Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Feeling Surrounded

More and more I feel like I am trapped in the last few seconds of the last scene of Act 1 of Cabaret.

Friday, November 17, 2017

We have a Culture Problem

Part of the problem with sexual harassment in this country comes from the fact that we have a culture problem.  Our culture tends to glorify, or at least condone, the sexual mistreatment of women.  In the case of Al Franken, grabbing and kissing a woman without her permission, we have very iconic examples.  Take for instance, the famous picture of the sailor kissing the nurse in Times Square at the end of WWII. This was not his girlfriend or even someone he knew.  He was half drunk and happy that the war was over and celebrated by kissing "the first nurse he saw" even though he was on a date with a completely different woman. 
So on this joyous and unbelievable afternoon, George ran from Rita — the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen — grabbed the first nurse he saw, spun her around, dipped her and kissed her. Rita was just steps behind them, and in the photo she’s beaming.
This picture is celebrated as culturally significant and romantic, but the woman being kissed was not too happy about it at the time.
The kiss did kind of bother someone else, though: the woman in the nurse’s uniform, Greta Zimmer, who wasn’t even a nurse. She was a 21-year-old dental assistant from Queens, who, having heard rumors about the end of the war, walked over to Times Square from her office on Lexington Avenue. George says he was so drunk, he doesn’t even remember the kiss. Greta says she’ll never forget it. [...] She isn’t sure how long she was standing there; maybe minutes. “And then I was grabbed,” she says. “That man was very strong. I wasn’t kissing him. He was kissing me.”
And, of course, the movies are filled with scenes where a man grabs a woman and kisses her, she slaps him, then she kisses him back, which gives the impression that it was really okay all along and that being forcibly kissed without permission is what all woman secretly want.  This is a problem and sends a bad message.

Now Senator Franken has said that his actions, including the photo of him groping the accusers breasts while she sleeps, was done in the name of comedy, but that is no excuse.  Whether done for celebratory, comedic, or sexual reasons, it is wrong to kiss or touch a woman sexually without her permission. Period.

And, of course, there is the man who will probably soon be the newest Senator from my home state, the great state of Alabama, Roy Moore.  Now I can't think of any good examples of Hollywood glorifying a sexual relationship between a man in his 30s and a girl of 14, but there is probably one out there somewhere.  But there are examples of people defending his behavior as not really a problem. Oh wrong, maybe, but not really a problem. 
During a CNN interview on Monday, Brandon Moseley, a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter, argued that allegations such as the ones being leveled at Moore shouldn't disqualify the candidate. He noted that the accusation detailed in a recent The Washington Post report, in which a woman claimed Moore made sexual advances on her in 1979 when she was 14 and he was 32, would count as a misdemeanor in Alabama at the time.
"Does that make it OK?" anchor Brooke Baldwin asked.
“No. But again, if, you know, Roy Moore had stolen a lawn mower when he was 21, that’s bad, but that’s not a reason, 50 years later, to all of a sudden, you know, throw him off the ballot or let Mitch McConnell pick the next senator of Alabama," Moseley said.
Now I grew up in Alabama, so I was once a 14 year old girl in Alabama. It was the 80s not the 70s, but I doubt attitudes were much different between the two time frames.  The legal age of consent was 16, but 14 year-olds were sexually active.  There were older guys that hung out at high school football games and high school dances trolling for younger girls, and many didn't care if they were underage or not (just as people have said Moore did).  And the problem is, many of the girls parents didn't seem to mind either.  In fact, when my older sister was 15 she met a guy who was 21 at a high school dance and started dating him.  My parents allowed it.  When I was 14 years old I dated a guy who was 19 years old and my parents allowed it.  In both cases, I know for a fact that they were looking for someone that was young and malleable so that they could make them into what they wanted as a wife or girlfriend.  In the case of my older boyfriend, his girlfriend before me was 14 and his girlfriend after me was 14.  It is that age where the girls have all the look of an adult woman, but often lack the maturity or strength of mind that comes with adulthood.  That makes it perfect for the unscrupulous male predator, and don't get me wrong, that is exactly what they are - predators.  Just like Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame.
A video on YouTube shows Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson, in 2009, urging adult men to marry 15 and 16 year old girls who will “pick their ducks” and not their pockets.
 And the problem is, even though Alabama law technically recognizes this as a crime, our culture tells us that it is really okay, that there is really no harm done.  That is wrong.  There is harm done.  And in fact, back in the 80s (I don't know about now) it was legal for a 14 year old to get married with parental consent.  So it wasn't okay for a 14 year old to consent to sex, but it was okay for her parents to consent to it for her.  I'm sorry (okay I'm not really sorry), but that is WRONG! In fact, apparently in Louisiana, marrying the underage girl was a way to get out of statutory rape charges. Again, see Phil Robertson as an example:

Robertson has a history of messing around with underage girls.  At age 20, he was having sex with a 14-year-old girl who got pregnant and was forced to marry her at 16 to avoid going to prison for statutory rape in Louisiana.
 So, if we are going to do something about sexual harassment in our country, we need to address our cultural issues with the topic, not just our laws.  We need to socialize our young males to realize that forced affection is not true affection and a woman's (or girl's) body is her own to make her own decisions about.  And if she is not of legal age to make those decisions, then they shouldn't ask her to make them, they should keep their hands to themselves!  And, in fact, it goes both ways.  Women should not be forcing themselves on men or boys either.  Remember, your body is your own, and your rights end where someone else's nose (or lips, or breast, or vagina, or penis, etc) begins.  It's not funny, it's not romantic, and it's not okay.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

2016 Book List

Here are the books that I read in 2016:

Speaking in Bones - Kathy Reichs
Faux Paw - Sofie Kelly
The Christmas Box - Richard Paul Evans
Driving Heat - Richard Castle
A Whisker of Trouble - Sofie Ryan
If Walls Could Talk - Juliet Blackwell
Dead Bolt - Juliet Blackwell
Tempest-Tost - Robertson Davies
Leaven of Malice - Robertson Davies
Goodbye to Berlin - Christopher Isherwood

Only 10 books this year.  Oh, well, it seems that I just keep moving in the same direction, fewer books each year.  Mostly light reading and books in a series this year, too.  Mostly murder mysteries, with the exception of Davies, Isherwood, and Evans.  Maybe I will find more time for reading this year.  Only time will tell.