No Means No

While driving to work this morning, I listened to the Russ Parr Morning Show during the People Poll question segment.  (I’m a notorious channel surfer.)  The question dealt with the recent news surrounding former NFL player Darren Sharper, who has been accused of sexual assault on a total of nine women in five different states; so far he’s only been formally charged in two states-most recently Arizona-with charges pending in other states, along with Erick Nunez. There are even reports that state some of these women were drugged.  Parr asked, “Do women bare some of the responsibility if they are sexually assaulted?”  I genuinely wanted to hear what people thought, so my ears perked up.  And I was shocked at what I heard.

Most of the callers, especially the women, stated that women do bare some of the responsibility if they are sexually assaulted.  I.was.floored.  I was even more shocked when a victim of sexual assault called in and said she deserved to shoulder some of the responsibility of her attack.  The only person who said anything that made any type of sense was the show’s “intern”, Brittany.  If a woman is drunk, has been drugged, or is otherwise incoherent, she cannot consent, and thus anything that happens to her is rape.

Now, let’s chat for a minute.  Growing up, heck even now at 31 years old, my mother told me to always be careful, be extra cautious when I’m out by myself, and to not go out alone at night.  Essentially, she was telling me to never make myself a target for a predator.  Now, since I am not a parent and I don’t have any brothers, I wonder what the parents of sons are teaching them.  Are they being told to respect women?  To not take advantage of women?  To not attack them?  To leave a woman alone when she says “no”, REGARDLESS of what is being done when she says it OR what she has on?

As I’ve stated in a previous post, we live in a patriachal society, so I doubt it.  At least not to the degree that little girls/women are told to not make themselves a target.  Not to the degree that we are told to not dress provocatively.  Not to the degree that we are told to behave like a lady to not give people the wrong impression.

If I can make an educated guess, little boys/young men are taught to be assertive, go-getters, and to weild as much power and prowess as they can.  And due to no limitations being put on them, they are used to getting what they want.  They are not used to hearing “no”.  And God forbid he’s an athlete AND attractive.  That’s a recipe for disaster.  He’s used to getting what he wants-the girl, the (fixed) grades, the acceptance letter to a big college, and the chance to go pro.

Clearly non-professional athletes are guilty of sexual assault as well.  But some men like to feel powerful.  And when someone, anyone, wants to take that power away, they feel threatened.  And a huge disservice is being done when we make our children think they can get whatever they want.  Why?  Because they become adults who think they can get whatever they want and will take it, regardless of what has to be done to get it.

A friend on Facebook once updated her status to say that we teach our girls about sexual assault and how to avoid it, but are boys taught the same thing?  If not, I implore parents of young men to sit your sons down and talk to them.  Tell them that when a young lady says “no” she means “no”.  Tell them they can’t always get what they want.  Tell them how to protect themselves and to not put themselves in a compromising position.

Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

From “Bow Down” to “Flawless”

Almost a year ago, I penned an open letter to Beyonce stating I didn’t appreciate her song “Bow Down”.  At that particular stage in her career, she didn’t really need to address her haters.  And I was not the only person to think that way.

Nine months later, with the release of her album “Beyonce”, “Bow Down” became “Flawless”, an empowering girls’ anthem featuring the TED talk of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.  The song encouraged feminism and challenged women to fight for their equality.  And it was catchy, as evidenced by women posting selfies on Instagram with the hashtags #flawless and #iwokeuplikethis, and everyone seemed to have forgotten the uproar the first verse caused just months earlier.

As I was driving home last night and belting out the lyrics to “Flawless”, it dawned on me that I was singing lyrics to a song I didn’t care for and words I don’t like to use.  And I began to wonder what happened.  What happened to make me forget the disdain I felt last March when I heard “Bow Down”?  What happened to make me sing along with a woman who called other women b*tches and told them to bow down, like she was a queen?  What happened to make me just…forget EVERYTHING I didn’t like about the song?  Hearing the song in its entirety may have changed my perspective.  Hearing “Flawless”, with the nostalgia of Gyrls’ Tyme (which later became Destiny’s Child), the empowering words of Ms. Adichie, and the tight beat, made me develop convenient amnesia.

Beyonce changed the entire meaning of a song with an extra verse, a hook, and a TED talk from a renowned author and feminist.  And now we want to give Beyonce a crown, no pun intended, because she MUST be about the equality of women and wants us to be empowered and assertive and go-getters.  But would a real feminist tell another woman to bow down?

Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

Thoughts From a Southern Girl

Just so you know, this post is about to be real random.  Why?  Because I have a lot of things I want to say…but I don’t really have anything to say.  Make sense?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.

First, let’s talk about the return of “Scandal”.  I was not excited about the premiere, until I saw a clip of Mellie and Olivia at a faux lunch.  Mellie laid into my girl Liv, I put a smile on my face, and prepared to enjoy the mid-season premiere. The premiere was good, a bit predictable, but I think “Grey’s Anatomy” was WAY better!

Unfortunately, or fortunately for some, it snowed in the DC area on Monday.  (And there are reports we will get more snow next week. -_-)  So, the good thing for me was that I used that day to catch up on some missed television, namely the Oscars.  Yes, on Sunday evening I propped myself on the couch to catch the awards show, but somewhere between the award for Best Production Design or something like that and the evening news I fell asleep.  (I am such an old woman.)  I woke up to the news that Lupita won for Best Supporting Actress and “12 Years A Slave” won Best Picture.  Thankfully, the Oscars were on On Demand, so I was able to see Ellen’s shenanigans, Matthew McConaughey’s AWESOME speech, and Steve McQueen jump at the end of his acceptance speech.

Honestly, that’s all I’ve got.  I don’t really have anything else to say.  My life is pretty boring at the moment.  Well, maybe not boring.  Uneventful is probably a better word.  I’m just working and trying to get my personal affairs in order.  I do plan on juicing for Lent.  Since I have not consistently done it in the past like I was supposed to.  And the days that I do not juice, I will not succumb to food.  I will just drink H2O all day.  Jesus made a sacrifice for me, and for the next 40 days, I can make that sacrifice for Him.  I am planning how I am going to celebrate my birthday, which happens to be during the Lenten season.  So far, I am pleased with what I’ve come up with; I just need to figure out where it’s going to be.

For someone who didn’t have anything else to say I am not surprised I found some extra words. 🙂  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!