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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Why TSwift and I are Never, Ever Ever Getting Back Together

Don't get me wrong, I love a catchy Top 40's pop hit just as much as the next person, but there's something about Taylor Swift that makes my teeth hurt.

It's not just her serial dating and passive aggressive break ups (did anyone else catch her British accent interlude to "Never Getting Back Together" at some awards show? Or the video she posted a few years ago where she's holding a Joe Jonas doll and makes comments about the :27 second break up? Or listen to any of her songs, really.) - because that's her business. And no, it's not just for her comments to Tina Fey (my Goddess) and Amy Poehler about a "special place in hell" for women who make fun of other women. Or for her blank snarky stare at Adele after she won a Grammy (or Oscar? Golden Globe? I don't know.).

No, it's because Taylor Swift is not a feminist.

First of all, I don't hate everyone who doesn't identify as a feminist. But secondly, most people choose not to identify as a feminist because they don't understand what it means to be a feminist. My simple definition is: you believe in equal rights.

Most people don't realize that there are types of feminism. Liberal, radical, eco ... And not all involve burning bras, not wearing make up and hating men. (Thanks Rush Limbaugh for that.)

In my opinion, every woman is a feminist. In her own way, Taylor Swift is - she's having a huge career in the music industry that wouldn't have been possible in the past. She's deciding important parts of her career for herself, not by her manager, father or husband. She's able to date as many men (or boys) as she wants. And the list goes on.

My problem is that she takes all these things, and like so many women, she doesn't realize how lucky she is to have them. Because she is able to make $xx million per year and wear what she wants, she can choose to blissfully unaware of the problems that women - even those in the US - still face. (Unequal pay. Rape culture. Etc. Etc.)

And the things she says about feminism ...

I don't really think about things as guys versus girls. I never have. I was raised by parents who brought me up to think if you work as hard as guys, you can go far in life.

 Yeah, that's called equality.

Her saying these things and clearly not understanding what feminism is makes all her impressionable tween and teen readers believe that feminists hate men. That it's boys vs. girls. Which, once again, it's not!

Throwback to 2009: who remembers You Belong With Me? Taylor Swift plays the Madonna and the Whore in a video that perpetuates the dichotomy of the good girl and the bad girl and shames sexuality. 

And then, since we're on the topic of equality and equity, I just have to point out her blatant use of "gay" as an insult in Picture to Burn. The exact phrase was: so go ahead and tell you're friends I'm obsessive and crazy, that's fine, I'll tell mine you're gay. But of course because she does a NO H8 photo shoot no one talks about it. Yes, other singers have used terms like this (I did a post about Homophobia in Hip Hop and how Will Smith rapped about gay men and AIDS) - but they've apologized.

As Jennifer Wakeman wrote for The Frisky,

[Taylor is] 22 now and has been exposed to a lot in these past few years. I do not expect that Taylor Swift would have the politics of Kathleen Hanna, India.Arie, Ani DiFranco or even Alanis Morrissette. But I do wish she could correctly identify what a feminist is - even if she does not want to identify as one.

Written by Stephanie Geske

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


An imaginary conversation with someone who doesn’t believe in rape culture… yet.

By Deanna Jarquin

When you type in rape culture on the error page asks you “Did you mean rape butterfly?” Well, no… But because of my general curiosity I learned that it is a cabbage butterfly (Pieris napi) occurring in Europe and North America.

It looks like this:


The Gender and Sexuality Equity Center’s definitions of rape culture is defined as a culture in which rape and other sexual violence are common and in which prevalent attitudes, norms, practices, and media condone, normalize, excuse or encourage sexualized violence.

Usually, I witness this in men asking me where kitchens are and textbooks and professors only using male pronouns in examples, but this week I was confronted by a much more apparent (and appalling) example of rape culture. This shirt:

That can’t be a shirt!

Why yes, yes it is.

This weekend Solid Gold Bomb, a company selling through Amazon, issued an apology for these deplorable shirts. Michal Fowler, the founder of Solid Gold Bond, commented “Both myself and our company and it's associated Solid Gold Bomb brand have never had any intention of the spread of violent slogans or even poor taste humor t-shirts.” Adding, “This was a computer error of my creation and I accept my responsibility in the matter."


Were all of them computer errors?

As well as shirts that included the slogans: "Keep Calm and Choke Her" and "Keep Calm and Grope On."

… Good one, Michal. Needless to say, this shirt will haunt me to my grave. Just imagine. You have recently been sexually assaulted. You are in the supermarket getting fruit. You reach down to get a bag to put your apples in and glance up and see a man wearing a “Keep Calm and Rape On” shirt across the Fuji’s. You’re paralyzed. You backtrack out of the store and learn how to use to deliver your groceries. This scenario may be the creation of my overactive imagination, but it is not that far off from reality. According to the 2010 CDC report, an average of 1 in 5 women will be raped in her lifetime, and 1 in 2 will experience sexual violence victimization other than rape at some point in her life. These women walk around daily with media and social messages that devalue their experiences and now they have this shirt to look forward to.

Amazon has been asked to make a "substantial donation" to a woman's refuge on Saturday night after its UK website offered T-shirts for sale promoting rape and violence against women.” Amazon has made no comment on whether they will be making the donation.

Yeah, but everyone knows these shirts are wrong you Feminazi!!!

Okay, what about this one?



Those are all sold at Spencer’s Gifts. A store found in most malls across America. These shirts make me cringe much less than “Keep Calm and Rape On.” But why? They all have the same message: women are powerless to men and should carry six to seven sandwiches around with them at all times to give men after performing copious amounts of fellatio. Acknowledging rape culture means excepting the fact that almost daily women and men are normalized to the fact that women should only be valued for their bodies or sexual favors.

Yeah, but I would never wear a shirt like that you man hater!

Have you said that you raped a test lately? Are you thinking a woman is asking to be sexual assaulted if she is rocking a shear or tiny outfit? … Yeah, that’s what I thought. Sure, we can yell NO MEANS NO!!!!!! everyday, but as long as society perpetrates rape culture oppression will always surround us.

You really need to learn how to take a joke.

This is a funny: Why did the bison go to the bank? TO GET A BUFFALOAN!!!!
This isn’t funny:

We are all put in these tiny little boxes by society that hurt everyone, not just women. I am a big believer that we would have an emotionally healthier male population if there were more little boys in dance or art classes, if young men were taught that kindness and integrity was more important than toughness and aggression, and if men were allowed to cry in movies other than Brian’s Song and Saving Private Ryan.

Yeah, but Deanna, what can we do to help?

I thought you would never ask!

10 Easy Steps to Combat Rape Culture

1.  Have open, respectful conversations about rape and sexual assault issues absent of slut shaming and blame with co-workers, friends, family, etc.
2.    Define your own manhood or womanhood.  Do not let stereotypes shape your actions.
3.  Get enthusiastic about enthusiastic consent. There is nothing better than asking someone if they want to have sex and them replying HELL YEAH!
4.  Stop victim blaming. If you hear of someone who was sexually assaulted, do not ask what he or she was wearing, whether he or she was drunk, whether he or she had hooked up with the person previously, etc. None of it matters.
5.  Visit Project Unbreakable. A project created in October of 2011 by Grace Brown. Grace works with survivors of sexual assault, photographing them holding a poster with a quote from their attacker.  At *MAJOR TRIGGER WARNING!!!!!!!!!!!!*
6.  Stop teaching people to not get raped and start teaching people to not rape.
7.  Think critically about the media’s messages about women, men, relationships, and violence. Why do reporters/police officers mostly use the term alleged sexual assault? How can this possibly be an acceptable character on a television show that is a consistently top performer for audiences of ages 6–11?
8.  Don’t laugh at jokes about rape.
9.  Share pictures like this on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc:
10.  Come to Take Back the Night! March 14th at 6PM on Chico States Campus.

Until that day that I don’t have to carry my keys as a weapon while walking to my car after dark or take on characteristically male traits in boardrooms to be taken semi-seriously I will live off of Ryan Gosling Feminist Meme’s and a strict Spencer’s gift boycott.

Sources in order of appearance:

Rape Butterfly:,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&bvm=bv.43148975,d.aWc&biw=1280&bih=664&um=1&ie=UTF-

Original Article on “Keep Calm and Rape On” T-Shirts:

20 Example that Spencer’s Gifts Hates Women

Heather, Total Drama Island:,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&bvm=bv.43148975,d.aWc&biw=1280&bih=664&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=yKI1UcLdF8j1ygGlvYHYAg#um=1&hl=en&client=safari&rls=en&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=island+cartoon+network+heather&oq=island+cartoon+network+heather&gs_l=img.3...15107.17327.3.17434.,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&bvm=bv.43148975,d.aWc&fp=81b96436dbf96c69&biw=1280&bih=664&

How to Combat Rape Culture:

Picture of "My Strength is not for Hurting"

Ryan Gosling Feminist Meme: