SF Talking Points: Candie's Foundation Needs To Get Its Priorities Straight, The Toronto Slutwalk

The Candie’s Foundation Spends Seven Times More on Bristol Palin Than On Preventing Teen Pregnancy: “We know that Ms. Palin’s work has had a positive effect on teens,” the foundation said in a statement defending their spending $262,500 on her salary and only $35,000 on grants to teen pregnancy health and counseling clinics. Sure. I mean, the Candie’s Foundation has been around since 2001. Bristol herself probably saw their ads in magazines, back when she began flirting with the idea of sex: full-page photos of other overpaid celebrities next to a page of text warning against teen pregnancy. And that worked, right? Oh. No, it didn’t. So they are not only spending exorbitant amounts on celebrities (or, in Palin’s case, quasi-celebrities) and peanuts on the cause they claim to support, but they chose the worst possible “advocate” of abstinence. I get the whole, “I know how hard it is to go through a teen pregnancy” bit, but come on. First they send mixed messages with their “Be sexy, it doesn’t mean you have to have sex” campaign, and now they push abstinence with a girl whom it clearly didn’t work for.  Bristol Palin even said herself that abstinence is “not realistic at all” — ahem, before she got her gig as a teen pregnancy ambassador. It’s getting to the point where the Candie’s Foundation may be doing more harm than good with regards to teen pregnancy.

Women of Toronto ‘Slutwalk’ Fight Back Against Victim-Blaming: In response to police Constable Michael Sanguinetti’s remark that, “Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized” to a group of York University students, Canadian women organized in just six weeks to protest the use of the word “slut” to cast the blame back on women for having been sexually assaulted. As declared on the Toronto Slutwalk website:

“We are tired of being oppressed by slut-shaming; of being judged by our sexuality and feeling unsafe as a result. Being in charge of our sexual lives should not mean that we are opening ourselves to an expectation of violence, regardless if we participate in sex for pleasure or work. No one should equate enjoying sex with attracting sexual assault.”

A subversive name for a protest like “Slutwalk,” though, is bound to generate a negative reaction – particularly from people who believe that “not getting raped” is more important to teach than “not raping.” One article specifically spurred a huge response, as the author, Chelsea Fagan, admitted that, “I would be lying if I said that there wasn’t a good amount of truth to what [Constable Michael Sanguinetti] said,” and that she used to go out dressed “like a slut” but doesn’t anymore because she wanted men to look at her “and have thoughts other than, I could have sex with her tonight if I wanted.’” As the hundreds of commenters on the site know, this is an extremely simplistic view of the issue, and promotes the idea of victim-blaming — exactly the issue that the Slutwalk was hoping to gain awareness about (not just for the “right to… dress like sluts,” as Fagan seems to think). Rape happens all too often, and while I don’t think the author meant to say that it is the fault of women who dress more sexily than others (though because she belabored the word “slut” in defining such women, I don’t blame readers for taking it that way), it just isn’t about clothing. It’s about power. “We should be beyond the myths of people ‘asking’ or ‘deserving’ to be assaulted due to their behaviour or appearance,” said Heather Jarvis, a movement co-founder.

Because of the overwhelming response in Toronto, the organizers of the Slutwalk are considering having it annually. Hopefully they do — we could use to have their message sent more often.

Hillary Clinton Is The Most Popular Figure In The White House: According to a recent Gallup poll, Clinton’s popularity is at 66% –  the highest its been since her joining the Obama administration (though it has always been fairly high) — beating out President Obama (54 percent), Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (52 percent), and Vice President Joe Biden (46 percent). We’re not surprised. I mean, women politicians are our most valuable, and besides Clinton’s exceptional work toward empowering women and girls all over the world,  “she is, it seems, everywhere at once,” a recent Newsweek article said about her global travels. She already has more air miles (465,000)  and has visited more countries (79) than any of her predecessors — and she still has another 2 years left in office. She is even liked by 45% of people who disapprove of the job that Obama’s doing, and has been voted the Most Admired Woman in the World for five years of Gallup polling.

In The Next Installment Of “Silvio Berlusconi vs. Italian Women”…
During his trip to the tiny Mediterranean island of Lampedusa — to discuss the issue of the thousands of African migrants who fled there from Tunisia and Libya — he of course made some time to chat up the local ladies. Leave it to Berlusconi to say something like this:

“According to a survey, when asked if they would like to have sex with me, 30 per cent said, ‘Yes,’ while the other 70 per cent replied, ‘What, again?”

Just…gross. How is this guy a world leader?


Author: Maura Hehir

Maura Hehir is a writer and student studying creative nonfiction writing at New York University. She volunteer-teaches a creative writing class to kids in Harlem and works in the marketing and design department at a bookstore.

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