Archive for the ‘Family Values’ Category

Too sexy to fly

I was going to post about this the first time it happened but then figured, eh, it was probably an isolated incident.  But then it happened again

Apparently, in addition to checking your bags, making sure you don’t have dangerous items such as bombs, big bottles of liquid, knives and guns, Southwest Airlines wants to make sure you’re not dressed too sexy.  Click on the links above to see for yourself if the women harassed were dressed inappropriately. 

I think it’s silly.  And to think that it wasn’t too long ago when flight attendants were hired primarily on their looks. 


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Looks like the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is convening to determine whether Janet Jackson’s covered nipple was indecent or a fleeting, accidental moment on live television for which CBS should not be fined

If CBS wins, it will insulate television and radio broadcasters from sudden or accidental slips of the tongue or “wardrobe malfunctions” from the people being broadcast through their airwaves. 

I understand people’s discomfort with the idea that the major networks could be a source of violent programming, sexual content, or foul language.  I really do.  But I found it funny during that Super Bowl, where it seemed every other commercial was about erectile dysfunction, where the entire halftime show performance used sexual undertones, where scantily clad cheerleaders danced on the sideline, where the major sponsors consistently used sexual images to sell their products, that everyone went into orgasms of outrage when Janet’s breast was uncovered. 

I’m shocked!  Shocked to see that nudity is going on here! 

And if I remember correctly, that was the Super Bowl during which Moveon.org was not allowed to air a political aid because it would have been “inappropriate.” 

 What a fucked up sense of values we have. 

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The media watchdog group Parents Television Council has issued a report which states that sex and violence are on the rise during what is traditionally called the “Family Hour” on network television. 

The group studied 180 hours of original programming on six broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, MyNetworkTV and the CW) during three two-week ratings sweeps periods in 2006 and 2007. It found that instances of violence had increased 52.4% since a similar study in 2000-2001 and that sexual content had increased 22.1%.

The Parents Television Council is hoping that the FCC begins to regulate violence on television the way they already regulate “indecent content.”

The network response is that with the vastly increased number of options available to families, with so many more channels now available in the basic cable package, there is less need to provide that type of programming. 

 To be honest, I agree with the networks on this one.  One of the reasons the FCC had the authority to regulate television was a combination of two factors – 1. the finite number of frequencies used to transmit broadcast signals were publicly owned and 2. there was a scarcity of options in broadcast television.  To the extent that #2 becomes less of an issue, the authority of the FCC to regulate broadcasting should be diminished. 

What the regulate-television-on-behalf-of-families crowd seems not to be able to understand is that television is a value neutral tool.  Like the internet, it has nothing to say about what it is transmitting.  It is not a substitute for parenting in respect to instilling values and exposing kids to what’s out there in the world.  Developing technology that allows “parental controls” to prevent kids from watching whatever they want while the parents are not around is appropriate.  

But the world is a dangerous place sometimes.  And people have sex all the time (at least that’s what I hear…).  I’d like my television shows to have something thoughtful to say about reality.  It’s an art.  Sometimes good.  Sometimes very, very bad.  But it should be free to tell stories that are important and relevant to all of us, even if often it does not.   

Artificial restraints based on someone’s notion of “sensible family” programming simply isn’t the appropriate role for the government.  Especially if there is a vastly less intrusive way to accomplish what is purported to be the goals of the movement. 

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CBS13 Sacremento in covering the Larry Craig gay sex scandal actually roleplays how to solicit gay sex in a public bathroom.  Hilarious.  God bless local news. 

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I haven’t been able to post for a while for some reason? But this is what I wanted to talk about last week..

So what is the deal with mothers these days? The other day the news was all about unfit mothers, apparently:

Texas woman hangs self + children

A relative found the bodies of a 23-year-old woman and her four daughters aged five, three, two and eight months, in a wardrobe.

Parents accused of scalding baby to death

Her mother claims tiny Jada Bozeman fell into a bathtub of hot water, causing burns that killed her 13-month-old daughter. But the coroner says the tot’s body tells another tale.

And my favorite:
Mother snorts Heroin in Wal-Mart

A Farmingville mother was arrested for snorting heroin at a Wal-Mart with her three-year-old son in a shopping cart, police said.

Obviously Americans just aren’t fit to be parents? While it might not be an entirely representative view of the country, one can hardly escape the conclusions that might be drawn from this many child abuse/endangerment stories in a single newsday..

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    ABC News:As 21st century women dominate the universities and continue to climb the executive ladder, and metro-sexual men explore their feminine side, it’s harder to define what it means to be a woman

In the mildly frustrating category of the week … why is everyone so up in arms about this “new” birth control that allows women to not have periods at all? Doctors have been telling women to just take their regular birth control continuously (skipping the placebo sugar pill week) in order to avoid periods all together for years now. Seasonale, the pill that allows women to only have 4 periods a year when taking it regularly, has been out since 2003. The fact that this new pill, Lybrel, is touting itself as the birth control pill that allows women to skip periods entirely is more of a marketing ploy than some sort of grand scientific or cultural development; the regular old pill has been doing the same thing for years.

What’s funny is that “The Pill” — in it’s earliest form, in it’s iconic 1960s incarnation — could have been just like Lybrel, more or less. The earliest versions of the pill did, in fact, halt menstruation. But somewhere along the line pharmaceutical companies decided that giving women a pill that would stop their periods all together would be too radical, too unsettling, for most of their consumer market, so they created the whole one-week-dummy-pill system to make it seem more “normal” and “natural.” Notes the Washington Post:

The birth control pill was originally developed to mimic a normal cycle in the belief that women would find it more acceptable, not because it would be safer or more effective at preventing pregnancy.

More about the particulars of all this here.

So people back in the day, worried by the kind of moral outrage the Pill would provoke over lost fertility and womanhood, etc. etc., decided to keep periods as part of the pill, assuming America wasn’t ready for the other version. What’s amazing is that, more than 40 years later, a period-free pill is STILL provoking this kind of moral outrage about “lost” fertility and womanhood, what with Leslee Unruh out there screaming about this pill being a “pesticide” that’s somehow part of an evil NARAL and “big Pharma” conspiracy plot to make women hate babies; ABC news worried that, without the little ladies bleeding every 28 days, our society will suddenly lose the ability to differentiate between men & women (hint: it has something to do with penises and vaginas, yo. And maybe differential amounts of body hair); and Eugene Volokh imagining ridiculous scenarios where every month, we gals call all our friends a la the telephone scene in Bye Bye Birdie to share the news that we’re once again shedding the lining of our uteruses (What the story? Morning Glory? Called to tell you that I’m on the rag.).

I suppose this sort of crazy is not entirely surprising, though, considering that it still seems hard to get it through certain conservatives’ heads that birth control does not cause abortion (quite the opposite, really), nor does it represent a complete rejection of having children, as Unruh seems to think (in the Think Progress article, a NARAL spokeswoman notes that 98 percent of American women will use some form of contraception in their lives, and we’ve yet to see the USA become a land of childless harpies, so…).

Ann at Feministing wonders how the tampon companies will react to Lybrel. I kind of hope the tampon companies are the ones behind all this lost-womanhood-we-love-babies-gender-bending nonsense. A stealth, Bernays-like advertising campaign by the feminine-hygeine-products cabal would make a lot more sense than people actually believing this crap …

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From WaPo today:

It’s called the Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Initiative, and the Bush administration doles out up to $50 million annually to fund its programs to build job skills and help fathers connect better with their children.

Washington City Paper had a feature article about the initiative a few weeks ago. Part of the DC group’s efforts include reaching out to unmarried, low-income fathers who are expecting children and counseling them and getting them classes and other things to attempt to convince them to stick around.

Obviously, what’s good for fathers is good for entire families, in the same way that what’s good for mothers is good for entire families. But for some reason, NOW and Legal Momentum are suing for women to have access to some of the funds devoted to these fatherhood initiatives. This just strikes me as … silly. Sure, it’s frustrating when the FDA decides to take away $1.2 million dollars worth of funds devoted to the health of women and children in order to make an elaborate sort of abstinence-only point. And we all know that there are far too many things in place in this country that are unfriendly to mothers, especially working mothers, and that it is way to hard for low-income women to have access to contraception and things that might actually make a difference. That the whole country — workplaces, etc. — needs to become a much more supportive of families if it’s going to pretend to actually care so much about families.

But fathers are a part of families, too. And as much as I’m generally one of the first ones to criticize wacky FRAs (father’s rights activists) who generally try to couch misogyny and a sense of entitlement in some sort of equal rights farce … well, the fatherhood initiative seems like something that might actually be doing some good, and suing a fatherhood initiative on the grounds that it doesn’t provide funds for mothers seems about as stupid as FRAs complaining that child support infringes on their civil liberties to get as many bitches pregnant as they want without having to cough up on any dough for any, uh, unintended consequences, or MRAs bringing lawsuits against the oppressive and discriminatory drink pricing at ladies’ nights.

Administration officials and grant recipients say the challenge is misguided. The programs may target men, they say, but helping men become better fathers will benefit women and children, too. Moreover, HHS officials say they have told grant recipients they must open their fatherhood programs to women.

I hate to say that I ever agree with “administration officials,” but …

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