Lee Fuller, vice president of government relations for the Independent Petroleum Association of America. Without evidence of problems, he says there's no reason to pile on more regulation.Right. There's no evidence of problems because the practice is relatively new, and no doubt the industry has done it's best to prevent any research from being done that would serve as evidence of a problem. And I should have more faith in the regulatory agencies that your industry has in it's pocket? Really?!? Are you kidding me?
"I think people need to have more faith in the regulatory agencies that are watching it very closely and their ability to respond to issues if they arise," says Fuller.
The number of people with at least one of four major medical conditions has increased dramatically in the past decade because of changes in the definitions of disease. "The new definitions ultimately label 75 percent of the adult U.S. population as diseased," according to calculations by two Dartmouth Medical School researchers.
In other words, Latisse will empower you to be everything a woman ought to be.
Have a good weekend y'all.
First of all, wow right? But this, along with a text conversation I had with my dad earlier today got me thinking. The Pat Robertson's of the world often turn the rest of us off to organized religion altogether. The things they say, even if retracted later, often reveal such a hateful and uncompassionate underlying attitude. And I have some big issues with my parents' version of organized religion as well. But in times like this, some important distinctions become clear.
In my parents' church, when word comes of a catastrophe like this, the very first thing these people do, instinctively, is pray for the survivors. No finger pointing, no smug proclamations about how the victims must have had it coming in some way, no speculation about how this will change the country, no dismissive quips about how they already made their contribution by paying their income taxes - just empathetic thoughts and prayers.
Secondly, all year round, on a daily basis, people in my parents' church are gathering donated medical supplies, eyeglasses, clothing, school supplies, etc. to send to places like Haiti. In fact, people from the church often pay their own way to go over for a month and work in the orphanage and neighborhood clinic that the church sponsors, and when they go they take suitcases full of these supplies. A couple of months ago, my parents contributed to a shipment of antibiotics that went to the clinic there, and last month they sent several cases of neosporin and tylenol with a woman from the church who was headed there. As it turns out, she and all the staff and children of the orphanage are safe, and they only had minor structural damage there, and are now able to help some of the survivors from the areas that were harder hit. So even as my parents make a monetary donation to Red Cross that will be useful in the coming weeks, they're comforted by the thought that maybe the contributions they already made are having an impact. In Haiti right now, the most basic generic antibiotic could save the life of a person with a badly broken bone, and those boxes and boxes of tylenol and neosporin from costco have got to be indispensable in the midst of so many scratches and bruises.
So in a time like this, this is how Christianity works for people like my parents - they pray for the survivors and hope that the things they already sent are in the right place at the right time to be comforting and helping someone. And this seems like a totally different thing to me than the smug, judgmental, ignorant, self-satisfied drivel that never seems to stop from people like Robertson. And if I believed that Jesus was the son of god, this is what I would expect him to be doing if he were here right now. Not spewing some hateful nonsense on TV, but going around investigating the best way to help - the most effective way to get people the things they really need - and then quietly and unobtrusively doing it. Yeah, Mr. Robertson, that's what Jesus would do.
P.S. But I'm still not down with the residual patriarchal gender bullshit and the heteronormativity and the purity pledges, etc. etc. etc. Just for the record.