Holla!

Have you heard of “Hollaback”? Not “Hollaback Girl” that awful Gwen Stefani song…but Hollaback! Organization? I hadn’t either…but damn, are they awesome. They aim to “take action against street harassment: don’t just walk on…Hollaback!”
According to their website: “The real motive of street harassment is intimidation. To make its target scared or uncomfortable, and to make the harasser feel powerful. But what if there was a simple way to take that power away by exposing it? You can now use your smartphone to do just that by documenting, mapping, and sharing incidents of street harassment. Join an entire community ready to Hollaback!”
Their mission is to: “end street harassment powered by a network of local activists around the world. We work together to better understand street harassment, to ignite public conversations, and to develop innovative strategies to ensure equal access to public spaces.”
To do this they take out ad campaigns on sidewalks, subways, street corners and it’s so cool. The ads say things like “Nice A** Is Not A Compliment”, “If You See It Happen, Have Her Back”, and “Hey Sexy Is Not A Compliment”.
I love this so hard. Really, I cannot count the number of times I’ve said into my cell phone, “Oh no oh no I don’t want to walk by these guys” or “Ugh, sorry some guys were making cat calls”. It doesn’t make me feel good it makes me feel vulnerable, distracted, and gross. I just want to walk to my destination without having to cower from booming voices whistling or saying, “Hey baby”. It’s a form of intimidation and it’s a form of subversion. I’m glad someone is taking a stand. Holla!



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Queen Of Peace High School: Ladies Should Be Seen And Not Heard Swearing

A lot of you have probably heard about Queen of Peace High School, a Catholic school in New Jersey, where specifically female students are being asked to pledge to not use obscenities. The male students are being asked to not use obscenities in the presence of their female classmates.

If you want to read more about the specifics of this ridiculous campaign at this particular school, read this article. People can be terrible.

I hold the door for girls. I also hold the door for guys. Because I am a polite person (not to be confused with a nice person). It’s not chivalry. Most of the people these days who say that they wish that men were still chivalrous also operate under the delusion that the 1950s was a pleasant, somehow superior decade. I will admit that they just don’t make whites-only drinking fountains like they did in the 1950s.

Sorry, weirdos. The world was always awful.

I really, really hate senseless double-standards. Double-standards are rarely good, but, honestly, we all have them. If I see a man punch a man, I think: “Okay, I have nothing but contempt for you.” If I saw a man punch a woman, my response would be murderous hatred. It’s a bias and it’s not fair—I should feel murderous hatred in either situation.

But this? This does not make sense. They want the female students to “act like ladies” and for the male students to “act like gentlemen.” Which is ridiculous. Next, I suppose, Susie will have to walk a few feet behind Johnny* while he carries her books between classes.

I think that the interviews with the students may be more alarming than the fact that this move was implemented. I live in the South, but I went to an excellent magnet school (and it was a public school—I know that some areas have bad public schools but private schools aren’t the answer and they’re not a good idea, though anything’s better than homeschooling). You would have had to really, really try to find a female student who would agree that this campaign was a good idea. The blatant sexism of it—holding male and female students to different standards—is something that would ruffle almost anyone’s feathers. You would think.

Even more pathetic was a male student who finds girls who use the language that he “cannot help” but use to be unattractive. You guys. It’s one thing for a guy to say: “All girls should shave their bodies, duh,” which is rudely phrased but an okay taste to have. It’s another thing for a guy to say: “All girls should shave their bodies, but no I can’t be bothered to shave my face I don’t have time just deal with it.” Because disgusting double-standards are disgusting double-standards.

And the whole “cannot help” thing is ridiculous. Yeah, if you’re seven, your impulse-control won’t be great. If you’re sixteen, you can’t help having hormone levels that give you overactive emotions and really unnecessary erections. But you can, in fact, stop yourself from saying something, no matter what errors you make in sportsball. Have the self-control that you are demanding from your female classmates.

To be clear, I am not a bit supporter of the use of obscenities. I do think that it is silly to arbitrarily classify certain words as “bad words,” with the obvious exception of hurtful slurs. Any references to excrement are gross because of what they refer to—not because of one’s choice in diction. But I am also not a big supporter of ridiculous sexist nonsense.

Please get a grip, Queen Of Peace High School.

 

*Also no one is named Susie or Johnny anymore, I hope.



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The Women Of Star Trek

photo of star trek pictures women photos
I am not Star Trek’s biggest fan. I love science fiction; I like Star Trek. I’ve been watching it since early in elementary school (though not regularly until I was watching Star Trek: Voyager in middle school). It’s neat. At its very beginning, it was very cutting-edge. And, for the most part, the Star Trek franchise comes across as progressive.*

The original Star Trek series had the first televised interracial kiss—and that was in the era of censoring comic books because they showed a nameless black astronaut floating in the background. And that’s awesome. But there are downsides to nerd culture, and those are reflected in Star Trek. Star Trek is not always quite so progressive. Sometimes, when compared to other television shows, it lags behind.

While both of these are changing, nerd culture has not, historically, been incredibly friendly to the gay community or to women. To be clear, that has changed a great deal in the past couple of decades (and especially in the past few years). But the women on Star Trek: The Original Series were too often sexual contrasts for the womanizing buffoon that was Captain Kirk.

So, Star Trek had the first interracial kiss. Babylon 5, also known as the greatest science fiction show ever made, had two male characters go undercover as a pair of newlyweds (and, of course, neither batted an eye, because of course same-sex marriage is commonplace in 2260). On Babylon 5, it was also suggested that two female protagonists may have been lovers (though this was progressive for an early 1990s science fiction show, but not for television in general). To my knowledge, the first same-sex kiss between men on a science fiction show was on Stargate: Atlantis. Star Trek tends to convey messages like this symbolically, through interactions with alien cultures.

Star Trek’s treatment of women is, honestly, almost confusing. Captain Kathryn Janeway captained Voyager; she is one of the strongest (and most delightfully terrifying) female characters (or characters, really) whom I can imagine. With Kate Mulgrew’s fantastic …

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Blurring The Lines Between Ridicule And Hate

photo of orthodox jew pictures
I’m sorry about the title, but at least I didn’t include the word “unorthodox.”

Have you guys read this article about a group of male, highly Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem who may be taking up the habit of wearing glasses that lessen their vision. They would do this so that, when in public (or, in some cases, in private), they will not find themselves tempted by attractive women who do not dress conservatively (I hate the term “immodest” when describing women’s clothing).

I say may, because this is mostly rumor. I mean, we’ve heard rumors of “epidemics” of teenagers getting drink off of hand-sanitizer and vodka-soaked tampons. These things have a tendency to be a lot less popular than the rumors about them.

Either way, the writer of this particular article, Elad Nehorai, was not reporting this story. He was discussing the various articles and blog posts about it. He took offense to the mocking tone with which the story was reported. To his view, many people are taking this opportunity to ridicule a group of religious people for being “wacky” in a way that does not harm anyone else. He also points out that some bloggers seemed to really just make fun of the Orthodox community as a whole.

I would agree that deeply religious men who limit the scope of their senses in order to avoid temptation are really only harming themselves. I also do not doubt that there are any number of anti-Semitic and anti-religious bloggers who took this story and ran with it.

But that does not mean that everyone who pokes fun at men with healthy vision who are so concerned about avoiding temptation …

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