Feminism and Sheryl Sandberg

Here is a really interesting article about Sheryl Sandberg and her response to critics.  Let me know if you have read her book.  I want to read it.


Men’s Role in the Violence Against Women

With the gang rapes from New Delhi and Steubenville, Ohio, the issue of violence against women is at the forefront of the news.  For some people, the fact that so many women are raped, whether in India or the US, is surprising.  Not to me.  All it takes is walking down a popular street where you hear people cat calling you, making sexual comments, and shouting at you.  This is sexual harassment.  Somewhere along the line, these men (and yes they’re generally all from men) were encouraged either directly or by never having been disciplined.  Then it’s a wonder why the men who raped the high school girl in Ohio show no remorse for their actions and even bragged about it to others.    Then these seemingly small encounters turn into bigger things: sexual assault, abuse, and rape.

Here are a few statistics on sexual assault both globally and in the United States.

22 million women in the United States have been raped in their lifetime.

(National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey 2010)

Globally, at least one in three women and girls is beaten or sexually abused in her lifetime. (UN Commission on the Status of Women, 2/28/00)

Almost one-third of female homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner.

(FBI, Uniform Crime Reports 2001)

One out of every five American women have been the victims of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.

(The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey 2010)

Factoring in unreported rapes, about 6% of rapists will ever spend a day in jail. 15 out of 16 will walk free.

(Probability statistics based on US Department of Justice Statistics)

*http://www.feminist.com/antiviolence/facts.html is the main source for where I got these statistics.

This article does a much better job than I can of talking about how the problem of violence against women is not an Indian problem, and American problem, an African problem, but rather a global problem.  While it may look different for different cultures (honor killings, rape, spousal abuse, etc), it all has the same cause and effect.  We treat women like commodities and we do not do anything to teach our men how to be real men.

For another look at the effect of the way we interact with little boys and men, check out this Vlog which splits the responsibility between adults in our community, and media.  We have to stop showing men that the idea of a man is someone who is tough, gets lots of girls, knows how to fight, and makes more money than a woman.


What are your thoughts?  Why do you think men rape?  How can we stop it?  Do you think these high profile rapes will encourage change?

There’s a war going on

Have you ever flipped through a beauty magazine and felt bad about yourself afterwards?  I’m not sure I’ve ever felt bad about myself after reading a fashion magazine, but I would definitely say I’ve felt insecure after the Victoria Secret’s Fashion Show.   In fact, three out of four women have felt worse about themselves after reading one of these fashion magazines.  Magazines tend to focus on thin white girls with perfect skin, eyes, makeup, and proportions.

There seems to be a war going on against fashion magazines.  Well there is a group out to stop them.  Spark Summit, a young womens’ activist group is seeking to get beauty magazines to stop photo shopping their models and start  featuring more diverse models.   Just last week, two teens sat down with the editors of Seventeen where Seventeen pledged they would not use Photoshop in their magazine.  However,when Spark Summit teens asked Teen Vogue to do the same thing, Teen Vogue handed them a copy of their magazine and told them ‘to do their homework’ objecting they did not photo shop their magazines.  I can’t say I’m a reader of Teen  Vogue or Seventeen (I much prefer reading online bloggers), but I find it hard to believe a fashion magazine does not do any photo shopping.   Besides, editor-in-chief Amy Astley, could have at least been a little nicer to the girls considering the backlash of talking down to their core age group of readers.  If you already don’t use photo shop, make your readers even happy and reaffirm your dedication to putting diverse models of all sizes and ethnicity in your magazine.



Seri? You Look Ridiculous

This is brilliant. Someone feels the same way I feel about high fashion; women in silly poses wearing unrealistic articles of clothing. The artist, Yolanda Domingues, says “I tried to express what many women feel about women’s magazines and the image of women in the media – absurd, artificial, a hanger to wear dresses and bags, only concerned about being skinny, beautiful. We don’t identify with this type of woman – we are much more. I used the impossible poses to represent this type of woman and to show how absurd it is in a real context…

[The] poses of the women are ridiculous – they seem dead, twisted, pulled. Why are men never put in these positions? They are always straight, successful, able and healthy…”.

After reading some of the comments after the article, I think I should explain that I think the artist’s intention is not to criticize fashion, but the way women are portrayed in fashion magazines.  Men are shown standing tall and confident, and women are shown in  ridiculous poses.

See more of the pictures here:
You Look Ridiculous