ChoiceWords Blog

Posts Tagged: violence

What do Rick Ross and Miley Cyrus have in common?

It’s been less than two weeks since Miley Cyrus’ “twerking” at the VMA’s started a social justice firestorm. She was highly criticized for her appropriation of black women, but commended for her promotion of sex positivity. On stage and in her music videos, she casts black women as sexualized props and background for her interpretation of “hood music.” Miley claims she is “’bout that life.” Are you really Miley? Really? You get a faint clap for owning your body and sexuality, but you don’t get to do it at the expense of black women through music. Rapping, its roots from West Africa, transcended into blues and eventually jazz poetry. Our modern interpretation of rap is racialized, sexualized, and is assumed to often deal with sex, drugs, and alcohol.

What Facebook Continues To Tell Us About Violence Against Women

Cross-posted with permission from Fem2.0  **Trigger warning – This post contains strong language and graphic descriptions.** There is a photograph being shared in Facebook of a woman cowering in a corner, eyes downcast, as large man standing in the foreground swings his fist at her head. The caption reads, “Women deserve equal rights. And lefts.” AT&T, American Express, Cubesmart and Ancestry.com are among the page’s sponsors today. This image has been reported to Facebook repeatedly. Their response is: “Thanks for your report. We reviewed the photo you reported, but found it doesn’t violate Facebook’s Community Standard on hate speech, which includes posts or photos that attack a person based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or medical condition.” The “joke” isn’t offensive. What is offensive… Read more »

Unpacking “Schroedinger’s Rapist” or A Guy’s Guide to Approaching Strange Women Without Being Maced

This post is part of a series celebrating Choice USA’s Bro-Choice Week of Action. For more information, please visit our website and take the Bro-Choice pledge.  For those of you unfamiliar with the concept (like I was just last month), Schroedinger’s Rapist is a blog post by Phaedra Starling. The article itself discusses the appropriate way for a man to approach a woman in a public place; men are advised to proceed with caution and consideration of the fact that there is no reasonable way for a woman to know whether or not she is at risk of being assaulted. Starling writes that there is no way for a woman to know that the risk of a strange man approaching her is zero. Here’s the overarching idea: • Our culture downplays the frequency and… Read more »

Masculinity and Care

This post is part of a series celebrating Choice USA’s Bro-Choice Week of Action. For more information, please visit our website and take the Bro-Choice pledge.  I’m in the seventh grade; a shy kid with a stutter, and short for my age, sitting by the front of my school long after the final bells have rung. It’s mostly empty, so I notice when that this kid, even smaller than I am, is stumbling through the parking lot, towards the front of the school. He’s carrying this black, big-ass tuba case, and I laugh–he can hardly walk–before I realize he’s crying. A nose running, chest heaving, proud-hurt-boy cry, blood running down the side of his left leg, soaking his white shin-high socks. I stop laughing. I start running. As I reach him, I realize… Read more »

Some Guys Burn Their Bras Too!: A Trans* Guy’s Experiences with Privilege, Violence, and Sexual Assault

This post is part of a series celebrating Choice USA’s Bro-Choice Week of Action. For more information, please visit our website and take the Bro-Choice pledge.  **Trigger Warning – this post includes violence, sexual assault, and explicit language** Picture this: A bony, almond-eyed, lanky tomboy with a terrible haircut is playing kickball outside of her house when an unrecognizable car comes driving slowly down the street. Annoyed that she has to put her game on pause the tomboy walks to the side of the road waiting for the car to pass, except it doesn‘t, it pulls up right next to her. The man driving the car is going on and on about his lost dog. The little girl apologizes because she hasn‘t seen any dogs wandering around her neighborhood. Before the man drives… Read more »

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

I’d like to spend my last few posts recognizing some of the greatest influences that inspires me to be an advocate for social justice. I’d like to take this opportunity to shed light on someone near and dear to so many men and women of my community – Jana Mackey. This one carries a trigger and a tissue warning. Jana Mackey was a graduate of my school, The University of Kansas, with a degree in Women’s Studies and went on to attend the School of Law. She was a robust advocate for women’s rights and volunteered much of her time to working with sexual assault and domestic violence centers here in Lawrence. She was a member of the Commission on the Status of Women, which I currently have the opportunity… Read more »

Yes Means Yes: Rape Culture and Teaching Sexuality

*Trigger Warning* Fuck the police. When this phrase is used, I argue that it refers to “police” collectively, rather than each individual.  Although some folks may curse and spit at every police officer they see, generally this phrase doesn’t target the individual but instead the system in place. Much like when I say “I hate men.”  I don’t actually mean that I hate every individual man.  What I mean is that I hate that our society values and favors men over women.  I hate the Patriarchy and how it socially conditions. This past week, I finally got my hands on “Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape,” a book edited by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti that deconstructs the way our society views and… Read more »

New and Improved VAWA Passes (But There’s Still Room for Improvement!)

The Violence Against Women Act serves to protect and assist survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Last Thursday, the House finally approved the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) – “the good version” – sending off a bipartisan Senate decision to the President’s desk. The legislation passed on a vote of 286 to 138 with 199 Democrats and 87 Republicans supporting reauthorization of the landmark 1994 law.  Last month, the Senate passed the measure with 78 votes; those votes include every woman, every Democrat and just over half of the Republicans. In 2012 House Republicans officially allowed VAWA to expire until the next Congress, and for over a year they effectively stalled the re-authorization of VAWA.  This marked the first time since its conception that VAWA was not… Read more »

One Billion Rising: Dancing, and Rising Against Violence Against Women

Last Thursday I had the opportunity to attend an event called One Billion Rising which was put on by the UCF School of Social Work and the theater department. The event had that name to refer to the World Wide Movement of One Billion rising which calls on women to walk out, dance, or rise for the I billion women on the planet  that have or will experience sexual abuse or rape in their lifetimes. Prior to becoming aware of this event, I knew about the One Billion Rising Movement from Kerry Washington who discussed it during a television interview. As I walked up to the event I noticed that there were a lot of women dressed in pinks or reds to celebrate Valentine’s Day and to stand for this cause…. Read more »

Congressional Fail: What Happened to the Violence Against Women Act

2012 was full of fascinating–and occasionally terrifying–reproductive justice dialogues. Beginning in February when Rush Limbaugh made disparaging comments about Georgetown University student Sandra Fluke’s congressional speech in support of mandated insurance coverage of birth control, it became clear that the “war on women” and reproductive agency was in full swing. Less than a month later, President Obama issued a Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month Proclamation where he asserted that “the prevalence of sexual assault remains an affront to our national conscience that we cannot ignore.” As the presidential election approached, Republican candidate Mitt Romney stated that Roe v. Wade–the case which legalized abortion–should be overturned. He also voiced a similar stance on the Affordable Care Act. After the election in November, things seemed to be on the up and… Read more »