“Girls Gone Wild” woman filmed against will and loses lawsuit

Because she was there that night in the Rum Jungle, because she was twenty and pretty, because she was dancing, she gave “implicit consent” to be a part of the “Girls Gone Wild” video “Sorority Orgy 2,” the cover of which shows girls who look like they’re about 12.

This is what a jury in St. Louis actually ruled yesterday.

Nevermind that she said “No” when asked to show her breasts. Somebody pulled down her tank top for her. She never said yes. She never signed the consent form that so many drunken girls end up signing for those videos (before performing sexual acts/being sexually assaulted in the GGW bus).

This is just our culture, isn’t it, right? Saying that women shouldn’t dress sexy, shouldn’t be drunk or drinking in public, shouldn’t be out dancing, laughing, enjoying themselves, because they’re likely to be victims.

Parading ourselves off and having a good time just shows that we’re giving “implicit consent” to be raped, assaulted and videotaped against our will. This is what our justice system says.

Thanks.

Highly recommended readings:

St. Louis Today for a good summary of the case

The Sexademic: We need more “don’t rape” campaigns

“Baby, Give Me a Kiss:” Founder of GGW assaults journalist, girl filmed in GGW

GGW Founder Joe Francis sues against tell-all book

–by Tara Cavanaugh

Is the Daily Show sexist? Don’t believe (all) the hype.

Jon Stewart is on my TV a lot. Photo by Erin K. O'Neill.

“Men hire men,” my dad said to me when I was home for Independence Day.  “And women hire women. That’s just the way it is.”

Whether my dad was strictly accurate (or not) misses the point.  The gross generalization—that hiring for jobs is largely based on gender—is the center of the brouhaha surrounding the blogosphere and the “Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” America’s premiere source for fake news.

I fucking love the Daily Show.

I’ve been watching the “Daily Show” since Craig Kilborn was the host, and he left the show in 1998. I plan my life around watching the “Daily Show” four nights a week—because if I miss the 10 p.m. airing I catch the rerun at 12:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 1 p.m., or 6 p.m. the next day. My biographers, should I ever have any, will probably point the influence of the “Daily Show “in my chosen career of pursuing real news (hint hint, biographers).

Thus, when the feminist blog Jezebel decided to make a very thorough, if flawed, critique of the “Daily Show’s” dearth of female on-air “correspondents,” I was devastated. Or, to put it in the 140 characters or less I wrote on Twitter: “This is the most upsetting news EVER!!! EVER EVER!!!” (sic).

It’s the fake news apocalypse. Or, as Jon Stewart himself might say, it’s a catastrafuck.

Because I was just a little worried that it was true.

Irin Carmon, who writes for Jezebel, went to great lengths, and through a lot of anonymous sources, to make the point that institutionalized sexism, or discrimination based on gender that is a result of adherence to existing social norms and organizational rules and not active prejudice, is alive and well at the “Daily Show.”

Jezebel’s article quotes the show co-creator and former executive producer, Madeleine Smithberg, as saying that she doesn’t think the show is sexist, and blames “larger societal forces” (Jezebel’s words) for the gender disparity.

And, in some ways, the numbers don’t lie: of the 50 “correspondents” the “Daily Show” has featured over the years, only 11 have been women.

Like my dad said: “Men hire men.”

A friend of mine, who shall remain nameless because I’m still angry with him for even suggesting it, said that maybe women just aren’t as funny as men. Since the “Daily Show” is predicated on humor, it would make sense that more men make it on-air. He sent me an article by Christopher Hitchens from “Vanity Fair” called “Why Women Aren’t Funny.” Apparently, a side effect of the ability to grow tiny humans kills any ability to be funny.

“For women, reproduction is, if not the only thing, certainly the main thing,” Hitchens wrote. “Apart from giving them a very different attitude to filth and embarrassment, it also imbues them with the kind of seriousness and solemnity at which men can only goggle.”

Excuse me?

Well, it was all just fuel for the fire. I was furious—not only at my friend for sending me such an odious article, but at my own blindness. How could I have been such a fan of the “Daily Show” and not seen what was right in front of me? Were smashingly good and hilarious critiques of Fox News really enough to justify overlooking such discrimination? Was I condoning the male-dominated media landscape by default because I had not even realized that all of my fake news idols were men?

I thought about it. A lot.

And then the backlash in the media started. Jon Stewart himself mentioned on-air that “Jezebel thinks I’m a sexist prick,” and Slate’s Emily Gould accused Jezebel of using accusations of sexism and the female predisposition to petty jealousy to boost page views. The New York Times wrote a piece on Jezebel’s willingness to take a “media heavyweight . . .  . to task.”

I found the open letter to “People Who Don’t Work Here,” written by the female staffers of the “Daily Show,” to be most enlightening. “The ‘Daily Show’ isn’t a place where women quietly suffer on the sidelines as barely tolerated tokens,” the letter said. “On the contrary: just like the men here, we’re indispensable. We generate a significant portion of the show’s creative content and the fact is, it wouldn’t be the show that you love without us.”

I would rather take their word for it than anyone else’s.

I am, in the end, conflicted. I think that the “Daily Show” could have saved itself a lot of agony if it had not refused to comment for Irin Carmon’s article.  I think Jezebel did a huge amount of reporting, but instead of deferring to a journalist’s obligation to the truth, they decided they had a bone to pick (Jezebel may be a media organization, but it’s a blog of opinion writing with a feminist slant, which can lead to a lack of fairness).

This may have all been blown way out of proportion. Welcome to media in the twenty-first century.

Do I wish that the “Daily Show” would represent more females on-air? Absolutely.  Do I think that the conspicuous lack of women on the show is a result of deliberate and insidious sexism? Not at all.  I will still be watching.

Also: Olivia Munn, meet me at camera three.

Honey, you need to talk to wardrobe. The blue button down shirt you wore on the air July 1, 2010 was too small.  The buttons should not pull like that. There’s no shame in going up a size. That’s what tailors are for—they can fix that problem. No one will ever know!

~By Erin K. O’Neill

Wonder Woman Gets New Costume, World Grinds to a Halt

Everyone from FOX News to Slate to the Washington Post has opined or decried or applauded the change in the wardrobe of Wonder Woman. Apparently her sixties star-spangled swimsuit has been swapped for a cropped motorcycle jacket, tight pants, a smaller tiara and chunkier flashy thingies on her wrists. She has a new “broodingly brooding” storyline to match, according to Slate.

Some of the questions and criticisms of the new look? She’s unAmerican (FOX– surprise, surprise), she could be perceived as more masculine now but probably not but ZOMG she is so awesome (WashPo),  she’s still a work in progress when it comes to representing women (Wall Street Journal), and AHH! CHANGE! (aol).

As editor of a feminism and fashion based blog, I suppose it’s time to make some sort of proclamation:

I don’t care.

–Tara Cavanaugh

The Ever-Elusive Lady: Gaga’s “Alejandro”

To me, Lady Gaga’s “Alejandro” video is like a good surrealist painting; I like it, but I just don’t quite get it. And I know everybody and their mama has written about Gaga and her video and what it could all mean. But here are my takeaway questions:

1)    What is with the dancing Moes? Is Gaga a Stooges fan? If so, more power to her; those guys are hilarious.

2)    Is Gaga making a fashion statement with her platinum blond chili bowl? (I hope not. I wouldn’t ever want a resurgence of that cut; it looked bad enough on me as a child.)

3)    Should the original platinum pop princess of overt sexuality and controversial images, aka Madonna, be pissed at the blatant rip-off or pleased at the homage?

But in all seriousness, the viewer is assaulted with several images throughout the course of the video. A totaltarian state with a dictator/queen. A casket and a skewered heart. Some snow and religious symbolism. People rolling around in beds. Crucifixes everywhere (even one over Gaga’s crotch). A dance sequence in a black pantsuit. A group dance sequence that debuts a stellar machine gun bra that puts Katy Perry’s whip cream can bra to shame.

Just what are you trying to say with all of your metaphors, Gaga? What are you commenting on? War? Religion? Sex? Love? Gender? I can’t quite make it out. Mostly, I think the assault of images, some of them for shock value, leaves the viewer only muddled and with a vague sense of what “Alejandro” is all about. As for the Madge comparisons? There are similarities to be sure (just check out Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” video for controversial Christian imagery), but whether it is an homage or an inferior attempt at Madonna, well, that’s all in the eye of the beholder (and probably depends on how big a fan of each one is). For my part, I could probably watch this 100 times and never fully get it, but I’ll enjoy it for what it is: another freaky fun stop on the Gaga rollercoaster.

–by Lindsay Ray