“Although most boys figure out how to bring themselves to orgasm by age thirteen, half of girls don’t have their first orgasms until their late teens, twenties, or beyond. Teenage girls widely agree that they get the message loud and clear that masturbation is something boys do, but girls don’t, can’t, or shouldn’t. The cultural focus on intercourse tells young women to expect they’ll begin to experience sexual pleasure once they have sex with a man (whether or not they’re even interested in sex with men). Nearly all teen boys, on the other hand, experience sexual pleasure long before they get their hands—or other body parts—into a partner’s pants. Despite the massive advances in women’s equality, young women’s sexuality is stuck in a surprising paradox. Young women are sold provocative clothes but aren’t taught where to find their own clitoris. Many girls give their boyfriends oral sex, but are too uncomfortable with their own bodies to allow the guys to return the favor. It’s still a radical act to say that women need and deserve access to information about their own sexual pleasure—not just about the risks and negative consequences of sex.”—Dorian Solot, I Love Female Orgasm: An Extraordinary Orgasm Guide. (via feministhistorian)
If you’re a “nice guy” to a girl up until you realize she doesn’t want to date you, then go on about how she’s a cold shrew that friendzoned you and how no girls date nice guys, like, nah mate, girls do date nice guys. You just aren’t a nice guy. You’re a passive aggressive beta with internalized misogyny and a serious victim complex.
Today is the first anniversary of the death of comic creator Dwayne McDuffie. If I have to point to a single moment that saddened me about comics in the last year (and there has been a lot) losing Dwayne hurt the most.
McDuffie, through his creation of Milestone comics…
When I was 19, I married my high school sweetheart. He had never hit me in anyway. Never had yelled at me. He was in the Navy and we moved nearly 1000 miles away from home. We had been married one week when he first slapped me. I forgave him. We had been married about a year when he first punched me in the stomach. I forgave him. After about a year and a half it became common for him to slap, punch or kick me.
I lived for the times he was out to sea. I made excuses. I never blamed him, I always blamed me.
After three years of marriage we moved back to our home state. After we had been to visit family, he punched me the entire trip home and had left bruises on my face and arms. All because I smiled and hugged one my best friends: a gay man.
I knew he would kill me.
I went to work the next day and was paid while I found a shelter and went to a doctor. I went home and packed. He came home early and proceeded to beat me with his fists, a belt and kicked me repeatedly. He also threw me down stairs.
The only reason I’m alive is that I played dead and he went to look for something to put “that dead cunt in.” I was able to open the door and get out of that apartment and stop a car and get help.
I found out later that the doctors at the hospital didn’t think I would make it through the night. I had 4 broken ribs, a punctured lung, fractured skull, broken leg, fractured leg, a broken nose, a broken ankle and various other injuries. They told my dad that if I hasn’t told the person that took me to the hospital what had happened they would have thought I had been in a car accident. They told dad it would be a miracle if I lived. My dad was planning my funeral in his head. When I woke up I talked to the police, got a restraining order and filed for divorce. He went to jail for less than a year.
He remarried someone who knew me. Someone who had seen the pictures, someone who wouldn’t listen to me. She said he was “too hot to do that” she also said “he can hit me anytime.” He does, I’ve seen her bruises. She is living in hell now because she didn’t listen or pay attention to the police report.
Those girls out there saying that Chris Brown can hit them. He will, girls, and next time he’ll be sure to get someone that is not famous and won’t have an army behind her. He might even kill you but don’t worry sure he will look “hot” doing it. Grow up and stop idolizing an abuser.
He doesn’t deserve a Grammy, a number 1 album. He deserves to be treated the same way he treated Rhianna.
If you want to see what someone like him can do, volunteer at a shelter and you will see.
I have an overabundance of friends who go in and out of relationships.
Every new person is “the one” and they proceed to coo and fawn over them.
They can’t get over how “awesome”, “amazing” and “sweet” they are, they’ve “never met anyone like *insert name here*” and they’ve “never been so happy”. Well, that is, they haven’t felt like that since their last relationship and the 5,000 before that one *eye roll*
Then, when the inevitable happens (i.e., they break up) they whine and bitch and moan like it’s the first time anything like that has happened.
"OMGGGGG, HOW COULD THIS HAVE HAPPENEDEEEDEDD!?!?"
I’m sick and tired of people acting like it’s no big deal that Chris Brown will be performing at the Grammys.
I’m frustrated that the mainstream media is covering this story like it’s any comeback story, like an exiled prince’s return to a former glory, like this is another political timeline — as though some rich and powerful old white men in the music business have not just issued an enormous ‘f**k you’ to every woman who has been, is or will be on the receiving end of domestic violence.
We should be furious.
Why aren’t we?
A Long, Long Time Ago, or Three Years Ago, But Who’s Counting?
For those of you who are currently listening to ‘Look at Me Now’ and wondering what the big deal is, a quick recap: The night before the Grammys in 2009, Chris Brown got angry at his girlfriend, Rihanna, and he took it out on her face. She went to the hospital and then to the LAPD, where this photo was taken and promptly leaked to TMZ. (The LAPD issued a stern statement on the leak, threatening penalties “up to and including termination”. TMZ reportedly paid $62,500 for the photo.)
Both Rihanna and Brown had been scheduled to perform at the Grammys the following evening. Neither did.
Instead, Chris Brown turned himself into the LAPD at 7 pm, was booked on suspicion of criminal threats and was released on $50,000 bail.
Then the Internet exploded.
I was a full-time entertainment writer at the time, so I had a front-row seat to the action. This is what I expected: I expected a string of celebrities to comment on how horrific this situation was, how sad and angry they were for Rihanna, how domestic violence is unacceptable in any context, how as a nation we need to condemn this and condemn it loudly.
Instead, Hollywood went silent and, when they did speak, they teetered on the brink of defending Chris Brown.
Carrie Underwood: “I don’t think anybody actually knows what happened. I have no advice.”
Lindsay Lohan: “I have no comment on that. That’s not my relationship. I think they’re both great people.”
Nia Long: “I know both of them well. They’re young, and all we can do is pray for them at this point.”
Mary J. Blige: “They’re both young and beautiful people, and that’s it.”
Jay-Z, one of Rihanna’s mentors, spoke up: “You have to have compassion for others. Just imagine it being your sister or mom and then think about how we should talk about that. I just think we should all support her.”
In a sane world, Jay-Z’s statement would sound insane. Why would he have to remind his fans to support Rihanna after what happened is that she got hit in the face?
Jay-Z issued that statement because the Internet was, in early February 2009, engaged in a very serious conversation about whether or not all of this was Rihanna’s fault. In fact, large segments of the Internet had devoted themselves to making Rihanna the scapegoat for any woman who ever had the gall to do something worth getting hit, and then the cloying self-esteem to go to the cops about it. Bloggers and their commentators flocked to Chris Brown’s defense in droves. It was a full-blown tearing-down of female self-worth, an assault on any progress women have made in this country in the past 200 years, and the mainstream media ignored it.
It horrified me. It still does.
Later in February, a photo of Brown riding a jet ski in Miami hit the Internet, and singer Usher was caught on video commenting on it: “I’m a little disappointed in this photo,” Usher says in the video. “After the other photo [of Rihanna’s bruised face]? C’mon, Chris. Have a little bit of remorse, man. The man’s on jet skis? Like, just relaxing in Miami?”
“I apologize on behalf of myself and my friends if anyone was offended,” he said. “The intentions were not to pass judgment and we meant no harm. I respect and wish the best for all parties involved.”
The message we sent to young women was unmistakable: You are powerless. You are worthless. You will be a victim, and that will be okay with us.
The Fall-out, and the Lack Thereof
In August 2009, Brown was sentenced to five years probation and 180 hours of community service after pleading guilty to felony assault.
In December 2009, he released his third studio album. It sold over 100,000 copies in its first week and debuted at #7 on the Billboard charts.
On June 8, 2010, Brown was forced to cancel his tour dates in the UK when the British Home Office refused to grant him a work visa on the grounds of “being guilty of a serious criminal offence”. Less than three weeks later, he performed ‘Man in the Mirror’ at the BET Awards’ tribute to Michael Jackson.
His fourth studio album, released in March of last year, debuted at #1.
In December 2011, Billboard crowned him their artist of the year.
“We’re glad to have him back,” said executive producer Ken Ehrlich. “I think people deserve a second chance, you know. If you’ll note, he has not been on the Grammys for the past few years and it may have taken us a while to kind of get over the fact that we were the victim of what happened.”
Read that quote again. Think hard about what is being said. Here is what this quote says to any woman who’s ever been abused:
By blacklisting Chris Brown from the Grammys for a “few” years (actually, a grand total of TWO Grammy Awards), the Grammys have gone above and beyond expectations for the social exile of an adult man who hit his girlfriend so hard she went to the hospital, and honestly it was really, really hard for them to show even that much support for victims of domestic violence worldwide.
It was rather thoughtless of Rihanna to go and get herself hit in the face by her boyfriend, because it’s put such a burden on the Grammys. Maybe if she hadn’t made such a big fuss out of it, things could have been easier for everyone.
The Grammys think that they were the victim of Chris Brown hitting Rihanna in the face.
The Grammys. Think. That they. Were the victim. Of Chris Brown. Hitting. Rihanna. In the face.
Hitting People Is Wrong, Y’All
I agree that people deserve a second chance. It’s great that we live in a country with a justice system that allows offenders to reclaim themselves and their lives after their sentence. I’m happy about that, and I hope Brown is a changed man at the end of his sentence. (The US justice system has Chris Brown on probation through 2014. It was nice of the Grammys to let him off a couple years early for high record sales good behavior.)
And my suspicion is that Rihanna has no interest in being a poster child for victims of domestic violence. She probably wishes this would all disappear, and I don’t blame her for a minute. She didn’t ask for this – for any of it – and she’s under no obligation to speak out about it.
But someone has to. Because what is happening here is unmistakable. It is, in my eyes, so unmistakable that I wonder if I’m wrong, if I’m missing something huge, because I cannot believe more voices aren’t railing against this.
We – the grown-up influencers in this country, the people with platforms and with educations and with power — are allowing a clear message to be sent to women: We will easily forgive a person who victimizes you. We are able to look beyond the fact that you were treated as less than human, that a bigger, stronger person decided to resolve a conflict with you through violence. We know it happened, but it’s just not that big of a deal to us.
We were so mad when the Komen Foundation pulled its funding for breast cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood. “This is not fair,” we shouted. “This is not fair to women, and this is not fair to the women who don’t have a voice, and we will not allow it.” We shouted it so loudly that Komen reversed its decision in three days. We forced the resignation of one of their top executives.
Planned Parenthood, no doubt, has a well-funded and fine-tuned PR machine, adept at galvanizing a population against a perceived injustice. They outmaneuvered Komen easily.
Does domestic violence have a less sophisticated PR machine than Chris Brown does?
Because to me, this situation isn’t all that different. Accepting that Chris Brown gets to perform at the Grammys because some people bought his album is no different from accepting that women without health insurance don’t get to be screened for breast cancer because some VP at Komen is anti-abortion. It may happen, but that doesn’t mean we should tacitly accept it. What if Chris Brown had hit your sister that night? Or your daughter? (What if Chris Brown had hit Taylor Swift that night?)
We’re accepting the message that women just aren’t that important, that their health and their safety and their self-respect is only important until it stops being convenient for everyone. We should be angry about this, and we should be angry publicly about this.
So I want to say this to anyone who is listening: This is not okay with me. A man hitting a woman in anger is unacceptable and is not easily forgotten or forgiven. A man who hits a woman in anger deserves to be reported to the authorities and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, regardless of who might be inconvenienced in the process. A man who hits a woman in anger may eventually be permitted to go on with his own life, but he is not permitted back in my life, even if it’s been three whole years.
“Since her death in 1979, the woman who discovered what the universe is made of has not so much as received a memorial plaque. Her newspaper obituaries do not mention her greatest discovery. […] Every high school student knows that Isaac Newton discovered gravity, that Charles Darwin discovered evolution, and that Albert Einstein discovered the relativity of time. But when it comes to the composition of our universe, the textbooks simply say that the most abundant atom in the universe is hydrogen. And no one ever wonders how we know.”—
Jeremy Knowles, discussing the complete lack of recognition Cecilia Payne gets, even today, for her revolutionary discovery. (via moonsafaris)
“You have probably never heard of British-born Cecilia H. Payne (later Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin), who in 1923 came to the United States to study stellar spectra at the Harvard College Observatory. In a remarkably short time, Payne managed to quantify and classify the stellar spectra in the plate collection at the Observatory, arriving at the startling conclusion that stars are “amazingly uniform” in their composition, and that hydrogen is millions of times more abundant than any other element in the universe. Her doctoral dissertation, Stellar Atmospheres (1925), demonstrated her theory concerning the chemical composition of stars and earned her the first doctoral degree ever offered to either man or woman by Harvard’s astronomy department. A few years later, Otto Struve, an eminent astronomer, called it ‘the most brilliant Ph.D. thesis ever written’” - Dara Horn