In some ways, the news is anti-climactic: Michael David Barrett, an insurance executive of Illinois, pled guilty yesterday to the interstate stalking of ESPN sportscaster Erin Andrews.
More specifically, Barrett admitted to buying information about Andrews over the internet; traveling to follow Andrews; staying in three hotel rooms next to hers (the hotels told him which room was hers); twice filming videos of Andrews while she was naked through the door's peephole; posting those videos online; and trying to sell the videos to TMZ.
It's just another chapter in the long, long story of the objectification of Erin Andrews.
But what stands out about yesterday's hearing is that for once, it gave the 31-year-old sportscaster the chance to speak for herself -- and what it is like for her to pursue a job she loves while navigating fierce misogyny and harassment.
Full disclosure: I am a 90210 junkie. I've seen every episode of the original Beverly Hills 90210 at least twice and sometimes feel I remember their high school experiences more clearly than my own. So of course I watched the newly revived 90210 when it premiered last year. Putting aside the reworked theme song (BAD! WRONG! INVIOLABLE!), it was pretty ok and worth watching, if only to marvel at the outfits and the hairstyles.
And then they made Silver, one of the primary characters, bipolar, and I had to stop watching. The story arc around her "mental breakdown" and subsequent hospitalization was so offensive and unrealistic that I deleted the next few episodes from my Tivo without watching them, intentionally skipping Donna Martin's return to West Beverly. My interest in and love for the Donna Martin character is such that this is roughly equivalent to ignoring Obama's inauguration after working on his campaign for two years, which should show you how wildly upset the bipolar storyline made me.
In Pedagogy of the Oppressed Paulo Freire wrote, "Critical and liberating dialogue, which presupposes action, must be carried on with the oppressed at whatever the state of their struggle for liberation...Only dialogue, which requires critical thinking, is also capable of generating critical thinking. Without dialogue there is no communication, and without communication there can be no true education." Because I believe dialogue is a critical component in working toward radical social change, I have quite a bit of love for conducting interviews--and thus, do so with some frequency.
Last week, my interview with Lorraine M. López, the editor of the newly published collection An Angle of Vision: Women Writers on Their Poor and Working-Class Roots, was published in WireTap Magazine. Since my conversation with López was more lengthy than the allotted space would allow, I was given permission to post a complimentary piece here. The two posts are intended to be read in tandem in order to experience the full scope of our conversation.
If there is a better metaphor for the corrosive spiritual effects of internalizing the dehumanizing commercial definition of "beauty" than the soul-sickened doctors of "Nip/Tuck," I haven't seen it on TV.
Holiday gift shopping is tough. I mean, if commercials have taught us anything, it's that women reeeally care about getting presents (especially pricey ones) and if you get a woman a gift she doesn't like she'll probably never speak to you again. What can I say? I guess we're ridiculously materialistic and shallow. So materialistic and shallow, in fact, that we can't be bothered to make our own doctor's appointments. (I guess we just care about shopping more?) That's why, this holiday season, what the women in your life really want is for you to make them an appointment to get a pap smear or a mammogram:
Doria Shafiq: Egyptian feminist, activist, author, poet... and probably someone you've never heard of. UNTIL NOW! Shafiq worked tirelessly before and after the Egyptian Revolution to secure equality for women in the context of an Islamic society; her strong feminist consciousness converged with her country's surge of nationalism to create radical change for Egyptian women in a short period of time.
Come, sit, let me tell you a story. It's 100% original and has never ever been used before and doesn't have any societal baggage attached to it. Also, I'm lying. But let me tell it to you anyway.
Once, not all that long ago, there was a dramatic story to be told! And that dramatic story needed a villain. And not just any villain, but a truly evil, twisted villain, somehow marked as the villain.
While MTV originally planned to band-aid the episode of Jersey Shore featuring Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi getting punched--hard--in the face by by airing a PSA cautioning "Violence against women in any form is a crime," they've now decided to not run the footage at all.
An MTV representative said "What happened to 'Snooki' was a crime and obviously extremely disturbing. After hearing from our viewers, further consulting with experts on the issue of violence, and seeing how the video footage has been taken out of context to not show the severity of this act or the resulting consequences, MTV has decided not to air Snooki being physically punched in next week's episode."
Does that mean the clip wasn't disturbing before it went viral? Jersey Shore was shot months ago, and MTV has been sitting on the footage since. Were they waiting for moral public outcry or for violence against women to go viral?
Joseph Mathew Varghese is a photojournalist-cum-filmmaker whose clean visual aesthetic gives way to a somewhat distant and subdued cultural crossing in the richly intricate Bombay Summer. Varghese's first narrative feature film, Bombay Summer follows in the footsteps of the director's two previously released documentary films in presenting an intimate perspective of one of the world's most populous and rapidly developing cities.