Tag Archives: women’s rights

I accidentally taught my little brother the word slut

I have a complex relationship with the word, because I hate that it’s used to demean women and I like that there’s an entire movement about reclaiming the word, but sometimes it just slips out as a negative thing. Like this time. We were looking at Halloween costumes, and I remembered the topic in class about how the female comic book characters are always dressed in these frilly little dresses and tutus, when though the actual comic book versions of them DO NOT look like that. So as I was flipping through the Party City catalog, I commented kind of to myself, how annoying it is that the only available girl version of the ninja turtles if a “slutty dress.” Anthony asked me what that meant, and I just said that they put the girl in a short little dress that extra tight and really does nothing to stay true to the actual character. Like the girl costume for Donatello, the only ninja turtle available in girl costume because he wears a purple mask. Really? That’s the determining factor? So anyways, I gave him the explanation and then thought damn, I maybe should not have said that.  That word is just much more complicated than that, but he’s only 11 and it was bad enough I added it to his vocabulary.

Sure enough, when my mom came home that night he gave her a speech about how ridiculous men are and that he refused to buy a costume at Party City because they think women can only be slutty super heroes and not real ones. He went on to say that he didn’t understand what their problem was but that they just needed to get over it because girls can be super heroes too. Since then, I’ve heard him give the speech to his dad, our other brother and God knows who else in school. I’m expecting a call from his teacher any day now on the topic.

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Kids + Media

My little brother made a comment the other day that really made me think about what children are learning and taking away from the media they consume. He was talking to my mom about some song by Nirvana, a band that he’s recently become obsessed with, and she told him that she didn’t really know their music because she was never a fan. To this he said “Of course not mom, girls don’t have good taste in music. Don’t worry its cause you just don’t know.” My mom laughed it off like a joke and walked away, but I was so shocked with the comment that I went off on a long lesson about gender roles and stereotypes.

I explained to him about the women’s rights movement and how very different life would be for my mom and I if things had not changed, how things were in the earlier decades of the 1900s and how hurtful it is when he makes comments like that. I told him that saying something like that is the same as someone saying he doesn’t have real feelings because he’s a boy, to which he got upset and said that was crazy especially since he’s such a sensitive kid and so attached to my mom. I also pointed out several revolutionary female musicians like Joan Jett had a rock band that was very successful, while often controversial. The odd thing was that I couldn’t figure out where he was getting these ideals from, since that’s not the example he sees at home. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the videos he watches on YouTube may not flat out SAY these things, but they certainly imply them. When they say things like “oh, what are you a girl?” to describe some less than ideal behavior or bad move in a game, they make that distinction that being a girl is a bad thing because it makes you less than a man.

Hopefully by continuing to be open with him, he’s only 11, about these things we can fix some of the damage. He gave my mom a long apology when she got back that night and promised to never assume she didn’t know something just because she was a girl.

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What doesn’t kill us…

We’ve all heard the saying. What people don’t say is that what doesn’t kill you, can still leave you feeling dead and cold. Inside and out. Recent events have made me realize just how much evil there truly is in the world. And I know how silly that sounds, especially because as girls, we spend our whole lives being warned. They warn us about strangers, about boys that will break our hearts and eventually about bad men that can hurt us. But until you find yourself in that terrifying moment of truth, all those warnings are just a few more scary stories.

To say that I am deeply disturbed to see someone that I love in the situation that she’s in would be the understatement of the year.

This. Is. Killing. Me.

No matter how many times I reply the details of that night in my head, I still can’t believe that any of this is actually happening. I just can’t comprehend how things like this are still happening to women. With all the developments that we as a people have made, all the scientific milestones we’ve surpassed and social issues that we have resolved. Why is violence against women still tolerated? Why is it so difficult for a man to understand the word NO?

Our world is in desperate need of a rude awakening. Things need to change and a revolution has been a long time coming. Fighting for the right to vote was just a beginning, women should know that we are nowhere near done.

No means no regardless of the circumstances involved. A woman can spend the entire night flirting with you, dancing and even kissing. The moment she says NO, you’re done. That’s it. It’s over. You need walk the fuck away. It seems that somewhere along the way we blurred the lines of how that scenario should go and started justifying a wrong action by blaming the woman. Like one officer said, “it’s just a case of he said she said.” Or like the restaurant owner told me, “that’s what happens when you drink with people that get stupid.”

No, that’s what happens when people break the fucking law. No means no, ALWAYS. And still, statistics show that 78 people are raped every single hour of every single day.

Getting drunk does not constitute rape. Flirting does not constitute rape. Passing out is not a green light. If she’s too gone to speak, sex is not an option.

My body, my rules. Your body, your rules. That’s pretty clear, no questions about it.

Our government was created to protect us, our laws were written to serve as guidelines to ensure that protection.That was my understanding…have I been misinformed?

 

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