Probably one of the cutest things going around on the internet right now are pet shaming photos. Pets, mostly dogs and cats, are posed next to the scene of the crime with a note announcing what they did, in first person. As though they wrote it themselves! Cute. It's cute. I'm serious. And informative, the amount of animals that eat their own poo and their neighbour's poo is shocking. Don't have a pet? Perhaps you have a recalcitrant teenager you'd like to publicly humiliate, or a cheating partner you want to punish. Because they are totes modern and down with the internet, police in California are stepping up a campaign of John shaming in a bid to combat sex work.
This week crown court judge Mary Jane Mowat commented in aninterview given on her retirement as a circuit judge that rape conviction rates would never improve until women stopped drinking so much that they struggle to remember details of their assault. "It is an inevitable fact of it being one person's word against another and the burden of proof being that you have to be sure before you convict. I will also say and I will be pilloried for saying so, but the rape conviction statistics will not improve until women stop getting so drunk." This is a familiar situation, however this is not a case of a person saying women should not drink/wear provocative clothing if they want to avoid rape, but that if they do become the victim of an assault then, as in most criminal cases, a clear memory would work in their favour. Does that make Mowat's comments ok?
When did you learn about the facts of life. I'm not talking death and taxes. Nor do I mean when did you find out life's a bitch and then you die (though if you're asking that then I would have to tell you it was listening to the seminal soundtrack to Dawson's Creek). No you know what I mean. How old were you when you learned about the birds and the bees? About that special hug between a man and a woman who love each other very much? Did a parent tell you? Or did you hear about it in the playground? Or was it watching an educational video in a classroom desperately trying to conceal your appalled shock? The Lib Dems are proposing sex education in schools begin at the age of seven.
It's probably reasonable to say that today's teenagers are under more pressure than ever. They are under pressure for results that will then be sneered at because the exams they take aren't nearly as challenging as what they examined you on in your day. They are under pressure to be successful and find a job and maybe even a flat in an increasingly competitive market. They are under pressure to negotiate social networking - a thing no responsible adult has yet perfected due to its youth. There are also the real life social pressures and while teenage boys have their struggles the quest for a certain kind of perfection that many a teenage girl doggedly pursues is still unique to them. What their aiming to be is Little Miss Perfect.
There are a few things that we seem to be very behind on. World peace, equal pay, education and so on and so on. We are also very behind on acknowledging and discussing periods. Discussing periods with who? EVERYBODY! As well as not discussing the shedding of blood from the uterus, we don't discuss the various items, such as 'sanitary products', nor do we find ourselves idly chatting about various medical products that influence how we menstruate, such as the IUD coil, the pill, tranexamic acid tablets or the injection. Why is this? Dunno, probably because menstruation combines the two things we have universally agreed are gross: vaginas and blood.
We have witnessed over and over again people trying to educate women and girls who seem to simply not know how to not get raped. It's super easy, don't drink, don't wear provocative clothing, don't express any sexuality, don't go outside. But these women and girls just don't listen. So it seems we might have to turn to go a little extreme. We're going to have to suggest boys and men try not to rape. Oh I know this is very simplistic. Not ALL men or boys rape. However, when you're constantly reduced to silly females who get drunk and therefore get what's coming to them (thank you for your advice Joanna Lumley et al) it's hard not to generalise RIGHT BACKATCHA! Last week Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper wrote in theIndependent suggesting we educate boys that it's not really acceptable to think abuse (verbal and physical) is normal. ï»¿
Music fans, art lovers and injured animal carers were recently horrified to learn they had been listening to and watching a sexual predator. The disgraced TV presenter and entertainer Rolf Harris has been sentenced to five years, nine months in prison for 12 indecent assaults against four girls - one aged between seven or eight. Since judgement has been passed on Harris, Vanessa Feltz has announced that she was assaulted by Harris live on air, only to receive a barrage of abuse online. As Vanessa said when commenting on the hostile reaction she has received: "You think if people react like that, you can see why people don't come forward...I'm 52 and I can handle myself so imagine if I was a seven-year-old child, or 12 or 17...I'm not saying just if it's someone famous, but imagine if it was your dad, uncle or teacher...The kind of reaction I have had, I found so upsetting. I was upset by the outpouring of misogyny and hatred".
There are certain things that we continue to treat as kind of a mystery. Things that we are happy to simply comment on with a shrug and 'I suppose we will never know'. Things like 'if women are funny, why aren't female comedians as successful as men?' or 'why aren't more women entering politics?' or 'how come girls aren't trying to get into engineering and science?' Of course, we do know. We know it's a case of societal norms, being made to feel uncomfortable in the workplace and good ol' fashioned sexism. It's a case of expectations and discouragement. The worst thing about this issue is that often those who for whatever reason have been fortunate enough to be able to get into their desired professional field often have little empathy for those who report difficulty. 'Why don't they just do it?'
You know how in fairy tales, fables or Mr Men books often the villain, or animal in the wrong gets a taste of their own medicine and that's how they learn the error of their ways? It is perhaps a more interesting twist in the plot, preferable to a scene in which the victim explains to the perpetrator why what they are doing is wrong. We like to see the victim turn hero and we like to see those in the wrong get their comeuppance. In real life however it doesn't always work like that. Anti-feminists, MRAs etc often use the phrase 'double standards' when a problem for women usually caused by men is turned on its head, thereby seemingly dismissing it without examining the details. What happens when women start to mimic male harassment?