Showing posts with label Feminism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Feminism. Show all posts

Friday, September 13, 2019

Des Moines Iowa Lawyer Works as Prostitute; Urges Decriminalization

The obvious joke is that lawyers screw you over one way or another. At least with this attorney you'll hopefully leave the experience with a smile on your face.

A Des Moines attorney is unveiling her life as a part-time prostitute.The mom, wife, attorney and prostitute, Katherine Sears, hopes that by shining a light on her lifestyle, she can help decriminalize prostitution. “I like sex,” Sears said. “Sex is fun and I can get paid for it.”

She began working as a prostitute three years ago, at the age of 27. Sears travels to Nevada, where prostitution is legal, and works in a brothel.

“You can make a job out of this? That’s fantastic,” Sears said. “Why would I not do this?” By speaking about her experience, Sears hopes to educate people on a taboo topic.

“I think a lot of people are upset about prostitution without understanding what it is they are being upset about,” she said. “Which is really frustrating because it’s hard to talk somebody out of something when they are just entrenched in, ‘No, this is what’s right.’”

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

#MeToo Backlash Hits Wall Street

For some Wall Street male movers and shakers, because of the #metoo movement, the Mr. Bean gif to the right could become the preferred model that any man with something to lose will use when interacting with women in the workplace.

No more dinners with female colleagues. Don’t sit next to them on flights. Book hotel rooms on different floors. Avoid one-on-one meetings. In fact, as a wealth adviser put it, just hiring a woman these days is “an unknown risk.” What if she took something he said the wrong way? Across Wall Street, men are adopting controversial strategies for the #MeToo era and, in the process, making life even harder for women. Call it the Pence Effect, after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who has said he avoids dining alone with any woman other than his wife. In finance, the overarching impact can be, in essence, gender segregation.

Interviews with more than 30 senior executives suggest many are spooked by #MeToo and struggling to cope. “It’s creating a sense of walking on eggshells,” said David Bahnsen, a former managing director at Morgan Stanley who’s now an independent adviser overseeing more than $1.5 billion. This is hardly a single-industry phenomenon, as men across the country check their behavior at work, to protect themselves in the face of what they consider unreasonable political correctness -- or to simply do the right thing.

Friday, November 30, 2018

WNBA Players Opt Out Of Collective Bargaining Agreement

The iconic American retailer Sears has declared bankruptcy. Sears has limited time to liquidate or find a new owner. Many Sears stores will close. Many Sears employees will lose their jobs.

Sears was a victim of poor management and ruthless competition from brick and mortar companies like Target, Lowes, Home Depot, and Macy's as well as online behemoths like Amazon. This is a good time to visit your local Sears outlet and buy something on sale. It is a bad time for a Sears employee to demand better pay or conditions or threaten to quit. Sears workers lack leverage. Sears is looking to shed workers and cut costs. It probably won't survive. It would be laughable for Sears workers say they deserve more money because they work at a historical American company. That's not how business works.

Unfortunately the WNBA players union isn't run by people who understand business, demand, profit and loss, leverage, or who pay any attention to money losing enterprises. The WNBA players, apparently miffed that they neither earn the money that the NBA players earn or share the same revenue percentage that NBA players share, decided in early November to opt out of their collective bargaining agreement, presumably of course, hoping to make more money. 

Friday, October 5, 2018

Serena Williams and US Open

Serena Williams lost the US Open Championship Finals to Naomi Osaka. During this tennis match, Williams threw a temper tantrum and didn't reign it in until the umpire, Carlos Ramos, docked her a game. Osaka was already ahead of Williams. Osaka was probably going to win the tennis match anyway. It wasn't the first time that Osaka had beaten Williams. And it probably won't be the last. Although Williams can claim to be the best female tennis player ever, her career is winding down. Williams is in her late thirties. Osaka is about to turn twenty-one. There aren't any physically demanding sports where the older person routinely beats the younger one. It's just the way things are. Eventually the body can't do what the mind demands. In time, even the mind can lose some competitive hunger. Winter is coming for us all. Father Time is undefeated.

I don't avidly follow women's tennis but I have noticed that Williams' crackups usually occur when she is losing. Athletes such as Michael Jordan, John McEnroe, George Brett, Muhammad Ali, and other champions were often abrasive or even abusive to umpires, judges, referees, sparring partners, or teammates. There is a train of thought that says "Show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser." The intensity which has allowed Williams to dominate her sport for the better part of two decades is the same intensity that causes her to hurl insults at or make threats against umpires and line judges. I doubt that she can turn that off.

So I was nonplussed by Williams' tirade. The only thing which annoyed me is that rather than make the normal semi-apology "I had a bad day/I lost it/I don't want to talk about it/Just one of those things" which most athletes make once they cool down, Williams doesn't appear to think she did anything wrong. Williams made the claim that the umpire was picking on her because she was a woman. Well that's not the case. Here's what happened. 

Thursday, September 27, 2018

What is Justice?

I don't know whether Brett Kavanaugh assaulted Christine Ford in high school. I doubt most other people do either, regardless of how much they bloviate on twitter, Fox, or MSNBC.
After today's Senate hearing I may or may not move in either direction as to my belief in the story.

But there are a few issues raised by the reaction by some to this accusation which are to put it mildly, troubling.  It is true that Kavanaugh is not on criminal trial, has no inalienable right to be on the Supreme Court, and thus can not lay claim to the protective standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt". But whether you support or do not support Kavanaugh there are some standards which are or rather should be universally accepted by Americans, at least fair minded ones. If we want to get rid of these standards we might as well get rid of the justice system and the country altogether. Because neither institution holds together without these standards.

Innocent until proven guilty
Just because someone makes a claim doesn't mean that the claim is true. Even if we believe that the claim is true we still must go thru the motions necessary to prove guilt. Now what's necessary to prove "guilt" in a criminal trial where someone's life or freedom is at stake is a greater burden than what's necessary to prove guilt in trying to figure out who stole your iced coffee from the office refrigerator. But even in the latter case, just saying that the new guy did it doesn't make it so.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Water's Wet, and Black Men Still Face Discrimination

Finished school 
On the job
Still denied
It's so hard to win in the skin I'm in
The Skin I'm In
Chairmen of the Board
You may recall a few months back a writer at The Root wrote a pandering fact free poorly argued and reasoned article that claimed that Black men, no excuse me, heterosexual Black men (have to hit ever last intersectionality bonus point) were "the white people of black America." By this the writer apparently meant that Black heterosexual men wielded unearned and unfair privilege over everyone black who didn't fall into those category. According to the writer Black women did all the work while Black men just showed up at the last minute, took all the credit and the biggest piece of chicken. Even for that writer, that piece stood out for its complete lack of cited empirical data to support the author's contention. I wasn't the only person who pointed out that the piece was making a conclusion that not only wasn't supported by the available data but also that was bluntly contradicted by said data. 

Well time moves on and glory be there is yet another study that confirms that Black American men (the authors didn't bother to try to qualify sexuality) are getting it in the neck. Black American men aren't the "white people" of any group. Black American men aren't wielding privilege over anyone, least of all Black women. You should read the article and the study for yourself of course. 

Black boys raised in America, even in the wealthiest families and living in some of the most well-to-do neighborhoods, still earn less in adulthood than white boys with similar backgrounds, according to a sweeping new study that traced the lives of millions of children.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Grace, #Metoo, Ashleigh Banfield, and Aziz Ansari

The #metoo movement has emboldened many women to share stories of actual or attempted rapes, sexual assaults, threats, or harassment. Women have also spread stories of uncomfortable interactions that were not illegal.

An anonymous woman referred to as Grace went on a date with Aziz Ansari, an actor, writer and comedian of note, and male feminist. The couple returned to Ansari's apartment. Unfortunately Grace did not enjoy herself. Sadly, it was probably difficult for Ansari to be sure that Grace wasn't enjoying herself as she engaged in a number of sex acts multiple times with Mr. Ansari. You can read her entire LONG account here if you are so inclined

The summary is that by Grace's retelling Ansari was an inattentive and pushy partner. Ansari ordered the wrong wine at the restaurant; Grace's joy lessened from there. Per Grace, Ansari was overeager for what many heterosexual men and women would consider the main event. She declined that. Ansari didn't recognize Grace's non-verbal cues that she wanted to move more slowly. Ansari made requests. Grace claimed she felt compelled to comply with them. Grace harshly describes many of Ansari's sexual idiosyncrasies or boudoir moves which offended her. Grace was irritated at Ansari's repeated and insistent requests to do that last thing. Finally she left the premises. Ansari offered a qualified defense/apology for anything he may have done wrong:

“In September of last year, I met a woman at a party. We exchanged numbers. We texted back and forth and eventually went on a date. We went out to dinner, and afterwards we ended up engaging in sexual activity, which by all indications was completely consensual. “The next day, I got a text from her saying that although ‘it may have seemed okay,’ upon further reflection, she felt uncomfortable. It was true that everything did seem okay to me, so when I heard that it was not the case for her, I was surprised and concerned. I took her words to heart and responded privately after taking the time to process what she had said.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Root's Damon Young is Wrong: Straight Black Men are not oppressive patriarchs!

Damon Young, previously of Very Smart Brothas, now of The Root wrote a poorly argued, badly reasoned and completely fact free post which claimed, "Black straight men are the white people of the black community". By this strained metaphor, he apparently meant to say that black straight men are the evil patriarchs of the black community who are oppressing heterosexual black women and black gays of either gender. Young writes many posts like this. It is his calling card. This particular one stood out to me not just because of its usual simple mindededness and lack of empirical data but from the sheer bile towards black men shown by someone who is a black man himself. Progressive black people are often quick to see the self-hate when it is on display by someone who is on the right like Jason Riley or Sheriff Clarke. The left, particularly its feminist circles, can have just as much anti-black male animus. But assessing our privilege (or lack thereof) on these facts considers only our relationship with whiteness and with America. Intraracially, however, our relationship to and with black women is not unlike whiteness’s relationship to us. In fact, it’s eerily similar. We’re the ones for whom the first black president created an entire initiative to assist and uplift. We’re the ones whose beatings and deaths at the hands of the police galvanize the community in a way that the beatings and sexual assaults and deaths that those same police inflict upon black women do not. We’re the ones whose mistreatment inspired a boycott of the NFL despite the NFL’s long history of mishandling and outright ignoring far worse crimes against black women. 

We are the ones who get the biggest seat at the table and the biggest piece of chicken at the table despite making the smallest contribution to the meal. And nowhere is this more evident than when considering the collective danger we pose to black women and our collective lack of willingness to accept and make amends for that truth.
It gets worse after that.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Michigan Doctors Charged with FGM

Every culture and religion has slight to extreme different ideas about right and wrong. In most cases these differences of opinion are minor. People avoid discussing them. Or if the subject can't be dismissed people often take a live and let live attitude. In other instances though these different concepts simply can't exist in the same polity. One side must win. One side must lose. An example of this sort of dispute is the ugly practice of Female Genital Mutilation, which may involve a number of different cuttings to young girls' genitalia, whether it be snipping of the labia, cutting or total removal of the clitoris or narrowing/tying of the vaginal opening. It differs from culture to culture. But in Western culture, specifically American culture, this practice is looked upon with horror and outlawed. But as greater numbers of people arrive in America from areas where this custom is normal there will be more conflicts between those who are convinced they are living up to their religious and cultural requirements by having their young girls cut and those who seek to stamp out something they see as a horrific infringement on a girl's body. Two Southeast Michigan doctors were arrested for performing a banned procedure on two seven year old girls from Minnesota. The doctors, at least one of whom is an American citizen, are apparently both South Asian descent Shiite Muslims from a sect known as Dawoodi Bohra. If the case goes to trial it will be the first ever federal trial for FGM in the United States.

(CNN)A 7-year-old girl who underwent a painful genital mutilation procedure told federal investigators that after a doctor completed the process, she was rewarded with a piece of cake for "doing good."
Court documents obtained by CNN contain that account, along with other details in the cases of three medical professionals now facing charges in the first federal female genital mutilation case in the United States. The father of the girl -- one of two 7-year-olds who underwent the procedure on the same day -- told investigators, "that if they knew what would come of it, this would never have happened," according to the documents.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

There's No Crying at Work!!!!

There is a common blues couplet that reads "Crying won't help you/Praying won't do you no good". I tend to agree with the spirit of those lyrics. Leaving aside the very serious events in war there are only a few situations when I would grudgingly concede that it is theoretically appropriate or excusable for a grown man to cry. These times are few and far between but would probably include such traumatic occurrences as the death of a parent, wife, sibling or child, the joyous occasions of a child's birth or daughter's wedding, and possibly such horrific fictional events as the shooting and eventual death of Sounder, Cochise's death or the Red Wedding. Snicker. These are my rules anyway. I'm not saying they should be yours. Humor aside, I am saying that for better or worse a man who runs around crying at every little thing will inevitably discover that he will lose respect from both men and women. A fellow who lets other men, women or life's ups and downs regularly reduce him to blubbering helplessness shouldn't be allowed to call himself a man in my view. There are very few problems that are solved by crying. And no matter what fresh hell we may find ourselves in at any given time it's a certainty that the world is going to keep turning. The Sun rose yesterday despite all the horrible atrocities that occurred to people who aren't you. And the Sun will rise tomorrow if you get some terrible news today. That's just the way the world works. As both of my grandfathers were prone to saying (fortunately jokingly by the time I arrived on the scene), "Hush up that crying before I give you something to cry about!" I view most crying by men, outside of the previously listed exceptions, as an announcement of utter incompetence, childishness and weakness. Life does not reward such behavior in general. As the Godfather informed us it's important to act like a man!! So whatever problems you face in your life remember that other people have faced them and survived. Or to quote an influential local DJ of my teen years , "Whenever you feel like you're nearing the end of your rope, don't slide off. Tie a knot. Keep hanging, keep remembering, that it ain't nobody bad like you." 

So it was with initial bemusement and later something close to growing horror that I read a piece in The Atlantic which argued that men and especially women should feel entitled to cry at work if they needed to do so. In fact women should have permission to cry more than men because equality and grrlpower or something. And looking negatively at people who cry at work is sexist.That was Olga Khazan's argument anyhow.
When the president of CBS News fired correspondent Mika Brzezinski a decade ago, she cried. And she regrets it. “There was no place for those tears in that moment,” she told the Huffington Post two years ago. “If anything, when you cry, you give away power.”
Of the 15 other high-profile women the news site interviewed about crying at work, the majority expressed negative views of some sort. Frances Hesselbein, former CEO of the Girl Scouts, put it most bluntly: “Tears belong within the family.”
In the office, crying is simply another unexpected emotional cue, like a guffaw or a jump for joy. But unlike those, it’s negative, so it snaps people to attention.
The ignominy of the office cry is still more of an issue for women than for men, because women cry more than men do. In her survey of 700 people, Anne Kreamer, author of It’s Always Personal: Navigating Emotion in the New Workplace, found that in the past year, 41 percent of women admitted to crying at work, but only 9 percent of men did.
Part of the explanation is hormonal: Men generate more testosterone, which inhibits crying, while women produce more prolactin, which seems to promote it. Anatomy also plays a role. Men have larger tear ducts than women, so more of their tears can well in their eyes without spilling out onto their cheeks. The only solution, it appears, is to normalize office crying for everyone. Not unlike other unpleasant things, crying happens. Men shouldn’t reap the unfair advantage of a mid-meeting misting, and women shouldn’t worry that on top of their own embarrassment, they’re being judged as manipulative and incompetent...
Now to be fair the social expectations are just a wee bit different for women. Outside of the workplace I don't view the spectacle of grown women crying with the same disdain I would have for grown men. Is that (horror of horrors) sexist? Perhaps so. I think most honest people will admit that, politics aside, they have slightly different expectations for men and women. It's just how the world works. Men and women are different. And that's a good thing. Still, man or woman, the workplace is not the place to have teary breakdowns. For men, in most work arenas I've been in, the loss of respect will be almost instantaneous and very difficult to retrieve. I don't think women face that exact same issue. A woman would often receive more confused sympathy than contempt. But even so, a grown woman who cries a lot at her workplace will have people wondering about her competence and stability. Ironically, one of the nastiest, meanest, most aggressive and most profane female co-workers I ever worked with was also a huge crybaby. I thought her tears were just another tool in her kit of emotional manipulation though she claimed not to be able to control them. So my thought is that encouraging people to cry at work is a horrible idea. It takes no account of how the world is today. We can argue and debate about how much of the difference in the frequency in men and women crying is due to biology or environmental factors. But regardless of whether you have XX or XY chromosomes, if you are routinely boo-hoo-hooing at work for reasons that don't include a loved one's death trust and believe that in many workplaces you will find yourself slowly marginalized and kept away from challenging or highly visible assignments and promotions.You need to put on your big boy/big girl pullups. Keep punching away at whatever problem afflicts you. If you really feel that you just need to have a good cry then I would strongly urge you to find yourself a private office or a bathroom stall and do what you need to do there. You won't share private moments with co-workers. You won't run the risk of having a crying jag in front of someone who may not know you that well and probably doesn't want to know you that well. Crying in front of a good friend, supportive and empathetic lover or spouse is utterly different from doing so in front of someone who evaluates your work, a rival peer who may crave your job, or an ambitious underling who resents reporting to you. 

I mean if I had a boss who broke down sobbing because another boss said something mean to him on the Tuesday conference call going forward am I really going to trust Fearless Leader's judgment and mental balance? No. No I am not. Although it is impossible to completely separate work from your emotions the bottom line is that you are at work in order to make money. All the emotional stuff needs to take a back seat while you're at work. Don't try to pretend it's not there. But don't start having crying fits at work either. I'm not interested in comforting you if you are a man; trying to comfort you if you are a woman could be misinterpreted by HR. Please keep your crying to yourself.

But that's just my take. What's your view?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Bronx Subway Brawl Beatdown

We've talked before about the seeming modern phenomenon of women assaulting men and the internal moral conflicts which such actions can cause. Really though, such actions are probably not modern at all. It's just that we're better able to capture such assaults on video. Ronda Rousey or Laila Ali notwithstanding if you see a man really going all out on a woman, chances are quite high that the woman will badly lose the physical confrontation. So most civilized men are taught from early on to refrain from hitting a woman-often even in situations of self-defense or instances where another man would have already caught several fists to the face. Unfortunately this cultural expectation of male physical restraint has led to some women deciding that they can initiate a physical confrontation with a man without suffering any consequences. They, and indeed much of society, are actually outraged if a man under attack decides to defend himself. My personal belief is that a gentleman should never hit a lady but neither should a lady ever strike a gentleman. In other words--no hands. Period. Make sure that whatever you do to someone is something that the person is going to like. Because there's an excellent chance that he or she will respond in kind. And gentleman or not, we all have the right and duty to defend ourselves. Recently a man in NYC got into a dispute with a woman on a subway train. Allegedly she was too heavy to fit into a seat next to this man. So someone else got the seat. Words (and elbows?) were exchanged. After a period of mutual insults and threats the woman hit and spit on or at the man. Now that was the wrong thing to do. Is there any worse sign of utter contempt? But the target of her ire was evidently something of a chivalrous sort. Being unwilling to hit the woman, this fellow decided to beat the dog**** out of her husband. So I guess we should all be happy right? There was no violence against women. The problem with holding a man accountable for his wife's or girlfriend's actions is that by doing so we are giving women the moral standing of children. And that's no good. The whole point of being an adult is that we take responsibility for our own actions instead of passing the buck to someone else. Bottom line however is that one man got beat up and another is wanted for assault, all because no one knew how to act. Anyway the video is below. I am happy that I live in an area where I don't use public transportation. I have enough hassles in my life. This is why before you marry someone you might want to make sure that they are not the kind of person who will let their mouth write a check that your behind can't cash. I guess the husband had time to think about his wife's poor cognitive abilities while he was on the floor getting beaten like a rented mule. Love is grand isn't it?

On the two train , this lady was too big to sit in a small space next to the guy, he instead let his smaller coworker sit next to him. She then got upset , they threw insults back and fourth. She then began to get into his face. She spit at him , it missed. She spit at him again and he began to beat up her boyfriend because he didn't wanna hit her.
Posted by Belle Porter on Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Part two !!!!
Posted by Belle Porter on Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Even her in-laws say she’s out of her mind. The instigator of a videotaped subway brawl that left her husband battered on the floor of a Bronx train is nothing but bad news, according to one of her spouse’s aunts. “She’s mentally ill!” the aunt shouted Friday at her Brooklyn apartment. “She’s beating everybody up all the time. She fights everybody.” The Wednesday afternoon beatdown on the No. 5 train began when the victim’s batty bride started a screaming match with a male straphanger over a seat aboard the fairly crowded subway. The woman began spewing obscenities at the man, who shouted back but refrained from getting physical — even after she put her hands on him and pushed her cellphone into his face.LINK

Saturday, December 26, 2015

R. Kelly and Scapegoating Black Men

Ok. There are a couple of things which I should point out before this short little post. (1) I am not an R. Kelly fan. I don't like or listen to R. Kelly's music. I know at most just two songs of his. There is very little modern R&B that I listen to as on balance I find the genre in its current incarnation to be about as soulful as Pat Boone and Lawrence Welk eating spam and mayonnaise sandwiches while riverdancing to Muzak. (2) Although in some states, including my own, the age of consent is 16, I don't have much respect for any grown man (i.e. over 21) who is doing anything with someone who is under 18. I think such action is distasteful when it's not outright criminal. Apparently R. Kelly has a new release and like any other musician in his position he wants to drum up interest. For some reason he or his oh so skilled top notch management/marketing team thought that it would be worthwhile for him to appear on Huffington Post Live with feminist Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani to discuss this release and other things. The interviewer wanted to get into the accusations of sexual misconduct. R. Kelly didn't want to discuss those allegations. So this interview went about as well as you might expect. You can watch it here. Basically R. Kelly lost his cool, made an ill-fated attempt to compliment Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani and then left the premises in a huff. R. Kelly knows his history. And he's old enough to know how America works. He must have been deluded to think this interviewer would not have asked questions about the past accusations against him. Let me reiterate that I don't give a flying fig newton about R. Kelly, his music, his pocketbook or his well being. He's meaningless to me. What I do care about though, is the ease with which the American media (both white AND black) can so easily and consistently make a black man the face of a larger public issue- in this case pedophilia/teenage groupies- and the self-righteousness which some people bring to bear on anyone who doesn't accept faulty logical premises about what makes good art.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

De'Andre Johnson dismissed from FSU football team

Some people like to say that there is no excuse for violence against women. I don't really like that framing at all because it turns what could be a valid reason into an "excuse" and ignores the fact that whether we like it or not there are some very violent, dangerous and even deadly women on this planet. What IS true however is that almost regardless of what a particular woman might have done to initiate or continue a physical confrontation, a man who hits a woman rightfully has a very high bar of skepticism and contempt to climb over in a court of law or especially the court of public opinion. Because this is the case it is a good idea to avoid putting hands on women. It's a bad idea and is often morally repugnant. However, men, like women, do have the right and duty to defend themselves. There ought to be a better way for us to distinguish the case of a man who is legitimately defending himself from the case of a lowlife punk who just gets his kicks beating and terrorizing those who are weaker than he. I've seen both situations. This problem is further muddled by the assumption that women are and should be in all ways "equal" to men. Some people say that if we wouldn't worry about a bad outcome happening to a man because of his or someone else's dumb decision than we shouldn't worry about a woman in the same position. So by this logic if a woman wants to be in combat and is qualified, let her do it. There should be no cries of "Save the women and children!" if a ship starts to sink. We're all equal. Well.
De'Andre Johnson, former quarterback for the Florida State Seminoles football team, found out the hard way that "defending yourself" from a woman in the same way that you might defend yourself from a man is not, at least for him, an acceptable course of action. He got into a physical confrontation with a woman at a Tallahassee bar. She raised her hands which were balled up in fists. They both appeared to push and grapple with each other. She took a swing at Johnson. Johnson punched back. The woman lost. It is the difference in gender and strength that makes this a shock. Johnson was suspended and later dismissed from the team.

Florida State Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher dismissed freshman quarterback De'Andre Johnson from the team Monday night, hours after the state's attorney's office released video showing Johnson punching a woman in the face last month at a Tallahassee bar.

Fisher made the announcement in a brief statement released by FSU on Monday night.
Johnson, who was named Florida's "Mr. Football" as a senior at First Coast High School in Jacksonville, Florida, was indefinitely suspended from the team in June. He was charged with misdemeanor battery for striking the 21-year-old woman during an argument June 24. He surrendered to Tallahassee police on June 30 and was released on $500 bond.
The video, which was captured by security cameras in a bar near the FSU campus, shows Johnson trying to push past the woman, who was waiting to order at the bar. The woman turned toward Johnson, who grabbed her right arm after she raised it in a fist. The woman raised her knee and swung at Johnson with her left arm, and then he punched her in the face.


When I watched this I asked myself what was Johnson, who is under the legal drinking age, doing in a bar in the first place? But I was informed that some bars allow underage people to enter; they just won't serve them alcohol. Both Johnson and the woman made bad decisions. If I were the prosecutor I would charge both of them or charge neither of them. But I'm no lawyer. Perhaps someone with actual legal training and experience will chime in to discuss the charges. Bottom line though is that I think it's critically important that we teach all people regardless of their race or gender not to put hands on other people. If this were a smaller man who had started something with say, a heavyweight MMA or boxing champ before losing in a spectacular fashion, many more of us would likely find it humorous. We would tend to judge same gender interactions differently than we would opposite gender ones. Is that wrong? Perhaps. I think it's good and proper to teach men not to hit women. I also think it's good and proper to teach women not to hit men. No hands. Why is this so difficult? Did the woman think that Johnson was just to going to accept a punch in the face? Did Johnson think he was going to walk away with no repercussions? 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Upskirts, The Lincoln Memorial and Privacy

I believe in privacy. I also believe in free speech and free expression. Sometimes those values conflict. I have always believed that if an attractive lady has taken the trouble to put something on public display it would be rude not to look. And gentlemen should always strive to avoid being rude. The probability of me telling a non-related woman or a woman who I do not know from Eve that she is showing too much and should cover up is probably zero. I may have been tragically warped for life by watching too many Benny Hill skits at an impressionable age. That's my brother's hypothesis anyway. I don't say no to that. Nonetheless, if I did accidentally see something interesting, I definitely wouldn't grab a camera and start taking pictures. THAT seems a little bit, well creepy might be too strong of a word, but over the top would certainly fit. A gentleman doesn't do that. You take a quick glance, maybe offer a smile and keep moving. Discretion is important. You don't stand there drooling and staring like a fat man at a $2 all you can eat buffet. But everyone has different styles. When faced with publicly visible evidence of attractive femininity while visiting the Lincoln Monument, one Mr. Christopher Cleveland did more than take a brief look. He also chose not to approach the women to inform them in a non-threatening big brotherly manner that they might be revealing more than they intended. No. Mr. Cleveland decided that the right move was to whip it out (his camera that is) and start taking photographs. The local police noticed him. They forced him to stop taking pictures. They made him come away with them. Mr. Cleveland was charged with voyeurism. His camera's memory card had scores of revealing images of women in public places. And that's when things got interesting.

Apparently the crime of voyeurism requires that someone be trying to violate or actually violating your privacy. And when you are in public you have less of (none?) an expectation of privacy. In this particular case the judge, D.C. Superior Court Judge Juliet McKenna, found that Mr. Cleveland did not look at anything that wasn't on public display already. She even disputed the prosecutor's characterization of Mr. Cleveland's actions as "upskirting". She tossed the case against Mr. Cleveland. The judge wrote that:
'This Court finds that no individual clothed and positioned in such a manner in a public area in broad daylight in the presence of countless other individuals could have a reasonable expectation of privacy.' 'The images captured were not 'incidental glimpses' and in fact were images that were exposed to the public without requiring any extraordinary lengths whatsoever, to view. 'The photographs recovered from Mr Cleveland's camera memory card depict a variety of images ranging from long shots of the Washington Monument and Reflecting Pool and groups of people sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, to close up photos of individual women seated or standing in the area.
'As Defendant's Response acknowledges some of these women are seated in such a way that their private areas, including the upper inches of their buttocks, are clearly visible.' However, all of these images were similarly available to other passersby in the area.'  The court documents added that there was no evidence Mr. Cleveland positioned his camera in any way or employed any photographic techniques , so as to capture images that were not already on public display.
So basically the judge ruled that if you are revealing something in public you can't charge people with a crime for looking at it or taking pics. If you are curious you can read the judge's decision here. When a similar case occurred in Massachusetts, legislators changed the law. In the Massachusetts case because the offender was taking steps to obtain photos that weren't readily visible to anyone I think there was a bit more expectation of privacy. I'm not certain that's the case here. There are occasions in life when we experience behavior that might be rude, tasteless or even reprehensible but isn't criminal. This might be one of those times. NYC hosts Puerto Rican Day, St. Patrick's Day and West Indian Day parades among others. Men from the entire eastern seaboard turn out in droves to watch, photograph and record women. Are those men all criminals? Some might say so but I wouldn't. Heterosexual men like looking at women. It's the nature of the beast. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. That is never ever ever going to change. If we make it a crime to photograph a woman would it also be a crime to look at a woman? If a man runs across a woman in revealing clothing should he be forced to avert his eyes on pain of prosecution? We don't have enough jails for that. If Cleveland had merely been looking instead of taking pictures would that have been okay?  I think I would feel differently if, instead of just taking pictures from afar, Cleveland had rigged cameras attached to his shoes, was dropping items in front of women, was putting cameras under skirts, or was otherwise going out of his way to violate decorum. That's criminal. Cleveland didn't do that. As the judge said, nothing he did was covert or surreptitious.

I think that you should expect privacy in your home, in your letters, when you're making whoopie, when you're in the bathroom, etc. But when you're in public, privacy isn't really a reasonable expectation. If in public, I notice a woman with a really short skirt or low cut/tight top, that's not being a voyeur. That's being human. If someone is taking pictures at a public memorial I don't want the police to be able to arrest the man, rifle through his photos until they find a woman's image and then charge the man with a sex crime. Increasingly governments and corporations are using surveillance of public streets and private areas both to maximize profit and prevent or solve crime. I find that a little creepier than an individual man looking at a woman but it could just be that I'm not a woman. I might have a different perspective if I were. But then again I might not. The judge was a woman and ruled as she did. The law must be above and beyond our personal biases.

What are your thoughts?

Friday, February 28, 2014

Feminist Marriages: More Equality, Less Sex?

I wanted to write on this quite some time ago but the person who reviews my paid work had different ideas about my priorities. So this is a modified and much mellower version of the original post. The idea expressed in the post title is something that's been floating around the blog-o-sphere for quite some time. It finally penetrated the firmament of the New York Times Sunday Magazine. When I read this recent article I thought I was in a real life Geico commercial. Because I thought everyone already knew that. It seems that whatever the benefits of "egalitarian" style marriages may be, more sex and less divorce aren't among them. Surprisingly, it appears that heterosexual women may have some unacknowledged preferences for a certain level of well, difference and maybe even virility or dominance (shut your mouth!!!) in their husbands. As this finding very much does not comport with the modern progressive orthodoxy regarding house husbands, 50/50 sharing of chores, lean in bromides and the fiction that men and women are exactly the same except for internal plumbing, some of the people quoted in the article seemed to be suffering from very bad cases of cognitive dissonance.

I wrote previously on how there are some household tasks which are (often arbitrarily) considered more masculine. It seems that some women, or at least some married women agree. Whether we believe that it's mostly biological, mostly cultural, or imo some combination of the two, it appears that men and women appreciate each other's differences and look for a partner that exhibits divergent characteristics. According to the fascinating article quoted below a husband who becomes too similar to his wife or to put it another way a man who is too complaisant and gallant runs the very real risk of discovering what a Stephen King character ruefully noted in the book Joyland : "What I know now is that gallant young men rarely get *****. Put it on a sampler and hang it in your kitchen".

A study called “Egalitarianism, Housework and Sexual Frequency in Marriage,” which appeared in The American Sociological Review last year, surprised many, precisely because it went against the logical assumption that as marriages improve by becoming more equal, the sex in these marriages will improve, too. Instead, it found that when men did certain kinds of chores around the house, couples had less sex. Specifically, if men did all of what the researchers characterized as feminine chores like folding laundry, cooking or vacuuming — the kinds of things many women say they want their husbands to do — then couples had sex 1.5 fewer times per month than those with husbands who did what were considered masculine chores, like taking out the trash or fixing the car. It wasn’t just the frequency that was affected, either — at least for the wives. The more traditional the division of labor, meaning the greater the husband’s share of masculine chores compared with feminine ones, the greater his wife’s reported sexual satisfaction.
The chores study seems to show that women do want their husbands to help out — just in gender-specific ways. Couples in which the husband did plenty of traditionally male chores reported a 17.5 percent higher frequency of sexual intercourse than those in which the husband did none. These findings, Brines says, “might have something to do with the fact that the traditional behaviors that men and women enact feed into associations that people have about masculinity and femininity.” 
As Sheryl Sandberg encourages women to “lean in” — by which she means that they should make a determined effort to push forward in their careers — it may seem as if women are truly becoming, as Gloria Steinem put it, “the men we want to marry.” But these professional shifts seem to influence marital stability. A study put out last year by the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that if a wife earns more than her husband, the couple are 15 percent less likely to report that their marriage is very happy; 32 percent more likely to report marital troubles in the past year; and 46 percent more likely to have discussed separating in the past year. Similarly, Lynn Prince Cooke found that though sharing breadwinning and household duties decreases the likelihood of divorce, that’s true only up to a point. If a wife earns more than her husband, the risk of divorce increases. Interestingly, Cooke’s study shows that the predicted risk of divorce is lowest when the husband does 40 percent of the housework and the wife earns 40 percent of the income.

Of course studies are like opinions. Everyone has one. And statistics only apply to populations, not individuals. There must be a wife who is ecstatic to have her husband darning socks, fixing dinner, making quilts and cleaning the toilet while she changes the oil in the family car, cleans the gutters or installs the new sump pump. And I know for a fact there are husbands who are pleased as punch that their wife earns multiples of what they do, giving them the opportunity to stay at home with the kids or work for years on the Great American Novel that they somehow never complete. 

Stories like this reinforce why I think the great feminist dystopia "utopia" will never arrive although some people continue to argue that if we just use more corporate and government coercion incentives we'll get there. Although in total men and women are much more alike than we are different, we do seem to prefer different characteristics in our significant others. This is primarily biological in my view although different cultures express it differently. And these different preferences, minor though they are overall, drive marriage, mating, and what sort of jobs people look for.

In other words, women and men bear equal responsibility for how social relations work. It is logically impossible for women (as a group) to want total pay equity in the workplace but continue (as individuals) to be attracted to men who earn more money and/or express more dominance than they do. The incentives don't match. What is good in the public arena of work is apparently not so good in the private arena of relationships. I think that the best that society can do is to ensure workplace equal opportunity regardless of gender, race, sexuality, etc. Equal results, based on how they are defined, may remain ephemeral. And that may be ok.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Mary Barra Discriminatory Pay Hoax Story

Shortly after Mary Barra became the new GM CEO and the first person with two X chromosomes to hold that title the usual suspects promptly came out of the woodwork to charge GM with the crime of paying Ms. Barra less than her male predecessor and of doing so because she was a woman. This accusation was duly repeated as if it were fact, not just by bloggers but also by reporters for sites supposedly a fair bit more reputable than a run of the mill blog operated by unpaid people in their spare time.
There were numerous blog posts and news stories bemoaning the fact that Barra was making less money than the man she replaced. People's jowls were quivering in outrage that this particular millionaire CEO wasn't going to earn as much money as another millionaire CEO. As Nora Caplan-Bricker wrote in The New Republic  "In the past few days, Mary Barra, the new CEO of General Motors and the first ever female CEO of a major car company, has morphed from a symbol of success to an embodiment of the fact no amount of ambition and labor guarantees a woman equal treatment. It's hard to muster too much sympathy for a woman pulling in $4 million a year. But, in at least a general sense, Barra's problem is every American woman's problem—magnified by a larger sum."  
Strong stuff! From reading this purple prose I honestly expected that Barra would be opening her first leadership meeting by singing this song. I mean she's got it hard! The world is a ghetto! It's another attack in the War on Women! To the barricades comrades!!!!

Well not so fast. As it turns out all of the outraged news stories and blog posts were based on incomplete and thus fundamentally inaccurate information. Actually Ms. Barra stands to earn 60% more in her first year on the job than former CEO Daniel Akerson earned on his final year on the job. That's right, MORE.

Mary T. Barra, chief executive of General Motors, will earn as much as $14.4 million in compensation during her first year on the job, the company said on Monday. The amount of compensation revealed in January — $1.6 million in salary and $2.8 million as part of the company’s short-term incentive plan — will most likely be a small part of Ms. Barra’s earnings, but it was used by media outlets as a baseline comparison to the about $9 million Mr. Akerson earned in compensation last year. 
The total package Ms. Barra stands to receive in her first year as chief executive represents a 60 percent increase over what Mr. Akerson earned in his final year on the job. As a new C.E.O., Mary’s total compensation is in line with her peer group and properly weighted so that most is at-risk,” G.M.’s chairman, Theodore M. Solso, said in a statement on Monday. “The company’s performance will ultimately determine how much she is paid.”

So I fully expect that the folks who were hooting and hollering about unfair gender bias against women because they thought that a woman wasn't making as much money as a man certainly now will start flapping their gums about unfair gender bias against men because a woman is making a lot more than a man. I mean we know that gender chauvinism fairness and equality is all such people are concerned about. That's what they constantly tell us and surely they are the best judges of their intentions. I know that the people who jumped the gun and made false claims, incorrect insinuations, and bad assumptions will all ruefully admit they were as wrong as two left shoes and publicly promise to do better next time. I have belief in the goodness of people. Yes I do. And if a sample size of one was enough to indicate unfairness towards women surely the reverse is true about unfairness towards men. Right? Right??? Ha! Or maybe, just maybe, there might have been non gender related reasons for Barra's and Akerson's compensation packages. Hmm. You know, reasons like that federal auto bailout, capped compensation and market share thingy. 

The purely ideological are rarely swayed by evidence and likely won't be in this case either. However this non-story should remind the rest of us living in the reality based community to at least try to take the time to find out what's going on first before we go off the deep end and start making assertions or jumping to conclusions. And the media failed in that job here. It makes you wonder what else they get wrong. After all, as Mark Twain may have said, " A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes".

Monday, January 27, 2014

Handymen and Stay at Home Mothers

Do you think that traditional gender roles still have meaning?

Recently on Facebook one of my younger female cousins posted that she and her unmarried friends were running into a lot of male poseurs who claimed to be looking for traditional women insofar as such things as cooking, cleaning, and possibly even who works and who stays at home. She found it a bit upsetting though that when she or her friends challenged these men on their proficiency at such traditional male responsibilities as fixing things around the house, repairing automobiles or other machinery and doing other unpleasant but old school male chores these men were either clueless about such jobs, had to pay other men to do them or claimed that in today's day and age such chores ought to be equally shared between men and women. Showing the somewhat "shady" humor which tends to run rampant in my family one of my male cousins pointed out that although he might not be able to fix a woman's car he was more than capable of unplugging her pipes. He even had references, heh-heh. When I liked my male cousin's post my female cousin goodnaturedly told both of us that we were on timeout. Snicker.

Anyway this got me thinking. My paternal grandfather was a general contractor. So many of his sons, both via knowledge passed down and their own curiosity gained a lot of my grandfather's do it yourself type skills. This included my father. It was a very rare day indeed that my father ever paid someone to do anything around our house or on his vehicles. He normally did it himself. Lots of people in his social peer group did the same both because that's just how they were raised and because they grew up in either extreme poverty or in lower middle class areas where money was very very tight. People were expected to make do with what they had or repair it until they could afford something new. I think that back in the day high schools had more shop classes. These have been stereotyped as holding rooms for people who aren't going to college but I think some people might be surprised at the number of college educated people who are still able to adequately perform some supposed blue-collar work. I don't seem to remember shop class in my high school but it's probably something I wish I could go back and take. Although sadly I have nothing near my father's mechanical skills and deeply regret not paying more attention back in the day I have still picked up some basic things over the years. I find a sense of accomplishment in being able to fix simple things around the house, change my home environment, save a few bucks here or there, or at least have a vague idea when a contractor is quoting me a ridiculous estimate. To me that is a critical streak of self-sufficiency that I think is important for both genders as adults but is 100% necessary for men. This could be why I'm not overly fond of asking for help when I think it's something I ought to be able to do on my own. Ironically I remember changing a flat on the expressway all by myself because that's what the Old Man would have done only to arrive home and be told to call AAA next time instead of taking such a stupid risk. HA! So it goes. Of course as my brother always says his idea of masculinity means that he makes enough money to PAY other people to do that kind of work. And so he does.

From the opposite perspective for whatever reason a woman named Amy Glass felt that she needed to ridicule not only stay-at-home mothers but also the very concept of congratulating people (women) for getting married and having children. She did so in what I considered to be a rather nasty way. 
Do people really think that a stay at home mom is really on equal footing with a woman who works and takes care of herself? There’s no way those two things are the same. It’s hard for me to believe it’s not just verbally placating these people so they don’t get in trouble with the mommy bloggers.
Having kids and getting married are considered life milestones. We have baby showers and wedding parties as if it’s a huge accomplishment and cause for celebration to be able to get knocked up or find someone to walk down the aisle with. These aren’t accomplishments, they are actually super easy tasks, literally anyone can do them. They are the most common thing, ever, in the history of the world. They are, by definition, average. And here’s the thing, why on earth are we settling for average?
If women can do anything, why are we still content with applauding them for doing nothing?
I want to have a shower for a woman when she backpacks on her own through Asia, gets a promotion, or lands a dream job not when she stays inside the box and does the house and kids thing which is the path of least resistance. The dominate cultural voice will tell you these are things you can do with a husband and kids, but as I’ve written before, that’s a lie. It’s just not reality.
You will never have the time, energy, freedom or mobility to be exceptional if you have a husband and kids.
I don't see anything wrong with congratulating people on getting married or having children. Although it might not be your cup of tea, that doesn't mean you need to knock it for someone else. Whatever happened to live and let live? Although it could certainly be considered oppressive to reduce every woman's worth to solely her reproductive and marital status I think it's just as wrong headed to assume that a woman's worth is only and should only be based on paid work outside the home. The unpaid work that mothers and fathers do can't be valued but is critical to raising healthy productive human beings. For me to congratulate someone else for getting married or having children is not saying anything negative about those who have chosen to walk a different path. Again, I think that some feminists are too quick to over glamorize what they see as the male role and eschew what they see as a female role. Ultimately I think this turns into internalized (and practiced) misogyny, ironically what feminists loudly and reflexively accuse everyone else of doing all the time. I can't speak to what Amy Glass experiences as a woman but I do happen to know and be related to and descended from women who are exceptional who are married and have kids. So I happen to think Glass is full of it on this instance. And as you might imagine plenty of other people did as well. Some of them were women, strangely enough. Go figure. I guess when you tell millions of women that they are just average and will never be exceptional a few of them are going to be upset enough to come at your neck. Who would have thought.

What do you think?

Are men under greater pressure (internal or external) to be self-sufficient?

Is there anything wrong with congratulating women for marrying and having children?

Are gender roles here to stay no matter what we do?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Catherine Kieu and Domestic Violence: Double Standards

Driving into work this morning unfortunately there was nothing on the sports stations I was interested in listening to so I decided to check out the talk show host Mildred Gaddis. She splits her show between political sections and relationship sections, with the latter coming second. I was running very late this morning so I caught her show in the relationship segment. She, and most of her female callers were laughing at something. Most of the male callers didn't think whatever they were talking about was funny at all and that, (paraphrasing one) "the woman should spend life under the jail". I was intrigued but still didn't know what they were talking about. And I was getting closer to work. There were a few commercial breaks. Finally, after one woman caller said "the man deserved it", another woman caller said "it's too bad the garbage disposal didn't work better" and another woman caller said that "she allowed him to call 911, how bad could she be?" and yet another claimed "men need to learn how to act" ,all of which was met with roaring laughter by Gaddis, it started to click for me. They were talking about the beginning trial of alleged (although it's conceded she did it) genital mutilator Catherine Kieu , who in a fit of jealous rage, poisoned her estranged husband, chopped off his penis and threw it in the garbage disposal.

Remember this story?
SANTA ANA, Calif. - A Garden Grove man tearfully testified Wednesday that his estranged wife "murdered him" the night she allegedly laced his food with a sleep drug and tied him to his bed before castrating him and tossing his penis into a garbage disposal.
Catherine Kieu, 50, is accused of slashing off her the victim's penis with a kitchen knife on July 11, 2011.
"She murdered me that night," he testified Wednesday afternoon.
According to the prosecution, Kieu was furious that her estranged husband was dating a former girlfriend, so she drugged him by lacing his meal with Ambien, and when he passed out, tied him up, castrated him and tossed his penis into the garbage disposal.
Catherine Kieu's attorney countered that his client suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and did not have the required mental state to be convicted of the charges she faces -- aggravated mayhem and torture, with a sentence-enhancing knife-use allegation.
If convicted, she faces up to life in prison without the possibility of parole....

As I mentioned, I was way behind schedule this morning due to an unfortunate series of events so I did not have the interest or opportunity to check all of the various reactions over the past two years to this crime. But as far as I know the victim has to this day not been invited to the White House to discuss any Violence Against Men Act nor has any Senator or Congressman/woman adopted him as a cause celebre in the struggle against domestic violence. No one with mainstream media access has angrily pointed to his case as an example of the need to teach women not to mutilate. I do remember that when this story first broke, some women, just like the women I listened to on the radio this morning, thought that cutting off a man's penis and throwing it down the garbage disposal while he bleeds out was quite humorous. In fact one claimed that if she were Maria Shriver, that's what she would have done to Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Ok. Well we're all adults. Sometimes we may find things that are horribly inappropriate funny. Everyone has a different sense of humor after all. But see I'm a bit confused. We're constantly bombarded with messages that there's no excuse for violence against women, rape (of women) is never funny, dongle jokes aren't funny, fat jokes aren't funny, stop blaming the victim, blah, blah, blah. 
Fair enough. But violence against anyone should be deplored, not just that against women. 
And when some of the same people that would howl the loudest if someone made a joke about male on female domestic violence yuk it up over a woman permanently mutilating her estranged husband, it sends a mixed message at best. At worse it shows that some people are some horrible hypocrites.  Domestic violence against men is much more common than people realize.

If we're going to teach people that domestic violence is wrong it has to go both ways.  No matter how angry (justifiably or not) someone may become because their partner isn't doing what they want or is cheating on them or whatever, there must be a firm no hands rule enforced equally regardless of gender. Violence, particularly horrific violence that changes someone for life, isn't funny. Kieu is someone who should be locked up for life. Her victim is someone who deserves sympathy, not mockery. Your spouse, significant other or provider of thy nookie is "yours" only in the sense that they want to be. You don't own them. You can't punish them as if they were children or dispose of them as if they were property. When people forget that, male or female, they get into trouble. The fact that Gaddis ,and many but not all of her listeners, thought this story was funny and that the man somehow deserved it, says something not very good about gender relations. I can't imagine too many male media personalities making fun of a maimed female victim and keeping their jobs.