What sounded like another bomb went off.
As we ran across the street, away from the sound of the explosion, a helicopter shone its light on us. We instinctively ducked, as if a prison watch guard had caught us trying to break out… I started running toward the main street. I figured if I could just get up this one block, I’d find my way to the car blockade, and then I’d be safe.
Then I froze. I could see the soldiers marching up West Florissant. They looked like monsters.
At that moment, I didn’t feel like a journalist. There was nothing about this event that I felt the need to chronicle. There was no time to find out what the bombs actually were and what was actually coming out of the guns and what type of gas was coming out of the canisters. In this moment, there was nothing I felt the need to broadcast to the world. I didn’t even have the desire to communicate my safety or lack thereof.
I was just a black man in Ferguson.
Grantland’s Rembert Browne on attending the protests in Ferguson on Wednesday night
"People play dress up and play war games in the streets with civilians. ‘What are the police doing there?’, is my question. You’re not protecting the people…and you’re not protecting property, so why are you there?
Then a larger question I would also ask of the American people…is it ok to break the law or not? Because the cops are breaking the law left and right. It’s state law…state regulation to wear a badge and have a badge number and have a name tag visible. We have a right to freedom of the press. We have a right to assemble. They’ve blocked out air space so that the press cannot view what’s going on. They’re violating people’s rights, left and right. They’re firing tear gas and other projectiles into people’s homes…at people on their private property. So…is it ok to use violence to get what you want…or not? Because, a cop blew the head off of Michael Brown, shot a teenager 6 times…but Michael Brown’s the savage because he pushed a guy in a convenience store?
Like, you don’t own us anymore. You see? Either we all have the same inalienable rights…or we don’t. Back in the day we could have separate rights…but we’re not…that noise is dead now.”
Perfect, perfect words.
I will admit it. I have read all three books in the Fifty Shades of Grey series.
I am not admitting this because I am ashamed of my sexual desires or even because I feel the need to rant and rave about the poor writing quality of these books. (And it is extremely poor. I set my Kindle to count how many times the word “gasp” is used in the third book and the total was more than 70). I am admitting this because I feel the need to share my opinions about what I consider to be the incredibly — and dangerously — abusive relationship portrayed in the books.
When I first heard about Fifty Shades of Grey and learned they began as Twilight fanfiction, I swore I would not read them. I have read all of the Twilight books and I did not enjoy them. I found the relationships between Edward and Bella and Bella and Jacob to be patronizing and emotionally abusive, and I also thought the writing was pedestrian at best and boring to read. Why would I devote the limited amount of time I have for reading for pleasure to a series like this?
But as the dialogue about Fifty Shades of Grey increased, both in the media and amongst my friends, my curiosity was piqued. I attended a talk titled “Fifty Shades of Grey - Bad for Women, Bad for Sex” and decided that I should see what all the fuss was about.
To quote the book, I gasped. I rolled my eyes. I even bit my lip a few times. But not for the reasons Anastasia, the protagonist, did. I did out of exasperation, boredom and disgust, but also out of fear. After reading this book series, I am deeply afraid that this type of relationship will be viewed as the romantic ideal for women. And I consider that to be extremely dangerous — much more so than anything that takes place between Christian and Anastasia in the Red Room of Pain.
Could the character of Anastasia Steele be any more of a stereotype? She is an introvert, has low self-esteem, has abandonment issues from her father, apparently has only one close friend who bullies her and even though she works in a hardware store, she doesn’t seem to possess any self-sufficiency aside from cooking for her roommate and herself. She seems to have no sexual identity until Christian Grey enters her life and requests that she become his Submissive in a sexual relationship.
In order to be Christian’s submissive, Anastasia is expected to sign a lengthy and detailed contract that, amongst other requirements, requires that she exercise four days a week with a trainer that Christian provides (and who will report to Christian on her progress), eat only from a list of foods Christian supplies her with, get eight hours of sleep a night and begin taking a form of birth control so Christian will not have to wear condoms. Anastasia negotiates a few terms of the contract with Christian (she only wants to work out three days a week, not four), but all of her negotiations are only within his framework — none of the terms are hers independently. Nothing in their relationship is hers as an independent.
The character of Christian Grey is a rich, superpowered businessman who was abused as a child. He is in therapy, and Anastasia frequently references his therapist, but based on how he treats Anastasia, he doesn’t seem to be making much progress. As Anastasia’s relationship with Christian progresses, his controlling tendencies affect her life more and more. When her friend takes portraits of her for his photography exhibit, Christian buys all of them, because he does not want anyone else looking at Anastasia. (They weren’t even in a relationship when he did this.) When she is hired as an assistant at a publishing company, he buys the company — to make sure she’s “safe” working there. When she goes out to a bar with her one friend, against his wishes, he flies from New York to Washington State that same night, just to express his anger — and exercise his control over her. When she does not immediately change her name at her office (in hopes of maintaining some professional autonomy, given that he bought the company she works at), he shows up, unannounced, at her office, in the middle of her workday, to pick a fight with her. When she asks why it is so important to him that she change her name, he says he wants everyone to know she is his.
Christian’s possession of Anastasia is the cause of much of my disgust and fear of the book’s influence on people and how they view romantic relationships. After they exchange their wedding vows, the first words he says to her are, “Finally, you’re mine.” The control he exercises over her does not reflect his love for her; it reflects his objectifying of her. Christian never views Anastasia as a person, let alone an independent woman. He wants her to obey him, and even though she refuses to include that in her wedding vows, it is exactly what she does. When her mother questions her choice to keep her wedding dress on rather than change before traveling for her honeymoon, she says, “Christian likes this dress, and I want to please him.” Her desire to try some of the “kinky fuckery” in his Red Room of Pain comes from wanting to demonstrate her love for him, not her own sexual desires.
Wanting to please Christian apparently includes subjecting herself to verbal and emotional abuse from him ‘til death do them part, because any time she tries to stand up to him — which isn’t often — he berates her, guilt trips her and beats her down verbally until she apologizes and submits to him. After she uses the “safe word” in the Red Room of Pain so he will stop, he bemoans his sad state of mind later, mentioning that his “wife fucking safe worded him.” He is not concerned with her well-being or why she felt the need to use the safe word. He only cares about how it affects him.
The question that I kept asking myself as I read the books was why Anastasia stayed with Christian, and the answer I found was that she has absolutely no sense of self worth. She only feels sexy when he says she is, and when he insults or patronizes her, she accepts what he says as the truth. One of the passages that disgusted me the most was when Anastasia was at a club with Christian, dancing and thinking to herself that she never felt sexy before she met him and that he had given her confidence in her body. Yes, being with a partner who frequently compliments you can increase your confidence, but Anastasia went from zero to one hundred thanks to Christian. None of that came from within herself. Because of his influence on her, nothing in her life came from herself — her job, her home, her way of life, or even her self-esteem.
The co-dependency between Anastasia and Christian is alarming to read and even more to contemplate. When she breaks up with him at the end of the first book, the second book finds her starving herself and wasting away to nothing until he contacts her again. When she thinks his helicopter has crashed in the second book, she thinks to herself that she can’t live without him. Their marriage only comes about because he is scared she will leave him, and when she asks what she can do to prove to him she isn’t going anywhere, he says she can marry him. Yes, origins of insecurity and desperation are a great start to a healthy marriage.
When Anastasia finds herself unexpectedly pregnant and shares the news with Christian, he rages at her, asking if she did it on purpose and storming out of the house, disappearing for hours. Even though Anastasia thinks to herself that the pregnancy happened too soon in their marriage, she never considers terminating it.
The themes of the novel — that love alone can make someone change, that abuse from a spouse is acceptable as long as he’s great in bed, that pregnancies should always be carried to term even if the parents are not ready to be parents, and the ridiculously antiquated, Victorian idea that the love of a pure virgin can save a wayward man from himself — are irrational, unbelievable and dangerous.
Our culture has seen a radical shift of ideals moving towards traditional gender roles and Fifty Shades of Grey is a shining example of that. Early marriage to one’s first sexual partner, having a baby even when saying neither of the partners is ready to be a parent, and submission to one’s husband as the head of the household are all aspects of life that feminists and progressive thinkers have worked to move beyond. Anastasia and Christian’s relationship is not romantic. It is abusive. The ways he tries to “keep her safe” are not masculine or sexy. They are stalking. Fearing one’s husband’s reaction to an unexpected pregnancy is not normal, because “boys will be boys.” It is sad and dangerous and should not happen in a healthy relationship.
Fifty Shades of Grey was one of the best-selling books of the year. Sex toy classes have been inspired by it, as have new types of cocktails. The film adaptation is already in the works. I sincerely hope that honest discussion will be had about the book and that the Christian Grey ideal of romance is not one that will be perpetuated throughout our culture. The best way that can happen is through open, honest dialogue that leads to healthy relationships of two equal partners. That, in my opinion, is sexier than anything that can happen in the Red Room of Pain.
Spread this like wildfire on all media!
Solar energy that doesn’t block the view
A team of researchers at Michigan State University has developed a new type of solar concentrator that when placed over a window creates solar energy while allowing people to actually see through the window. It is called a transparent luminescent solar concentrator and can be used on buildings, cell phones and any other device that has a clear surface. And, according to Richard Lunt of MSU’s College of Engineering, the key word is “transparent.”
Saving Face (2012), acid attacks on women in Pakistan
Meanwhile, in America, feminists are complaining about how dress codes are oppressive.
You idiots have never experienced oppression, and pray you never do, because this is what it looks like.
As a South Asian American feminist, let me remind everyone that oppression is not a competition.
Just because we fight one type of sexism doesn’t mean we don’t care about other instances of sexism that don’t affect us directly in our day to day lives.
My heart goes out to this woman and the hundreds of other victims like her. I want to educate people about these kinds of incidents. I support organizations that help women like this.
You may think that dress code issues are trivial, but they are related to a larger issue of women’s bodily autonomy, which affects women’s health and safety.
So please, let’s try to bring awareness and bring about change instead of insulting entire groups of people because they are facing issues that are less scary than the one presented.
“oppression is not a competition”
thank you so much for this wording
does anyone even need to say anything more about israel?
You bet your sweet ass if China or Iran was doing this reporters would be able to find the word “sterilization,” which is conspicuously absent here.
If you defend Israel, I don’t need to know you.
FORCED STERILIZATION IS NOT OKAY. Please signal boost so that people realize that forced sterilization wasn’t just something that happened in the US in the ’70s, but that it’s still going on now and it’s eugenics.
forced sterilization was one of the first steps during any genocide, the removal of their people by eliminating their ability to procreate
You cannot buy electronics with food stamps. You cannot buy cigarettes with food stamps. You cannot buy pet food with food stamps. You cannot withdraw money with an EBT card (food stamps).
Do you know what else you can’t buy with food stamps? Shampoo, soap, laundry detergent, toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, tinfoil, plastic sandwich bags, toothpaste, cleaning products, tampons, pads, over the counter medications (such as Tylenol, Ibuprofen, etc.), and anything else you can think of that you cannot physically ingest for nutritional purposes.
Do you know what you can buy with food stamps? Food.
Do you know what it’s like to scrounge for change to buy non-edible necessities, use a credit card and EBT card (food stamps) during the same transaction, and then have the person in line behind you judge you for buying the ingredients to make a birthday cake?
People who disseminate false information about food stamps have never had to use food stamps.
Okay, but let’s talk for a second about how that one lady called turkey “big chicken”
You can’t even buy all food with food stamps. You just… you flat-out can’t buy “food that will be eaten in the store/any food sold for on-premises consumption” or any “hot foods” with food stamps—meaning you can’t buy anything hot, you can’t buy anything that gets blended together, you can’t buy anything “pre-prepared,” in most cases you can’t use your EBT card at restaurants. You literally CANNOT purchase a milkshake with food stamps, because it’s considered “sold for on-premises consumption” (which was ridiculous at the place I worked, because the customer had to mix their own milkshake themself with a little machine we provided them, and several people got upset—rightfully so, I think—that it wasn’t covered under food stamps, because they often only found out at the register after already mixing it, often as a treat for their kids). You literally can’t walk into a gas station, grab one of those hot dogs off their grills/out of the little heated food area, and buy it with food stamps, because it’s hot.
And when I say “can’t,” I don’t mean “if the cashier notices you trying and cares enough to stop you, they’ll refuse to do it for you.” I mean “it is actually impossible to do this.” I’m not even sure these people who disseminate false information about food stamps have paid any attention at all when buying things at the store, because what happens is: We scan in the customer’s items, into our computer. The computer has specific codes for the items and rules for what it will let you pay for things with. We scan the customer’s EBT card, and it tells us exactly how much of that price total can be paid for via EBT, and it will not include anything that isn’t food, and it will not include anything considered “pre-prepared” food. It does this automatically AND THERE IS NO OVERRIDE FOR IT. If our machines say that you can’t use the EBT card to pay for something, there is literally nothing we can do to change that, even if we WANTED to.
So no. You can’t buy iPads or cigarettes with food stamps. You can’t withdraw money from casinos or anywhere else with food stamps. You can’t buy dog food with food stamps; sometimes you can’t even buy people food with food stamps. I’m not even sure if you can buy “the big chicken legs” at Disney with food stamps; remember, you can’t buy “any food sold for on-premises consumption” OR any hot foods, and that’s both.
Literally the only thing these fearmongers listed that you can actually purchase with food stamps even if you are in goddamn cahoots with the evil liberal cashier or store manager is soda, and the judgement against people buying that with food stamps is classist fuckwittery at its finest.
So, as always, Fox News is actually flat-out lying, and hateful conservatives both don’t know what they’re talking about and don’t give a fuck about people going through shit that they will never have to go through themselves, and that they in fact don’t have even the tiniest clue about (not even via five seconds’ research; a list of things that can’t be purchased with food stamps is on the Food and Nutrition Services website) but still think they should spout off about to their TV audience anyway.
This reality is a bit harder to swallow: There are more white people in the US and Canada because the US and Canada were established using the systematic genocide of Native peoples, the theft of Native lands, and the labour of enslaved peoples in the past and immigrant peoples currently who were and are never meant to stay or survive.
And now you’re uncomfortable. Good.
When you accept and acknowledge that census figures reflect a long history of marginalization, it is preposterous to use these same figures as the benchmark to which you measure the inclusion of marginalized people.There’s a great piece in the Toast about representation and diversity (‘Proportional Representation’ Has No Place In Diversity Discussions by Léonicka Valcius) today. (via whineandbeer)
"Women are the niggers of gender," the email said. "If you killed yourself, I wouldn’t even fuck the corpse."No skin thick enough: The daily harassment of women in the game industry | Polygon (via eviecarnahans)
I blinked at my phone, fighting simultaneous urges to hurl my phone across the room in anger and cry. Later that day, someone texted me my address — telling me they’d “See me when I least expected it.”
I haven’t been out to my car at night by myself since January 2nd.
My name is Brianna Wu. I lead a development studio that makes games. Sometimes, I write about issues in the games industry that relate to the equality of women. My reward is that I regularly have men threatening to rape and commit acts of violence against me.
So my school is fighting back against this principal
August 14- Principal Rich Thomas, in a senior class meeting about new rules and policies, when explaining the new phone policy, said “I don’t care if your Aunt is laying on her deathbed, you aren’t getting your cell phone back if we take it.”
Made a male student change out of his tank top in front of the school in front of him and at least 50 students into a shirt that followed the new dress code.
August 15-on- Constantly scans hallways, walkie talkie in hand, searching for students to either A. Give tardies to or B. Send to the In-School-Suspension room (ISS).
August 19- Pulled approximately 50+ female students from classrooms to be sent home over wearing gym/running shorts, made the girls who weren’t old enough to drive, and who’s parents couldn’t bring them clothes sit in ISS the rest of the day, even though this was many of their first EVER offenses.
August 20- Sent Mariah Adams home for wearing the outfit included in the picture attached.
Side notes: Was fired from Scott County High School for discrimination of the LGBTQ community members of the school.
Is forcing all students to wear lanyards with IDs to get into school.
Gives ISS after 4 total tardies in one semester, giving us 0.007% success rate in not going to ISS. With a total of 150 tardies within the first three days of school because of new, non-relenting policy.
Has expanded ISS room from capacity of 15 to capacity of 40 students with knowledge of the fact that he would be sending multiple student there for menial reasons every day.
And he also was fired before from another local school. LGBTQ Nation sent him a letter and sued the school: http://www.lgbtqnation.com/assets/2013/02/021413_Scott-County-Prom-Letter.pdf
The local news network has gotten word if the large amounts of chaos in the school and the nauseating dictatorship he’s made of our school.
We’re located in Perryville, MO. Literally and hour and half away from Ferguson.