A Complete Guide to Misogyny on LinkedIn

jennifer lawrence

I was browsing LinkedIn today and came across the article, “Why Jennifer Lawrence Confuses Me” by Bruce Kasanoff. Kasanoff is an “influencer” on the site with over 174,00 followers. He is a self-described “Ghostwriter, editor, and speaker.” He’s also completely missing the point when it comes to the importance of respecting privacy and consent, and his article left me thinking that he’s a complete and total misogynist.

Jennifer Lawrence gave an interview with Vanity Fair this month about the sex crime that her and countless other celebrities experienced. By now you probably know that hackers stole naked photos of celebrities and posted them on the Internet. The much-beloved JLaw was a victim. Some called it a scandal, but everyone with two brain cells to rub together called it a sex crime. Jennifer describes the feeling of vulnerability in her interview with Sam Kashner at Vanity Fair:

It’s my body, and it should be my choice, and the fact that it is not my choice is absolutely disgusting. I can’t believe that we even live in that kind of world. 

Apparently Mr. Kasanoff doesn’t understand the concept of my body, my choice. He read the interview, and proceeds to critique it in his silly LinkedIn post saying, “I’m still confused by the juxtaposition of moral outrage next to more semi-naked pictures.” He’s definitely confused. There’s no doubt about that. He completely misses the fucking point that Jennifer Lawrence agreed to take the photographs in Vanity Fair. She agreed to their distribution, and probably received a serious amount of compensation for her participation. She probably had some serious input about the photos. She isn’t completely naked in Vanity Fair either, which is totally lost on Brucey Boy.

I’m not linking to the article, because it doesn’t deserve another page click, but I want to give a big shout out to a man who I’m calling the Misogynist of the Day:

Congratulations, Bruce Kasanoff, you helped reinforce the notion that victims deserve maltreatment in this rape culture of ours. You also confirmed to me, and countless others, that you are a complete and total misogynist who isn’t worth a follow or any influence on LinkedIn or in real life.

He Never Hit Me: The Other Side of Abuse

emotional abuse

[Ed. Note: This is a guest post from Eliza McGowen. Eliza is a senior creative writing major at the Johns Hopkins University. When she isn’t in Baltimore, she likes to be home on Cape Cod or traveling. This is her first article on abuse but definitely not her last.]

You would have to be living under a rock to be unaware of the surge in protest against the lopsided way our society deals with physical abuse and rape culture against women. Just this week, a video finally came out showing Ray Rice hit his then-fiancé. Amidst social media uproar, the Ravens officially ended his contract. Although many are already touting about how they took the high road, I believe the fact that they did not release him as soon as the story broke will forever be a black mark for the team and the NFL.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that this issue is so prevalent and getting so much coverage, it is still far from being solved. Ray Rice originally received a two-week suspension for his crime, less than the punishment for a player who got caught smoking weed. Without a doubt, it will take years for our culture to face the fact that rape and sexual assault is prevalent everywhere, from prestigious universities like the Johns Hopkins University, to city slums.

But there is another side to abuse that has still remained under the radar: emotional and mental abuse.

After a quick Google search of “laws preventing emotional abuse,” I wasn’t surprised to find that almost all the links were for child abuse and elder abuse. I am not discounting these issues as “less than” the one I am discussing, but the fact that nothing on the first page had any information about this kind of abuse in relationships shows that it still has not been recognized the way it should.

So what is emotional abuse?

It is many things. There is a list of “signs” of emotional abuse: derogatory remarks, shaming, domination and accusations. According to an online survey commissioned by Glamour, and with help from various domestic abuse organizations, 94 percent of young women have admitted to receiving emotional abuse. But there are still no headlines about these women’s stories. Many will argue that there is too fine a line. I would argue that right now there is no line at all.

I spent over a year in an emotionally abusive relationship that I have been fortunate enough to put behind me. My significant other found a varied number of ways to mess with my head. He would call me a variety of derogatory terms (use your imagination) before breaking down in tears and begging me to forgive him. For over nine months he held my laptop in his possession, deleted my Facebook and forbid me from using my phone. When he found out I had been talking to a male friend via text, he split my flip phone in half and whipped it past my head. For the next year he took glee in cracking the SIM card of each consecutive phone my parents bought me each time I told them I had “lost” the last.

He taunted me through emails (my only allowed form of communication at the time), forbid me to spend time with him in school and forbid others from inviting me to parties and gatherings. The list goes on and on. Yet each time I would be at the breaking point he would come to me, telling me how much he needed me.

But never once did he physically hurt me. Although I spent much of that year alone, I kept telling myself that one-day he would realize that he loved me enough to stop punishing me. I will admit to all of you that I did cheat on him, which is what resulted in his behavior. It took me over four years to finally convince myself that my infidelities were never bad enough to warrant that year of abuse. It took me months of therapy and healing to even admit to myself that it was just that: abuse.

So what is the answer?

Can you really create legislation or change that protects people from emotionally abusive partners? Probably not. But as a society we can help spread awareness and streamline ways to get help. We can put out stories that get national attention to show that 94 percent that they are not alone, and that what they are going through is not okay. Although I had supportive parents and friends who tried to intervene, I did not think they understood what I was going through. Even now it seems hard to imagine anyone suffering through a year of such treatment and holding out as I did; but without a doubt, there are women who have been demoralized this way. Look at Janay Palmer, Ray Rice’s wife. She has come out publicly against the NFL ruling. We should not shame her for standing by her husband. We should work to help women like her recognize that his actions are not OK and that a “one-time” mistake is no big deal. Though she is a victim of physical abuse, the central issue is the same.

I am lucky enough to say that four years after coming out my relationship I have almost fully recovered. There are still certain characteristics in men that make me feel fearful and anxious, but at the same time I have learned what I will not stand for in relationships. It is only my hope that by starting the discussion around the issue that I can help other women do the same.

 

Why Men Can’t Prevent Rape (Yet)

mencanstoprape

[Ed. Note: This is a guest piece from Nicole Bedera. Nicole  is a sociology student at Westminster College who researches college sexual violence and a Hospital Response Team Advocate at the Rape Recovery Center.]

Recently, there has been a renewed focus on getting men involved in rape prevention, especially at a college level. Two weeks ago, the Obama Administration released a series of goals and measures to address the sexual violence epidemic on college campuses, including a video intended to convince men to care about rape prevention. Before that, organizations like A Call to Men and MVP have involved men in the discussion about sexual assault. Men like Jackson Katz and Tony Porter have even given TED Talks about why men should care about feminism and rape. All of these actions combined send one very powerful message to men: you have the capability to end sexual violence.

But do they?

Our culture has represented sexual violence as a “women’s issue” since we started to recognize it as a social problem. Historically, women have been the leaders in movements for everything from criminalization of dating violence to discussing the role of pornography in rape culture. If you walk into your local rape crisis center today, women will still be the vast majority of volunteers and staff members. Even the discussions around rape prevention at home have revolved around daughters, teaching them how not to lead men on or put themselves in a vulnerable situation. Women have experienced and cared about sexual violence before there was even a word for it. While women did and continue to do all of these things, men, as a group, have at best been silent and at worst hostile in the face of women’s efforts to address rape. Men have been largely absent from the sexual violence prevention movement and yet we’re now asking them to be leaders.

Right now, most men are ignorant to the reality of sexual violence. Many men have no idea that countless women around them have been sexually assaulted. They can’t comprehend the daily rituals women participate in to prevent attack. Plenty of men still ascribe to the belief that the majority of rapists are psychologically deranged strangers jumping out of the bushes. Our culture is teeming with factually false myths about what sexual assault is and how it happens and men are far from immune to believing them. In fact, their historical absence in gendered violence movements probably makes them more susceptible to clinging to false beliefs about rape. By asking men to stand up against sexual assault when they can’t define the problem, they might miss some of the biggest issues or even reinforce cultural rape myths despite their best intentions. Believing that rape is wrong and saying so isn’t activism—at least not until the person making those claims understands exactly what they’re saying.

Ultimately, men do have the capability to end sexual violence, but not just by virtue of being men who care about rape and not by working alone. Just like the women working to end sexual assault right now, men need to educate themselves about rape before they can become meaningful allies. To do that, men can start by listening to women. Ask the women in your life about their experiences with rape, domestic violence, and sexual harassment. And, most importantly, believe whatever they tell you. Men could be the greatest allies that rape survivors and activists have ever had, but first, we need to catch them up on what women have experienced and accomplished.

 

What’s the Threshold of Consent?

[Trigger Warning: This post talks about sexual assault.]

Two weeks ago I was giving a presentation on sexual assault prevention. I had just wrapped up what I thought was a clear explanation of consent (I talked about how consent isn’t a murky concept, but we pretend it is when we pair it with sex). It was time for questions. I braced myself as hands raised, and the questions commenced (I’m paraphrasing here):

“Don’t get me wrong, I like you, but I think feminists give things a bad name. Can’t you call it something else?”

“Who would buy into this idea of talking to kids about sex at early ages?”

Then: “What’s the threshold of consent? Like, how many drinks before it’s bad to have sex with someone?”

I tried not to screw my face up into a look of disgust. Afterall, I was there presenting, and it seemed like a teachable moment. The person asking was one of two white men in the room. “He’s my target audience,” I told myself. He’s the demographic I’m trying to reach, right? It isn’t helpful for me to berate him and tell him that he’s the problem. Besides, I know the guy, and although his relationship to space and obvious privilege irk me, I think he’s genuinely trying to engage with me. And, the whole point of my research is the fact that we don’t teach men about consent, so homeboy probably genuinely doesn’t understand the concept.

I took a deep breath, and I asked him to describe what he meant by “threshold.” I thought I’d give him a chance to see where he missed the mark, but it only became more clear that he  didn’t understand consent. At all. He was genuinely confused, and sincerely wanted to know: how much booze can I feed to a woman I have sex with without being brought up on rape charges?

This is the world we live in, folks. This is rape culture. A grown ass man in a graduate-level program at a private university doesn’t know that it’s unacceptable to liquor up your sexual partners for easy access.

I told him that one drink was too much, because you never know how much is too much for a stranger. I told him to err on the side of extreme caution, because isn’t the point of sex to have it with someone who really wants to fuck you back? (Enthusiastic consent, folks!) I used myself as an example in two ways to disarm the situation: (1) I’m not much of a drinker, and even one drink might convince me to do things I otherwise might not, which isn’t cool, (2) I taught  my little brother pretty early on that if he gave a girl liquor and had sex, it was alcohol assisted sexual assault, and I give that advice to everyone else I meet.

Do I think it was the perfect answer? Nope, but it was a start. Albeit, a late start, a terrifyingly late start, because as I looked at my classmate I wondered: how many date rapes are in his wake, and he doesn’t even know it?

Domestic Violence Awareness Night

UDVC

Support a great agency with a fun night of hockey!