Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Consent

[I started writing this months ago, before Harvard's settlement yesterday. It seems like now's a good time to post.]


In response to growing concern about campus sexual assault (and pressure from the government), many colleges and universities around the country have started to implement new sexual assault policies. Some of these policies focus primarily on consent. For instance, California state schools now follow the "yes means yes" standard for consent, meaning that consent must be affirmative for it to be consent.  This doesn't mean that consent requires a written statement or even a verbal yes, but it does mean that silence or impairment does not constitute consent. This is important, obviously, as alcohol consumption has continually been used as an excuse for sexual assault.  

But are regulations around affirmative consent enough? Probably not.  Harvard University's new Title IX policy (adopted by most Harvard schools, but not Harvard Law), for example, does not define consent. In fact, the creators of this policy believe the definition of affirmative consent is too narrow. In other words, it is not enough to just consider consent, as it is defined above, when investigating sexual assault cases. Silence or impairment does not constitute consent, nor does it constitute rape. A verbal yes does not constitute consent when you have been manipulated. Therefore, defining consent as a way to determine what constitutes rape is not sufficient. Alternatively, not defining consent gives victims of sexual assault more power. Some would say too much.

Harvard Law professors took issue with the university's new policy because it contradicted basic legal principles, in their opinion.  According to these professors:
“Harvard has adopted procedures for deciding cases of alleged sexual misconduct which lack the most basic elements of fairness and due process, are overwhelmingly stacked against the accused... [the rules are] starkly one-sided as between complainants and respondents, and entirely inadequate to address the complex issues involved in these unfortunate situations involving extreme use and abuse of alcohol and drugs by our students.” [Boston Globe]
Though a bit backwards, these professors do bring up a good point: sexual assault cases are complex. And for there to be real progress, we need to address these complexities. Now, I am in no way defending Harvard Law School. Judging by that quote alone, they seem to want to blame it on the alcohol. However, I do think that most of the policies institutions are now creating are weak. I commend colleges and universities for finally making strides to prevent sexual assault. (And I'd like to really emphasize finally here, since this has been an issue for decades and only now are we starting to address the problem.) But are they really trying to prevent sexual assault? Or are they just creating policies so that they can show they are investigating sexual assault, re-actively, and get the media off their backs?

Whatever those law professors believe, Harvard is moving in the right direction by getting away from focusing on consent when considering sexual assaults. Because the problem isn't consent, it's culture. The solution, then, is not to just define consent--it's to create an environment in which sexual assault is condemned, in which people are taught how to respect others and cultivate meaningful, safe relationships. It requires comprehensive sex education, including conversations about sexual entitlement, for both boys and girls. Most importantly, it requires a cultural shift well beyond college campuses. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

This is mostly about TV.

I'm one of those very lucky people who got 11 days off for holidays I don't care about. I have so much free time and I don't know what to do with it besides watch TV and think about cleaning my apartment. I continue to watch Scandal even though I hate it. Some observations I've made:

  • Olivia Pope's facial expressions are literally repulsive.
  • She also never stops crying. How do you have this kind of job if you're so emotionally unstable?
  • Typical woman.
  • Just kidding.
  • This show could use some better writers.
  • And actors.
  • I would like to have sex with the president.

I also finally started watching The Wire, which is amazing when I can actually understand what they are saying.

Other things I've watched this week:

  • Die Hard - Surprisingly entertaining. My favorite part was when Snape had a goatee. 
  • Love, Actually - Easy to not pay attention to. My favorite part was when Snape snubbed Professor Trelawney. 
  • Obvious Child - Sort of funny, sort of boring .  The message seemed to be something like, just get pregnant on a one-night-stand and you can find love in the 21st century!  Maybe that wasn't the intended message, but it was what I heard. I mean, it seems like you either do that or go on Tinder, and I honestly can't say which is worse. 

On that note, maybe Netflix should create some type of dating app for people like me (read: lazy). It would be like, "this hetereosexual male in your neighborhood is also watching 30 Rock right now." And then you two can text back and forth about watching 30 Rock together and ultimately decide neither of you wants to leave his/her apartment, but at least you tried! That's the kind of dating app I can get on board with.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Resolutions

It's that time of year again when people come up with lofty goals in an effort to improve themselves, most of which constitute eating sad food and taking up valuable space in the gym locker room for a couple weeks. Unlike these kinds of people, I have always tried to make my resolutions reachable because I like feeling successful, or because I'm lazy. Last year, however, I ambitiously came up with 12 resolutions. Now it's time to see how I did. 



Resolutions for 2014:


1. Buy fresh foods. What does this mean really? I mean, everything was fresh at one point, right?
2. Cook said foods. Does boiling water count as cooking? But seriously, I make most of my meals now, especially if you consider chips and salsa a meal.
3. Make my own coffee. I can't even tell you how dramatically my life has improved since buying a french press. 
4. Eliminate fat talk from my vocabulary. Every day's a struggle (RIP Biggie). I haven't yet perfected this, but I will say it makes me want to stab myself in the ears whenever I hear anyone else fat talk, so that's an improvement.
5. Be less internety.  LOL.
6. "Advance professionally"  One time, I accidentally sent a job application to 900+ people including my boss and ended up getting a raise.
7. Perform at an open mic night. I'm sort of doing this on New Year's Eve, just in the nick of time! But I'm not telling you when or where because I'm terrified and my act might just be me drinking a bottle of wine on stage and crying.
8. Write a book. To be fair, I did start writing a book, but I hated everything I wrote. Also, how many more books about the horrors of dating do we really need? Let me sum it up for you: Dating is the pits. Someone save me from this hellish nightmare!!!!!
9.  Go to sleep at a reasonable hour/fall asleep/stay asleep/SLEEP. I got some drugs. They work.
10. Get up early enough to walk to work. No.
11. Learn how to paint my nails. Success! I got maybe one manicure in all of 2014.
12. Get on GirlCode. I don't have cable anymore and actually forgot about this show until now, but I'd still like to be on it. Someone call up MTV for me.

Possible resolutions for 2015:

1. Convince more people to come to my apartment so I never have to leave it.
2. Take the Game of Thrones tour in Iceland.
3. Watch all of these movies so I can fit in with society and also stop hearing people say, "OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU DIDN'T SEE [THIS MOVIE I LIKE]."

What are your resolutions?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Movies I've never seen that everyone gets mad about

  • E.T.
  • The Godfather
  • The Shawshank Redemption
  • Star Wars (any of them)
  • The Goonies
  • Schindler's List
  • Die Hard
  • Jurassic Park
  • The Sandlot
  • Speed

Movies I have seen several times:

  • Mean Girls
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Stomp the Yard


I'M SO SORRY, YOU GUYS.

Songs of the Year

Every year around this time, I post a list of my favorite albums, and no one really cares about it. This year, I'm switching it up and posting a list of my favorite songs that no one will really care about. Last year, I really fucked everything up by posting before Beyoncé surprised us with her self-titled album, so luckily, I can make up for it now because she released a couple singles in 2014.

Anyway, here they are, in no particular order, my favorite songs of the year:
  1. 0 to 100 - Drake
  2. Water Fountain - tUnE-yArDs
  3. Family - Fatima
  4. Flawless (remix) - Beyoncé ft. Nicki Minaj
  5. Coffee -Sylvan Esso
  6. Blank Space - Taylor Swift

     7. 1936 - PHOX
     8. Keep On Lying - Jessie Ware
     9. i - Kendrick Lamar
     10. Two Weeks - FKA twigs
     11. Goddess - Banks
     12. Springful - Adult Jazz

Honorable mention: "Often" by The Weeknd, but only because I shamefully listened to it so many times.