Filed under: beliefs, Journaling, journalism, opinion, writing | Tags: Cat-calling, journaling, journalism, women's issues
I recently read a rant by a
young man who thinks it’s pretty silly that women get offended when random men whistle after them as they walk by, or lewdly inform her that she looks like a good sex partner. He went on to posit that most men would enjoy these sorts of “animalistic shows of support” from women.
First, let me distinguish that there is a big difference between compliments and cat-calls. There certainly is a way for a man to give a woman who is otherwise a stranger a compliment and/or express interest without being sleazy or creepy. In general, it does not involve: Yelling at her so everyone in proximity can hear, staring her down, saying “nice (body part)”, pickup lines, or making animal noises. The fact is, receiving a cat-call is pretty weird and awkward.
I want the men in the audience to imagine this with me: You’re being hit on by loud, obnoxious and largely unattractive women most of whom, if they wanted to, could drag you into the nearest alley and rape you with a strap-on… That’s a little bit more what it is like to be a woman cat-called by men. Don’t complain. It’s a compliment!
Recently, British journalist Leah Green took to the streets to see how random men would respond to some of the tactics used on women. She asked male bartenders for lap dances, asked pairs of men if they had ever kissed, and told them their pants would better on her floor. It turns out, most of them did not, in fact, seem to enjoy it.
Filed under: Internet, journalism, writing | Tags: america, dark humor, freelance writing, investigative journalism, journalism, news, writing
I’m sure most people have noticed by now that American journalism has become an ever more obvious clusterfuck of misleading headlines and regurgitated stories. Many have asked, “Remember investigative journalism? Whatever happened to that?” The answer: A horrible new business plan.
The past decade has seen magazine and newspaper sales plummet as more and more people get their news from the internet. Consumers found some obvious benefits to the electronic media. The lack of printing allows news outlets to bring readers the news hours after it occurs, and, of course, no annoying subscription fees. However, the near elimination of those Jevoah Witness-like subscription salesmen has heralded the disintegration of American journalism.
Today, companies are no longer able to depend on newspaper and magazine sales. This means they must rely on ad revenue. One might ask, “What’s so new about that?” A couple things. Firstly, in the good ol‘ days, companies would literally buy space in the paper or magazine for their ad at set prices. In the age of the internet, advertisers track how many people actually view the page the ad is on, and how many click on their ads. The news outlet is compensated appropriately. In turn, this causes the douchebaggery known as “clickbait” headlines.
These headlines are intentionally misleading and/or confusing. While the media has always been guilty of sensationalizing headlines, the practice has become more rampant. Although health stories are not the only offender, they are perhaps the most glaring obvious. Popsci lists 9 stories, founded solidly upon bullshit, that created waves of panicky website visitors. Sorry drinking with friends isn’t “good for you,” but on the bright side bacon won’t “give kids cancer.” Unfortunately, you also can’t use chocolate and soda pop to “detect cancer.”
So what gives with the poorly researched (and sometimes equally poorly written) news stories? Well, the lack of reliable income trickles down like urine from a leaky catheter. Many of the writers are compensated so poorly that they just don’t give a fuck. The vast majority of writers are considered “contributors,” which is a fancy way of saying, “contractors” which is a fancy way of saying, “Haha! No benefits for you!”
For those paid a flat rate, working longer than an hour on the article and accompanying research often leaves them making less than minimum wage. However a growing number of news outlets are adopting a model which doesn’t pay the writer for the actual writing, but rather how many people view said writing, and how long they stay on the page. This method is even worse in regards to quality. The writer is more inclined to simply rewrite trending articles with “click bait” headlines, and do no additional research because he or she isn’t actually guaranteed any pay. Investigative journalism is a shambling zombified version of itself because most writers simply aren’t paid to devote that much time to any one story.
One might ask, “What can I do to help prevent journalism from stinking so badly the public will be forced to flush it?” Here’s how: When you read stories you like, spread them; hell, write the editor and gush about it. When you find stories with misleading headlines do not call public attention to them, simply write the editor demanding 100% less bullshit.
Filed under: beliefs, body image, journalism, Weight Issues, writing | Tags: advertisement, beauty, body acceptance, body image, body shaming, weight, women's issues
Jezebel featured an article almost a year ago which bluntly sums up the below ad in two sentences. “The message: your wife, though she’s clearly gone to some effort to look sexy and seduce you, is too fat. Solution: adultery.” Since then, the ad for the website Ashley Madison has been periodically resurfacing on blogs and Facebook pages, stirring outrage. Most recently, Volup2., an online magazine geared toward female body acceptance, posted it to their Facebook page.
What I find most appalling about this ad is my initial reaction. While after regarding it for a moment I can dismiss it as just another hateful ad, my first thoughts are clearly influenced by being inundated with these sorts of images and ideas about what a woman can look like and still be considered beautiful.
In actuality, I admire all women who are brave enough to put themselves out there like this and am envious of their self-confidence. I am especially impressed with women who are working to make the public idea of female beauty more inclusive such as Jacqueline aka “Juicy Jackie,” the plus sized model who was featured in this ad without her knowledge.
But, for just a split second after seeing these women (particularly in the context of this ad) I am momentarily glad that I am smaller than the plus sized woman, and I hate the woman who is thin yet buxom. This is clearly sick thinking.
So what is going on here? I consider both of these women attractive, and don’t mean either of them disrespect. If I think about it, the hate I have for the thin model isn’t actually directed at her, but rather that I don’t have a body like hers…something ads like this suggest I should have. In this ad, the message to women is pretty transparent. Unless your body looks like this (possibly airbrushed) model, you shouldn’t necessarily expect your mate to be sexually attracted to you.
Women, and men to growing, but admittedly lesser, extent are overwhelmed with similar images on advertisements like these, as well as in television and movies that not only push certain ideals of beauty, but also actively shame those who do not fit it.
For women, it seems these ideals are especially narrow in media representation. Think about the sort of woman most often featured in advertisements, catalogues, television, and movies. Not only should a woman be smaller than a size 6, (or size 12 for plus sized models) but she should have an hourglass figure, not too much muscle tone, an angular face, and professionally done hair and make up. While these standards don’t always carry into the real world, body shaming certainly does.
A thin woman might hear “eat a cheeseburger” which implies that she must be thin because she doesn’t eat enough. A plus sized woman might hear, “like she needs that” implying she must be fat because she eats constantly. A woman with defined abs and arms might be called “manly” or even told, “Stop working out so much and have some icecream,” implying that well toned bodies aren’t feminine. Of course, not everyone engages in this sort of behavior, but just a few comments can be damaging. The worst part is, sometimes people aren’t even aware they are doing it.
Once, while sharing my body insecurity woes (for the umpteenth time) with a past boyfriend, he told me, “You’re no Natalie Portman, but you’re acceptable.” He went on to say something along the lines of, “just like I’m no Johnny Depp.” I realize this response was not meant to be hurtful, but the wording certainly compares both of us to people famous for their good looks..and finds us lacking. For you guys who are wondering, the correct response to a woman shaming herself would have been: “I think you look great, and there are more important things to me than just how you look. I feel like you should stop talking down to yourself.”
Jacqueline said of the ad she was featured in, “Not all women are necessarily insecure, but it’s no secret that body insecurity is endemic, regardless of size. This kind of message is extremely damaging to self worth…A size 2 woman who sees this ad sees the message: ‘If I don’t stay small, he will cheat.’ A size 12 woman might see this ad and think ‘if I don’t lose 30lbs, he will cheat.’ A size 32 woman could see this ad, and feel ‘I will never find love.’ It’s horrific.”
She said the photograph was taken before she began her modeling career, and she was unaware the photographer would sell it as a stock photo without regard to its usage. “I am a size 32. I am beautiful..Beauty is not and has never been one-size-fits-all. I do not appreciate my image being used, without notice or permission, to tell women I have never met otherwise.”