Modern Age Revolution

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It’s Time To Start Recognizing Female Athletes As Human Beings, Not Sex Objects

I am pleased to welcome another highly talented addition to the writing stable here at Modern Age Revolution, Jillian Pfennig. Jillian is a freelance photographer based in Los Angeles, and will be writing with an eye on women’s rights, sexuality and exploitation, and what it’s like to continuously realize that the world is infinitely more fucked up than you could have ever imagined. — Teddy Tutson
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The Olympics are the talk of the world right now–Twitter is literally blowing up about it–yet when it comes to female athletes, how come the only thing that seems to be mentioned is their bodies, either positive or negative?

For instance, Women’s Beach Volleyball players no longer have to wear bikinis while playing, a rule that was changed by the International Volleyball Federation, motivated by cultural sensitivity. Although no countries were listed, a spokesman said, “Many of these countries have religious and cultural requirements, so the uniform needed to be more flexible.” Furthermore, since London is not the warmest of climates, bikinis will be unsafe during most of the games. Cold weather causes pulled muscles and lack of movement, so the outfit change benefits both the players and the game. This has caused quite the uproar, resulting in men complaining about the change in outfit. The worse part is that they are not even trying to be subtle.

According to a press release from Virgin Atlantic, “Virgin Atlantic has come to the rescue of red-blooded males across the UK by offering to provide banks of patio heaters around the courts…so that competing beauties will continue to wear bikini bottoms.” It is appalling that they call the women “beauties” instead of “athletes.” It is even more appalling that they aren’t even trying to hide the only reason they watch the sport is to view women as sex objects. During a press conference with Olympic female volleyball players, there were no questions about how they are preparing for the games, or strategies around winning–the uniform dominated all questions. Not to mention that every picture in the media of Women’s Beach Volleyball is from behind or women hugging. This poses the question of whether or not people will continue to watch if the players change their uniform. However, due to the new rules, it is the athletes’ time to decide how they want to be viewed. They have the power to wear the correct clothes for the climate, risk a lack of viewership, but gain respect for the sport, or give the “red-blooded males” what they want and continue to make a mockery of their sport.

Another example of conversations surrounding Olympic women athletes’ bodies involves Zoe Smith, a British Olympic weightlifter. A twitter user, “Infidel1978”, first remarked on the women’s appearance after “Girl Power- Going For the Gold,” a BBC documentary aired. “I wouldn’t even look at you,” infidel1978 tweeted attacking Smith and teammates Hannah Powell and Helen Jewel. “I’d think you was a bloke and so would 9 out of 10 lads.” After a few tweets back and forth, both Twitter accounts have been deleted. However, Smith followed up by writing a blog post explaining the scrutiny women in her field have to deal with.

“We don’t lift weights in order to look hot, especially for the likes of men like that,” Smith wrote. “What makes them think that we even want them to find us attractive? If you do, thanks very much, we’re flattered. But if you don’t, why do you really need to voice this opinion in the first place?

“Shall we stop weightlifting, amend our diet in order to completely get rid of our ‘manly’ muscles, and become housewives in the sheer hope that one day you will look more favorably upon us and we might actually have a shot with you?

“This may be shocking to you, but we actually would rather be attractive to people who aren’t closed-minded and ignorant. Crazy, eh?! We, as any woman with an ounce of self-confidence would, prefer our men to be confident enough in themselves to not feel emasculated by the fact that we aren’t weak and feeble.”

Once again, this girl works her entire life to make it to the Olympics and has to put up with unwanted attention about how strange men are not attracted to her, which doesn’t matter in any way. It’s infuriating how the conversations have strayed so far away from the athletics and what the Olympics are supposed to be about.

Finally, another example of the inequalities that female athletes have to worry about involve Australian hurdler, Michelle Jenneke. At only 19, she should be on top of the world right now as she gets ready to run hurdles at the Olympics. Yet instead of anyone talking about her hurdling abilities, the only thing people are talking about is whether or not she will pose nude for sex.com. They have offered to make a sizable donation to the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) if she says yes to their offer. Sex.com’s Martin Ellison told XBIZ, “Michelle Jenneke has shown a sex appeal that’s uncommon in female athletes and we want Michelle to know that she can use her sexuality to not only raise her profile but also benefit athletes all over her country.”

It is time to recognize female athletes for the amazing talents they have and stop treating them like pieces of meat. It shouldn’t and doesn’t matter what female or male athletes look like, it should only matter how they play their sport. Michelle Jenneke posing nude will only go on to make a mockery of her and female athletes in general. Zoe Smith has the right idea by keeping her focus on her sport and not listening to what others are saying about her. Let’s hope Jenneke and the beach volleyball players also do their part for female athletes, as well as females all over the world in putting a stop to the inequality. Although they can not control how people view them, or what people say about them, they can and do have control of continuing to play into stereotypes and how they respond to interviews, offers, etc.

It is time for female athletes to take back the Olympics and finally make it about their athletic abilities.

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Big Ups and Salutations: Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)

This series, Big Ups and Salutations, will be dedicated to shining the spotlight on people who make the effort to be decent human beings and do the right thing, when it would be extremely convenient to otherwise be a terrible human being actively working to maintain the status quo. Our first distinguished honoree is Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who announced today that she will co-sponsor the Respect For Marriage Act, which would repeal the blatantly discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Here’s a brief rundown on the history and current status of the heinous legislation known as DOMA:

The Defense of Marriage Act is a United States federal law signed into law by President Bill Clinton on September 21, 1996 whereby the federal government defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman. Under the law, also known as DOMA, no state (or other political subdivision within the United States) may be required to recognize as a marriage a same-sex relationship considered a marriage in another state. The law passed both houses of Congress by large majorities.

At the time of passage, it was expected that Hawaii (and possibly other states) would soon legalize same-sex marriage, whether by legislation or judicial interpretation of either the state or federal constitution. Opponents of such recognition feared—and many proponents hoped—that the other states would then be required to recognize such marriages under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution.

Section 3 of the law—the part that defines marriage for federal purposes as the union of a man and a woman—was ruled unconstitutional by a federal district court judge in July 2010. This decision was appealed in October 2010. On February 23, 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department would cease legal defense of the Act’s Section 3 at the direction of President Barack Obama, who had reached a conclusion that Section 3 was unconstitutional. However, Congress may defend the law in court in place of the administration, and on March 4, 2011, Speaker of the House John Boehner announced he was taking steps to defend Section 3 in place of the Department of Justice. Additionally, the administration intends to enforce the law “unless and until Congress repeals Section 3 or the judicial branch renders a definitive verdict against the law’s constitutionality.”

With her announcement today, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen becomes the first Republican co-sponsor of the Respect For Marriage Act, joining the 125 House Democrats and 30 Senate Democrats already sponsoring and co-sponsoring the legislation. Yes, you read that correctly. Take Rep. Ros-Lehtinen out of the equation, and there are 0 House Republicans and 0 Senate Republicans sponsoring or co-sponsoring the legislation.

Zero. Nada. None. Nein.

For those curious as to the motivations of Rep. Ros-Lehtinen’s bold position, stand down. She has long been an advocate for basic human rights:

“I voted against the constitutional amendment defining marriage [in 2006] so I’m pleased to cosponsor the repeal of DOMA and work with my colleagues on marriage equality.”

Indeed, a quick glance around Rep. Ros-Lehtinen’s Wikipedia page will demonstrate rather clearly that this is far from her first rodeo:

Ros-Lehtinen sides with the Democrats on many issues of gay rights. Her district includes large LGBT populations in South Beach in Miami Beach and in the Florida Keys. She is currently one of two Republican members of the LGBT Equality Caucus, of which she is a founding member and a vice-chairperson. Although she is not a co-sponsor of the Uniting American Families Act, she supports anti-hate crime laws, anti-discrimination bills, believes gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly in the armed forces, is a sponsor of the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act, and voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment. Ros-Lehtinen was one of fifteen Republican House members to vote in favor of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010.

A founding member of the LGBT Equality Caucus! That’s pretty fucking baller!

One more fun fact about Rep. Ros-Lehtinen: She is currently the most senior Republican woman in the U.S. House of Representatives. Essentially, she is the anti-John Boehner.

So big ups and salutations to Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen for taking another major step forward in the battle against the forces of inequality!

Bravo, madam. Bravo.

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Posted in Big Ups and Salutations, Gay Rights Are Human Rights, I Hope You Are Prepared To Be Purged From The Republican Party, We Demand Basic Human Rights, WE.WILL NOT.LOSE.TO THESE.PEOPLE. | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The State of Georgia Murdered Troy Davis

On Wednesday, September 21, 2011, the state of Georgia murdered Troy Davis. The state will reference this murder using terms like “capital punishment,” “the death penalty,” and “ultimate justice.” But make no mistake about it, they are explicitly referring to state sanctioned murder. And the state of Georgia cares so much about what Andrew Cohen describes as “its interest in the finality of its capital judgments,” that it is eagerly willing to disregard “the accuracy of its capital verdicts.”

And the accuracy of the capital verdict against Troy Davis can very much so be called into question.

In August 1991, Troy Davis was convicted on charges of killing a Savannah, Georgia police officer during an altercation that occurred in August 1989.

Davis, then 20, was leaving a house party in Savannah with his teenaged friend, Darrell Collins, when a car drove past. Its passengers leaned out the windows and shouted obscenities. In response, an unknown perp fired a gunshot into the car, injuring a man named Michael Cooper. The vehicle sped off, and Davis and Collins left the scene en route to a downtown pool hall.

Outside, they came across Sylvester “Redd” Coles, who was involved in a dispute over a beer with a homeless man named Larry Young. It was now around 1 a.m., and Coles and Young wandered into a Burger King parking lot, continuing their argument. Curious to see what would happen, Davis and Collins followed. Tensions mounted, and someone pistol-whipped Young, whose head began to bleed. An off-duty police officer named Mark Allen MacPhail, who worked security at a nearby bus stop, noticed the commotion and intervened. Then, three shots were fired at the officer. One hit him in the face; another pierced his left lung.

Troy Davis was sentenced to death.

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Posted in "I don’t know why I’m surprised. I shouldn’t be. You’re a liar. You lie.", "I hate so much about the things you choose to be.", Just Stop Being Such Terrible Human Beings, Survivalism, We Demand Basic Human Rights | Tagged , | Leave a comment