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Member since: Sat Sep 15, 2012, 01:49 PM
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Brazilian Carnival

(I posted this in response to another thread but decided to develop it a bit further for an OP)

Someone asked whether carnival in Rio was just an opportunity to objectify women. I answered no, that is not its purpose or primary function.

It is a period in which people relinquish the restraints of daily life to dance, party, and sometimes do what they might not other times of the year. Some have described it, along with soccer, as a sort of opiate for the masses. You should know that the images you see of carnaval in Rio are all from the Sambadromo, a stadium that one must pay to enter. It is a competition by the various samba schools for who does the best presentation. It's a complex social phenomenon that has been written about in a number of books and articles. The queen of carnval is usually a woman of mixed race, what Brazilians call a mulata. The celebration of the mulata during Carnaval belies the ongoing racism (denied by most Brazilians) that elevates whiteness the rest of the year, as evident in telenovelas and magazines where white women represent beauty.

However, carnaval de rua (of the street) is different. That is how most cariocas (residents of Rio) experience carnival. People don't wear the expensive costumes and simply go out on the street to dance, drink, and have a good time.

I have never spent carnival in Rio, but I have in Salvador. There carnival is entirely street. Bands move through the main avenues and people listen and dance free to charge. One can pay some money (nothing like the cost of Rio carnival) to dance within a carnaval bloco (like Olodum, Ile Aye, Ara Ketu, Banda Eva, etc.) but you can enjoy carnival every bit as much if not more without paying.

The other thing to understand is that Brazil is far more sexually open that the US, and women are more empowered in many ways. Certainly objectification exists, but it's different. Women who dress in ways we might consider provocative in the US are not viewed negatively as they are here. Nor is there the kind of blame attached to women who have sex that there is here, at least in urban areas. I expect rural areas are far more traditional.

Videos from carnival in Salvador.

This is from an official tourism page. While it gives a good sense of what street carnival is like, it focuses on more white faces that one would typically see. Salvador da Bahia is a city where the great majority of the population are African in ancestral origin, as the city was the economic center of sugar production and slavery in the early period of Portuguese colonial rule.

This is a link to a YouTube channel with videos of this year's carnival, from this Sunday.


Olodum, probably the best know of the Bahian blocos, from carnival 2012.

An interesting thing to observe is that recent videos show that women are now performing in Olodum, which was not the case when I was there in the 90s.

Now, one could certainly argue that the way Brazilian carnival is presented to foreign audiences objectifies women, but that is not the same as saying that is the purpose of carnival itself.

Once again we are back to the crime of besmirching the name of your favorite troll

(Thanks to the superior intellect of Opiate69 for correctly the spelling of a mere mortal.)

New Poutrage: da Bear opens da doors


Heart attack ensues:

AHHHHHH, save mankind from the matriarchy of doors!

Stolen from RBStevens

"A small group" is responsible for all that ails DU

So we are told. Reactionary men could happily live in a world where no one ever suggested to them that they should treat woman as human beings rather than mere objects of lust of rage, if only for a few radical fringe feminists on DU. How many times have we heard everything here is the fault of a "small fringe group"? The comment reveals profound self-delusion. They want to ignore key issues about equality and inclusivity to make it all about a few feminists on this site. Only they are railing against practices that have been standard in every public place for decades in this country. They act like they never before heard there was anything objectionable about posting pictures of bikini babes in public places. They act like they never heard about the concept of a hostile environment before it was raised here recently. They deceive themselves by insisting that only a few loud-mouthed feminists care about such issues, even while posting in a thread with over 177 Duers expressing disapproval of the hostile environment engendered by such pics. They do so knowing that Skinner locked one such thread and instructed the GD hosts to allow no others. Yet it's all because of HOF members, despite the fact that they couldn't get away with any of that stuff in any public space anywhere in this country and haven't been able to for decades.

So what's going on here? Why do they so resent progress? Why do they refuse to consider the concerns of anyone but themselves? Why to they respond cruely to someone who shares a hearbreaking story of repeated rape from a very young age? Why do they systematically refuse to consider the testimony of victims of child abuse, legal rulings and evidence, and repeat the lies generated by the publicity machine of a wealthy, accused pedophile? Why is it they insist on telling people of color they are just too touchy when they point out the obvious--that stereotypical meals of fried chicken and watermelon are purposefully racist and do not "honor" African American culture. To deny the voices of feminists and people of color in articulating what they find offensive represents a clear determination that some see those groups of Americans as unworthy of basic respect or the same rights afforded to white men.

The "small group" didn't post the T and A pics. A small group didn't post the callout threads and posts in GD, all placed for the explicit purpose of creating drama and belittling the views and lives of those they see as entirely without value. One member of the small group did post Dylan Farrow's testimony, and that was an outrage. To consider the views of a woman was an anathema and triggered a meltdown by one particularly angry member. Many others simply refused to read her testimony or the court record showing Woody Allen's entire story was a lie because they didn't want facts to get in the way of their determination to defend an accused pedophile, who's victim was only a girl, hardly anyone who mattered. A member here who expressed a heartfelt story of her own assault was called a liar, insulted and ridiculed, even though what she described happens to millions of girls and boys across our nation. What this small group does is raise the viewpoints of human beings whose lives some consider entirely insignificant.

The fact is we are dealing with some very angry people who hate progress more than anything else. They despise the fact that they are expected to treat others as human, that they can't insult women as b and cs at will (even though they do and juries let them get away with it). Yet the fact that someone might object to their determination to treat women as subhuman is to them an outrage. We see an increase in use of racial slurs, and now we see them attacking LGBT members as loud-mouthed "crusaders" who would be better off keeping their mouths shut. To them, the only ones entitled to speak are themselves and those who support them. Anyone who questions their privilege and suggests that equality does matter is to be attacked and deligitimated at all costs. They personalize the issues to make it about a few HOF members, a few uppity African Americans, and a few LGBT "crusaders" because they won't examine what they are really trying to establish: white, heterosexual male supremacy. They seek to establish in a little corner of the internet something that exists no where offline in the USA. They do so precisely because they so despise the progress of the past half century and they especially resent members of subaltern groups who insist that we too are full citizens entitled to all the same rights, opportunities, and respect that straight, white men enjoy. All of us they so resent on DU could disappear tonight and their lives would not improve in the slightest. They will still live in a society that seeks to expand rather than retract civil rights. They will still live in a world where they have to compete based on merit, education and experience, rather than mere accident of birth. Yet they make it all about a "small group" because they refuse to confront the issues of equality and inclusivity that they are so determined to fight against.

What a SI cover honoring women would look like

Sports Illustrated is about sports. It's in the title, right? So if the magazine wanted to honor women, they would focus on some of the great female athletes. This is what an SI cover might look like in a world without sexism, if they published for an audience that valued women for what they accomplish in sports.

Now those are some fierce women!

Most favored rapist status

It occurred to me than some accused sexual assailants enjoy most favored rapist status on this site. The obvious examples are Julian Assange and Woody Allen. Another case is James Winston, Heisman Trophy winner, who was not prosecuted despite DNA evidence, a medical exam that showed vaginal tearing and severe bruising, and the examining physician's determination that the victim had been raped. A dozen or two members insisted he too was innocent.

Those are the cases I recall by name. I thought others here might share cases they remember where people made a point of defending an accused rapist.

Lastly, I'd like to know whether you think it's a case of famous guys getting a break, or that this community, like the country in general, always believes accused rapists over victims? Certainly some accused assailants attract more defenders than usual. For some reason Woody Allen seems to be enjoying more support even than Julian Assange, and clearly far more than James Winston. So I wonder if it's a matter of some men being above the law, that people can't believe that men they admire would do such a thing, or that there is a default position of innocent until proven guilty that sexual assailants enjoy here that those accused of perpetrating other crimes do not? Or is there some other explanation? Lastly, why? Why is it that being accused of child molestation or rape elevates a person's standing above other accused perpetrators, like the guy in Florida who killed the teenager who was playing loud music?

Here I feel compelled to post a few caveats. Of course everyone is innocent until proven guilty in our justice system. That, however, does not govern discussion on DU. Nor does it explain why the "innocent until proven guilty" argument is always made for rapists but seldom for those accused of other crimes, and never for women accused of making false rape accusations. I have never seen anyone come into Weird News and say "that woman accused of injecting poop in her husband's I.V. is innocent until proven guilty." Nor have they said "Those McDonalds employees accused of selling Heroin in the Happy Meals are innocent until proven guilty." Cheney, Bush or Christie are not innocent until proven guilty. They are, according to DUers, guilty. So why should accused rapists be held in higher esteem than elected officials?

Final caveat: Of course some accused persons are innocent. Trials determine legal guilt; discussion boards do not.

6 reasons female nudity can be powerful

The article is more interesting than the title suggests. It also fits in perfectly with the thread about banning breastfeeding at Victoria's Secret: Non-sexualized images of female nudity are seen, according to the author, as "threatening and destablizing" in contrast to sexualized images produced and approved by patriarchal power.

Last week, in the midst of what appears to be infinite fascination about Lena Dunham’s nudity, I saw a fundraiser for the documentary “Free the Nipple“ and also, by coincidence, talked to Facebook spokespeople about that company’s ban on visible female nipples. Like the reporter who recently asked Dunham why her “Girls” character was “often naked at random times for no reason,” many people seem confounded by expressions of female nudity that are not sexual – because isn’t titillation the whole point of women’s nakedness? The real question about female nudity isn’t why anyone would want to show or see women’s breasts if they’re not titillating. The real question is about who has the right to say what they’re for, where and when they can be seen and by whom. That’s about power. . .

Why is exposing the world to non-sexualized female nudity important?

1. Women too often are made to embody male power, honor and shame. It’s not good for us. Our bodies, and the bodies of people who are gender fluid and non-binary conforming, are sites of moral judgment in ways most men’s are not, especially in public and in protest. Some of us experience our bodies, in particular our nudity, as objects of repression, oppression and powerlessness. Representing them as no one’s but our own, counter to prevailing representations, is important.

2. Female public nudity is usually treated as a moral offense, a cause for concern and discussion, but it’s rarely allowed to be a source of non-sexual female power. Male nudity is an entirely different thing. When your average (straight) man is seen nude or semi-nude, it’s often considered humorous, as in frat boys streaking. Or it’s a sign of virility and athleticism. When it’s not, for example, the jarring images of the torture of Iraqi men in Abu Ghraib, men – vulnerable, humiliated and in pain – are feminized by their nakedness.

3. Female nudity is not just about sexualization, it’s about maintaining social hierarchies, like those of race and class. Non-idealized female bodies used autonomously undermine a continuous narrative about body-based sex and race differences. When our cultural production is singularly focused on hyper-gendered, racialized and sexualized representations of nudity, it is easier to maintain racist and sexist ideas – and nude female bodies outside socially approved, sexualized contexts challenge those."


Terror from the Right

From the Southern Poverty Law Center

Terrorism from the right comprises a major thread to public safety and national security. While right-wingers like to pretend the left is somehow terroristic and dangerous, the Southern Poverty Law Center lists dozens of terrorist plots and attacks from domestic right-wing fringe groups. Below are the four most recent uncovered. The SPLC publication shows more.

Note SLPC covers all kinds of hate groups, not just right-wing ones. The facts are, however, that far right-wing, anti-government extremists are more often engaged in terror plots than the left, despite Fox News efforts to paint the one black guy holding doors open at a polling place in Philly as evidence of intimidation by the Black Panthers (which I believe total about six members today).

Additionally, the NSA claims it devotes itself to monitoring international communication. Yet these are domestic plots. Is the NSA completely ignoring domestic threats, lying to the American public, or both?

August 18, 2013

David Allen Brutsche, 42, and a woman described as Brutsche’s roommate, Devon Campbell Newman, 67, are arrested in Las Vegas, Nev., after a months-long investigation into an alleged plot to kidnap and execute police officers. Both Brutsche, a convicted felon and registered sex offender, and Newman consider themselves “sovereign citizens” and have conducted recruiting seminars on sovereign ideology. Authorities say they intended to kidnap a police officer at random, detain the officer in a crude jail in a vacant house, “try” the officer in a “common law” court, then execute the officer. Police say the pair hoped the act would inspire more kidnappings and murders of officers. The two are charged with felony conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and attempted kidnapping. Newman pleads guilty in December 2013 to conspiracy to commit false imprisonment, a misdemeanor, and is sentenced to a year of probation and ordered to have no contact with Brutsche. Brutsche’s trial is scheduled for March 2014.

June 18, 2013
Glendon Scott Crawford, 49, and Eric J. Feight, 54, are arrested in upstate New York after a year-long investigation and charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists for use of a weapon of mass destruction. Crawford is a self-proclaimed member of the United Northern and Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, based in Michigan, and an industrial mechanic with General Electric. Feight is an outside contractor for GE with mechanical and engineering skills. According to authorities, he and Feight, who call themselves “The Guild,” are well along the way toward building a truck-borne radiation weapon. The idea was that it could be parked in front of, say, a mosque and remotely triggered; victims would be hit with lethal doses of radiation but would not die immediately, allowing the killers to drive the truck away before any attack was detected. The pair allegedly wanted to target Muslims, as well an unnamed political figure and political party. Authorities say that Crawford, who allegedly referred to his enemies as “medical waste” and was angry at President Obama, tried to raise money to complete the device from Jewish groups and also the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, based in North Carolina. He also allegedly referred to his device as “Hiroshima on a light sw

December 21, 2012
FBI agents arrest Richard Schmidt, the owner of a sporting goods store in Bowling Green, Ohio, for trafficking in counterfeit goods and discover a cache of 18 weapons in his home and store, including AR-15 assault rifles, 9 mm and Sig Sauer pistols and shotguns, and more than 40,000 rounds of ammunition. Schmidt is unable to own the weapons legally because he is a felon who served 13 years for murdering a Latino man and wounding two others in a 1989 traffic dispute. They also find evidence of Schmidt’s neo-Nazi views, including video and Nazi paraphernalia, and the Anti-Defamation League identifies him as a long-time member of the neo-Nazi National Alliance. And officials discover a notebook they say Schmidt was using to track Detroit area Jewish and African-American leaders, apparently as a prelude to some kind of attack. Schmidt is indicted in Toledo in January 2013 on three federal counts of possessing illegal firearms, body armor and ammunition, and one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods, and pleads not guilty.

September 4, 2012
Christopher Lacy, 36, shoots California Highway Patrol officer Kenyon Youngstrom at close range after the officer stops Lacy’s vehicle, which had an obstructed license plate, on I-680 near Alamo, Calif. Lacy is fatally shot by another trooper who responds to the scene. Youngstrom dies September 5. An investigation into Lacy’s background reveals a large amount of antigovernment “sovereign citizens” literature on several computers at his home.

The full list is available here: http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/publications/terror-from-the-right

"She Might Have Had a Case If She Had Been Unconscious During the Rape"

To those still confused about rape culture, the Missoula prosecutor's office refusal to prosecute even in the face of a DOJ investigation is a prime example.

Between January 2008 and May 2012, Missoula police received more than 350 sexual-assault reports, including multiple cases of assault allegedly committed by University of Montana football players. The US Department of Justice found that city officials did not adequately handle all of these reports—going so far as to charge that police were using "sex-based stereotypes" to discriminate against women who reported rape. Last month, the Justice Department proposed an agreement that would require the Missoula County Attorney's office to make a number of changes. The DOJ recommended adding two or three new staff positions, including an advocate for victims; ramping up training for county supervisors and prosecutors; and collecting more data on sexual-assault cases, including feedback from victims. Last week, the county's chief prosecutor rejected the offer and told the feds to take a hike, insisting they have no authority to tell his office what to do. . . .

Missoula's rape problem rose to national attention when six members of the University of Montana football team, the Grizzlies, were accused of committing, attempting, or helping cover-up sexual assault between 2009 and 2012. In March 2012, facing scrutiny over how it was handling assault allegations leveled against athletes, the university fired its football coach and athletic director. In May 2012, Attorney General Eric Holder said he was launching a federal investigation into whether Missoula officials and the university were discriminating against female rape victims, noting he found the allegations "very disturbing."

In May 2013, the Justice Department released findings from its investigation, indicating officials in Missoula were indeed discriminating against female victims in sexual-assault cases. For example, according to the Justice Department's report, one Missoula detective allegedly told a woman who said she was vomiting during her sexual assault—she was allegedly raped by several people—that "she might have had a case if if she had been unconscious during the rape rather than merely incapacitated." In another case where a woman reported vaginal and anal rape, a detective reportedly asked her why she hadn't fought harder, saying, "Tell me the truth—is this something we want to go through with?" (Van Valkenburg says, "Both our office and the police are very much aware of what is necessary to legally prove that a woman who is incapacitated by alcohol and/or drugs did not consent to a sexual act. Local prosecutors fully understand these issues​." The Justice Department also determined that the Missoula attorney's office provides "no information" to local police as to why it declines to prosecute sexual assault cases and police are "frustrated" with the "lack of follow-up and prosecution." (Missoula Police Captain Mike Coyler says, "As a general rule, I disagree with this."

The month it released those findings, the Justice Department entered into agreements with the University of Montana and the Missoula Police Department to beef up resources to combat rape. (Lucy France, legal counsel for the university, says that she disagrees with the Justice Department's findings that the university discriminated against victims and botched investigations, but "we agreed to work to continue to improve our responses to reports." Last month, the US Attorney for Montana proposed that the Missoula County Attorney's office enter a similar agreement to ensure that it responds to sexual assault without discrimination. In response, Van Valkenburg wrote in a January 9 letter that his office would commit to help the police department and the university meet their commitments—but he wouldn't make the Justice Department's recommended changes to his office.

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