Politics

Dear Mr. President – Here’s a Bulleted List about White Supremacy.

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Dear Mr. President,

I’ve heard you like bulleted lists so I’ll try to keep this brief.  You said the following regarding the recent racially motivated violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides. On many sides. It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. This has been going on for a long, long time

I’m not sure what you mean by both sides, or many sides for that matter.  I’m just going to ask you some questions.

  • Do you know a time in US history when black men enslaved white men?

 

  • Has a white life ever been considered 3/5th the value of a black life?

 

  • Has there ever been a time when white men were routinely rounded up and hung by their necks from trees for offenses as minor as “whistling at a black woman?”

 

  • Was there a period in our history when law enforcement became infiltrated by black men who turned a blind eye to violence against white men?

 

  • Have white folks ever been beaten or bullied at the polls by black people when they’ve tried to vote?

 

  • How often have white families woken up in the middle of the night to broken windows and flaming crosses on their front lawns?

 

  • Has there ever been a time when a white child needed to be surrounded by armed guards in order to attend a school full of black children?

 

  • Has there ever been a single incident of a white person being dragged out of a swimming pool only to see it drained and sanitized to make it suitable for black patrons?

 

  • How many white churches have been burned to the ground, sometimes with people inside of them by angry black gangs?

 

I know you won’t bother to research this so I’ll give you the answer.

None of those things have happened to white people at the hands of black people.  NONE OF THEM.

Everything I just wrote has been inflicted on black Americans.  I’m really only scratching the surface here as I could literally write a book on this subject.  I’m not going to focus on the many things our government has done to harm the black community.  I’m ONLY going to focus on what groups like the KKK and other white supremacists have done to further marginalize, terrorize, intimidate and demean black Americans.  I’d lend you a copy of one of many studies on the history of racial violence in this country, but I know you don’t really read.

So again I’ll break it down in bulleted list form.

  • There is NO EQUIVALENT OF THE KKK IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY.  You can probably find small fringe groups that espouse some type of horrible rhetoric but they don’t have any real influence.  They have no history of atrocities.  They haven’t left generations of whites in the South to fear for their lives and safety.

 

  • The political spectrum includes radical fringe groups with hateful ideas yet none have left a body count as large as the KKK.  Here’s a link about lynching, from your favorite paper the “Failing NY Times”  I know you won’t read it, so I break it down for you.  White people killed black people, mainly because they were black.  Sure they hanged some white folks too, but the majority of their victims were black.

 

  • The Black Lives Matter movement DOES NOT promote the idea that black lives have more value than white lives.

 

  • White supremacist DO promote the idea that people of European ancestry are a superior race and every other ethnicity is sub-human.

 

  • White supremacists DO have a history of murdering and terrorizing millions based on their ethnicity: Jews, Romani, Slavs, Poles, Ukrainians, and of course black people.  They also rounded up Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, LGTB men and women, disabled people, and anyone they deemed a political opponent or threat.  The Nazis in Europe are not that much different from the Neo Nazis in the US.  They use the same rhetoric, symbols, and flags so I don’t see any reason to differentiate them.  The term Neo means new.  I’m sure you’re learning a lot here.

 

  • Neo Nazis aka the Alt Right, White Nationalists, White Supremacists, whatever you want to call them HATE JEWS by the way.  Your favored daughter, your son-in-law, three of your grandchildren and your long-term attorney are all Jewish.  If the Neo Nazis got their way all of the Jews would be forced out of the country, thrown in a camp, or killed.  I’m sure you really wouldn’t want to support any group that would do that to your family right?
So again if you are comparing the legacy of white supremacists and black Americans there is no comparison.  One group has been victimized, terrorized, and exploited while the other has left nothing but ignorance, bigotry, violence and death.  You might want to acknowledge this difference before things get much worse.  Do you really want to be known as the Nazi sympathizer president?
Most decent Americans on all sides of the political spectrum reject the ideology of the Alt Right (Neo Nazis).  If you want to shrink your base to the most radical voices go ahead.  The rest of us will defend our fellow citizens.  We will fight back without using violence.  We will expose these monsters for who and what they are.   We will march in the streets, pester you on twitter, call our reps and senators until we break the congressional switchboard.  Oh and we will come out in droves for the midterm elections.  We will RESIST.

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If you think Gender did NOT play a role in this election…

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Today a white left-leaning political comedian posted the following on social media.

Voting for Hillary Clinton was not an act of feminism. Now it’s time to prove your true feminism.

I wasn’t the only woman on his thread to react negatively to his statement.  I posted two comments. One was along the lines of

Wow that’s tone deaf

Then I waited a moment, thought about it again, and completely unloaded a rant about feminism, putting up with misogyny, and how liberals are far from immune from white male privilege.  I kind of lost my shit and blocked him.  I didn’t know this man well but there was something about the paternal quality to his request that set me over the edge. He might believe he has empathy for feminists, but he honestly has no idea what it would be like to put up with sexism EVERY SINGLE DAY OF HIS LIFE.  He also doesn’t understand the complexities that gender played in this election.

Voting for Hillary was not a feminist act, but watching this election cycle unfold has been intensely difficult for many women.  To act as if Hillary’s gender did not play a role in how she was perceived by the media and the public at large is a complete farce.

To give an example, let’s take both Trump and Hillary at face value. Now imagine them switching genders.  We would then have a wealthy, bombastic, outspoken political novice with five children by three different husbands.  Her current spouse would be a former model, over two decades younger than her, and a stay-at-home dad.

She’s a self-purported billionaire, born into wealth with a self-aggrandizing ego the size of the moon.  She announces her candidacy with an overbearing, profanity laden, extended rant in which she tears apart entire ethnic groups, and repeatedly declares the United States is deeply broken. Over the course of her primary battles, she encourages violence against protesters and stokes the flames of racial tension. She also flings personal insults at her opponents, mocks a disabled person, and gets in late night twitter battles with private and public citizens.  She even insults the mother of a dead soldier and a Gold Star family.  Any time she is criticized, she reacts in an emotional and dramatic way often resorting to harsh language and personal insults.

The same candidate doesn’t bother to prepare for all three presidential debates, and only keeps her cool for the first 25-30 minutes each time.  Instead of discussing her policy specifics she hurls insults at her opponent and moderators.  She is caught in lie after lie during interviews, and gets basic facts about US foreign policy completely wrong.  This woman even goes so far as to speak admirably about dictators and despots while managing to insult our allies.  She never releases her tax returns, despite promises of the contrary, and openly admits that she hasn’t paid federal income tax for the past two decades.  She’s caught on video bragging about sexually assaulting much younger men; and audio footage is released in which she admits to walking in on teenaged boys just to get a peek of their naked bodies. Nude photos of her unemployed, formal-model husband are released to the press.  In speeches and interviews she declares that she does not seek help or advice from others, and that she is the only person who can solve all of the country’s problems.  Then to top it all off, she’s endorsed by the KKK and the Alt-right movement.

If anyone believes for a moment that the female version of Trump would have lasted more than a week in this primary battle they are living in a bastion of male privilege or they’ve wrapped themselves in a blanket of patriarchal delusion.  In reality if Trump was a woman, he would not even be considered a viable candidate based on his two divorces, and five children by three different men.  That fact alone would have caused the public to turn against him.  Even ONE emotional outburst or twitter war would have doomed her candidacy.  Women are simply held to a different standard than men.

Watching the fall of Hillary on Tuesday night felt personal.  What I saw was a professional and immensely qualified woman get trounced by a boorish, thin-skinned, sexist man-child who had no intellectual curiosity or desire to learn anything new.

Every woman, Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal has been made to feel lesser at some point in her life based solely on her gender.  We have worked twice as hard, only to have someone reduce us to our looks or break us down into body parts.   We’ve sat silently in the room when a man in a position of power makes degrading remarks about our gender. We’ve had to overlook and ignore sexually inappropriate behavior because we didn’t want to lose our jobs or get a bad grade in school.  When we have spoken up for ourselves we are labeled as bitchy, shrill, difficult, mannish or worse.  We’ve had to walk down the street as strange men hurled insults at us, blocked our paths or even grabbed us simply because we didn’t stop to chat, smile, or make eye contact with them. We’ve consented to sexual acts we didn’t want to do because we realized giving in would be easier than fighting back. We’ve had every boundary pushed and ignored by men who decided we were more object than human being.  Many of us have been sexually assaulted, beaten or stalked by men we knew and trusted.  We have learned to fear all men in certain situations – to not walk home late at night, to be constantly aware of our surroundings, to not get too drunk, to worry about our drinks getting drugged, to avoid wearing short skirts or low-cut tops, to understand that we could be sexually attacked by a random stranger.

White men in this country have the gift of being neutral.  They are judged on their words and actions.  Everyone else, in every demographic, is filtered through a lens of gender or ethnicity.  Throughout the entire ordeal of the process the public and press measured Hillary by a totally different standard than they did Trump.  With all of his talk about the media bias against him, the overbearing white male could say and do anything, while the woman had to carefully watch and monitor her every move.  Even then she was criticized for being too inauthentic, robotic, and finely polished.  Voters would declare they just didn’t like her, they didn’t know why, but something about a strong and an accomplished woman shook them to their core.

So yes, voting for Hillary was not a feminist act, but watching her lose to an undisciplined, abusive, ignorant, sexist, racist and xenophobic bully hurt me deeply as a woman.  I couldn’t help but think of all the times in my own life I’ve been underestimated, torn down, humiliated, picked-apart and ashamed just because I was born female.  I could list all of the incidents but this article would become far too long, and every woman I know could also fill several pages with stories of her own.

The smug white progressives can save their advice for how I, or any woman should process this loss.  For me Hillary represented all of us, with all of her flaws and shortcomings she was the woman working twice as hard getting half the credit.  She won’t be the last woman to run for president, but in many ways she was the sacrificial lamb for the next woman to follow.  Maybe by then, our first female president will be judged more on her words and actions, rather than the narrow constraints of what it means to be a woman.

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My Grief is Bigger than Yours

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If someone were to say to a group, “I just found out my dad died.” most people would have enough decency to at least offer a condolence, such as “I’m sorry for your loss.”  On the internet things are different.  A person might say, “I just found out my dad died.” and someone could respond with “You father was a privileged white male, who lived in the richest country on the planet, and died with some wealth intact.  He was given the best medical care and lived well beyond his life expectancy.  Why aren’t you concerned about the many children who die in Africa every day of diseases like malaria.  Where’s your grief for them?”

I’m using an extreme example as only a sadistic sociopath would use language like that towards a someone going through a personal loss.  The scenario I just used is highly unlikely to happen.  We all realize a personal loss is tragic regardless of other circumstances.  Losing your father is traumatic for anyone.

Social media is a strange beast.  It tends to reduce everyone to sound bites, encourage profound self-righteousness, and funnel thoughts and ideas into purist ideologies.  One side claims moral superiority over another and there is little compromise.   Whatever traumatic event or grave offense reported and shared on Facebook, a counter argument forms immediately to dissuade the outrage.

The recent terrorist attacks in Paris are a great example of this phenomena.  As soon as the news broke and people expressed grief for what happened, many countered with,

“You only care about Paris while you ignore Beirut.”

I didn’t see any of these people post a single syllable about Beirut on the day the terrorist attacks occurred.  Where were their voices of outrage in the immediate aftermath?  Why did they only comment in relation to another tragedy?

The harsh reality is that very few Americans knew what had happened in Beirut because it wasn’t a top story in the news. despite our 24/7 news cycle.  Paris and Beirut are very different cities.  Lebanese citizens, in the form of Hezbollah, have openly engaged in warfare inside Syria in support of the Al-Assad regime. These fighters are not sanctioned by the Lebanese government, in fact they’ve tried to stop them.  Regardless there are Lebanese boots on the ground directly battling Isis.  Beirut, unlike Paris has seen far more terrorist violence and political unrest. There is so much bloodshed in Lebanon that the topic has been given its own Wikipedia entry titled – List of attacks in Lebanon.  For the year 2014 there were 16 incidents.  In 2015, so far there have been seven.  Unlike France, Lebanon is surrounded by warfare and instability on most of its borders.  So although the loss of life is just as tragic, a terrorist attack in Beirut is not uncommon.  The press is not going to fixate on something that happens quite often, rather than on something rare and unexpected.

Western media is in large part owned by a handful of conglomerates, sponsored by multi-national corporations, and driven by ratings.   Our news sources, once bastions of serious journalism, have morphed into entertainment machines.  Sensational news gets more viewers, so much of what we see is sensational.  Political unrest and tragedies are often ignored in poorer countries, unless the US has a vested interest in them.   Given our selective press coverage it wasn’t surprising few knew about the equally horrifying attacks in Lebanon.  Far fewer were aware of an attack earlier this year in Kenya with an equally high body count.  I admit I knew of neither, and I’m a bit of a news junkie.

People who speak out about these inequities in our media are right to do so.  I would whole heartedly agree with them that news of Paris is obsessively covered, while other bombings barely register.  The 24/7 cable news cycle tends to simply repeat the same stories morning, noon and night.  So instead of a comprehensive look at world events we get overly detailed coverage of the same story ad nauseam.  Not to mention the amount of frivolous news stories about missing blonde women, murderous mothers and vapid celebrities.

Some critics of the public’s response towards Paris have gone too far.  To quote one article:

“But I refuse — despite my partial French heritage — to cloak myself in nationalism of any stripe or star, particularly not now. Because, besides victims in Paris, an incomprehensibly astronomic number of people have been grieving loss of the highest order for some time — in places whose names roll off our tongues as if it’s accepted that violence simply happens there — and a majority likely couldn’t guess the colors on these victims’ flags.”

The same author went on to advocate for every victim of every global conflict including the war in Syria, Afghanistan,  the continual unrest in Iraq and the entire country of Yemen.  She got a bit off point and ranted about sex slaves in Malaysia, poorly paid workers in Mexico and China but oddly left out the entire country of North Korea.  Of course she’s correct as there is suffering, inequity, and warfare all over the planet.  Some of it is a direct cause of the actions of wealthier nations while other suffering is completely homegrown. There are child brides in India being burned to death by their in-laws, women and girls mutilated from female circumcision, public beheadings in Saudi Arabia, honor killings in Afghanistan, and women and girls dying due to overly restrictive anti-abortion laws in El Salvador.  If we wanted to, we could fill our heads with absolutely soul-crushing images of human misery from around the world.  The author if this specific piece of course didn’t offer a single solution to any of the injustices she ranted about, and I’m not sure what I, or any American can do about the actions of foreign governments.  We can hold our politicians accountable for US military and trade policies. but we’ve got little power to affect certain laws or customs in other countries.   The civil war in Syria is a multifaceted disaster with at least four factions battling each other, while foreign countries including Russia fuel the whole mess.

In contrast to that author’s strident diatribe, I read a simple message from a friend on Facebook.

“Please let me know you are safe.  I am with you in spirit.  I love you all so much.  The news from Paris is breaking my heart”

It was followed by a long list of names, both friends and relatives she was desperate to find.  The specificity of her message broke my heart. Does it hurt any less when a person loses a loved one in a wealthy country than it does when a person loses on in a poor one? Isn’t it human nature to mourn those closest to us more than we would a distant stranger? Wouldn’t anyone feel a greater connection towards a place where they had lived or is similar to their own home? Wouldn’t a Kenyan react more strongly to a story about a neighboring African country, than they might about Paris?  Could any of us really handle the grief if we focused on all of the death, injustice and inequity, that occurs on this planet on any given day?  As a person who lives in New York City I can’t help but see my city as the next target.  I’ll never forget the chaos, loss and despair that lingered here for months after 9-11.  Am I not supposed to worry and fear for my friends and neighbors?  Of course no one should die in a terrorist attack but Is it politically incorrect to care about my own safety?

It’s easy to criticize others for their “misguided solidarity” but it’s human nature to see yourself in another person when they are a lot like you.  We should all be alarmed that Isis managed to pull off such a well executed and organized attack in a wealthy nation like France, one with a professional police force, an intelligence organization, and a well armed military.  If these terrorist could cause so many deaths so easily in a wealthy nation, then countries with less resources are even more vulnerable.  We need to unite together to fight this fanatical scourge that has no respect for life.  So yes, mourn for Paris, Beirut, Kenya, and the entire Middle East Region.  Mourn for all the innocent lives taken by this warped ideology.  The mother who has lost her child in Kenya or Beirut will cry just as many tears as the one who just lost hers in Paris.  This is a time to unite in our grief, not fight over who is more worthy of it.

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Dating Online: What’s in a Name?

Hello my name is

Hello my name is (Photo credit: maybeemily)

Dating profiles are little windows into a person’s psyche.  They say so much while saying so little at the same time.  I’ve tried nearly every service from eHarmony, match.com, OkCupid, chemistry to even Jdate.  I’m not Jewish but I live in New York City so I thought – why not?  So far nothing has worked.  I’m like a curious bystander staring at a crime scene or car accident, no matter how pathetic my online dating experiences have been, I just can’t tear myself away from the sites.  Pursuing profiles is like a huge sociology experiment.  If I have any advice on here to ANY MAN it would be this.

PLEASE HAVE A TRUSTED FEMALE FRIEND, WHO IS NOT YOUR MOTHER, LOOK OVER YOUR PROFILE BEFORE YOU PUBLISH IT.

I would repeat that three times for emphasis but I like to keep my word count under 1000 on this blog.

One of the things I learned quickly in regards to emails on OKCupid – A guy’s name says so much.  I get email all day on those sites. If a guy has a crazy name, I know it isn’t even worth opening anything until the next day.  Sometimes a name can actually ruin everything, in one case a man emailed me with a name that was a creative spelling of spermbank, yet when I looked at his profile he seemed perfectly normal.  I just couldn’t imagine though, going out on a date with a man who thought SPERMBANK was an appropriate name for a dating profile.  I write this with the intention of helping guys who are well intentioned but have no clue about how a name like, HappyHuggerGuy might come across to a woman.  The more extreme names like Slave4URFeet or BigSugarDaddyLvr will always be there, and easy to disregard.  But if you are a guy and you aren’t sure why your profile isn’t getting more email, or if your a woman and want to see some of the most tragic names I could find…this article is for you!  Most names fall into the following categories.

Sexy Names – must contain one or more of the following

  • 69
  • Deep, Long
  • Big, Huge,
  • Pulsing, Thorbbing
  • Girthy, Girth, Thick, Wide
  • Xrated
  • NSFW
  • Beast
  • Pervert, Perv
  • Naughty
  • CunnyLover
  • ThreeWay
  • Casual, NoStrings, Discrete
  • Honorable Mentions:
  • SpermBank
  • WellHungForFun
  • Youlllovemy
  • NiceGuyButNot
  • Longrider888

I Think the only thing I have to offer is MY MONEY 

  • SugarDaddy
  • Richboy
  • Ferrari, Lexxus, Porsche, Benz
  • HighRoller
  • BigPlayer
  • $$$$

I’m a Sensitive guy – these made my skin crawl more than any other category

  • Cuddles
  • Snuggles
  • Sweet4U
  • SensitiveLover
  • Sweetboy
  • Gentle
  • Lover, Loves, Lovey
  • Friendly
  • Huggs, Huggable, Hugger
  • Kisser, Kisses, Kissy
  • Lonely
  • Honorable Mentions
  • GentleLover4U
  • Mr.Cuddles
  • SnuggleBearLover
  • Soft_N_Gentle

The following are subcategories that depending on the woman could work.  After all, we are all quite different and if a woman specifically seeks a squirrel loving guy who is into BDSM and has a foot fetish – A name like SquirrelDomFootLuv – might be just the thing.  If you are into kinky and this is what you are looking for, by all means don’t hide it.  It’s always better to NOT surprise a potential partner

I’m Kinky or a have a Fetish

  • BDSM
  • Kinky, Kink,
  • Slave, Master, Slavery
  • Submissive, Sub, Dom, Dominant
  • Beat Me, Wimpy, Wimpee
  • LoveFeet, LoveBig, LoveCurves, TallChaser
  • Fisty – Couldn’t make that one up
  • Honorable Mentions
  • SlaveMasterDomme69
  • Mr.Wimppee
  • McFisty
  • WhipMeGuy4U
  • SlapSlaveAssMan

Spiritual – Again these would repulse me, but if you are a mystical sort seeking a similar type of gal, they could be perfect

  • Soul, Soulmate
  • Peaceful, Peace
  • Spirit, Spirit Guide, Searcher
  • Hippie
  • Mystical
  • Seeker, Visionary, Visions,
  • Dreamer, Dream,
  • SunGod, Goddess Seeker,
  • Healer
  • Evolved

Alternative Lifestyle Names – Again for the right girl, these could be just the thing

  • Vegan – probably the #1 I see in theis category.  I get it, as they are probably seeking another vegan.
  • Veggie, Veg
  • Yoga
  • Meditate

I might be Dangerous!

  • Rebel
  • Rogue
  • NoRules
  • Fire
  • Danger
  • Animal
  • Pirate
  • Spicy
  • HarleyMan888
  • Untamed
  • Maverick

Proud to be me

  • Geek, Geeky
  • Nerdy
  • Treker
  • Trekie
  • Robot
  • Gamer

The Classics – These are total cliches.  They aren’t terrible, just massively overused.

  • Guy4U, Guy4Ya, YourGuy
  • Mr.RightNow
  • PrinceCharming, Knight, Prince
  • GreatCatch
  • StopLooking, SearchEndsHere
  • I’mTheOne, TheOne
  • Popeye – I have no idea why this one is popular but I see it a lot
  • NormalGuy, GuyNextDoor, FavoriteGuy, Regular, Average
  • Smiler, Smiles, Smile
  • Boy, Boyz,
  • Johnny or Joe – both extremely popular
  • Happy, Nice, Fun
  • MacGyver – A LOT of guys make variations on that joke
  • Honorable Mentions
  • AllUNeedIsMe
  • AverageJoe4U
  • FoundIt
  • DoneSearching

Animals – Used a lot, not sure why.  

  • Ram
  • Tiger
  • Phoenix
  • Dog or Dawg
  • Monkey – extremely common – I have no idea why names like MonkeySmiler would help a guy out, but to each his own.

Inexplicable names – I have no idea what they were thinking…honestly I don’t.  These are all real names, I’m not kidding.

  • TurtleLover
  • SquirrelBoy
  • Beeswax
  • FrankenChicken
  • BreadPudding
  • BloodDonor
  • PumpkinHeart
  • Mudrunner – Could mean you’re into off-roading, but a woman probably won’t get the reference – this one is iffy.
  • Plopgasm
  • PappyAss – Personal favorite, as what the hell does it mean?  And how would it attract women?
  • MarriednDating

Boring Names – Include things like

  • Occupation
  • Hobby
  • Location – NY, SF, ATL
  • Age – 1973, 1984, 1968

I usually get attracted to a photo, and then I read the profile.  Those are the two things that grab me, a boring name will NOT turn me off.  My own name on the site is fairly boring.  However a super cheesy, overly sexual, creepy, cuddly name could hurt you.  So when in doubt just call your self NYCGuySohoDentist – You’ll probably get more email!

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Weinergate: Can We get Real about Slut Shaming?

Slut

Slut (Photo credit: artgoeshere)

I’ve written about this topic before as I am growing increasingly frustrated by the entire concept.   To quote FinallyFeminism101

Short answer: Slutshaming, also known as slut-bashing, is the idea of shaming and/or attacking a woman or a girl for being sexual, having one or more sexual partners, acknowledging sexual feelings, and/or acting on sexual feelings. Furthermore, it’s “about the implication that if a woman has sex that traditional society disapproves of, she should feel guilty and inferior” (Alon Levy, Slut Shaming). It is damaging not only to the girls and women targeted, but to women in general an society as a whole. It should be noted that slut-shaming can occur even if the term “slut” itself is not used.

Personally I don’t agree that the term ‘slut’ is gender specific as I know plenty of men who also proudly call themselves sluts or slutty.  I do however think slut shaming is a real problem and that the media uses completely different criteria for the appropriateness of sexual behavior of men and women.  There is a very strong double standard that reinforces the notion that ‘good’ women don’t like sex, don’t have many sexual partners and don’t express themselves sexually.

Recently Think Progress tried to make the argument that the media was using the recent Anthony Weiner sex scandal as an excuse to slut shame the women involved.  Although I agree with them that they have a point, I don’t think Weiner’s sexting partner is best example.

The facts of the story as we know it is that AFTER Anthony Weiner publicly humiliated himself, resigned from congress and nearly destroyed his marriage he started yet another virtual relationship with Sydney Leathers, a 22-year-old from Indiana.  Leathers knew Weiner had a sexting problem, was a married man, and that his wife was expecting their first child.   Informed of all of this, she decided to have a virtual sexually explicit relationship with him.   According to her, Weiner promised her an apartment, political contacts and even a possible job.   After months of these exchanges she grew bored, realized any monetary gain was not forthcoming and ended the relationship.  When she discovered that Weiner was running for mayor she decided to share her story to show the world that he was not a changed man.

During her brief interview with Howard Stern, Leathers came across as flippant and completely uncaring towards Weiner’s wife Huma Abedin.  She seemed completely unrepentant of any pain or humiliation that she might have caused Abedin.   It takes two people to have an affair of course, and Weiner is more culpable for damaging his marriage than anyone.

I don’t see a victim in Ms. Leathers.  What I see instead is an opportunist who knew completely what she was doing and when she didn’t get her promised rewards of a condo or a job she figured she would cash in somehow and take revenge on her lying virtual lover.  If anything her actions have been quite regressive.  Women like her reinforce the stereotype of the shallow, heartless succubus exploiting men when they get the opportunity.

Is anything sacred anymore?  Have we completely thrown out the rule book?  Is it OK to have sex with any adult at any time and refuse to take any responsibility, regardless of the consequences?  Does marriage mean anything?  I can’t bend my morality to the point that all behavior no matter how selfish or hurtful towards others is simply written off.   If Leathers wants the notoriety for being the ‘other’ woman she has to accept the good with the bad.  Not everyone is going to champion a cheater.

Will Leathers appear in pornographic films, get her own reality show or column in the NY Post?  She didn’t accomplish anything, she merely had no  qualms about having an affair with a married man.  She also turned on him on a dime when she saw the opportunity.  Are these values that we want to promote?  Do I have to support every woman’s poor choices in life?  Both Weiner and Leathers made poor decisions and they should live with the consequences.   I’ll save my outrage for slut shaming when a person is actually being shamed inappropriately.   Such as the teacher who lost her job years after her porn past, or the 15-year-old who was harassed by a TSA worker, or when someone blames a rape victim for their own attack.   If we use the term ‘Slut shaming’ when it doesn’t apply we weaken the power of the label.

Women are not inherently victims.  We are human, and just as likely as men to make bad choices.   I seriously doubt any woman rushing to Leathers’ defense, would feel so strongly if they were in Abedin’s shoes.  It’s one thing to knowingly have an affair with a married man, it’s another entire to mock the wife on a national radio program after the fact.  Leathers will disappear into obscurity soon enough, and Weiner has destroyed his own political career.  The person shamed and humiliated is Huma Abedin.  Hopefully she will find the strength to realize she might be better off without a lying, cheating sex addict for a husband.

Anthony Weiner – Sexual Predator, Carlos Danger or Crazed Narcissist?

Official portrait of United States Congressman...

Official portrait of United States Congressman (D-NY). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anthony Weiner, disgraced congressman is like the joke that keeps on giving.  If you don’t already know the details here are the basic facts.  In 2011 Weiner sent sexually explicit photos to several adult women who were not his wife.  At first Weiner denied the allegations, going so far as to say someone hacked his twitter account.  He also made the ridiculous claim that he wasn’t sure if a photo of his erect penis inside a pair of white underwear was his or not.  I think every grown man knows his penis intimately, so well that they could pick out of a large crowd of penises.  When Weiner finally admitted that he did indeed send the photos, he eventually resigned his seat in congress and issued several public apologies.  He even appeared in People magazine with his wife and infant son, with what seemed like a heartfelt admission of guilt and a vow to stop the behavior.

Now, a short two years later Weiner is the front-runner in the New York mayoral race.  A new woman has emerged with a series of sexually explicit sex messages and a story of a virtual affair that happened in the summer of 2012.  The story almost seems like a parody with Weiner using the alias, Carlos Danger in his correspondence. He even sent her yet another photograph of his penis.  The man must truly think his genitals are something special!  I’m sure his penis has its own moniker but we aren’t privy to that information yet!  The woman involved has remained anonymous and claims she was not compensated for her story.  We have no way of knowing if she is telling the truth, we only have the text messages which are quite hilarious and graphic in nature.

What really stuck me as completely crazy was the way the site The Dirty is handling this story.  The headline by Nik Richie reads “Anthony Weiner is a Sexual Predator Luring his Victims”   Richie makes the following quote.

My source is solid. She really thought Anthony Weiner and her were in love, they spoke on the phone daily multiple times a day for 6 months. Anthony Weiner played with her emotions and mind. Most calls were phone sex. He promised her many things including a condo in Chicago (1235 S. Prairie Ave) where they were planning to meet up to have sex. Anthony Weiner has a shoe fetish, particularly heels.

Calling Weiner a sexual predator is a farce.  It actually trivializes real sexual assault, intimidation and harassment.  The woman in question is 22 years old.  She is an adult and although she is incredibly naive she is not a child.  Weiner was not her employer or teacher and had no direct control over her life.  It wasn’t as if her job or grades depended on her playing ball with his advances.  She also knew he was a married man with a then pregnant wife.  It is hard for me to view a woman who knowingly engages in this type of behavior with a married man as a victim.  The whole thing reminds me of the Tiger Woods scandal when one of his mistresses held a tear filled press conference along the lines of “I thought I was his only mistress”  I guess the sobbing woman just conveniently forgot about his wife.

At 22 years old, Weiner’s virtual mistress is probably a college graduate. Most likely she has dealt with more than one lecherous college professor, a creepy employer or faced some type of sexual intimidation.  I’m sure she had a strong crush on Weiner and found the attention he gave her exciting.   From the texts I have read there is certainly a lot of sex talk but not a lot of fondness.  We don’t know what they said over the phone and more information could come out, but I think this young woman mistook lust and sex for love.   I wish I could have a cup of coffee with her and share some of my dating horror stories or the many I have heard from readers of this blog.  She is not a victim, just a foolish woman who made a few stupid choices.  Since she is anonymous, her life will go on and she might even face much worse men in her future.  The real victim here is Weiner’s wife and young son.

Weiner’s wife will have to live this down, and his son is not only going to have to grow up with an incredibly unfortunate surname but also be subjected to teasing about his father’s behavior.   His wife will also have to question every single word that comes out of her husband’s mouth.  I also lived in denial for years in my marriage and if I could go back in time I would grab myself by both shoulders and yell – GET OUT NOW!

Again the story almost reads like a joke.  A man named Weiner, showing his weiner to the world under the name of Carlos Danger – AFTER he lost his job, damaged his career and publicly humiliated his family – engaging in the exact same behavior.  You honestly couldn’t make it up.  Will the people of New York elect him as mayor?  Who knows?  If he wins the jokes will continue and I suspect the scandals will as well. If he got caught once and kept doing it – I kind of doubt this will be the last time we hear from Carlos Danger and his mighty, mighty penis.

Texas Justice: Open Season on Prostitutes

Mamba Pistol 9x19mm Parabellum automatic pistol

Mamba Pistol 9x19mm Parabellum automatic pistol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Apparently in Texas life is cheap, especially if you are Craig’s List escort. If you haven’t read about it yet, here are the facts. Ezkiel Gilbert shot Lenora Ivie Frago.  Gilbert openly admits that he shot Frago because she wouldn’t have sex with him, and he wanted his $150 back.  The injury initially left her paralyzed but she died nine months later.  According to him she wandered around his apartment for 20 minutes and left to give the money to her driver, who ended up being her pimp/boyfriend.  Of course we don’t have her side of the story.  The link to the article is here.

Texas Jury Says It’s Cool to Kill Prostitutes For Not Having Sex with You

Here a few scenarios of what might have happened.

  • She could have arrived fully expecting to have sex with Gilbert – he brandished a gun – she got scared and tried to flee.
  • She might have intended on ripping him off of the $150 and the whole thing was a scam
  • She may never have agreed to sex with him in the first place, he misunderstood the situation, threatened her and she fled.
  • She could have agreed to sexual relations with him, but he wanted to engage in sexual acts – risky behavior – sex without a condom, anal sex, bondage, urination, defecation, blood, etc.
  • Maybe she agreed to oral sex, or fondling and he expected intercourse.
  • It may have been her protocol to give her boyfriend/pimp the money before engaging in any sexual activity with a client.

In any event she didn’t deserve to die for her actions.

He claimed he didn’t mean to kill her – yet he shot her in the neck.  He also claimed he was just trying to get back his property – $150 for an illegal act.

There is so much wrong with this case.  Was her only option to consent to being raped to avoid being killed?  Can a prostitute refuse a client she thinks is dangerous, violent or expecting more than what was mutually agreed upon?   Does that woman still have some basic rights of safety?  Because the act was illegal, the victim had no legal recourse if Gilbert threatened her, beat, raped or refused to pay.  Gilbert knew and understood that basic fact. Even if it was a legally binding contract with boundaries written out in detail she backed out of the deal – he shouldn’t have been able to act as judge, jury and executioner.   Sex is not like every other commodity.  It not as if she was selling a motorcycle, took his money, and drove off.  If she feared for her safety or her life, it is reasonable that she might bolt.

The Texas law allows people to use force not just in self-defense, but also to protect their property.  Because this case involved an illegal transaction – Texas has just set a precedent.  Drug dealers should not have to face charges if they murder anyone as long as the murder involved property.  The mafia could have a field day in Texas and avoid most murder charges.  And what is to stop any number of bogus claims of late night robberies to justify cold-blooded murder?

All that being said, what is not spoken here is that the woman’s life had little value in the eyes of the state.  I can’t imagine the same outcome over a disagreement between two men and a nonsexual crime.  Many women in the sex trade enter into it out of desperation – some are undocumented, drug-addicted, or victims of violence.   The sex industry couldn’t possibly exist if it wasn’t for the marketplace of men willing to pay for sex.  The state of Texas may not agree with the idea of prostitution but it isn’t going to go away any time soon.  No woman should die for refusing to have sex with a man, not even a sex worker.

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Facebook: Boys and Girls play differently

Danny & Alex on the See-Saw

Danny & Alex on the See-Saw (Photo credit: leekelleher)

In the title of this piece I use the terms boys and girls; but what I am really talking about is men and women.  Something about Facebook etiquette though makes me think of a school playground, so the title seems appropriate.  What is Facebook etiquette?  I don’t think any of us know yet, as social media is a relatively new forum.  It has been my experience that men and women behave completely differently on social media. As a performer I meet a lot of people and I used to friend just about anyone within reason.   I have learned the hard way that I can’t be so open.  Out of my 2700 friends, and I could have many more if I wasn’t so picky, the vast majority of negative activity has come from men.   I have had to deal with the following:

  • The Semi-Stalker – A male user who will comment on nearly everything, including completely mundane posts.  A true semi-stalker is someone who doesn’t know me well and who I may have met for an instant or is just someone I share multiple mutual friends.  Yet this virtual stranger will become fascinated by everything I post.  Most of the time, these men are in a relationship or married which makes their behavior even more unsettling.  I can’t help but picture them at their computer ready to pounce on my latest update.  Their behavior is unnerving and most Semi-Stalkers end up getting kicked off my page.
  • The Full on Cyber Stalker – A male user who goes beyond the realm of Facebook to harass me.  I have had several men exhibit stalking behavior engaging negatively on this blog, my twitter account and in my regular email.  The worst was someone who did all three and even set up two fake OKCupid profiles to torment me.  I had mutual friends with this person, he lived in New York City and was also a performer.  I thought he would be OK, but he got so crazy he resorted to threats of physical violence.  My crime:  I had kicked him off my page when he made a sexually explicit comment on my wall in a political discussion.  At the time it happened I foolishly told him why I was deleting him in angry email.   Now I simply delete/block without comment.  The less I engage the stalker the better.
  • The I want to tell you Missy –  I’ll post anything political and a man will respond with an extremely long diatribe.  Most posts from unfamiliar men are condescending and include disrespectful language.  They act as if I don’t know what I am talking about, haven’t bothered to do research or am acting purely from emotion.  These men obviously don’t know me well, and I don’t think they have ever been published anywhere.  Everything I have written for the Huffington Post goes through an editorial process.  If I use a stat or fact I have to include a hyperlink in my article to a non-biased a source.  I am not exactly a lightweight and this isn’t my first time at the political discourse rodeo.  I never started a fight with them, and I never posted on their wall.  I don’t see the point in getting into it with someone who is diametrically opposed to me politically.  The discussion is going to go nowhere, and will end up being a huge waste of time.  So to my more Libertarian, Republican or conspiracy theory friends I usually just leave well enough alone.  Everyone can post whatever they want.  I don’t have to engage in a Facebook war with them because I don’t agree with their point of view, instead I just ignore their rants.  Although I have kicked people off for posting racist articles or absolute nonsense.   I get plenty of detractors and would be critics on my Huffington post articles and on this blog.  I don’t need it on my personal facebook page.
  • The Negative Commenter – Again usually a man who I don’t know well, maybe I met them at a comedy show…I don’t know.  They will just post something negative for reasons unknown to me. Recently I was really frustrated with my memoir and I posted something along the lines of “man this is hard”.  Some guy I barely knew felt the need to write “First World Problems” as a comment.  I thought it was inappropriate especially since I didn’t know him well and he knows nothing about my life.  I quietly deleted the comment and he un-friended me.  I was happy he saved me the trouble.
  • The Pervert – I don’t feel like I need to describe this one, but I haven’t had a woman give me a problem like this yet.
  • The Bully – I once posted “Congratulations to SAG-AFTRA on our historic merger“.  This seemingly innocuous post ended in a comedian I knew calling me a cunt.  He then got on my wall with an alter-ego profile to try to keep fighting.  Again, I had no history with this man other than doing a paid show for him once.  We had mutual friends.  He had posted anti-union sentiments on my wall in the past and I had politely told him to stop saying something like “Look I come from two unionized parents and I am in two unions you aren’t going to change my mind please stop” he persisted.
  • The Scolder – No matter what I post, including things as controversial as “Being self-employed is difficult” the Scolder will point out to me that I’m being too negative. They are ALMOST ALWAYS men I barely know.  No one is always chipper and happy all of the time, and some people like to vent.  I would never dream of making some sort of judgment like that to a person I barely know.  It seems to me like just another way to put me in my place.

Are Facebook pages free speech zones?  I don’t think so.  Should people post long drawn out political rants on other people’s pages?  I would say no.  If they start the fight, they should expect to finish it.  But why start it in the first place.  In any given year I kick off dozens of men from my Facebook page, sometimes two or three in a day.  In contrast I have kicked off exactly one woman, and in her case she was doing all of her aggressive behavior via private message.  She was not posting anything on my wall. In my experience when women engage in political discussion they are ironically less likely to get emotional.  They don’t talk to me in a condescending manner and they certainly don’t call me a cunt.  To put it simply.

It’s not that all of my male friends on Facebook cause problems for me, but nearly all the problems I have on Facebook involve men.

I can’t twist my reality to conform to a politically correct narrative where men and women act the same.  I enjoy political discourse  and have plenty of close friends who don’t always agree with me.  I don’t mind getting in real debate, but that is rarely what happens.   I have male Facebook friends who constantly post inflammatory things and I don’t see them getting the same types of reactions.  But I will admit, I don’t know what a typical male goes through. Would men also post repeatedly on the wall of a man they barely knew?   I would love to hear men’s opinions on this.  Do men who barely know you pick political fights with you?  Is this a problem?  Do men engage in the same type of abusive behavior such as stalking, harassment and negative posts with other men?  Do women do it to men? I would never dream of engaging someone I didn’t know well in political discussion especially when I can tell they are already extremely passionate about their point of view.  I would never take the fight to someone else on a personal page like that.  Why do they feel the need to take it to mine?  As I have said to many  of my male ranters, ask yourself this question.

“When was the last time Juliet Jeske posted on my wall?”

The answer would be never….so please knock it off.

Slut-Shaming: To What End?

gone wild

gone wild (Photo credit: istolethetv)

Lately I have found myself frustrated with other feminists over the cry of “Slut-shaming“.  Although I agree that women have been unfairly judged for their sexual appetites and behavior for hundreds of years, I also think that some sexual behavior actually hurts the cause of feminism.  We shouldn’t return to the days of corsets, ankle length skirts when the very mention of female sexuality was taboo.  Yet we should also not champion obvious degrading and detrimental sexual behavior in the name of feminism.

For instance, is a drug addicted, physically abused, low paid prostitute dominated by a male pimp anything to celebrate?  Is a young woman with low self-esteem who performs sexual acts in public to gain personal validation off-limits to criticism?  Is a sex-worker who doesn’t hide or shield her children from her occupation really making a bold step forward for female empowerment?  When do the issues of narcissism and self-destructive behavior enter the dialog?  Are all forms of female nudity and sexuality empowering?  When does it become exploitative?

It is not such much specific behavior as it is the context.  Expressions of female sexuality and nudity can be empowering, politically brazen and extremely pro-woman but they can also be degrading and demeaning.   If a woman is playing into the victim complex or treating herself as an object not worthy of respect she is part of the problem, not the solution.  Are we supposed to champion a drunken college student who decides to flash her breasts in a Girls Gone Wild video?  Should the woman who recently decided to have her anus publicly tattooed on camera be held up as some sort of example of female sexual liberty?  Or is she just a woman who has made some extremely poor decisions?  The porn industry has become so saturated with women willing to have sex on camera that wages and celebrity status have plummeted in the industry.  What was once something that only the desperate or the truly sexually liberated would do has become almost mundane.  At the same time there are prostitutes that have complete control over their income, working conditions and clientele who aren’t drug addicts, aren’t being abused and have turned the tables on the power structure in the industry.  No single sexual act or occupation can be singled out as “feminist” or “anti-feminist” if the behavior is coming from a place of pride and self-worth it is entirely different than if the source is self-loathing, fear and need of approval.  Not every sex worker or sexual exhibitionist is a victim, nor are they necessarily being exploited.

Yet during these changing times regarding female sexuality, misogyny is at an all time high.  The anti-feminist forces have gone from empty rhetoric to promoting legislation challenging our reproductive rights and even basic health care.   They want to do away with laws that might protect us from having to pay twice as much for our health insurance based on our gender, make many forms of birth control illegal, and make abortion a criminal act.  Many legislators voted against the Violence Against Women Act and the Lilly Ledbetter act, which were ultimately passed but in June the senate blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act which would have helped woman sue for equal pay.

I am not here to blame the victim, but it does discourage me when I meet so many young women who don’t seem to even know a political struggle is happening and then treat themselves with such low regard.  They are only giving fuel to the critics who would claim that all pre-marital sex is an abomination and that a sexualized female is something to fear.  I can’t help but see parallels in the civil rights movement.  Many in the African American community cry out against crime and violence, gangster rap and the thug culture that actually discourages achievement.  Of course racism is very insidious and still a huge problem, but if no one inside the community calls out the self-defeating behavior…it just makes everything more of a uphill battle.

I thought feminism was about being in control of our lives, having a right to speak our minds, and having the same opportunities as men have in the bedroom, in the workplace and in our government.  I didn’t think it was about declaring all sexual behavior as an empowering statement against patriarchy.  When I see a young woman disrespect herself my heart sinks.  When I see a woman desperately cling to some man doing anything and everything sexually in the hopes that he will stick around it saddens me.  When I see a bright intelligent woman with multiple options for her future resort to sex work it depresses me.  Although I understand its appeal, as sex work is one of the few high paying options available to young women.  The only non-sex based profession where women make considerably more money than men is the modeling industry and the largest scholarship program for women in the world is still the Miss America pageant organization.  I want every young girl to see the entire universe available to them, to know that they are more than their looks or genitalia.   It is a fine line we tread between celebrating our sexuality and allowing others to exploit it.

I do not propose that I have any answers to these ethical quandaries but I am not going to pretend that women treating themselves with disrespect and playing into negative stereotypes is a good thing.  A woman cannot treat herself poorly and then try to defend it by crying “slut-shaming” when she is the one shaming herself.  Some would argue that there is no sexual behavior that is negative or exploitative no matter what the situation.  But when a woman flashes her breasts for a Girls Gone Wild video or a woman engages in prostitution to pay for her drug habit, that is not a step forward but a step back.  To achieve real equality with men we need to respect ourselves in all aspects of our lives including our sexuality.

 

A Loving Couple: What Gay Marriage Really Looks Like

English:

English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So any regular readers of this blog already know, I am a straight spouse.  A straight spouse is a person who married someone who they thought was straight only to find out years later that their partner was actually secretly gay.   My marriage was smoke and mirrors of lies, deception and ultimately betrayal.  From the outside my marriage appeared completely normal but we were both stuck in a miserable union.  I blame homophobia and the fear of homosexuality in part for the phenomena of gay men and women entering into these unions.  Every straight spouse knows all to well the personal hell that is a mixed orientation marriage.  Our partners, filled with so much self-loathing, bent themselves into knots to become something they weren’t and thousands of spouses and children end up as collateral damage to these sham marriages.    And then there is a marriage, like this one…

Tom & Jon

I remember when Jon first met Tom.  Jon was an actor, and Tom was a writer.  They had the same easy-going sense of humor and love of all things nerdy.   Smart, funny and supportive of their friends they were both well liked by almost everyone who knew them. Tom and Jon were one of those couples that were so cute together, they even dressed alike.  I haven’t seen either of them in years but we keep in touch thanks to Facebook and email.

Anyone terrified of same-sex marriage should watch this video.  Jon and Tom are just like any married couple.  They have a lot of the same interests, they love each other deeply and live fairly ordinary lives.   When I watch this I don’t see the end of civilization or the return of Sodom and Gomorrah, I just see a wonderful man who is very proud of his partner and his marriage.   And honestly I have been witness to some fairly dysfunctional and abusive straight marriages…haven’t we all?  Marriage is a crap shoot and if these two men can live together happily with their two cats, why should anyone care?  The whole point of a secular marriage is if one of them gets sick, the other one can visit them in the hospital, if one of them dies they can leave their estate to the other and on and on.  They should have the right to the same legal protections that any married couple have in this country.  Same sex couples aren’t storming churches demanding that the faithful accept them into their congregations.  They aren’t  pushing for legislation to ban straight marriages, or to make it legal for a gay employer to fire a straight employee based on their sexual orientation.  They aren’t promoting laws to make heterosexual sex illegal.  They aren’t designing programs to make straight people gay.   They just want to live their lives in peace.  This is NOT the end of the world, this is normal.