Tag Archives: double standard

The Internet and Mob Justice

On January 16th, a pet supply worker was fired for a racist tirade on a blog. On the 13th of the same month, Iron Mountain Daily News blacklisted a freelance writer after she was revealed using racial slurs. On the 11th of this month, a juvenile justice employ in Kentucky was fired for racist and violent postings on his Facebook wall.

Nothing surprising at first glance.

With ever-increasing social consciousness and public focus on modern-day racism in the past year, it’s nothing shocking that a person would be fired for getting caught making bigoted claims. Only these folks weren’t caught– they were exposed.

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Culture War Correspondence: The Internet’s Disenchantment with Jennifer Lawrence

KAT: Friends, readers, earthmen, lend us your eyes for another Culture War Correspondence. This week Evan and I will be discussing Jennifer Lawrence. It may sound like a broad topic, but maybe Evan can expand for us why she recently came to his attention.

EVAN: Well, in general there’ve been a number of articles, like this one on Salon, that hint at an impending wave of internet backlash towards J-Law [I will not be referring to her like that again]. This has been backed up by comments on popular image hosting website imgur that sum up to, “still?” and/or “okay, we get it.”

But before we really delve into all of that I think it’d be good if we both answered the question: How do you feel, generally, about Ms. Lawrence?

KAT: Well, I’ve written about her in the past and my opinion tends to be generally the same. She seems authentic to me, and while I realize no one can be truly authentic in the public eye, I enjoy seeing a celebrity in the news that I can relate to.

How about you? Continue reading

Shame Day: Sexual Standards

asdfasdI’m double-posting today, so this week’s Shame Day is a little late [I try to update the blog before noon] but is brought to you by a topic I haven’t addressed much as of late: the wonderful world of comics.

Yesterday it was announced by various comic book news outlets that the newest title out of the Marvel NOW! line of books would be X-Men, written by Brian Wood and illustrated by Olivier Coipel. An X-Men title is certainly nothing new, but it is when the entire cast of said title is female.

Wood was interviewed in an article by USA Today, and had the following things today about the characters he’s writing:

Wood also promises to bring a lot of relationships, love and sex into the book, “in the classic X-men way — the way it used to be.”

He wants to challenge the double standards that have been in superhero books for years, where Wolverine can sleep with anybody but if a female character does it twice, she’s promiscuous, which Wood sees constantly online.

“To everybody’s credit, these people are often shot down immediately for being sexist and unfair, but that is a very common thing,” Wood says.

“We’re just going to do it. We’re not going to worry about that. If Kitty or Rogue has basic human bodily urges, tough luck (to those opposed). To me, that’s as much of the X-Men as anything else.”

It is certainly not news that this double standard exists, and I’d been thinking about this for a while due to my having watched most of Season 4 of How I Met Your Mother this past Thursday. It didn’t take more than a few minutes of watching Barney Stinson before it occurred to me that:

Barney Stinson is pretty widely known to be both a prolific and successful womanizer. He sleeps with women the way most people go to work: five times a week, maybe six to get in some overtime. He’s admittedly a painfully funny character, but also one that is congratulated for his sexual prowess.

Now take a female character and put her in Barney’s shoes. Thankfully, times are certainly a’ changin’, and I can actually point to one half of the roommates in Don’t Trust The B—- In Apartment 23, Chloe. She is a person who treats her sexual partners with just about as much respect [if not less] than Barney Stinson, and the show has for the most part done a great job not demonizing her for it.

The fact of the matter is that in most cases Chloe would be dubbed a slut. Is there a male equivalent for the term in the English language? An article I found on The Independent explores this very question, and ends up admitting that words like “roué” or “swordsman” or “playboy” all work as far as describing what I’ve mentioned, but don’t really “convey much sense of moral contempt and several of which are tinged with admiration.”

What I’m pointing an accusatory finger at this Shame Day is the fact that we hold as a culture a sickeningly obvious double standard. I’m not one who particularly praises rampant sexual promiscuity, but I certainly hope that I if I did I would be able to hold both with an equal amount of esteem.

This post is to shame those who give the Chloes of this world the finger with one hand while high-fiving the Barneys with the other. It’s also to give the bit of credit where it’s due to Brian Wood and to all others who realize how it is we view men and women, and who go out of their way to work against that.

As a parting note, it’s nice to know that even the characters within the comics have noticed this:

She-Hulk #17 (Vol. 2). Written by Dan Slott, illustrated by Rick Burchett.

Let’s Talk About Hypocrisy

Before I begin, I believe I ought to clarify something.

In this post, I’m going to be addressing the issues of hardship and tragedy and our responses to both of these things as a culture. Naturally none of this is meant to rob any gravity from Friday’s events- pain is, as always, pain. Any and all criticism here is directed strictly at hypocrisy, not sorrow.

There is a scene in season 2 of AMC’s hit series The Walking Dead, in which one of the group’s children goes missing and the other is [accidentally] shot and badly injured- both of which are bad things even without the ongoing zombie apocalypse. After managing to stabilize the boy, his mother begins questioning whether or not her son would be better off dead, rather than going on living the horrific and nightmarish existence life had become. Her exact words went as follows:

Why do we want Carl to live in this world? To have this life? So he can see more people torn apart in front of him? So he can be hungry and scared for however long he has before he…

So he can run and run and run and run and- and even if he survives he winds up- just another animal who doesn’t know anything other than survive…

Now whether or not you’re familiar with the series, this scene will still probably get a reaction out of you. Horror, perhaps, at how vile life must be for a mother to suggest her son dying would be a better alternative. Pity, maybe, for a person so driven and desperate.

Or, if you’re like me, utter indignant rage.

Let’s take a look at that soliloquy again. What’s the criteria this person puts on a life so awful it might as not be lived? Constant hunger, constant fear, and exposure to violence. In other words, the life of the majority of men, women, and children on this planet since the dawn of time.

You heard the lady- might as well just keel over.

And what’s her description of people who live this life? Oh, right- animals.

“And a very merry **** you to you as well”

What really gets me is that this (almost certainly) wasn’t meant to portray Lori as the vicious, self-pitying hypocrite that she came across as. Someone- nay, a whole line of writers and editors and censors- let that whole speech slide on the basis that it’d portray the character as sympathetic and troubled. And it’s this twisted attitude towards life that I want to address.

Early in the summer, I wrote a post on the need to portray graphic violence in media– especially in regards to war. I argued that our distance from the conflicts the US was engaged in made war too easy to ignore. The lack of the presence of violence, or our understanding of the consequences, made it all cheap and trite. Really this problem exists not only with violence, but with every aspect of our alienated society. We love beef, but how many of us could actually kill a cow? I’m not talking about hunting one down using nothing but a smooth rock, I’m just talking about simply ending one’s life. Could you do it? If not, I submit that you shouldn’t have a right to eat beef or wear leather.

Take a look at this cartoon.

Hard to argue with that, huh? Just as you shouldn’t be able to eat meat if you’re unwilling to kill the animal, you really shouldn’t be able to buy clothes and shoes unless you are personally willing to oversee the sweatshops in which they’re made. One way or another, you shouldn’t be able to reap the benefits of something without being at least capable of getting your hands dirty- and nowhere does that apply more than perhaps our government.

You might be familiar with the famous scene from Fahrenheit 9/11, in which Michael Moore attempts to pass out army recruitment flyers to members of congress (not surprisingly, most duck the offer). These people who were more than willing to send other people’s kids out to die in the desert suddenly found themselves far less eager when in the same situation- one congressmen protesting that his son had kids of his own (after all, all soldiers are childless and single).

And before any liberal readers get too smug, you’re far from exempt either. After the tragic mass murder in Newtown on Friday, I came back from work to find a letter in my inbox from a progressive organization I’ve signed petitions with before. “Act now!” they cried, “Demand gun control!”. This from the same people who bombarded me with pleas to re-elect President Obama, author and owner of a freaking “kill list“, to say nothing of his administration’s shoot-first-and-suppress-questions-later policy with drone strikes, and the “operation fast and furious” debacle.

Now all of this is just to demonstrate the social pathology this culture is suffering from.It’s not that we’re involved in countless injustices (that’s all bad in and of itself, but it’s not the point right here)- it’s that we have the gall to act hurt, or shocked, or horrified. Injustice is not greater for having finally happened to you. Pain and suffering don’t intensify based on their proximity to you. If you won’t cry out over the violence overseas, what right do you have to cry out over the violence at home? What right does a person have to feel depressed about cyber-bullying when he’s wearing a shirt made by an eight year old?  If you shrug your shoulders, stick your hands in your pocket, and walk off whistling when you’re told about homelessness in India, what right do you have to complain about mortgage payments in Indiana? Let’s cut the narcissism, shall we?