Friday, October 31, 2014

Photo Friday: It Ain't Sexy

Mummies. Vampires. Ghosts. Frankenstein. Ghouls. Zombies. Witches.

These are what I think of when I think of Hallowe'en. All Hallows Eve.

Superheroes and princesses, in a pinch, though they pander to stereotypes.

Sexy nurses, sexy firefighters, sexy nuns, sexy ebola doctors... WTF???

Sexy ANYTHING is not Hallowe'en.

My daughter knows. She does her own makeup.

Happy Hallowe'en!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

What Makes A Man?

It's like they're a different species. But, sadly, they aren't. And when I see these people, I find it hard to believe that I am the same gender.

They are the men who think that they have the right to get a woman, who they don't know, to do anything they want, just because they talk to her.

They are the men who think that just because they talk to a woman, who they don't know, that that woman must speak back, must engage them.

They are the men who think that every woman who walks down a street wants to hear, from this total stranger, that she's beautiful, that she needs to thank them for the compliment that she didn't solicit.

They are the men who think that exclaiming "Damn!" and "I just saw a thousand dollars!" would be an appropriate thing to say to another human being.

The video is alarming. I find it disturbing. If you haven't seen it, here is the video, by Hollaback!, "an international movement to end street harassment," as they describe themselves, which shows a woman walking the streets of New York and enduring more than 100 cat calls over a 10-hour period.

I watched it and I was shocked, disgusted, and ashamed. The behavior by these men is not only inappropriate, it's creepy and frightening. The men who walk along for blocks, as though they think that kind of stalking is deserving of her attention, are despicable.

The woman who participated in the experiment, actress Shoshana Roberts, must be given kudos for enduring what are clear-cut cases of harassment. At times, I feared for her; most of the time, I felt sorry for what she endured and what women are faced with on a daily basis.

When I read some of the comments on the YouTube page for the video, I was further disgusted by how some men thought that there was something wrong with Ms Roberts for not accepting the so-called compliments. Hollaback! even reported that Ms Roberts had received threats of rape.

I hung my head in shame, flabbergasted that such "men" existed.

From a purely biological perspective, I think we men can't help ourselves from noticing a woman that we find attractive (the same goes with women who see a man they like: it's how our population continues to grow). But from a sociological and evolutionary perspective, surely, we must be able to control ourselves and treat a woman with the respect that she deserves. To keep our mouths shut, our hands to ourselves, and to leave a person in peace.

Every woman deserves the right to walk down a street without being harassed. (I would say every person deserves that right, but how many men walk in dread of heading to bus, knowing that someone might shout out, "Hey, good looking? What's your name? Can I get your number?")*

I'm guilty of stopping to watch a woman that I find attractive as she walks by. But I would never gawk, never call out to her, never follow her. Because I don't have that right. Because that woman has the right to not be treated as an object.

We have to step up and put a stop to this sort of harassment. We must speak up and speak out when we see behaviour such as this**.

Real men don't treat others as objects.

* I understand that this issue doesn't simply come down to women being harassed. People from the GLBT community are also harassed. It all has to stop.

** I have since found another similar video: this one is shot in Brussels and seems more disturbing because the men are more aggressive and abusive.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Google is Watching

I remember hearing the CEO of Google once say of his company that in its quest for success, it had to remember its motto: don't be evil.

I like to think that this company, that started as a Web search engine, has been gathering information to make life better. I know that, since I purchased my Android phone, that many of the Google apps have made it easy for me to find places, to find information for work and for writing this blog, and for organizing my days.

Google, for the most part, I find, is good.

But Google is watching you: it knows where you go on the Internet. It knows where you go in your day-to-day life. It tracks your movement. It plots your daily course. And you can see it, through Google Location History.

Here is my movement from the day I left Ottawa for France to the day I returned.

Obviously, it tracks your movement based on WiFi or when your phone makes contact with a cell tower. It's not 100 percent accurate, but it's close enough.

So, while Google maintains that it is not evil, it is watching you.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Music Monday: Knocked Up

I wish that the song Knocked Up by Kings of Leon had been around, when Lori was expecting our first child.

I sang all sorts of songs to her expanding belly, read it several of the Narnia books, and talked to the growth inside every chance I could get.

I would have sung this song, too.

But I also find it a great driving song, especially on a long stretch of highway, and at night. I don't know why, but when that song comes up through my smartphone rotation and those conditions are met, I crank the volume, settle back in my leather-wrapped, bucket seat, and perhaps press my foot a little firmer on the gas pedal.

Here's a live version:

Now, get in your car and drive!

Happy Monday!