I ran across something really amazing on Tumblr last night that was originally posted by Andrew Sullivan and I really wanted to do a post about it. Rather than summarize it, I’ll just quote the whole thing:
You struck a nerve with this one, as I was just discussing this very thing a few weeks ago with a group of high-school freshmen in my English class. We were discussing homosexuality because of an allusion to it in the book we were reading, and several boys made comments such as, “That’s disgusting.” We got into the debate and eventually a boy admitted that he was terrified/disgusted when he was once sharing a taxi and the other male passenger made a pass at him.
The lightbulb went off. “Oh,” I said. “I get it. See, you are afraid, because for the first time in your life you have found yourself a victim of unwanted sexual advances by someone who has the physical ability to use force against you.” The boy nodded and shuddered visibly.
“But,” I continued. “As a woman, you learn to live with that from the time you are fourteen, and it never stops. We live with that fear every day of our lives. Every man walking through the parking garage the same time you are is either just a harmless stranger or a potential rapist. Every time.”
The girls in the room nodded, agreeing. The boys seemed genuinely shocked.
“So think about that the next time you hit on a girl. Maybe, like you in the taxi, she doesn’t actually want you to.”
It makes so much sense that I’m surprised it’s never been spoken with such clarity before now. Most of the men I’ve known who were homophobic were also more likely to engage in womanizing, catcalling, or other macho type stuff (although I realize that kind of behavior isn’t limited to the stereotypical frat boy). Turning the tables on that isn’t just about “eww that’s gross”, it runs way deeper than that.
So, it’s been awhile since I posted. After the non-stop posts of February, I took a hiatus which ended up being a little longer than I planned. Thanks for your patience!
the past week I was riding along on tour with my friend’s band. I got the whole week off work and we had dates in DC, Philadelphia, and New York City. A number of unexpected problems the day before we left almost prevented us from even leaving town, but we were finally on the road Sunday afternoon and made it in time for the first show. Everything was going fine until the van broke down about 20 miles into Maryland. After a couple hours standing in the heat on an exit ramp and a couple more at a mechanic, there wasn’t any other choice but to try to get back to Richmond. They ended up renting a van to make it to the rest of their tour dates, but with all of the instruments there wasn’t room for non-essential people like myself.
Talk about a buzz kill. I had the whole week off work and didn’t really feel like going in, but I didn’t want to waste vacation time either. I ended up taking a day road tripping to visit a friend, and spent a lot of time with another friend who’s moving cross-country really soon, so it wasn’t a total waste.
I finally got to see Miss Representation last night, courtesy of a local event for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Released in late 2011, it’s a film exploring the role of women in our society and what we can do to change the disparities that exist.
It’s easy to hear about such a film and say, “But so much progress has been made!” While this is true, and yes, progress continue to be made, it’s slowed down more than you think. I’m not always one to tout statistics, but some of the figures they’ve researched are quite startling. For example:
- The average teenager consumes roughly 10 hours, 45 minutes of media per day, between television, movies, the internet, and music, the majority of which is TV watching.
- Of that media consumed, women own less than 6% of TV stations and roughly 6% of radio stations. The board members of the biggest media companies (such as Viacom, Time Warner, etc) systematically outnumber women by more than 2-1, so most of the media being produced and approved is from rich men.
- Women make up 51% of our population at present, but are only 17% of Congress (even I was surprised by how low that number is).
Mad yet? You should be.
Just a quick post to share this incredibly moving and touching video, which happens to be from another guy named Matt (but he’s apparently a way better singer than me!)
Please watch, share, repost, and if you dig his music (which is accompanying the video), you can purchase here and all proceeds are going to the National Eating Disorders Association between now and March 4th.
[August 2013 Update]I’m very sad to write that I have learned of Matt Ryd’s death. Please read and celebrate his life with me: