Tag Archives: open letter

An Open Letter to Eric Bolling and Greg Gutfeld at Fox News

25 Sep #HeForShe

To Mr. Eric Bolling and Mr. Greg Gutfeld,

yesterday, September 24th, you two made some foot-in-mouth – or should I say dick-in-mouth, by your language – comments about Major Mariam Al Mansouri. Was it because she is a fighter pilot? Or a freedom fighter? Or a figure for justice? How about because she’s a trail blazer? Or symbol of refusing to sit down in the face of injustice?

No. It was because Major Mariam Al Mansouri is a woman.

What’s this, you appear to have thought to yourself, the first female fighter pilot of the UAB stood up against FOX’s sworn enemy, ISIS? Well, I could comment on her bravery… or how many social prejudices she’s overcome… or how she’s such an ally for US interests… Wait, I know! Better comment on her boobs!

Or make a low-brow, uninspired joke about female driving stereotypes that would paint Major Mansouri as less capable than a male counterpart, as Mr. Gutfeld seemed to think best.

Because sexist “jokes” are totally what all your viewers were itching to hear just then, right?

Wrong.

I’d like to introduce the two of you to a little something called the HeForShe campaign, a “solidarity movement for gender equality,” as the website says.

Oh, sorry, I used some large words that you two don’t seem to be familiar with, based on your performance yesterday. Let me break it down for you.

Solidarity means that hey, feminism isn’t just for or about females. The state of women – roughly one half of the human population – is something that affects and is affected by the other half, all you male-identifying folk. So hey, how about we stand together through all this stuff instead of making half the human race grind its teeth because of your stupidity?

Movement – so, we’re not just standing. Men have had to fight for their rights – like oh, say, freedom (ring a bell?) – and have come a long way. Women, we’ve been fighting too. But, as evidenced by men of your caliber, we’ve still got a long way to go to reach equal respect, freedom, and opportunity. Major Mansouri fought against an entire culture of disapproval for her opportunities. And now that she’s taken back her own personal freedom, she’s fighting for other women – and men – from the cockpit. That’s right, men. A vulva in the cockpit. Turns out genitalia doesn’t determine whether you can fight, metaphorically and very, very literally, for something you believe in.

Gender equality is what it sounds like – not women nagging men, not men belittling women. But rather, each of us evaluating the other based on individual merit, not our degree of mammary tissue or what kind of urethral exit we’ve got going. To demonstrate this concept, I’d say a fair evaluation of what Major Mansouri has done could be called “courageous, competent, and inspiring.” As for your Wednesday behavior, I’d put it at “unintelligent, unduly crass, and ignorant.”

I’m not the only one who thinks so. This is not some “feminazi” rant over a trivial matter. I am not some hormone-crazed female who “can’t take a joke.” No, I am justified in my outrage at your blatant and blind perpetuation not just of sexism, but of rape culture too. Your behavior treats a woman as if her body is fair game. As if the very fact that she is female makes her an acceptable target for jokes, for disparagement, for verbal undressing, for whatever your male mind may damn well please, really. But if Major Mansouri had been a man, would you have made comments about his bombing aligning it with his ball sack? Or his dick? I mean, you would have had a ready “joystick” joke right there. Would you have demeaned his skills as a soldier by saying that oh hey, he must not clean up as well on the bombing field because everyone knows that women do the household chores? Would you immediately jump to verbally jostling his sexual parts as a “joke,” instead of properly saluting this soldier who is fighting as an ally on your side for an entire fucking people’s freedom? No?

Then I think, sirs, that you have a problem.

You have several solutions before you. Heforshe.org has several to recommend. Personally, I’d advise issuing an apology. And no, not some flimsy sham of a guilt admission. I – and I suspect other men and women too – want remorse. We want acknowledgment of your ignorance and ill intention when you made those comments. We want recognition of your underlying prejudices. And we demand concrete measures for change.

Because if that does not happen – well then gentleman, if you will not remove your foot from your mouth, then perhaps it is time to get your dick out of the seat. Fox News obviously needs more female anchors anyway.

Sincerely,
Miceala Shocklee

———–

Let Eric Bolling, Gerg Gutfeld, and the rest of Fox News know that sexist comments like these are not only distasteful, but dangerous. Tweet this page’s url to the anchors and their channel, or leave a message for them on Facebook. Feel free to copy and past the letter above and add your own signature, or write your own message.

@ericbolling
https://www.facebook.com/EricBolling

@greggutfeld
http://ggutfeld.com/contact/
https://www.facebook.com/ggutfeld

The Five:
https://www.facebook.com/TheFiveFNC

Show support for the Kim Guilfoyle, who brought of the story and condemned her colleagues’ remarks on air.

@kimguilfoyle
https://www.facebook.com/KimberlyGuilfoyle
http://kimberlyguilfoyle.com/contact/

sample message:
Thank you, Ms. Guilfoyle, for deciding to highlight such a courageous female in our day and age as Major Mansouri. I support you in how you wanted to spin the story, and I condemn the comments that Mr. Bolling and Mr. Gutfeld made. Thank you for immediately calling them out on it and letting them know that their behavior was unacceptable. I thank you for your efforts and hope that you will keep standing up for women everywhere, beginning with yourself.

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To The South Fayette Boy With The Ipad

17 Apr

Dear South Fayette Teen,

I know your mother wishes your name to be kept out of public reports as much as possible, so I’m not going to mention it here. But you know who you are, and you know what you did.

And I commend you, I laud you, I am so incredibly fucking proud of you for doing it. I hope you never forget who you really are, and I hope you never forget what you did. Above all, I hope you never forget, no matter what ignorant un-law enforcement or principals in need of schooling themselves may you tell you, that was you did was right.

You were being bullied. There is no question about that. You were being sexually harassed, physically harassed. You were being taunted. Tortured, really. The slow drip excruciation of day after day where you are made a target, for no other reason than that you happened to have the audacity to exist. Day after day of wondering what knew form of personal and social flagellation you’ll receive as the hands of idiots. I understand the pain of having that knife dug into your consciousness, millimeter after millimeter. It is not a pain that should ever happen.

It is a pain that happened to me, too. I too was bullied, from preschool all the way through sophomore year of high school. I went to an all-girls school, so my form of social punishment came more through the form of clique ostracism and snide comments made in muttered cackles before my face or ruthless emails passed around behind my back. Except for the time someone decided to print one particular chain out and stuff it in my locker. That was fun.

And how did I deal with my bullying? How did I deal with being told that I was ugly and unwantable and expendable for a quick laugh? I stayed silent. I filled journals with my feelings, cried unseen in bathroom stalls. Eventually, the girls who had tried to assert that I was lesser than they realized they needed me. As middle and high school wore on, it became clear that I was undeniably, ultimately goddamn smart. And those other girls, they didn’t always complete their homework. So they needed me, to help them figure out the answers. I became outwardly called upon as tutor in the early morning pre-class hallway conferences. I garnered a group of what you could roughly call friends. I found power in being the smart one. The bullying died down as the need for me grew. I graduated high school as the valedictorian, regarded as beloved at best and with apathy at worst. The outer titters were no more.

Of course, that did nothing to calm the inner ones. I had been saved by lucky fate, not by my own hand. I carried with me the inner sense of unworthiness I had been taught for years by bullies and general life circumstances. I still believed that I was ugly, that I was unwantable, that I was less than other people.

It’s taken a whole fucking lot to change that. And I’m still not done fighting.

But you – you actually stood up for yourself. You did what I had not. You saw the injustice you were being treated with and recognized that it was wrong. You did not just accept it as some natural lot for yourself in life. You did not take the lies that others would have fed you. And for that, for that small act of self-worth, you are my fucking hero.

So recorded what was going on in class. You recorded the reality of what was going on day in and day out. Your recorded the lack of any real response, any real repercussion for the ones who were actually committing disorderly conduct. Slamming things around in class? Trying to harass another student in the middle of a lecture? Sounds like textbook disorderliness to me.

This wiretapping charge is bullshit. The only reason it’s being thrown at you is because you happened to make somebody’s life difficult by making them accountable for their own ineptness as a head of school. High school students record things during class all the fucking time. Take, for example, the college students over at Aquinas who pranked their professor, recorded it all, and put it up on the internet, from where it’s gone viral. You don’t see them getting a wiretapping charge. Why? A student recorded part of a class – not just audio but even video – and they did it all without the professor’s knowledge. But hey, he thought the whole thing was funny. So, no wiretapping charge. But record something that reveals the failure of a school administrator to deal with a real fucking problem at his school? Wiretapping! Wiretapping!

This world does not deal kindly with the truly brave. And you, oh teenage boy who had the audacity to stand up and say that something was wrong, were truly brave to do so. Whistleblowing is always a risk. But you did it. You recorded the truth. You did what you needed to do in order to throw undeniable concrete evidence at the face of those who might have otherwise told you that it was “all in your head.”

You stood up for yourself. I am sorry that the adults that should have stood with you instead told you to step down. Though to your mother – from what I hear, you’re doing a damn good job of supporting your son through this. Please, keep reaffirming that he did the right thing. He’ll probably tell you that yeah, Mom, he knows. But it’s still something he’ll need to keep hearing anyway.

Oh teenage boy with the ipad, you used technology to fight injustice. You did not stick your nose where it didn’t belong. You weren’t meddling in someone else’s affairs. You had every right to do what you did. If the government seems to feel that it can run around willy nilly wiretapping every goddamn means of communication there is in the name of “fighting terrorism,” then I say that you, too, should be perfectly free to record in your own public space in the name of fighting the terrorism you were encountering. Because that’s what it was. A couple of idiots trying to make themselves look big by making someone else feel small with attack after attack on his person and his sanity.

So they used spitwads instead of IED’s. Words instead of bullets. I thought we’d all realized by now that the ridiculous rhyme about “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is absolute crap. If this country allows libel suits, then it damn well recognizes that words can hurt.

And this time, they were hurting something so much more important than a public image. They were hurting a person.

And did you stoop to their level? Did you hurl insults back? Throw a punch? Become one of them? No. You recorded them, made them accountable for their words. You very calmly brought their own actions, their own selves against them. You made them sit down and shut up and learn about responsibility and consequences for once.

Something, it appears, your principle doesn’t understand how to do.

Spitwads, scare tactics, daily verbal harassment – you “would not classify that as bullying,” Mr. Skrbin? Great. If I were near South Fayette, I’d be outside your office with a straw and a whole lot of spit to shoot at you tomorrow morning. I mean, you did say there wasn’t a problem with that, didn’t you?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Dear teenage boy who lives in South Fayette, you really are a hero. I am sorry that incompetent adults are trying to log you as otherwise. I hope they realize how they wrong they are. Because odds are, your story is going to inspire some other students elsewhere, too, to finally stand up and say that they are taking no more. That they are done with being bullied. That they are human being with real fucking worth and other people better damn well recognize it.

Because you, dear teenage boy with the ipad, are a human being with real fucking worth. Other people better damn well recognize that.

Don’t you ever stop recognizing that, either.

Sincerely,

A Friend

An Open Letter to Private Boys’ Schools

28 Oct

Dear Private Boys’ Schools,

let’s talk about your rape education program.

If you even have one.

As someone who attended a private all-girls school from the age of 3, I received a fair amount of self-protection spiels. From the awkward “it’s not okay for anyone to touch your private parts” mumbles I received in elementary school to the assembly of junior high where a police woman came to talk to us about reducing our risk factors as potential targets to the high school prom night safety and it’ll-ruin-your-life-to-get-pregnant talks, I was doused in awareness from the very beginning that there were people out there who, if I wasn’t careful, would try to take advantage of my sexuality.

Sure, threat prevention awareness is a good thing to learn. But notice how it was presented to me as an “if I weren’t careful” scenario? Notice how I was taught about “reducing my target risk-factors?” While I was never explicitly told that it would be my fault if I were raped – in fact, I was usually vocally told the opposite – that message was still insinuated by the very approach the rape education programs took.

And oh hey, just a side note – nobody ever taught me what to do if I were raped. Police calls, hospital rape kits, legal paths, therapy – I only found out about those things through watching Law & Order SVU. In college.

But most of that, I suppose, is irrelevant to the main thing I’d like to tell you, oh vaginaless boys’ schools. You see, what I’d really like to say is that while all those rape talks about making sure we were safe might have done some good for me and my fellow females, it would have done even more good to have made sure there weren’t any rapists to begin with.

And that’s where you come in.

If anything, the rape rate would go down more drastically if boys were taught how to not rape. Girls don’t get to choose whether or not they’re victims. Boys always get to choose whether or not they’re rapists.

Sure, not all rapists are male and not all victims are female, but as things stand right now, males do make up the majority of aggressors. Where “majority” means 99%.

But surely, your sweet young upperclass boys who have been hand-fed good, moral values from the age of five would never do something so terrible?

Well. That has not been my experience.

I had friends who had been raped by the time we even got to be seniors in high school. It wasn’t by some thug from the bad part of town. It was by one of those nice, privileged boys that their friend had just gone to the winter dance with. The straight-A student, the drama club regular, the average joe on their crew time they’d hung out with on Friday nights. You know, the one nobody could ever envision as a rapist.

I mean, the sense of entitlement that would require!

Surely this son of a lawyer who drives his shiny car to school and has a tight group of male friends to back him up no matter what he needs would never have such a sense of entitlement. Sure this good Catholic boy who was taught that a vagina is a prize to be won by wedding vows would never be tempted to think he deserves the goody bag early!

Oh. Wait…

Hopefully by now you’re seeing my point. Those innocent young boys in your private prep school, they’ve been set up by their socioeconomic status to maybe become not so innocent. And even if those traits don’t quite take hold in adolescence, your boys are the ones who go on to become the frat guys you read about in the news who got to college and decided that finally, sex was theirs for the taking. Or if they make it beyond that, they are the ones who form into utterly distinguished businessmen with prim-and-proper wives and a white picket fence and a routine predictable as clockwork and 7 am traffic, and who when they become bored with their utterly distinguished, utterly regimented lives find themselves relieving that boredom in their niece’s bedroom…

No, these are not figments of a perverted imagination. They are real stories. Of my friends.

So. Now that we’re all properly horrified here, what do we do about it?

Well, let’s go back to those rape prevention talks I mentioned earlier. How about we have them again, except at your school this time? How about we make rape prevention as important a curriculum component at boys’ schools as at girls’? And while we’re at it, why not incorporate it into a recharged version of sex ed? One that could be used to teach both boys and girls, at private and public schools, from a practical perspective? Because honestly, telling us that hey, here’s your reproductive system, and it will do these things is about as helpful for managing daily sexuality as telling a pilot-to-be that hey, here’s a diagram of a plane, it can fly. Great. Now the pilot knows the plane can fly. Probably has no idea beyond that what the fuck to do with it.

Why not go beyond the mere “here’s a uterus and a vagina, here’s a penis and testicles” to actually tell budding pubescents, “and here are some feelings that you’re probably going to have with respect to your particular genitals, and here’s how to handle them.” Instead of just telling kids that it’s not okay to have sex before marriage, why not focus more on telling them that it’s not okay to abuse another’s body? Teach about abstinence in religion class. Teach about consent in sex-ed.

Seriously, there are so many ways to tackle teaching boys about rape prevention. And they’ve been shown to work. Take, for example, the “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign in Vancouver that led to a 10% decrease in the rape rate. Or the course designed by Foubert, Tatum, and Godin that told men, among other things, about other males that had been victimized – and that even led participants to report two years later that they had retained perspective and behavioral changes as a result of the course?

For decades, girls’ schools have been trying to keep down the rape rate from their side. Honestly, hasn’t done a whole lot of good.

Guess the ball’s in your court now, boys’ schools. Whatcha going to do?

I really hope it’s not just sit back and change nothing. This is not somebody else’s problem. It is yours.

Sincerely,

Miceala Shocklee