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Monday, February 8, 2010

Why Superbowl Ads Are So Racist, Sexist, and Homophobic

Posted By on 02.08.10 at 10:24 AM

Why are Superbowl commercials, hailed for their creativity, often so casually sexist, racist, and homophobic? Credit the watchful eye of the CBS Standards and Practices department, which ensures that Superbowl ads bring in millions of viewers looking to be shocked—without offending their delicate sensibilities.

To achieve this difficult balance, ad makers are forced to play within a very small range of acceptably “outrageous” topics. Since casual sexism, racism, and homophobia are main sources of shock-jock humor—and since these attitudes are too pervasive to inspire true outrage in the average American—companies compete to put the most creative twist on the lazy stereotyping without going too far off the deep end. And so: CBS bans an ad that shows two gay men kissing, but greenlights several commercials that play off “gay” stuff for laughs. It bans an ad that shows a guy’s head up his own ass, but lets fly a commercial that makes fun of those silly, backward South Asians who answer your tech support calls (racism: officially less controversial than asses). Even the advertisement decried as the most “controversial” of the evening—college football superstar Tim Tebow’s antiabortion ad—concluded not with a politically controversial rallying call for life, but with Tebow totally sacking his own mother. That’s gotta sting!

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Victim Blaming and Transgender Rape Victims

Posted By on 01.29.10 at 02:31 PM

Last year, we dredged the ugliest depths of victim blaming when a middle-school girl was gang-raped outside her homecoming dance, and a bunch of assholes got on the Internet to shame her for drinking alcohol. Thought that was bad? Consider what happens when a rape accusation is coming from a trans woman.

Yesterday, the New York Daily News reported that a New York woman recently filed a lawsuit against former NFL player Eric Green, claiming that Green “forcibly sodomized her” in his Scottsdale condo. According to the woman’s suit, Green claimed to be taking her back to the condo so that “he could telephone his dealer, get some marijuana, and get high,” and also, bizarrely, to “introduce her to his friend, the Prince of Bahrain.” Green and the woman began having consensual sex, the suit claims. But when Green realized that his sex partner was transgender, the woman claims that Green held her down and forcibly sodomized her against her will.

At this point, no armchair observer in this case could reasonably determine whether this woman’s story checks out or not. But the New York Daily News commenters are already inventing dozens of reasons why the assault could never have occurred—and if it did, she deserved it!

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

A "Penis Monologues” Primer: Republican Genitals, Through the Years

Posted By on 01.28.10 at 03:44 PM

This week, it was revealed that accused Mary Landrieu phone-tapping conspirator Stan Dai, 24, was once a promising aspiring playwright. In 2004, while a student at the George Washington University, Dai penned a dramatic piece entitled "The Penis Monologues” for campus conservative newspaper the Patriot.

In the great antifeminist tradition of college-age male Republicans, there have been many “The Penis Monologues.” Over the years, dozens of men have been brave enough to bare their innermost thoughts concerning genitalia. Mainly: “Wahhh! Why is ‘The Vagina Monologues’ only about vaginas? Pay attention to my penis!”

Having trouble paying suitable tribute to every 20-something Republican dude’s genitals? A quick primer on the many “The Penis Monologues,” after the jump:

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

“Why Would I Want to Touch Your Ass?”: When Groping Victims Speak Up

Posted By on 01.21.10 at 11:00 AM


Last week, the Sexist highlighted a fairly common reaction of groping victims: say nothing. A woman who got assaulted on a crowded dance floor, a woman who got rubbed on the subway, a girl who got her ass grabbed—they all kept it to themselves. What if they’d said something? What kind of reception would they get? Below, five groping victims who spoke up—and what happened next.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

How Bystanders Can Help Groping Victims

Posted By on 01.15.10 at 03:58 PM

Say you’re riding home on the Metro, minding your own business, when you just so happen to notice a guy repositioning himself to better rub his erection against a stranger’s back. You’ve just become a witness to a sexual assault. Now what do you do? One commenter posed the question after a recent column: “If I see someone being mistreated like that in public, what could I possibly do to help?”

Excellent question.

Yesterday, I spoke with Lauren Taylor, lead instructor of Defend Yourself, a D.C.-based self-defense organization that shops around “skills for stopping harassment, abuse, and assault.” Taylor, who has over 25 years of experience teaching self-defense, offers some tips for bystanders who find themselves witnesses to harassment or assault, and want to do something about it:

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

“I Just Wanted Him to Finish And Leave”: Why Some Groping Victims Stay Silent

Posted By on 01.13.10 at 03:33 PM


It used to be that Jessica Graves was always up for a dance party. So when she headed out to a gay bar one night in 2006, Graves and a male friend hit the crowded dance floor hard. “We were being kind of raunchy,” she says. “When we go out, my friend says things like, ‘Trash me!,’ and I play along. It gets pretty outrageous sometimes. But my friend is gay, and we’re just being ridiculous and having fun.”

Later in the evening, another dancer decided to join in on the fun. “I was grinding with my friend, and this dude got up on me from behind,” says Graves, now 27. The interloper inserted a leg between Graves’s legs and latched his hands around her waist. “He was strong enough that I had to adjust my body to not get knocked over,” she says. But everyone was dancing close, and Graves didn’t think much of it—until something shifted.

“At some point I figured out the guy was straight,” she says.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

The Soft Boner of Classic American Literature

Posted By on 01.11.10 at 03:28 PM

Behold the final paragraph of Katie Roiphe’s New York Times Sunday Book Review story on the lost art of freaky sex writing pioneered by the “Great Male Novelists” like Updike, Roth, and Mailer:

Why don’t we look at these older writers, who want to defeat death with sex, with the same fondness as we do the inventors of the first, failed airplanes, who stood on the tarmac with their unwieldy, impossible machines, and looked up at the sky?

In other words, why don’t we sit around praising the “unwieldy, impossible machines” (or: penises) of these white, heterosexual guys who are still writing masturbatory prose about lesbian threesomes involving strap-ons, after all these years? Is it because:

(a) The feminists! They have ruined everything!

(b) The porn on the Internets! It has made us more likely to watch a short video depicting lesbian threesomes involving strap-ons, instead of reading some white heterosexual dude attempt to describe it for us, in words!

(c) Those danged marginalized groups! People other than old, white, heterosexual men have taken a stab at the whole sex-writing thing, and it turns out they actually have some interesting shit to say about it!

(d) The impotence of old white dudes! Those old dudes can’t get erections anymore, I hear!

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Touch and Go: How Groping Happens

Posted By on 01.06.10 at 03:46 PM

It starts with an insignificant touch. The accidental brush on the subway. The hug that lasts a few seconds too long. The hand that dips down past the small of your back to settle just below the waist.

And then it gets a little bit closer. The stranger who pushes against your butt as he edges past you on the crowded dance floor. The businessman who sticks his hand out as he passes you on the street so that his palm briefly grazes the side of your ass. The drunk guy in the crosswalk who leaves a mark on your shoulder from an unsolicited kiss.

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Top 7 Girl Fight Anthems (And Why They Fight)

Posted By on 01.05.10 at 01:48 PM

There’s been much discussion on the Sexist lately about how girl-on-girl sexism operates through pop stars trading catty insults about other women [Exhibit A, Exhibit B]. Now that the copious woman-on-woman violence in MTV’s Jersey Shore has reignited the popular imagination over so-called “catfighting,” it’s time to turn our attention to lyrical girl fights of the stick-and-stone variety. And the bottle variety. And the knife variety. And the strand-by-strand hair-pulling variety.

Women physically attacking other women is immoral, illegal, and wildly popular. Conventional wisdom suggests that the popular obsession with catfighting is inspired by women fighting over dudes—and persists in order to arouse dudes. As these songs devoted to female aggression demonstrate, the catfight narrative actually accesses a variety of triggers that often have nothing to do with men. Case in point: On Jersey Shore last week, cast member J-WOWW attacked a woman at the club because she called fellow Guidette Snookie “fat.” (When J-WOWW is involved, apparently, words can hurt you). Seven anthems about girl-fighting—and the justification offered up for the outbursts therein—after the jump.

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Monday, January 4, 2010

Why Do Gropers Grope?

Posted By on 01.04.10 at 07:43 PM

This week, the Sexist will embark on a series about groping in public spaces—bars, parking lots, subway cars, national parks, bookstores, and sidewalks. So far, I’ve heard stories of dozens of groping victims—and one woman who admitted to groping a man. But I have yet to find a man who will fess up to groping a woman without her consent.

Perhaps they’re embarrassed about having sexually assaulted another human. Unfortunately, men who contribute to anonymous Internet forums don’t seem to have that problem. Tales from gropers abound on the Internet, where anonymous sex discussions regularly fail to register casual sexual assault as taboo. Online, the public narrative surrounding groping is certainly tipped in the direction of the grabber, while testimonies from their victims are few and far between.

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