What Casey Anthony Taught us about Motherhood

So Casey Anthony was acquitted.

Here’s the truth: we spent a lot of time on this case, but none of us sat in/watched the trial for 6-8 weeks straight. Instead, we saw the entire trial through the eyes of Nancy Grace, a sensationalist, muckraking “journalist” who effectively (er…ineffectively) hanged “tot mom” before the trial had even begun.

A lot of people think that Anthony’s acquittal suggests we’re racist; a black woman would NEVER have gotten off like this. I tend to agree – I think a black woman would have been in even deeper shit than Casey was in (completely notwithstanding the fact that Casey’s daughter was also white – can you imagine the media caring if this child had been black? that shit happens all the time, right? no big).

But I think the real problem – the one that actually existed in this trial and not just in our theoretical world where we speculate about “what ifs” – is that Casey Anthony was almost sentenced to death for being a slut and a bad mother. We gave her a nickname that reminded us how immature she is and then decided she should die for going to clubs and drinking.

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Please talk about your penis some more.

A conversation I just had:

Boys: “Let’s talk about our penises for 15 minutes straight!”

Me: “You’re always talking about your penises.”

Boy: “Well you’re going to talk about your vagina for like, THREE HOURS STRAIGHT when you’re in The Vagina Monologues next month!”

He’s kind of right. At least to some degree, I am going to be talking about vaginas for a while. Actually, I’ll only be on stage for like, five minutes (I can’t act and got a really tiny part with several other girls). But other girls will be talking about vaginas for a while.

Boy: There’s no Penis Monologues!

Actually, there is. Here’s a whole bunch of Penis Monologues for you to moon over. While you’re all busy talking about your penises. And making fun of women.

Here’s the thing, though – you’re going to talk about your penises. You’re going to do it. You’re proud of them. And why shouldn’t you be? Great. Yours are SO BIG or something. Whatever. I know, masculinity means you all have to fight over WHO HAS THE BIGGEST ONE. That’s why I think you should all go into the bathroom, have a measuring contest, and shut up.

No, that’s not what I really want, even though it would be great sometimes. What I really want is for everyone to get over the I HAVE THE BIGGEST PENIS SYNDROME and just be proud of whatever genitals you happen to have an then MOVE ON.

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Eek! Victim-Blaming!

The Wall Street Journal is on a roll these days, isn’t it? After publishing an article so terrifying that its rampant republication almost exploded the internet, it published this gem by Lenore Skenazy, who has written a book and runs a website called Free-Range Kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry).

Ms. Skenazy’s website does not exactly contain what I expected to find. Maybe we should describe her as the anti-Amy Chua: eager to let her kids have their own experiences and their own lives independent of their parents. On some level, that’s kind of cool. Would I necessarily send my nine-year-old child alone on the Subway like Ms. Skenazy does? Almost absolutely not. But would I start considering it at age ten? Maybe. It would depend upon the kid. What about age eleven? We draw these weird arbitrary lines of when things are okay, but shouldn’t it depend upon the person?

But Ms. Skenazy’s WSJ piece isn’t just about kids playing in the woods or traveling on the New York subway:

And so it goes these days, when almost any man who has anything to do with a child can find himself suspected of being a creep. I call it “Worst-First” thinking: Gripped by pedophile panic, we jump to the very worst, even least likely, conclusion first. Then we congratulate ourselves for being so vigilant.

I have to ask: where does Ms. Skenazy think this came from?

Someone’s been telling me to think like this, I’m just trying to remember wher- oh, of course! Every time someone gets sexually assaulted, she fucked up. Don’t trust men!

That’s what a victim-blaming culture does. It creates fear from which we are incapable of escaping.
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Our REAL Twilight Problem

Note: credit is due to Dana at Reasoning With Vampires, who provided much of the inspiration for this post, as well as every single example of poor writing I am about to give you. Except for the poor writing that is my poor writing. That’s all me. Credit where credit is due, you know?

We spend a lot of time harping on Twilight. That’s not without reason – the Twilight series is pretty horrendously bad. Readers get treated to the travails of Bella Swan, an incredibly non-descript, irritating sixteen-year-old with zero self-confidence  as she falls in love with Edward Cullen, a 117 year old vampire who almost died when he was seventeen and has kept boyish good looks and overwhelming charm and penchant for abusing his girlfriend and and and he’s so perfect OMG!

So yeah, we spend a lot of time talking about how bad Twilight is and asking ourselves why Stephanie Meyer would write such a piece of sexist bullshit. But I think that might be the wrong question. Instead, we should probably be asking ourselves why so many teenage girls are so obsessed with Twilight.

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This is what sexual harassment feels like.

I’m a sharer. I share everything. I work things out better if they’re physically out of my body. Sometimes that just means writing or crying for a while, but neither appears to be socially acceptable for a twenty-year-old, so recently, I’ve been doing a lot of a sharing.

But there are some things I don’t feel comfortable sharing on this blog – or at all. This summer,  I was the target of sexual harassment…a lot, or at least, more than ever before. I’ve been trying to find a way to recount those experiences, to turn them into a learning experience from which other people can garner some kind of personal benefit.

I feel somewhat more inspired to do this after reading Molly Redden’s incredibly moving, and very personal, account of sexual assault she experienced. Her piece in the The Georgetown Voice prompted a lot of positive response, which I was so thrilled to see, given the shit that’s been in the news recently.

But unlike Ms. Redden, I can’t do it.

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The Audacity of “Some Students”

“Some students” just don’t take the proper precautions.

To prevent sexual assault, I mean. Some students just don’t take the proper precautions. MPD Lt. Hedgecock tells us “students in the area are at similar risk” as a woman who was “sexually assaulted” in Burleith several weeks ago “if they do not take safety precautions.”

Georgetown Girl is a blog about issues of sex and gender I encounter in my life. Sexual assault is very much a gender issue, both in the prevalence of female victims and in the way we treat those female victims based on sexual history, etc. Sometimes, I see the way we treat those female victims – with absolutely paternalistic, “I know better than you do, this shit wouldn’t happen to you if you locked your door” attitudes – spill over into the way we treat all students.

Just by the virtue of us being students, they expect us to fuck up.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it, ladies?

You totally wouldn’t get raped if you just stopped walking back from Sellinger to your T Street house at midnight. You idiot.

For “students” instead of “women,” it translates into:

Nothing would happen to you if you stopped doing your grocery shopping when you finally have time at night, and then walking back to your S Street house. That’s the reason you got mugged. It wasn’t because someone mugged you. Also, stop buying beer. It’s bad for your health and your relationship with the neighbors.

So imagine my UTTER SURPRISE when it turned out Lt. Hedgecock took the crime of breaking-and-entering and RAPE and told The Hoya “This was a preventable crime.”

Oh, except for when the problems ACTUALLY involve entering a home “by removing an air conditioning unit attached to a window.” Except for that minor detail, this was totally a preventable crime.

Georgetown students: by the virtue of not locking your doors, you caused this rape to occur.

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Some Things Cannot Be a Left/Right Issue

I don’t particularly like Meghan McCain’s economic politics. But as a person, I find her engaging and kind of entertaining. I also think she’s the single most attractive size-eight girl who gets media attention.

I follow her on Twitter (along with Roy Blunt Jr., Tarryl Clark, and a feed that parodies Dan Maes) because I think, for a person commenting on politics, the honesty and youth is kind of refreshing. Or, I’m just nosy and I like seeing the thoughts of famous people. Whatever.

Someone recently made a comment @McCainBlogette insulting her weight and her book, which is to be released in ten days:

So I assume *Dirty Sexy Politics* by @McCainBlogette comes with a free bag of Pork Rinds.

Ms. McCain’s responses follow:

Does it make you feel better about yourself to make fat jokes about me? You are vile. Men like u give women eating disorders @jimccarson

I address body image issues w/ women (specifically in politics) in my book, it’s something close to my heart that I will fight for until I

can no longer breathe. We have to fight back against men like that, that think it’s acceptable to criticize women’s bodies. I get called fat

almost every single day of my life. All I know is that I am happy, healthy, and want the world to be a more open place for my little sister

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