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So I’m really excited because the first day I wore my t-shirt out I got some many questions and comments. Not going to lie, some of them were kind of annonying, but I tried to tactfully and patiently explain (which is hard for me to do) the political theory behind the message. Not surprisingly, a lot of girls once they had listened to my spiel, said they did always feel at risk, like it was their responsibilty to not get raped. Ohhh and the guys didn’t understand that we didn’t think walking home was actually crime. Men are douchebags.

Soo anyway, everyone should make sure to explain the t-shirts, not just do that “ohh women’s studies”  gloss over/apology that we’ve talked about. Seriously its kinda fun to just soapbox!

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Observe and Report

This is the new Seth Rogan movie about date rape… a comedy, I just thought it would be interesting to have a discussion about the idea of actually making fun of date rape (I’m shocked myself) I can’t quite justify it right now… What do you all think?

This was posted in the blog (http://streetknowledge.wordpress.com/2009/04/11/uncensored-observe-and-report-date-rape-scene-sparks-outrage-video/) found the trailer from:

If women groups are not outside the theatre protesting this film, I don’t wanna hear one more thing about B.E.T and the booty shaking. Seth Rogen gives a wimpish excuse about the scene:

SETH ROGEN: When we’re having sex and she’s unconscious like you can literally feel the audience thinking, like, how the fuck are they going to make this okay? Like, what can possibly be said or done that I’m not going to walk out of the movie theater in the next thirty seconds? . . . And then she says, like, the one thing that makes it all okay: “Why are you stopping, motherfucker?”

 

Law and Order SVU

For as long as I can remember I have been a Law and Order buff. When ever theres nothing to do and a TV is staring back at me from the couch I know that there is some form of Law and Order on. Whether its Law and Order, Law and Order CI or Law and Order SVU one is usually on for my crime investigating pleasure. But, what I have continued to wonder, especially through this class, is why SVU is seen as the primo Law and Order. I mean, yeah the CI guy is a creep but if you would ask most people which Law and Order they prefer it would be SVU. I find the attraction to this version strange since all the crimes commited are violent and brutal rapes and rape/murders. In trying to come up with a reasoning for why most people, men and women are drawn to this version is both for the preference of detectives: Benson the betty and Stabler the sexpot AND also due to the fact that the murders and rapes are so brutal and disturbing that the viewer is both drawn to find the mindset behind the bad guy and is probably more likely to relate to a rape than a serial killing spree. After thinking about the show and then Sharon Marcus’s article: Fighting Bodies, Fighting Words: Theory and Politics of Rape Prevention , I began to wonder if maybe the show acted as a fantastical outlet like violent pornography but in a shameless way for people too. They were able to see the before, play by play and catching of the bad guys so because its justafiably identified as wrong in the end it almost makes it ok to watch and think through what you would do as the rapist but then switch sides to the good guys… What are your opinions??

 

What is considered “normal” within any given society?  Within Audre Lorde’s essay Age, Race, Class, and Sex, she explains how one view of the world is through eyes of what should happen and what someone should look like. By doing this they create this assumption of normality as the ideal and everything else as different making difference put into the spot light and either hierarchical or subservient. These differences act as categories to who you are or whom someone perceives you to be. This is a problem because as Lorde states, as one continues to split themselves into these categories, one becomes a group of pieces disjoined and without a centralized sense of self.  Another problem is since one is placed into these different categories like race, once in them, the other differences one may have are not viewed by an outside viewer. Audre states that this is a problem because although many may accept differences and diversity; outsiders still look at these people as different rather than part of the society with differences. Thus, the view of difference acts as a barrier in truly becoming a common equality society. I find it interesting that people and institutions really pride themselves on having diversity yet, instead of relating them as just another friend, student, or employee they spotlight them like in college pamphlets. There is no communal we, but a group of us with equally interesting and valuable qualities which make us individuals and not just people.  Thus, the challenge is to find equality within difference not a universal same for equality. Yet Lorde is not saying that we shouldn’t see difference. She is stating that we should not put more importance on certain “differences” like race and less on “differences” like sexuality. I believe that we should accept difference and acknowledge it but create bonds based on views and not common physical similarities.

Looking back on the work we did through the pins, posters and evolution of our thoughts on rape I truly feel like our campaign was and will continue to be a success next year. Personally, my views of rape have changed immensely. Like the majority of Tulane’s population, I did see rape as an issue but only as a violent act by a stranger. I never looked at date rape with a critical eye. After this class I feel like I am more aware of what is ultimately right and wrong when thinking about sex. I also am proud of the work we have done as a class. Even though almost all of our signs were taken down there are still about five still up and clearly visible. Walking around the other day, I saw a group of frat guys walking to the boot and as they walked by the LBC they noticed a douchebag sign. Spotting the sign they stopped to read it as a group. I could tell that it impacted them because their conversation about a few girls ended abruptly after reading it. The fact that these signs are being noticed and read, even if one hundred and twenty were taken down, shows that we still succeeded in reaching some men on a personal level. I was proud that I made them think about the issue as they walked towards meeting girls and taking strides to potentially stopping another “nice guy” from scarring a girl for life.

Final Thoughts

I was not sure of what to write for this blog as I am midway through finals and my brain is a little fried. However, as I studied social theory last night, I could not stop thinking about our activism in relation to Goffman’s ideas on distance. He basically said that we give something more value when it is within reach, but difficult to attain. I think that we all found problems with this issue of maintaining the “appropriate” distance with our activism projects. With the documentary, we were forced to constantly consider how to ask questions and get real, informative answers without alienating the subject of the interviews or the viewers of the film. The initial “rape happened here” signs made us consider how much value we place on potentially traumatizing a victim of sexual assault in relation to effectively gaining the attention of passersby. The Hullaballoo article from the rape victim served as a shocking revelation for me, personally. I never really considered the fact that our activism, the documentary, wearing buttons or a t-shirt, was actively hurting someone. We were all forced to reevaluate our projects with this new perspective in mind. Someone felt pain as the result of something that we produced. This is a cause for concern. However, at times, I think we should remember the initial point of our projects, to educate people about the rape culture. While I would never advocate purposefully forcing a victim to relive their experiences, I do advocate continuing our devotion to the praxis, despite the person’s opinion. This sounds callous, even as I type. In the end, however, the results will determine if we correctly estimated our “distance”. I personally think we will all fondly look back at this activism and this class, and realize that we made a difference.

The Baptist Ministry at Tulane hosted the Great Porn Debate featuring Ron Jeremy, the Porn King, and Craig Gross, the Porn Pastor. I have to admit I was excited, especially to see Ron Jeremy in person. Although the Baptist Ministry brought them here, I couldn’t help but notice that the Porn pastor ended up conceding some of his points to Ron Jeremy.

One of the points discussed is how porn can have an effect to its viewers in ways of addiction and harming their personal relationships. I see porn as fantasy, just like the fictional films Holly wood pumps out. Though I am very disturbed by violent porn, I go back and forth over whether or not watching violent porn could cause someone to act out a rape in real life. Perhaps it is the people who take pornography more seriously that could take what they see into the real world. Can we draw a cause-and-effect relationship between them? The same debate is had over whether violent video games cause players to become more violent and I am not sure I was ever convinced of a relationship there either.

I know that these films often put women in a subservient position, and Ron Jeremy almost went so far as to say that pornography is a feminist industry, but just because women can earn a lot of money does not mean that the industry empowers women. The fact that women get paid more than men is counter-productive, just reproducing the system we have in place for other business, in reverse. And for one thing, prostitution certainly does not empower women, and porn is basically the same thing.

What do you think?