The bible also says menstruation is "unclean" (Lev. 15:19-30, 18:19) and it goes the step further of declaring women who have just given birth as dirty and sinful (Lev. 12:1-5). What's your point?
Nowhere on this thread has anyone argued that the koran treats women well or that Islam is a bastion of feminine equality. The bible also treats women as secondary people and Christianity is hardly a fecund ground for feminist rights. Neither book has anything to do with your original statement about the stupidity of Muslim women for not "comprehending" their own oppression.
My point is (and has been) that you've acted like an ignorant jerk for declaring women "stupid" for engaging in religious practices, whether by force or by choice. By your measure, girls in Sudan and Kenya who are circumcised (also called female genital mutilation) are stupid for engaging in a practice that "oppresses" them. And you have yet to respond to that point. Instead you've started listing verses like some sort of fanatic.
Deriding the practice of wearing religious dress (whether by force or by choice) is not misogynistic. Calling women "stupid" for engaging in that practice is. Particularly when you manage to leave out criticism of the patriarchal religion and societies from which the directive issues. By your own admission, some muslim women (the smaller portion of them who live in Middle Eastern countries, where hijab, burka and sometimes chadri are more frequently enforced, as opposed to the vast portion who live in Indonesia, India and Southeast Asia) have to cover up to avoid having "the shit kicked out of them or worse." In those circumstances it seems the woman who *doesn't* cover up is the stupid one, right?
It is easy to pick out verses from both the bible and the koran to illustrate a point you want to make. Did you know that the koran allows women to own property? What's the bible's take on that?
I'd like to note your disgust for "fatties" who have sex and give birth, but your lack of reaction to the overweight men who go out in public with their children? Surely some woman had to decide to have sex with those "gross" male fatties. If you are truly a misanthrope, shouldn't your hate be spread equally among all humankind?
As to the oppression of women through the idealization of rarely attainable body types, you need to recognize that oppression is also defined as "the feeling of being heavily burdened, physically or mentally, by troubles, anxiety, adverse conditions, etc." This is exactly what a lot of women, many of them teenagers, feel when they look in the mirror or consider their appearance. They are comparing themselves to the images presented on t.v. and in print media, not to the normal-weight or even overweight women all around them.
I disagree heartily with your statement that "most women in America comprehend all too well the cultural standards that dictate that they need to be thin." I believe the opposite is true, based on my experiences working with teenagers on a daily basis for many years (oh yeah, and being a woman with female friends). There have been studies that show teenage girls and the people they interact with (doctors, teachers, significant others) have different standards for what qualifies as "overweight" for males and females. Here's one that focuses on teenagers, but you can find others that deal with self-image and women. [link]
Some people have posited that the growing number of overweight people is a reaction to the unattainable shape that we hold up as "ideal." I.e., instead of dieting or developing an eating disorder like some, some women say "I'm never going to look like that, so I'll just eat another twinkie." It's sad and fucked up all around.
It's fairly easy to shit on people when you don't take the time to understand where they're coming from and how little power they have (whether perceived or actual) to change their situations.
Since you seem unaware: there are millions of Muslim women who actively *choose* to wear the burka as an emblem of religious faith in the same way other women once chose to wear mini-skirts as a symbol of liberated womanhood. While there are also millions of women who have little or no choice in the matter, that's not the whole story and it's disingenuous of you to portray it as such.
The burka is a symbol of modesty, privacy and morality. It doesn't exist to "prevent men from being tempted by sexual lust"; this is an ignorant interpretation of a culture that many in the West fear and demonize. In actuality, it's not just Muslims who have rules about this, many branches of Christianity preach (and in some cases dictate) modesty in dress and action to the female members of their congregations (the mormons, the amish, the mennonites, many fundamentalist churches, etc.).
Western culture oppresses women through media and advertising images that portray women's bodies in sizes which only a small percentage of women naturally conform to. As a result, millions of women harm their health and bodies to achieve this "ideal." Maybe you should write a guest article about how women in American culture are too stupid to comprehend this oppression? At least then you'd be giving your misogyny fair play.
BTW, if you are so disgusted with the content of the alibi, why don't you stop reading it?
You write “while Goodman relentlessly strides [Do you mean “strives”? “Stride” means to take long steps] to call out the lies and betrayals of the mainstream media, her program seems to engage in the same games as these nemeses.” On the surface, it sounds like you're accusing Amy Goodman of “lies and betrayals” and I wonder what you’re basing your statement upon? Are you implying something other than what you said? Can you site specific instances of Goodman lying? Who, exactly, does she betray in her broadcasts? Nowhere on the Democracry Now website is it said (and I’ve never, in hundreds of hours of listening, heard her claim) that she is “the bastion of independent news.” While there are certainly listeners who might feel this way about her, you can’t reasonably implicate the reporter based upon the personal feelings of her audience. Her website does describe the show as “pioneering,” but that hardly equates with claiming themselves the end-all, be-all of independent media.
If you listen to Democracy Now regularly, you realize that a relatively small portion of the talking on the show is actually done by Goodman. She is one of the few people in broadcast media who is willing to let guests have uninterrupted minutes of airtime to tell their stories. And if the voices seem too one-sided for your taste, you might note that Goodman regularly informs listeners she has invited people from all sides of an issue and some have declined to speak on air or to respond at all.
As for the implication that Goodman isn’t a reporter: as you noted, she, Juan Gonzales, and their top correspondent have won over a dozen awards for their work. Most of those awards contain the words “journalism,” “reporting,” or “documentary.” Democracy Now has been recognized by the AP, the News Directors Assoc., Society of Professional Journalists, etc. Those sorts of accolades aren’t regularly handed out to “pundits.” The organizations who’ve recognized Goodman likely qualify as “media literate,” able to “distinguish fact-based editorializing from fact=based reporting.” In a short piece, you've managed to simultaneously note her credibility and the recognition she's received, while discrediting through implication those very organizations who've acknowledged her work. You start it off by complaining about her tone and end up accusing her of not being a journalist. Which is it that bothers you more: her tone of voice on her daily radio show or the pile of awards she's received while being "passed off as a simple journalist"?
One of the important things to note about Amy Goodman’s brand of journalism is that her reporting doesn’t revolve around the word “I”, unlike some of our very local writers (read the Alibi much?).
And what’s with the “bleeding-heart liberal” comment? What is this, 1987?
"HETTIE: You saw one article you took issue with and decided to comment." Um, it's a comment board attached to the article. Welcome to the internet.
As far as "Haven't you ever wished you didn't have to be constantly alert with a cell phone and weapon in your hand?" I actually possess neither a cell phone nor a weapon. What I do have is the common sense not to walk around parts of the city where it isn't particularly safe to be alone at night. I never said anything to you about whether you should ride or walk. I never said you HAVE to do anything. What you do or don't do is your call based on your experiences. You have chosen to live in an area where you claim to have been mugged and beaten and your family has been harassed. You choose to remain in a neighborhood where your family was present during a day time robbery. These situations are by no means your fault. Yet, I wonder why you would choose to continue living in an area where you and your family have had such frequent, negative experiences? We each have to look at choices we make and consider whether there are better ones out there.
My point was never that Jessica needs to stop advocating for change. My point is that this kind of fear-based editorial doesn't do anybody any good as it focuses on fear, rather than change. If we want to have a discussion about real solutions, let's have it. But anecdotes about how scared and victimized people feel don't do anything but engender more fear and expectations of victimization. Anyone can choose to walk, drive, bike or ride the bus. A thinking person takes into account factors of efficiency, comfort, convenience and safety when weighing her choices. How she ranks those factors has an effect on her experiences. At the end of the day, though, she has to take responsibility for those choices. I, personally, was born and raised here and I would never walk down Central under the highway overpass at night. Yeah, it's a shame that it's a choice I have to make. I'm grateful that I'm knowledgable enough to say "Wow, that's a dangerous place to walk alone at night. I think I'll get on the smelly bus or call a friend or make other arrangements that keep me safe."
If a woman feels threatened there are *real* actions she can take to improve her safety and her perception of her safety. When I laid out some of these actions, Jessica was sarcastic and dismissive. Her reply was the message of a person who would rather wallow in the distress and fear she experiences in her own city than talk about real ways to be and feel safer. That's not constructive. That's just whining.
"Sucking it up, getting used to it, is why it's still around" isn't entirely accurate. "It", by which I believe you mean the verbal harassment of women on public streets, is still around in part because there are some real assholes in the world. There are men who have no respect for women and who get a little kick out of watching a woman cringe under their words because it makes them feel briefly powerful. Unless the city can bite *that* cultural bullet and find solutions to people being disrespectful jerks to each other, there will be harassment. That's not to disagree with the fact that there are a lot of ways in which government can help create an environment that allows people to feel safe. And our city isn't doing much of that at the moment. One of the reasons I always felt safe in nyc is that, in the neighborhoods where I stayed, I was rarely alone on the streets. As our communities are made more pedestrian friendly, we become our own security, because the jerk in a truck isn't as likely to yell at a woman if there are a dozen other people out walking. And it's my personal experience that I'm a lot less likely to feel threatened by some guy yelling if I can see other people around me who might help if a situation turned really scary. Ironically, the only way to get more people on the streets so we all feel safer is to create safer feeling streets where people are comfortable walking around their neighborhoods. It's not an easy problem to contend with, though there are ways to improve safety on our streets. Women need to acknowledge that no matter what solutions we devise or how the city responds, there will always be the possibility of verbal harassment when we're in public. Unless you can cope with that personally, it'll continue to make you feel like a victim.
And realize that sarcasm is sometimes funny and pointed, but sometimes it hits a little too close to the truth to be anything but grasping. Yes, you should do all those things. And stop whining.
Last week, I refrained from writing a response to “Walking in Burque,” despite the way it grated on my sensibilities as a burquena and a woman. However, after reading the responses to the “Walking” column, I feel compelled to put fingers to keyboard. Jessica, if you truly feel unsafe walking, there are safe alternatives. How can your personal physical safety be less important than contending with a “journey into the realm of untold American poverty”? (By the way, your characterization of the route 66 bus is hyperbole at best, classist fear-mongering at worst.) I took that bus for years between the Alvarado station and Girard and, while it wasn’t always a great experience, it was a cheap, safe ride. “The bus is yucky” is not an excuse to put yourself in a situation (walking home) which you clearly feel is dangerous. Besides, have you ridden the Rapid Ride yet? That bus is awesome. And rapid! As far as being afraid when people yell “hey girl” at you out a car window.......um, suck it up and ignore it. I mean really ignore it, rather than carry it around in your head for a year as an example of your victimization. Engage with people who are seeking your attention and you feed whatever motivates them. Your descriptions of the trials of walking in our city perpetuate the worst stereotypes of the vulnerable, helpless “lady.” Yes, the world is a dangerous place. But there are ways to navigate it that lessen your vulnerability and drastically reduce your chances of dangerous encounters. Annoying encounters (catcalls, etc.) can happen in any city, big or small, Denver or Albuquerque. What a woman can do is develop skills which allow her to deal with this unsolicited attention in a way that doesn’t leave her feeling powerless. As far as being followed, it’s amazing how quickly a jerk in a truck will peel out when he sees a woman pull out her cell phone and start dialing. Use your head and the tools you have available. Buy some mace if you feel it’ll make you safer! There are definitely areas of the city that need to be better patrolled and better lit. But poorly designed outdoor lighting can create more problems than it solves. When it comes to the notion that people should turn on their porch lights, this can actually make pedestrians more vulnerable to attack. Fixtures that cast most of their light into the eyes of a passerby make it less likely that such an individual can see someone approaching from out of the dark. It can take up to an hour for the photoreceptors (i.e., rods) in your eyes to recover full function after being exposed to a light source that's not brighter than a lamp. There is security lighting available that actually helps prevent crime, but it’s not what’s typically installed on the side of someone’s home or even on most businesses. This is one area where city planning and investment can make a noticable and actual difference. If you can’t make any personal changes that will help you and you are still afraid to walk around the place where you live, maybe you should move.