Take nine minutes out of your day and watch this video. Then think about it. And react
Take nine minutes out of your day and watch this video. Then think about it. And react
Does Violence Equal Change?
As I sat in my American Studies class and watched the ending scene of the movie, Do The Right Thing, I felt a sense of confusion. Watching the people of Bedstuy Brooklyn, destroy the property of the neighborhood pizzeria as a way to retaliate against police brutality— which resulted in the death of a neighborhood resident— I was on unsure as to whether or not their actions was justified.
I believe violence is necessary when the people in power do not want to compromise or listen to those in the minority. By minority I am not solely referring to different races, although it will be the basis for this article; instead I use the terminology to refer to groups that are not heard in society.
I am not saying violence is the end of all means, I understand that violence can actually make things worse. However, I view violence as a form of democratic rebuttal in the sense that it is used to make a statement to those who refuse to listen. The Los Angeles riot of 1992 is a perfect example of how effective the use of violence was. After the acquittal of four white police officers in the beating of Rodney King, thousands of people took to the streets of L.A. and raised havoc for over 6 days, causing millions of dollars in damage.
As a result of this, the four officers were retried and although only two of them were found guilty, at least some justice was achieved. Sure, one can make the argument that the marches held by Martin Luther King Jr are examples of how the use of non-violence can be a success, but I think those marches were the exception. The reason I say this is due to the 2006 police shooting of Sean Bell.
Just like the beating of Rodney King, the officers involved in the shooting were acquitted of all charges. However, a riot did not break out, instead hundreds of people took to the street for a peaceful protest but nothing was done, the incident was brushed off by those in power; so how effective is non-violence.
To bring my argument into more recent times, take a look at Egypt, where the use of violence was necessary in order to achieve the change the people of Egypt wanted. The revolution started with acts of civil disobedience similar to the marches held by King, but no real change came about—besides the shutdown of internet access. It was not until the people of Egypt started to get violence that the Egyptian government actually started to take them seriously, which eventually led to the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.
The 2011 Egyptian revolution was reminiscent to the overthrow of the Paris commune in 1871, where Parisians used violence as a democratic rebuttal to the dictatorship of the Parisian government. These events show how the use of violence is sometimes necessary in order to achieve change.
Returning to the movie I mentioned earlier, after the people of Brooklyn rioted; it not only garnered a lot of attention but it resulted in the mayor calling for an investigation of the cause behind the riot—something I doubt would have happened if they peacefully protested. Do not get me wrong, I am not radical by any means; I agree that violence should not be the first thing one should result to but I do believe the use of violence is necessary when your cry is being ignored.
Monday, November 8p in the Geneva Room:
After reading the blog post and watching the Youtube video of Take Back the Night I began thinking of what it would be like if I were able to walk home alone at night without constantly having too be aware of my surroundings. I thought that maybe times were changing and that college campuses could be considered a “safe place,” that was until I saw this clip on CNN:
Yale University’s Delta Kappa Epsilon, more commonly known as DKE, or “deke” was recorded yelling the chant “no means yes, yes means anal.” They also chanted. ““My name is Jack, I’m a necrophiliac, I fuck dead women, and fill them with my semen.”
At first I was in shock of what I was hearing and thought male students attending such a prestigious university would have the common sense to not promote rape, but I was sadly mistaken.
Rape is not something to joke about and especially not rant about doing—who is honestly supporting this? Do they think it is funny to yell that “no means yes?” I think that when a woman (or a man) says no, they actually mean no and that there is no underlying meaning of yes hidden somewhere.
How am I, or any other woman for that matter, supposed to feel comfortable walking alone when men are shouting these chants? The DKE president at Yale stated that the chant was done in poor judgment and poor taste and that the fraternity does not condone sexual violence (Huffington Post). Well please tell me what made them come up with the idea in the first place then?
A woman walks alone down a dark, deserted street. With every shadow she sees, and every sound she hears, her pounding heart flutters and skips a beat. She hurries her pace as she sees her destination become closer. She is almost there. She reaches the front door, goes inside, collects herself, and moves on forgetting, at least for tonight, the gripping fear that momentarily enveloped her life.
This scene could have occurred anywhere last night, last year, or even 100 years ago. Historically, women faced the anxiety of walking alone at night and that is why Take Back the Night began.
In Geneva, and indeed on many college campuses all across the country, the city saw—and heard—a group of women (and on some campuses, men) march around town banging pots and pans and chanting about taking back a right to own the night.
In the day that followed, various discussions were held concerning the event. Some of those discussions took place on our social networks. One such discussion blamed the event for causing a distraction in study time Tuesday evening.
I moved this discussion to our classroom today. I wanted the people that were affected by this conflict—those that felt the emotional impact of a TBTN March and those that were standing on the outside, uncertain about what TBTN was—to come together and have a space to converse and hopefully, to learn from each other.
I thought discussion went well today. It was emotional, but not aggressive. I feel both sides were heard and hopefully, both sides walked away thinking about the points each side made. But one 45-minute session on such a deeply embedded topic as sexual abuse and harassment is certainly not enough to break down the barriers that keep us all from recognizing the changes that need to be made on our campus and in our towns where sexual assault is an issue. An entire discourse needs to be created, an ideology relearned.
While I am using this blog post to allow for a safe space to continue our classroom discussion and indeed, to invite anyone to join that is interested, I also encourage the students of Hobart and William Smith Colleges to attend Take Back the Night: The Aftermath on Monday, October 25. This is an open forum in a safe space.
It’s up to you to carry on discussing the issue of sexual assault on our campus. If you want things in your community to change, get up off your ass and make a stand.
Over break, I made it my personal mission to find the scariest horror movie that Netflix could instantly provide me. After sorting through ratings and topics, I decided on The Girl Next Door, a 2007 film directed by Gregory Wilson. I had no idea what to expect, but after finishing the movie, I could not sleep for two nights.
“Horror” is not the category that I would place this film in. Instead, maybe “highly disturbing physiological gore” would do. The film follows the lives two young girls who are sent to live with their Aunt Ruth because their parents died in a car accident. Aunt Ruth turns out to be OBSESSED with purity when it comes to the girls. She attacks the girls, calling them “sluts”, because the new generation (this is in the 50’s) is “impure”.
This idea of feminist purity leads her to let her sons do whatever they please with the girls. Aunt Ruth lives alone, because her husband cheated on her. The hatred for sexual young girls may stem from his actions. Her sons treat her as a Queen, and she has rule over the entire masculine household. The battle between the issue of femininity and masculinity domination does not last long, because in the end, the boys (and Ruth) take all power.
I suggest that if you have an interest in Women’s Studies that you watch the film, because it encapsulates a jaded old women’s control over two young girls, through her sons. This movie was based on the true story of the torture of Sylvia Likens. Do not watch it just because Saw didn’t scare you. The gruesome events that take place in the film will make your stomach churn.
apparently, now we are using rape to sell products:
Ignorance is defined as the lack of knowledge or education and unawareness of something, often something important. In western society, we preach so much about how much things have changed for people of different races, classes, genders, sexualities, etc. but in reality, some things are still the same. People shouldn’t have to become martyrs to get the point across that change is necessary for growth.
People like Seth Walsh (13),
Raymond Chase (19),
Asher Brown (13),
Tyler Clementi (18),
Billy Lucas (15),
Caleb Nolt (14),
Harrison Chase Brown (15),
and Felix Sacco (17)
fit this mold of martyrdom due to their demise. Each of them has committed suicide within the past three weeks due to bullying and harassment from fellow peers. What takes the cake is the fact that the media has not shown any attention to many of these boys; the only one that has received media attention is Tyler Clementi and this is because they are seeking legal action against the boys who terrorized him. There has been no immediate response to the suicides, but celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres have spoken up about the hate that has happened. One question remains: what will be done from a political level to reprimand people who tread the border between harassment and hate crimes?
What qualifies as buzz worthy news? Issues dealing with someone’s identity always seem to fall below the radar of the media. It is only when legal action is pursued that issues become worthy of news. This is where the internet comes into play– there are so many outlets on the internet to allow for communication, but most times it fails to be recognized. It is a shame to see that we have to search the internet to find out about these suicides because they are not publicized. It is time to get it together America; we need a stable system to react to issues of heterosexism. Society continues to allow historical precedent rule America and it needs to be changed. Some people need to learn to break out of the narrow scope that continues to limit their understanding of identity. With that, we can move past being reactive and learn how to be more proactive.
Rest in peace Tyler, Raymond, Billy, Asher, Caleb, Seth, Harrison, and Felix, you will always be remembered as the boys who opened the eyes of many Americans to the injustices of heterosexism. We are praying for justice to prevail.
Is Rihanna Glorifying, Romanticizing, or Doing Good?
Recently Rihanna has been blowing up headlines concerning the issue domestic violence. In early 2009 the pop star became a media craze when Chris Brown had beaten her badly. After this incident Rihanna ended up returning to her abusive partner. Realizing this was wrong and scared of the example she was setting on the youth she went public with her story.
Rihanna has been since criticized by many for several different reasons. She has been criticized for responding to her abuse by releasing a “darker” album, becoming more sexual, and having a violent edge towards her. Many have criticized her by saying she is teaching women to become violent after a domestic violence experience. She also has been criticized for her part in Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie” song and video.
The video is criticized for glorifying and romanticizing an abusive relationship. The song/video obviously being about an abusive relationship involves two singers who have been involved in abusive relationships. The video also involves to attractive movie/TV stars that have many steamy scenes which could romanticize the relationship to some. Many are saying the song is giving evidence that true love hurts and also that it portrays woman in the relationship is asking for abuse through her own behavior. The second perspective is that it is a story of which both partners are both to blame. In this approach Eminem isn’t glorifying abusive relationships; he’s portraying the agony of a love-hate relationship neither partner can fix.
Even though there are many critics of Rihanna and her response to her own abuse experience and to the song and video, I believe she is doing a good job raising awareness, but can also understand her critics.