samplegates

April 12, 2010

8

Add your comments

Flank steaks versus females

Posted by Ashley Ames, IDS columnist

In my column this week, I addressed a disturbing Odyssey column by IU senior Yale Reardon regarding how to “rate” women. I, however, was not the first to argue against what I saw as a verbal atrocity in a newspaper with my university’s name on it. Women’s blog Jezebel offers some much-deserved criticism while the Gin and Tacos blog gives Mr. Reardon a taste of his own medicine.

Think this is overkill? Maybe this image will change your mind.

This is an image from the Facebook page “I Don’t Like Chicks With Tans. It Means They Have Been Out Of The Kitchen,” of which Reardon is a fan.

This is the most disturbing picture on the Facebook page “I Don’t Like Chicks With Tans. It Means They’ve Been Out Of The Kitchen,” of which Reardon is a fan, but its far from the only one portraying violence against women.

There is a clear link between dehumanizing and rating women and the rape culture, described by the “Shakesville” blog, that images like this promote. For further reading on the topic, I suggest checking out the work of Jessica Valenti, including her blog.

Additionally, “Sexuality, Pornography, and Method: Pleasure Under Patriarchy,” by Catherine A. MacKinnon, who addresses sexual objectivity, offers some insight:

To be sexually objectified means having a social meaning imposed on your being that defines you as to be sexually used, according to your desired uses, and then using you that way.

She also outlines the impact that objectification can have on the lives of women:

What is it about women’s experience that produces a distinctive perspective on social reality? How is an angle of vision and an interpretive hermeneutics of social life created in the group women? What happens to women to give them a particular interest in social arrangements, something to have a consciousness of? How are the qualities we know as male and female socially created and enforced on an everyday level? Sexual objectification of women – first in the world, then in the head, first in visual appropriation, then in forced sex, finally in sexual murder – provides answers.

I hope this incident causes people to think more carefully before they say or do or write something that objectifies women. Even if you think its a joke, it does have ramifications for all of us, especially your sisters, mothers, girlfriends, and other women in your life.



discuss
*
*
E-mail address will not be published.
Comments:   
 
comments

Posted by Luke at 5:06 pm on April 12, 2010

Hopefully, you reported the photo, since it violates the terms of use. (I reported it myself just now, in case you didn’t.)

However, a fan photo not posted by Reardon on a group he is a member of, a group that is obviously intended as a joke, isn’t valid grounds to attack him. (please also note that the first comment says it is too far.)

You are going to have idiots on Facebook who post offensive photos to groups. You can’t blame every member of the group for the photos.

Just as an FYI, the Jezebel article was where I first read Reardon’s column. In attempting to attack it, they managed to promote it.

Much more offensive than Reardon’s obviously joking column is the “Open Letter of Apology to the Muslim World” posted on this very blog and which (I’m assuming) is intended to be serious.

Posted by Ashley Ames, IDS columnist at 3:31 pm on April 13, 2010

Luke,

My intention was not to “attack” Mr. Reardon. My intention was to exemplify how “rating” women, even in a joking fashion, is related to humor that the rest of us would probably find unacceptable. In turn, these “jokes” harm society as a whole, specifically women.

These “jokes” promote a culture in which it is okay to put down women, to joke about rape and to laugh at domestic violence. In turn, this type of “humor” allows these things to become acceptable in our culture. As university students, we live in a world where one in four college women are the victims of actual or attempted sexual assault. I know we hear these numbers all the time but.. ONE IN FOUR! That means if you aren’t a victim, you pretty much got lucky.

Why is rape so prevalent? Because it isn’t seen as a big deal since it permeates our culture through “humor” like the rating girls column, like Mr. Reardon’s twitter bio, and like this Facebook group.

I didn’t cherry-pick this image; since you’ve been to the group, I assume you’ve seen the numerous (i.e. pretty much every single one) photos that depict domestic violence or serve as a put-down to women. Moreover, it isn’t like this photo was buried. It popped up immediately (notice it’s number 12).

I mean, the entire group, from title to information to discussions, is a put-down to women. It’s not like fans of this group didn’t know what they were getting into, even if they weren’t responsible for posting that specific picture. The entire page was littered with references to domestic violence, subordination of women, and the objectification of women. The picture was merely an example. I think it’s fair to say that if you fan a page, join a group, etc. in a public forum such as Facebook, it’s your responsibility to be sure that page isn’t in bad taste and be certain you’re okay associating yourself with it.

I never attacked Mr. Reardon for putting up the picture or accused him of doing anything he didn’t do. I displayed the photo and I made it clear that it was on display because he was a fan of the page — nothing more, nothing less.

I hope people can see the connection between a “satire” piece on rating women, a Facebook page that displays this image, and real life violence taking place that, on the scale of anything else, would be considered a massive epidemic.

Best,
Ashley

Posted by Mike at 7:23 pm on April 13, 2010

I think it is pretty disturbing for an IDS writer to personally name and slander a student at IU Bloomington. I used to be huge fan of this paper but the way they have attacked a STUDENT and his comedy article is really turned this paper into a sensationalist news media.

Posted by Common Sense at 7:48 pm on April 13, 2010

Mike,

What did Ashley say that was not true? If you’re mad at the IDS (and lots of other media outlets at this point), for pointing out how irresponsible that column was, satire or not, then that’s an issue you need to deal with, but you should be careful the charges you levy, and you should certainly be aware of what the words you use mean.

It’s time that some of you learn that your words have consequences. Again, whether you intend them to be a joke or not. You can say what you want, but just know that everyone else, including Ashley, has that same right. You don’t get to say whatever you want, no matter how insulting or degrading, and then get to dictate how people respond to it.

Posted by Luke at 11:32 pm on April 13, 2010

Mike, unless you can point to something that is provably false in the article, don’t claim slander or libel.

Ashley, may I ask how you found out that Yale Reardon is a member of this group? When I tried to look, it appears that his privacy settings have him blocked from being searched.

You did pick the worst image, which I believe everyone agrees is utterly inappropriate and wrong. However, that includes many of the people who are members of that group.
While the other images may be considered offensive (and there are a couple others that the page admin should have removed as well), the group itself is clearly intended to be a joke and in no way actually attacks women. I think we can agree that the group, while in poor taste, is harmless in and of itself. I would also like to point out that it’s possible Reardon never actually went to the page, given how many groups people tend to be members of.

I looked through your sources, but they are all rather biased. I could not find any actual evidence of a causal link between rating girls and raping them. The groups may be connected, but the same connection exists if you expand it to men as a whole. I don’t believe that the connection is as cut and dried as feminist blogs make it out to be.

As I said before, I think that by talking about his column, you have greatly expanded its number of readers.

Posted by Ashley Ames, Columnist at 1:00 pm on April 14, 2010

I find it really unfortunate that so many people have portrayed this as a personal attack. If you consider it an attack to point out the Twitter bio and Facebook fan pages, all of which are public information, of the author of a column, perhaps it’s the information rather than my pointing it out that’s offensive to you. All the information I cited was indeed open, public, and easily accessed before all the controversy began, at which point I’m assuming all accounts were changed to private. But when I was working on the column, a simple Google and Facebook search turned up everything I found.

The problem with these types of things is that there’s no clear line where the joke stops. Indeed, where does the joke stop with the rating girls column? Mr. Reardon jokes about rating girls. He also “jokes” about raping women himself (“Yale is my name, raping is my game”). The Facebook page jokes about women belonging in the kitchen. Someone in that group thought it was funny to put up that image. Maybe some fans of the page (but not all; note the second comment) think it’s too far. But, notably, no members reported it. What starts as a joke about the place of females in society (offensive in itself if you ask me) ends with an abhorrent photo of a woman who is intended to look like she has been badly beaten. See how all of this is intertwined?

Am I arguing that Mr. Reardon’s column directly led to someone being sexually assaulted? Not at all. I’m arguing that this type of “humor” is offensive because it does promote the idea that rape and domestic violence are laughable, that women are sexual objects and that they aren’t really people (i.e. the idea that personalities are of no importance). These ideas in turn are what make rape and domestic violence an acceptable part of our society.

Just today, in fact, this story on a sexual assault ran in the IDS (http://idsnews.com/news/story.aspx?id=75193). And I’m sure all the of the IU community remembers this story (http://idsnews.com/news/story.aspx?id=75045&search=sexual%20assault&section=search) from earlier this year – check out the related stories if you don’t recall the incident. This list goes on (http://idsnews.com/news/story.aspx?id=74572&search=sexual%20assault&section=search). And this horrific incident that ruined multiple lives (http://idsnews.com/news/story.aspx?id=72531&search=sexual%20assault&section=search)? Just do a quick search of “sexual assault” on the IDS website. It’s truly heartbreaking. Then consider the amount of underreporting with something as intimate and emotional as this.

Shouldn’t we be doing all we can to make it loud and clear we don’t accept these actions, this thinking, or these “jokes” in our community?

As an aside, when I set out to write the column, I was going to avoid using Mr. Reardon’s name at all. When I came across the Twitter bio and Facebook fan pages (of which, I might add, this was not the only offensive one), however, I thought that listing these things was essential to exemplifying the link between “jokes” about rating women and “jokes” about raping women, which is why it was included. I tried my best to simply reveal to readers what I found and build my argument from there.

Best,
Ashley

Posted by Greek at 11:59 pm on April 18, 2010

Ashley,

This is incredibly unprofessional, i just saw your other article and searched too see if you had a history of defaming greek men and found this as well as several others.

To just use a casual reference of a facebook group somebody is a member of and try to slander their personal name with pictures is incredible inappropriate and unprofessional. What you don’t know that this article actually does have some content that is slanderous, trying to make him look like a rapist with NO actual facts. This combined with your other article on him shows a trend, and your article today shows you have an ax to grind against fraternity men.

I’ve asked around and heard that there is a suit being built, but it could be hearsay. He is jewish after all, so chances are he is a lawyer.

Think before you write Ms Ames, for every action there are both current peers and future employers watching. I highly doubt the Chicago Tribune is going to want to hire somebody that publishes articles that belong on the front of the national enquirer.

Posted by james at 3:54 pm on March 8, 2011

i thought the picture was hilarious

advertise with us



Columnists