Log in

No account? Create an account
ursala's Journal

> recent entries
> calendar
> friends
> profile

Monday, October 13th, 2003
1:10 am - i didnt realize how angry i was
Sex Sells, Consensual or Not: Sensationalizing Rape in the Mainstream Media.

I am not an avid television watcher but visiting my grandparent’s over thanksgiving weekend and participating in their television watching habits has proven horrifying. They have a love for crime TV, Cold Case, C.S.I., Criminal Intent, American Justice, Without a Trace etc. You know the one’s with the forty something “im just a nice guy trying to do good for my country and my family” main detective and his sidekick, the beautiful, bright and hard hitting “protégé” of a female partner.
What is bothering me is that almost every case deals with some form of sexual assault.

So what is the problem, at least sexual assault is being addressed, right?

Wrong. Sexual assault is not being addressed, it is being sensationalized.

These programs promote fear, victimize women, criminalize men and attempt to justify rape. Often on these shows the women are raped by strangers. It is a stranger or someone the woman bumped into at the library who assaults her. The rapists are always sure to mumble something like “never leave your window open” before leaving the scene and are always later proven somehow justified for their actions, be it the girl was wearing revealing clothing (it’s her fault), he had a domineering mother (it’s her fault) or he comes from a rough life.
So what does these programs tell young women? That we should never feel safe enough to leave our windows open in the evening, that we should be afraid to exchange words with strangers, that it is not safe enough for us to participate in society. We should never enter elevators or public washrooms alone, live alone or walk alone. We should live in constant fear and seek the protection of men.
This is not true. Most assaulted women are attacked by someone they know, not by strangers. Date rape is the most common form of rape. Not only beautiful, young, white women are raped, so are men, people of colour, children and the elderly. But sex sells, consensual or not.

These programs also cast men in an unfair light. They tell us that men are vicious criminals, mal adjusted animals (do animals even rape?, this also implies it is natural) who can’t relate to women on any level but a sexual one. Men as seen as dealing with their problems by assaulting women, as creatures who suffer from “irresistible urges”.
They teach us that men are to be feared.

Crime television no longer seems to be about getting the bad guy and making us feel safe. We are more afraid then ever. They are about the creepiest attacks Hollywood can dream up and sell. The assaults are almost always shown on television, be it the victims courtroom account, involving flashback or some hazy, interesting cinematography that illustrates often graphically exactly what happened. Someone flipping channels could easily mistake this for a sex scene.

Picture this: Couple flipping channels.
“Honey, what was on that channel?”
“Oh just another teenage girl getting raped”

Perhaps an even more pertinent question is, Why do we eat it up? Basic marketing theory will tell us that they give us what we want. Why is there a demand for the gory details of rape, assault, murder? This goes beyond your Thursday night crime TV, we want to know if Mahar Arar was tortured, how was Bill Sampson tortured, so what did Paul Bernardo do anyway, what did they do exactly. When Mike Tyson announced that he wished that he had raped Ms. Washington, (the women who he was sentenced to three years in prison for assaulting but denies) it made headline news in the U.S. Is this news? Why do we eat up this disgust?

Recently I was reading an article about war in Liberia. It was about rape. I was thinking oh good, rape as a weapon of war is finally being addressed. As I proceeded to read the article I discovered that the article was really about the gruesome, graphic details of a ten year old girls rape/murder by a soldier. He had raped her to death. It had been the girl’s birthday and her mother, forced to observe, was recounting the details. Is this necessary? Is this news? Does reading this make us numb? How does this true story contrast to the sensationalized, fucked up fiction of Hollywood? If it doesn’t move you to action, what is the purpose?

As a young woman, with peers, sex is often a topic. It is frightening to hear women speak of sex as an act of violence. Sex for some women comes with a sense of loss (virginity, pride, reputation). Why should participating in a hopefully pleasurable sexual experience make a woman feel like she is “giving it away”. What is “it”? With all of these messages, all of these horror stories how are we to form respectful, healthy sexual relationships?

Finally, I want to address how we campaign against sexual assault. Right now on my university campus there are tons of posters that say “Your chances of getting raped are highest during the first eight weeks of school. Protect Yourself”. Other than conjuring up feelings of intense fear in women these posters also puts all of the responsibility of defending against rape in the hands of women. It is your job to protect yourself. Women do, women are and women always have been trying to protect themselves as best they can. Why don’t we look at methods of prevention rather than defence.

So at the end of Cold Case or what have you when the main detective, tired, jaded but with a renewed sense of justice and resolve goes home hugs his innocent daughters and loving wife, taking refuge from the evil world outside his door I ask you to think critically about what you have exposed yourself to in the last hour. How do you feel and why do you feel that way?

(2 comments | comment on this)

Tuesday, December 25th, 2001
4:27 pm - Merry CHristmas TO you all!
Hi GUys
JUst wanted to say Merry CHristmas to all of you and that it has been strange to be away from home at christmas time.
I hope that you are all well and enjoying the season.
im home in less than a month so get ready.

(7 comments | comment on this)

Wednesday, December 12th, 2001
1:33 pm - killling the lunch hour.
its funny ya know
how your face pops up uninvited, clouding my brain
whenever it smells a vacancy.
I dont know exactly what it is about you so that your eyes play
like a broken record in my already overflowing head.
Our story(if there ever was one) is not finished, a choose your
own adventure and i am stuck not knowing just which incredible option to choose
Shall i proceed, satisfy my curious temptation or ..
take the high road, no danger in sight.
EIther way we need to close it somehow, seal it
and bury it under all the possibilities and potentials, the probablies and the pressumptions
deep beneath any hopes or tosses or turns
underall and any of those
defense mechanisms or histories or proud personalities.

im your contradicting final arguments in the high court of self fulfilled prophecies.

one of the ways oppression works is when you are convinced you dont have a choice.

there is a place .. . halfway between you and around the corner from me . . .

did ya ever think about how when you are scared for your life you automatically try to grab onto something living. the simpson street realization continues to explain everything.

geez look what happens when i let thoughts ramble, this should be for a real journal.

i like the song AS Is.

yipes i am late
there are 17 orphan infants awaiting me.

(3 comments | comment on this)

Tuesday, December 11th, 2001
2:00 pm - hey you limited number of people who will read this
i have changed my e mail address since i had to
it is now
i most likely didnt recieve any of the emails that i know you all sent me (please please please) in the last two weeks, so please send them to me again and that would be absolutely wonderful.

things are going incredibly well and i am learning things, like i am supposed to be doing i guess, more about me than about this crazy country though which is only okay.

if i could just stop thinking about myself and sit still for a minute i bet i would be so much smarter. blah.
i am writing lots though which is fun for me because when i read it all a month later im truly entertained .

if i have accomplished anything in the last five months it is the ability to be able to be content even when not overflowing with things to do and being only a dayplanner space away from some from of stimulation. i sat in my room for almost two whole days (with the help of a sore throat) and had a whole lot of fun.

i will let you in on a little secret though, something i discovered in my little hiatus from the world outside of ani difranco, pineapples and paper.

I am very scared to come home.

(1 comment | comment on this)

Wednesday, November 28th, 2001
1:26 pm - feel free to write me off
hey guess what
it turns out that
Douglas Coupland
my Simpson Street Realization
my Powell River Complex
my latest infatuation
and the reason i love all of you
is all directly inter related.

I lost my mind somewhere between Victoriaville Mall and Rob Bickfords camp nad found it somewhere in India.

(2 comments | comment on this)

Monday, November 26th, 2001
1:33 pm - just a chokin that chicken
When people are born into social awareness they almost always come out kicking and screaming . . choking angrily on that first breath of real air, shocked by such a departure from the womb of ignorance.
it takes a while . . . for their lungs to adjust, get used to all the toxins mixed with truth that they inhale and expell at every moment .. . but . . they do, and they realize that hurt is as much a part of breathing as is the rise and fall of ones chest.
Eventually . . we all get to the point where the toxins are a crucial element of our oxygen. We dont even realize that they are filling us up to be greedily absorbed before they can come gushing out of us in countless words, glances, actions and ignorances to be quickly inhaled and reshaped by the next thirsty sucker.
Sometimes we try to hold our breaths . . . take in less.
and sometimes we do the opposite . . .sucking up all the air around us, destroying and creating. . . proof that yes . . .I am alive . .
I consume therefore . . i am . .. . RIght?

I dare someone to finish this for me.

(4 comments | comment on this)

Friday, November 23rd, 2001
5:32 pm - from here to you.
so i am actually going to make an entry into this live journal of mine, i think the only reason is . . . that i feel like it.
I have been in INdia for one month today.
It has honestly been one of the best months of my life . . . but enough of that biz.

when one learns to stop limitting themself they will learn that others will only try to limit them more . . too many relationships consist of two people putting limits on each other
i have never realized the extent of peripheral vision as much as i have during the last four months.
core selves are recognized even in the largest foreign crowds.
presence has too much value.
and finally:

controlled environment = mind warp = comparisons to limited group = changed perspectives of self = new ideas and norms = false reality = culture?
blah blah blah
i thought i would join some of the intellectual mastubation that is oh so common in the live journal community.
But you all know i love you for it.

i have a feeling you will all hear from me soon.

(2 comments | comment on this)

Monday, October 1st, 2001
10:13 am
i can never sleep.

(3 comments | comment on this)

Thursday, June 7th, 2001
10:21 pm - yucky.
today feels sick.
It's one of those days when people talk to you you forget that you are
feeling foreign or something but once you are not interacting with anyone you
remember that you don't feel very well at all.
I had a three and a half hour nap on the sun porch this afternoon and
I was happy about that. I had the funniest dreams.
After that I went to the rev meeting and then stayed trying to figure out
how to work the stupid photocopier for like 4 hours.
I got terribly frustrated.
I am happy that tomorrow is friday.

I feel left out today.
It makes me sad to sit there and plan Rev and watch the
girls get all excited and know that I wont get to see it all in
action and that I am not really a part of it.
I also know that they need me to leave so that they can all learn
everything on their own and co ordinate and get mad and
frustrated and scared and all that biz but that is kindove wierd to accept.
Hearing about the new group and not being a part of it
makes me sad. I kindove hate the RMYC putting me in wierd
situations and then having awkward relationships because of it,
hearing more
real opinions through other people.
its so grey. I am soooooooo glad to be getting out of here but
kindove uneasy about
it aswell. suppose that is to be expected.
I dont really feel like talking to anyone that i know, I wouldn't mind leaving today.
I don't know anything about India.
I am so wallowing in neurotic tendencies right now I can't even handle it
its like everything on the face of the earth is hurting my feelings.
I miss my brother and I might not even get to see him before i leave.
pooooor me. waaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh.
anyways, em is home soon hopefully that will be good.
one week i think it is.

oh well
tomorrow another day
i hope there is nice weather.

current mood: blah

(6 comments | comment on this)

Monday, May 28th, 2001
9:45 pm - oh the trials and tribulations of adolescense.
Today I was so in the mode, it was awesome. I got so much done. Didn't make a single class but I accomplished so much that it didn't seem to matter at all. I will go to them all tomorrow just to make up for it : )
It was wierd, my head barely strayed from the task at hand, that is such a rare occassion. I liked being able to concentrate. I think it must have been because I wasn't in a classroom or something. I should take correspondence.

I did think about a few things today though. Getting them into words might be an interesting endeavour but I can try to spell it out for my own sake.

I considered the role of having others knowing and understanding what you do in your life. Relating to your experiences or something to that effect. Knowing your ideas, realities, thoughts and feelings. I wondered how much worth we as human beings would place on our actions and in ourselves if we knew they were always to go un noticed, never to be shared with anyone, ever. Never having anyone validate, enjoy, admire or react to your life. what would you think of yourself if you stopped recieving positive and negative support all together. And how much of self would actually exist.

I think the entire purpose behind so many actions is knowing that there is someone who can relate to you in that experience when all is said and done. I think that patience has everything to do with support that may or may not be present but is existing and can appreciate your sacrifice later on, whether or not that support exists in the present time is irrelevent, faith that it will come later is imperative.
I think to many people that is why god is so important and so depended on, because somewhere something understands how you are feeling what you are sacrificing in that moment and pats you on the back for it and even if no one you know can relate to you in that experience you know that somewhere something understands you in all your entirity with no need to articulate, fear or tip toe. its genius really, you feel validated by someone elses awareness of yourself.
Because if you can't go home at the end of the day and say either to yourself through a diary, a contraption like live journal or a sypathetic ear what you have achieved and what you went through to do it then you might not do it at all or might not have anyone to validate your feelings making them irrelevent and nobody wants thier feelings to be irrelevent. that is a cold, lonely and scary thought i think.
Hence self expression, security in something personal.
I am aware that this is common knowledge, i have never voiced it before and you see I obviously want someone to notice that i have made this observation even if i know everyone else has too, or something.
It doesn't seem like a complex idea when I put it that way and it very well may not be but I think there is more worth to it than it sounds like there is in those sentences. today it was bigger than this. i feel frustrated that i dont think these sentences can make you relate, they can't validate my feeling because i dont think i conveyed it properly.
Now think about how trust risk and hurt tie in.

anyway that is enough babble when independent studies await.

!GOod Night!
h e a t h e r

current mood: obvious

(comment on this)

Thursday, May 24th, 2001
5:21 pm - the phrase "what does he know about my politics" is stuck in my head.
I am sitting here in my freezing cold basement and I should be
working on a proposal to the federal government but
im not.
Instead i am writing in this live journal eventhough I dont really have anything to say.
I think this is simply another way for me to put off what I am *supposed* to be doing.

Today was one of those days were everyone comes up to you and asks
you if your dog died or if you are really tired or
"What's wrong" (high pitch fake caring voice inserted here)
and you're like why are you asking me that?
I dont know if people ask you stuff like that alot but i get it at least three times a week
even if I am having the best day of my life.
They usually ask me when i am thinking about something
silly me for forgetting to smile and look pleasant at all moments of the day
especially when i am somewhere in my brain.
today they may have had reason though, i am quite tired.

And no that isnt a complaint that is a fact.

Yesterday at RMYC we had a complaining circle to start the day off
and i asked everyone to complain about something that they tend to
feel self conscious complaining about.
I don't think that people truly followed the instructions
but I don't blame them, neither did I.
It was really interesting though, sometimes it is validating hearing other
people complaining about things, just like sometimes it
is terribly annoying and draining.
I think the group got enegy out of others complaints and anger.
for some reason i didnt and i dont know why that is.
Normally i would.
But ? whateves, i didnt really feel like being there in the first place
why do i fee a tinge of guilty saying that?

Yesterday something was brewing
it was funny, so wierd when that happens
kinda like i am possesed or something
overall quite a humorous experience
cause everything i say and do has this wierd
motivation behind it, and i am looking
for something in every conversation and
action. but whatever
glad to know it is not really around today
but i have a possesed hangover
hahhaaah i think that is why i am
kindove tired.

anyway, now that i have procrastinated to the point where i told
you that i am possesed i think that i will go back to what i was doing.

later yall
H e A t H e r

(comment on this)

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2001
9:19 pm - sitting patiently waiting for a black out
Today I learned.
Not the kind of learning that you do from reading history texts but the kind that you do when
your brain finally decides to process some of what is happening in your life.
I kindove liked it in the same way that i like when someone i know is angry at me finally snaps.
It's relieving maybe, or satisfying, I think that validating is the word that i am looking for.
It was nice to know that I do have thoughts on what is happening in my life
i thought that i had lost the capability to think
that everything had turned to a blank space somewhere within my child ego state.
I learned that in parts of my life I have become the person who
causes others to self police. YucK.
But what can ya do, marvel then move on.
There is always much more work to do.
But i must say I enjoyed my hiatus from the world of misunderstood actions but am ready to return tomorrow.

(comment on this)

Friday, May 18th, 2001
11:10 am
So I am in the gym teachers office on her computer when i am supposed to be accross town learning about the canadian family. independent study due today, feminism and young women would be my topic of choice. My friend Sarah is editing so I am writing a little note to whoever reads this thing.
Stress been crazy lately but I have reached this plateau or something where its like nothing could get me because I am maxed out in terms of stress level and emotion. I knew that when i accidentally turned down a 24thousand dollar scholarship and it didnt impact me that it had passed a certain point, i was like ah well.
Difficult experiences these days, I am learning lots that is for sure, wish i had more time to process it, iwish i hadmore time for everything, well maybe not time but brain space. that would be great. Anger and relationships are a theme these days. its been funny scary adn awesome to learn all about them and how they relate to each other. Learning that i am an angry girl.
I have learned to only sleep 4 to five hours a night max, it works really well for me.
Sometimes me and Rob get up to watch the sun at like 6 am and for some reason those are the best days, I feel so awake all day and fall asleep fast at night.
Wierd dreams as of late, all about my conscious issues, they get me even in my sleep. Cant escape em, sometimes they wake me up and I start working on watever it is so that i can sleep again. its kindove hilarious, the stuff i can t work on is the worst.

Sarah continues to edit and I continue to blab about things that arent really all that interesting

i dont feel very interesting today, kinda like im cardboard or something. bland.?
I am excited for the long weekend eventhough i have three independent studies and a short story to write. I am making a point to have fun.
Its so hot out right now that i had to come inside, mind you I am wearing black.

Got into Carleton, public affairs and policy management *puke*
Thank god i am not going to school next year, I am gonna drink tea, listen to records and go skinnydipping.

anyway the teacher is back and sarah is done
more work to do no more time for this!

later : )

(4 comments | comment on this)

Wednesday, April 25th, 2001
9:53 pm - grrrrrrr.
I get so annoyed of those all together girls that believe in all the feminst ideals but say they arent feminists and those all together boys that have this completely disgruntled attitude towards feminism but believe in such feminist ideas or are too threatened or something to get over it and realize what it is all about.
the definition is political social and economic equality between the sexes. I would say that most people believe in that, at least as far as they know.

uurggggggg that is such a misunderstanding no one wants to clear up.
ah well.

(1 comment | comment on this)

Saturday, April 21st, 2001
6:38 pm - hmmmhmmhmmlalala
So I headed out to the Thunder Bay protest of the Summit of the Americas in my rain suit with a few extras for those who may need them and armed heavily with umbrellas to find . . . nobody there. I was dissapointed, I think protesting Free trade is more important than getting wet. After hanging out at the Apollo for a while with the other dissapointed protesters I decided that the protest made those against free trade in Thunder Bay look well, stupid and weak and unorganized not to mention non existant. It was funniest watching the news van drive by the protest site and see absolutely nothing. myself already being so critical of protests and those who devote so much time and energy, not to mention money into them, found that todays events furthered my already cynical opinions. But ?
It's interesting watching the protest in Quebec on tv, it makes me wonder what's really going on since I don't know how much the media is playing it up or isnt.
Sometimes I think that this coming generation will be one incredibly informed in human rights and corportate influence and all that biz, and I wonder if there will be a big divide in the future between those who are into capitalism and money and consuming and those who are into DIY culture and rights and equality. it makes me excited to watch the future happen. I cant wait for the backlash against tooth pick,fake and baked bleach blonders adn all that that goes with it, but it also makes me scared that being concerned with the well being of people and the environment and all that will be a trend and like all trends it will end.
anyway enough anout all that wierdness, you think about it too long and you start to feel like one of those self righteous super protester hippie protesters that they also stereotype on tv., ahhaha self policing is such a messed up thing.

anyways! I am off to Toronto tomorrow Yeah!
that could be fun.
until later then : )

(comment on this)

Sunday, April 15th, 2001
4:04 pm - hehee
hmm so I got meself a little journal.

(2 comments | comment on this)

> top of page