Feminist Files: Keep Calm and Carry On.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

Reeling from the tsunami of sadness that came with the release of photos and stories of the victims of the tragic Newtown shooting, I want to swear-off the internet, print media, and television for a week. But, alas… this is my job, people. So let’s try and pick ourselves up and get through today, stepping carefully between this crazy emotional sandwich that is a tragedy and a pending national holiday, shall we? Right then. Carry on.

  • There is a God: Just as the pricks at Westboro Baptist Assholes began to publicly chatter about a protest at Sandy Hook Elementary School — where 20 children and six adults were killed — the hacker collective Anonymous gave them a hardy (and well-deserved) bitch-slap by releasing sensitive docs and member info. On behalf of decent people everywhere, I thank you Anonymous. Well done.
  • No escape from reality: If you want to get the most comprehensive look at not just the Newtown incident, but our nation’s turn for the seriously violent, may I direct you to Mother Jones, which has been tracking and putting out some outstanding (and disturbing) data since before the Aurora shooting. Some news to chill your bones: It’s not your imagination, 2012 was the single more violent year for mass shootings 30 years (almost equaling in one year the amount of Columbine and Virginia Tech combined).
  • It’s complicated: A popular meme after mass shootings is to blame lax gun laws and inadequate mental health care/services. While these two things are important and definitely need to be talked about, it turns out there is not as much a link between mental illness and this type of violence as we are led to believe. (Turns out, substance abuse is a far higher contributing factor.) In fact, it’s not only inaccurate, it might be hurting people with actual mental illness by perpetuating a stereotype of fear around mental illness.
  • Nothing to see here: If I ever find myself at a party where I meet Anne Hathaway (why not?), I’m going to shake her hand for her well-put take-down of Matt-pervert-Lauer regarding the unfortunate crotch-shot situation. As Ms. Hathaway rightly stated, “I’m sorry that we live in a culture that commodifies the sexuality of unwilling participants.”
  • This happened: I’m just going to put the headline of this piece here and you can decide if your blood pressure can take the spike by reading, California Judge Claims Rape Victim, ‘Didn’t put up a fight.’ If I think about it too much, my head is going to explode.
  • Ladies vs. Puppies? Apparently, being convicted of cruelty to animals is demonstrably worse than violence against women. In a new Public Policy poll on the NFL, respondents rated Michael Vick the least popular quarterback (27 percent) while Ben Roethlisberger came in second with 15 percent. Roethlisberger has been accused of rape twice and sanctioned by the NFL. I’m not saying we should give Vick a pass, because what he did was wrong. But what does that say about our cultural value of women that we rank them below dogs?
  • Because we’re worth it: Indeed, women are worth a lot more than what that old beauty product line would have us believe. Here is a handy tip-sheet with “failproof” for negotiating the salary you deserve.
  • Stay on target: Did you know Star Wars had female pilots in the screenplay and scene were shot but cut from the final film? This piece explores the wealth of strong female characters to choose from in what comes next in the Star Wars franchise.
  • Feminist Christmas: If you’ve been procrastinating about what to buy for the kiddos in your life, here’s a feminist gift guide.
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