Scholastic video features Taylor Swift on reading, writing, and feminism

My kids and I just watched a very cool 30 minute Scholastic video where Taylor Swift talks with students about reading, writing, and feminism. We found the video because my 11 year old entered an essay contest where she wrote one page about the meaning of Swift’s “Shake it Off” which to her (and probably most people) is a song about how to overcome bullying.

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A die hard Swift fan, here’s my daughter holding her finally finished (almost finished?) essay and her beloved guitar. I am very psyched Taylor inspired her to think about her experiences with bullying and to write about her feelings.

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Obsessed with Taylor since 2012 (and always told she looks like her) here she is dressed as her idol on Halloween that year.

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I was so happy she picked Taylor instead of a sparkly poofy princess, or witch or vampire with a costume that looks just like a princess. (Her younger sister in the background is Batgirl. Unfortunately, she has since realized Batgirl hardly exists in the world and has now lost interest in that character. Sad!)

I can’t believe we hadn’t seen this Scholastic/ Swift video! It’s so good. You must watch it with your kids. Swift is sitting around with a bunch of students and more students are Skyped in. What I loved is that first and foremost, Swift defines herself as a writer. I really appreciated my kids hearing Taylor say this because they think of her as a pop star. Taylor says that she would never want to get on stage and just sing someone else’s songs. She recommends journaling. After introducing the kids, Taylor opens the video with this statement:

I’m really excited to talk to you about reading and writing because I wouldn’t be a songwriter if it wasn’t for books that I loved as a kid and I think that when you can escape into a book it trains your imagination to think big and to think that more can exist than what you see. I think that’s been the basis of why I wanted to write songs and why writing became my career.

What’s the first question, from a 11 year old boy?

I saw that you liked the Emma Watson video about feminism, and I wanted to know what female characters influenced you in literature?

Can you see why love this video? Watch it now with you kids and find out what Taylor says! Here’s the link.

Previous Reel Girl blogs on Taylor Swift:

Taylor Swift spoofs psycho ex-girlfriend trope in ‘Blank Space’ video

Mini Taylor Swift gets her hands on ‘1989’ as it hits stores

If Taylor Swift is boy-crazy, is Dylan’s ‘Idiot Wind’ confessional?

I admit it, I loveTaylor Swift’s ‘Red’

Taylor Swift sings her way from victim to hero, triumphs at Grammys

More on Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift

 

 

Ten things to love about ‘Wild’

I LOVED THE MOVIE “WILD!” I already blogged a review of the book Could “Wild” be the antidote to “Gone Girl?” and I’m happy to tell you that the movie is EVERYTHING I hoped it would be. “Wild” is Reese Witherspoon’s best movie since “Freeway” (a film nobody seems to recall while they keep saying it’s so unusual to see Witherspoon swear, shoot heroin, and not play the good girl.)

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Here’s a list of 10 things about “Wild” that I thought were great. After each item, say to yourself: How often do you see that in a Hollywood movie?

1. Erica Jong and Adrienne Rich are quoted in the first 10 minutes.

2. There is male frontal nudity but no female frontal nudity.

3. Reese Witherspoon’s character, Cheryl, says: “I am a feminist.”

4. Witherspoon/ Cheryl wears no make up, a loose shirt, hiking shorts or pants for almost the entire movie.

5. Withesrpoon is a 38 year old playing a 26 year old.

6. Two women– Witherspoon and Laura Dern– get top billing

7. Flannery O’Connor is quoted.

8. There’s an great, accurate depiction of harassment when a slimy guy tells Cheryl she looks good in her pants. When she doesn’t reply, he says defensively, “That’s a compliment!”

9. The movie is about a woman who travels alone and likes sex, yet she doesn’t get raped.

10. This quote:

What if I forgave myself? I thought. What if I forgave myself even though I’d dome something I shouldn’t have? What if I was a liar and a cheat and there was no excuse for what I’d done other than it was what I wanted to do and needed to do? What if I was sorry, but if I could go back in time I wouldn’t do anything differently than I had done? What if I’d actually wanted to fuck every one of those men? What if heroin taught me something? What if yes was the right answer instead of no? What if what made me do all those things everyone thought I shouldn’t have done was also what got me here? What if was never redeemed? What if I already was?

 

Thank you to Reese Witherspoon for making this movie, to Witherspoon’s daughter Ava for inspiring her to depict powerful women, and to Cheryl Strayed for living and writing her story.

 

Reel Girl rates “Wild” ***HHH***

I’m sick of the Whole Foods parking lot smelling like pot

I just got back from shopping at my neighborhood Whole Foods with all the other middle class white people in San Francisco and as usual, the parking lot reeked of pot. Seriously, every time I go, that place smells so bad I can taste it in my throat. This time, my 11 year old daughter told me the smoker was a guy on the stairwell. (She takes the stairs, I take the elevator to get to my car.) I’m sick of smelling pot everywhere I go in San Francisco. I mean, you can’t drink a beer in the Whole Foods lot, so why is it socially acceptable to smoke pot there?

I ask myself, is my irritation due to my age? I am 45, after all. But it’s not just young people who smoke pot in the Bay Area. It seems like everyone does, even middle aged people like me. It’s the new Chardonnay. Like many of these habitual pot smokers, I totally agree that pot is better for you than alcohol. You don’t drive drunk on pot, you don’t get violent and beat up your girlfriend on pot. But you know why? Because you don’t do shit on pot except lie around on a couch. In my old age, I’ve seen marriages and careers destroyed by the mental and physical lethargy exacerbated by pot smoking. In my experience, pot fucks with your emotions, your drive, and your inner-compass to know what’s right and what’s wrong, just like alcohol does. Obviously, I’m referring to regular pot use, but in my world, I see more and more people using pot all the time, like it’s totally cool. Almost like it’s good for you and good for society. It’s a nice drug. I don’t smoke pot, I don’t drink either, and I’ve got to say, I feel like a fucking superhero. When I’m around people who start to slur their words, repeat what they’ve said, and get uncoordinated, it feels like I have special powers. I’m super-articulate! I can remember what I’ve said! I don’t trip! Also, I sleep well. I wake up not hungover. So yes, at 45, I feel like I’ve grown out of alcohol and drugs. They were fun but they’re not fun anymore. Maybe that will change for me. Maybe when I’m 50, I’ll have another epiphany, but I’ve got to say, right now life is so much better and happier without alcohol or pot bringing me down. I’m writing this blog I guess because I live in the Bay Area where the tide is turning the opposite way. I wish more people would try not using drugs, not because you should, but because life can be so much better without them.

‘Beyond the Lights’ first rise to fame movie to feature makeunder?

My 11 year old daughter and I loved “Beyond the Lights,” a movie about a young singer’s rise to fame.

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Though I’ve see this story many times– young, talented artist runs into trouble from controlling managers and bad love interests, my daughter was born long after MTV’s “Behind the Music” series. The narrative is brand new to her. She’s also into singing, and she ate this movie up. It stars a woman of color, Noni, played by Gugu Mbatha Raw (who starred in “Belle” earlier this year, another movie I loved and that’s good for kids.) Most of the parts in the movie, with the exception of the singer’s momager, played by Minnie Driver, are characters of color. I was excited for my daughter to see a movie where the major roles are not white people and also the minor roles including crowd scenes and characters like newscasters and politicians. In this movie, it’s normal to see white people in the minority. I was a little uncomfortable with the sexual costumes and dancing at the start, but the clothing and poses are an important part of the narrative. One thing I hate, hate, hate in movies is when the girl gets a makeover, she takes off her glasses, loses weight, and bam! Her life is great, she gets the guy and anything else she ever wanted. Noni does the opposite. She becomes herself, loses her weave and the pasties, gains her real voice, fame, and the guy she loves. Tell me, is ‘Beyond the Lights’ the first rise to fame movie to feature a makeunder? I wish I could post a picture of Noni’s physical transformation but I can’t find one. I highly recommend you take your kids– tweens and up– to see this rare and beautiful movie if you’re OK with some suggestive clothing, dancing, and a couple brief make out scenes.

Reel Girl rates “Beyond the Lights” ***HHH***

Only girl in ‘Penguins of Madagascar’ is love interest

After writing numerous blogs about the sexist penguins of Madagascar, I finally saw the movie today. I don’t think my 5 year old stopped laughing once during the first 20 minutes, a period of time in which also featured almost no females, just like the rest of the movie. I deduced this sad ratio from the preview (not to mention the 3 previous Madagascar movies.) What I didn’t know was that Eva the owl, the Minority Feisty in the North Wind  group of 4 males– not to be confused with the Penguin group of 4 males– would be the love interest of Kowalski. He goes ga-ga when he sees her for the first time just as Emmet does when he sees Wyldstyle in ‘The Lego Movie.” At the end of the movie– surprise, surprise– Eva and Kowalski kiss. Typical of a new trend I’ve noticed with Minority Feisty, Eva has the impressive title of intelligence analyst, but we don’t see her actually use her skills much at all.

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Why couldn’t the head of the North Wind, a male fox, have been female? Half the members of the North Wind? All of the members?

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Why couldn’t the villain, an evil scientist octopus, Dave, have been female? What about all of his octopi underlings who also had male voices?

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Technically, Eva is not the only female. There are a few others in the long line of penguins at the beginning of the movie. There are 3 mermaid penguins who have a small part, shells covering up where I suppose their breasts are supposed to be. These mermaids are so insignificant, I can’t find a pic of them on Google images to post here. There a couple human girls and women with tiny parts. As far as gender stereotypes, the best thing I can say about this movie is that evil Dave is purple, a girl color you know. That’s something my 5 year old pointed out to me, telling me that at least I could blog about that. So there you have it.

Reel Girl rates “Penguins of Madagascar” ***SS***

‘Rolling Stone issues despicable, victim-blaming apology for its own shoddy journalism’

I couldn’t agree more with U. C. Berkeley professor Bryan Wagner when he calls out Rolling Stone magazine for its “despicable, victim-blaming apology for its own shoddy journalism.” Have you read this bullshit? What makes me so frustrated is that we live in a culture where rape survivors are so shamed that they usually choose not to tell their own stories publicly using real names and real faces. Therefore, survivors are easy prey for high priced lawyers punching holes, for not knowing, say if the rapist was a member of the frat or if the rapist just happened to be at the frat that night. I mean, really, who doesn’t get her facts right about her rapist’s recreational habits? And for these discrepancies that Rolling Stone should have fact-checked, the survivor gets her entire experience discredited. It makes me sick. Once again, it is us, the culture that needs to change so rape survivors can feel safe coming forward and naming their attackers. I’m reposting something I wrote for Salon in 2002 about the media’s role (and the public’s role) in shaming survivors.

The “shame” of rape

Why does the media hide rape victims who fight back instead of honoring them as heroes?

When 7-year-old Erica Pratt was abducted on July 22 and tied up in a basement by her kidnapper, she chewed through the duct tape that covered her mouth, freed her hands and feet, and broke through a door to escape. Electrified by the young girl’s feat, the media celebrated Pratt with a prolonged blitz of coverage. She smiled luminously for cameras as awed police officers praised her bravery. Her photo graced the front pages of newspapers across the nation, and she was named Time magazine’s “Person of the Week.”

When Tamara Brooks and Jacqueline Marris were abducted at gunpoint nine days later from a remote teenage trysting spot in Lancaster, Calif., they devised a plan to break free by stabbing their abductor in the neck. When one girl had the chance to escape, she didn’t take it for fear that the other girl — whom she hadn’t met before that night — would be killed if she abandoned her. These were brave and loyal girls — heroines who endured mind-numbing terror before police found them and killed their captor, who authorities believe was preparing to murder them and dump their bodies.

But Brooks and Marris were not honored by Time magazine or identified as heroes in other media outlets. Why not? What made their story so different?

Just as newspapers and the networks were scrambling to cover the story, they learned that the girls had been sexually assaulted during their ordeal. Because most mainstream media observes a self-imposed policy of withholding the names and faces of sexual assault victims, the coverage abruptly, and somewhat awkwardly, ground to a halt.

Newspapers and TV broadcasters explained the shift as a matter of courtesy. But in concealing the identities of the young women on the grounds that rape is so intimate and horrendous that they should be spared undue attention, the media helped to promote the unspoken societal belief that somehow, when sexual assault is involved, the victim is partly — or wholly — to blame, and should be hidden from view.

TV stations began digitally obscuring the girls’ faces. Newspapers like the New York Times rushed to delete the names and photos of the girls from the next day’s paper. Some publications, like USA Today, had already gone to press, and printed the story with photos and names on the front page.



The lopsided coverage was especially disorienting because early in the story, the girls’ identities were broadcast everywhere — constantly — as a means of saving their lives. The idea was to familiarize as many Americans as possible with the girls’ names and faces so that average citizens might assist in tracking them, and their kidnapper, down. And it worked. But once the teens went from being kidnapped youths to rescued rape survivors, their status changed. They were branded with the Scarlet R. They had been raped. It was suddenly better for them, and us, to contemplate this shame without fanfare.

In effect, the girls disappeared twice — once when abducted, and again when the media erased them.

The policy of hiding the rape survivor makes the media complicit in shaming and stigmatizing her. It reinforces the myth that women are too weak, traumatized and tainted to decide whether they want to tell their own stories — of victory, not victimhood. And this assumption becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If raped women were granted the same status as Erica Pratt, there would be no reflex to make them disappear. Their survival would be cause for public honor and respect. Their rescues would be complete; their recovery would begin with heartfelt acceptance by everyone who prayed for their return.

Silence and shame protected the Catholic Church and one of its dirtiest secrets for years. And church officials made the right assumption: If you can’t see it, no one will believe it is happening and, more importantly, victims who are shamed and controlled will be quiet, silenced by a sense of complicity and sin. What if all those alleged male sexual assault survivors who went on “60 Minutes” and “20/20″ had their faces covered with a gray dot? What if no newspapers or magazines had been willing to publish their names? How much credibility or validity or power can you have when you have no face and no name? Would the public have believed these things had happened if faces had not been attached to the charges?

You can’t put a faceless woman on the cover of Time magazine.

Not all rape survivors take the media’s cue and withdraw. Many have told their stories as part of their recovery, most famously authors like Maya Angelou in “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” and Dorothy Allison (“Bastard Out of Carolina”), and singers including Fiona Apple and Tori Amos. Current bestselling author Alice Sebold has said repeatedly in interviews that she could not have written “The Lovely Bones” until she wrote the story of her rape in her first book, “Lucky.”

With each of these acts of bravery has come further acknowledgment that rape is a horrible event and that everyone abhors it, yet hypocrisy — public and institutional — still exists. Rapists are rarely successfully prosecuted. For every 100 rapes reported in this country, only five rapists end up in prison. Sentences are relatively light, averaging just 10.5 years, and the usual time served is approximately five years.

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft doesn’t support the notion that a raped woman should have the right to an abortion. And U.S. foreign policy does not include sanctions, even strongly stated warnings, against countries like Saudi Arabia where men are allowed to rape their wives, and married women raped by men other than their spouses are punished for adultery. In Pakistan, when a young woman was ordered raped by a tribal council as punishment when her brother was seen in public with a woman not in his family, the U.S. State Department took no action.

At the same time that it is no longer socially acceptable to blame or stigmatize a rape survivor for what has happened to her, it appears to be socially unacceptable to recognize her as a hero and honor her for survival. But that may be about to change, thanks, in large part, to Marris and Brooks, two rape survivors who demanded to be seen.

A day after she was rescued and her identity had been quickly masked in the media, Marris appeared on KABC, the local Los Angeles news station, to talk frankly, without embarrassment, about her ordeal. She revealed, among other details, the fact that she and Brooks had tried to escape by stabbing their abductor in the neck.

A few days later, Brooks and Marris both appeared on the “Today” show to tell the story of their capture and captivity, a gripping account in which they described being threatened with a loaded gun, smashing their abductor in the face with a whiskey bottle, and later watching him die.

When asked why they chose to talk about their experience, Brooks said that she wanted to do it, and came forward with the support of her parents, who braved some criticism about the decision. She and Marris, Brooks said, “want to get the message across to everybody to never give up on anything. If you ever give up, you’ve lost. Whatever obstacles you have, you’ve got to fight your way through it.”

Take your daughters (and sons) to see ‘Interstellar’

I just saw ‘Interstellar’ with my 11 year old daughter, and we both loved it. There is not one but two brilliant female scientists in this movie. Even better for kids, part of this movie shows the genius mathematician as a curious, smart 10 year old.

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When Murphy is a child, and when she is an adult (played by Jessica Chastain) she is never once denigrated for being a female. In both incarnations, she wears a shirt and pants, her hair in a messy bun. Her gender is a non issue in Interstellar’s dystopia. Do you know how rare this is? Let’s just say it’s almost unheard of and unseen in Hollywood movies for both children and adults.

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The other female scientist, played by Anne Hathaway, is also not sexualized for the most part in costume, posing, dialogue, or narrative structure.

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Yes, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain are Minority Feisty (I use ‘feisty’ as a singular or plural, like you’d use ‘fish.’) Most of the characters are male including great roles played by John Lithgow and Matt Damon. The robots have male names and voices. The protagonist of the movie is Murphy’s father played Mathew McConaughey. Murphy’s sister-in-law is so subservient to her husband, I rolled my eyes a few times. So the gender representation in ‘Interstellar’ isn’t a perfect triple H, but the movie exemplifies such spectacular storytelling, that it’s sexism is sidelined instead of the female characters. The narrative structure is so compelling, so well done, I want to see the movie again, just to study how the dialogue and scenes all build on each other, each shot leading to the next, brilliantly balanced like a house of cards.

Need more to recommend this movie? The special effects are outstanding. Visually, ‘Interstellar is not only gorgeous but depictions of a black hole, other planets, and the dimensions are fascinating to see.

Finally, the movie asks all the big questions, and will get your children to ponder them as well, such as: Why are we here? What will become of us? What is our destiny? What is the meaning of love? I’ve seen so many disaster/ end of the world movies, as I’m sure you have too, but never once have I seen the apocalypse portrayed as the human species going on to our next stage as explorers and pioneers.

I want to thank a real life genius, Lea Verou, for recommending I take my daughter to see ‘Interstellar.’ I don’t know Verou, but she follows me on Twitter, and her comments to me were so interesting, I Googled her (and now follow her along with 50,000 plus others.) I don’t even understand her bio, so I’m, pasting it here, because maybe you do.

My name is Lea Verou (Lea being short for Michailia or Μιχαήλια) and I’m a computer scientist / web standards geek / front-end developer / web designer / speaker / author,  originally from Greece. I’m currently a Research Assistant at MIT CSAIL, in David Karger’s Haystack group and an Invited Expert in the W3C CSS Working Group.

In the past, I’ve written a book on advanced CSS for O’Reilly, worked for W3C/MIT, gave over 60 invited talks around the world, released several open source projects, co-founded a Greek startup called Fresset Ltd (which I left in 2011), and many other things. I hold a BSc in Computer Science from Athens University of Economics and Business, in which I have co-organized a 4th year undergrad course about web-development in the past. While my background is technical, I have a strong passion for visual design as well.

 

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It goes on for a few more paragraphs. I’m writing about Verou here because clearly she is the kind of visionary that I hope more of our daughters will grow up to be. I think movies like “Interstellar’ will inspire them. My daughter looks lit up right now.

You always ask me what age is good for the movies I recommend, and I always tell you it depends on the kid. There are no sexual situations (no sexual situations!) in ‘Interstellar.’ There is no gore (no gore!) Yet in no way does the movie feel sanitized or whitewashed or “for kids.” (The theater was packed full of adults except for two teen girls.) Death is a theme, but woven through the narrative in a way that I think is beneficial for children to ponder. Personally, I think my 8 year old would be confused by the plot, so I wouldn’t prod her to go, the way I cajoled my 11 year old this morning. But if she wanted to go, I would take her, curious to see what she gets out of it.

Reel Girl rates ‘Interstellar’ ***HH***

Thanksgiving tips for happy eating with kids today

Today, I’m so thankful that I have 3 kids (ages 5, 8, and 11) with no conflicts around food and drama free mealtimes. My children are healthy, adventurous eaters (with no cavities!) As a parent, I know how rare this is. I’m also incredibly grateful that I fully recovered from my own eating disorder before I had three daughters. I see my health and my children’s health as inextricably linked. What we did in my family isn’t conventional but it’s worked for us. I used to blog a lot about our process when my kids were younger, but I rarely write about it anymore because food is such a non-issue in our household. In honor of Thanksgiving, I’ve consolidated what we did into 4 tips. I’ll also list Reel Girl’s previous blogs about food at the end. Happy Thanksgiving to everybody!

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1. Let kids eat what they want, when they want. I don’t tell my kids what to eat or how much to eat. I have always taught them to “listen to their tummies.” I tell them that I am not the boss, nor is the person who put the food on their plate. Only they know when they are full. With my 5 year old (and with all the kids when they were still that little) I may still occasionally put my hand on her stomach and ask her to close her eyes and feel if she is hungry or full. I always have what I consider to be healthy food available (vegetables, fruit, protein, beans, grains etc) but if they don’t like what I’ve prepared, they are allowed to get a bowl of cereal or whatever they feel like eating. They are allowed to eat “dessert” with dinner. They are not “rewarded” or bribed with cookies for eating broccoli. Listen to your tummy, tummy is the boss

2. Focus kids on trying new foods, not eating “healthy.” Watching my kids grow up, I think the most important thing is to train kids to try new foods, to be comfortable with risk-taking. Also, our perception of what is healthy changes all the time. When I started dieting, I was counting calories. Then, I learned to count fat grams. Right now, gluten is “bad” while we’re told chocolate and red wine are good. Trying new foods not only keeps a variety in your diet but stretches you out of your comfort zone and makes going to restaurants and to people’s houses to eat much more fun. I don’t tell my kids what to eat, but I encourage them to try new stuff. I give them positive affirmation when they do. They are allowed to spit it out if they don’t like it. Try something new, it’s fun!

3. Don’t shame kids for wasting food. I try to create pleasant and happy eating experiences for my kids. Having recovered from an eating disorder myself, I know how hard it is to separate shame, guilt, and anxiety from eating, once those emotions are confused with hunger and fullness. I think it’s super important to train kids to be comfortable around food, not worried they won’t be able to finish what is on their plate. Related, don’t get your ego involved in what your kids eat. If you slaved away all day and made a meal, don’t guilt them into eating. I always tell my kids don’t worry about other people’s feelings when they eat. Again, getting feelings involved in eating like this is a recipe for an eating disorder. They need to be polite, but they shouldn’t eat unless they are hungry for it. You don’t have to finish what’s on your plate.

4. Model healthy eating. I’m so grateful I got healthy before I had three daughters. I practice what I preach. I eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full. I never denigrate my body as fat or ugly, not casually, not when I try on clothes, not when I look in the mirror, or look at a photograph of myself. I don’t criticize other women’s bodies or what other women are wearing. I like my body.

Girls and food

More on girls and food

Preventing eating disorders by teaching intuitive eating to kids

Note to the babysitter

Oreos for breakfast? Really?

Post Halloween bliss

Parents, this is about you too

‘How to Disappear Completely’ most insightful eating disorder memoir ever published

You are no better than a fat person, so shut the fuck up

Can’t remember the last time I blogged about kids and food

Telling your kids not to waste food makes them fat

Letter to Vogue mom who put 7 yr old daughter on a diet

In defense of candy

 

Berkeley High students, and their moms, launch campaign to stop school sexual harassment

After male students at Berkeley High started “slut accounts” on Instagram, featuring photos of their female classmates along with misogynistic captions, they were suspended. A group of students felt this punishment was a pretty useless way to deal with the systemic sexism they encounter every day at school. These girls took action, creating T-shirts that read “Stop blaming my body for your harassment” and raising money on a GoFundMe page. So far, they’ve collected over $5,000. They hope to fund education and training for students, teachers, and administrators on sexual harassment and how to stop it.

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Students were pushed into action by clueless administrators who held a series of assemblies on harassment that focused on how female students were dressed. Girls were actually warned to think about whether their mothers would allow them to leave the house wearing a certain outfit. But these Berkeley moms were not the type who schooled their daughters on how not to look “cheap” (as opposed to expensive?) or “fast” or “loose.” Refusing to pass sexism on to their kids, the mothers did get pissed at the school. Two of them, Heidi Goldstein and Rebecca Levenson, who is also policy analyst working to stop sexual violence with the nonprofit Futures Without Violence, wrote an op-ed for the Berkeleyside, laying out their daughters rights. Berkeleyside reports:

The student group plans eventually to challenge what they understand to be violations of Title IX. This includes reactive versus preventive measures, insufficient security, unsatisfactory long-term protection for assault survivors, as well as a lack of staff training.

 

Training is obviously desperately needed. When the slut pages came out, the security guards didn’t seem to get it at all. Sami Kuderna-Reeve, a senior and target of the slut accounts told Berkeleyside:

“It was all male security guards and all male police officers, and to a certain degree they can’t understand or relate,” Kuderna-Reeves said. “They were trying to help but what they kept getting at was, ‘Well is that true? Did you do blank?’”

 

While administrators are still slow to respond, teachers say they would like training on how to handle situations where students are sexually harassed and to give students guidance on how to handle those issues as well. History teacher Hasmig Minassian tells Berkeleyside she’d like to know “how to help adolescents navigate some pretty tumultuous social dynamics.” Right now, teachers at Berkeley High– and most high schools across the country– get no training in how to help kids in this area. It is shocking to me that students and their moms need to be the ones to get funding to teach administrators what to do about sexual harassment in schools. Part of these kids’s motivation for acting now is that they believe the measures finally being taken to stop sexual assaults on college campuses nationally are happening way too late in students’ lives. I could not agree more.

Maya Siskin-Lavine, a junior, tells Berkeleyside: “One of our main goals is to teach people. I know for a fact that a lot of the guys that I respect as my peers just don’t know that a lot of things are sexual harassment. They think catcalling is flattering and that what I wear should affect how guys treat me.”

I am so impressed with these girls and their mothers. I would love to see more moms speak out loudly and publicly for their daughters rights.

I just donated to this awesome campaign, and I hope that you do as well.

Darren Wilson’s testimony: ‘The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon’

Darren Wilson’s testimony shows he sometimes has trouble using pronouns to describe shooting victim Michael Brown.

The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon…

To me, this quote tells us everything we need to know about Wilson’s mindset when he pulled the trigger. Turning a human into an “it” is almost always a prerequisite to violence. From the Rolling Stone article about the UVA gang rape:

“Grab its motherfucking leg,” she heard a voice say. And that’s when Jackie knew she was going to be raped.

 

How can anyone make an ethical decisions when dealing with an object and not a human being? You can’t.