New Counter Cultured Article: Self-Defense Doesn’t Perpetuate ‘Rape Culture’

I’ve penned a new column at Counter Cultured called, “Self-Defense Doesn’t Perpetuate ‘Rape Culture‘” today.

Here’s an excerpt:

Last week at the Miss USA pageant, newly-crowned winner Nia Sanchez was accused of promoting “rape culture” after answering a question about sexual assault on college campuses.

Sanchez responded with the following:

I believe that some colleges may potentially be afraid of having a bad reputation and that would be a reason it could be swept under the rug, because they don’t want that to come out into the public,” Nia Sanchez said. “But I think more awareness is very important so women can learn how to protect themselves. Myself, as a fourth-degree black belt, I learned from a young age that you need to be confident and be able to defend yourself. And I think that’s something that we should start to really implement for a lot of women.

Her response angered radical feminists.

Twitter user @hayleethikeo tweeted, “sorry miss Nevada. we do not need to teach women how to better defend ourselves. We need to teach men not to feel entitled to rape #missusa.”

Elissa Benson of Cosmopolitan tweeted, “I get that the college sexual assault problem can’t be solved in 30 secs but still icky to pretend like self defense is the answer. #MissUSA

Despite negative backlash, Nia Sanchez stood by her response. She went on HuffPoLive to reaffirm her answer about women taking up self-defense:

We have 30 seconds to answer a question. I feel like all you can do up on that stage on national television is answer the best you personally know how, so I answered with something that I know. I always believe in women empowerment and women’s encouragement and for me, in my life, that’s self-defense,” she explained. “Maybe for somebody else it’s a Taser or something else, but that’s the way I could relate to it personally.

The question beckons: What is “rape culture” and what does it consist of?

Smart Girls Are Armed, Conservative, and Fabulous: My “Youth in Action” Interview

smart girl

Teen conservative and Smart Girl Politics activist Bethany Bowra (@bethanybowra) interviewed me for the latest installment of Smart Girl Politics’ “Youth in Action” series profiling young conservative female activists. Those of you who know me are familiar with my hold-no-prisoners approach to conservative politics, anti-Communist tendencies, and desire to lure in more young people to our movement.

I hope my thoughts and sentiments in this interview inspire other freedom-loving youngsters to speak out and reject collectivism. Without a doubt, we must encourage more young conservatives…especially young conservative females.

Enjoy!

While Planned Parenthood and Democrat women in Congress claim to speak for all women, these young women have something to say about that. Contrary to popular belief, those groups do not speak for all young women— many young women my age have views that are quite the opposite. Below is my interview with conservative activist, Gabriella Hoffman!

Why did you get involved in politics?

I got involved in conservative politics because of my parents. My mother and my father are Lithuanian immigrants who escaped from Soviet communism 27 years ago. The Left’s policies remind them too much of the Old Country, so conservatism came naturally to them. Their stories and perspective on life really brought me to conservatism. Both sides of my family suffered immensely in the former Soviet Union. I’m in this fight to honor their memories and remind people that freedom must be safeguarded for future generations to come.

How did you get involved?

In 2006 when I was 15, I started writing a column in a local Orange County, CA community paper, The Coto Voice, called “Teen Beat.” I maintained this column for three years. I primarily focused on topics ranging from volunteering in high school to upholding traditional values. After I graduated from high school and moved onto college, I began to write about politics for The California Review, the conservative paper at UC-San Diego. From there, I went onto running a YAF chapter and hosting David Horowitz on campus- an event which landed on national news. After the event garnered a lot of attention, I started working for The Rick Amato Show as an Executive Assistant and landed a coveted role at Eagle Forum of San Diego as the Director of Youth Outreach.  I also started blogging for various websites and publications.

What issues have you been focused on since you became active?

I’m a firm believer in sound conservatism (social and fiscal conservatism), and I also believe in strong national defense. During my time at UC-San Diego, I heavily focused on support for Israel (I have family there and support a healthy U.S.-Israel relationship) and exposing militant leftists on campus. I also exposed radical feminism and openly condemned the Vagina Monologues. Now, I concentrate on a plethora of issues ranging from traditional values to Israel advocacy to media/leftist/campus bias to free enterprise.

Continue reading at Smart Girl Politics Action.

The Anti V-Day Movement is Becoming a Full-Fledged Force

Hiroshima 2008 Vagina Monologues Poster by Nic...

Image via Wikipedia

After I wrote an op-ed for The Washington Times on Valentine’s Day about the repulsive nature of The Vagina Monologues, more pro-woman activists followed suit.

Most notably, True Feminist of Miami University officer Christine Barilleaux wrote an enlightening piece in The Miami Student offering her criticism of the play and her school’s response to their anti-VDay campaign.

On behalf of the True Feminists of Miami University, I am responding to the critique of the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute (CBLPI) posters hung in response to the Eve Ensler play The Vagina Monologues. We’d like to explain why we chose to hang them up. We don’t deny that the monologues have been meaningful to many who have seen and participated in them. However, there are many others who have seen them and been humiliated and angered by them. The posters actually said that the CBLPI “offers truly inspirational alternatives” to the monologues and gave the website, http://www.cblpi.org. They are not a denial that rape, sexual assault or female sexuality are truly important issues for women and everyone in our society. Rather, they state that there are more effective ways of discussing these issues and empowering women. I have personally spoken with many people who have expressed that the plays do not empower them, but instead make them feel as though their female identity has been reduced to a single body part. After seeing the plays myself, I have to agree. Why can we not offer an alternative way to showcase the power that women have and the great things they have done throughout history? Why can we not demand that people show respect for our intellect and stop focusing on our bodies alone? As for alternate sources of discourse, we plan to have a forum next year to discuss these issues.

Activism requires taking risks and speaking up about often very controversial topics in very controversial ways at times. We applaud the Association of Women Students for taking their activism seriously and for raising awareness about issues of rape, sexual assault, et cetera. However, being an activist and “putting yourself out there” comes with a responsibility as well. It requires being prepared to hear criticism. The posters are not an attack on the Association of Women Students or on anyone participating in or seeing the plays. Activism challenges ideas. Furthermore, The Vagina Monologues are not unique to the Association of Women Students, nor are they unique to Miami University. They have been performed all over the country every February for the last 15 years. Rarely have I ever encountered anyone publicly speaking up against them. These posters give voice to those who identify with the root causes and issues of the monologues, but who are, for fear of social ostracism, afraid to voice their concerns for the manner in which the plays deal with the issues.

Finally, True Feminism is also a nationwide movement with which we chose to align ourselves. This movement embodies the idea that women are equal to yet different from men and should be given the same rights as men without having to behave like men. It is also a feminism that values the dignity and rights of every human person, including the unborn child. It is both pro-woman and pro-child.

UC-San Diego V-DAY Co-Director Sends Odd E-mail

This past evening, I received an e-mail from the director of The Vagina Monologues at UCSD.

The e-mail reads:

Hi Gabriella,

My name is Van Nguyen and I am the co-director of The Vagina Monologues at UCSD this year. It has been brought to my attention by several members of V-day that you have recently posted a conflicting image in regards to The Vagina Monologues. As a key member in this organization, I would like to extend an invitation to this year production on opening night.

We would love to take this opportunity to educate you about our organization. There will be a ticket waiting for you at will-call on Wednesday, February 16th at the PC East Ballroom. Doors open at 7pm and show begins at 8pm. If you are able to make it, I believe this will be a valuable experience for you.

Sincerely,
Van Nguyen

Although the director was kind enough to offer me an invitation to the play, Nguyen largely ignores the fact that I have not produced any written material (i.e. articles, print articles, or blog posts) criticizing The Vagina Monologues thus far.

Before she, her respective organization, and the cast wage a full-fledged campaign against any critique of the play, I would kindly appreciate criticism after an article is published, not beforehand.