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.

Bisexual Erasure and Biphobia: It’s a Thing.

This might be the most fun I’ve ever had writing an article. Queer studies have always been an interest of mine, and I often get so caught up in issues that affect the female population at large that I don’t spend as much time on LGBT issues as I’d like. Beyond intriguing me when I first took Queer Theory in college…oh…seven years ago (?!), bisexual erasure and biphobia are phenomenons that I’ve observed for quite some time. To clarify:

Biphobia: The fear of bisexuals; more concretely, the tendency of both gay and straight folks to attach negative stereotypes to bisexuals including but not limited to promiscuous, unfaithful, “passing” as straight, closet cases, indecisive, immature, experimental.

Bisexual erasure: The tendency of some members of the LGBT community to downplay bisexuality or deny its existence altogether, meaning that bisexuals are often invisible (and it’s damn hard to nail down statistics on their demographic).

The truly crazy thing about bisexuality is that according to one of the studies I cited in my piece (Boise State University, 2011), about 60% of a roughly 500 woman sample group of self-identified “heterosexuals” revealed that they have felt attracted to the same sex. What does it mean for the LGBT community, who represents a smaller faction of the general population, when the majority of “heterosexuals” aren’t exclusively so? And if this many people truly do not fit into a nice heterosexual box, why are they not “coming out” as more sexually fluid? Is the label “bisexual” problematic? Should this word be reclaimed, or discarded for another term without the negative connotations?

I’m, no pun, curious to see what you all think in the comments to this post, or in the comments of the article!

Why Are We So Threatened By Bisexuality? — April 28, 2014 on Role/Reboot

How can divorcing parents be there for their adult children? Let me count the ways.

I’ve been wanting to write a sort of follow-up piece for quite some time on my “Stop Telling Adult Children of Divorce to ‘Get Over It'” article for Role/Reboot last December.  As a fairly new adult child of divorce (or ACOD), I do not believe that there are enough resources for people like me on the Interwebs and that I would have benefited greatly knowing that I wasn’t alone during the process.

I received a ton of positive feedback on the December piece from friends of mine who are parents — parents who have gone through divorces, are currently divorcing, and even a friend’s father who assists divorcing couples and their children as a pastor.  These parents are looking for resources, and I felt well-equipped from the “child’s” perspective to outline a few suggestions for how parents can support and better understand their adult children during this tough time.  Of course, there are so many more suggestions I could have included (not expecting your child to readily embrace your new significant other after the split is a HUGE one), but for the sake of maximum word count, here we are with my top five.

5 Ways Divorcing Parents Can Support Their Adult Children — April 13, 2014 on Role/Reboot

“Bill, I love you so, I always will.”

Bill O’Reilly says things sometimes. Things that make me tilt my head to the side like a confused dog. Things that make me visibly angry. And things that call attention to the glaring irony of his “Pinheads & Patriots” segment, being that he has repeatedly made himself known, at least to me, as the former.

And usually, I’m able to write O’Reilly off, until one day when he called two female analysts onto his show to grill them about Michele Bachmann’s assertion that America “isn’t ready” for a female president. I enjoy writing open letters, particularly to people who drive me crazy, because I can interject more than my typical amount of sass into my language. The two analysts are as baffled answering O’Reilly’s question as I was watching the entire segment, but even more outrageous is the fact that rather than subject himself to backlash by agreeing with Bachmann, O’Reilly clearly intends to use his female guests as scapegoats. It’s two and a half minutes of cloak-and-dagger and it fails, miserably.

An Open Letter to Bill O’Reilly: No, There’s No ‘Downside’ To a Female President — March 3, 2014 on Role/Reboot

Enjoying the Silence (Without the Guilt)

Saying ‘no’ has never come easy to me.  I like to accommodate people and hate to let them down.  The result, often, is that I overschedule, and cramming too much into a single day leaves me more worn out and useless than if I had budgeted my time more carefully.  

The article I wrote for Role/Reboot today mentions my life as a teacher quite a bit.  I used my platform as a teacher to not only stress how demanding jobs with high amounts of social interaction can be (nurses, managers, moms!), but to hopefully generate an awareness of just how hard teachers work every day, night, and weekend.  While I love my active social life and my job, I realize that the need for a quiet moment alone is essential for facing obligations and challenges with a fresh and positive attitude.

Why You Need To Take Care Of Yourself And Not Feel Guilty About It — February 28, 2014 on Role/Reboot

Tonight, I think that there is a fizzy lavender-scented bath bomb with my name on it.  How do you prefer to unwind?

Black and Yellow, Black and Yellow

Pittsburgh is one of those topics — along with Meryl Streep, feminism, teaching, and cheese — that I could probably talk about for hours.  I probably have, come to think of it.  There’s a lot to gush about.

So when the sports editor over at The Good Men Project sent out an e-mail asking for Valentine’s Day “love stories” on our favorite teams, I was ready to rep the Steel City.

Though I wasn’t brought up there, I’ve reconnected with my father’s side of the family after my parents divorced and he returned to his hometown.  Pittsburgh is very much a big city with a small town feel — every neighborhood is unique from the rest and most areas are brimming with things to do — I hope to write more about my home away from home in the future.  For now, enjoy this fun little piece on Pirates, Penguins, and Primanti’s.

We Are Family: My Love Affair with a City That Loves Its Sports — February 14, 2014 on Good Men Project