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Monday, February 23, 2015

I won’t march under the banner “Slut” not even to stop sexual violence

Oh, I can hear some of you now, “You don’t support women!”

Yes I do. I just refuse to call a woman, myself, my daughter, my mother or my sister a slut. I don’t see how parading down Water Street in stilettoes, fishnet stockings, a bra and panties can do anything but give a few perverts something to jackoff to. Sorry. I just don’t.

Slutwalks have become the new “buzz protest” for women. According to the organizers literature, participants protest against explaining or excusing rape by referring to any aspect of a woman's appearance and call for an end to rape culture.
Now the idea behind the Slutwalk is something I will support and even protest for. Just tell me how this is different from the “Take Back the Night” march?

I will be the first to tell you that what a woman wears at home, in a night club, walking on the street or playing hockey does not contribute to her being sexually assaulted. If that was the case, why are Muslim women, who are completely covered from head to toe, raped? They don’t show anything but their eyes and hands. So we know that covering a women completely still makes a man want to rape her.

The truth is, men who commit sexual assaults or rape will do it based on opportunity and gaining trust, among other things. Not on miniskirts or tube tops. They take the time to groom their victims and the family of their victims to gain their trust before taking advantage of it. Or they wait for the opportunity when their victim is weak or vulnerable, like when she is intoxicated at a party.

My problem is the word “slut.”

Slut is the description of herself a woman hears repeatedly when she is being held down and raped or gang raped. Slut is the reason she is given when someone she loves is punching her in the face. Slut is the nickname a young girl is given by her friends for being pretty or sure of herself. It’s the name used to cut her down or put her in her place.

Slut is the last thing a woman hears when she receives the fatal blow that ends her life.

Organizers of the SlutWalk says they want to “Re-appropriate the word slut” and “Take it back.”

But take it back to where? Re-appropriate it to what? Do they expect Oxford Dictionary to add it to their new word list in 2015?

Slut: Adjective to describe a women in charge of her own sexuality.

The word “Rape” is never going to mean “A day at the beach.”

It’s never going to happen. At no point in our future will anyone walk into a class of high school girls during a career fair and say “My, what a wonderful class of sluts. I remember when we didn’t own our sexuality.”

I am 51 years old. I have worked through the “What great legs you have, you should wear shorty skirts” 80s, the “There goes her career now that she has kids” 90s and the “There’s another harassment course you have to complete this year” 2000s. I didn’t kick open that glass ceiling and suffer from the cuts so my daughter can march through the streets calling herself a slut!

We are never going to change rape culture by dressing provocatively and marching with the word slut written across our breasts. We change rape culture through education and punishment. We change rape culture by talking about sexuality to our sons, brothers, fathers, uncles and other men in our lives. Then educate our daughters, sisters, Mothers and women in our lives about their sexuality and why we should never use the word “Slut” to describe any woman.

When the United States changed the laws to give Black people equality, those who committed hate crimes against them didn’t throw their hands up in the air and say, “Well we’re equal now. Better leave them alone.” Their hate continued, some even became more violent because they didn’t want the government telling them what to do.

After those laws were put in place, those people who were filled with hate had children. Their children were subjected to their parents hate and ignorance but could see things changing. Then those children had children, and they could see the world changing. And so on. And so on. Now they have a Black President. It took generations to change the mindset.

Did it create a perfect equal world for Black people? No. There will always be people who discriminate against someone. But it made it less acceptable.

Black people did not start the “N-word march” to protest their treatment. They created the “Million Man March.” They invited prominent speakers to convey to the world a vastly different picture of the Black male and to unite against economic and social ills plaguing the African American community.

I know what you’re saying “But Black Rap artists use it in their lyrics to take back the word.”

But did it work? The N-word will never be acceptable to use in any setting because we are educated now. We know what it means. Rap artists can “own it” all they want, but for millions it will always be the last name a Black man was called before he was lynched.

The same as “Slut” will always be the last name a women is called before she is murdered.

That’s my opinion.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Lost in translation


I am dialing my third 1-800 number. I bought a GE fridge from Sears in October and the darn door keeps breaking on it.

Yesterday I opened the door to get low-fat, Greek yogurt which I eat before having McDonalds to make myself feel better. The fridge door starts doing the old bump and grind but not in a good way. I close the door and hear the same sound. I continue to open and close it hoping the sound will go away but it just gets worse. I start looking around the hinges hoping I can fix it to no avail. So I closed the door and walked away hoping when I came back later for the low-fat, chocolate pudding it would have fixed itself.

But it didn’t. I pull out the warranty card and the receipt from Sears and call the overly friendly lady who sold me the fridge. She’s not that friendly now, or that helpful. She gives me a 1-800 number to call. I call to find out there’s another 1-800 number to call. I continuously press 1 for English… 1 for service, 1 for repairs, 1 for appliances and 1 for fridges. I get rewarded with elevator music. My marketing mind is wondering why they are not playing the soundtrack to Frozen instead.

Finally, “Paul” with the East Indian accent answers only to tell me I have to call back the first 1-800 number I was given because they take care of the issue if the fridge is less than one year old.

I start the process again: 1-800, press 1 for English, 1 for service, 1 for appliances, 1 for fridges, five minutes of elevator music. How ironic the first song is Eric Carmen’s “All By Myself”

Finally Sue with her thick East Indian accent answers the phone with “Please tell me your phone number?” So I go into the whole here’s my name & number spiel.

Then she asks me why I am calling so I go through the whole “My fridge door is broke” routine for the third time.

Then she asks me “What is the closest major intersection near your home?”

“What? I am not sure what you just said” I tell her.

“Please tell me the name of the closest major intersection near your home?” I get this feeling that she is going to tell me to go play in it.

“Why? What’s that got to do with my fridge door?”

“I have to be able to tell the repair man how to find your house” she tells me.

Now I decide to have some fun with her. “I live next door to Andrea. You know Andrea. We worked together years ago. She’s blond, likes gardening.”

There’s a long pause. “I don’t know Andrea. I need the name of the closest major intersection.”

“Toronto.”

“Ok thank you. Do you have a dog?”

It went over her head. “Yes I have a dog.”

“Ok then. You will have to be good to your dog.”

“I am always good to my dog.”

“The dog has to be taken care of.”

“My dog is treated better than most children. Why are you asking about my dog? Do you think he broke the fridge?”

“No. When our repair man arrives you will have to take care of the dog.”

“I will send the dog to the spa for the day. He will be happy Sears is so concerned about him.”

“We have to make sure the dog does not get angry at the repair man.”

“Oh” then I get it. “The dog will be fine. I am the one pissed at the repair man. This is his second trip to fix the door.”

With a straight voice she says, “We cannot send a repair man if you’re going to be angry with him.”

“I won’t be angry with him. I’ll take care of him like the dog.”

“What?” she asks

“I’ll be as good to the repair man as I am to my dog” my fingers are crossed by she can’t see that.

“Ok I will give you a file number and the phone number to a local repair man.”

“What? I have to call another number? Why can’t you make the appointment?”

“Oh we can’t make the appointment. You have to call a local repair man to set up the appointment.”

“Ok, give me the number.”

“902-753…”

“Wait. 902 is Nova Scotia. I am calling from Newfoundland.”

“Yes that is fine. Call this number and they will send a repair man to you within two days” she reassures me.

“Not from Nova Scotia. I need a repair man in Newfoundland.”

“No this is the number you have to call. They will drive to your house in two days.”

“I doubt that. I live on an Island. They have to fly or take a ferry. I need a number that starts with 709”

“Ok. I do have a number that starts with 709 but you have to call the other number first. I assure you the repair man will come to your house very quickly.”

“Is that because he knows my dog will be locked away at the spa and I have to be nice to him?”

Another long pause. “Do you have a pen?”

“Yes I have a pen. Give me the number”

Then she adds, “Are you happy with our service? Is there anything else I can do for you?

“Do you dog sit? The spa is expensive for the whole day.”

Giggles “No we don’t dog sit.”

I hang up the phone and call the local number… 1 for service… 1 for appliances… 1 for fridges…. Elevator music… finally a female voice….”Can I have your ticket number?”

I read it out to her. “When did you buy your fridge?”

“In October”

“Ok. We don’t fix the fridges that are less than one years old. You have to dial this number 1-800….”

She rambles off the same 1-800 I just hung up from.

“I just spoke to them and they said to call you” My voice is still nice because I don’t want to be put on the “Bitch” list and have to wait for weeks.

“Ok. I’ll take your name and number and check with GE but I don’t think we can take this call.”

I give her my information. I should have taken the Nova Scotia number to see if they really would have been here in two days.

I open the door and the grinding sounds louder. I start searching around for anything that’s not low-fat. I spot a plate of left over sausages and Minnie starts to whine for one.

“Oh shut up” I tell her “and if you think you’re getting a frigging spa day out of this you’re mad. I am locking you in the garage.”

I bite into a cold sausage and dial 1-800…1 for English… 1 for service… 1 for appliances… 1 for fridges… elevator music…. It’s Dan with his East Indian accent “Please give me your name, address state your problem please.”

“Queen Elsa of Arendelle. My magic powers are gone. I can’t seem to freeze anything because my fridge is broke.”

“Do you have a dog?”

“No, a reindeer, his name is Sven. He can’t fly but he is friendly.”

Long pause…. He mutters something in East Indian… then the dial tone.

Dan hung up on me and I don’t know why. We were having such a good time.