Friday, April 15, 2011

Your Move Jesus...

Walking on water? 

I've been walking on sunshine since the summer of '83, your move Jesus...

Pic from here

Friday, April 1, 2011

No More Slut-Shame!

For sex there has always been a double standard for women. That is, we tend to impose harsh judgement on women who have it.

At all.
In any circumstance.

Even if it is against her will.

Take the case of 14 year old Hena Akhter from Bangladesh.

She was found by a woman whose husband was in the act of raping her.
What did she do?
She took her and beat her for the crime of having relations with her husband.

This is a man who was punished before for harrassing her, but when she was taken and brutally raped by this man with a previous predatorial history his punishment was only a few lashes (the punishment was 201, but they stopped after only a few).

And how did SHE fair in this ordeal as the victim of such a savage act?  How did the law, her neighbors and her church protect her?

101 lashes for "adultery" as imposed by the fatwa of the local Imam.

She died from her wounds.

She would have been better off not screaming for help and just simply giving in to his evil impulses. Such is the savagery of her vagina being a matter of public interest.

Why did he get off with only a few lashes and she was whipped to, what would later be, her death?

Because she is a woman, and her sexuality is not open to comprimise. Her vagina is owned by those who would judge her, and her sexuality is not left to her discrecion as to how it is best enacted, or even protected.

She is a thing to be owned and, as property, she is expected to maintain her "purity" as those in power see fit without regard for motivation or circumstance.

We can't write it off as simply "their culture" when people are being subjugated like this.

Think that this just happens in extremist countries?

Think again.

Let's move on now to the recent article in the New York Times by James C. McKinley.

This one tells of an 11 year old girl who was gang raped on video in East Texas by a group of 18 young men.

She is the victim of a brutal, terrifying and life altering attack, and in this mainstream news source (The New York Times) she is portrayed as a young harlot with an uncaring and irresponsible mother, who dresses, and acts in such a way as to "draw"her attackers into this act of violence. This newspaper was more concerned with the fate of the boys than the condition of the victim.

There is no sympathy in the article, or even in the statements of the community members, for this young girl. Only for the attackers, and for the effect it has had on their community.

These are not all upstanding young men. There are among their numbers, thieves, drug dealers, and killers. But yet, the concern still lies in what a terrible thing it is for these boys to "have to live with it for the rest of their lives".


What about HER having to live with it? How about asking how SHE got drawn into such a situation? How about forgetting the effect on your poor community and focusing on the effect that it has had on her family??

The assault didn't even end there. The video of her humiliation was shared amongst students at her local school.

But STILL when asked, THIS is the background information that the writer felt was important.

"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."
 -Ny Times

So she deserved it?

Perhaps she dressed inappropriately, but our response is to focus on that instead of the horrible crime?

Perhaps she wasn't smart in placing herself in such company, or by being alone in such a place, or even by dressing in a way that garners the wrong attention for an 11 year old.

But to say that makes her somehow responsible for her victimization is absolutely unconscionable.
To even pretend that right after such an attack is the time to give her a lesson on how she COULD have better protected herself from these animals is ridiculous, unfeeling and immoral in the highest degree.
It implies that she should shoulder part of the blame, and that she somehow drew those boys to a crime that they otherwise wouldn't have committed.

I dont' care if she was marching down the middle of the street at midnight wearing nothing but brightly coloured sneakers and nipple tassels, if she gets brutalized it is NOT her fault.

It is the fault of the people who performed the actions.


People are responsible for their own actions. 

But because she is a woman, her vagina is public property and places her in the untenable position of being judged for such things.

There is no other crime in the world that asks for the motivation of the victim.

Car stolen? If it was red and sexy, then it is your own fault.

House vandalized? If you yelled at your mailman and the neighborhood boys, then they can't be blamed.

Stabbed and robbed? If you were dressed nicely like you had money, then it is YOU who should be held accountable.

There is no situation where sex had against a womans will is excusable. None.


And to point fingers at HER after the act, is inhuman.

Even here in Toronto, (and even more surprisingly, during a Campus safety information session at York University) Toronto Police officer Const. Michael Sanguinetti, gave the advice to women to stop dressing like "sluts" if they didn't want to be victimized. I understand the cautionary, (who doesn't want to know how to fall under the radar of predators) but to include the distasteful label with it implies personal responsibility for the violence and that is unacceptable.

(The constable issued an apology nearly a month later)

ENOUGH of the slut shaming!! Just enough.

Toronto has had enough. Sonya JF Barnett has had enough.

She has courageously taken it upon herself to do something about it. Look it up under the Slutwalk.  She is taking to the streets, and leading a crowd behind her.  Dress like a "slut"?  GOOD she says.  Own the term and take it back.

Sexual assault isn't about what you wear, it isn't about how you act, and it isn't about how you tempt. It is about violence and it is NOT a woman's fault when it is inflicted upon her.

Slut shaming (thanks to Ms Barnett for that term) isn't just about sexual assault. It is about judging a womans character based soley upon her private decisions in her own bedroom.

Shame on you Toronto.

Shame on you New York Times.

Shame on you Bangladesh.

And shame on every one of you who feels that it is your place to judge a woman's character based on what she does with her body or how she acts in the privacy of her own bedroom, or who gives even the slightest understanding or forgiveness to the evil men who betray each womans right to consent by forcing the choice on her.

This is the result of an attitude that is far more prevalent that you might think.

How many of you would lose respect for a woman who had been with 20 men?



What about a man?
Would they be held to the same standard? 
Why not?

Boys will be boys. We are expected to pursue and allowed to own our own genetalia and the privacy that comes with sexual matters.
Women can do so only under the veil of secrecy for fear of being branded immoral, and labeled a slut who is responsible for whatever befalls her.

Even if it is done against her will.

Shouldn't they have the same freedoms that we do? 
The same ability to like sex within or outside a relationship without being judged for it?
And shouldn't they be allowed the same freedom of choice to NOT have sex forced upon her without facing that same judgement?

To be made twice a victim?  Once for the violence her attacker inflicted on her, and twice by US for judging her somehow responsible.

It is already a crime that goes unreported.  Let's not make it worse.

Give women the same ownership of their sexuality, their genetalia and their consent as we have.

Think about it.

Pic came from here

Atheist Haiku of the Month- April Fool's Edition

Evidence for God

Is all around us and the

Bible's never wrong

Shout Out to Stupid- Newt Gingrich

This month’s “Shout Out to Stupid” goes to republican candidate Newt Gingrich,  for his latest straw-man/ad hominem, fear mongering attack on the Democratic "Anti religious bias".

Earlier this month, he stood in front of thousands of evangelical Christians to warn them about the loss of the christian identity of America. An identity that he asserts is one of the founding principles of his country (we'll touch on that later).

"I have two grandchildren - Maggie is 11, Robert is 9, I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they're my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American."

Where does the stupid even start?
Is this really a man that is potentially a presidential candidate?


Let's start by saying this;

There is no struggle over the nature of America. A struggle is defined by two sides opposing. Each attempting to impose its own vision of victory over the other.

There is no opposition. Only Christians attempting to redefine America to fit their ideology as a "Christian Nation". America was founded by secular humanists and deists (for the most part) who believed strongly in separating the religious from the political.

And rightly so.

They also stated very clearly that the US was not founded on Christian values or any theistic ideology at all. This is clarified many times by different men amongst the founding fathers. It is simply not a matter in question by any but those who are not well read on the subject.

So it is clear that there is no struggle amongst opposing sides in this "redefinition" of America. Only Christians trying to reshape a secular country to fit their own narrow held beliefs to the exclusion of all others. So in referencing this "struggle", Gingrich is only attempting to incite the emotions of the religious right, and attempting to START such a struggle so that his America can better fit his personal beliefs.

But I digress. His stupid (or most of it) is not found in that statement.

It is found in the slippery slope argument that he passes off as fact.

" the time they're my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American"

THIS is where his stupid lies (at least the stupid that we are talking about today. I won't mention when he supported impeaching the president for sexual misconduct while engaged in his own extra-marital affairs.)

Mr. Gingrich has engaged in a culinary/literary practice known as creating "word salad". This is where you throw a bunch of words or ideas together that will incite emotion, but have no real connection to each other or logic itself.




Loss of American identity.

These words and ideas are emotionally charged and capable of raising the ire of a large portion of the population....

....if they suspend critical thinking (at its most basic) altogether.

The terms just don't relate!

A secular country is not the same as an atheistic country.

An atheistic country can't be dominated by religious extremists.

An Islamic country can't be secular OR atheistic.

And the “loss of identity” can't be had from any of these things.

National identity is a living thing. It changes from generation to generation and is never wrong per-se. We could say that the rise of the religious right has changed what it was to be "American"  but, although it is true that America has changed, it is not a valuable thing to say that we should wish our identity to remain stagnant. America was once a secular country. Is the someone trying to change that?


The religious right.

They have been doing this for years, starting with the Pledge of Allegiance (adding "Under God"), to the country’s motto (from "E Pluribus Unum (out of many, one) to "In God We Trust"), to the inclusion of God on US money.

But again, I digress. There is just so much wrong with what he is saying, it is hard NOT to go off on a tangent!
He is clearly trying to incite fear and hatred.
It is just as clear that he doesn't have any clear understanding of the terms that he uses.

His response to being called out on the conflated issues in his speech?

He forgot an "or" in his statement.


How would the inclusion of an "OR" make it any better?

They are not parallel paths. They are all diamtrically opposed paths.
Any path that we are on that might result in a more secular country, will NOT result in an islamic state, nor will it result in the abolishment of all religion to make it an "atheistic" country.

Secular is, by definition, unconcerned with god. Am atheistic country would be one that is, by and large, VERY considered in it's approach to religion. It is hard to be an atheist if you haven't considered religion at all.

Secular could be the rest of an atheistic country of course, but to say that a secular govt could result in an atheistic country is akin to saying that a republican govt will result in a conservative country.

Which considering the swing back and forth between political parties in power, I would say is a stretch to say the least.

How would a secular govt would lead to it's constituents abandoning all religious faith?

How does Islam play a part in this secular country? How does Islam end up as a result of any singular path that might also lead us to secular govts, or the abandoning of religion by its constituents?

How does the abandoning of all religion by its constituents lead to an Islamic extremist state? Further how does any path that might result in its constituents abandoning all religion have an alternate ending that it extremist islam?

The answer?

It doesn't.

It is just throwing buzz words out there. Ones that frightens uneducated voters.

But one that he equates to "enemy" more than all others.


He is trying to intimate that Muslims (and by extension, with his logic, atheists and proponents of a secular govt) are attacking America and trying to ruin the fabric of what makes it great in their eyes.

After 9/11 it is an easy thing to say and elicit the desired response with such a statement. But it is not a true (or even logical) statement to make. There is nothing inherently evil about Muslims. Their book, the Koran, sure it's full of awful things. It's terrible and immoral and filled with hateful and evil things, but then so is another book which Gingrich would place as a very important one to North Americans.

The Bible.

We can't mention ones evils without at least referencing the others and we can't judge the character of the entire group based on it either. Just as we don't do that for Christians.

So how does the abandoning of all religion by its constituents lead to an Islamic extremist state? Further how does any path that might result in its constituents abandoning all religion have an alternate ending that is extremist Islam?

It makes absolutely no sense in any logical context.

The only way that we can make sense of it is to understand that it is a statement borne of ambition. An ambition that is best served by a country in fear.

With him as its knowing saviour.

The only result of his statement is a collective lowering of IQ of anyone who lends his words credence, and to the collective heightening of the level of paranoia and hatred towards the completely unconnected groups that he unjustly vilifies.

Those groups are those who support a secular govt (which includes many religious groups), atheists, and of course Muslims. He is trying to paint them as the destroyers of America, instead of as partners in it's future. In short he is manipulating a country that still quakes from the attacks of 9/11 and using that fear to his own ends to garner cheap political favour.

He is trying to instill not just fear, but fear and hatred.

He is trying to forget that he shares his country with those people, and that by forgetting them, he betrays a large portion of his constituency.

Does he forget that those people make up a large percentage of his voters? Maybe not a loud percentage, but certainly a large one.

Maybe it is HE, who should be careful.

For if America puts on its thinking cap to assess foolish and destructive statements like these ones, his stupidity might be exposed for all to see.

I have gone on too long on this, suffice to say that he is my "shout out" this month for his fear mongering, hatred and irrational comparisons between unrelated groups merely for his own selfish gain.

Well done Newt. Another in a long line of foolish statements and acts.

One has to wonder, how much longer will even the "new" Republicans put up with you?