Smart Girls Who Do Stupid Things

Sometimes…

Golden Globes Ballot: OR, Will Jennifer Love Hewitt Win For The Client List?

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Let’s start with a blank slate. A slate of the most important and only interesting categories as follows, with the only people who matter predicting.

BEST MOTION PICTURE — DRAMA
Black Swan — Emily
The Fighter
Inception

The King’s Speech — Christopher, Francesca
The Social Network — KB, Blake, Jessie, Kate

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
Halle Berry, Frankie and Alice
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone — Jessie
Natalie Portman, Black Swan — KB, Blake, Christopher, Emily
Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine — Francesca, Kate

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Colin Firth, The King’s Speech — KB, Blake, Christopher, Francesca, Emily, Jessie, Kate
James Franco, 127 Hours
Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine
Mark Wahlberg, The Fighter

BEST MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Alice in Wonderland
Burlesque

The Kids Are All Right — KB, Blake, Christopher, Francesca, Emily, Kate
Red
The Tourist

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right — KB, Blake, Christopher, Emily
Anne Hathaway, Love and Other Drugs
Angelina Jolie, The Tourist
Julianne Moore, The Kids Are All Right — Francesca
Emma Stone, Easy A — Jessie (“I feel obligated, I mean, right? Kate: Agreed.)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Wow. These choices are just WOW. I can’t even choose. I refuse.
Johnny Depp, Alice in Wonderland — Blake
Johnny Depp, The Tourist
Paul Giamatti, Barney’s Version — Emily
Jake Gyllenhaal, Love and Other Drugs — Christopher
Kevin Spacey, Casino Jack — KB, Francesca, Jessie

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Despicable Me
How to Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Tangled
Toy Story 3
— Duh, everyone.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
Amy Adams, The Fighter — Francesca
Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
Mila Kunis, Black Swan
Melissa Leo, The Fighter — KB, Blake, Christopher, Emily, Jessie
Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom — Kate

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
Christian Bale, The Fighter — Blake, Christopher, Francesca, Emily, Jessie, Kate
Michael Douglas, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Andrew Garfield, The Social Network
Jeremy Renner, The Town
Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech — KB

BEST DIRECTOR – MOTION PICTURE
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan — KB
David Fincher, The Social Network — Blake, Christopher, Francesca, Kate
Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
Christopher Nolan, Inception — Emily, Jessie
David O. Russell, The Fighter

BEST SCREENPLAY – MOTION PICTURE
Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy, 127 Hours
Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg, The Kid’s Are All Right
Christopher Nolan, Inception — Emily
David Seidler, The King’s Speech — Jessie
Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network — KB, Blake, Christopher Shea, Francesca, Kate

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – MOTION PICTURE
Alexandre Desplat, The King’s Speech — Blake
Danny Elfman, Alice in Wonderland
A.R. Rahman, 127 Hours
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, The Social Network — Jessie, Kate
Hans Zimmer, Inception — Christopher, Francesca, Emily

BEST ORIGINAL SONG – MOTION PICTURE
“Bound To You”, Burlesque
Music by: Samuel DixonLyrics by: Christina Aguilera, Sia Furler
“Coming Home”, Country Strong — Jessie
Music & Lyrics by: Bob DiPiero, Tom Douglas, Hillary Lindsey, Troy Verges
“I See The Light”, Tangled — KB, Francesca, Emily
Music by: Alan Menken Lyrics by: Glenn Slater
“There’s A Place For Us”, Chronicle of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Music & Lyrics by: Carrie Underwood, David Hodges, Hillary Lindsey
“You Haven’t Seen The Last Of Me”, Burlesque — Blake, Christopher
Music & Lyrics by: Diane Warren

BEST TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA
Boardwalk Empire (HBO) — Blake, Francesca, Jessie
Dexter (SHO)
The Good Wife (CBS) — KB, Christopher, Kate
Mad Men (AMC) — Emily
The Walking Dead (AMC)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife — Blake, Christopher, Emily, Jessie
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men — KB
Piper Perabo, Covert Affairs (Kate: Please!)
Katey Sagal, Sons of Anarchy
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer — Francesca, Kate

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire — Kate
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad — Francesca, Jessie
Michael C. Hall, Dexter — Christopher
Jon Hamm, Mad Men — KB, Blake, Emily
Hugh Laurie, House

BEST TELEVISION SERIES – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
30 Rock (NBC)
The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
The Big C (SHO) — Francesca
Glee (FOX) — Kate
Modern Family (ABC) — KB, Blake, Christopher, Emily, Jessie
Nurse Jackie (SHO)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES –COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Toni Collete, United States of Tara — Jessie
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie — Christopher
Tina Fey, 30 Rock — Francesca, Emily
Laura Linney, The Big C — KB, Blake
Lea Michele, Glee

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock — Francesca, Emily, Jessie
Steve Carell, The Office
Thomas Jane, Hung
Matthew Morrison, Glee
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory — KB, Blake, Christopher, Kate

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Hayley Atwell, Pillars of the Earth
Claire Danes, Temple Grandin — Kate
Judi Dench, Return to Cranford
Romola Garai, Emma
Jennifer Love Hewitt, The Client List (Kate: PLEASEEE)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A SERIES, MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Hope Davis, The Special Relationship — Emily
Jane Lynch, Glee — Blake, Christopher
Kelly Macdonald, Boardwalk Empire — Francesca
Julia Stiles, Dexter — Jessie
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family — KB, Kate

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A SERIES, MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Scott Caan, Hawaii Five-O
Chris Colfer, Glee — Blake
Chris Noth, The Good Wife — Kate
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family — Christopher, Francesca, Emily, Jessie
David Stratharin, Temple Grandin — KB

In Case You Missed It

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The Mothership came a callin’ here at Smart Girls. Emily’s post “The Helen Mirren Hypothesis” was republished on Jezebel, making it a very happy Christmas indeed. Props to her (you can read more at her fresh-off-the-presses blog, Rosie Says) and all my faithful contributors and mentionables, who make me far smarter and interesting to read. And of course the loyal readers, both new and old! Stick around, we’ll make it worth your while.

In the spirit of the holidays, not that anyone particularly needs a reminder, Feministing has a nice guide to giving, for those who get overwhelmed by The New York Times screaming “DON’T FORGET! REMEMBER THE NEEDIEST!” A few that I’m into: Planned Parenthood for sure, as well as Feeding America. But of course, it means more if it’s really your jam.

Same Romance Novel, Different Cynic

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Prompted by Kate and KB, I succumbed to the glossy temptation of Nora Roberts’ Bride Quartet. While I’ve never been one for the traditional bodice-rippers, I’ve got a fair amount of Jane Green/Marian Keyes/Emily Giffin/Lauren Weisberger/Jennifer Weiner chick-lit under my belt, and I usually enjoy every predictable word. I say this to assure you that, as I cracked open Vision in White (Book 1), I wanted to love it. Four best friends with distinctly different hairstyles, people named things like Delaney and Emmaline, silly metaphors for sexual acts… What’s not to love?

Sadly and probably unsurprisingly, I have many complaints, the least of which is Roberts’ incorrect usage of “hook up.”* Skip the timing (they meet on Jan 1st and get engaged mid-March… really, Nora? REALLY??) and the overwhelming wedding minutia (WTF is a pomander anyway?), and the schmaltzy-waltzy dialogue. I must admit that I signed up for the suspension of disbelief, the preposterously whirlwinded fairytale and even all the wedding mumbo-jumbo.

What rang incredibly false, and what I was really hoping would ring true, was the depiction of female friendship.  There’s a scene early in the book where the friends (they are also business partners) are congratulating themselves on a job well done and they toast, to themselves, for being “damn smart women.” I cringed, I literally cringed. Have you ever had girlfriends, Nora?

My female friends are amazing across the board. They are certainly a brainy bunch, full of both high-brow theories, low-level street wisdom and everything in between. They are professionally successful, ambitious and creative. Funny, confident, strong…and yes, beautiful. In any room with them, I feel seriously blessed.

The complexity of adult female friendships is not the point of the Bride Quartet, I know. And yet when you’re asking me accept a whole bunch of other preposterous things, and your foundational structure is “these four women are best friends,” and their friendship feels like a list of outdated cliches…. I’m just not buying.

Do you know what real best friends would do if you got engaged after less than three months? They would look at your ring, shriek a little, then grab your face, squeeze it really hard and say “GIRLFRIEND, YOU ARE OUT OF YOUR FREAKING MIND.”

* “…back when she was still hooked up with Carter.”  NO. If you want to play with the ‘tweens, Nora… learn the lingo.

Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2010: The Unlive Blog

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A Night of A Thousand Fantasies: Get ready to use the word sexy far more than you ever should. I have a prediction: There will be lots of young hot bodies. I want some old hags.

9:01 I’m starting this post-live blog off wondering if it is even relevant to watch the actual show anymore because we’ve seen all these pictures so much earlier (the actual fashion show aired weeks ago). But the show is interesting because it’s much more a performance than normal fashion shows and just gets crazier every year. Perhaps because they can’t depend on actually getting supermodels because they’ve all gotten old or pregnant.

9:03 Gerard Butler looks manically pleased. Perhaps because in the behind-the-scenes look at the models, they’ve all started just praising how hot they all are. Soft-core lesbian porn has begun.

9:04 One of the models says “I feel stressed,” while smiling endlessly. You look it.

9:05 We’ve just been informed that Lily goes out with Kings of Leon frontman Caleb. So? (Note: This will come up again later. It apparently is relavent news, so sorry for jumping the gun on that one).

9:06 Erin: “It’s like girl time. It’s like chilling with your girls all day.”

KATY PERRY TIME
9:07 Nice boobs Katy. She starts off with “Firework”, though there are no exploding breasts. Maybe it’s all these models, but her legs actually look like a normal sized womans. If this were a casting call, I’d say she looks “healthy.”

9:08 Legit just a shot of her boobs. Sea anemone on the side.

These close-up shots remind me that she uses Proactiv, which has not yet taken advantage of this situation and advertised in the commercials, and that she has an excellent make-up artist. M.C. reminds me that she is actually a blonde IRL.

9:09 Estelle nods seriously in the front row while secretly thinking “Why wasn’t it meeeee.”

9:10 These tuxedoed dancing folks are interesting. I guess we can’t see too much skin in one show.

9:15 Candice: “You can almost hear peoples hearts beating faster.” She sounds like a robot.

9:16 We’ve entered the slow part of the evening. And is that Jewel I hear? Too bad she’s not doing some spoken word live performances of some of her poems.

9:18 Let’s keep cutting to the grinning men in the audience. Are they better than the emotionless ones?

9:20 I’m saying it..I dont get Karolina Kurkova. SUE ME.
Alessandra: I guess I’m a naughty angel.
For some reason, Behati looks like Brooke’s mom from One Tree Hill, Daphne Zuniga. But when she was young and in that John Cusack movie that is always on TV, The Sure Thing. I’m not going to post side-by-side photos because it’s really more in the smile and I can’t find the likeness that fits but just TRUST ME.

9:21 And it’s time to work out! Some sort of gymnastics team performs a routine to Lady Gaga. M.C. begins a fun game of what sport each girl is supposed to be playing or representing or vaguely related to.

9:22 M.C.: Lacrosse — this is definitely playing to a certain demographic. And this photo is probably going to be in my brothers dorm room.

9:24 My fave.
M.C.: I love how they pick the only vaguely Eastern European one.

Akon enters!
M.C.: How do they let the sexual predator be at the Victoria’s Secret show?

9:30 Lily: When you think about Victoria’s Secret, the first thing you think about is the wings.
No Lily. The first thing I think about is undergarments. The second thing I think about is boobs.
Also: “I fantasize more about the wings than I ever would about my wedding.”

9:32 AKON and angels.

9:33 Oo I like the glitter on the wings as they sweep across the floor. I want a glitter floor.

9:34 Adrian Grenier and Malin Ackerman? Are they a thing?

9:35 Pretty wizard night cloak.

9:36 Some of these outfits are just not flattering, especially when walking. Glinda the Good Witch here is a perfect example.

Commercial for CBS News at 10: Dead People Riding the CTA?

9:43 Ooooo it’s a Lion King rip-off, because thats what every television special ever on TV does these days.
Alessandra’s skin is glittery. I wonder if that’s natural. I would watch Twilight more seriously if they glittered but weren’t cold and had lovingly bronzed skin like hers. Though I don’t know if we need any more people to take Twilight seriously.

9:44 Serengeti! Peacocks! Any animal that seems ethnic!

9:45 Oo dancing ninja men in skirts. Maasai necklace and arm plates.

9:46 Is it because they’re all styled the same that its like a blur of watching the same thing walk down the runway?
Emily: It’s amazing that for a reasonably ethnically diverse group (for modeling anyway) they all look remarkably alike.
One mind folks, one mind.

9:47 Voiceover: Stagehands, begin the shift into PINK. (Cue screams).

9:51 TEENAGE DREAM. Approp. Katy Perry is doing way better than she did at the AMAs.

Emily: Why does her skirt open where her crotch is? I will say…her boobs are pretty insane

9:53 Segue to “Hot and Cold.” This makes me wonder, as I have before, why it is ok to say bitch and not other words on TV?
“California Gurls.” Not featuring Snoop. Tears.

9:55 Chanel Iman has a bubble machine! I’m jeal.

Katy Perry has looked afraid of those stairs the whole time.

9:56 Cut to Maroon 5, aka Adam Levine and some other dudes, in the audience.

FINALE
There have apparently been 34 models. I would have said 5.

9:57 Cut to Blondie, looking like she’s not having it in the audience.
Voiceover: They’re having a ball out there! They don’t want to go, they don’t want to go!
Emily: This announcer dude = sketchville. How do you think you get that gig?

9:58 Tyson Beckford is in the audience! Smile away, good sir.
Glinda the Good Witch is back! let the woman change for godsakes.
Did Kings of Leon like fucking sponsor this shit? Excuse my french, as my mother would say, but they are all over this place, apparently because one of them is banging this model. They are not Seal and Heidi Klum, ok?

That’s all folks. Tune in next year for more blatant holiday product placement. I’ll leave you with one legitimately pretty outfit that I would totally go back to doing ballet for.

And, since I’m a sucker for behind the scenes stuff, check out how they make all that cool stuff you’ll never wear:

[Photos via Getty, Wireimage]

Not Your Mom’s James Deen

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Yesterday I stumbled upon the personal blog of male porn actor and winner of the 2009 Male Performer of the Year Award, James Deen (NSFW, duh). Peppered with pictures of his naked colleagues captioned with witticisms like “Riley Evans and her Amazing Boobs,” I expected, nay, wanted, to hate it. Except… I didn’t. I read and I read and I read, and the more I read, the more I smiled. Why wasn’t this clear objectification (I mean… we’re talking close-cropped shots of semen-covered faces) not offending my feminist-self? And then I figured it out:

Are you ready? In one fell swoop I’m going to make Andrea Dworkin roll over in her grave and bring the wrath of Catharine “Pornography is the theory, rape is the practice” MacKinnon down on Smart Girls: James Deen is a feminist. He may not identify that way,  he may not even be able to spell “feminism,” but I believe the evidence is clear.

Beyond his eminently quotable one-liners (“At least I have opposable thumbs.  Those are pretty damn sweet!!!” or “Here is a pig I saw wearing a purple tie… I call it ‘party pig'”), Deen’s says things like:

I totally intercoursed her and made out and ejaculated on her face and stuff.
She was super cool and totally put my penis inside of her ass … and that was pretty cool.
I’m just horny and feeling weird because this is the first day in about 7 years that I haven’t ejaculated onto some girls face

So… yeah… he writes like a whiny 12-year-old XBox-er describing sex to his uninitiated friends over doritos and pizza bagels. Nobody ever said porn stars had to be articulate. BUT, more importantly, here are a few words strikingly absent from Deen’s blog:

Slut
Whore
Bitch
(okay… he used “bitch” once… but he was describing a slice of pumpkin pie, not a woman)

In an industry saturated by language that is horrifically offensive towards women, language that implies sexual object not sexual partner, Deen’s overwhelming appreciation, admiration and respect towards his co-stars is refreshing. The women he works with are “rad” not because the let him have sex with them, but because they also enjoy exhibitionist sex. The power dynamic that has so frequently plagued the porn industry (think pervy-fat cat director and naive, resource-less teenager) is completely missing. Deen frequently works for female directors, does feature films for female-headed studios and prefers co-stars who share his kinks.

Plus, there are his hilarious views on the “Slut-o-ween” phenomenon:
So every year chicks dress up on halloween as a slutty version of something right?  So I decided a few years ago that if chicks can do it then so can I (What can I say, I’m a big believer in equal rights).  So since then I have been choosing my costumes and basically just cutting the ass and the crotch out of them and being a slutty version of whatever said costume is.

Sex-positivity, professional partnerships, gender equality in leadership positions, respectful relationships with co-workers… if only the rest of the industry could get on board with Deen’s values, maybe I could second his frequent blog-post sign-off, “GOOOO POORNN!!!”

For further reading, check out my favorite porn-centric blogger, Lynsey G. at  Conflicted Existence of a Female Porn Writer

Sex is fun, so what’s wrong with sex work?

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If you prefer the high-glamour, high-raunch depictions of sex work* (Cathouse being an excellent example… though the “glamour” label won’t readily stick to Air Force Amy’s EEs), it’s easy enough to view sex work in a rosy live-and-let-live light. Sex workers wittily blog about charming and/or hilarious encounters with quirky characters, TV shows remind their audiences of the novel fact that sex workers are (shocker!) people too, and porn performers who really, truly love what they do outshine dead-eyed, bleached-out teenagers any day of the week. Roll that bundle of media consumption up into a nice little package, and this is what you get:

Sex is fun —> people like to make money doing fun things –> what’s wrong with sex work?

Some people thoroughly and completely enjoy sex work. If you talk to the right ones, you’ll find people enamored with the perks of their profession, thrilled to explore and expand definitions of sexuality, power, pleasure and play. To these lucky folks who have so easily found their passions, I say bravo,  carry on!

Which brings me to the rest of sex workers, the ones for whom sex work is a job, not a calling. Like any job, sex work has advantages (the ability to earn more than minimum wage, flexible hours, no educational pre-requisites) and disadvantages (higher risk for STDs, unsafe work environment, societal stigma). Legalizing prostitution doesn’t remove the negatives, but it does mitigate the risks. Consider this fact: Since 1986, 42,000 HIV tests have been administered to legal prostitutes in Nevada with zero positive results (Weitzer, Sex for Sale). Condoms are legally mandated in Nevada brothels, and employees have the right to refuse a customer should he refuse to wear one.

Here’s another fact: In the last 21 years there has been one reported assault in a Nevada brothel, and the woman was able to reach the panic button in her room in time to protect herself.  Street prostitutes in major American cities report incidences of assault and rape as high as 80% (Albert, Brothel). Legal prostitutes are safer and healthier in Nevada than prostitutes anywhere else in the United States.

Take Kate’s Baltimore woman, climbing out of the back of the truck adjusting her skirt. Imagine that she climbed into that van and something went wrong. There was no camera catching the guy’s face on his way in, no bouncer to turn to, no panic button to press. Maryland doesn’t have legal prostitution laws. If she steps out of that van with a black eye or a broken nose, she can’t tap the cop on the corner and ask for help. She’s stuck.

Legalizing prostitution is not a solution to any of the economic, social, racial, cultural, etc conditions that compel people who are not of the sex-work-is-my-passion pursuasion into “the oldest profession.” Legalizing prostitution is a stopgap measure that can help make the sex industry just a little safer. After all, sex is supposed to be fun, right?

*For the purposes of this post, consider “sex work” to refer only to the consensual exchange of sexual services for money from one adult to another. “Sex work” should be considered a broad category of employment, including but not limited to prostitutes, escorts, phone sex operators, and professionals in the BDSM community.

Read Alexa Albert’s Brothel, Ronald Weitzer’s Sex for Sale: Prostitution, Pornography and the Sex Industry for more. Try Melissa Farley’s Prostitution and Trafficking in Nevada for a completely different take on the issue of legalization in Nevada.  And watch Cathouse.

It Can’t Hurt to Ask…

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Lauren’s excellent blog post (referenced in the social network map post) reminded me of this blog I recently started reading and the host of questions that flare up at the intersection where gender, entitlement, courtesy and propriety collide. On the Daily Asker, the blogger, inspired by the book Women Don’t Ask, went on a year-long mission to discover the power and pitfalls of asking for things. Every day for a year she asked for something that she would not normally have asked for, a favor, a discount, a free sample, etc, and documented the results. Over 70% of the time, she got what she wanted.

Inspired by the blog, and the radical idea that the worst thing that happens is I get told “no,” I asked for a first time customer discount at a new hair salon. I told them that I was excited to try their salon, and had read great reviews, but the cost slightly exceeded my price point.  I was told they had never done that before, but hey, why not. I saved myself $45. Who would have thought!

Describing the blog–>inspiration–>asking–>salon success story to my friend Jessie, I was struck by her secondary reaction (the first being, of course, props on my cheap hair cut.) Her second reaction was along the lines of “be careful not to become one of those pushy, demand-y people that customer service workers hate.” I second her sentiment completely (I’ve worked food service and retail, and I hate those people), but I do wonder if I would ever get that reaction from a male friend. On the Daily Asker’s list of 88 things she learned is this one-two punch:

26. Don’t worry about exploiting the other side by asking. He or she can decline.
27. But remember there are cases where you have more power, status or income, and the other side feels compelled to comply.

I love this sequence of observations  because I think that women, in general, worry a lot more about the imposition of asking and the feelings of the “askee” than men (vast generalization, I know)*. For example, if I ask a salesperson for a discount, I might make that salesperson uncomfortable by putting them in the position of having to say no. Is their potential discomfort my responsibility? Should I not ask because of that potential? Do men recognize that potential as much as women? If they do, do they proceed more often because they believe their need/desire/request trumps the askee’s discomfort? If they don’t, what broader implication does that have on social interactions across gender lines (or other relationships fraught with power dynamics?)

*Sara (a Texan) pointed out that the willing-to-ask factor is also tremendously different from region to region. A conversation for another day.

On Behalf of Tiger Woods (Sort of)

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In a recent NYT blog post, Timothy Egan wrote a blistering editorial berating Nike for standing by Pittsburgh Steeler, and alleged rapist, Ben Roethlisberger, when even the NFL suspended him and mandated behavioral counseling. 95% of Egan’s arguments are totally on target (and articulately put), particularly the stark contrast between Nike’s treatment of Michael Vick (they dropped him after the dog fighting debacle) and their continued support of Roethlisberger (“Ben continues to be part of the Nike roster of athletes.”) Egan writes,

What, exactly does it take for Nike to dump a jock? Dog-fighting will do it. After Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick pleaded guilty to running a felony dog-fighting ring, Nike took action. “We consider any cruelty to animals inhumane and unacceptable,” the company said at the time. But cruelty to women is O.K. I don’t know how else to read the company’s inconsistent stand. Here is a guy who treats women like garbage, yet a company that boasts of having humane corporate values uses him as their front man. Ditto Tiger Woods. Same with Kobe Bryant after a rape allegation, a case that was later dropped.

After giving Egan all deserved credit for pointing out the obvious hypocrisy and blatant double standard, I have one tiny, nitpicky problem with his article. He continues to include Tiger Woods in his litany of badly behaving superstar athletes. I see where he was going; all of the men share a gigantic sense of entitlement fostered by a buffer zone of wealth, celebrity and an outstanding ability to make a ball go where you want it to go. It seems as though they have a lot in common. Shared douchebaggery aside, when it comes to the treatment of women, Tiger Woods and Ben Roethlisberger do not belong on the same list.

Tiger Woods was a terrible husband, a philanderer and a liar. He may be disrespectful, a lousy role model and in need of counseling and rehab for sex addiction. But of all the women with whom Tiger cheated, none have accused him of rape or assualt. Did he use them? Maybe (probably). Did they use him? Maybe (probably). Tiger and his mistresses were adults having consensual, albeit adultory, sex. What happened between him, his wife, and his mistresses is for divorce lawyers to negotiate. Ben Roethlisberger, judging by the testimony of the three women who have thus come forward, is a rapist. Sexual assault, attempted rape, rape… these are crimes. People who do these things do not belong on Nike billboards, they belong in jail. Tiger is an asshole, but Ben Roethlisberger is a criminal. Let’s note the difference before we go lumping all overpaid, oversexed athletes together. That just wouldn’t be fair.


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