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September 28, 2010

Witch Quickie: Senator Dick Durbin's Email Fail

I recently wrote about the Wiccan community's response to Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell's ignorant comments about witchcraft. Well, apparently it's a trend, and now it's Senator Dick Durbin's turn.

Veronica from Viva La Feminista caught this line in a recent email sent out by Senator Durbin's office:
Across Illinois and across America, millions of voters are ready to hear a call to gather and fight the witches and wingnuts who worship Sarah Palin, stand in awe of Glenn Beck, and arrogantly profess to speak for our future.
Wingnuts may "worship" Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, but witches most definitely do not. Selena Fox of the Circle Sanctuary has described the pagan community as "multi-partisan", but considering that witches revere nature and believe in the divine feminine, I don't think that there are tons of hardcore Palin/Beck supporters in the group. As Veronica put it:
I'm sure that there must be Republican witches (I think the Wicked Witch was one) out there, but for the most part, the witches/pagans/wiccans I have met are all open-minded liberals if not radically lefty. We might not be the biggest religious group out there, but we do take offense to being liken to something to be defeated, especially, for me, to radical right wingers who don't believe in women's rights, evolution or caring for their fellow human being.
Go read the rest of her post: Senator Durbin I'm betting that most witches are Democrats.

September 25, 2010

Recent Posts From ESC TV

Here are some recent posts from ESC TV:




 

We watched and reviewed the first two episodes of the CW's new show Hellcats.


 

 

File this one under 'Dumb Things Guys Say'.



Our guide to The Vampire Diaries Season 1... catch up in time for Season 2.


 

Review and recap of the first two episodes of the new season of The Vampire Diaries.



Our review of The Gates Season Finale: It sucked less than the premiere, but still sucked.



Bonnie from The Vampire Diaries covers Paula Abdul's "Cold Hearted Snake".



We watched and counted all the unfunny fat jokes. Long list for a show that's supposedly 'not about weight'.


It's Margaret Cho!

September 23, 2010

Wiccan Community Responds to Christine O'Donnell's Ignorance

If you follow politics at all, you're familiar with Christine O'Donnell, the Tea Party-backed candidate who recently pulled off an upset victory in the Republican Senate primary in Delaware. She's gotten a ton of press coverage thanks to her unexpected win and her views, which range from extreme to ridiculously extreme to extremely ridiculous.

O'Donnell is anti-choice, anti-contraception, and anti-masturbation, believes that homosexuality is an "identity disorder", has claimed that condoms don't stop the spread of AIDS, once argued that letting women attend military academies "cripples the readiness of our defense", believes that American companies "are cross-breeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains", has said that President Obama is anti-American because he's so liberal, and once said of a trip she took to the Middle East that "it was refreshing not to be constantly bombarded with smut all the time". (See Think Progress' The Old Adventures of New Christine for more.)

A few days ago, Bill Maher released a clip of an appearance that Christine O'Donnell made on his show in 1999, during which she talked about having "dabbled in witchcraft". Here's the clip and the relevant quotes, via Think Progress:



O’DONNELL: I dabbled into witchcraft — I never joined a coven. But I did, I did. … I dabbled into witchcraft. I hung around people who were doing these things. I’m not making this stuff up. I know what they told me they do...One of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic altar, and I didn’t know it. I mean, there’s little blood there and stuff like that. …We went to a movie and then had a midnight picnic on a satanic altar.

A few days after this clip surfaced, O'Donnell tried to play down the comments by saying, "How many of you didn’t hang out with questionable folks in high school?"

Obviously O'Donnell is the type of candidate that comedians dream of, but joking aside, her comments are ignorant, incorrect, and potentially harmful. So I wanted to highlight some of the responses to this incident that have come from the Wiccan community.


Witch Says Christine O'Donnell is Confused About Witchcraft: Despite O'Donnell's 1999 Confession, Real Witches Don't Worship Satan or Hold Dates on Altars With Blood [ABC News. Emphasis mine. And I will say that I do kinda love the fact that this is now a real news headline that exists.]

"It leads me to believe she's making it up completely out of whole cloth with poor information," said Sylvia T. Webb, the first officer of the Covenant of the Goddess, a national non-profit organization. Comments like O'Donnell's, she said, are "bizarre" and contribute to misinformation about the religion.

...Webb scoffed at O'Donnell's claims. "It's very hard to worship something you do not believe in and Satan is a Christian concept," she said. "Wiccans don't have Satanic altars."

...they do have altars, but "there would be no blood," Webb said. "She might have had a date with some ... want-to-be goth child who was into thinking he was Satanic or something," Webb said. "There are a lot of misinformed young people trying to be wild."

In reality, Wicca is a denomination of Paganism, a religion that pre-dates Christianity.

Jim Lewis, a leading expert on new religious movements, wrote in an e-mail to ABCNews.com that while it's true many young people "dabble" in witchcraft and other neo-pagan beliefs as teenagers, the second part of O'Donnell's claim "is sensationalistic exaggeration."

"The stereotype of blood-sacrificing Satanists has been thoroughly debunked by mainstream scholars," he wrote. "Additionally, talking about neo-Pagans and Satanists as if they're part of the same movement is completely inaccurate. In fact, they actively dislike each other."

No ancient Wiccan texts were ever recorded, Webb said, but modern Wicca was believed to have been born in the early to mid-20th century.

"Most of us are proud to be called witches," Webb said, although she said some shy away from that term because of the negative connotation. "To me it is a title of wisdom and one who shapes through will."


Wiccan Community Upset With O'Donnell, Calls Witchcraft Comments 'Teaching Moment' [Huffington Post. Emphasis mine.]

"Yes, this was 11 years ago she said that," said Reverend Selena Fox, the High Priestess & Senior Minister of the Circle Sanctuary a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting paganism and nature spirituality. "But the kinds of things she is saying now, saying 'well in high school you are with despicable characters' or some such thing, she is actually defaming Wiccans. Whether she intends to do that or not as a way to try and get herself out of this political problem she has created for herself, the fact is America really needs to be a place where you can celebrate diversity and practice your religion without getting ridiculed or defamed."

Fox, who has been active in fighting anti-Wiccan measures in Congress and the military for the past 25 years, showcased a bit of political deftness when she diplomatically called O'Donnell's candidacy a "teaching moment" for the country. Debates over religious tolerance, she offered, have been shrouded recently in heated political rhetoric. And there was now growing concern among both she and members of her organization that "there will be more ridicule as well as more misinformation" about Wiccans and witchcraft because of O'Donnell's remarks.

"Any political candidate that is going to equate witchcraft with Satanism is ill informed and is not likely to get the support of people involved in nature religion," she said, noting that the pagan community was "multi-partisan."

"I'm concerned," she said. "I'm concerned that 25 years of work that the Lady Liberty League and other Wiccan and pagan civil rights and religious freedom groups have been involved in... that there will be more misinformation as well as ridicule and disrespect. We are living in politically turbulent times."


Wiccan: GOP candidate's witchcraft dabbling a teachable moment [CNN Belief Blog. Emphasis mine.]
“It’s an opportunity to get some correct information out there. That’s how I see it,” says [Selena] Fox, who is the high priestess and senior minister of Circle Sanctuary, a Wiccan church near Barneveld, Wisconsin, that serves Pagans worldwide. “There’s comedy about it, hot debate about it, lots of pundits weighing in. But one of the things that really hasn’t gotten through is how ridicule and defamation can harm people.”

...Pagan, she explains, is the “umbrella term for nature religion practices with roots in Old Europe.” Wiccans represent one branch of Paganism, as do Druids and Heathens, for example, she says. Fox, who was raised Southern Baptist, explains her beliefs this way:

We honor the Divine as a goddess and god, as well as a great oneness and a multiplicity. We celebrate the cycles of the sun and seasons. … We honor the five elements of nature: earth, air, fire, water and spirit. The circle that connects the five points [of the pentacle star, a symbol used by Pagans] represents the greater circle of nature that we’re part of, love and wholeness. … We honor ancestors and seek to live in harmony not only with other humans but with nature.

And, she insists, she and other Pagans do not recognize or speak of Satan. Some people within the nature religions are trying to take back the words “witch” and “witchcraft,” but she says others stay away from such terms because of the continued misconceptions....

"America, as a whole, needs to be aware that nature religion practitioners are part of the religious diversity in this country," she said.

Witches Blast O'Donnell [The Daily Beast. Emphasis mine.]
"The old nature religions of Europe were persecuted for hundreds of years," [Selena Fox] said, "and part of a tactic for suppressing the pagan practices of old was to label them Satanic or demonic."

For some, old habits die hard: Senator Jesse Helms tried to rob Wiccan churches of their tax-exempt status in 1985, while Rep. Bob Barr wanted to outlaw Wiccan services on military bases in 1999. According to Ivo Dominguez Jr., the owner of what he calls a “metaphysical general store” in Dover, Delaware, O’Donnell’s dabbling with witchcraft is really just another window into her Christian beliefs. “Basically, you have to be a Christian to believe in Satanism because you have to believe in the Devil,” he said. “So I think probably it was a bunch of teens that decided to do a pastiche of too many bad movies... It has nothing to do with witchcraft and paganism.”

Not all of Delaware’s politicians are as out of touch with the faith as O’Donnell. “There are probably more pagans in Delaware than Unitarians,” Dominguez said. Each year, the Delmarva Pagan Pride Festival draws several hundred Wiccans and other pagans to Dover from Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. “In past years, we have had politicians or parties show up at Pagan Pride Day with politicians wearing buttons and handing out stickers.”

“Our current governor came to a meet-and-greet that he knew ahead of time was going to be mostly Wiccan or pagan,” said Dominguez. Questions for Gov. Jack Markell, who was then a candidate in the Democratic primary, were mostly about the environment. “There were no questions about will you appoint an openly pagan blah blah blah,” said Dominguez. “At this moment of history, that’s not where our community is.”

Dominguez said that the surfacing of O’Donnell’s past comments is particularly unfortunate for Wiccans because it comes near “our least favorite media cycle,” the run-up to Halloween. “My biggest concern is that we will be receiving negative depictions on one side from the people that traditionally don’t like us, which are folks that believe the only thing that is a valid spiritual path is a narrowly defined kind of Christianity, and on the other side people that are progressive that we would normally see as our friends but who will be using the witch angle as a way of attacking a conservative candidate.”

No matter how Democrats treat the issue, it seems unlikely that Wiccans will turn out for O’Donnell at the polls. “Her inability to separate anything non-Christian from Satanic is going to be an issue not just with her potential pagan constituents but with any other non-Christians or Christians of a flavor that does not match hers,” said Michael Smith, the Wiccan IT analyst who hosted the meet-and-greet the governor visited.

“A couple of my local politician friends say she’s losing the Wiccan vote,” said Dominguez. “Well, I said she never had the pagan vote for the most part to begin with.”


Real witchcraft deserves respect --not O'Donnell's dabbling [Washington Post On Faith blog. Emphasis mine. This was written by Starhawk, "a prominent voice in modern Wiccan spirituality and cofounder of reclaiming.org, an activist branch of modern Pagan religion, and author of ten books."]
Whatever Christine O'Donnell may have dabbled in, it wasn't Witchcraft. As someone who is openly and publicly a Witch myself and the only Witch who is a columnist for On Faith, I find myself in a dilemma. On the one hand, I feel a natural urge to respond to this issue--on the other hand, the fact that we're focusing on O'Donnell's bad date instead of the multiple urgent crises that beset us is a measure of just how low the level of political discourse has sunk. I'd really prefer not to contribute to it.

...So let me just say this--had O'Donnell really 'dabbled' in Witchcraft, she might have learned that the Craft, as we call it, or Wicca as some prefer, is a remnant of the pre-Christian indigenous traditions of Europe and the Middle East. Witches do not worship Satan--we consider the Devil to be a purely Christian construct. We see nature as sacred, and human beings as part of nature. Our spirituality does not require belief in things we can't see--but rather an attitude of respect, awe and wonder at the everyday miracles we can see, the great and common mysteries of birth, growth, death and regeneration in the fall of a leaf or the phases of the moon, in the cycles of our lives and the turning of the seasons.

O'Donnell might have learned that Witches see all of life as interconnected, that we are taught to respect other people, to treat one another with compassion, generosity and honor, to protect the earth and to live in balance with nature. We can only imagine how her life, her crusades and her politics might have been shaped by an early encounter with the Goddess, for whom the body is a temple, sexuality is a path of deep and sacred communion, and who tells us "all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals."

Witchcraft deserves the same respect accorded to any other spiritual tradition. And O'Donnell deserves the same respect as any other politician: that we judge them by their record, their abilities and their policies, not by stupid, offhand remarks they made decades ago.


O'Donnell didn't fare much better with actual Satanists, if this piece from CBS News is any indication:

Christine O'Donnell's "Witchcraft" Comments Rebuffed by Satanist

Some Wiccan leaders complained that witches do not believe in Satan. Diane Vera, the founder of a group called "NYC Satanists, Luciferians, Dark Pagans, and LHP Occultists" added today that O'Donnell's anecdote also misrepresents Satanists.

"As far as I am aware, no serious practitioner of any variant of either Wicca or Satanism would have a picnic on one's altar," Vera said in a press release.

Vera also cited a 1997 Washington Post op-ed O'Donnell wrote as head of the Savior's Alliance for Lifting the Truth (SALT). O'Donnell wrote about proselytizing to concert goers in the Washington area.

"Walking through the crowd I also noticed more pentagrams than crosses around the teenage necks," she wrote. "'Satanism is the religion of the '90s, I was told."

Vera responded that O'Donnell "has a tendency to confuse Satanism with not only Wicca but also rock fan culture."


There has been plenty of joking around about O'Donnell's views since her primary win, and much of it has centered around her comments about masturbation, but this witchcraft thing is now running a close second. I'm not saying that's all bad. You need a sense of humor to follow politics, especially these days. But it's also important to remember that a joke about witchcraft may be a joke about someone's religion, so sometimes it's worth taking a second to think about at whose expense you're really joking. At the same time, we need to deal with the fact that thousands of people in Delaware actually voted for Christine O'Donnell, and many more across the country are sending her money, endorsing her, and supporting her in at least some of her extreme views. And that's no laughing matter.

September 21, 2010

10 Things About BlogWorld Expo '10

Earlier this month we attended the BlogWorld Expo at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. It was our first time attending BlogWorld (and our first time in Vegas!) so we didn't really know what to expect. We were also curious about how it would compare to the other conferences that we attended this year, BlogHer and the Affiliate Summit. Here's our take on BlogWorld.


#1 - The Backstory

We've talked about going to BlogWorld before, but we were never able to make it happen because of scheduling conflicts and finances and other various reasons. This year, we skipped a conference that we usually go to because of a conflict, so we found ourselves with a little bit of extra money and time. Obviously just saving the money was not an option, so we decided that this was our year to check out BlogWorld. We had heard good things about the conference from a lot of people, including BlogWorld CEO Rick Calvert, who we met at the Affiliate Summit. And we'll be honest, having an excuse to take a trip to Vegas was a major factor in our decision making process.


#2 - The Hotel

As we mentioned, the conference took place at Mandalay Bay, and that's also where we decided to stay.

We really liked the hotel, and there's so much to see and do (and eat) there that we could have gone the entire trip without ever leaving and never been bored. Our hotel room had a TV in the bathroom and a phone next to the toilet. (We did a lot of speculating about why they felt like that phone was needed.) We also had a really nice view of the hotel pools...and a parking lot. Usually when we travel we just get the parking lot, so this was an upgrade.

There's a shopping center attached to the hotel, and then of course there's the casino, and every type of restaurant, bar, and lounge you could want. We justified eating and drinking at almost all of them because the place is fucking huge and we did about a million miles of walking each day. At one point a sales guy in the neighboring Luxor hotel offered us a tour of local time-shares, and by the end of the trip we were considering it.




#3 - The Keynotes

We really enjoyed the opening keynote from Scott Stratten of UnMarketing. A lot of what he said was common sense and he admitted at much. But it was common sense in a 'hey yeah, he's right, we should be doing that' sort of way and not a 'duh, we know this crap already' sort of way. He talked about not writing a lot of mediocre filler posts just to keep to some kind of blogging schedule, or writing something that's just okay and then worrying about how to get people to spread it around. "People spread awesome", so only write when you're passionate and you have something to say.

He also talked about how to deal with trolls and annoying commenters and various other haters. (To be clear, this doesn't include people who have constructive criticism or who just happen to disagree with you.) He said he's sometimes asked why he doesn't spend a lot of time engaging with people like this and trying to 'convert' them. His response? "I'm not the Jackass Whisperer...my job isn't to rehabilitate assholes online." Love it.

There was a keynote on Friday morning about social media and politics featuring Mark Penn, Karen Hughes, Hugh Hewitt, and Reid Wilson. We were planning on going, but it was early in the morning and we were jet lagged and we were in Vegas and it just didn't happen. But we did watch the video afterward and honestly we don't feel that we missed much. This conversation leaned more towards the 'duh' side of common sense, like Karen Hughes just listing a bunch of politicians who have Twitter accounts.

It also seemed that Hughes just couldn't help herself and kept derailing the conversation to make barely relevant comments bashing President Obama and praising George W. Bush and the tea party. And if you're not familiar with Hugh Hewitt, he's a conservative radio host who once said of a college football game that "it’s probably the last football game we’ll ever get to see before the United States gets blown up by the Islamists under Obama." How charming. Obviously we realize that BlogWorld isn't WAM or Netroots Nation so we didn't expect a whole panel full of people that we would agree with about everything. We just felt that overall we didn't take much away from this particular keynote.


#4 - The Sessions

Monetizing Your Blog (60 Tips in Sixty Minutes)

We were really disappointed in this session. First of all, it was misleading. There weren't even close to 60 tips... in fact, there weren't any actual tips at all. Instead of the so-called "rapid fire session" that the description promised, this was basically a question-and-answer session... so the quality of the 'tips' received relied heavily on the audience knowing the right questions to ask. We were surprised that it seemed like the panel hadn't actually come up with any of the tips ahead of time and was relying entirely on the audience to keep the session going with their questions.

To make matters worse, the answers weren't actually that great either. At one point someone asked "what are some ways to make money online other than advertising?" and the answer was basically "oh there's lots of things you can do..." and then a quick list of blah blah blah blah given without any actual tips about how to do any of those things. (That wasn't a huge problem for us, since we were familiar with most of the examples given that would've actually applied to us, but I can bet that the answer wasn't helpful to whoever asked that question.) The few tips that were actually helpful seemed a little hypocritical to us... For example, the advice that your site shouldn't be all ads and affiliate links. We agree that a website should be balanced and have enough quality content. This is good advice. But we thought it was a little ironic that this advice came from this particular panel. A brief survey of their sites shows that not all of them are following this advice (in fact, the website of one panelist - no names - crashes my browser every time I open it because it's so overloaded with ads and links and pop-ups).

Also, a lot of the topics were rushed over to 'save time' in an attempt to stick to the format, which meant that the few quality answers were cut off in the middle. But then time was wasted displaying useless supposed-to-be-funny 'tips' on a screen, such as "Buy John Chow's book". I don't know why they bothered to call it 60 tips in 60 minutes, when there was no way they could've possibly come close to 60 tips. I guess "25 sort-of answers to 25 questions in 60 minutes" wasn't catchy enough. At one point the moderator 'scolded' the audience for not laughing enough at their super-awesome jokes... Maybe if the jokes were actually funny we would've laughed. The panelists spent most of the time patting themselves on the back for how amazingly awesome they are and how much money they make on their blogs and how huge of an audience they have in India and how we should go buy their books. What more could we expect from self-proclaimed "blogging superstars"?

We were amused when we got home and had a chance to read Zac Johnson's take on the session, which was just a little different from ours:
We just finished our 60 Question in 60 Minutes Blog Monetization Panel at Blog World. It was a really fun and great panel… and not to toot my own horn, but it was definitely the best session at BlogWorld because we focused all of our efforts at the audience, and had so much audience participation. Go into any other session and you will get a few questions if you are lucky, our session had a ton of user submitted questions, which the panel then answered. I don’t think we ended up getting anywhere near 60 questions answered, but it was a great session full of quality content. [emphasis ours]
Clearly these guys are caught up in their own hype. We know that they are each extremely successful, but it just feels like many people have gotten caught up in this... cult of personality... to the point that everyone is afraid to question or criticize them. It's so well established that they are "blogging superstars" that they no longer have to actually say anything useful because people will automatically believe that what they're saying is golden just because they're the ones saying it... or will be too afraid to question it lest they look like they 'don't get it'. We don't want to bash them completely. It's obvious that they really do know what they're doing. We just wish they would've spent a little more time helping us learn to do it too and less time reminding everyone how awesome they are. In their defense, we will say that we felt like the '60 tips' format was a big part of the problem. We don't know if they came up with that or if it was suggested to them, but it seemed like it got in the way of letting the panelists give their best advice.


Mom Bloggers: Blog For Money, Not Swag!

After going to BlogHer all these times, we knew we wanted to check out this session. We weren't disappointed and we think that BlogHer needs more sessions like this one. The panelists had some great advice and concrete tips about how to put advertising on your blog, how to work with companies and brands in a way that really benefits you, how to get started in social media consulting and how to know what to charge for what you do. Our main criticism would be that while the panelists were all parenting bloggers, this session wasn't really about Mom Bloggers at all, so we think there were probably a lot of people at BlogWorld who didn't attend this session because they thought it 'wasn't for them'. (In case you haven't noticed... we aren't mom bloggers either.) It's unfortunate that the title was so limiting, because the tips and advice they gave would easily apply to anyone. It's a little disappointing that so many of the all-female panels were for 'female' topics like mommy blogging or women in sports media (more on that one later). One thing we will say about this conference was that unlike the Affiliate Summit, there were quite a few female presenters and panelists and not all of them were for female-centric topics.


32 Ways to Make Your Blog Suck Less

This was by far our favorite session. (This is what the 60 Tips in 60 Minutes should have been like.) A lot of times when there's only one panelist it can get a little bit boring, but Scott definitely kept us engaged and entertained. He had a slideshow to accompany what he was saying and it was actually funny (but not distracting). While not every single one of the tips applied to us, many of them were very helpful and we think that all 32 were valid and definitely useful to someone. And he timed it perfectly. The session was scheduled for 2:45-3:45 and he finished #32 at 3:44. Impeccable timing. He also provided a url where attendees could go to view the slideshow in case anyone missed anything or wanted to refer back to it later. It was clear that he put a lot of work into making his presentation really great, which provided even more of a contrast with the 'let's just wing it' style we had experienced earlier in the day.

From Blog to Book

It seems like every blogging conference has a 'blog to book' session, so you never know if you're going to get anything new by attending, but we're glad we checked this one out. It was a diverse panel so we were able to hear from a variety of perspectives, from someone who self-published to someone who works for a 'real' publisher that works with bloggers. The various methods of self-publishing and publishing on demand continue to grow in popularity, so it can be hard to figure out what the best route to take is for your book. One of the best pieces of advice from this panel was that you should really think about what your goal is in writing the book. Are you trying to establish yourself as an expert in a particular field, get more speaking engagements, get more paid writing work, or become a best-selling author and get into Oprah's Book Club? When you figure out what you're really trying to accomplish with your book, it will help you put your plan of action together.


Women in Sports Media Panel
Valli Hilaire, Kathleen Hessert, Patricia Hannigan
(We didn't catch the name of the moderator. The schedule incorrectly said it was Stephanie Agresta.)
This session was in the last time slot of the last day so it was pretty empty, which is a shame because it was a pretty cool discussion. We expected them to dive into issues related to sexism a little bit more, but overall it was a decent session. We had one major issue though. Of course, the Ines Sainz/New York Jets controversy came up and we were shocked by some of the comments... (we've bolded the parts that really stood out to us).

Patricia Hannigan: Yeah, you know I did a radio show on this, I have a call-in radio show. There were a lot of divergent opinions. But the way I looked at it was more that than anything else, it was - the case of the New York Jets and Ines Sainz - it was really new media bumping up against old media or vice versa. The fact that you had folks in that locker room all of a sudden who were writing features, kind of fluffy features and who did those without a problem and they were comfortable doing those features and then at the same time you had reporters who had a deadline and had to get that story done. And that's where the conflict was. Unfortunately it snowballed and it... There were a lot of factors at play and it took on an aspect of this gal from Mexico was complaining about how the Jets treated her and I don't think that was really the case. I think it was really the case that she was completely comfortable with what was happening in that locker room. It was the fact that she was with reporters that weren't comfortable. And it was more like the conflict between the new media and the old media... And I think it came down to the teams and the leagues and how they credential reporters and how they get them in there that's going to make that locker room journalism either succeed or fail or have issues like this. And then we need more people like Kathleen who can train the teams how to react in situations like that.
Um.... what? We were really shocked to hear this kind of victim blaming and dismissive response to what should've been a serious issue of sexism and harassment. So it was Ines Sainz's fault because she's not a real journalist? Because she's part of 'new media' or writes 'fluffy features' then she doesn't deserve to be credentialed... or respected? We do not understand at all what she was talking about - the fact that Ines Sainz isn't a 'serious journalist' has absolutely nothing to do with the way that the Jets should have treated her. We expected more from women in sports media, and coming from Patricia Hannigan of all people this was just comical. Let's take a look at Ms. Hannigan's website to see just how professional she is...


First of all, she doesn't even have a real url. She has a blogspot domain. Not that there's anything wrong with that (we were once evilslutopia.blogspot.com) but she's going to imply that Ines Sainz wasn't to be taken seriously because she writes fluffy features when she doesn't even own her own domain name? At least Sainz worked for an actual network. Also, the main photo on her blog is of her in a bikini, so there goes any arguments about whether the way Sainz dresses determines how professionally she should be treated. And to be clear, if anyone doesn't have a problem with bikini photos, it's the ESC, but we had to point out the blatant hypocrisy of Hannigan suggesting that Sainz wasn't to be taken seriously. Pot... Kettle.. Black...?

And just in case you think we're taking her words out of context, here is her original blog entry on the Ines Sainz 'situation' (as she called it) to show just how much of a hypocrite, slut-shamer, and victim-blamer that she is.

 

 Thank God Valli Hilaire was there to inject some sense to the conversation...
Valli Hillaire: Just to tack on to this, talking about the New York Jets thing... My whole position on the whole thing was that... it's a level of respect. I don't care if you're Drew Brees or Tom Brady or Mark Sanchez or whatever ... If you're this athlete who has earned such accolades, I'm sure they're.... the point is it's down to respect, this woman was there to do a job, she wasn't there to get hit on, she wasn't at a bar hanging out to look for dudes, she was there to do a job, especially if you... I just think there's obviously certain locker rooms have an atmosphere where that kinda behavior is ok I guess or something but I think it's down to respect and as long as she wasn't acting... she wasn't doing anything to elicit that and I don't think that was necessary... and even if he really really wanted to and he felt that he had to and she was gonna be his future wife... its just inappropriate and , it's not the time or or the place to do that kinda thing. It just comes down to a basic level of respect and maturity. Bottom line.
Thank you!

Unfortunately, Kathleen Hessert wasn't going to let that sense last for too long. She was quick to 'refute' Hillaire's points with some thinly-veiled racism insights of her own.
Kathleen Hessert: I think it has more to do with cultural differences than male or female or new media and old media. What is acceptable and in fact encouraged in one culture, in Mexico, is very different than what is encouraged and accepted in the United States. And again, I've been in the locker rooms - literal and figurative locker rooms - for different sports and any time an athlete has just finished a competition there is a level of anxiety and there is a level of emotion that is unmatched right before and right after a competition that makes them say and do things and listen and hear and view things in a different way. You just... as the outsider coming into their home, their locker room, you need to be sensitive to that. Professionalism is absolute, but I think that it was more a cultural difference than anything else. Women have... women are fans, women are journalists, women are executives in the sports world... and that's not going to change except to get even larger and deeper and better. So people just need to understand it's a different environment.
Wow. Where to start? First off, we're back to victim-blaming again because this "cultural differences" argument implies that this is just a case of a silly Mexican woman not knowing how behave properly in an American locker room when it actually was (some of) the Jets players who were acting inappropriately, not Sainz. Hessert never explained exactly what Sainz was supposedly doing that would be "acceptable and encouraged" in Mexico but not in the U.S., probably because there's nothing to explain. Sainz was there waiting to interview Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, who is Mexican-American. Sanchez is a rising star in the NFL with a large Latino fanbase and is seen as someone who can help to market football to more Latino fans. By all accounts he's also proud of his heritage and very interested in reaching out to his Latino fans, even taking Spanish lessons so that he can better communicate with them and with the Spanish language media...which would include reporters like Ines Sainz. I guess if Sanchez had talked to Hessert about that she would have told him it was a waste of time due to "cultural differences".

The idea that the heightened emotional state of a post-game locker room was partly to blame is also silly, as well as wrong right from the jump since Sainz was in the Jets locker room after a practice, not a game. It shouldn't matter anyway, because members of the media are always in locker rooms after practices and games, so this wasn't some shocking new development, and because the players are all trained in how to handle the media, and because sexual harassment is wrong no matter when or where it occurs.

It's shocking that someone who is allegedly hired to train these football players in how to behave towards the press, would even remotely condone their behavior. (Maybe she's afraid of offending the very institution that often signs her checks?)

Now we're certainly not above walking out of workshops when the presenters say shit as offensive as that, but we stuck it out for Valli Hilaire's sake and we're glad we did because we really liked what she had to say. The other panelists did have some interesting things to say too, but their views on the Ines Sainz situation outweighed them in our minds so it was hard to take the rest of their comments as seriously after that.


#5 - The Expo Hall

We have to admit that attending BlogHer has totally warped our Expo Hall expectations. Yes, BlogHer has the swag, but there's also this crazy chaos that's really unique to BlogHer. So when we're at other conferences, we have this confusion. Where's the sandwich-making contest hosted by Padma Lakshmi? Why is nobody offering us special pH-balancing tampons or samples of cheese? (Not at the same booth.) If the Pillsbury Doughboy isn't there handing us a cupcake, we're just not impressed anymore.

Okay, just in case it's not totally obvious, the previous paragraph is tongue-in-cheek. (We do appreciate BlogHer for what it is, but we don't actually compare it seriously to other conferences.) BlogWorld's expo hall featured a lot of great blog, vlog, and podcast-related companies, like Blogger, Plixi, and YouTube. And thanks to the people from GourmetGiftBaskets.com, it also featured a world record-setting moment in the form of a ginormous cup of coffee. Oh yeah, and there was also scotch thanks to The Macallan. Something for everyone!




#6 - The Compliments

~There was a really wide variety of sessions to choose from - a food track (plus BlogWorld Kitchen in the expo hall with cooking demos), travel track, military blogging track, plus sessions on mom and dad blogging, humor writing, photography, monetization, podcasting, vlogging, SEO, sports, and more.

~Registration was quick and easy - there was a bar code in our confirmation email, so all we had to do was scan that and our badges printed out immediately. Nothing gets us crankier than waiting on a long registration line when we have a packed conference schedule, so this was great.

~There were official parties each night that were open to all attendees, so there weren't really any 'who got invited to which private event' issues that we noticed.

~For the second year in a row, BlogWorld partnered with some conference sponsors and raised a whole bunch of money for cancer-related charities by having attendees tweet with the hashtag #beatcancer.



#7 - The Criticisms

~We liked the official open-to-everyone parties each night, but they were all held outside of Mandalay Bay. It would have been much easier and more convenient if at least one of them could have been held on site.

~The first thing we saw when we were picking up our schedules and stuff after we registered was a flier for Sarah Palin's reality show and the blogs that they're going to launch to promote it. Ew. (We realize that this wouldn't be a complaint for all of the attendees, but for us it was.)

~As we mentioned above, we felt that the Blog For Money, Not Swag panel was pigeon-holed by being called a "mom blogger" panel, and it should have been marketed to a much larger audience. Also, the Women in Sports Media panel was practically empty, and some people mentioned that this was probably because it was in the last slot on the last day when a lot of people have already started leaving. We might not have thought much of this, but the same thing happened at the Affiliate Summit when we attended a panel on marketing to women that had a similar problem, so we had to wonder if this represents some kind of trend of sticking the 'woman panel' in a crappy time slot or slapping the 'women' or 'mom' labels on something that really deserves a broader audience.

To be fair, as we also mentioned there were a lot of women on panels and many of them were in sessions that weren't woman-specific. And according to this comment from BlogWorld Conference Director Deb Ng, they've made an effort to have a diverse group of speakers and almost 50% of this year's speakers were women. We think that's great, but one area where we'd say there might still be room for improvement is the keynotes. All of the keynotes this year were either all male or had ratios of three or four men to one woman.


#8 - The 'Only the ESC' Moments

Dude, we were in Vegas for the first time. There's way too much to fit in this one little section. Stay tuned for some separate 'ESC Does Vegas' posts coming soon.


#9 - BlogWorld vs. BlogHer vs. Affiliate Summit

BlogWorld fell somewhere in the middle as far as our conference experiences this year. There was more focus on monetization and the business side of blogging than there was at BlogHer, and more focus on content (you know, the actual blogging part of blogging) than at the Affiliate Summit. The same goes for the Expo Hall - there was no Dora the Explorer or Pillsbury Doughboy, but also no bars or bikini booth babes.

As for the attendees, this was the closest to an even mix - more men than BlogHer (obviously) and more women than the Affiliate Summit - but we felt like it leaned a little more towards the men. Maybe because of that, there was also a focus on some of the same 'blogging rock stars' that were popular at the Affiliate Summit, like the crew from the 60 Tips in 60 Seconds panel, who all happen to be men. And that's not really a criticism, it's just always interesting for us when we go to a new conference to see who the 'cool kids' are in the group. Overall, we're glad we attended all three conferences and we took something different from each of them.



#10 - Other Coverage of BlogWorld

September 20, 2010

Dumb Things Guys Say: Double Bagging It

Lilith and I were out at a bar the other night and a couple of guys came over to talk to us. At one point while Lilith was at the bar, one of the guys was asking about what we do, so I gave him an ESC Forever Media business card. Now, when your business card has the phrases "Evil Slutopia" and "Evil Slut Clique" on it, you get used to interesting reactions. But this guy's response was definitely a new one for us.
Dumb Guy: So after a guy sees this card, do they double bag it?

Jezebel: Excuse me?
He said it in such a weird way that it took me a few seconds to figure out what he was talking about. Lilith came back from the bar at this point, which was good because a drink was really needed for this conversation.
Dumb Guy: Um...I mean...uh...I was just asking...

Jezebel: You know that's not a good idea. It isn't safe.

Lilith: What are we talking about?

Jezebel: Well, he was just asking if guys use two condoms with us after they find out that we're "evil sluts".

Lilith: It's not a good idea to use two condoms. It's unsafe.

Dumb Guy: Oh...um, right...yeah. Well...um, I was just saying...I didn't mean...
It's funny and sad that both of us thought 'two condoms at once? bad idea!' before we thought 'wow, what an obnoxious slut-shaming thing to say'. The guy was stumbling all over himself trying to backpedal, but there's really no way to clarify your way out of a comment like that.

So first we schooled the guys about the myth that two condoms are better than one. (We're sure most of you know this condom 101 stuff, but in case anyone doesn't, it's a bad idea because using two condoms creates more friction and that makes it more likely that one or both of them will break.) Then we moved on to the lesson about how slut-shaming a woman is not usually the way to her heart. And we finally we got all advanced by pointing out that a woman being "slutty" does not mean that she has any STDs, especially when she apparently knows a lot more about condoms than you do.

This is how the conversation ended:
Dumb Guy: So if you come here a lot, maybe we could hang out again soon?

Jezebel: Do you promise not to call us diseased whores next time?

Dumb Guy: Um, yeah. Right. Sorry about that.

Lilith: We'll think about it.*

All in a night's work for us.






*Spoiler Alert: We haven't really thought about it.

September 17, 2010

The Vampire Diaries

We've got not one, but two new blogs up on ESCTVblog.com about The Vampire Diaries...


Catch up on what you missed over season 1, so you can dive right into season 2!

Recaps of the first two episodes of Season 2.

September 16, 2010

Is Eli Lilly Milking Cancer?

This month Breast Cancer Action is running a campaign to ask the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly to stop "milking cancer" by manufacturing and selling the artificial growth hormone rBGH. We're going to lay out the basic info so you can see why this campaign is important and how to participate.

What is rBGH?


Bovine somatotropin (BST) is a hormone produced in cattle that is also referred to as bovine growth hormone (BGH). The terms rBGH and rBST refer to an artificial version of the hormone that is currently produced and sold exclusively by Elanco, a division of Eli Lilly.
In 1937, the administration of BST was shown to increase the milk yield in lactating cows by preventing mammary cell death in dairy cattle. Until the 1980s, there was very limited use of the compound in agriculture as the sole source of the hormone was from bovine cadavers. During this time, the knowledge of the structure and function of the hormone increased.[5] Monsanto developed a recombinant version of BST, brand-named Posilac, in 1994,[6] which is produced through a genetically engineered E. coli. A gene that codes for the sequence of amino acids that make up BST is inserted into the DNA of the E. coli bacterium. The bacteria are then broken up and separated from the rBST, which, then, is purified to produce the injectable hormone. Growth hormones associated with injections given to dairy cows to increase milk production are known under an assortment of terms, but these terms, in general, refer to the Monsanto product. The Monsanto fact sheet on its proprietary product states that, when injected into dairy cattle, the product can increase milk production by an average of more than 10% over the span of 300 days.[7]
Eli Lilly/Elanco acquired the rights to Posilac from Monsanto in 2008. Elanco claims that "of the nearly 9 million dairy cows in the United States, approximately one-third are in herds supplemented with Posilac." Posilac has been FDA approved since 1994, and Elanco maintains that the artificial growth hormone works exactly the same way as BGH that is naturally produced and that it is safe both for the cows and for the people who drink milk that comes from them.


What are the concerns about rBGH?


rBGH may be FDA approved, but that doesn't mean that there are no concerns about potential health risks associated with its use. Here's a roundup of some of questions that have been raised with links to further information.

~The use of rBGH stimulates the production of another hormone called insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), a naturally occurring hormone in both cows and humans that regulates cell growth, division, and differentiation. 1 2

Cow’s milk that is treated with rBGH has higher levels of IGF-1. Studies in humans, animals, and cell cultures have indicated that elevated levels of IGF-1 in humans may increase the risk of breast cancer. 3 4 5

In addition to breast cancer, increased IGF-1 levels have been associated with prostate, colon, and other cancers.6 The use of rBGH also increases the need for antibiotics in cows, which can lead to increased antibiotic resistance in humans.7

There is controversy about whether or not the IGF-1 in milk makes its way into the human bloodstream. Some studies have indicated that IGF-1 does survive digestion while others have not. 8 What is clear is that there is sufficient evidence for concern about the human health impacts of using rBGH. [Breast Cancer Action]


~In cows treated with rBGH, significant health problems often develop, including a 50 percent increase in the risk of lameness (leg and hoof problems), over a 25 percent increase in the frequency of udder infections (mastitis), and serious animal reproductive problems, i.e., infertility, cystic ovaries, fetal loss and birth defects.

Because rBGH use results in more cases of mastitis, dairy farmers tend to use more antibiotics to combat the infections, the residues of which also may end up in milk and dairy products. These residues can cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals and contribute to the growth of antibiotic resistant bacteria, further undermining the efficacy of some antibiotics in fighting human infections.

Furthermore, recent research has shown conclusively that the levels of a hormone called "insulin-like growth factor-1" (IFG-1) are elevated in dairy products produced from cows treated with rBGH. Canadian and European regulators have found that the FDA completely failed to consider a study that showed how the increased IGF-1 in rBGH milk could survive digestion and make its way into the intestines and blood stream of consumers. These findings are significant because numerous studies now demonstrate that IGF-1 is an important factor in the growth of cancers of the breast, prostate and colon. [The Center for Food Safety]


~Food & Water Watch has a roundup called rBGH: What the Research Shows that touches on a variety of studies about rBGH and IGF-1 and their potential connections to a variety of human and animal health issues.

~Back in 1997, Consumers Union (the publisher of Consumer Reports) prepared a paper called Potential Public Health Impacts Of The Use Of Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin In Dairy Production for review by the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives. It summarizes the studies on rBGH that were done by Monsanto and Elanco and examines the evidence of potential health risks of high IGF-1 levels in milk.

~The Oregon chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility has a long list of rBGH information and resources, including fact sheets, position statements from medical organizations, and action alerts.

~The Organic Consumers Association also has rBGH action alerts, as well as a list of past consumer victories and a long list of links to related blog posts and news stories.

~Our Bodies, Ourselves has a section on rBGH in their Health Resource Center. It includes a fact sheet from the Women's Community Cancer Project and an open letter from Judy Norsigian of OBOS and other women's health activists.

~The FDA's approval of rBGH is somewhat unique as its use is banned in many other countries, including Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, and all countries in the European Union. In addition, "the Codex Alimentarius Commission, a United Nations body that sets international food standards, has to date refused to approve rBST as safe. The Codex Alimentarius does not have authority to ban or approve the hormone - but its decisions are regarded as a standard and approval by the Codex would have allowed exporting countries to challenge countries with a ban on rBGH before the WTO."


How Can You Tell If A Product Has rBGH?


Most dairy products that do contain rBGH will not say so on the label because it's not currently required by the FDA. Products that do not contain rBGH usually do indicate that on the label. There has been some controversy over these labeling issues.
The FDA does not require special labels for products produced from cows given rBST but has charged several dairies with "misbranding" their milk as having no hormones, because all milk contains hormones and cannot be produced in such a way that it would not contain any hormones.[19] Monsanto sued Oakhurst Dairy of Maine over their use of a label which pledged to not use artificial growth hormones.[20] The dairy stated that their disagreement was not over the scientific evidence for the safety of rBST (Monsanto's complaint about the label), but "We're in the business of marketing milk, not Monsanto's drugs." The suit was settled when the dairy agreed to add a qualifying statement to their label: "FDA states: No significant difference in milk from cows treated with artificial growth hormones." The FDA recommends this additional labeling but does not require it.[20][21] The settlement itself caused much controversy, with anti-rBST advocates claiming that Oakhurst had capitulated in response to intimidation by a larger corporation and others claiming that Oakhurst's milk labels were in and of themselves using misleading scare tactics that deserved legal and legislative response. [Wikipedia. Emphasis mine.]
I've seen this "no significant difference" disclaimer on several different brands of milk. It can be a little confusing when you see a label that states that the product does not come from cows treated with rBGH, but then goes on to say that the FDA says there's no difference anyway. What's important is that the part of the label that says there's no rBGH; the disclaimer is just lawsuit prevention.

Here are some tips and resources if you are in the market for rBGH-free dairy products:
  • Organic milk is rBGH free.
  • The Organic Consumers Association has a list of Top rBGH-Free Processors.
  • Food & Water Watch has an rBGH-free Dairy Guide that includes state by state and national lists of artificial hormone-free brands of milk and other dairy products.
  • The Sierra Club has a list of Sources for Non-rBGH Cheese.
  • Physicians for Social Responsibility has a Consumers Guide to rBGH-Free Dairy Products, as well as charts by product category and other resources. A Spanish version of the guide is also available.
  • Many companies have already pledged that the products they manufacture, sell, or serve are rBGH-free. The list includes Ben & Jerry's, Starbucks, Wal-Mart and Sam's Club, Publix, Safeway, Kroger, Costco, Chipotle, Yoplait and Dannon, Subway, and more. So you can check the brands that you buy most often to see where they stand.


How is Eli Lilly "milking cancer"?


Breast Cancer Action calls this a "milking cancer" campaign because they argue that Eli Lilly is profiting from cancer on multiple fronts.
Eli Lilly has taken pinkwashing to a whole new level. By adding rBGH to the products they sell, Eli Lilly has completed its cancer profit circle: it creates cancer with rBGH, it sells cancer treatment drugs like Gemzar, and it sells a drug, Evista, to reduce the risk of breast cancer in women at high risk of the disease. Eli Lilly’s cancer drugs made $2,683,000,000 for the company in 2008. Its potentially carcinogenic dairy hormone made millions of dollars in the same year. Eli Lilly is milking cancer.
To be clear, while there is evidence to suggest a potential link between rBGH and cancer, it's difficult to definitively state that it "causes" cancer. But there is cause for concern.

Of course, Eli Lilly doesn't see it that way. Their response to concerns about rBGH is basically to pretend that they don't exist...even if they have to 'manufacture' a little support to make their case.
At a Montreal animal science meeting in July 2009, Eli Lilly’s Elanco division sponsored a press release masquerading as a scientific paper that concluded — surprise, surprise — that bovine growth hormone is perfectly safe for cows and humans. Tucked into page two of the eleven-page Q&A document is a claim that “more than 20 leading health organizations in the United States” have endorsed the safety of the synthetic hormone, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Cancer Society and the American Medical Association.

The fact that none of these three groups have ever come close to singing the praises of bovine growth hormone — known variously as rBST or rBGH — went unnoticed until last month when a biotech watchdog called the Bioscience Resource Project got wind of the report and started making a few calls. A spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatricians told the group that the AAP “does not endorse the safety of rBGH.” Ditto for the ACA and AMA.

It turns out that the eight so-called medical and dairy science experts who were paid to write the paper for Eli Lilly came up with a very creative interpretation of the word “endorsement.” One of the authors admitted to the Bioscience Resource Project that the endorsements are “technically untrue.”

“We counted endorsement as failure to oppose rBGH”, said David Clemmons, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and a paid consultant for Eli Lilly. [BNET]
As BNET points out, by that standard there are a whole lot of people out there who "endorse" rBGH because they've never specifically said that they oppose it. Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, the Dallas Cowboys, Dora the Explorer...all big rBGH endorsers.

Another thing to consider is that both Monsanto and Eli Lilly have been accused of questionable and/or unethical business practices in the past. Here's a quick link roundup:
So, given all of this history, it's not unreasonable to raise the question...is Eli Lilly milking cancer?

Take Action


  • Sign Breast Cancer Action's petition asking Eli Lilly to stop selling rBGH. Their goal is to collect 6220 signatures - one for every day that Posilac has been on the market - by September 24th.
  • Follow Breast Cancer Action on Twitter and Facebook to stay updated on the campaign. And if you decide to tweet about the campaign, add the #milkingcancer hashtag.
  • Do your research, then check your milk and other dairy products. If you decide to make a switch to an rBGH-free brand, contact both companies and tell them why you switched.
  • Hey look, Monsanto and Eli Lilly are both up for Worst of 2010 in Corporate Accountability International's Corporate Hall of Shame. Go vote!
  • It looks like Eli Lilly has just decided that it's a good idea to launch a "social media footprint". They've launched a blog called LillyPad and started a Twitter account. Feel free to show them that social media is a two way street.

Selena Gomez at a bar (and why I watch the Disney Channel)

Find out why at ESCTVblog.com


 Round & Round

 (File this one under 'Dumb Things Guys Say)

September 15, 2010

It Doesn't Matter What Ines Sainz Was Wearing

Unlike my evil slutty partner-in-crime, I rarely pay any attention to what the Jets (or any other sports team) are doing... so I wasn't immediately aware of the allegations of sexual harassment against the team until I saw a friend's posting on Facebook. (Good old facebook, always there to bait me into drama.)

The friend (a guy) posted a link to this article on his page. The article, for those of you not yet familiar with the story, explained that the New York Jets and the NFL are investigating possible harassment by team players and coaches against female reporter Ines Sainz (TV Azteca). Allegedly the players "hooted and hollered", catcalled and whistled at Sainz as she entered their locker room. They also allegedly purposely overthrew passes during practice so they would land near her.

I think it's worth noting that Sainz herself did not make the allegations of harassment. The incident was reported by the AWSM after Sainz tweeted that she was embarrassed. When asked if she considered the players' behavior to be harassment, Sainz said that was up to the NFL to make that judgment. She also said that the Jets owner, Woody Johnson, and assured her that an incident like this should not happen again, so she considers the matter settled. Just for the record, since a lot of people have been complaining about how she's "making a big deal out of it" when really, she's not. Truth be told, she should have made more of a big deal in my opinion and even if she doesn't care about what happened, it still should never have happened and should never happen again.

It's also worth noting that while many have suggested or implied that Sainz is a bimbo with no brains and only got her job by exploiting her sexuality, she actually has a law degree and a masters degree in tax law. She's also a nine-year veteran of sideline reporting. This doesn't matter, because her level of education or intelligence has nothing to do with whether she is entitled to a respectful work environment. I just felt like mentioning that because too many people assume that because she's pretty and has a nice body then she clearly must be an idiot who only got where she is today because of her tits and ass.

I was immediately pissed by the first comment on the post, by one of the guy's friends, and the back-and-forth that later occurred. (Note: I'm not going to use real names here, obviously, because I'm not an asshole and because I don't want to out myself as well, myself. So please excuse the simplistic - although highly accurate - labels I have given the participants of this "conversation".)

Jets Fan loljets

www.bloomberg.com

The New York Jets and the National Football League are investigating possible harassment by team players and coaches against a female reporter. 
Slut-Shamer ya know, this shit pissed me off. Why bother putting women in that situation? And if you want to work with jocks, expect to have them hootin and hollerin' if you are dressed like a skank, if she was dressed like the picture.
WOW. So many things wrong with that first comment. So many things. (The worst, possibly, is that it was written by a woman. Yes, a woman said these things. Unreal.) Let me list just what is so so wrong about this one short little comment.

  • Why bother putting women in that situation?
Hm, maybe because THAT'S THEIR JOBS? Ines Sainz is a reporter and she was in "that situation" to report on the Jets. Is she implying that women shouldn't be sports reporters? Well, there are plenty of other instances where a woman might be harassed, so should women not be reporters of any kind? You know, I sometimes get harassed just walking down the street... should I just never ever leave the house so as not to put myself in "that situation"?
  • If you want to work with jocks
So, jocks are held to a lower standard than every other man on earth? Is that true? If you worked with accountants or professors or doctors or plumbers or police officers or letter carriers and they were whistling and catcalling at you while you were just trying to do your job, you'd have a right to be pissed... but athletes get a free pass to be assholes?
  • expect to have them hootin and hollerin' if you are dressed like a skank
Ah lovely. Isn't it just super awesome when a woman slut-shames another woman? So, if you are "dressed like a skank" then you deserve to be treated shitty. (And who decides what it means to be "dressed like a skank" anyway?) Sorry, but no, it doesn't matter how you are dressed... You do not lose your rights the shorter or tighter your clothes get.
  • if she was dressed like the picture
This is the photograph that was included in that particular article:


That doesn't look that skanky to me. It looks like she's wearing jeans and a tank top, which is pretty much what half of the women in the U.S. are probably wearing right now. Note that this is not the actual outfit she was wearing while she was allegedly harassed (according to Sainz she was dressed slightly more conservatively than in that photo) but even if it was IT WOULDN'T MATTER. I don't care if she was in a bikini - it still doesn't give them a right to harass her.

The original poster responded to her comment with something that was... well, not perfect, but a lot better than what she said.  I don't expect a lot of guys to get what harassment is and why it isn't okay. I just don't. It'd be nice if they did (and I certainly make every effort to 'educate' them on the subject when possible) but realistically not every Jets fan I know is going to be especially well versed on the subject.
Jets Fan true, but they were on the clock. if some woman showed up to my office dressed like a harlot and i made a comment, id get fired
Obviously I disagree with his "true" because NOTHING that the Slut-Shamer commenter said was true. (I assume he meant that it was true that a. she was dressed like a skank and b. jocks are more likely to hoot-and-holler at a skank than most other guys). But he made a good point - sort of - about the fact that they were on the clock. In almost any other profession, that kind of behavior would not be allowed or condoned, so why should the Jets get a free pass?

On the other hand, I disagree with the implication that if they were not on the clock it would somehow be okay. Perhaps it would not be the immediate concern of the NFL and rather, but harassment is harassment whenever and whereever it occurs, not just if it's in the workplace.
Slut-Shamer yes, that is true too... certainly think the coach should be reprimanded as well... but if she was dressed like that, she should be reprimanded as well for not being very professional. Course, don't know that she was... but you get the picture.
Ah, so now she admits that the team was wrong - and the coaches for participating/not stopping the behavior - but it's still Sainz's fault in her mind. Why should Sainz be reprimanded? Even if you make the point that her outfit was somehow inappropriate or unprofessional (I do NOT agree that it was), there is no rule that she has to dress a certain in order to report on the Jets. There is also no rule that suggests that if she dresses a certain way then she should expect to be harassed... so she certainly should not be reprimanded for being harassed. Talk about victim-blaming.

At that point I couldn't take it anymore and I had to comment:
Evil Slut WOW, so it's okay to harass a woman as long as she's dressed like a skank? She's wearings jeans and a tank top, it's not like she's in lingerie. This is the same kind of logic that blames rape victims for 'asking for it'. I also question whether all they were doing is 'hooting and hollering' - which by the way, wasn't a direct quote from the reporter, but from the New York Post, which isn't exactly known for journalistic integrity
Jets Fan it really depends what was said as harassment and catcalling are 2 entirely different things. if the players were on the clock, they should have been able to keep their peckers in the pants and their comments to themselves altogether, imo.
that said, this reporter does have a history of whoring it up on the sidelines. does that give the players an excuse to make comments? of course not...as an aside, if she wants to ever be taken seriously, she should think twice about wearing belly shirts and like hot pants to conduct interviews.
Sigh. And so much wrong with that comment.
  • it really depends what was said as harassment and catcalling are 2 entirely different things.
No, they're not. They're not even remotely different things. Catcalling is a form of harassment, period.
  • if the players were on the clock, they should have been able to keep their peckers in the pants and their comments to themselves altogether, imo.
Yes. And they should've been able to d othat if they were off the clock too.
  • that said, this reporter does have a history of whoring it up on the sidelines. does that give the players an excuse to make comments? of course not... 
And... fuck you. I don't really know Ines Sainz's full "history" but I'm annoyed by the implication that she's "whoring it up" because even if she was a sex worker (I'm sure she's not) that phrase would still be offensive. Based on what I've seen of Sainz on the Internet, I'm pretty sure his description of her "whoring it up" only means that sometimes she wears clothing that can be considered sexy. Now here's the real question, if that doesn't give the players an excuse to make comments then WHY EVEN BRING IT UP AT ALL unless you're implying that it somehow does make a difference?
  • as an aside, if she wants to ever be taken seriously, she should think twice about wearing belly shirts and like hot pants to conduct interviews.
Again, slut-shaming comments on her outfits. I won't claim that I think belly shirts and hot pants are the most professional outfits in the world... but IT DOESN'T MATTER. It doesn't give people free license to harass her. Her level of professionalism has nothing to do with her right to not be harassed. It's also worth noting that she is a reporter from a Mexican television network. If you look at a lot of the shows on that station, you'll see that Sainz isn't exactly the stand-out when it comes to attire.

Also, I googled Sainz and I didn't see too many photographs of her in belly shirts and hot pants... at least not at sporting events. Yes, there are a few scantily clad photos of her out there in the land of the Internets, but that is because she's not just a reporter. She's also a model (and a former Miss Spain). But still... WHO CARES?
Evil Slut I just object to to the claim that the outfit in the photo is 'skank'-like, or that your outfit somehow takes away your rights to not be treated like shit while you're doing your job. That doesn't mean I think hot pants are appropriate business attire; I just think harassment is still harassment and isn't okay, regardless of whether you 'deserved' it. 
PS: Catcalling and harassment aren't different things. Catcalling is a form of harassment and as a woman who has walked down the streets of NYC in 'appropriate' clothing, it doesn't feel good. 
Jets Fan  fwiw, im pretty sure the photo attached to article is a stock image and wasnt taken when she was allegedly harassed. if you google image her, you'll see that the above outfit is actually 'conservative' by her standards.
i also dont interpret... a whistle as 'harassment.' although, im not a woman and have never been whistled at. period :-(
i agree with everything else you said, though. harassment is never ok in my book, and that goes double for a bunch of oafs who are actually run through classes on that kind of stuff. they should know better. 
And... wrong again. Whistling is harassment. And what the Jets were doing in Sainz's presence went far beyond whistling anyway.

He's correct in that the photograph attached to the article wasn't from the day she allegedly harassed. (I didn't think it was, I was simply responding to Slut-Shamer's comments that the outfit in the photo was skanky and if she was dressed like that she deserved to be harassed.) But he's flat out wrong on the fact that the outfit in the photograph is "conservative by her standards" and he's wrong in his implication that she was wearing something less conservative on the day that the harassment allegedly occurred. (Sainz herself has stated that she was dressed appropriately that day in jeans and a button-up blouse.) In fact, I haven't seen a single photo of her news reporting in anything more skimpy than jeans and a tank top or halter top. Very often I've seen her wearing a more conservative shirt than a tank top, so I don't know where all this skanky-this and whore-that bullshit is coming from. 

And just to prove my point (even though it doesn't actually matter) here is an assortment of outfits worn by Sainz that are more "conservative" than the one from the Facebook link:






She's not exactly dressed like a nun and she does have plenty of outfits that are more revealing that these, but still, his description was by far an exaggeration. It sure is easier to slut-shame someone and call her a whore for the way she dresses when you completely exaggerate the way she actually dresses.

In fact, I think the real issue here for these slut-shamers isn't even that she dresses too provocatively. It's not her clothing; it's her body. Sainz has an amazing and sexy body and she doesn't feel the need to cover it up in turtlenecks or hide it in baggy clothes. Another woman wearing similar outfits and you wouldn't even bat an eye. That's also not fair because not only is Sainz being victim-blamed based on the way she dresses, but it's also based on the way she is built which is not only sexist and wrong, but also an unfair double standard.  
Slut-Shamer It isn't proper to harass someone. But do as [Jets Fan] did and google the girl. I'm not sure what she expects dressing in jeans like that. It simply isn't professional and doesn't really portray wanting to be taken seriously in my opinion. Which means beans.
Yeah that would be great advice if I hadn't actually googled "the girl" (or, you know, woman, seeing as she's in her 30s and a marriage mother of three). But I did google her and I still don't have a problem with her outfits. AND EVEN IF I DID, it has nothing to do with whether or not she was harassed.  
Evil Slut There's being taken seriously & then there's being harassed. Two totally separate issues. Her so-called lack of appropriate attire doesn't make it ok for the team to harass her. I don't even see how one thing is related to the other unless you're making the argument that women give up their rights the shorter their hemline gets.
And then a new player got involved:
Bystander ex-Ms. Spain + big men with high levels of testosterone = boyhood pranks like throwing the ball too far in her direction (see: frisbee on beach). Professional..no. Harassment...no. Asking for it? Wah.
Ah. It's just boyhood pranks. Okay, again, so much wrong here.

1. These aren't boys, these are grown men who like Jets Fan pointed out are specifically trained on how to handle interacting with other adults who happen to be female.

2. These aren't boyhood pranks, it's harassment. Giving it a cutesy name doesn't negate what it really is.

3. These so-called boyhood pranks were not limited to throwing the ball too far in her direction. Read any single article on the subject and you'll see that that was the least of what the Jets players were doing.

4. "Harassment... no". How about YES. Harassment? Yes. Unfortunately for him, he doesn't get to decide what is and isn't harassment. Just because you don't object to someone's behavior doesn't matter... it's the opinion of the woman being harassed and the opinion of the organization within which the harassment took place.

5. Not sure what "Asking for it? Wah" is supposed to mean. He should have written "Asking for it? No" because no one asks to be harassed, period.
Evil Slut I can't comment on the specific story if it was harassment, because I wasn`t there... but my point was & still is that a woman's outfit doesn't take away her rights. I don't expect you guys to get why 'boyish pranks' can sometimes feel like harassment. Today on my 10 min walk from my office to the train I got SIX unsolicited comments & that's when I'm dressed for work with no makeup on. When I'm dressed to go out I get 10 or more. Not fun & not my fault. But you are guys, you wouldn't get it. What I really hate to see is women slut-shaming other women, because they really should know better.
Dumb Asshole Google
Evil Slut Google what?
Dumb Asshole Ogle
Dumb Asshole get it?
Idiots. All of them.

Speaking of idiots... the way the media has been handling this story isn't any better. Take a look at a sampling of titles about this incident (and try to avoid smashing your computer to the ground in anger):

Since some people obviously don't get it, here's a refresher course for you all: What Is Sexual Harassment?

And... just in case anyone still thinks that the way a woman dresses means she is "asking for it" (it being harassment or rape or sex or whatever):