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What Happened To Jennifer Lawrence Was Sexual Assault

An excellent article. For those saying the theft and dissemination of these photos doesn’t constitute sexual assault, Statistics Canada defines level 1 sexual assault as “an assault committed in circumstances of a sexual nature such that the sexual integrity of the victim is violated. Level 1 involves minor physical injuries or no injuries to the victim.” While these women have not been physically injured by the photos (at least, not that I’m aware of), I think we can all agree that their sexual integrity has been violated.

The Belle Jar

TW for talk of sexual assault, victim blaming, misogyny

You’ve probably heard about the nude photographs of Jennifer Lawrence that were leaked online yesterday. The leak also included nude pictures of Kirsten Dunst, Ariana Grande, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and several other women, but, naturally, it’s Lawrence who’s drawing most of the heat because she’s super-famous right now. She’s also known for being charmingly awkward and honestly if I had to place any bets I would guess that most people were hoping that she would respond to this with some kind of hilariously crass Real Talk about sex and her body and being naked. I keep seeing comments by people who want her to provide the punchline to this joke; what they don’t seem to understand is that this is not a joke, this is a form of sexual assault.

Jennifer Lawrence and the other women involved in this leak were photographed…

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The Ice Bucket Challenge is not bad for you….

…but wasting your time reading this ridiculous article by Scott Gilmore probably is. 

The author’s assertion, that ALS is well funded, fails to take into account how much it costs to develop drugs for treatment – according to Forbes, approximately $5 billion. Because ALS is so rare, that means that pharmaceutical companies have very little incentive to develop these drugs – there isn’t a huge market, so why would they invest billions of dollars in them? This is where ALS charities come in, to help fund research, as well as provide support and services for those living with ALS. 

Also, while the author asserts that ALS isn’t urgent, the World Health Organization has predicted that ALS, along with other neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s, will surpass cancer as the second leading cause of death in Canada by 2040.

Thirdly, the author ignores what an incredibly devastating disease ALS is, and the fact that there is no known treatment. A diagnosis of ALS is essentially a death sentence – 80% of people diagnoses die within 2 to 5 years. It starts as a generally feeling of weakness in your muscles and loss of fine motor skills, and progressed to the point where you cannot even chew, swallow or breathe on your own. Since there is so little known about ALS, a concrete diagnosis can only be given when doctors have generally ruled out everything else – this means medical test after medical test to rule out every other possible disease. 

And finally, the author’s premise of limited resources for charity is flawed. While of course I won’t argue the fact that everyone does have limited resources, the author ignores the fact that a LOT of the people doing the ice bucket challenge, and donating to it, are teenagers and young adults. While of course people of these age groups generally have smaller bank accounts, I might hazard to say that people of this age group are also generally not people who have a set amount of their earnings set aside to donate to charity. When a 18-24 year-old donates $10 to ALS, it’s probably not coming out of a specific charity fund. Let’s be honest, had that $10 not been donated, it probably would have been spent on something like beer or pizza. The ice bucket challenge, while it might be “slacktivism”, give people the opportunity to participate in a movement and have some fun while raising funds (and hopefully awareness) – and while yes, it does feed into our own narcissism, it’s no more narcissistic than another selfie, which is what would otherwise be clogging up your newsfeed.

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Facebook feminism; or, how to be a feminist without alienating half your friends.

As someone who has strongly identified as a feminist for most of my teenage and adult life, my desire to be outspoken about my feminist values has often been at odds with my desire to maintain easy-going relationships with many of my friends and acquaintances. Coming of age in a small town, I was only too aware of how often the term ‘feminist’ is equated with the image of an angry, bra-less woman, complete with armpit hair and a disdain for all things ‘girly’.  Wary of being perceived as an “angry feminist” or “femi-nazi”,

there have been many a time when I have forced myself to bite my tongue, in conversations with both casual acquaintances and relatively close friends. But as I’ve grown older and more educated in feminism (through both literary theory and great feminist websites), I’ve simultaneously grown weary of both biting my tongue, and defending myself on the occasions I don’t.  Exasperated by the growing presence of rape apologists, victim-blaming, and slut-shaming in the media (or possibly just my increased awareness of it), I’ve struggled with the question of exactly when, where, and how often I should be publicly expressing my outrage at the veiled and not-so-veiled misogyny in both the media and the statements of friends or family? In short, how do I make people aware of the misogyny in their comments and actions without jeopardizing my relationships?

A prime example occurred about a month ago. Thanks to Facebook’s recent-ish changes, I am now not only privy to the statuses of all my Facebook friends, but also to any statuses of THEIR friends which they ‘like’ or comment on. It was in this way that I stumbled upon the rant of a man whom I shall call John Doe. John had committed the cardinal sin of posting a rant about being dumped on Facebook, complete with the lines “my ‘GIRL’ friend asked me to remove our relationship status from facebook so she can go play the field of dicks” and “anyways boys she’s on the market, FAIR GAME Im trying to say.” While the immaturity of the poster (and his assumption that A) he was dumped so his girlfriend could “play the field of dicks”, and B) that ANYONE needed HIS permission to date her afterwards) left me fairly disgusted, it was the first comment on the post that caused my blood pressure to rise to previously unknown levels. This commenter, who from here on shall be referred to as “Misogynistic Asshole”, or M.A. for short, wrote “no one will want her now buddy, you have her all stretched apart!” Worst of all was the fact that this comment had several ‘likes’.

So there it was, almost as if the creator of the status had consulted a checklist of things likely to piss me (or most feminists) off:

Slut-shaming- check.

Assumption of male ownership over female body – check.

Implication that a woman’s entire worth is located in her vagina and its ability to make sex pleasurable for males  – check.

Typical reference to the male’s supposedly enormous penis – check.

A list of possible actions crossed my mind. I could write out a lengthy explanation of why both the original post and the comment were extraordinarily misogynistic – this was ditched because (a) I doubted they would actually understand half of what I said, (b) I doubted they would care, and (c) I didn’t feel like commenting on the post of a complete stranger, certainly not using my real name and facebook account. My second thought was to screenshot the whole thing and post it anonymously on a message board on a feminist site,  unleashing the wrath of all the internet’s feminists (in my fantasy, this wrath included the men being publicly outed as giant misogynistic assholes  and losing their jobs,friends and the possibility of ever getting laid again because of it). Realizing the likelihood of my fantasy coming true was slim to none, I opted for a third, less than useful option, which was to show the post to my roommate (who, while admitting it was both immature and disgusting, did not share my dramatic sense of outrage), and then rant about it to her for 15-20 minutes, thus depriving her of valuable study time.

Looking back and realizing that my reaction did nothing to prevent this sort of misogyny in the future, educate any of the parties involved, or do anything other than push my blood pressure to dangerous levels and deprive my roommate of study time, I am faced with what I can only assume is a common problem among feminists – what reactions are appropriate when you see/hear someone make ridiculous misogynistic comments? What do you do when you stumble upon these comments being made, not by friends or acquaintances, but by strangers in a semi-private forum? And how the hell do you try and educate and inform people about their underlying misogynistic assumptions or beliefs without straining your friendship, especially with people who are less inclined to look critically at where their statements/beliefs are coming from and what they imply?

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