What We Missed

Mary Cuddehe Jennie Rothenberg Gritz of The Atlantic writes about the backlash from a Mexico City decision to decriminalize first-trimester abortion within the city.
Various parties weigh in on Rhode Island’s unique approach to indoor vs. outdoor prostitution.
17-year-old star Taylor Lautner, star of the new Twilight movie, is posing all over the place with his pecs on display. Hollywood, with a double standard? Naw, couldn’t be.
The brilliant Alaa Al-Aswany on why religious extremism is the other face of political despotism.

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20 Comments

  1. LaGuera
    Posted October 29, 2009 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    Just a note — the article on abortion laws in Mexico in The Atlantic is not by Jennie Rothenberg Gritz. It was written by a friend of mine, Mary Cuddehe, who is an excellent freelance writer based in Mexico City.

  2. MLEmac28
    Posted October 29, 2009 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Miley Cyrus is a Disney star, which I think makes her nakedness a little more unexpected. Taylor Lautner is going to be half naked for most of the movie anyway.
    I still thought the Miley Cyrus outrage was ridiculous, but a little to be expected given how Disney is.

  3. Brittany
    Posted October 29, 2009 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    Ugh, Holleywood? Sexist? No fucking way.
    If there’s negativity about how a person looks, whether it’s wrinkles, weight, or anything else, it’s always a female celebrity from what I’ve experienced.
    “Oh, she’s gotten SO fat!”
    “Oh, look at that trainwreck and her fashion sense.”

  4. Lynne C.
    Posted October 29, 2009 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    The thing that bothered me about Miley Cyrus posing with a bare back had nothing to do with preconceived notions of purity or even showing skin; it had to do with the fact that it was sexually suggestive, and she was just a child and a role model for other children. What bothers me is the deeper, underlying current in the show business industry that encourages and pressures all girls into doing this. It’s almost as if they have to, in order to make it big. THAT is what bothers me about it. The exploitation and objectification.
    As far as Taylor Lautner goes, it’s tricky. I don’t think you can technically say it is sexual. Both boys and men walk around without shirts on often. One would have to project their own thoughts upon it in order to find it sexual, whereas Miley’s was more blatantly obvious in that she was made to pose as if one had walked in on her dressing or undressing (which is highly suggestive of something else besides sex), which makes it all the more worse.

  5. cattrack2
    Posted October 29, 2009 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    About Miley, there’s a big difference between a 15yo girl and a 17yo girl…and a much bigger difference between a shirtless guy & a shirtless girl… (walk past a Abercrombie & Fitch store lately???)

  6. marginallyyours
    Posted October 29, 2009 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    In regards to your first difference: Unfortunately, that gap is shrinking at an alarming rate. Culture expects our girls to be sexual and sexualized far too young these days (See Ariel Levy’s _Female Chauvinist Pigs_ for a great take on that). As far as the second, I agree that that difference exists, but think it should be recognized as the sexist, culturally-constructed double standard that it is, not viewed as a biological essential.

  7. Athenia
    Posted October 29, 2009 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    At 15, Cyrus is seen as a role model for the 13 and under set whereas Taylor is a sexual focal point for a 18 year old girl. Now, whether or not he’s a sexual focal point for the 13 and under set, that might be debatable.
    Now, maybe if the Jonas Brothers started to bare their abs, that might be a closer analogy.

  8. Comrade Kevin
    Posted October 29, 2009 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    It’s not far of a leap from a despotic state assuming that people are little more than animals with no self-control to a political ideology which asserts that the average person cannot act in his or her own best self interest.

  9. marginallyyours
    Posted October 29, 2009 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    Very well-put.

  10. Brittany
    Posted October 29, 2009 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    I don’t see the difference between a shirtless guy and girl besides two lumps of fat.
    Women aren’t able to walk around shirtless because of society and our double standards.

  11. Lynne C.
    Posted October 29, 2009 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    Touche

  12. IamnotTheDudeness
    Posted October 29, 2009 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    I think it’s sexploitation. He’s only 17 being used as a sex object. I have a feeling the new Twilight movie is going to be packed with internet pedophiles, or Republican senators.

  13. Newbomb Turk
    Posted October 29, 2009 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    I have a feeling the new Twilight movie is going to be packed with internet pedophiles, or Republican senators.

    There’s a difference?

  14. Gopher
    Posted October 30, 2009 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    I hate how the Catholic Church abstractly influences politics in a country to screw over womens rights.

  15. Gopher
    Posted October 30, 2009 at 12:39 am | Permalink

    Ha! Exactly!

  16. gadgetgal
    Posted October 30, 2009 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    I quite like the comments above about the differences in Miley Cyrus’ case and Taylor Lautner, I think they’re all pretty good reasons for the differences (especially the age differences and the Disney connection). But there’s also another factor – the audience that person is appealing to and how the nudity (or in this case partial nudity) has been portrayed.
    For example, Keira Knightly was only 16 when she first appeared undressed on screen and Kate Winslet only 17 – no one batted an eyelid, mostly because the films were art house rather than pornography and weren’t being used solely for sexual arousal (don’t get me wrong, the scenes were sexual, but they were more about other things rather than just that). It’s kind of what makes the difference. I think both Cyrus’ and Lautner’s images to a certain extent have been taken out of context and used sexually, but Lautner’s appear to have been taken from his film (presumably non-porn with a storyline to explain it) whereas Cyrus’ are specifically about her being partially undressed and sexual for no apparent other reason. Which is fine when you’re older, not when you’re a child.
    In the UK they make a distinction between the two – there is no specific law that bans underage nudity, but there are laws regarding how and why that nudity is used. That’s why even though we have more nudity on TV and in films over here you’ll find that, if we’re talking about sexy photo shoots, they pretty much only involve older people now (over 18s), because in order to use someone younger they’d have to justify that it’s NOT child pornography before it’s even published!

  17. kahri
    Posted October 30, 2009 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Mary Cuddehe’s piece is breaking my heart…

  18. ninjanurse
    Posted October 30, 2009 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    The Rhode Island legal ‘loophole’ that allows indoor prostitution will be closed soon. Our bankrupt state will invest in arresting women who are selling sex, while real trafficking victims are terrified of both criminals and the police. The Governor has decided to blame undocumented people for all our problems.
    The forces of morality will declare victory and move on, and our state can be as moral as Massachusetts, Connecticut and NYC.

  19. Lizzard
    Posted October 30, 2009 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    I’m a little torn over the Miley Cyrus controversy. On one hand, society’s double standard as to what’s sexual and what’s not is a real problem; that being said, I’m sympathetic to artists’ freedom to depict what they want.
    Anyway, where’s the line between a purely artistic nude and a sexual one? (If there is a line) What role does this, this, this, or this play in sexualization of women/children/adolescents?
    (Just a heads-up, the links are to various artistic nudes)

  20. ninjanurse
    Posted October 30, 2009 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    re: prostitution in Rhode Island–Tara Hurley, a documentary film maker did what no one else thought to do. She hired a Korean interpreter, went into the ‘spas’ and asked the women about their lives.
    Her film, ‘Happy Endings’ is reviewed here–
    http://kmareka.com/2008/12/11/happy-endings/
    Later Tara organized some of the women to testify at the State House, but no one wanted to listen to them. This is not a position of power. Women who sell sex live at the margins, and now will be outside the law.

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