Media’s At It Again: This Time Normalization (Pt.1)

23 Oct

For all of the people who think media “doesn’t affect them,” well listen up because Melissa Fabello makes it clear that you are wrong. Last night Melissa opened up a dialogue about intimate partner violence and how our media normalizes the violence. Now you’re thinking who is this Melissa and how can she just come up in JMU with this perspective, well first off Melissa Fabello is a highly educated feminist. In 2013, she received her M.Ed. in Human Sexuality at Widener University. So, anyway, I want to first say that I have done my own research into intimate partner violence, but I learned so much in an hour and a half, no my brains on overdrive. My first instinct is to just list out the whole event, but that would be far too long, I will just highlight the key points.

First, the way that she tackled this whole idea of media not affecting us, is by doing an activity. She presented the audiences with letters of different colors and fonts and we had to guess what company was behind the letter, we were able to do this efficiently and quickly. Melissa, argues, that if we can take these letters and apply them to different kind of media avenues, then yea, media definitely affects us. Right off the bat, I was like this is gonna be good, and no she did not disappoint. One of the biggest concepts.


Melissa focuses on is media literacy. Media literacy, “provides a framework to access, analyze, evaluate, create and participate with messages in a variety of forms — from print to video to the Internet. Media literacy builds an understanding of the role of media in society.” Basically media literacy goes the extra step of not just viewing media, but understanding the intentions behind the presentation. One of the biggest questions you ask is, “Is is really selling what it’s advertising?” In most cases, no, it’s selling you the idea of something else.

So you’re probably thinking how does this relate to intimate partner violence, to answer this its simple, media normalizes intimate partner violence. Melissa Fabello uses pop music as a main frame of this normalization. One of the examples she uses is Ours by Taylor Swift.

Seems like there’s always someone who disapproves
They’ll judge it like they know about me and you
And the verdict comes from those with nothing else to do
The jury’s out, but my choice is you

So don’t you worry your pretty little mind
People throw rocks at things that shine
And life makes love look hard
The stakes are high, the water’s rough
But this love is ours

Now, I know what you’re thinking, don’t diss sweet T-Swift, but this song does have problematic elements. Though it wasn’t Taylor’s intention, the song could feed into a survivors want to stay in an abusive relationship though others strongly disapprove. Also that line, “don’t you worry your pretty little mind,” doesn’t that kind of creep you out? These lyrics that we listen to on a daily are permeated into our culture.

So how do we solve this problem with our media? Melissa provides some answers.

1. Forget “mindless entertainment”

2. Ask questions

3. Start conversations

It’s time we stop looking at media with blank slates in our minds and analyze the way media influences our culture and plays into normalization of such tragic incidences.

*I will post again this week, to talk about her perspective on Queer relationships as it relates to intimate partner violence, because I believe that voice needs to be heard. Stay Tune!*



23 Oct

One of may favorite YouTubers (and internet people in general) is Hayley G. Hoover. I’ve been watching her for 7-or-so years, and she’s great. She makes videos about her life, about random funny things, about Harry Potter, and about feminism. Her latest video is about street harassment, and why it’s the worst. Hayley shares her most recent story about street harassment here:

She’s right; Street harassment is NOT something that needs to happen in the world, so let’s start talking about it. Because it is SERIOUSLY not ok.

Quick Hit: FCKH8

22 Oct

I don’t keep a swear jar in my household because I curse like a drunk sailor…I hope the families of these potty-mouthed princesses don’t either. Watch these not-so-little girls drop “F-bombs for Feminism” as they bring attention to the sad reality that society is more offended by swear words than the discrimination its daughters are face:


Will Affirmative Consent Change Hookup Culture in a Positive Way? Or… Not?

22 Oct

In California, “No Means No” doesn’t cut it anymore. If you want to have sex with someone, both parties must give a clear and (hopefully) enthusiastic yes. If you’re not sure what I’m referring to, California’s Governor Jerry Brown recently signed Senate Bill 967 into law, also known as the “yes means yes” law. This law is designed to clearly define consent and reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses. The bill defines consent as an “affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity,” so the absence of a “no” does not mean that sex is consensual. Furthermore, the bill states that a person cannot give consent if drugs or alcohol are in their system.

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 1.58.31 PM

This affirmative consent bill has the potential to change the way that colleges around the nation view sexual assault and define consent. In California, this law applies to all colleges receiving state financial aid, so this could be a model for other states wishing to provide a solution for the frequent sexual assaults on college campuses. From a legal and educational standpoint, the “yes means yes” law is a good thing; it focuses on the victim, it provides education and outreach so that students can know their rights, and it creates a standard that all university judicial systems can follow. However, there is one question that many college students and others are asking: how will this affect hookup culture?

Continue reading

Tristan Thompson Kisses Sideline Reporter: Workplace Harrassment on TV?!

21 Oct

I’ve been working in the restaurant business since I was a teenager, and sadly this means that I’ve experienced sexual harassment by co-workers, customers and managers. It’s something that I’m getting better at dealing with, and I’m learning ways to handle it and protect myself. But what if one of the incidents that made me feel so worthless and degraded was broadcasted on national television? Well for Fox Sports Ohio’s sideline reporter Allie Clifton, that actually happened. And the world doesn’t seem to think it’s a problem at all.

Continue reading

Hurting your knee sucks, but mansplaining sucks more.

20 Oct

So this past week and a half has been pretty rough. I sprained my knee, and as a result I have been hobbling my way to class for the past few days. When I first injured my knee, I was prepared for how much it sucks to be on crutches and how handi-inaccessable our campus is, but I was not prepared for the worst part of this injury- ALL of the goddamn mansplaining.

If only I looked this happy to be on crutches....

If only I looked this happy to be on crutches….

Continue reading

Giving Voice to the Vagina

19 Oct

So if you didn’t already know, I’m on the speech team for JMU and being on this team has allowed me to see some pretty amazing speeches. This Saturday, I viewed a speech that was fanstastic and had me yelling PREACH in my mind the whole time. First off I would like to say what kind of speech the student was competing in; the event is After Dinner Speaking. After Dinner Speaking is a persuasive or informative speech that uses comedic elements to get an issue across to an audience. Now that I’ve got that explanation out of the way, I must, must, tell you about an ADS speech that I had the privilege to witness.

Continue reading

Riding a Sex Toy in Public for Charity?

18 Oct

Simple Pickup, an all-male group that advises men on topics such as how to pick up women when you’re high, documented their public use of a Sybian, or “vibrating saddle for female pleasure,” to raise awareness for a “serious issue, in a fun way…” Simple Pickup pledged to donate $5 to prevention of female circumcision for every second that a woman stayed on the Sybian.

The men were filmed walking around Venice Beach, asking women questions like, “Do you like your clitoris?” in order to encourage women to participate in their fundraising efforts. Let’s take a moment to reflect on this situation:  I happen to be a woman. I love my clitoris. BUT if a random stranger, namely a male stranger, approached me on the street and asked me to masturbate in a public space in order to raise money for a this cause—or any cause—I would be fucking offended. Continue reading

Quick Hit: How Can They Call Jack White Sexist?

16 Oct

In light the discussion about Jack White’s move to speak out against sexism in the music industry (, Slate magazine happily dubs  White a feminist to elithe backlash about his supposed “woman problem.”

Read more HERE:

Photograph by Mike Coppola/Getty Images.

Gender Violence: A Human Issue

16 Oct

“We often think of gender violence as women’s issues that some good men help out with.”

This is one of the opening lines of a TED talk given by Jackson Katz, an awesome feminist educator and activist, regarding our society’s thought process on the issue of gender violence. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and what better way to continue the conversation then with a thought-provoking TED talk? Katz’s TED talk, “Violence Against Women: It’s a Men’s Issue,” offers a unique perspective on intimate partner violence and other sexual violence issues that is relevant both this month and this day in age.



Continue reading


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 355 other followers