Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Myths of Men and Women. Or: Myths of Men, because what they say about ladies is true.

Yesterday the Metro News published an article written by Julia West entitled "Myths of Men and Women: He said/She Said, How to overcome gender stereotypes in the office."

"Gender stereotypes can be a severe hindrance to your work", writes West. A stereotype is something commonly believed or accepted but that rarely reflects reality. Gender stereotyping can completely hinder your work and your career advancement because any decision based on a stereotype is defined as discrimination. In Canada, discrimination is illegal. It is illegal to discriminate against somebody based on something that should not factor into your decisions: race, religion, age, sex,gender, sexual orientation, ability. Discrimination violates the Ontario Human Rights Act, the right to be free of discrimination is part of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and most businesses have policies around discrimination at work.

When I read the first sentence of her article I was encouraged. I thought maybe it would outline processes around dealing with discrimination or solidarity building tools for workplaces.  I was wrong. I was very, very wrong.

What I thought I was about to read was something along these line: "gender discrimination still happens, it's a big problem, and it's bad. So, here's how to fight it."

What I actually read, was this: "[gender stereotypes] also distract from serious issues and affect a person's comfort level. "Women who unwittingly adhere to gender stereotypes are less likely to be taken seriously for their abilities and contributions."

The article is essentially a How To Guide on "Proving Stereotypes Wrong" and the first piece of advice to women is to from Brenda Fiala, a Strategy SVP at some company: "Be Excellent...Set for yourself an expectation of delivering excellent work, and strive to do it positively and consistently," she says. When you're a good employee it gets noticed, regardless of sex."

Oh really? How interesting! I guess that explains the pay equity gap : women just aren't as good as men at their jobs, which makes it an individual problem and not a systemic one. Problem Solved! Thanks lady!

 Another business lady/author adds to the advice:  "Your role...is to contribute to the success of the business.  If you are not doing that first, you will be hard-pressed to blame gender discrimination."

That is because we live in a Meritocracy, a society in which the only thing holding us back is ourselves. If you are a dedicated, talented, hard worker than you will be rewarded and be successful. Right? Pull yourself up by your boot straps, get yourself off the ground, get back on the horse. We are supposed to be able to get what we want by working for it but, in reality, there are invisible(and not so invisible barriers) to our success. Sure, if you're a shitty employee you probably can't blame gender discrimination, but by definition discrimination is actions that are baseless and not informed by facts which is why discrimination is illegal. People realized that no matter how hard they worked, or how much better they were at their job than their colleagues, they weren't advancing. They were given more of the crappier work to do, got less recognition, less pay, and less opportunities for raises and promotions. That's because "being excellent" can't stop discrimination. Being an excellent worker, doing your job, "contributing to the success of the business" doesn't mean anything because the people who are evaluating you and who are in control of your well-being are only looking at one part of you, in this case they're only looking at the "woman" factor.

When Julia West writes "it's time to stop stereotypes in their track and move forward" she doesn't mean stop stereotyping, she means women need to stop being so stereotypical. "If there's a stereotype that you find offensive or degrading, simply don't perpetuate it." Resist your natural urge to gossip, because women are stereotyped as gossipy. "Maybe you know someone who insists that female bosses are moody or rash?" Well, in this case you shouldn't report them to your superior,you should prove them wrong by being "a strong leader by laying out expectations clearly and giving direct feedback." This advice isn't problematic because it's stupid, it's problematic because it assumes that stereotypes about women being bitchy, moody, irrational, and catty are true and that it's a woman's responsibility to "unlearn" these things. This flies in the face of decades of evidence that shows that certain groups of people are less likely to make equal pay, advance through promotion or salary raises, or even be offered job positions.  Individualizing a systemic issue doesn't stop gender discrimination, it allows it to become more entrenched because we ignore the true causes and effects of it. Acknowledging discrimination IS moving forward, what West and these other businesswomen have done is take a huge step backwards.

West's final piece of advice is about the "important of an appropriate wardrobe." No, seriously. If you want to be taken seriously, or as she puts it "a vital contributor to the company" you have to "look the part." Don't dress like you're "going out" you should dress in attired that you are comfortable in but that build confidence. "This doesn't mean dress like a man--it means keep it clean." Ohhh, I'm not making as much as my male colleague because I dress like I'm going to a club instead of going to work? I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that most professional women have to deal with sexism so much that they are hyper vigilant about their business attire.

Women aren't discriminated against because they're naturally dumb shits and have historically proven that they can't work like men can. Women are discriminated against because they have been systemically oppressed and shut out of the public work sphere for centuries by institutions like the Church and State who benefit from having a group of people to do unpaid domestic labour.

That this article ran so nonchalantly in a paper with huge circulation is a testament to how ingrained sexism and gender discrimination still are.  Metro News should be ashamed that they ran something so insipid and uninformed, and Julia West should be ashamed that her name is on an article that sounds so ignorant.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Our Mayor is confused. This should be a Heritage Minute.

Wow, Rob Ford. Just, wow.

This is the most recent headline in Ford's continuous responding to the horrible shootings in the city:

I think I might be more confused that Ford is at this point. I don't even really know where to start, so I guess I'll just start at the beginning. Rob Ford announced his intention to explore the option of "banishing" convicted gang members from Toronto all together. This is very, very puzzling for many different reasons.

Immigration Laws. I'm not a legal expert by any means, but, immigration laws (by definition) deal with immigration and refugees. Canada regulates immigration under the umbrella of several "Acts" and "policy" including The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, Citizenship Act and Regulations, and the Canadian Multiculturalism Act. Generally speaking, immigration and refugee matters are not automatically considered criminal matters. For instances of "crime" we have what is called the Canadian Criminal Code.

The Canadian Criminal Code,or (in terms Rob Ford can understand) Crime Laws. In Canada we have a Criminal Code, with "codifies" not only criminal offences in Canada but also the procedures to which the criminal justice system should adhere to. This is a handy code and it outlines for us criminal behaviour as well as punishment for criminal behaviours. Immigraton law is generally not included in the Criminal Code of Canada unless an immigrant breaks the law, however, things related to gang violence often are. One of the nice things about "justice" in Canada is that if you break the law and are caught, you will be penalized accordingly and after serving a sentence, fulfilling community service, or paying your fine you are no longer penalized(unless you are a dangerous offender or a sex-offender in which case your movements are monitored and the community you reside in are warned of your presence). Obviously this is theoretical, and we understand that the criminal justice system is not perfect and operates within the confines of human behaviour which includes racism, sexism, classism, stereotyping, discrimination, and all of those fun things that come with being part of this society. But, generally speaking, crimes belong to the Criminal Code, because other laws deal with with mainly procedure and definitions. 

Using Immigration Laws to deal with convicted gang members is not possible in Canada unless the gang member is an immigrant, a refugee, or an illegal. Even then, the Immigration Laws of Canada wouldn't be used to penalize (because that's what the Criminal Code is for). Immigration Law would more likely be used to ensure the proper procedures are followed and that the proper definitions are applied to the peoples in question. If an immigrant breaks the law in Canada, they're subject to the Canadian Criminal Code. It's really as simple as that.

To "banish" gang members from Toronto one would have to amend the Criminal Code to include "banishment" as a proper and allowable punishment for a crime. Considering our societal understanding of crime and punishment is that you do "your time" for a crime and then re-enter society with no lingering penalty, this seems like a very bizarre fantasy. I'm at a loss to understand how a politician doesn't understand not only the difference between Immigration laws and the Criminal Code of Canada, but also doesn't understand the process or procedure around amending laws. As well, that the Mayor of the largest city in Canada doesn't seem to grasp that Canadians have been guaranteed certain rights(whether or not these rights are always adhered to is, of course, a different debate). 

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms outlines our rights as Canadians. Assuming that ``gang members`` are Canadians, they are also entitled to these rights. This includes Mobility Rights, the right to live anywhere in Canada. This also includes the right to be excluded from any cruel or unusual punishment if you are convicted of a crime.
In Canada we don`t currently use exile or banishment as a form of punishment, formally. In some instances, parole may entail that a person has to stay in a certain area but this usually isn't for the remainder of their lives. Sex offenders aren't supposed to live within a certain range of places where children or vulnerable people may live or congregate. So that would make banishment not only a very bizarre departure from how we as a society view punishment, but also it could be considered cruel or unusual.

Anyways, these are just logistics. I mean, they`re only how we structure our nation legally. What I find equally mind blowing is that Rob Ford wants to banish gang members to other municipalities. WHERE? To the Island of Misfit Toys? To Guantanamo Bay? To Amish Country? Is there a town somewhere that's like "send us your convicts!" No. There isn't. This is because every town, village, city, and municipality has their own convicts and they probably won't appreciate Toronto shipping theirs off to become someone else's issue. It's kind of just plain rude. 

By Ford's logic(I think, trying to understand what he means is a bit.. difficult)he wants to "use" immigration law to control the "migration" of criminals. What he doesn't seem to understand is that this does not fall under the purview of immigration law as we know it in Canada.  So.. does he wants to banish them to somewhere unpopulated? Or, to some kind of camp? It's all very bewildering and I'm not really quite sure how a grown man who is supposed to be charge of a City and understand politics can recover from this. He doesn't have a basic understanding of Canadian laws, policy, or procedure and that should probably be something one acquires after years and years of earning tax payer dollars.

As I wrote earlier today, I just really feel like Rob Ford is picturing a Hunger Games scenario in his brain and he's too afraid to just come out and say it. Unfortunately for Ford, this is "real life" and we have to abide by the "Laws" in place

Next thing we know we'll catch our Mayor engaged in some kind of otherworldy ritual, trying to banish evil from his city, and save us all from those "thugs." 

Gang Hunger Games: Problem Solved.

Toronto's Mayor Rob Ford seems to be losing grasp of the city. After the tragic shooting which resulted in the deaths of two young people this week, Ford went Reagan and declared a war on gangs. More specifically, he blamed gangs for the recent uptake in violence in our city. To quote
 Ford:  “We must use every legal means to make life for these thugs miserable, to put them behind bars, or to run them out of town. We will not rest until being a gang member is a miserable, undesirable life.

Most people who have studied gangs or gun violence will say that a prevalence of gangs often indicates deep poverty in an area,a lack of community services and resources, restricted access to education and well-paying jobs, and communities that have faced systemic and historical discrimination.  Many people would also agree that "being a gang member" is already a miserable and undesirable life because it's more often than not something you have very little choice about. 

The week before this terrible tragedy, Rob Ford voted against every one of the city's community development grants program, in some cases being the sole vote against them (including his brother, Councillor Doug Ford). Of particular interest is his vote against accepting federal money for a gang prevention program that would be free for the city. Many of the projects Ford voted against were explicitly designed with community safety in mind, including improving race relations and promoting community participation,the largest amount of funding was for programs that are focused on vulnerable,marginalized, and high risk communities.

Rob  Ford has mentioned his dislike of community programming and he doesn't seem to think that community programing and socially responsible education can curb gang violence. He told reporters:“Some people have suggested there is a gang war brewing. I don’t know if that’s true. But, I do know it’s time for us to declare war on these violent gangs.”

He doesn't know if it's true,he doesn't know what causes gang violence, but he DOES know that the appropriate response is a war on gangs. 

I think that Rob Ford is wrong. This is not the right response to violence, it does not address the deeply rooted systemic issues of racism and poverty, and it will not stop gangs or gang violence. Rob Ford has the perfect solution right in front of his face, and I suspect he secretly knows it but doesn't have the courage to put it forward.

Rob Ford, let me do it for you. Toronto's solution to all of these complex issues is very simple:


Gang members SHOULD go somewhere else, as Rob Ford so eloquently put it today, a gigantic stadium in which they will fight to the death for the entertainment of the rich and for the benefit of their district! It's so clear! I'm sure there will be some naysayers to this proposal, but let me break it down for you.

Toronto is already broken into "districts" if you think about it. Our neighborhoods have distinct boundaries and are generally divided by factors that would be important in choosing Hunger Games contestants: the poor, immigrant, and "minority" populations are pretty consistently stratified in different neighborhoods than the rich, white folk.

A lot of Toronto DISTRICTS are desperately in need of the basics of life: better access to affordable food, safety, a break from negative scrutiny. Putting these people in a situation where they can help their communities is exactly what Rob Ford is prescribing: a job is the best social program of all. Because this is real life and not a novel, we can proceed in ways that differ from the original Hunger Games. For instance, those who are in the lottery for participation should really be people who make under the Low Income Cut Off (which includes myself). This ensures that priority communities in Toronto are addressed and given something productive to do. It also ensures that people who already contribute to the city by being rich won't have to get their hands dirty.

The best thing about the Hunger Games is that it keeps people in line, which is exactly what this city needs. Contribute to the city, find a menial job even if it doesn't pay well or anything, tow the line, or else your district will be punished. Don't ship the gang members and poor people OUT, Mayor Ford,take advantage of them and ship them into a fanciful and intense fight for survival.

This also solves some of the cities issues with money. The elite will pay a great deal to view the Games! It will rejuvenate city pride and give people something to focus on besides politics and how bumbling the Mayor is. And we already have some great venues to hold the Games in: any of the new Pan Am games features, including the stadium; the Toronto Islands; any of the Universities or Colleges. Toronto is really the perfect place to stage a Hunger Games.

Finally, the Hunger Games will address this whole "making life miserable" thing. It will make those people value their lives, because obviously they don't right now(According to Mayor Ford). Life is too rosy for gang members and the poverty stricken in this city, and Hunger Games would really help them appreciate life.

I guess it isn't very politically "correct", but let's just call a spade a spade here. If Rob Ford wants the gang members to leave, if he doesn't want to support community programs that will address violence systemically, if he wants to make their lives miserable, then the Hunger Games is really the way to go.  Maybe the Low income cut off requirement for the Hunger Games would make people FINALLY pull themselves up from their bootstraps, get a job, and be productive members of society.

Problem solved, you're welcome Mayor Ford.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Oh, sorry privileged white dude, your rape jokes are SO funny.

I'm just going to put myself out there and declare something: I hate comedy. I really, really hate comedy. A prime example of why I dislike the medium of comedy, particularly stand up comedy, is this Daniel Tosh man. I've never seen Daniel Tosh's comedy or show and so I didn't really know much about him until I heard about his "controversial" rape joke.

Apparently as he was making a point during one of his shows that "there are awful things in the world but you can still make jokes about them.” This "awful" thing that he was talking about was rape. He was "heckled" by a woman who shouted out "actually, rape jokes are never funny." But instead of just being like "well, hey lady, I think it's funny" Daniel Tosh told the audience this sparkling gem of comedic wit:

"“Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by like, 5 guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her? ... ”

First of all, she probably wasn't a "girl." But, wouldn't it be HILARIOUS if we lived in a world where women actually faced sexual and physical violence as a threat every single day? Or were threatened with rape for speaking their mind? Oh my god, funniest world ever.

Oh wait, we DO live in that world.  This is what I don't like about comedy: just because one privileged white guy who has never had to experience sexual threats thinks that rape jokes are funny, that means noone is allowed to disagree because its COMEDY. If you disagree you just have no sense of humour, and it's comedy after all so  nothing is off limits! It's okay for men to call women bitches and sluts, and joke about how horrible women make their lives and how much they'd just loooove to shut them up permanently because they're making light of the tensions in male/female relationships. Get it? It's comedy! If Daniel Tosh thinks rape jokes are funny, that's fine. But he crossed a line when he moved into "just joking" about rape to saying it would be funny for a woman in his audience to be "gang raped, by like 5 guys" at that very moment.

Women all over the world face obstacles to speaking their minds and living their lives freely, and one of the greatest threats to our freedom is sexual violence. Guess what, Daniel Tosh, we can't even go to University without having to worry about some man raping us in the library or grabbing us in broad daylight. Women who are citizens of war torn nations, or of nations experiencing political upheaval, are always in danger of being sexually assaulted, of being gang raped. If you speak out against your government, you're not just going to be jailed, you're going to be raped.

After the G20 in Toronto, female journalists told stories of police officers telling them that they would be raped in custody. A female gamer, who exposed the true identity of the creator of a domestic violence video game, was sent repeated threats that she would be raped and killed. It might seem funny and novel to someone like Daniel Tosh, but it's neither funny nor is it novel because it is extremely common.

During the much lauded "Arab Spring" women were sexually assaulted in the crowds of protesters, including female journalists. After female journalists came forward about being brutally assaulted many headlines questioned why women would be journalists at all, when rape was a constant possibility.  Sexual violence is a threat that keeps women from being able to freely pursue their dreams and goals. It is a very real, and every day threat.

Being heckled is part of a comedian's job, it's the gauntlet they have to run to be taken seriously. Responding to a heckler in this way is just totally ridiculous. You would never see a male comedian respond to a male heckled with a rape threat. It's not in our collective unconscious or part of our cultural lexicon that men are there for raping. It becomes not about comedy, it's not about what's "Taboo" to joke about anymore, it's a rich white dude saying it would be funny for a woman to get raped by 5 men. That's not funny and if that's comedy, then comedians should be embarassed.

Because it would be SO funny if 5 men in the audience gang raped that woman. If they held her down, beat her up a bit, and each took turns sexually violating her body, while she screamed and kicked, pleading for her release.  What a fucking hilarious joke. Bravo, comedy. Bravo.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

People are dumb. Or, how I'm about to make myself very unpopular.

This bullied school-bus monitor situation is completely out of control. What happened to Karen Klein, the woman whose taunting by middle school boys has been widely viewed, is horrible. It's upsetting for many different reasons: we don't like to see the elderly be bullied, we can't imagine that children would go so far to hurt such a vulnerable target, that the boys could conjure up such cruel images, that Klein's breakdown only whipped them into more of a frenzy. The video captures something that nobody is comfortable with but our discomfort often causes us to act illogically, ignoring the bigger picture and missing out on an important catalyst for some kind of change. 

Klein has suddenly become the poster-woman for the bullied, appearing on talk shows and being interviewed by Anderson Cooper about her experience. She didn't want the boys severely punished, just taught a lesson. She says she'd like the boys to explain why they did what they did, "an apology and an explanation"She tells interviewers that people should stop threatening the boys who bullied her because they're "just boys."

This is where I take my first exception to the situation: these are children. They are boys. Public shaming, while a favorite past time in our society, is not a good way to educate children. Children don't have the tools to navigate mass scrutiny. Do we really think that these boys popped out of their mother's wombs mean bullies? I don't really think children are naturally cruel. I think children are highly observant and they react to what they see and hear. Children learn behaviour and boys in particular learn that being aggressive is an excellent way to get what you want and deflect attention away from your own vulnerabilities.

Pick any popular movie and it probably has a bully/bullied dynamic at its core. Watch any movie that a young boy is watching and the love interest is 100% of the time a beautiful, slim woman(so of course being called fat would be an excellent insult). Boys learn from their parents and teachers that society is hierarchical and that they are at the top of the hierarchy. They also learn that boys aren't as complex or emotional as girls are. Boys are tough, boys don't cry, boys don't hug their friends, and on and on. Boys hurt other boys to assert their status. Boys put geeks heads in toilets and flush.

These boys in the video abusing Karen Klein have become nameless, faceless monsters. We don't know anything about them or their lives, the school they attend. By completely removing the situation from any kind of societal context we are doing a huge, huge disservice not only to these boys but also to the Karen Kleins of the world. This public shaming now brands the boys as one thing: bullies. Stripping anyone of their humanity is never productive and I can't even imagine how those kids must be feeling. What pushed these boys to this action? When we basically just say they're mean bullies we ignore all of the real reasons kids resort to intimidation and aggression. A kid who bullies probably isn't the happiest kid in the world and instead of being accountable for the education of these children, the school is literally throwing them under the bus.

Making this video public has forced the school to make an example of these boys, despite the fact that there are probably a lot of bullies in their school and in their district. Nothing good ever comes of making an example out of something. Last week news outlets reported that the boys had received their punishment: a one year suspension and 50 hours of community service with senior citizens. The boys will be transferred to a special alternative education program because they legally have to be provided with an education. This punishment is completely outlandish. Because removing the boys from school and putting them into an alternative program, which are notorious for being shitty, is going to teach them a lesson? 50 hours of community service seems like a decent way to discipline the kids because it will actually educate them, but being suspended never helps kids especially when it is for a year. What about punishing the other kids who were on the bus, who sat there and did nothing? What about punishing the bus driver, who tolerated that kind of behaviour on their bus? This school produced these bullies and ostracizing them, essentially exiling them, isn't going to address the systemic reasons that bullies do what they do.It also doesn't make transparent how much teachers encourage bullying or turn their backs on it. We can see that "punishing" the boys is really just for show and won't do anything to educate or be a factor in transforming the school atmosphere.

What about understanding and talking about the fact that senior citizens are being forced into low paying jobs like bus-monitoring because they live in a society that doesn't support them financially, mentally, or physically? What about the fact that senior citizen abuse is such a huge, huge problem (in Canada and in the States) that there are public service announcements about it?  This woman is clearly not equipped to do the job she's being paid for: keeping rowdy school children in line. She is the bus monitor, she's supposed to monitor the bus for this kind of behaviour and, as harsh as it sounds, not being able to do her job puts other children at risk and creates an atmosphere of 'anything goes'.

The idea to set up an Indiegogo site with a goal of raising $5000.00 for Klein to go on vacation was cute and well intentioned.  As of  last week, the site had raised more than $667,304.00. Klein will receive all of the money accumulated by the fundraising deadline. This is the perfect example of how individualizing something is detrimental. This lady got bullied once, she says in interviews that she enjoys her job and the kids aren't all bad, that even these boys didn't regularly bother her. The $5000.00 should go to her, but the rest of the money should not.  Obviously noone is going to say no to that amount of money, but I just can't understand the logic behind this fundraising thing. It is absolutely ridiculous: "hey, lady who got bullied, here's more than half a million dollars!" Like, what the hell? What does that solve? It solves nothing! We all get bullied, we all have shitty jobs, we all get harassed and hurt, and I just can't understand how donating money to this woman is productive in any way, shape, or form. Maybe that makes me insensitive, but I like to stay rooted in the real world where we actually have a chance at making change, not in La-La Land where we all want to pretend that setting up one person for life is a solution. What do we think is going to happen? She's going to take that huge amount of money and buy the Magic School Bus and travel school to school eradicating bullying? Come on, people.

Klein said in an interview with the Today show that she wants "kids to stop bullying." She says"maybe they can start up a new class in school to teach these kids not to do stuff like that" OH, really? What a wonderful idea! Except for the fact that schools need money to implement new programming. They need teachers or volunteers to teach the students, they need parents and school boards to agree, they need to choose a program that would be suitable for their school. Schools are falling behind on basic skills like reading, writing, and math because of funding issues, there just isn't money for sensitivity training in middle schools. The fundraising for the individual should have been capped at $5000.00. The rest of the money should be donated to the planning and implementation of a program in the school. Bullying is a social issue, it's systemic, and punishing the boys while rewarded the "victim" doesn't do anything to address the issue it just sweeps it under the rug so we can all feel comfortable again.

We live in a highly stratified world where some people have everything and some people have nothing. We live in a world where we get what we want because humans are exploited to produce it. We live in a world where more children go to school hungry than go to school fed, where children can't read or write in countries with more than enough money to spend in schools. Of course kids bully eachother, because adults bully eachother.

Teaching children to respect one another is what we should be focused on. In the documentary Children Full of Life a fourth-grade teacher in a primary school in Japan teaches his students  lessons about compassion and empathy. He instructs each to write their true inner feelings in a letter, and read it aloud in front of the class. By sharing their lives, the children begin to realize the importance of caring for their classmates and it results in the decline of certain students being targeted by the group. Simply put, humanizing the children makes it less likely for them to hurt eachother. In Part Two of this video, the teacher gets the children to have a group discussion about why they would pick on eachother but also to take responsibility for picking on other children. The teacher's approach is very rare in the Japanese educational system, which has been criticized widely for encouraging hierarchical formation through bullying in schools. But is this kind of teaching encouraged in Canada? In the U.S? I imagine we'd like to think that bullying isn't as institutionalized here, but that's just not true and in order to change that we have to stop making these incidents seem isolated.

I think that this bus incident and the subsequent media firestorm around it can teach us a valuable lesson: we are suckers. We all feel bad when we see someone hurt but we are loathe to go out of our way to do something about it. We don't mind sitting at home clicking on the donate button to allay our guilty consciences about every lady we called fat, every teacher we harassed, to get revenge against every boy who ever bullied us. What are we encouraging here? On the Today show they said "tonight we'll celebrate a woman of courage, one who internalized mistreatment and didn't complain." What?! It's heroic and courageous to "internalize mistreatment" and "not complain"? That is not courageous, it is a horrible thing to applaud and it highlights what we expect of women who are bullied: silence. Good job internalizing your mistreatment, here's half a million dollars? You kept quiet about abuse until it was forced into the light of day, hurray for you! That is insane and we are completely falling for it. As a society we should encourage people to speak out but also encourage other people to stand up for those who can't stand up for themselves--that is courageous. Throwing money at this woman will,of course, help her but we have to stop and really look closely at the rhetoric swirling around this issue. We have to stop being suckers who act irrationally when faced with something upsetting. We missed such a good opportunity here, to really look closely at the problem and understand it. As Mr. Kanamori so eloquently put it in Children Full of Life: "Are you all trying to hide behind those pretty words?"

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