Archive for the ‘Tolerance’ Category

Kids Know What’s Up

January 26, 2012

Twice yesterday I was blown away by the insight of young ladies who have an incredible grasp of the world around them.

13-year old schools you on slut shaming.

This is fantastic. I am awed that this incredible teenage girl not only grasps the problem of slut shaming, but that she so thoroughly and eloquently explains it in under four minutes.

Seen on Feministe

Boy-Girl Bear

My friend’s four-year old daughter has this to tell you about her bear:

Text reads: E’s bear’s name is Isabelle and he is “both a boy and a girl and he’s ok with you calling him he or she.” We are changing the world people! It’s so simple for kids to get why is it so hard for adults?!

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Boston SlutWalk 2011

May 18, 2011
I am very, very excited to introduce a guest post by Jo O. All words and photos are hers, and have not been edited from her original submission. For more of Jo’s photos from the Boston SlutWalk, please visit her BostonSlut Walk set on Flickr.
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Last Saturday I attended the Boston SlutWalk, one of many satellite walks affiliated with the Toronto SlutWalk held in early April. The original SlutWalk was organized in response to a statement made in January by a Toronto police officer during a campus safety forum at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School where he stated “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.”

Although he eventually issued an apology, organizers of the Toronto SlutWalk were not deterred, stating that police failed the citizens by allowing this culture of slut-shaming to enter the ranks of those sworn to serve and protect. “With sexual assault already a significantly under-reported crime, survivors have now been given even less of a reason to go to the Police, for fear that they could be blamed.” And it’s not just Toronto Police that are the problem, which is why this message grew from a small group of people who heard the insensitive comment to the launch of satellite walks in London, Boston, Dallas, and many other cities (including Minneapolis on August 6th).

The belief that a woman’s choice of clothing could cause a man to lose control of his sexual urges is absurd and offensive to men and women alike. But this attitude exists everywhere, from the professionals to whom we report a crime to the communities expected to provide support. When an 11-year old girl was gang raped in Cleveland, Texas, the New York Times article about the case highlighted just how skewed some people’s views of the situation were. Interviews with residents familiar with the victim and the attackers focused on the fact that the victim “dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s” as well as concerns about how the young men involved would “have to live with this the rest of their lives.”

Admittedly, I’ve harbored similar prejudices in the past, which is why I came out for the Boston SlutWalk. It’s easy to say that under no circumstances is rape acceptable, but it’s more difficult to quiet that voice in your head that asks inappropriate questions that don’t matter, like “what kind of reputation does she have?” or “what was she wearing?” When I told a friend of mine I was going to this event, he asked me if I thought a man wearing a Rolex or flashing a wad of cash should be surprised when he gets mugged. It stumped me for a second, until I thought about how sad it is to assume that an expensive trinket in someone’s hand would cause everyone in the vicinity make a grab for it or that seeing a little cleavage would suddenly turn any man into a sex-crazed animal. It assumes that every person out there is a potential attacker, a likely thief or a possible rapist. It also wrongly puts fault on the victim, when the blame should always fall squarely on the shoulders of the actual perpetrators of violence.

In the build up to the event, people questioned why a SlutWalk was being held in Boston. Did we really want to take back the word “slut” anyway? Did we want to advocate slutty behavior? Was this really the message we want to send to the children spending a nice day in the park with their parents? The true message was obvious at the event, when two thousand people, young and old, male and female, gay, straight, bi, and transgendered all came together in Boston to say we would not tolerate slut-shaming or victim-blaming anymore.

As Jaclyn Friedman said during her speech, “It ends because there is truly nothing, NOTHING you can do to make someone raping you YOUR fault. It ends because calling other people sluts may make you feel safer, but it doesn’t actually keep you safer. It ends because not one more of us will tolerate being violated and blamed for it. And it ends because all of this slut-shaming does more to us than just the violence of rape. As if that weren’t enough. The violent threat of slut-shaming also keeps us afraid of our bodies and our desires. It makes us feel like we’re wrong, and dirty, and bad, and yes very, very unsafe, when all we want is to enjoy the incredible pleasure that our bodies are capable of.”

Jaclyn Friedman at Boston SlutWalk 2011

The SlutWalk wasn’t just about one stupid statement made by a cop. It is a response to the skewed way society looks at victims of sexual assault. It doesn’t matter how many sexual partners a person has or what they like to wear, rapes happen because a rapist is around. The SlutWalk is a call for people to stand up together and say I’m not ashamed of liking sex, I’m not ashamed of the way I choose to dress, and I will stand up against anyone who suggests a victim of rape was “asking for it.”

Social Science and Stuff

March 30, 2011

Omigosh, I’m so excited to be going tonight to Party with the Pharaohs, the Science Museum of Minnesota’s first Social Science event for adults. I set up a page on Eventbrite to organize all of my fabulous science-minded friends for this evening, and some of y’all even accepted! I’m giddy. It’s going to be a blast, what with the mummies and the movies and the food and the cash bar and the live animal exhibition and the omnitheater and wheee!

So until tomorrow when I can tell you about how all of that went, here are some articles that caught my interest today:

  • Verbal and physical attacks on students are encourged by extremist animal rights group, Negotiation is Over. Reported on by Pharyngula, Respectful Insolence and Speaking of Research.
  • SlutWalk – A Toronto event that is speaking out against the idea that women who dress like “sluts” get what is coming to them. Covered by Almost Diamonds.
  • Abortion Crackers – What happened when a pro-choice store owner in a small town encountered an anti-choice consumer. Written by Liberal House on the Prairie.

Hey Homos, Quite Picking on Christians.

November 19, 2010

‘Cuz you all are.  Don’t you know that when don’t let others threaten you, deny you civil rights and discriminate against you, that you’re infringing on their intellectual and religious freedom?

Cardinal Giacomo Biffi is bummed out that a woman lost her position on an adoption panel because she was turning away gay couples because they were…gay. 

“Is it still permitted … to be faithful and consistent disciples of the teaching of Christ … or must we prepare ourselves for a new form of persecution, promoted by homosexual activists, by their ideological accomplices, and even by those whose task it should be to defend the intellectual freedom of all, including Christians?”

If you define being persecuted as being called on your shit when you discriminate against someone because they are different from you, or because they don’t honor your supposedly personal beliefs, then…yeah, prepare yourself for “persecution”. 

But you know what isn’t going to happen?  Those doing the “persecuting” aren’t going to try to interfere in your love life, your children’s life, your access to health care, your ability to serve in the military, your  ability to marry, visit your partner in the hospital, challenge your bequeathment wishes…  oh, right. 

Who is persecuting whom, again?

Story via RichardDawkins.net

Would you lie?

October 15, 2010

Seen on Nothing to Do With Abroath

Original article: NZHerald

New Zealand museum bans pregnant women from attending exhibit

A clash of cultures over a rule forbidding pregnant or menstruating women to attend a Te Papa exhibit has been criticised by feminists. An invitation for regional museums to go on a behind-the-scenes tour of some of Te Papa’s collections included the condition that “wahine who are either hapu [pregnant] or mate wahine [menstruating]” were unable to attend.

Jane Keig, Te Papa spokeswoman, said the policy was in place because of Maori beliefs surrounding the Taonga Maori collection included in the tour. She said the rule was one of the terms Te Papa agreed to when they took the collection.

“If a woman is pregnant or menstruating, they are tapu. Some of these taonga have been used in battle and to kill people. Pregnant women are sacred and the policy is in place to protect women from these objects.”

If an object is tapu it is “forbidden” and in Maori culture it is believed that if that tapu is not observed, something bad will happen. Women who plan to attend the tour on November 5 are expected to be honest about whether they are pregnant or menstruating as a sign of respect to Maori beliefs.

So the argument for keeping certain women out of the special tour is because the women are sacred, forbidden, and need to be protected.  And if they do go on the tour, tapu will be violated and something bad will happen. 

I have nothing to lose in this debate, so I don’t know if I would lie or not to get in.  But if I was affected by this ban, I might.  Or I might try to organize a boycott or protest.  The group imposing the restrictions doesn’t have the right to insist that I respect their beliefs. They have a right to not let me see their private stuff, but do they have the right to open their collection to the public except for the people they don’t want to see it? This particular museum is a public institution that accepts public funding.

Does the owner of a private collection have a right to place restrictions on who gets to see it, even if they allow it to be displayed at a public institution?

If only I had a seestor with a concentration in museum studies…

JFK Separation of Church and State

September 17, 2010

Thanks to Freethought Radio (9/11/10 episode) for reminding me of this wonderful speech, given by John F. Kennedy to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in Houston, Texas on September 12, 1960. 

This is just one excerpt, but there is a wonderful page completely devoted to this speech at the American Rhetoric website*, where you can find the speech in its entirety, as well as video, audio and several different downloadable document types of JFK’s speech.

“I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute; where no Catholic prelate would tell the President — should he be Catholic — how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference, and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him, or the people who might elect him.

I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accept instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials, and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.”

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The American Rhetoric website has an awesome tagline: “Rationalize rhetoric and it speaks to your mind; personify her and she speaks to your soul.”

Of Alarm Clocks and the GZ Mosque

August 24, 2010

Darn alarm clock – how dare it go off and let me sleep through it this morning!  Darn work – how dare you be so…here?  (J/K – I love you job, and I hope we have a long and meaningful relationship). 

So, in light of my slackerness let’s talk about someone else’s blogpost today!

Jen McCreight from Blag Hag has a couple of interesting posts up about her visit to New York City’s “Ground Zero Mosque”.  The first post is about her rather uneventful visit; there were no wild protests going on while she was there.  The second post is called Defending the rights of theists does not equal agreeing with their beliefs, which was in response to some blog commenters’ criticisms of Jen’s original post, the building of the “mosque” and of Islam in general.  Jen’s response is kind of a beautiful thing.

I’ll bet you’re aware of the “non-troversy” surrounding the building of the GZM.  Ground Zero Mosque isn’t actually a mosque, but an Islamic community center being built two blocks away from Ground Zero.  From the NYTimes:

The proposed center, called the Cordoba House, would rise as many as 15 stories two blocks north of where the twin towers stood. It would include a prayer space, as well as a 500-seat performing arts center, a culinary school, a swimming pool, a restaurant and other amenities.

I think this is factually important, but irrelevant to the controversy – mosque, Islamic community center, it doesn’t matter.  

Some people (Glenn, you twit) on both sides of the political spectrum are saying that building the Islamic community center so close to the site of the 9/11 Twin Towers attacks (“Ground Zero) is an affront to the families of those who lost their lives at the hands of Islamic extremists.  Even my old favorite, Howard Dean, sided with the anti-GZM gang (sob!).  But there are also people who are calling this dispute out for the fluffy, junk story and fake controversy that it is.

I think that living, working and building buildings in a country with a constitution that guarantees religious freedom means that you get to build your Islamic community center or a mosque or a temple to pink unicorns.  People died in the 9/11 attacks because Islamic extremists chose to committ violence against Americans.  Islamic extremists are not your typical Muslim, just as David Koresh is not your typical Protestant.  Why should we discriminate against Muslims for crimes committed by Islamic extremists?  Do we not allow Muslims to even visit Ground Zero because a victim’s visiting family member might see a man or woman with a covered head and be offended that a Muslim is walking on the hallowed ground where their loved one died at the hands of an extemist Muslim?

The Islamic community center shouldn’t even be seen as a moment to tolerance, as some proponents are calling it.  Tolerance implies that we’re graciously allowing this building to go up.  There’s nothing to tolerate.  It’s just another building in Manhattan.