Tag Archives: Facebook

How to Have a Conversation on a First Date (Or: How Not to Have a Conversation on a First Date)

Today’s Role/Reboot post comes to you inspired by the following Facebook exchange:

Screenshot_11_14_13_10_14_AM

I realized after I posted this that it might not be a gendered issue, but I don’t date women, so I really have no idea. There are probably lady-monologuers out there, too. That said, I do think there’s something about the economics of dating (especially online dating) wherein men are encouraged to try to impress, and women are encouraged to sit back and be impressed. The thing is, I’m mostly impressed by curiosity, which gets lost if you’re too busy telling a twenty minute story about CrossFit.

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Related Post: Why online dating sucks for men.

Related Post: OkCupid by the numbers!

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Filed under Gender, Republished!

5 Myths (and now a 6th!)

For my new piece on Role/Reboot, I listed five of the most common responses I hear from street harassment defenders.

“It’s because you’re pretty” (plus obvious wardrobe corollary, “It’s because you’re wearing _______”)

“It’s just a compliment!”

“We can’t help ourselves!”

“It’s the only way to get your attention”

“It’s harmless” 

Since I posted the piece on Facebook, another great one has surfaced, “Some women like it!” UGH, such a good addition to this list!

Thought experiment! Since blatant racism is, in most circles, tolerated less than blatant sexism, I think it can sometimes be useful to switch out sexist language for racist language to test our own boundaries. (NOTE: By no means am I equating sexism and racism. Different issues, sometimes related, sometimes not). 

So, to the guy who responded on FB “Whenever I witness it – which admittedly is pretty rare – ladies seem to enjoy the attention half the time,” let’s imagine this is about race, not gender. Let’s say that about half the time, black people you know don’t mind when you use the N-word colloquially. But, the other half of the time when you try to use it, you trigger for your listeners extreme emotional trauma. Would you use it because “half the time” some people might not mind? Would your verbal “freedom” be worth the pain you would cause people to exercise it? And since you wouldn’t know from looking at your audience whether they were black people who don’t mind or ones who d0, you would just not use the word, right? At least, that’s what any person of reasonable empathy would do.

So, even if some women don’t mind, or even appreciate cat calling (and I’m not disputing the fact that some women do), to others, you are causing extreme emotional trauma. You are making them feel unsafe. You are making them feel objectified. You are making them feel uncomfortable. So…. stop. As another commenter put it in response to this dude,

“Women are telling you they do not like this. It makes them uncomfortable. It make them feel like they can’t just go about their day in a way that is totally reasonable to expect without having unwanted attention from strangers. Regardless of the cat-callers’ motivations, or what you might like or how you think you see women reacting. There are women right here telling you it’s not cool. Period. Even if you don’t agree with the gender analysis or the power-play patriarchy stuff. Fine. You don’t have to. It kind of comes down to basic politeness and that should really be the end of it.”

Anyway, read on for more on my original Five Myths About Street Harassment. Can you think of any others?

5myths

Related Post: A letter to the guy who harassed me on the street

Related Post: On Ta-Nehisi Coates and street harassment

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Filed under Gender, Republished!

Guest Post: The Problem With “Blurred Lines”

Remember when Thicke looked like this?

Remember when Thicke looked like this?

Guest post today from my girl Bri, a fellow Chicago friend who had an epiphany about the controversial Robin Thicke song “Blurred Lines.”

Background: Thicke’s song received a lot of attention for being a tad rape-y and coercive with lyrics like, “And that’s why I’m gon’ take a good girl/I know you want it” and for his GQ interview in which he said, “We tried to do everything that was taboo. Bestiality, drug injections, and everything that is completely derogatory towards women. Because all three of us are happily married with children, we were like, ‘We’re the perfect guys to make fun of this.’ People say, ‘Hey, do you think this is degrading to women?’ I’m like, ‘Of course it is. What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman. I’ve never gotten to do that before. I’ve always respected women.’” Other people claimed that “we” were reading too much into a damn catchy beat and looking to get upset (which, yes, sometimes we do).

Bri wrote an awesome post today on FB about a street harassment incident where a group of guys used these lyrics to intimidate and objectify. She makes some excellent points about how the “blurred” space between good times and sexual assault can be the most dangerous space because of the erosion of boundaries and the expectations that some people have about “good times.”  With her permission:

“I was walking from the red line stop to the green line stop. And, as feels inevitable at this point when walking anywhere, a group of guys verbally harassed me along the way, even following me for a bit at one point. It was nighttime, but I wasn’t really nervous/scared per se, since there were a ton of other people around, but it was still obviously obnoxious and embarrassing and shitty. So they’re yelling things like “that’s it, bitch! that’s my bitch!” which, whatever. (For men [or women I suppose] who maybe haven’t experienced this… it’s really not super out-of-the-ordinary for a lot of women in a lot of places… keep that in mind through the rest of this.)

But then they started singing Blurred Lines. Now, I understand that there’s both been a lot of people offended by Blurred Lines, as well as a lot of people totally confused by and antagonistic towards people who are offended by Blurred Lines. I was pretty offended when I first saw/heard the video/song. But as I talked through it with people, it was really hard for me to actually pinpoint a concrete reason that it made me so uncomfortable. It’s about a guy seducing a girl, and he’s using sexy language to do it – what’s so bad about that? I wondered what it was that made me uncomfortable. I read articles depicting the terms “good girl” and “I know you want it” as rape-y, which didn’t really seem fair. Sexually dominant? Sure. But that’s not a negative thing, people are entitled to be into whatever they’re into. So I set my discomfort aside and tried to enjoy this song that the rest of the world seems to love.

Until this event last week. 8-10 guys singing “you’re a good girl, you know you want it” at me cleared up very quickly why this song makes me, and many other women, uncomfortable, and why that’s totally justified, and why much of the world and Robin Thicke probably don’t get it.

It’s a trigger. Those words immediately trigger horrifying memories for a lot of women, myself included. A group of men singing those words at me brought back the EXACT sensation that I’ve had during horribly traumatic points of my life. “You’re a good girl” – instant horrible flashback. “You know you want it” – another horrible flashback, and the memory of someone justifying a terrible act they’re committing by convincing themselves that I want it.

And I don’t have statistics on this, but I would venture to say that not just mine, but a SIGNIFICANT number of cases of sexual assault occur when people are having a good time – at a party, being flirty, etc, after which things take a dark turn. So for Blurred Lines to be doing just that – blurring the line between a fun, upbeat, sing-a-long-style song that’s flirtacious and dirty and whatever, and a song that triggers such horrible, dark memories for me, is another trigger in itself. It totally mirrors some fun times that quickly turned into awful experiences.

The purpose of this post is really just to say: I understand more fully now why people are offended by this song, and I also get why people think people who are offended are totally overreacting. Because “you’re a good girl” and “you know you want it” should just be sexy, dirty, fun, with-a-wink language. In a perfect world, Blurred Lines would be a fun, dirty, sexy song, and that’s it. But it’s not. To a lot of women, those words (and consequently that video too) don’t just mean that. That’s not Robin Thicke’s fault, and I understand why he and most men and a lot of women can honestly and thoroughly enjoy the song. I’m just saying that it’s okay, too, to not be able to enjoy the song. I get it now. And I’d hope that everyone might understand a little better why being offended isn’t necessarily an overreaction – it’s a reaction to something that really has little/nothing to do with Thicke and has everything to do with words that trigger memories of horrible things that people do to other people.”

If you want more of Bri, follow her on Twitter here

One other thing, the video for Blurred Lines has been “gender swapped” by  Mod Carousel. How do we feel about fully clothed ladies and gyrating naked men? NSFW:

Related Post: On Ta-Nehisi Coates, street harassment and “Real Men”

Related Post: Guest Post: Dude, I Don’t Know If You’re a Player or a Slut

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Filed under Chicago, Gender, Guest Posts, Hollywood, Media

Everything is About Everything: New Media + Old Media

For book club, we recently read Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, a modern, bromantic, technologically-obsessed, Google-worshipping fantasy adventure in which millennial heroes and heroines are obsessed with the idea of Old Knowledge (aka OK). I’m kind of obsessed with Old Media (OM?), specifically it’s intersection with New Media (NM), and TBD Media (TBDM). I think this is a fascinating question:

OM + NM + TBDM = ?????

The combination of Old Media and New Media happens to be in vogue right now. If OM = books, TV, movies, music and NW = Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blogging, etc., we already have lots of neat examples of these things working together. I’m having fun with mind-mapping right now, so….

mind map

Click to Enlarge

  • The Bling Ring - Sofia Coppola’s strange new movie about a band of overprivileged teenagers who break into celebrity homes uses screenshots of Facebook, sequences devoted to the taking of selfies, and texting as avenues to explore the meta “Pics or it didn’t happen” mentality of the youth (self included).
  • House of Cards - Netflix’ original (and now Emmy-nominated) political intrigue-a-thon incorporates on-screen text messages over images of characters in their own locales. Old school political mastermind Frank Underwood uses new school journalist Zoe Barnes to channel her demographic access into viral and conniving campaign messages.
  • Americanah – The new novel from Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie  is about a young Nigerian couple who follow separate paths (her to America, him to the UK) before reuniting in Lagos decades later. The protagonist, Ifemelu, writes a blog about race from the perspective of a non-African-American black person that becomes famous. Excerpts from her blog are incorporated into the book, and her online presence is treated as a fundamental piece of identity (as many of us now consider it to be).

The real interesting question, of course, is what happens when OM meets NM meets TBDM. What is TBDM anyway? Well, it’s obviously things we haven’t even created yet. Will our media become more multi-sensory? Will we control the stories we watch or be actors in them? Will the idea of created media devolve so heavily that we’ll all just read/watch real life as it happens a la Truman Show? What do you think?

Related Post: Past experiments with mind mapping

Related Post: Quadrant games!

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Filed under Books, Hollywood, Media

Win Something Pretty?

Dear readers/friends/random strangers who searched one of these terms to get here, “giant muscle dominates skinny bitch,” “Patrick Wilson doesn’t know his dad,” or “8 pm,”

I’m so glad you found me. Please stay, explore, make yourself comfortable. I’m about to cross a big threshold on subscribers to this blog, so I want to thank you for being here with me. To show you I mean it, I’m doing a little giveaway.

My friends Lindi and Helen at Clover + Lace are very talented, crafty ladies who I like a lot. I think. We’ve never actually met, but the internet is a beautiful place, and I trust that they are as lovely in real life as they are on the web. They make beautiful things, like pendants, cupcake sculptures, and greeting cards.

Just for being here, you can have one of those things! All you have to do is tweet at me or post on the Rosie Says Facebook page. In other words, just tell me you’re around and you’ll be entered to win. If you want to say something nice, or link to a post you like,  or tell me what you want me to write about, or announce your favorite color, or complain about my grammer, you’re more than welcome, but all you have to do is say “hi!” On Tuesday morning, I’ll randomly pick a winner who can have anything their heart desires (under $20) off of Lindi and Helen’s Etsy page. FREE STUFF. Who doesn’t like free stuff?

Writing this blog and graphing crazy things and ranting about misogyny and telling you everything I think about is usually my favorite part of the day, so thanks for sticking around.

Emily

P.S. Here are some of the things you could win:

A print about crafting

A print about crafting

Cards with pretty ladies on them!

Cards with pretty ladies on them!

Fun jewelry!

Fun jewelry!

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Apps for Bootycalling?

This week for Role/Reboot I “reviewed” a new Facebook app called “Bang with Friends.” In theory, it’s a discreet way to figure out which of your friends are down to hook up with you. In practice, I found it to be a quick reminder of why you don’t sleep with your friends.

I tested it with a willing friend, just to see what happens. We indicated we were down to bang each other (literally, the button you press per friend is “Down to bang!”), which opened up a little mini-messaging conversation that went like this:

Me: Hey baby, let’s get a little more comfortable. 

Me: I would never write that. That’s what this silly thing made me do.

Him: mmmm, sounds good.

Me: gross. 

If you’d like to read more about my thoughts on Bang With Friends, casual sex, secret admirers, and FWB relationships, read on:

Will A New App Reinvent The Booty Call?

Related Post: Sex on the first date? I made a flowchart!

Related Post: The “end” of courtship?

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Filed under Gender, Republished!, Sex

Twenty Five

Yesterday was my birthday.

In real life, it played out beautifully with appearances by all my favorite people, delicious food, some sort of passion fruit cocktail, yoga, a house full of people who didn’t break anything and seemed to have a good time.

On the internet, it played out like this:

BDAY4

So happy birthday to me! In the words of my mother, I’m a quarter through my life (ambitious, no?). From my dad, a reminder that when he turned 55 I pointed out he was closer to 60 than 50, and so “You’re closer to 30 than 20! Payback’s a bitch!” From my brother, “Wow, you’re old.”

Related Post: OkCupid by the graphs

Related Post: Halloweenery 2012

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Great Textpectations

I so wanted to officially name this essay “Great Textpectations” but my (excellent) Role/Reboot editor vetoed in favor of something that I’m sure will drive more search traffic. I would have done it up though, with some thesis-style, colon-ated, alliteration-heavy titles, like:

Great Textpectations: The Modern Myth of Constant Communication

Great Textpectations: Varied Virtual Contact in the 21st Century Land of Love

Great Textpectations: Keeping it Klassy and Torrid Textual Triumphs

Okay, so that last one was realllly bad, but damn do I miss naming college essays! This week, I wrote about texting (and other digital communication) and how to handle it when your wavelength and your partner’s wavelength are not even close to the same frequency. I’m not sure how wavelengths and frequency work, so that analogy might not make sense.

Is Technology Ruining Your Relationship?

Related Post: Why I love Foursquare.

Related Post: Counting Facebook friends.

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Rock and a Hard Place

This will be the last thing I write about the Facebook page “12 Year Old Sluts,” unless, of course, it’s taken down, in which case I will crow from the rooftops.

This time, for Role/RebootI didn’t write about my rage at Facebook, or my petition, or why these men are sick and twisted. We (the collective progressive, feminist, feminist ally, sex-positive “we”) take for granted that this page is horrifying. We think the level of its heinousness is just too obvious ignore. For this piece though, I wanted to think through specifically what makes it so damaging, why it’s only an extension of existing double standards, and why some people think it’s just A-ok.

The “12 Year Old Sluts” page is just the most extreme example of the double bind that teenaged girls (and adult women) deal with all the time. It’s the worst incarnation of what happens when you’re stuck between wanting to be attractive and sexy, but not wanting to be thought too sexy (ready slutty). The sweet spot is small and hard to find, and it’s no surprise to me that teenagers get it so so wrong. Don’t we all from time to time?

Related Post: Don’t take my picture! Come on, you’re at the beach!

Related Post: Bras for children that “1000% cute!”

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Filed under Gender, Media, Republished!, Sex

Trying

On Friday, after I created that change.org petition asking Facebook to remove the 12-Year-Old Sluts page for violating their community standards, I managed to work myself into a pretty deep funk. I’m normally an extremely optimistic person, and I prefer to believe that most people are doing their best, that the arc bends towards justice, and that if you explain your position clearly and persuasively enough, anyone can become an ally.

Sometimes, that optimism leaves me vulnerable to being unpleasantly surprised by the world. Friday, I exhausted my resources for fixing what, in my view, is horrifying and unacceptably brutal abuse of social media. I made my case as articulately as I know how, I reached out to personal connections at Facebook to push from the inside, I sent my petition around. Nothing worked. I don’t get devastated easily, but aside from personal tragedy, this was the most furious/outraged/helpless I’ve felt in quite some time.

It’s a perk of living in Chicago, of surrounding myself with progressive, liberal folks, that I’m naive enough to think that the world will just agree with me if I’m clear enough about why they’re wrong. Turns out, that’s often untrue, a lesson most of you are well aware of by now. Facebook knows quite clearly what they have on their hands with “12 Year Old Sluts,” and they believe it’s on the safe side of the controversial humor/misogynistic bullying line. They are wrong, we are right, but it doesn’t matter.

So how to pull myself out of the funk of helpless spirals of people-are-the-worst anomie? Yoga first, community second. An hour of sweating, bending, twisting, and breathing did wonders for my mental state, and when I got home to find 100 signatures on my dinky little petition (plus dozens of supportive comments), the clouds cleared a little more. To seal the deal, my roommate reminded me that my outrage need not be lonely. Other media institutions were all over it, and another petition already had 500 times as many signatures as mine.

Facebook likes to think they are facilitating connections between people, and in many ways they are. I’m eternally grateful to the smart, funny, opinionated internet network I can tap into any time I want. I truly believe it expands the world in extraordinary, amazing ways. But if Facebook believes that they are protecting the freedom of speech of commenters who tell children to kill themselves, well they better hope none of these girls take this “controversial humor” too seriously.

Related Post: Counting Facebook friends

Related Post: The 8pm Internet Ban

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Filed under Body Image, Media