Archive | Media analysis RSS feed for this section

Secret demon mermaids, or, what attracts rapists to their victims?

19 May

Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic recently skewered the NYT coverage of personal attributes of the alleged DSK rape victim, as told by her neighbors. It’s worth reading.

Perhaps feeling somewhat chastised, today the Times decided to run a story written by a female reporter about the unwanted “glare” of media attention raining down upon the victim (and upon the housekeeper who had a child with Schwarzenegger). Besides just recounting the details that the media should not have originally printed, including the insane and awful NYPost report alleging that the DSK victim lived in a building for HIV-positive adults, what else can this story tell us? Why does everyone want to know about these women?

“It is part of a fascination with the man,” said Suzanne Goldberg, director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia. “What sort of woman could this powerful man have been attracted to? I think as a society, we care about the lives of powerful celebritylike figures.”

“That curiosity extends not only to their home decorating, but also to who is in their beds,” she added. “The women suffer the collateral damage of our interest.”

“What sort of women could this powerful man have been attracted to?” Ladies, take notes in case you’re interested in attracting your own powerful man.

What sort of women? Just someone with a vagina and breasts who won’t blab about it later, someone who might even, say, appreciate all that flattering attention? No, that’s not enough. Are you still taking notes?

This kind of woman: she is a beautiful mermaid who grows legs every morning just to go in to work at her housekeeping job. Her legs are just a little crooked because the weight of her enormous breasts bends her over when she walks. She can’t always control when she switches back and forth from mermaid to housekeeper. She is part siren and also part demon and there are diamonds in her hair, which sparkle when the right man looks at them. The right man is the only man on earth. Those diamonds also magically emit electromagnetic waves that paralyze the right man’s thoughts and direct them solely at her. Her eyes are a little bit obscene when you look into them – they scream “fuck me” at a pitch only that right man can hear. She goes home at night like a normal person and then climbs into her bathtub to be a mermaid again after she makes dinner for her kids.

She may sound like a nice woman, someone who doesn’t do anything mean to anybody, but no, she’s a secret demon mermaid.

Still taking notes? In reality, the important part is whether the accuser was in mermaid or housekeeper mode when she was raped. It all hinges on this, since it’s just like Odysseus, who can’t resist mermaids when they are being mermaids. This is what we need to know. Reporters have to find this out. It is impossible for men to “not be attracted to” mermaids, just like Odysseus. Are all women secretly mermaids? Maybe they are. Demon mermaids.

I hope you’ve been keeping notes, ladies. Read The Odyssey, and please note that when it comes to attracting powerful men, you are already a secret demon mermaid. She’s just waiting to come out.

Advertisements

AP writes laziest possible article about SlutWalks

6 May

Woah hoh hoh, everybody! Sluts! They get around! Get it?

And sluts, they are provocative! Sluts walking around being provocative! 

What is this movement’s provocative message?

That no woman ever deserves to be raped because of how she dresses. Yes, AP headline editor, that is their hugely “provocative” message. We know, we know, that’s right up there with STFU JUSTIN BIEBER DID NOT GET A HAIRCUT on the “holy-shit-o-meter.” Frankly, we would have gone with “outraging message” because “provocative” doesn’t really cover it.

Some women and men who protest dress in nothing more remarkable than jeans and T-shirts, while others wear provocative or revealing outfits to bring attention to “slut-shaming,” or shaming women for being sexual, and the treatment of sexual assault victims.

Really? So what were the people wearing non-rapey clothes doing? Were they confused? They sure weren’t doing as good a job as the provocative sluts. It’s okay to call them that, right? Because it’s not like they’re protesting the misconception that a woman should be held responsible when some random yahoo thinks according to his “slut-scale” that her attire provokes him so much that she’s allowed to be raped.

Or maybe it’s just that the writer, Russell Contreras, missed the entire concept of the protest and decided “provocative” was a good word to use. What other questionable decisions did he make?

“It was taking the blame off the rapist and on the victim,” said Nicole Sullivan, 21, a student at the University of Massachusetts-Boston and an organizer of the SlutWalk planned Saturday in that city. “So we are using these efforts to reclaim the word `slut.'”

Why does he quote an organizer who can’t construct this sentence properly? Were there no other organizers or quotes?

“The event is in protest of a culture that we think is too permissive when it comes to rape and sexual assault,” said Siobhan Connors, 20, of Lynn, Mass., another Boston organizer. “It’s to bring awareness to the shame and degradation women still face for expressing their sexuality … essentially for behaving in a healthy and sexual way.”

Okay, our writer found another one. How might he follow up this quote with some more interesting details or context?

The events are similar to “Take Back the Night” rallies and other marches that aim to bring attention to sexual violence. But there are key differences.

SlutWalkers have danced to hip-hop, worn T-shirts with the word “slut” and held signs that read “sluts pay taxes.” Some women have skated around on Rollerblades in lingerie, while their male supporters wore shirts reading, “I love sluts.”

Oh, right. The “Take Back the Night” rallies are different in “key” ways, but he’s not going to tell you any of them! Our writer gets an F on his compare-and-contrast essay section. Was there no hip-hop at TBTN rallies? Definitely no sluts in lingerie on rollerblades, apparently. But these things are “key,” for sure.

And then on and on with a bunch of other lazy reporting in which Mr. Contreras looks up the Facebook pages of other marches and notes banal details like, “In San Francisco, SlutWalk organizers want to make their protest a family event” because the organizers, like most other kinds of protest organizers, want as many people as possible to show up. Yet it ends up sounding slightly scandalous, because oh my God sluts and sluts want to rub themselves all over your children, so don’t forget to bring the kiddies.

The article is framed by the recent controversy over a Toronto police officer who told a campus safety seminar full of students that women should not dress like sluts in order to avoid being raped. Yet the article never again touches on why this is an inappropriate thing to say. It is important to explain and connect what the officer said with organizer statements like, “The event is in protest of a culture that we think is too permissive when it comes to rape and sexual assault,” because it is not obvious to everyone. You need to explain why, from the protest organizers’ perspective (and the sane human one), a person telling women not to dress like sluts in order to avoid rape means that this person is implying it is then okay to assault sluts and, more broadly, creating an environment that blames women for assault because the scale for what makes a “slut” is totally arbitrary and, as we have seen, even an 11-year-old girl can be deemed a slut by a major news organization.

There are no interviews with sexual assault survivors with relevant experiences, no quotes from any of the other protesters, no interviews with other campus safety experts with context about attitudes towards sexual assault victims, no mention of the recent government investigation of Yale for ignoring campus assault problems, no statistics or other context about the incidence of mishandled sexual assault cases based on the victim’s attire or perceived sexual reputation.

You could argue that not all of those things would be relevant to a story about these protests, but surely at least one of them would have been.

Women have more degrees, blah blah, this is about men

27 Apr
Alriiiight. I’m back from deep space.

And just in time for this major news alert: for the first time, women are now earning more advanced degrees than men in America.

Since the people who are paid to be insane about women’s advancement are still in their caves still busily formulating some kind of terror apocalypse bubonic plague death star to fling at society for ever allowing this to happen, let’s just bask in the quiet good news for a moment. Can we?

Even the conservative American Enterprise Institute scholar Mark Perry was all like, hey, that’s cool:
The degree gap in favor of women is now being reflected in a wage gap in favor of single female workers in their 20s, who now earn 8 percent more than their male counterparts in America’s large cities. With such a huge and growing majority of advanced degrees going to women, their job prospects and future advancement to managerial and leadership positions look very bright.
Great news.

But, whoops, haven’t we forgotten something here? AP reporter Hope Yen hasn’t. From the third graf:
The educational gains for women are giving them greater access to a wider range of jobs, contributing to a shift of traditional gender roles at home and work. Based on one demographer’s estimate, the number of stay-at-home dads who are the primary caregivers for their children reached nearly 2 million last year, or one in 15 fathers.
Oh, right. What baseline news story about women’s educational advancement would be complete without an immediate discussion of how it affects men? Who needs to profile a woman with an advanced degree for an article about women getting more advanced degrees when you can profile a stay-at-home dad? I have just summed up the AP article for you now.

“Does this mean men will have to stay home with the kids?” is the important question even though less than a third of American families even have any full-time stay-at-home parents. But because this is about women’s advancement, math dictates that if women do well, Jesus says men are forced to eat dildos for every meal. That is what we should talk about.

Iowa Senator: women and livestock, they are politically similar

12 Apr

Abortion headline alert! State Sen. Matt McCoy (D-Des Moines) introduced an amendment to a bill prohibiting the secret taping of mistreated farm animals that would also prohibit secret taping inside “pregnancy termination locations.”

Wait! You said something about abortion! News aggregators like those headlines. Pageviewz! “Senate amendment: ban secret video at Iowa abortion clinics.” Finally, sanity emerges from the Iowan cornfields.

Oops. McCoy apparently doesn’t actually think the amendment will pass, but God bless him, he wanted to make a confusing point about how women’s clinics and cows both need to be videotaped, or not.

“What I was trying to illustrate was that livestock industry is really setting themselves up as a niche industry,”McCoy said.  Livestock would be provided more protection from secret taping than people visiting women’s health centers and other places that work closely with people, he said.

Wait, what? Protection? Livestock aren’t really “protected” by a ban on secret taping, which is maybe what he actually wanted to say since he is against the bill? JUST SAY THAT. But somehow, his response came out as “women’s clinics and livestock, we should think about how they are videotaped, secretly.” Cows and women, women and cows. It’s important to see how similar they are, for politics.

A Google search doesn’t turn up any other articles on this amendment to help clarify. It would have been helpful to know if McCoy is pro-choice or not to fully contextualize the comparison he is seeking to make, which in any case is convoluted from the way it is portrayed in this Des Moines Register blog post.

But does it really matter? Women and livestock, they are very similar! Cows and ladies are both kind of stupid, they don’t really know if they want to be videotaped or not, some men should decide that, but luckily women and cows can both be used to make political points in Iowa.

Lady libido problems and passive voice construction

12 Mar

Over at the Daily Mail, Britain’s main feminist-provoking headline factory (just do a search on Jezebel.com for “Daily Fail”), the tabloid editors did a copy-paste from some “Fembido passion pill” PR release with a new survey claiming that over half of women avoid sex with their partners because they feel too fat. Isn’t it great when other people do your work for you?

Experts said the poll showed many women were suffering from a combination of unrealistic expectations about their appearance and increasingly busy lives, and warned relationships were inevitably suffering as a result.

Good passive voice construction there: “women were suffering from.” Honestly I’m not sure from this sentence whether it’s women’s fault for having unrealistic expectations or if it’s the partner’s fault for causing women to hold those unrealistic expectations. Or is there some mysterious third party we can blame, like our favorite bogeyman “the media,” that is more likely at fault? Probably kind of everybody? Or maybe just nobody. It’s a no-fault crime, is what we are trying to say, with our passive voice construction. Who cares. Buy Fembido!

I’m also not sure how a lady “passion pill” dovetails with a study about how the ladies hate their own bodies. Does it matter if your passion is up when you don’t want your partner to see you naked? Because that actually just sounds really annoying. Or is this one of those “liquid confidence” pills that magically makes all your insecurities go away after you take 3 or 4 of them so you can have sex without worrying about how you look with the lights on and tastes and looks kind of mysteriously like a Jaeger bomb?

Was “Fembido” seriously the best this marketing department could come up with? That has exactly the same thrilling ring to it as “Herbido” or “Chemfantasy” or “Infatupill” or “Erotobiotic.”

To help clarify the point, photo editors decided to use this bizarre picture to illustrate their article. Is it because she’s overweight she doesn’t look happy, or is it because of her t-shirt tan? They both have t-shirt tans. He can’t hold that against her. I’m going to more with “from an article about motel room foreplay for ‘redneck anger sex’ fetish communities.”

Texas gang rape case provides chance for reporters to thoughtfully profile preteen victim

9 Mar

The NYTimes published  a story yesterday about an 11-year-old girl who was gang-raped in Cleveland, Texas. Besides being yet another advertisement for why no one should ever want to live in small town Texas, the story is infuriating the bejeesus out of a number of feminist blogs today for grafs such as the following:

Residents in the neighborhood where the abandoned trailer stands — known as the Quarters — said the victim had been visiting various friends there for months. They said she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s. She would hang out with teenage boys at a playground, some said.

Victim-blaming? Yes. It’s a lazy reporter including rote details that sound copied out of a 1920s-era stylebook for writing about gang rape cases. “She was known as a woman of loose morals” is a mandatory clause, or something.

Do I know he’s a lazy writer? Yes. I’m going to conclude that from the “some said” attribution he uses that is becoming as popular as the more familiar “according to some experts.” How many neighbors said this? Did they know the girl or her family personally? Why were they standing around watching children on a playground? Are they Grant Storms?

But what’s even more annoying about this wannabe gothic Faulkner tale that writer James C. McKinley crafts for us is that it’s constructed in the most formulaic framework possible. The whole “small town shocked by terrible events” one is kind of a go-to standby for when you want to write a story about something horrible but it’s hard to get actual information beyond a police report. So, you get statements from neighbors. Apparently this consisted of: “Eh, this one about how she kind of wore too much makeup and stuff will do the trick.” Boom.

The Times ran a similar small-town-disbelief story just last week about the Julie Schenecker case. This Texas article, however, is even worse in that it’s written with the least possible amount of care for the case itself and rather as though it’s some kind of generic horrible thing that happens in our ghostlike, abandoned-trailer-ridden post-apocalyptic America.

To see what McKinley skipped out on, just read some of the other articles about the case.

Continue reading

Man vs. woman future death competition apocalypse is now pending

2 Mar

And since it’s Women’s History Month, one task on our list is to make sure men are really getting the message that they are being fucked by women’s progress.

There is only so much success in the world to go around, and since men are losing out on some of that, they will become depressed and angry, reports BBC News.

The authors say men will struggle with the shift away from traditional male and female roles.

The Men’s Health Forum said male identity was bound up in employment.

One of the authors, Dr Boadie Dunlop from Emory University School of Medicine, said: “Women are almost twice as likely to develop major depressive disorder in their lifetime as men, but we believe this difference may well change in the coming decades.”

Hear that, men? You will now have to share in some of that major depression, be huge pussies like the rest of us frustrated humans out there.

I’m all for studies that examine how changing gender roles affect both sexes, but here’s the thing: this article is about how decreasing employment opportunity in the manufacturing and blue-collar sectors will negatively impact men’s mental health. That doesn’t sound like a problem with gender roles so much as a problem with unemployment and men earning fewer advanced degrees than women and our governments failing to help guarantee an even playing field for workers on a basic level.

Undoubtedly individual families with heterosexual married people in them will suffer consequences, but unemployment in and of itself does not guarantee gender role conflict between spouses, which is what the article seems to imply. I’m getting tired of these studies that show how men and women will probably all just kill each other soon when they start to realize their happiness is somehow in inverse relationship to one another.

The human race will no doubt wipe itself out sooner rather than later, but I doubt it will be from men and women rising up against each other to compete for jobs. Nope, pretty much they will probably just keep fucking and arguing over who did the dishes last.