Originally published at David Horowitz’s NewsReal
Decked out in flashy burlesque costumes, five dancers mouth sexually suggestive lyrics as they writhe and shimmy across the stage. The audience hoots and hollers as they gyrate to Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).”
If you’ve seen the viral video then you already know: these YouTube sensations are just eight and nine years old.
The sight of a talented youth troupe thrusting their hips in shiny red hot pants prompted many commentators to condemn the parents and teachers involved. But not everyone was on board. In a Salon column last week, an infuriated Ada Calhoun ripped into critics for their “hysteria” and “moral panic” over the YouTube clip. And the icing on her lily white cake of predictability? If you criticize the video, you’re a racist.
But let’s start with Calhoun’s first beef with those of us who find the video disturbing. “Can we stop yelling at young women to put their clothes back on?” she asks.
These aren’t “young women.” They’re little girls who need to have their talent nurtured by responsible adults willing to set boundaries. Instead, they’re being exploited by people catering to some Mohammedan fantasy.
No serious commentator yelled at the kids “to put their clothes back on.” The criticisms were directed at parents, choreographers, and anyone else who pretends that young talent can’t be nourished without rummaging through Dita von Teese’s wardrobe.
Calhoun’s next argument is that you should shut your hysterical neo-Victorian trap if all you can do is whine about kids today boppin’ to their doggone rock and roll records. “In every era, there are moral panics about girls; they all project the same tone of hysteria and the same cultural amnesia,” she writes.
Hysteria? This isn’t some town fight between the Squares and the Drapes or a moral panic about the “sinful gyrations” of Elvis Presley. The outrage is that parents and teachers are coaching eight-year-olds to mimic sex acts for an audience of cheering adults. In an era when thong panties come in tween sizes and condoms are handed out at school, there’s nothing prudish or panicky about encouraging kids to be kids.
But even that’s a problem for Calhoun who complains that “almost every article” included the line “Can’t we just let little girls be little girls?” Is it really beyond the pale to suggest that parents shouldn’t rush their kids through childhood? Isn’t that Good Parenting 101?
Not in Calhoun’s eyes. She wrote an entire book on her parenting philosophy called Instinctive Parenting: Trusting Ourselves to Raise Good Kids. One Amazon reviewer called it “an entire book of excuses for being a bad parent.”
Now let’s return to Calhoun’s delightful charges of racism, quoted at length on the next page because laughter is good for the soul:
Why are there no Op-Eds when black girls dress or dance this way? If the problem is really with girls wearing these outfits, or dancing in this manner, why is it that the hundreds of YouTube videos of black 8- and 9-year-old girls doing their best “Single Ladies” (I just watched a bunch, some from dance competitions and some to the very same song) aren’t cause for alarm? Why aren’t their parents called to the carpet on morning television? Are they not relevant to the discussion for some reason I don’t understand?
And I’m no cultural studies expert, but the indignation over how (white) kids today like to dance (too much gyrating!) sounds an awful lot like the outrage over the effect “black music” had on white America in the 1950s. There is a lot of fear in the discussion of these dance competition girls: fear of sexuality, sure, but also, I think, fear of how diverse pop culture has become.
This could easily be a parody of Greg Gutfeld’s “Gregalogue” commentaries on “Red Eye”: “If you disagree with me, you’re probably a racist homophobe who eats unicorns.” Incidentally, you know who else cries racism when you object to the exploitation of children? Pedophile activists. Is that who Ada Calhoun really wants to ally herself with?
After smearing everyone who objects to the early sexualization of children as racist, Calhoun demands to know why no one appreciates the girls’ for their talent. I wonder how she reconciles that with her earlier observation that most writing on this issue includes the “grudging admission that ‘the girls were spectacular dancers.’”
Calhoun finishes her piece by reminding us that we’re all hysterical prudish scolds.
Of course, when these girls are parents themselves, they will be just as horrified by something their daughters are doing — hyper-driving their space-cars in foil miniskirts, say.
It’s just how we are, how we’ve always been, and probably always will be with girls: judgmental, scolding and afraid.
And that, not five young girls’ choreography, is the real shame.
But it isn’t just the choreography, it’s the entire performance. It’s the skimpy costumes designed to give the illusion of curves where children have none. It’s the sight of children undulating in distinctly un-childlike ways while mouthing lyrics about what men need to do to get laid. What kind of lesson is it to girls that the skimpiest, thrustiest routine wins?
If Ada Calhoun can’t understand the problem, it’s time for her to turn in her feminist card.
Originally published at David Horowitz’s NewsReal
Should surgeons promote an aesthetic standard for little girls’ genitals? Pediatric urologist Dix Poppas thinks so, and he’s more than happy to slice and dice away any deviations in the size and shape of your daughter’s clitoris.
This elective butchery of little girls isn’t based on the edict of some Muslim cleric in Yemen or Egypt. Instead, this is medical advice from a respected, board certified Cornell University researcher who performs these partial clitoridectomies on infants and children at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
Poppas carries out these surgical assaults on girls born with cosmetically atypical genitalia that he deems masculine or ambiguous in appearance. Some of his patients undergo this cosmetic procedure at under six months of age after Poppas tells their parents that with surgical “correction,” a “normal physiologic, emotional, and sexual development can be achieved.”
But is there evidence that girls with large clitorises are at risk of developmental problems? Not at all, say Alice Dreger and Ellen K. Feder in a new Bioethics Forum commentary:
For over a decade, many people (including us) have criticized this surgical practice. Critics in medicine, bioethics, and patient advocacy have questioned the surgery’s necessity, safety, and efficacy. We still know of no evidence that a large clitoris increases psychological risk (so is the surgery even necessary?), and we do know of substantial anecdotal evidence that it does not increase risk. Importantly, there also seems to be evidence that clitoroplasties performed in infancy do increase risk – of harm to physical and sexual functioning, as well as psychosocial harm.
This isn’t the equivalent of surgically treating a disabling cleft palate; it’s the risky, medically unnecessary reduction of a sexual organ. It doesn’t improve function or hygiene; instead, it jeopardizes future sexual sensation for the frivolous goal of ensuring these girls fit in with the other kids when they play “I’ll show you mine.”
Columnist Dan Savage writes, “There’s lots to be outraged about here: there’s nothing wrong with these girls and their healthy, functional-if-larger-than-average clitorises; there’s no need to operate on these girls; and surgically altering a girl’s clitoris because it’s “too big” has been found to do lasting physical and psychological harm.” And Slate‘s Rachael Larimore observes, “One doesn’t have to be a doctor to realize that this is nothing less than the same genital mutilation that women regularly undergo in Africa and the Middle East. But it’s happening at one of our top institutions of higher learning.”
Indeed, sterile blades and lip service paid to the preservation of clitoral sensation are the only things distinguishing this genital mutilation from the ritual excisions that permanently scar millions of women around the world.
Dr. Poppas contends that his clitoral reduction surgery isn’t misogynist quackery because it utilizes a “nerve-sparing” technique designed to minimize sexual dysfunction. How does he know? He uses vibrators to stimulate the girls’ clitorises during followup exams.
At annual visits after the surgery, while a parent watches, Poppas touches the daughter’s surgically shortened clitoris with a cotton-tip applicator and/or with a “vibratory device,” and the girl is asked to report to Poppas how strongly she feels him touching her clitoris. Using the vibrator, he also touches her on her inner thigh, her labia minora, and the introitus of her vagina, asking her to report, on a scale of 0 (no sensation) to 5 (maximum), how strongly she feels the touch. Yang, Felsen, and Poppas also report a “capillary perfusion testing,” which means a physician or nurse pushes a finger nail on the girl’s clitoris to see if the blood goes away and comes back, a sign of healthy tissue. Poppas has indicated in this article and elsewhere that ideally he seeks to conduct annual exams with these girls. He intends to chart the development of their sexual sensation over time.
I guess that’s one way to explain why you have a lifetime supply of Trojan Vibrating Touch personal massagers stashed in your closet: “But officer, they’re for the children!”
Unsurprisingly, Dreger and Feder were unable to find another pediatric urologist who uses this “ground breaking” post-surgical kiddie diddling technique. What’s more, Poppas knows that inflicting this sort of trauma on children is far beyond the bounds of acceptable scientific practice. That’s why he didn’t bother to obtain IRB approval for his unorthodox use of “vibratory devices.” Dreger explains:
If he had sought IRB approval for the “sensory testing,” the ethics staff might have sat up and asked him what the heck he thought he was doing to these girls, and they would have tried to make sure the parents were informed about the unknowns and risks, and the girls could have refused to participate.
Perhaps Dix Poppas (whose name could inspire an entire Freudian treatise) thinks his work is so important that ethical boundaries don’t apply. Maybe he’s simply a child molester who takes sadistic pleasure in mutilating and traumatizing the most vulnerable among us. Either way, we can’t allow his battery of little girls to go on, not for one more day.
Rosemary Kraemer, PhD
Director, Human Subjects Protections
Weill Cornell Medical College Institutional Review Board
Telephone: (646) 962-8200
Originally published at David Horowitz’s NewsReal Blog
Forget the nanny state. New York is well on its way to becoming the nanny-less state.
The Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights passed by the New York State Senate earlier this month is being sold as a package of workplace protections for nannies, housekeepers, and other domestic employees. But is the legislation really a human rights victory for low-wage women or is it a job-killer likely to burden both domestic workers and the families who employ them? Read more
Originally published at David Horowitz’s NewsReal
30-year-old Michael Lisk told police he had sex with his 13-year-old neighbor “too many times to count.” He said the rapes, which began when the girl was just 12, were “like a marriage where you have sex all the time.”
Twelve months of sexual abuse culminated in a horrific incident last week when the pregnant child jammed a lead pencil through her cervix to trigger an abortion. After three days of increasing pain, Lisk “advised her to ‘push hard’ when she got a strong contraction.” She delivered a stillborn baby boy into the toilet, and on Lisk’s advice, placed the body in a plastic bag and threw it into the backyard. He took the bag and buried it in the woods by his home.
The following day the girl’s mother took her to the hospital where medical staff discovered evidence of a recent pregnancy and notified police. Days later, the girl was violated yet again when the feminist Left turned her into the latest poster child for the abortion rights movement.
With absolutely no knowledge of this child’s situation, Jessica Wakeman at The Frisky insists parental consent laws are to blame for the gruesome home abortion.
One of the intentions behind these laws seems to be to let an adult know that their teenager is sexually active, presumably so they can intervene, or that their teenager has been raped, presumably so they can help them. In this case, those idealistic goals catastrophically failed.
It’s not hard to see how the fact that this 13-year-old girl needed parental consent for an abortion — which likely would have tipped them off to her 30-year-old friend/rapist — could have led her to do it herself.
Not that there’s any reason to believe this kid sought a medically-supervised abortion. And if she did? Any clinic near her home (and there are more than half a dozen within 30 miles) would have gleefully helped her stick it to the “anti-choicers” with a judicial bypass.
And heaven forfend a sexually active teen be forced to talk to her parents! Newsflash: most pregnant teens are afraid to tell their parents. That doesn’t mean parents don’t have a right to know.
Jill Filipovic at Feministe sees this child’s suffering as an opportunity to score points against pro-life groups:
[T]his girl obviously needed access to safe abortion care; if she had such access, she wouldn’t have had to self-induce abortion with a lead pencil. Abortion access would have lessened this tragedy by a significant degree. It’s shameful that, under the guise of caring about children and babies, anti-choice groups seek to limit abortion access for women and girls.
In Jill’s teen abortion fantasy, this child desperately wanted to terminate her pregnancy at the local Planned Parenthood, but the vast patriarchal conspiracy forced her to drive a sharpened piece of lead into her uterus instead. Cue the dream sequence sound effects. If only 13-year-olds could hit up the junior high vending machine for a dose of Mifepristone. Press 1 for Reese’s Pieces, press 2 for extra large cherry-flavored condoms, press 3 for abortifacient drugs. Why, abortion access like that would totally “have lessened this tragedy by a significant degree.”
There really are no words to fully address the depravity of this mindset.
The tragedy is that this child was betrayed, abused, or neglected by every single adult in her life. A child molester raped her more than a hundred times, impregnated her, and coached her through a do-it-yourself abortion by pencil. Reports suggest the fetus may have been “past 20 weeks gestation” but no one noticed or cared enough to help. And for three days after the self-induced abortion, no one realized she was ill.
A medically-supervised abortion might have lessened the trauma to the girl’s body, but to what “significant degree” would it diminish the tragedy? The life of a fetus that may have been past the point of viability was snuffed out in utero. A child who needed protection, guidance, and love got none of these things.
We may never know exactly why this kid risked her life to terminate her pregnancy. We may never know how many teachers, family members, and friends failed to keep her safe.
What we do know is that her decisions were influenced by a predator who wanted to destroy the evidence of his crime and ensure continued access to his vulnerable victim. Unrestricted access to abortion wouldn’t do a thing to change that, and neither will turning a child rape victim into a political football.
A month ago, few people outside of South Carolina knew of State Rep. Nikki Haley. But that didn’t stop her opponents from wetting themselves when Haley picked up some impressive endorsements and her gubernatorial campaign gained momentum.
Don’t worry, said their trusty consultants as they mopped up the puddles, a scarlet letter oughta finish her off. And if a little old fashioned slut-baiting doesn’t do the trick, we’ll just make sure everyone knows Nimrata Randhawa Haley is secret “raghead.” Trust us, the good ol’ boys in South Cackalacky know just how to handle a foreign lady who’s in our way.
And thus began their Hail Mary pass to sideline the uppity woman with the ethnic name.
Why bother? Because Haley’s record of fighting for transparent government is a direct threat to politics as usual at the Statehouse. South Carolina’s good ol’ boys are terrified that Haley will force on-the-record legislative voting, so they scraped the sewers for the scummiest strategy imaginable.
Up first was Will Folks, the fiancée-beating degenerate who titillated the drooling media with unsubstantiated tales of his “inappropriate physical relationship” with Haley. Haley has been married for 13 years and Folks claims the affair occurred in 2007.
News organizations from the New York Times to the Greenville News printed Folks’ allegations, dutifully including the contention that he was a longtime Haley cheerleader. Oddly, none of them mentioned that just after Haley announced her gubernatorial bid, Folks posted a mock interview in which he threatened her with violence:
You need to learn to count. And while you’re at it, shut your mouth. Don’t you know I beat up women, like all the time? Nikki, what I’m saying is that if you can’t beat these [inaudible] mouth-breathing, inbred knuckle-draggers with one hand tied behind your back then someone should raise a fist up against you.
What could have possibly motivated this fine upstanding gentleman to help undermine Haley’s candidacy? After all, entering a guilty plea on one criminal domestic violence charge couldn’t mean he’s got a problem with the ladies, now could it? Perhaps this diehard Haley supporter will come clean about his hatred of women in the book he’s currently shopping … if the price is right.
Next at bat was Larry Marchant, former employer of Will Folks and a paid consultant to gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer. Marchant just happened to pick the week before the primary to tell the world that he and Haley had a one night stand in 2008. The proof? Why, his word, that’s the proof! If it’s good enough for the media, it should be good enough for you.
Starting to see how this works?
Haley says she’s been 100 percent faithful to her husband throughout their marriage, and even promised to resign if any allegations are proven. But proof isn’t really the point. The point is to raise doubt about her virtue and leave voters with the indelible impression of a home wrecking hussy who sluts around Columbia with all sorts of sleazeballs.
And that impression is just fine with Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer. In a Friday press release, Bauer suggested that Haley take a lie detector test, presumably because a lying whore can’t be taken at her word. But a couple of jowly dudes talking smack about the hot chick they banged? Totally credible in Bauer’s neck of the gutter. As Melissa Clouthier noted, there is “deep misogyny” involved in this campaign to sink Haley.
As if the misogyny weren’t bad enough, Haley’s opponents are bringing other forms of bigotry into the mix. U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett’s team reportedly “discussed playing the religion card” against Haley (who his aides privately refer to as “Nimrata”). And Friday morning, a member of the Bauer campaign emailed supporters an article that asks:
After seeing how the faith issue hurt Mitt Romney and damaged Barack Obama to some extent as well, is Haley making a political decision by playing up her Christian faith (just like Obama did) and LOSING the Sikh emphasis?
Haley was raised Sikh and converted to Christianity. But again, that’s not really the point, is it? Haley’s religious roots are being emphasized in an attempt to paint her as a scary outsider, someone who can’t govern South Carolina because she isn’t like us.
“She’s a f#!king raghead,” Knotts said.
He later clarified his statement. He did not mean to use the F-word.
Knotts says he believed Haley has been set up by a network of Sikhs and was programmed to run for governor of South Carolina by outside influences in foreign countries. He claims she is hiding her religion and he wants the voters to know about it.
“We got a raghead in Washington; we don’t need one in South Carolina,” Knotts said more than once. “She’s a raghead that’s ashamed of her religion trying to hid it behind being Methodist for political reasons.”
Knotts, a Bauer supporter, says he’s called Haley a “raghead” a number of times and that he was just joking. He added, “I still believe Ms. Haley is pretending to be someone she is not, much as Obama did, but I apologize to both for an unintended slur.”
This isn’t the first time Knotts attempted the “I was joking” excuse to get out of a sticky situation. Here’s the ProQuest abstract of a Jun 6, 1996 Sentinel article titled “White Lawmaker Angers Blacks”:
Several black and white legislators objected when South Carolina state Rep Jake Knotts introduced amendments to the black monument bill that would have created monuments for Scottish-Americans, Polish-Americans and others. Knotts later announced that he had only been joking about the bill.
Oh, but there’s more. In 2003, Knotts worked himself into a frenzy over a group of Somali Bantu refugees who were going to be “dumped” in his district. He insisted the 40-50 Bantu children would “lower our SAT scores and our accountability.” (The State, Jun 28, 2003)
Hmm, seems like the persecuted immigrants didn’t need to bring any stupid. Knotts made sure there was plenty to go around.
With a despicable history like that, would it be surprising if we learned that political operatives sent Knotts to tape a live talk show knowing that he wouldn’t bother to self-censor his bigotry? Is is out of the realm of possibility that they wanted–even encouraged–him to blow the dog whistle, alerting fellow bigots to the “raghead” in our midst?
Just like allegations of adultery were intended to tap into existing voter misogyny, these religious and ethnic slurs were designed to exploit voter bigotry. Bigotry that doesn’t exist at anywhere near the levels bigots think it does.
When Nikki Haley launched her campaign in May 2009, reporter John O’Connor wrote, “To become governor, Haley will have to overcome questions about her Indian heritage and whether S.C. voters will accept a woman chief executive.”
A year later, Haley is leading the race. I guess she overcame those questions more easily than her opponents hoped. Now it’s time to focus on the issues that matter to the people of South Carolina.
Full disclosure: I am a volunteer with Nikki Haley’s gubernatorial campaign.
A few weeks ago, I was a guest on The Smart Girl Report hosted by Jenny Erikson.
Jenny, Lori Ziganto, and I discussed female genital mutilation (FGM), faux feminism, whether we should care if a woman is nominated to the Supreme Court, and our favorite South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley. There may have also been some uncomfortable talk about girl parts and boy parts. Good times!