Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I never thought that training for a half-marathon could make me feel so much better . . . informed.

The beauty of running on a treadmill at the YMCA is multi-tasking. Doing so has caused my weekly TV watching to increase by 100%. Since coming to college, watching TV just doesn't often make it into my schedule. But if I can run AND learn, all the better.

Now not ALL TV helps me learn or be better informed, in fact this morning, I spent WAY too much time lusting over the AB Rocket (which will definitely change my abs and my life!), the AB Roller (same effect), Cindy Crawford's new beauty line called "Meaningful Beauty" with some new, wonderful ingredient that will probably make me look JUST like her, and lastly, Sensa, this shakeable powder stuff that goes on all of your food and "magically melts" away the pounds.

There are good things on TV. Like last week, I spent an hour on the History channel learning about eggs. Yeah, that's right. Like from chickens. It was fascinating.

Oprah's new OWN network also has some interesting shows I've been checking out. One of my favorites is "What Would You Do?" which pays actors to set up ethically challenging encounters in public to see what people will do. The whole thing is recorded and some people are questioned about the decisions they made or didn't make.

Such as this scenario, public hazing. Watch it here.

This portion was already intriguing, then they turned the tables and saw what would happen if the same thing was happening to women.

I was shocked. I was SURE that people would help the women the same if not MORE than they helped the men. I was wrong. I was shocked that the men sat and watched the show with a grin on their faces. I was shocked that women didn't step up to help these girls.

The conversation at 2:50 goes something like this:
One man says, "It was entertaining."
Nobody said that when the guys were being hazed.
"Was there a bit of sexism involved here do you think?"
"Definitely. 'Girls Gone Wild' sorority style."

One "hazed" girl concludes: "You kinda hope for the knight in shining armor, but there were no knights and certainly no shining armor."

Public conversations such as this make me more keenly aware of just how much I talk about this subject: the situation of women. I can't seem to get away from it and I don't want to either. Sometimes I feel like I'm living in a movie that no one else has seen or they flat-out do not want to see. I spend a lot of time talking about the movie and convincing people that they MUST see it. But often they don't. It's not their problem. Well then, who's problem is it? Are we only concerned if it's our daughters or our friends?

It's easier after all to pretend like atrocities such as physical and emotional abuse, female genital cutting, sexual slavery, date rape, gang rape, incest, molestation, child abuse, eating disorders, and inequality just aren't happening.

But no matter how much we say it or want to believe. These things are happening. Every day. Period.


kessia reyne said...

UGH. That was stomach-turning.

Feel like you're talking maybe just a little too much about it? Like, I don't want to be that woman...? I've felt that way, at least.

Some words from Audre Lord, feminist:

"I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood. . . .

"I was going to die, if not sooner then later, whether or not I had ever spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you. . . .
In the cause of silence, each one of us draws the face of her own fear-- fear of contempt, of censure, or some judgment, or recognition, of challenge, of annihilation. . . . We can sit in our corners mute forever while our sisters and ourselves are wasted, while our children are distorted and destroyed, while our earth is poisoned. We can sit in our safe corners mute as bottles, and we still will be no less afraid. . . .

"And it is never without fear; of visibility, of the harsh light of scrutiny and perhaps judgment, of pain, of death. But we have lived through all these already, in silence, except death. And I remind myself all the time now, that if I were to have been born mute, and had maintained an oath of silence my whole life long for safety, I would still have suffered, and I would still die. It is very good for establishing perspective.

. . . For we have been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs for language and definition., and while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us."

-From "The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action," 1978.

(P.S. I recognize that the quotation was rather lengthy. I'll have no hard feelings if you decide not to publish it for public viewing.)