It takes one rapist to commit a rape, but it takes a village to create an environment where it happens over and over and over and over and over with such frequency that ordinary people throw up their hands and treat it as a part of the environment instead of as violations of fundamental human rights.
I’ve been posting stories about Bill Cosby’s record of rape on Reel Girl’s Facebook page for years. The stories from different women, spanning years back, have always been strikingly similar. Cosby invites them to a private place to help them on their career. He offers them a drink, and the next thing they know, they are half conscious and naked. Why did it take “real” journalists so long to take these allegations seriously? Here is the best and most honest story I’ve read from journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates at The Atlantic. Please read it.
When Uber executive Emil Michael proposed that his company dedicate a million dollar budget to hire a team of researchers to dig up dirt on the personal life of journalists critical of the company, specifically journalist Sarah Lacy, he thought he was off record. Unfortunately for Michael, a BuzzFeed editor invited to the event reported his comments.
Over dinner, he outlined the notion of spending “a million dollars” to hire four top opposition researchers and four journalists. That team could, he said, help Uber fight back against the press — they’d look into “your personal lives, your families,” and give the media a taste of its own medicine.
Michael was particularly focused on one journalist, Sarah Lacy, the editor of the Silicon Valley website PandoDaily, a sometimes combative voice inside the industry. Lacy recently accused Uber of “sexism and misogyny.” She wrote that she was deleting her Uber app after BuzzFeed News reported that Uber appeared to be working with a French escort service. “I don’t know how many more signals we need that the company simply doesn’t respect us or prioritize our safety,” she wrote.
“It’s going to be the most beautiful thing on Earth,” the post suggests of the free ride promotion.
Using the promotion, a user can enter his (presumably) code “UBERAVIONS” in his Uber app and “become the luckiest co-pilot of Lyon,” which basically means that a model will pick you up and drive you around…
Avions de chasse” is the French term for “fighter jets”, but also the colloquial term to designate an incredibly hot chick. Lucky you! the world’s most beautiful “Avions” are waiting for you on this app. Seat back, relax and let them take you on cloud 9!
While the Uber blog post is somewhat tame, Avions de Chasse’s website offers far less to the reader/user’s imagination.
There’s also a video, in which a business casual bro/man/dude uses the service. It’s only 1:50 long but it’s full of shots like this:
Michael’s threat has frightened Lacy, not only for herself, but for Uber’s female clients and the other women journalists who cover Uber. Lacy tells Recode reporter Nellie Bowles:
“I’ve never heard a very high-ranking executive at a $20 billion company talking about a million-dollar budget to destroy my life,” she said. “I’ve never heard of a case where someone was bragging about it at a dinner, where it was considered totally socially acceptable…It’s really scary that there’s a company culture where objectification and violence against women is condoned,” she said. “And you run a service where women get into strangers’ cars alone at night….
Many of the reporters who cover Uber critically — Valleywag’s Nitasha Tiku, Forbes’ Ellen Huet and San Francisco Magazine’s Ellen Cushing — are women. Lacy said she was worried about all of them.
“It’s going to keep escalating, and I don’t know what the line is, but there will be a line. Sadly, I don’t think it’s this, I think it’s something scarier,” she said. “It starts to get into the realm of physical harm and physical threats.”
She said she thinks Uber’s campaign to silence reporters will only grow because — despite the current outcry — reporters will now think twice before crossing the company, which knows their credit card information, home addresses, phone numbers and travel patterns.
What is Uber’s reaction? Michael issued a statement saying his remarks don’t reflect how he really feels. He called Lacy to apologize. Uber Co-Founder Travis Kalanick has not made any comment all. Why isn’t Michael fired? Why are investors divesting? Why aren’t more people talking about this story?
It’s not new that Kalanick and his company are being called out for aggressive bro-ness. But much of it seems to roll off his shoulders, even as he continues at the helm of Silicon Valley’s largest private company and garners ever-higher valuations from investors.
This is not acceptable, said Lacy.
“Paula Deen made racially insensitive comments and lost a show, lost very real money. Donald Sterling was forced to sell an NBA team,” she said. “And yet we believe that frighteningly misogynist comments like this, anti-First Amendments comments like this, are ‘boys being boys’ and that ‘they’re geniuses and this is what it takes to build a company.’”
“The only investors who’ve answered it so far have said, ‘Well, this is bad, but we totally back Travis,’” she said. “How bad is the intimidation around this company? How bad is Silicon Valley when there are very real threats made to a woman and her family?”…
I won’t ride Uber nor will I let my kids use this company. I hope you make the same choice.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick called Michael’s comments “terrible,” noting they do not represent the company. “His remarks showed a lack of leadership, a lack of humanity, and a departure from our values and ideals,” he wrote as part of a series of tweets addressing the remarks. However, Kalanick does not mention in any of his 13 tweets whether Michael will continue to work at Uber.
However, in Smith’s story, there was something that was more than just theoretical, and it’s a good reminder of the scary power Uber has over its users.
Here’s what Smith reported: “The general manager of Uber NYC accessed the profile of a BuzzFeed News reporter, Johana Bhuiyan, to make points in the course of a discussion of Uber policies. At no point in the email exchanges did she give him permission to do so.”
Time apologizes for the execution of this poll; the word ‘feminist’ should not have been included in a list of words to ban. While we meant to invite debate about some ways the word was used this year, that nuance was lost, and we regret that its inclusion has become a distraction from the important debate over equality and justice.
– Nancy Gibbs
In honor of this insight from a top publication in the U.S. news media, I’m reposting a a couple blogs on the spectacular show of feminism on past covers of Time:
In another sexist cover, Time uses porn cliche for Hillary Clinton story
In the new Time, to illustrate the cover article “Can Anyone Stop Hillary?” the magazine uses cliche porn imagery, showing a man trapped beneath a woman’s shoe.
Or perhaps, this shot from a porn site? (One of millions just like it)
With so many options, I picked this image because its caption “Ending the sexual dark age,” listed in the category “dominatrix in heels standing on male slave’s chest” seems to echo the point Time’s cover attempts to make.
The Hillary Clinton cover isn’t the first time a “news weekly” has borrowed from porn. There was this cover of Newsweek. The subject of the story: great food.
Time also did a story featuring the “best” chefs. No porn, but the magazine opted for this pic. Hmmm…what’s missing here?
The spin on this article is pretty brilliant. From the cover, you can tell it’s not going to be that “women are achieving so much, so fast that males are the ones who need support.” No, it’s going to be that “women are achieving so much so fast, getting so very rich, becoming richer than men, and that’s good for men!” That way, feminists are supposed to be grateful for Time’s piece and somehow not notice that a national news magazine’s cover is actually referring to women as the richer sex. WTF?
I will read this article and see why the cover reads: “Women are overtaking men as America’s breadwinners” because right now I say BULLSHIT! There you have it in writing.
I’ll report back.
This Ally McBeal cover came out before I started blogging, I was in my twenties, but the image is burned in my memory, so I’ll include it here.
I’ve written a few blogs about the Penguins of Madagascar, to summarize:
* In the upcoming spin off movie (like so many spin-offs) there are even more males than in the original 3 (yes, 3) Madagascar movies which magnanimously included a Minority Feisty girl hippo, Gloria played by Jaden Pinkett Smith. “Penguins of Madagascar” coming out for Thanksgiving stars 4 brothers.
*In the preview for “Penguins of Madagascar” there is just one female voice who comes in at the very end, saying:”Where’s the sound?”
*The Penguins make sexist jokes as show in this video/ preview for “Madagascar 3″ where one chides the others “You pillow fight like a bunch of little girls.”
Now, Mecano comments on my blog:
The Penguins of Madagascar TV show on Nickelodeon is esp annoying. In this the 4 male penguins live in a zoo along with many animals.Only one of the zoo animals is female (Marlene, a female otter) .She appears in many episodes (but not all) All other animals (around 20) are male.We also never see any female Penguins. What’s more one of the penguins,Rico, has a plastic doll as a “girlfriend” .He calls her “Mrs. Perky” .In some episodes this doll is the only female “character” we see! Just…sad.
Look at this image:
Mrs. Perky? This picture shows pretty much everything bad about gender and children’s media. I Googled “Mrs. Perky” and found this on Wikia.com (she is alternately referred to as Miss Perky and Ms. Perky):
The doll was given her name and temporarily a voice in the second season episode Hello, Dollface. But, by the end of the episode her voice-chip was removed.
I already hated these penguins, but WTF? And these guys get their own movie? Why doesn’t Gloria the hippo and her sisters get their own movie?
Do you want your children– girls and boys– to be entertained by sexist jokes? Do you want a new generation to learn to expect and accept a world where females are marginalized, sexualized, and sidelined if they get to exist at all?
In Taylor Swift’s new video “Blank Space” she mocks not only her own image as an obsessed ex-girlfriend but the trope of the psycho woman scorned. After the success of the misogynistic “Gone Girl,” a chilling narrative about a woman who fakes her own stalkings, abuse, and rapes, Swift’s video could not have come out a better time. The best-selling book/ movie and the song are strikingly similar down to specific passages. In “Blank Space” Swift sings:
Find out what you want
Be that girl for a month
Gone Girlhas a famous so-called feminist passage (also a montage in the movie) about the Cool Girl:
Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want.
I hate Gone Girl but I love “Blank Space.” What’s the difference? “Blank Space” is a parody. My favorite part of the video is when Taylor slashes her guy’s shirt and when he puts it on, there are two holes for his nipples. I also like the poisoned apple sequence, recalling how old this story is, from fairy tales to the Bible. As long as the culture keeps dishing out misogyny, I’m grateful for the artists who call it out. Thank you, Taylor for filling in the blank space.
After a depressing day of girls gone missing at the movies, it was great to see Katniss in the lobby of the Metreon in all her glory. I cannot wait for “Mockingjay,” nor can my 11 year old daughter who devoured all of the books. The Hunger Games trilogy remains one of the only fantasy worlds where gender equality exists, and it’s a dystopia.
There are no females starring in these movies. While this is sadly not unusual, it is striking that “Penguins” stars 4 brothers while Minions stars 3 male, um, what are they, clones? Are there any female minions at all? A minionette? They don’t show up in the preview.
In the “Despicable Me” 1 and 2, I remember the males dressed as females for laughs, one in a maid costume ha ha ha. Can you imagine a movie marketed to boys and girls starring 4 sisters, not a male in the preview? Can you imagine a franchise built on hundreds of all female yellow banana goggle cyclops creatures? How do they reproduce?
Before I saw ‘Big Hero 6′ I wondered what the title meant. I’d only seen posters with the balloony white creature and the boy. So now I know. There is a new superhero franchise made up of 6 characters. And guess what? The team is led by a Hiro, a scientist wonder boy and his BFF a healer robot, also male, named Baymax. The whole human team are techies including 2 girls, one in a pink suit but at least the other is in yellow. Typical Minority Feisty ratio.
Before I go on about gender issues, I want to be sure you know I really enjoyed this movie. It’s no doubt one of my favorite animated films this year. The narrative deconstructs what a hero (Hiro is a cool play on words) is in a compelling way that children can understand. Though I would love a gender flip, Baymax is super appealing. His mission is to heal, which includes not only tending to cuts and scrapes, but matters of the heart. When Hiro’s brother dies, at the beginning of the movie, Baymax urges Hero to get lots of the hugs and the support of friends. That sounds kind of chesey when I write it, but the prescription doesn’t come off like that in the movie because Baymax’s character is so well done. He is giant and round with stumpy legs. Watching his body squeeze through obstacles and give hugs is fascinating. Just seeing him move is entertaining. There is no way you cannot like this guy but…
how I wish he had been a she! Before all of you write me that Baymax challenges notions of masculinity, that kind of boundary busting is standard in children’s animation. In “Book of Life,” the movie I just reviewed the bullfighter chooses to be a musician instead of a macho man. (Can you even imagine a narrative based around a female choosing careers– should I fight bulls or compose music– instead of focusing choosing husbands?) When I’ve complained about the lack of females in Monster University, Planes,How to Train Your Dragon, practically every male centered, male dominated movie I review, I always get the reply: well, it’s great to show a geeky, smart, sensitive, artsy, fill in the blank male. You know what would really challenge standard notions of masculinity? Seeing half of children’s films star female protagonists and feature as many females as males in the cast. The icing on the trope cake was the damsel in distress scene. I was super disappointed to see ‘Big Hero 6′ squeeze in that storyline.
In case you’re wondering, I would’ve been thrilled if Hiro had a been a girl as well. And had a older sister inventor-mentor instead of a brother. And if the villain had been female.
I’ll end on positive note. I was so into the mythical San Fransokyo where the story takes place. The city has all the beauty, hills, bridges, Victorians and openess of San Francisco, (where I live) but loses its quaintness, small towny aspect by adding the clumped tall buildings, blinking lights, and crammed streets of Tokyo. The movie itself is a fusion of Disney and anime in the best way.