Originally Posted on June 21, 2012 | NWLC.ORG
Posted by: Dana Bolger, Outreach Intern
After-rape is to be consumed by emptiness, isolation, fear, shame, and anger.
And after-rape at college is to be confronted by my rapist every day—on the quad, in the library, at breakfast. It is to be ceaselessly reminded of the moments in which power and control were stripped from me, in which I had no option but to let go and resign myself to the fact that this was really happening.
Can I tell you a secret? It’s actually not really a secret – it’s more like common knowledge that everyone forgets and then when I tell them again they groan and slap their hands to their foreheads. But here it is: I probably haven’t seen your favorite movie.
Unless it was made in the 1980′s. Because the thing is that I have four all-time, hands down, favorite movies. Movies that I love so much that any time I think about watching a different movie I can’t bring myself to do it because nothing will ever compare to these films.
I could watch these four movies, on rotation, for the rest of my life and be content. Sure, there are other movies that I might watch if I can’t find my time-tested standards, but nothing will ever compare to these four movies for me.
So last night, when I heard that Nora Ephron had passed away, I was pretty sad. Because this was the woman who gave me Harry and Sally, two of the most real, three-dimensional characters I have ever seen in a film. This was the woman who made “chick-flicks” with guts. Who wrote dialogue that showcased just how many facets there are to relationships.
That’s it. No sociological analysis, no discussion of gender roles, nothing. Just thanks for Harry and Sally, Nora.
- Nora Ephron’s Best Film Moments (newsfeed.time.com)
- Ephron: From ‘Silkwood’ To ‘Sally,’ A Singular Voice (wnyc.org)
- Nora Ephron: She Did It All With Style (deadline.com)
“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance” — Title IX
Every semester I suggest Title IX as a possible research paper topic for my Gender and Society class. My students have come to age during a time where the passage of laws like Title IX feel like ancient history to them. Many of my students have had the good fortune to be born into white, upper middle class families and for them, inequality is something that is rarely felt.
And yet, every year a group of students chooses to examine Title IX and at the end of the semester presents lots of interesting and compelling information dealing with the history of the legislation and it’s impact today.
There are commonalities in the presentations:
Female athletes often discuss the positive impact of Title IX at our school – the funding for their teams, the financial support offered to them for good grades and athletic prowess, and the positive message sent that all sports are equal. (Well, except for hockey. We have a really outstanding male hockey team.)
Female students in science and engineering fields generally talk about the expanded opportunities for female studies in the STEM majors – the outreach in high school for female scholars, the opportunities available at the college level, and the mentoring circles that have developed for girls in STEM fields.
And finally, male athletes usually take a look at gender and professional sports. With equality happening at the college level, they examine the seeming inequality at the professional level. Often, they are unable to come up with answers – why does the playing field seem to remain unequal at the professional level?
The message that most student groups convey at the end of their research is how powerful the legacy of Title IX has been.
For these students, for most students, being unaware of the law is the biggest triumph of Title IX.
- Lisa Leslie: The First Daughter of Title IX (huffingtonpost.com)
- Title IX, Then and Now (blog-aauw.org)
- Women, Equality, and Education: Title IX Turns 40 (with images) – EdweekComm – Storify (girlsplaybaseball.wordpress.com)
Warning. The song in that video has absolutely nothing to do with families or reunions of any sort and is just a song full of curse words.
But when I’m in a bad mood and I need some serious sillies to make me feel better I BLAST THAT SHIZZ in my car. Because I can.
Except now, I should probably not drive through Middleborough, Massachusetts when listening lest I be fined for swearing in public. Apparently, residents in Middleborough voted to approve a proposal from the police chief to impose a $20 fine on public profanity.
Officials say that the proposal wasn’t intended to censor private conversations, but to crack down on those crazy, loud youths that scream obscenities in the center of town. Listen, I know youths in town centers can be a bit much. When I was younger I worked at a pizza place in my town center and the children would congregate in front of the restaurant and climb on this giant electrical box. They were so heinous and I would often call the police screaming “THOSE KIDS ARE ON THAT BOX AGAIN” a la Brodie in Mallrats.
And the police would come and tell them to get lost and that was it. Because they were loitering and probably destructing property, but not because they had foul mouths. Because even if they did, that’s a pretty big First Amendment issue that I don’t think my local police department would want to step into.
You see, the First Amendment guarantees Freedom of Speech. Everybody knows this. And profanity is kinda sorta protected under the First Amendment. In 1971, in Cohen v. California, the Supreme Court allowed public profanity in the form of a jacket that said “Fuck the Draft” noting that “one man’s vulgarity is another’s lyric.”
The thing is though, that profanity isn’t always going to be protected.There are a bunch of limits on that freedom of speech. You know how you can’t yell “FIRE!” in a crowded theater if there wasn’t a fire because that would cause a panic? Similarly, you can’t use profanity if you’re using it to incite violence. (Remember NWA’s Fuck tha Police and Cop Killer? That was the argument there – that it wasn’t lyrics but a call to arms to murder police officers… and that argument was bullshit.)
And you can’t use profanity if they’re considered “fighting words” – you can’t just spew obscenities that have little or no value and claim they’re protected speech. But what constitutes fighting words has been construed pretty narrowly by the Supreme Court – in one decision the words had to be obscene a direct personal insult, in another calling a cop a “white son of a bitch” wasn’t enough to be categorized as “fighting words”.
Ultimately, profanity is adequately protected speech even with these exceptions. So it’s likely that the law in Middleborough probably won’t stick because it’s too broadly written – prohibiting all forms of profanity.
So swear on, potty-mouths. You’ve (sorta) got the First Amendment to protect you.
Turns out Southwest Airlines tried to kick yet another person off of a flight. This time, the flyer in question was wearing a sundress that showed too much cleavage for Southwest’s morality police.
Southwest Airlines has a history of preventing paying passengers from flying based on a bunch of different grounds, from too fat to fly to too liberal to lift-off, and every time they boot someone from their planes the media creates a firestorm surrounding our right to fly.
Like everyone, I stare slack-jawed at the television/internet machine when these claims are announced, pondering just what I’m willing to give up in order to cross the country in 6 hours rather than a billion. And like most airline passengers, I come to the conclusion that I’m willing to give up almost all of my personal liberty.
The other day, I was hopping a quick flight back to Boston and had no plans for the rest of the day. I threw on yoga pants, a sports bra, a tight fitting t-shirt and flip flops and headed through security. I went through the body scan – arms up, legs spread shoulder width apart and apparently something on my person seemed suspicious under the scan.
Something on my abdomen and upper torso. That couldn’t be seen by the naked eye, despite my clothing choices highlighting literally every ripple on my body. They asked if they could pat me down. And I agreed. And a handsome woman in blue latex gloves ran her hands up and down my stomach and chest to confirm that I wasn’t hiding anything…
If this interaction had happened anywhere else, I would be freaking the fluff out.You want me to stand here barefoot with my arms above my head and legs spread? And not move? And then you want to caress my torso while wearing latex gloves? While all these people look on? No. No thanks. I do not consent.
And yet, standing in the airport one beautiful morning I thought this whole charade was perfectly acceptable. Because I was getting home in an hour instead of six hours. And for that luxury, I was and still am completely willing to waive my rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. (I know you’re using my Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Scrub, TSA agent. That seizure was totally unreasonable.)
But, should I have to?
See, the Constitution, in the 4th Amendment, provides that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
And over the years, courts have fleshed out what that means – limiting what, when, and how law enforcement officials can conduct searches and take things and people into custody. We’ve figured out that searches and seizures are ok, as long as they’re not “unreasonable” and that in order to figure out what’s reasonable we look at the totality and nature of the circumstances.
In general, law enforcement has to have a warrant to conduct a search. But there are a whole bunch of exceptions.
Like the Terry Doctrine that allows for stop and frisk searches (they’ll stop you and then pat you down) if the officer has a reasonable suspicion that criminal activity might be happening. This “reasonable suspicion” standard requires that the person who did the search has some objective justification for their suspicion.
In terms of airport security, the Terry Doctrine has led to decisions that permit officers to perform a frisk if they believe there is a threat to safety. Or if a reasonably prudent person (your every-day Joe Six-Pack) believes that he, or others, are in danger.
Um. You guys remember September 11th, right? And the shoe bomber? And the underwear bomber? Seems like a reasonably prudent person would believe that just by virtue of letting people on planes we’re putting people in danger…
Hmm. So even if we think the search and seizure is unreasonable (like patting down the redhead in workout clothes that leave nothing to the imagination and taking her face soap) the Terry Doctrine would probably make it ok? What do you think?
In addition to the Terry exception, there are a bunch of others.
Like administrative searches – they’re permissible if the level of intrusiveness satisfies the administrative need that justifies the search. And they usually work under the reasonableness requirement because they’re not focused on individuals – so they involve a limited invasion of privacy. (I guess the justification is that if TSA officials are seeing everyone’s insides on that scanner… it’s a limited invasion of privacy.) Courts have consistently upheld airport screens as a consensual regulatory search under an administrative program to ensure air safety.
I could keep going on – bc border searches are another exception - but ultimately your standard, everyday search at the airport is valid. And even if you disagree with the analysis above, you’re pretty much giving consent to be searched when you buy a plane ticket. And that’s another exception.
I guess the question becomes what are you willing to give up in order to fly the friendly skies? What will you consent to?
The news accounts of victim testimony in the Sandusky case are graphic and upsetting. Reports of victims sobbing and breaking down on the stand beg the question: why are victims being required to testify? Here are four reasons that may provide some explanation.
They have to. The right to face one's accuser is a fundamental value, but more than that, it's in our…
This morning Catherine Greig was sentenced to eight years in prison and fined $150,000.00 for conspiracy to harbor a fugitive, identity fraud, and conspiracy to commit identity fraud. Under the federal sentencing guidelines, Greig was facing a possible maximum sentence of 15 years for all three charges.
In his sentencing memo, Greig’s lawyer Kevin Reddington asked for leniency for Greig, requesting that the judge give her 27 months in prison, telling the tale of a young woman who fell in love with a “Robin Hood-like figure”, a woman who never believed that Bulger committed the crimes that put him on the FBI’s Most Wanted List.
Family members of Bulger’s alleged victims reacted angrily to Reddington’s characterization of Greig and Bulger’s relationship. Steven Davis, the brother of Deborah Davis one of Bulger and Flemmi’s alleged victims, expressed outrage: “She became a villain then and with that, we’re victims of that. [Bulger] was no Robin Hood. He never gave to anybody. He took from everybody. You can’t glamorize a guy who was doing what he did to my family.”
But Bulger remains a glamorous figure – from Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of him in The Departed to his faux celebrity status in Massachusetts, everyone seems to have fallen in love with his story. But the question remains: why did Catherine Greig fall in love with a murderer? And why did she continue to hide him, even when his face was number 1 on the FBI’s Most Wanted List?
It’s an old story. Good girls fall for bad guys. That nice Jewish girl Karen Hill fell for Henry Hill, sweet Sandy Olsson fell for bad boy Danny Zuko, and Catherine Greig fell for Whitey Bulger. But why?
One of the major contributors to the continued relationships between good girls and bad boys is the theory of normalization of deviance. This is the idea that when groups of people consistently “get away” with deviance from established standards their thought process eventually becomes dominated by this logic. Things that were once considered deviant become the norm.
In good girl/bad boy relationships, the “bad behavior” of the bad boy becomes normal. In Greig’s case, she grew accustomed to her boyfriend being on the run from the FBI and living in hiding became normal.
Normalization also often occurs in relationships that contain domestic violence. There have been no allegations in the Greig or Bulger cases that the relationship between Greig and Bulger contained any instances of domestic violence. But it is important to keep in mind that domestic violence is not simply limited to physical violence. The power dynamic between the couple suggests that Bulger controlled the finances. In a statement by Greig’s attorney, he indicates that Greig was unaware of the money stashed in their home and was given money by Bulger to maintain the home. Perhaps Greig was a woman with no way out? Perhaps she was a victim of economic abuse?
But even if Greig normalized the behavior, even if she was a victim of domestic violence, economic abuse, or emotional trauma, shouldn’t she be held accountable for her role in hiding Whitey Bulger?
Judge Douglas Woodlock thinks so: “We are all responsible for what we do. We all make choices. There is a price to be paid.”
What do you think? Have you seen normalization of deviance in your life? What do you think of Greig’s sentence?
If you’re a faithful reader, you probably know that I love nuns. Love them. I went to Ellis Island to see the Nun Exhibit, I collect random nun paraphernalia, and I occasionally take pictures of nuns randomly.
Here’s a nun at Logan Airport!
A few weeks ago, I talked about Sister Simone Campbell and her response to the Vatican’s discipline of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (link below). Apparently, the Vatican thinks that these religious women are Radical Feminists because they don’t speak out enough against gay marriage, abortion and women’s ordination.
I have a problem with labels in general – I hate labels for people and I care way too much about labels on clothing – so I was pretty excited to see Sister Simone on the Colbert Report showing us just what a “Radical Feminist Nun” looks like.
Check out her witty repartee with Stephen Colbert: Sister Simone and Stephen Colbert – Radical Feminist Fun
- Are you there God? It’s me, the Feminist. (feministlawprof.wordpress.com)
Have you heard of Attorney Amber Vazquez Bode? You know, she’s the lawyer who brought her brand new baby to court when the judge wouldn’t grant her request to delay the upcoming criminal trial scheduled for June 4, 2012.
Seems like a pretty rad move, right?In your face patriarchy! Who says I can’t be a mom and a worker at the same time?!
Meh. Turns out Attorney Bode knew about the trial date for nearly a month before making a request for a delay AND she had already had the trial delayed on four separate occasions AND she could have had someone appear on her behalf… so really, it’s just sloppy lawyering.
But still – it’s pretty interesting that there’s all this hubub surrounding bringing your kid to work with you. What does all this say about motherhood? About the responsibilities of child-rearing falling on the mother? About balancing work and family?
- Lawyer on maternity leave says JP denied request for trial delay (statesman.com)