Lady Gaga on Rape Culture

Lady Gaga – Til It Happens To You
  
Lady Gaga* recently came out with a new music video. Different from her usual videos, this one is about the harm and seriousness of “Rape Culture” in our modern society. Now normally I am not a fan of Lady Gaga at all, but this video is very good. I encourage everyone to watch it, even if you strongly dislike Lady Gaga as I do. The song and video are both in support of a documentary on rape. They show the pain and isolation our rape culture causes. It is a powerful social commentary.

The problem is that rape culture goes far beyond just rape, hence the title rape culture. It is the whole culture that is infected with this syndrome which includes sex trafficking, promiscuity, pornography, prostitution and the general sexualization of our media. The criticism I have of Lady Gaga is that our rape culture starts with her other music videos which I would consider to be Pornographic. The Pornographication of our society that Lady Gaga doesn’t seem to have a problem with at all and even promotes and is a part of, is the first cause of our rape culture. 
Lady Gaga promotes young girls and boys to have promiscuous sex by glamorizing sex. She entices boys to objectify her by showcasing her body which primes them to become rapists! Now that may seem like a stretch but we can see studies that show violent pornography is directly correlated with rape myth acceptance and non-violent pornography, also contributes although not as much. It is also well known that softer forms of pornography lead to more extreme and violent forms of pornography. Study on the Relationship Between Rape and Pornography

  
 The point of writing this is to point out the hypocrisy of the rape culture. It is often perpetuated by the very people who are speaking out against it. Now at this point it may appear as me, a male, pointing out that rape culture is women’s own fault. “Victim blaming” women for dressing in a certain way suggesting they are “asking for it”. However, I believe Lady Gaga (the person) is in fact one of the many victims of rape culture, probably being used and persuaded into be as provocative as possible by men on her production team. We blame porn on the women depicted on screen when the producers and owners of pornography are all men. The people making money and taking pleasure from our rape culture is  almost always men, while women are usually used. Which brings to mind the saying “getting their cake and eating it too”.

The solution is that every person male and female needs to reject the sexualization of our culture, as Saint John Paul II called it the “Culture of Death”. This feels insurmountable but we must unite men and women together and stand up against this sexualization attitude. Sex is an act of love that our society has perverted and defiled. Let’s work together to transform this rape culture. The only way to do this is to place Love as the highest good, which means knocking pleasure and selfishness out of contention for first place in our own lives. 

*when I refer to Lady Gaga, I refer to her as the person but also as the corporation her name represents. It is impossible for me to tell where the line is between her as a person and her as a brand*

  

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Objectification of a Woman

    

  

I have seen articles like the one above on Facebook several times this past little while. Is this not the epitome of objectification of women? I often have little good to say about feminism, mostly because of this exact thing. When we see modern feminism in the news/media we usually only see one type. We see women like the FEMEN movement who are protesting with their shirts off. While what they are protesting may be for a very good cause, all anyone is seeing is angry women with no shirts on. Which seems very counter intuitive….
For the most part Feminism has become first world women complaining about first world problems. They are upset because they aren’t allowed to murder children in their womb. They want to be liberated so they can do what they want with their bodies, which means have sex often and with many different partners (which sounds a lot like what they accuse men of doing….). Meanwhile men, women and children are being actually oppressed in other countries. Maybe it is unfair to lump all Feminism into one category like that, but that is exactly why we use words like “Feminism”. We use titles as short hand so we don’t have to describe our beliefs on each individual issue. Sorry sane feminists but crazy, naked, pro-choice feminists have high jacked your word.

  

I don’t believe we have to go to other countries if we want to find women being oppressed though. It is going on in our own backyard, the problem is I don’t hear many people talk about it. The article above and the many others just like it are a prime example of women being oppressed, except I haven’t seen one article from someone upset about it. 

The suffrage movement started because women were not seen as people and were not given the right to vote. That is a legitimate problem that needed to be fixed. From there women have come such a long way, even to the point of being able to do any job a man does. Women have entered the world of politics and high ranking CEOs and even…. sports. It’s taken women 100 years to go from not being seen as a person to making the cover of a sports magazine. And yet read the title of the article above… “20 Female Athletes Known More For Their Looks Than Their Game”

All this way for women to be looked at as sex objects instead of being seen for their abilities. That is what feminists should be upset about! These girls worked their whole lives to be good at a sport and it turns out they just needed to look good. Apparently it doesn’t matter how good at the sport they are if they are ugly, because no one cares about you if you’re an ugly woman. We should want women to be looked at as more than something to look at. So when FEMEN only lets attractive girls be their protesters and they happen to be half naked, is that solving a problem? I’m sure they get more attention that way but they are also encouraging what they should be fighting.

  

Gay Marriage Discrimination

          The U.S. recently passed a bill making gay marriage legal nationwide. This issue is an interesting one to me because I have many conflicting opinions on it. On one hand I believe what the Catholic Church teaches about sexuality which I’ll explain. On the other hand I absolutely believe that gay people are discriminated against. They are treated differently both on a personal level and in legislation because of their sexuality. When we define marriage the way we do in North America (which I don’t believe is proper), we must make gay marriage legal, if we do not, it is absolutely discrimination. First I will explain  what I believe about sex and why, then I will explain why we have been defining marriage wrong for a very long time.

            I believe sex has a purpose or goal and that goal is children. That is the main function of sex and a secondary purpose is an expression of a particular kind of love. Love does not need to be sexual. You can love someone without sex being a part of it and that love is not less than sexual love, just different. Marriage is the same as sex, it’s purpose is to create and rear children. I also believe that marriage is the only proper place for sex to take place. In an ideal world every kid would be born from and raised by their parents. There would be no need for adoption (as great as I think it is in our broken world) because every kid would be raised by their biological parents. This is what I believe sex is and the reason it exists which you can agree or disagree with. (Also notice that explanation of my belief has nothing to do with God or religion.)

Artificial Contraception

            The prevailing christian idea of sex is much different than my idea of sex. Many christians oppose gay marriage while maintaining that artificial contraception is morally acceptable. This is where I believe homosexual people are discriminated against. If artificial contraception is ok, then sex is something people engage in primarily for pleasure and secondarily for procreation. Many Christians still believe sex is only for marriage, however for many of them the belief that “sex is only acceptable in marriage” is their only concrete moral belief about sex and marriage. The question it raises is “why is sex only for marriage?” If the reason is having and raising children then artificial contraception undermines the purpose of sex and marriage for many Christians. In Principle, artificial contraception is anti-children and anti-monogamy.

No Fault Divorce

               Many christians also believe that no fault divorce is morally acceptable. If no-fault divorce is morally acceptable then it follows that marriage is not a permanent union. If this is the case it destroys the argument that marriage is about children, in that children need both a Mom and a Dad. This is the most common argument I hear against gay marriage. I actually agree with the argument that children need both a Mom and Dad, but the state of marriage in our modern world (i.e. No fault divorce) cannot support such an important argument. The solution I see would be to have stricter regulations surrounding marriage to lower divorce rates. If people viewed marriage as a permanent union when they got married, rather than having such an easy escape hatch, they would appreciate it more. I believe they would work harder at marriage and put more thought into who they are marrying.

           I realize my beliefs about sex and marriage are more traditional or conservative, I also realize that many people disagree with this view. A majority of people in the United States do not believe any of what I said above. The role of government in a democratic state is to do what the majority wants. It is not to be concerned with what is morally right or wrong, only the majority vote (Which is why I don’t care for the democratic system). So I believe it was the governments obligation to legalize gay marriage in the states.  

  

             Many people say “God wants us to be loving and accepting” and that is more important. What is clearly most important to God is children.

“If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” – Matthew 18:6

 In order to change the tides and create a country (in both Canada and the U.S.) that is more in line with the natural law and what God would want, we need to focus on children. The first thing we need to do is as a society, to stop talking about children as some kind of burden. We need to stop treating them as second class citizens and celebrate the birth of a child! We also all need to be more like children too, joyful, innocent and fun loving so we can appreciate those characteristics more. How many white haired church people treat the youth as an annoyance in “their” church. As Christians who believe in traditional marriage we need to start with the way society defines children long before we deal with how society defines marriage.

The Art of Disagreeing: Climate Change

             I’m going to propose an audacious idea and disagree with popular held opinions on Climate Change. Hold your tomatoes and let me explain. Pope Francis came out last week with an Encyclical (Papal document) on the environment. First I want to say that I love that Pope Francis is talking about the environment! I love that he is addressing issues that are relevant to Christians and non-Christians! And I love that he is advocating for environmentalism and treating our planet better! I disagree with most scientific opinions about Climate Change, (which really is irrelevant to the point I want to make… maybe I just love to disagree?) I believe that the threat of climate change is propaganda to scare us all into being more Eco-friendly. Ok…. You can throw your tomatoes now….

               Now with that said, do I believe the planet is warming up? Yes. Do I believe that  human beings have contributed to the warming of the planet? Yes. Do I believe that we need to change as Pope Francis says and treat the earth with more respect? Yes. However, do I believe that the main cause of climate change is human beings? No. I believe there are too many other factors Involved to say that with certainty. I believe environmentalist and the media have hijacked our role in climate change, and exaggerated it in order to scare us into making us more Eco-friendly. I believe it is the similar to Y2K, Killer Bees, Ebola, H1N1, SARS, Islam after 9/11…. I could keep going. In all of these cases the media took a real threat and blew it up into something to scare the masses. Now I could go find some research that is contradictory to the popular scientific theory but we all know you can use statistics to prove anything, so I won’t. Besides that is not the point I want to make. 

            Here is my real problem, we need to be good to the environment out of love for it, not fear of it. I don’t like scare tactics, even if they are true. I think this is at the heart of what Pope Francis is saying and why he brings in love of the poor into the discussion. Catholic social teaching says that the means cannot be evil even if it leads us to a good end. Scaring people into doing the right thing is wrong. I also believe that it can have negative consequences in the future. What if the earth starts to cool down for unrelated reasons? Can we stop being environmentally friendly then since global warming is no longer an issue? No! Saving the environment is equally as important as our motive behind saving the environment. It is the equivalent of saying, “You have to have a personal relationship with Christ, or you’ll burn in Hell!” Sure you are getting someone to a good end (a relationship with Christ) but you are using an evil method to get to that good end. We can see that this has backfired and I believe it is a major reason so many people have left christian churches.

  
               The idea that we do “whatever it takes” to get people to do the right thing is utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is when we only see the results and ignore the method. It is the greatest pleasure for the most amount of people, with no regard to how you get there. If your family is starving would it be ethical to kill the baker and steal all his bread? Of course not because you are committing an evil act in order to do something good. Taken to its logical conclusion you could say that a room full of canibles would have a lot of pleasure if they ate one person, but since it would increase many peoples pleasure a lot and only decrease one persons pleasure a lot, they should eat him because that would give the most overall pleasure. If we do good acts with good intentions, we will get good results. Scaring people into environmentalism ensures that it will be a fad; that people will eventually stop caring about it because they will stop being afraid. 

           The bottom line is, the only reason to do the right thing is because it’s the right thing! Every other reason to do something leaves us bankrupt. If we do the right thing for any other reason, those reasons won’t last and we will stop doing the right thing. When our actions are based on a motive that it is right, we can be sure that what is right will never change.

  

Note: I’d just like to add that Pope Francis is basing his information on the popular opinion of scientists. I think this is a good idea since it is wise to trust scientific opinion (unlike me). I don’t condemn him at all for doing so. I personally just have a strong mistrust in modern academia, especially science, psychology or philosophy. So really it’s not the Pope that I am disagreeing with, he has every reason to trust scientific opinion as do all of you. 

Men are Victims of Feminism

            In my first blog I commented on the school dress code story that has been sweeping the Internet. I focused on how men and women need to be co-responsible for not letting either sex be treated as an object. Some people might take it that I was “victim-blaming” i.e. that I am blaming women for men’s lack of self-control. The argument I’d like to make this week is that men are also victims in this story. 

  • Point #1 – Men and Women Do Not Understand Each Other

          Women do not understand what it is like to be a man, just like a man doesn’t know what it’s like to be a woman. The same way that I, as a White man, don’t know what it’s like to be a black man. We can empathize, we can imagine, we can sympathize but we can never really perceive something from someone else’s perspective.

              I have a feeling I’ll be using this meme again….

  •  Point #2 – The Sexual Desire of Men

            Women do not know how easily men can be sexually aroused. You’ve probably heard that a mans sexual arousal works like a light switch, where it can come on very quickly and go from zero to a hundred in an instant. A woman’s sexual arousal needs to be warmed up slowly like an oven (or so I’ve heard, like I said earlier I’m not a woman so I don’t really know what it’s like). So a mans sexual arousal needs something to trigger it and then his thoughts can start to race without him realizing it or having any control over it. Next thing you know the switch has been flipped and we are sexually aroused which effects our mind in incredibly powerful ways. In the context of the current discussion, can a woman’s shoulder be sexually arousing to a man? Maybe not on its own, but it can be a trigger for sexual thoughts. For a man practicing purity and trying to refrain from having sexual thoughts, it can feel as if we are bombarded by sexuality and we feel like victims of our own sexual desires. The only way for a man to practice sexual purity is to be preventative, which is very challenging in a world of short skirts, yoga pants and bikinis!

  • Point #2 – Men as the Victims

            A man cannot control the stimulus around him. If a woman wears revealing clothing in front of even the most chaste man, he can’t help but notice and inadvertently have his sexual arousal awakened. A man cannot control this natural, instinctual sexual desire, as it is an impulse that stems from our evolution. Men are victims of a woman’s choice of clothing. Also, both women and men are victims of what society deems acceptable for a woman to wear and of the fashion industry that makes the clothing. If a man is trying hard to be chaste but has to look at a woman wearing a short skirt, the man is also a victim. A man is forced to look at a woman and the way the woman chooses to dress effects the man. We can’t put sunglasses on that protect us from seeing something that awakens our sexual desire. We are victims of women who choose to wear clothing that was made to sexually arouse us. Sometimes this may be intentional on the woman’s part, and sometimes it may not be. This however, doesn’t mean it is ok for men to objectify women or to look at them as a sexual object of use. Men are still responsible for what they do with these thoughts, i.e. whether they let them be a distraction in class or not. Also, needless to say, men are responsible for how they treat women. 

  • Point #3 – We are Both Victims of Lust

               When we stop holding sexual purity (both mental purity and physical purity) as a virtue we lose the right to get upset at men for sexualizing  women (or vice versa!). As a society we do not hold sexual purity as a virtue anymore. In fact we look at it in disgust, as an archaic way of viewing sexuality. Because lust is a social reality between men and women, it takes both men and women to deal with it. As I said in my earlier article, men and women are co-responsible for dealing with the issue of lust. The first step is to condemn lust and uphold sacrificial love. We can do this by reinstating purity and chastity as a virtue, rather than a hinderence to our sexual freedom. Both men and women are victims of a man’s sexual desire, and both of us play a part in combatting sexual objectification of women, you can’t put it all on the man.

A man can try to control his sexual thoughts as best he can and with a lot of practice, he can become quite good at it. This practice of chastity needs to be encouraged and celebrated, by both men and women so that more men are able to control their sexual desire. Then, let us also encourage and celebrate modesty in order to help form chastity and purity (especially in men). What we cannot do is antagonize the sexual impulse of a man, (either through women’s revealing attire, or porn, or Miley Cyrus music videos) and then get angry when that impulse does what it has been trained to do. We need to value control over sexual desire in all cases if we want men to control their sexual desire in the classroom or in the workplace. So let’s do this by promoting chastity and purity especially in young men, and modesty especially in young women. Let us condemn the things that lead both sexes into lust and objectification of each other.

Caitlyn Jenner, Bruce Jenner and Happiness

  

                   

         Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner has taken over social media by having a surgery to look like a woman and Jenner says this is what brings him/her happiness. So then why would Christians not want Jenner to be happy? Why do Christians always seem to try to stifle people’s happiness whether they be gay, or want to have sex outside marriage, or want to drink to excess, or make us be virtuous which is hard and takes effort with little pleasure? Are we Christians Hell-bent on making sure everyone is miserable? Do we want everyone to give up on happiness or maybe just realize happiness is actually an illusion (similar to what Buddhists believe)?

 
             I think we have to clearly define what we mean by happiness because this is the crux of our discussion. Typically when we discuss happiness we mean something emotional. For example, 

  1. Jenner wants to go from a man to looking like a woman because Jenner believes he/she will feel happier as a woman. 
  2. A young couple wants to have sex because it feels good not just physically but it also emotionally, we feel “in love”. 
  3. Getting drunk makes us feel good because we have less inhibitions and more confidence to do things or say things we usually wouldn’t, which makes us feel more free.            

All three of these are examples of happiness that are emotionally based in different ways. In all three cases we perceive ourselves differently and perceive the world around us differently. This perceived new confidence is what makes me use that very vague term “feel”. We feel good, we feel happy, we think the world is better and we are better. 

  
                The problem is these feelings are merely perception and not reality. In reality nothing much has changed. When you are drunk you are still you and the world doesn’t change. Anything you have the confidence to do drunk you could do sober but you simply choose not to. If you have sex you are still you and the world has not changed even though it may seem that things are different or that you are different. Jenner has not changed and the world around Jenner has not changed. People don’t want to condemn Jenner because, “now she is happy!” The question is for how long does this emotionally based happiness last? With alcohol you wake up with a hangover, with sex the feeling wears off and you want to have sex again. With Transgender surgery, well the same thing happens…

Long-Term Follow-Up of Transsexual Persons Undergoing Sex Reassignment Surgery: Cohort Study in Sweden

Conclusions

Persons with transsexualism, after sex reassignment, have considerably higher risks for mortality, suicidal behaviour, and psychiatric morbidity than the general population. Our findings suggest that sex reassignment, although alleviating gender dysphoria, may not suffice as treatment for transsexualism, and should inspire improved psychiatric and somatic care after sex reassignment for this patient group.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3043071/

             This is the conclusion of a scientific study that looked at people who have had transgender surgery in the long term. The study suggests “psychiatric and somatic care after sex reassignment surgery”, but what about before? It makes more sense that the problem is in the brain not the body.

             I believe Gender Identity Disorder is a real thing, and that it is very serious. However, I don’t believe the best solution is any kind of surgery. If someone feels that they are truly a bird deep down and wanted to graft feathers into their arms and fashion a beak to their face , would we let them? If someone wanted to cut off their limbs because they felt they were truly an amputee, should we chop them off? This may sound like a ridiculous analogy but BIID is a real disorder that was covered by the National Post.

Body integrity identity disorder (BIID, also referred to as amputee identity disorder[1]) is a psychological disorder wherein sufferers feel they would be happier living as an amputee. 

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transabled

The key to all this depends on our definition of happiness. If happiness is not the emotionally charged good feelings that we experience, then what is happiness? The Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it nicely,

“The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for.”
– CCC 27

If we believe God is our ultimate happiness then no merely physical things will ever make us really feel any different, not alcohol, not sex and not surgery.

  
             I write this because I care about Bruce Jenner (and yes I’m going to call him Bruce now). He deserves to be happy, but not a superficial, fleeting, emotionally based happiness. He deserves to be truly happy, not just feel happy and I believe the only way for him to find that is to find God. I hope and pray that the journey he is on through this sex change thing eventually leads him back to God. I think one thing we have to remember as Christians is that just as physical appearance doesn’t define who you are, neither does the morality of your decisions. When we speak of Bruce Jenner, we must remember that he is on his own faith journey and that it is God’s job to draw Jenner to God. Some people need to do something that we may see clearly is completely wrong for them, but they need to in order to figure themselves out and find God. Let us focus on our own lives, our own relationship with God so that we may be able to find that true happiness and share it graciously with others, especially those who are unhappy.