Friday, February 28, 2014

Under Athena's Wing

I have started a new blog, Under Athena's Wing, to document some of my more feminist musings.  Please check it out!  It was just updated with some of my thoughts on the Winter Olympics.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Stay Together for the Kids

While reminiscing on when I started a blog to write solely music I had to go back and read this post.  Blink-182 is still one of my favorite shows I've attended.  Hope you enjoy my thoughts on their reunion in 2009.

I am extremely excited about Blink 182’s reunion.  In early middle school, I was familiar with songs like “First Date” and “All the Small Things” and I really liked them.  The summer after 8th grade, we went on a trip to Disney World.  The large Virgin Records Store that sat on one end of the Downtown Disney strip held inside of it “Blink 182’s Greatest Hits” on sale for seven bucks.  How was I supposed to pass that up?  I purchased the album, and just like that.  I was hooked.  That was in 2005, the same year the Tom DeLonge left the band.  I had settled with the fact that I would probably never see Blink live, but the next summer I was able to settle for the next best thing.

2006 was the year I became obsessed with Fall Out Boy.  I was somewhat late in the game, but I listened to “Take this to Your Grave” like it was going out of style and led those around me to think I had been listening since it first came out.  Once I heard they were headlining, all I thought about was the Honda Civic Tour.  I wanted to go badly, but I didn’t hear much about the other acts until much later.  I did some research to figure out who they were.  Cobra Starship (I knew one song), The Academy Is… (I knew their lead singer was rather attractive), Paul Wall (I liked “Grillz” and I knew he had something to do with it), and then there was +44.  Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker.  Two men I longed to see, for a long time.  I was so excited and thought they did an awesome job at the show, but that’s not the point.  Blink is back, and I am psyched.

At this point, I can’t say that I will like their new stuff, but I can’t wait to hear it.  I’m also hoping that this time around I will be able to fulfill my dream of seeing them live.  I think this is a great time for Blink to reunite.  This is a time where bands that are considered pop punk and even just punk, are nothing more than straight up pop.  But not with Blink on the scene, this is a chance for younger generations, who have never had the chance to listen to Blink, to subject themselves to an awesome group.  But for now, we must sit and wait to see what sort of journey Mark, Travis, and Tom have in store for us.  Blasting “Dude Ranch” and “Enema of the State” the whole way.

Originally written February 11, 2009

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Response to TFM's "Stop Crying Rape"

Recently Catie Warren, a correspondent for the website Total Frat Move, wrote an article titled “Stop Crying Rape.”  In this article, Warren describes college-aged girls who go out, drink excessively, and subsequently sleep with their male peers, only to claim they have been raped when they wake up the next day regretting their actions.  Warren believes that this practice creates a mockery of actual sexual assault victims.  While I agree with her that a remorseful sexual encounter is not rape, I do believe there are a few points which should be discussed regarding this article.

In Catie Warren’s article, there is an overgeneralization of exactly what rape is.  She writes as though the only victims of rape are college-aged women who have had too much to drink and fall into bed with someone.  Sexual assault is very prominent on college campuses, but it happens in many different situations as well.  Women can be victims; men can be victims.  The attacker and the victim may be of the same sex.  It can occur drunk or sober.  The attacker may be a stranger, or it may be someone you have known your entire life.  Even when it occurs on college campuses, only 5% of students who have been sexually assaulted will report the case.  So why should we try to discourage others from doing so?

There is a lack of knowledge about consent, making it more difficult to know exactly what is and is not considered rape.  Consent is an agreement between two people who voluntarily and willingly want to have sex with each other.  Consent is discussed before sexual activity has commenced and is consistently revisited regarding different sexual acts.  Consent is not implied or assumed, even if you are in a long-term relationship or have had sex with that person before.

Catie Warren’s article gives several examples of victim shaming (making a victim feel responsible or ashamed of his or her own victimization), a huge problem which attributes to today’s rape culture.  Rape culture is an environment where sexual violence is excused in reality as well as in media and pop culture.  Some examples of rape culture include blaming the victim, sexually explicit jokes, gender violence in movies and television, sexually fueled song lyrics, and refusing to take rape accusations seriously.  Some ways we can avoid rape culture are to avoid using language that is degrading to women, to speak out when someone makes an offensive joke, define your own manhood or womanhood without letting stereotypes shape it, and communicating with sexual partners about consent.

Yes, Catie Warren was right to stress the fact that sex which you agreed to, though you may regret, is in not considered rape.  But this article is missing several key points which I felt should be emphasized.  Rape is not just something that happens to girls at parties.  It can happen to anyone in almost any situation.  Consensual sex occurs when two people have previously discussed that they want to have sex with each other.  Therein lies an issue that needs to be discussed. How do we empower young women and men to have that clarifying conversation?  Talking about and defining consent is the beginning and needs to be the norm.  As a society we have to stop tolerating “rape” as a casual term.  For example, “our football team raped in intramurals” or “I raped that calculus exam.”  It is a powerful word with an emotional connotation and should not be used so innocuously it seems like an attempt to make an action of the word.  We must band together to abolish a culture where it is okay to excuse or joke about rape.

Originally written for the Georgia College Women's Center.