Month: May 2014

Hashtag Advocacy and the #YesAllWomen Movement

I was a little late in acquiring all the details of last week’s horrific shooting in Santa Barbara, but fortunately was able to catch up thanks to the trending #YesAllWomen on Twitter to point me in the right direction.  The practice of hashtag activism (or “slactivism” in some circles) has recently come under fire for being a lazy, useless, and trendy-for-the-sake-of-being-trendy mode of communication.  But I would argue (and do, for Role/Reboot this week) that hashtags like #YesAllWomen at the very least spread information and draw attention to issues that might otherwise have flown under the radar. 

Is Hashtag Activism Just a Lazy Substitute for the Real Thing? — May 30, 2014 on Role/Reboot

One of the commenters on the original article asked “where is this hashtag conversation going?” if the activism never really branches out beyond our shared words and stories, which is an excellent question.  But I think that if we are going to ask that question, why not question the power of written media as a whole?  The hashtags themselves aren’t as important as the words and stories they are tied to, which have the power to change the world.  If books can radically change mentality and culture (hellooo, Betty Friedan!), so can online messages — albeit in a different format.

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Segment on HuffPostLive!

When I sat down with my best friend and his boyfriend last night for martinis at a video lounge in Pittsburgh, I was definitely not expecting to be contacted by The Huffington Post about contributing to a live segment tomorrow!  But there you have it…my first on-air guest experience and it’s with the Huffington Post!  I am thrilled beyond belief.

So if you’re interested, the HuffPostLive segment “I Got Divorced After Being Married for 30 Years” will stream at 1:40 p.m. EST and will cover issues of rising “grey divorce” and adult children of divorce, which I’ve written about a few times before.  I will be coming to you live from the Steel City, caffeine in hand. And with that, I’m off to make myself look presentable!

Hot Town, Summer in the City

We here in the mid-Atlantic United States have moved straight from a harsh and unforgiving winter into hot hot summer.  You know what that means: out come the shorts, the tank tops, and the rampant sexism.

This week, I found inspiration in a flyer that, thanks to a mother who commented on my Role/Reboot piece, I now know was originally posted around Lakewood High School in Colorado.  Apparently, temperatures inside the high school had reached 80 degrees and in order to combat the heat, several girls violated the school’s dress code and were called into the office.

The strange double standards boys and girls face while dressing for summer are, as far as I’m concerned, directly connected to our sexualization of female bodies: Men freely walk around topless in the heat, but a mother breastfeeding on a park bench sends us into an uproar.  All of our lovely female curves are loaded with the implication that because they are on “display,” (never mind the comfort factor in sweltering temps), they openly invite criticism, deserve comment, or indicate a lack of self-respect. So absurd, but oh-so ingrained.

I’m happy to report that this piece now has over 3,000 “likes” which is a tremendous (and welcome!) surprise. I hope that some of you will share it around.

A Message to Teenage Girls About Summer Dress Codes — May 15, 2014 on Role/Reboot

The Friday Five — 5/9/14

1. Female professors less likely to have children
A Times Higher Education article reports that female professors in Australia are less likely than their male counterparts to have children, often because they viewed having children as a hindrance to career advancement and travel opportunities.

2. Why I Filmed My Abortion
25 year old Emily Letts filmed her surgical abortion and posted it to Facebook because “there are no positive abortion stories on video for everyone to see.”  The approximately three-minute clip shows Emily before, during, and after the surgery, which was brief and, for the most part, guilt-free.  The video focuses on Emily’s face during the procedure and is not at all graphic.  Bravo, Emily!

3. Mostly Straight, Most of the Time
A timely follow-up to my “bisexual erasure” piece from last week.  More and more straight men are “coming out” as having homosexual inclinations, according to an article on Good Men Project.  What does it mean to be “mostly straight”?

4. Stop Saying ‘I Have a Boyfriend’
This piece so much.  We all do it, girls — “I have a boyfriend” is the convenient fallback response to any kind of unwanted attraction, but it completely robs us of our own voice and agency.  Why isn’t “I’m not interested” enough?  It should be.

New Pittsburgh Penguins UPMC Sports Complex!
This last one has absolutely nothing to do with gender relations, but I’m a huge Pittsburgh Penguins fan and am thrilled that the construction for the new complex is underway.  The center is in Cranberry, a suburb of Pittsburgh, and the township where my dad lives.  Does this mean that come next summer, I’ll be able to drive down the street and watch my favorite hockey team practice?  You bet!

Rape is Not a Competition

Last week, Slate published an article on recent results from the National Crime Victimization Survey, reporting that 38% of sexual assault victims were male.  This is quite the shock compared to the statistics we’ve grown used to seeing: RAINN reports, for example, that male victims comprise 10% of all cases.

Why the drastic increase?  Are there more cases, or simply more victims coming forward?  Are the majority of the cases male-on-male, and how do we define female-on-male rape, anyway?  I’m interested in asking these questions in hopes of someday being able to answer them, and hopefully without the “awareness of one kind of rape detracts from another” sentiment of some of the comments on the Slate piece.

Why We Need to Talk About Men Who Are Raped — May 5, 2014 on Role/Reboot

The Friday Five

Back in the dark ages when I kept an online journal as a teenager, I always looked forward answering the Friday Five questions at the end of each week. As it turns out, the Friday Five thing was here to stay, and a lot of blogs and magazines today release weekly “most loved” lists.

This is one bandwagon that I’m happy to jump on. Here are my five favorites from around the Web this week:

1. The Adjunct Revolt: How Poor Professors Are Fighting Back A former professor of mine once called adjunct work “exploitative,” and she couldn’t be more spot-on. This Atlantic piece is one of the most comprehensive overviews of the adjunct professor problem, and I love it even more for providing a solution.

2. What’s So Lame About ‘Girly’ Drinks? Have you seen the commercials for Jim Beam whiskey starring Mila Kunis? More and more women are drinking “hard” liquor according to a recent Slate article, so what does this mean for future marketing and branding?

3. A History of Synchronized Swimming” Whether you have an interest in synchronized swimming or not, this article is beautifully written and defies the standard conventions of what academic writing should look like. I may have drooled a little.

4. Taking Away My Childhood: On Sexual Assault and Boyhood Incredibly brave piece by Preston Mitchum for Role/Reboot yesterday on the aftermath of child rape.

5. Farewell, How I Met Your Mother: The Sitcom’s Top 10 Most Memorable Song Moments Say what you will about the series finale (I loved it), this series had one of the best soundtracks, corny originals aside, EVER. This list only leaves out three of my favorites: “The Funeral” by Band of Horses, “Heaven” by the Walkmen (played during the finale’s final scene), and one of my favorite songs of all time, “Mother of Pearl” by Roxy Music.