Monday, December 12, 2011

Homosexuality and Public Acceptance Based on Sex

In today's day and age, people have become more accepting of homosexuality.  Now as a Christian myself, I have my own views about homosexuality, but that's another topic for another day.  This is more of an observation that I've been noticing.

About a year ago, I was watching an episode of ABC's What Would You Do on a Friday.  There was a segment dealing with homosexual couples and the public response to them openly showing affection for one another. 

In one scenario, two gay men were showing off public displays of affection (or PDA) for one another while sitting on a public bench out in the open.  While onlookers looked on, the couple snuggled, kissed, held hands, etc., etc.  Nothing graphic.  However many people looked on in disgust.  One woman even called the police, and an officer came on to the scene and calmly told the couple to refrain from displaying any PDA.  It turns out though, that the officer was aware of the scenario being for a show and was in on the whole thing.  With all this happening to a gay male couple minding their own business, one would think that the same thing would happen to a lesbian couple.  Not so fast....

In the scenario of the lesbian couple, while there were still people who looked on in disgust at their PDA, there were also men who looked on in interest.  The segment even showed men approaching the couple and starting a conversation.  In a few instances, the conversation leaned on the flirtatious side.  Now let it be said that with the gay couple, they were also approached by a few women, but the conversation didn't appear to be flirtatious in any instance (unless women just have a different way of going about it).  In fact, in one example, a woman seemed to be striking up a more supportive conversation, if you will.  Something I didn't witness with the lesbian couple.

These differences in the interaction with couples such as these is the main point of this post, which is the observation of how society treats gay couples vs. lesbian couples.

All you have to do is to look at TV and movies to see how vastly different gays and lesbians are treated and viewed by society based on their sex. A lesbian couple is more often shown on TV, movies, music videos, etc. compared to gay couples.  If one wants to incorporate sex into something and attract a male audience, then either a hot lesbian couple or simply how chicks making out. However, with a gay couple, showing them in media is seen as something more controversial than hot.  Sometimes it seems almost like pulling teeth to simply show two guys kissing.

Take the kiss between Madonna and Britney Spears, then with Christine Aguilera on one of the past MTV awards.  The media considered it hot.  But with Adam Lambert kissing one the members of his band during a performance on TV, it was considered offensive, and too much.  Why???  

A common attribute that I notice is that these views and receptions seem to be "male-based", as in, beautiful looking lesbians or women making out are many times seen as hot to men, thus they are seen often in the media compared to handsome looking gays or men making out.  Two men kissing are not seen as hot to men, hence you don't see those images often.

Now....why are the opinions and sexual turn-ons of the male audience the foremost concern?  Do they believe that women aren't turned on by two men kissing (fanfiction and the internet in general disproves that idea lol)?  Why is the media quick to show two beautiful women making out?

Here are bullets of other observations on this subject:
  • Why do guys get seemingly "squeamish" when it come to gays, or go out there way in voicing how grossed out they are by it?  I rarely see this reaction when it comes to women and lesbians.  Is it because gayness is related to "weakness" and strength (or different forms of strength) is a known characteristic of masculinity ("be a man")?  
  • Why do people wonder about the sexuality of an actor who plays a homosexual in a movie, or on TV, but people aren't that concerned when it comes to actresses who play lesbians? 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thoughts to Ponder.....

  • HPV vaccine regarding girls and boys. 
Back when there was controversy surrounding possible mandatory vaccinations of girls, I found myself thinking, "Ok this is a good idea, early prevention and all that...". So when I read some of the reactions of parents and officials, was rather confused and annoyed.  It's one thing to have concerns about the safety of vaccinations (that's understandable), but to not agree with mandatory HPV vaccinations because you're not comfortable with the thought of your daughter loosing her virginity and having sex is ridiculous.  Looking back I remember reading comments from parents and people in position saying something like how they'll be teaching their daughters abstinence and how they were too young getting vaccinated against something related to sexual activity.

I wanted to tell these parents to GET A GRIP!

Don't get me wrong.  I'm a Christian and all for abstinence.  But I'm also realistic

A parent can teach their child how they should save themselves until marriage until they're blue in the face, and that child may still decide to have premarital sex.  Not to mention that a woman can wait to have sex until marriage and STILL catch HPV because her husband had engaged in casual sex before or adultery during marriage.  A girl receiving the HPV vaccine will not in and of itself encourage her to have casual sex.

Interesting thing though.  I remember reading a long time ago about the HPV vaccine possibly being made for boys.  Recently CNN has had articles saying that HPV vaccine was effective in males and that vaccination of boys is encouraged and even urged*.  It seemed that the main concern in this case was potential health risks for the boys.  NO mention of possible repercussions toward their sexual activity.  Hmmm......But that was when it was first being considered, a few years ago.  Maybe today people are as concerned with their supposed potential sexual activity as well.  Seriously though, what's wrong with taking precautions if the vaccine's proven to be safe???

Speaking of sexual activity.....

  • Plan B
As you all know (if you've been watching the news), Plan B was pretty close to being available over-the-counter for females of all ages.   However, it didn't happen:
For the first time ever, the Health and Human Services secretary publicly overruled the Food and Drug Administration, refusing Wednesday to allow emergency contraceptives to be sold over the counter, including to young teenagers. The decision avoided what could have been a bruising political battle over parental control and contraception during a presidential election season..... 
I have to say, I was kind of disappointed with the decision.  Again, I am a Christian but I am also realistic.  If there was a chance that a young girl can avoid an unplanned pregnancy with this pill being widely available then that's a good thing.  I mean, you have condoms being available for boys of all ages.  Why not have the pill be widely accessible for girls of all ages if it proves to be safe to use?

Of course there is the question of when life actually starts.  I don't know, but personally I don't really believe it starts right at conception.  Maybe it's the biology major-side of me....Anyway, while I think abstinence is the best way to go, there are young people that will choose to have sex.  And I would rather a girl use Plan B than have an abortion.

I might make a post of this by itself so I can expand on this more.

  • Trigger warnings
From the website Objectify This - What is a Trigger Warning:     
Anyone who reads feminist blogs has come across “trigger warnings” before graphic images or descriptions of rape or violence to women.  The intent of a trigger warning is to advertise the potentially emotionally triggering content of a piece, which might revive memories of rape or sexual assault for survivors.  Survivors of sexual assault are especially sensitive to such images because they are traumatized, and like other traumatized people, this may affect their whole world-view. Some survivors experience post-traumatic stress disorder.............The trigger warning also implicitly validates survivors of sexual assault, by recognizing their existence and their potential needs and offering them control over some of what they process.
I understand the need for trigger warnings.  The consideration for victims is noble.  However, why are trigger warnings exclusive to mainly rape and sexual assault victims?  Not to mention where does one draw the line?  If there are trigger warnings for rape and sexual assault, what about overall abuse (I have indeed seen warnings for domestic abuse), murder, physical assault....violence in general?  Like I said, it's noble to be considerate of victims of sexual assault and rape, but I do wonder if it's leaning closer to coddling.  I know, that sounds mean, and I'm really trying to explain my point in such a way that I don't come across as a b*tch.

What I'm saying is, this world is violent and will pretty much remain violent until Judgement Day.  I guess what rubs me the wrong way is this idea that victims of rape and sexual assault - most of which are women - need to be sheltered and protected as if they're these weak, helpless beings, something that for thousands of years have been associated with women. 

I don't know...I still don't think I really expressed what I was thinking on this point that well :-/

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sandusky vs. Polanski

Sometime during November of last year, I was over at good ole' Oh No They Didn't where I was reading a post entitled Polanski, Paterno, and the Press.  This was during the time which the whole Penn State debacle started.  The article originated from a site called American Thinker

If any one lesson was learned these past weeks from the Penn State scandal, it is that our progressive friends have not quite figured out what is right and what is wrong.
On November 5 of this year, for instance, the Huffington Post broke the news to its readers of former coach Jerry Sandusky's arrest for sexually assaulting minors.  Appropriately, there was no irony in the article, no mirth.
"This is a case about a sexual predator who used his position within the university and community to repeatedly prey on young boys," Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly was quoted as saying.
A month earlier, however, the Huffington Post ran a piece by Regina Weinreich on the American premiere of the new Roman Polanski movie Carnage.  Wrote Weinreich approvingly, "At Alice Tully Hall Friday night, where the movie opened the New York Film Festival, audiences cheered Polanski's credit, knowing that this master Academy Award-winning filmmaker would not attend."
At the Zurich Film Festival a few weeks earlier, which Polanski did attend, he received a ten-minute standing ovation and the lifetime achievement award.  Although every sentient person in the film world knows why Polanski missed the New York event, pre-Penn State, they were clearly untroubled.
Here the article talks about the case and the testimony from the victim:

According to the grand jury testimony of Samantha Geimer, Polanski had approached her and her mom about taking photos of Samantha for a fashion magazine.  Impressed and reassured by his celebrity, the mom agreed.  After a couple of outdoor shoots, Polanski and the girl ended up alone at Jack Nicholson's house. 
Wrote Polanski in his memoir, Roman, "I could sense a certain erotic tension between the two of us."  At the time, Polanski was a worldly 43.  Geimer was a thirteen-year-old seventh-grader.
At Nicholson's otherwise empty house, Polanski plied Geimer with champagne and had her take her blouse off for a shot in the jacuzzi.  He then gave her a Quaalude.  "Why did you take it?" asked the prosecutor.  "I think I must have been pretty drunk, or else I wouldn't have," Geimer answered. 
Now "kind of dizzy," Geimer still managed to resist Polanski's increasing demands.  "I want to go home," she told him repeatedly.  He would have none of it.  Finally, he cornered her on a couch, put his head in her lap, and started performing "cuddliness" on her -- her word.
"I was going, 'No come on, stop it,' but I was afraid," Geimer continued.  Lacking protection, Polanski sodomized the girl and climaxed therein.  The testimony rings entirely true.  Polanski pled guilty before fleeing and tells much the same story in Roman, though he remains shocked that "I should be sent to prison, my life and career ruined, for making love."
Given this attitude, the film world's Polanski fans have no reason to believe that he has stopped preying on young girls.  Indeed, two years before the Geimer incident, he had an affair, such as it was, with 15-year-old Nastassja Kinski.
Goldstein used the word "misdeed" more than once to describe the child rape that had caused Polanski to flee the country.  In the same article, actor Warren Beatty called the crime a "mistake."
Goldstein concluded that "we" always "forgive [artists] their transgressions" because, in the end, good art trumps bad behavior.  Weinrich came to much the same conclusion in 2011.  "At what point do we say, enough is enough?" she protested of Polanski's seeming persecution.
Weinrich was hardly alone in her indifference to Polanski's crimes.....A month later, the Times editorialized in regard to Penn State, "No one connected to the university should feel anything but shame that the institutional leaders did so little to protect the children involved."
On October 3 of this year, the Wall Street Journal ran a celebratory article about the Carnage premiere.  "Mr. Polanski, of course, isn't allowed in the States," wrote the Journal before citing a joke by Polanski's fellow director Paul Feig, "though maybe he's somewhere here disguised as an old woman." 
A month later, the joking was over.  Editorialized the Journal about Joe Paterno, " ... the coach fulfilled his legal obligation, but not his moral duty, to look after the well-being of that child and others who may have been victimized later."
So what's going on here?  How is one more acceptable than the other?

Is it because in some circles, it is seem as natural for an adult male to be attracted to a mid to late pubescent girls due to evolution and biology?  For example, an ephebophiliac is an adult who has a sexual preference "for mid-to-late adolescents, generally ages 15 to 19".  The definition goes further in saying: "In sexual ethics, it may be defined as a sexual preference for girls generally 14–16 years old, and boys generally 14–19 years old".  Due to most in this age group having physical characteristics near (or in some cases, identical) to that of full-grown adults, some level of sexual attraction to these young people is known to be common among adults.  But even then, Polanski (43 at the time) gave a 13 year old girl alcohol to the point of her feeling "dizzy" and then forced himself onto her.  That in itself is rape.  She said "no" repeatedly; she even said that she wanted to go home!  Even if she freely accepted the alcohol, he had no business giving her any of it!  Really it shouldn't even have gotten to the point where they ended up alone at Jack Nicholson's house.  

Did people think that because it happened years ago, and the girl - now an adult - as seemingly moved on, that it should no longer be acknowledged?

In this case, why is Sandusky treated differently?  Is it because the victims were boys?  Yes, homosexual behavior between men and boys were acceptable at some point in the past (for example in ancient Greece), but for most of human history, it was not acceptable.  Or is it because most of the boys seemed to have been pre-pubescent (before puberty).  Not to mention that it wasn't just one victim, but at least 8.

In the end, I agree with the article.  Regardless of difference between the two situations, both men were wrong.  People shouldn't just "forget" or not acknowledge what Polanski did.  Yes, I believe that a person who made mistakes and committed crimes can overcome their past and move on.  I believe in redemption.  However the only way to do so is to realize and acknowledge that some of the things you did in the past was wrong and be sorry for the things you've done.  In Polanski's case, not only does it appear that he isn't sorry for his actions, but he doesn't understand why people had a problem with what he did.  He even fled the country to escape imprisonment (though the claim is that he was possibly bamboozled by the courts in some way even though there was plea deal - going off memory here so correct me if I'm wrong).

I'll leave you with a final quote from the article:
The phrase "double standard" does not do justice to a media that can write approvingly of a slimy predator like Polanski and harshly of an otherwise decent man like Paterno who failed to react to a predator in his midst. 
"Double standard," after all, implies that the media have any standards to begin with.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Thoughts on Halloween

As a Christian, Halloween has always had a slight negative connotation, with all the ghouls, goblins, devils, and other monsters walking about.  In fact, my church has held a community function called “Harvest Fest” for years as an alternative to Halloween.  With Harvest Fest though, children and other participants could never dress up as these monsters.

With all that being said however, I actually like Halloween…always have (and no, it’s not all about the candy).  On Halloween, we have the chance to be someone else (similar to what Joe mentioned in his video).  We can be different than who we normally are 364 days a year.  We have the opportunity to be kids again and play dress up and make believe. 

Another aspect of Halloween I like is the fact that it’s the only time of year where we as a society collectively become more aware of the mysterious, unknown things of this world.  Personally I am fascinated by paranormal and things of a mystifying nature.  There’s so much we don’t know about this world and I would like to believe that there is indeed more to this reality than what we see.  I just can’t accept that this is all there is. 

In the end, I simply enjoy Halloween for its strange, paranormal nature and the chance to have a new persona so to speak (plus the candy :) ).  It doesn’t conflict with my beliefs at all.  Halloween’s fun, and that’s it.

Sidenote here, but I did some digging as to the connection between dressing up in costume and the spooky aspect of Halloween. 

Over at*, it said that Halloween originated from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in).  The Celts (who lived 2,000 years ago) celebrated the new year on November 1, a day often associated with human death (perhaps because it marked the end of summer/harvest and the beginning of dark, cold winters).  It was believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.  During this event, people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts and tell each other’s fortunes.  Over time, Samhain became All Souls Day, a day to honor the dead.  It was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels and devils. The All Saints Day celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints’ Day) and the night before it, the traditional night of Samhain in the Celtic religion, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween.  There’s a lot more to the history, but it’s not my intention to write a book lol.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

We're a Culture, Not a Costume

A couple of weeks ago, I was on tumblr scanning through my dashboard, when I came across this:

This picture had me thinking, and I preceded to make this comment:
"Think about it.  You can say the same thing about dressing up as Native Americans, Eskimos, maybe even Greecians and Egyptians…."

Think about it.  Can you imagine how insulting it is for Native Americans, African Americans/blacks, and people of Japanese, Middle East, and other ethnic descent seeing their culture dressed up as a costume?  I'll never forget it.  During college - at around Halloween, I was with some friends at IHop.  While we were waiting to be seated, I saw this white guy dressed in a stereotypical Native American costume.  All I could think was "Wow...."  This gif. pretty much sums up my "internal" reaction at the time lol:

I think alot of the discomfort surrounding these costumes comes from stories of fraternities and sororities having parties where they dressed up in blackface or steotypical garb protraying other ethnicities.

However, there's something I can't help thinking about.  What about those who dress up as Vikings, or in traditional Irish or Swedish costume?  Heck what about samurai and ninjas (then again, you can always say that you're supposed to be an anime character), flapper girls, or dressing up in Victorian and medival costumes?  

I'll leave you with this conversation I read from ONTD (Oh No They Didn't) and more pictures from the campaign.  I wish I was able to tab forward and back with this.  Hopefully the letter ordering make sense:


A - like, black face is off limits and AWFUL. Absolutely, I think you'd have to be a fucking moron to think that's acceptable. But that's because of the historical implications of how it was used to de-masculinize blacks through minstrel shows in the 1800s and 1900s, and then later perpetuated through different media-related avenues (archetypes still seen in pop culture today).

but like.... Geishas? Really? I can't dress up in a historically accurate costume from another culture just because my ethnic background doesn't match it? I took a history class in college on the history of the Japanese Tea Ceremony and my professor (a white woman) dressed up in a traditional kimono and performed an entire authentic Tea ceremony for us.... is she being racist?

A black guy at my college (actually still a good friend of mine) dressed up Freshman year as a "WASP" and wore really pale make-up to make himself look white, used blonde hair color spray, and wore khakis, boat shoes, a bright pink Lacoste polo shirt, and a bright yellow sweater wrapped around his shoulders. Would that fall into the racist category?

B responding to A - someone posted what Gawker said about it which was along the lines of, if your costume is 'i'm being (this race) LOL' it's racist. In the example of your teacher, she was following tradition of Japanese culture, and respecting, rather than being like 'i'm a geisha girl hahahahahaha'. When it comes to your's just in poor taste imo. You can't be racist against white people because there's no history or institutionalized discrimination against white people. My opinion is, if you can't properly portray a person without "changing" your skin, it's not a good costume.

C to B - You can't be racist against white people because there's no history or institutionalized discrimination against white people.

There sort of is, a bit. Not all white people, but certain groups have been/continue to be discriminated against.

D to A - Geishas are one of the handful of stereotypes about Japanese culture - hell, even Asian culture to some people - so it really doesn't fucking matter how much background knowledge you know about the tea ceremony. It's reproducing the stereotype. Why don't you find some outfit a regular Japanese girl is wearing these days and say, "Hey, I'm dressed like a Japanese girl!"

Other cultures are defined in general to how different and exotic they are in relation to Western culture. It doesn't matter how lighthearted the intent it, dressing up as a stereotype just reinforces this idea.

Did you black friend reproduce stereotypes that contribute to the dehumanization of white people? No? Irrelevant example then.

E to A - It doesn't matter if you don't find it offensive.. the fact is apparently a lot of Japanese people DO. End of story.

A to E - ...but many Japanese DON'T find it offensive. Many Catholics find dressing up as a pregnant nun offensive, but it's still generally OK. If someone were to dress up as a "fat American" I'm sure there be plenty of offended people, but does that make it off-limits?

so if more than one person finds a costume "offensive", it's now off limits? Is it really a black and white issue, or is there a grey area?

F to A directly above - if someone wanted to dress up as a fat American in the US it's not like it would take a lot of work or offend a lot of people

there is a huge fucking difference between dressing up as a historically oppressed minority (neither Catholics nor the overweight, by the way) and well, not....

Further reading:
We're a Culture, Not a Costume - ONTD
We're a Culture, Not a Costume - CNN
Stop Racist Halloween Costumes - The Root
Pretty much just do a simple search on Google ;)

Sidenote:  Apparently in the very first picture above, the girl painted brown pretending to get bitten from a vampire was apparently supposed to be Lil' Wayne.

Monday, October 10, 2011

What is "Nude" to You?

Look at the above pictures.  These shades of color are classified as the color "nude".  You'll find this category of color in everything from lady's undergarments to makeup.

Now take a look at the pictures again.  Notice anything yet?  What does the shade remind you of...or should I say what skin color does it remind you of?

I'm not one to sweat the small stuff or make a mountain out of a mole-hill.  However, what bothers me is how the universal shade of "nude" for the most part resembles the shade of  white people in general.  The implication is that the shade and skin color of white people is the default and ONLY definition of "nude", if that makes sense.  And that doesn't sit well with me.

I don't know about you, but as a black woman, the above examples aren't considered "nude" to me, or rather, "nude" is relative and the shade should change with the person in question.  For example, "nude" for me would be more of a brown shade.  But instead I have to look at the above shades and deem that as universally "nude".  Simply put, there shouldn't be one single standard and shade of the color "nude" when the color would mean something different for many groups of women.  Once again, anything Caucasian related is held either as the standard or default. 

To me, there really shouldn't be a shade titled "nude" in the first place.  Instead, "nude" should be a theme, as whenever a woman, no matter her skin color or ethinicity, wears something close to her skin tone such as in the mentioned examples above.

Now maybe I'm looking too much into this and misunderstood the meaning behind the color nude.

And yes, I know women of ethinicities like Japanese and Chinese have skin colors that match some of the shades of nude.  However, I was looking at this topic through the context of whiteness being held as some sort of standard when it comes to beauty and appearance.

Originally posted Aug 12, 2010

My Thoughts on the Biracial Spider-Man Controversy

This post was done back on August 6th.

Last night and into the a.m. hours, I was commenting up a storm over at Yahoo, the article being about the new biracial Spider-Man.  Some of the things I learned:
1) Folk can't read.

Direct quote:
Over in the comic book world, the change to the Spider-Man character has been rocking the Web. Meet Miles Morales, the half-black, half-Latino teenager who takes over when (spoiler alert!) Peter Parker is killed.  Before anyone gets too upset, keep in mind that, first, the September relaunch of "Ultimate Spider-Man" is an alternate universe from the Marvel comic book series in which the original Peter Parker is alive and well.
Did you read that?  The comic takes place in an ALTERNATE UNIVERSE.  So Peter Parker is STILL ALIVE in the main storyline.  But apparently, that hasn't sunk in for many of the posters.  All they see is that the new Spider-Man isn't white.

2)People (mostly white people) don't understand that black superheroes are seen as not as profitable as white superheroes, nor do they have as much of a following.  Nor are they as marketed to the public.

3)People jump to the conclusion that it's a P.C. thing rather than it simply being a new superhero that just happens to be mixed (over there people refer to him as black), with dramatizations of PC ruining everything - as if by making Spider-Man not white, the franchise is ruined.
4)People (mainly white people again) don't understand that changing Spider-Man's race in an alternative storyline is COMPLETELY different than changing the race of an ethnic character to a white character in a historical documentary or a single universe story or show.  Anyway, with blacks and others that aren't white still making up a small percentage in comics (and the entertainment industry in general), no one will be keen on whites taking the few opportunities that minorities have.

Another thing.  A common comment that I read was that there's "only one" Spider-Man, and he's Peter Parker.  What I wonder about is if the new Spider-Man was white, would there be as much of a reaction.  Is the issue the fact that the new guy isn't Peter Parker, or is it that he isn't white?

One thing I have to say is that folk can be dramatic.  I've seen comments jumping to complaints about the President, whites being replaced, etc., etc.  Too many people making a big deal out of nothing if you ask me.
As for changing the race of Spider-Man, since it's an alternative storyline and because superheroes are replaced all the time....I say GO FOR IT!  It's pretty cool that they went for a different race :)

Here is an EXCELLENT article about the whole thing from the blog The Root.

I give you:
New Spider-Man:  Not the Obama of Comics

First Post

For those out there reading this, welcome :) ! 

This blog is for everything from randoms thoughts that I would like to share to opinions about current events and pop culture to responses to blogs that I read around the 'net.

Well that pretty much covers it ;)

The next few posts coming up are ones I've done a while ago, but were posted over at my livejournal account.