An elegant response to an offensive tweet by Fox talking head Ann Coulter.

The World of Special Olympics

The following is a guest post in the form of an open letter from Special Olympics athlete and global messenger John Franklin Stephens to Ann Coulter after this tweet during last night’s Presidential debate.

Dear Ann Coulter,

Come on Ms. Coulter, you aren’t dumb and you aren’t shallow.  So why are you continually using a word like the R-word as an insult?

I’m a 30 year old man with Down syndrome who has struggled with the public’s perception that an intellectual disability means that I am dumb and shallow.  I am not either of those things, but I do process information more slowly than the rest of you.  In fact it has taken me all day to figure out how to respond to your use of the R-word last night.

I thought first of asking whether you meant to describe the President as someone who was bullied as a child…

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Mansplaining Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney’s Burn Binder

Or, why I love the internet.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term “mansplaining,” a good definition is laid out here.”Mansplaining is when a dude tells you, a woman, how to do something you already know how to do, or how you are wrong about something you are actually right about, or miscellaneous and inaccurate “facts” about something you know a hell of a lot more about than he does.” –

So so many of these Paul Ryan memes are perfect examples of this phenomenon, which is why this tumblr works so well.

Also, the Mitt Romney Burn Binder is comedic gold. Perfect intersection of politics and pop culture.

Thanks internet, you make depressing political cycles bearable.

What are some of your favorites from the paul ryan tumblr?

Fair and Balanced

Just a quick post, saw this today and it made me laugh, especially given the documentary we watched in class last week. 

Apparently, this is from a recent episode of the Simpsons that re-imagined Fox’s slogan (“Fair and Balanced”). There’s even a bit right after someone steps off the helicopter where it starts crashing and the pilot yells, “We’re unbalanced! It’s unfair!”

Any thoughts?Image

“If someone you know is contracepting, tell them to STOP. It will destroy them.”

“You Deserve to Know the Truth: Contraception”

I know this video is pretty long (~13 minutes) but man is it hilarious. Aside from the overuse of the non-word “contracepting,” the things that it attributes to birth control are pretty amazing as well.

(If you don’t have 13 minutes of your life to waste watching it, jezebel did a pretty great breakdown of the plot. “‘Birth Control Is Turning the Men Gay!’ 14 Lessons from the Most Bizarre Anti-Contraception Video Ever”

Birth control turned monkeys gay! Birth control will make men find you less sexy! Birth control killed millions of babies! Birth control stole Christmas!

This is just the latest thing I’ve seen recently in the media regarding how birth control is ruining everything, and frankly, I don’t get it. As a 21 year old who wants to be able to attend college, start a career, and have healthy sexual relationships, birth control is great. I understand that some people think that people should wait until they’re married to be sexually active, but what I don’t understand is how they think that all people should be forced to follow their narrow set of rules and morality. It’s condescending, rude, invasive, and I’m sick of it.

PS. I’m also very tired of the idea of fertilized egg= person, but that’s a subject worthy of its own post.

Gender Bias in Science

This morning as I checked Facebook, 2 of my female friends here at MIT had shared this article.

It essentially shows a study conducted where a hypothetical candidate for a lab manager position was presented to hiring groups, with the only change being a “male” name or a “female” name, and the female candidate was consistently ranked lower in hireability, mentoring, and competency.

As a soon-to-be graduate of MIT, seeing this kind of study is very discouraging. Again, it strikes on the quote from Charlotte Whitton, “Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good.”

Without my morning dose of social media, I would probably not have come across this study, though my morning would’ve arguably been less disappointing.


Good luck at the career fair everyone!


Chicks and Flicks

Last Wednesday was the first day of WGS.111 Gender and Media. We talked about different types of media and examined our own use of media.

I use the internet daily, to check email, read the news, check my facebook, and share videos or articles I think are funny or important. Speaking of, if you haven’t seen these, check them out. Hilarious Amazon reviews of Bic For Her Pens.

I’ve been pretty plugged in since I got a smartphone and can check my email or look things up anytime. I also crochet and bake a lot, so I’m a member of some communities that have free patterns and recipes. I watch tv shows and movies on Netflix pretty regularly too. I don’t listen to the radio much when I’m at school but my mom loves NPR and will call me and tell me about something cool she heard that day. I use Skype to stay connected with my boyfriend and family.

In class, we watched a documentary called Miss Representation. It was about how women are represented in media in the US and how this can affect kids growing up exposed to these messages.

I enjoyed the musical choices in this film. It opened with a montage of women’s bodies being used in ads with the song Help I’m Alive by Metric. The line “If I stumble, they’re going to eat me alive” really resonated with the idea presented in this documentary that women rarely occupy positions of real power and they are heavily scrutinized when they do. There was another Metric song later, Gold Guns Girls, that has a line “All the gold and the guns in the world/ couldn’t get you off” which fit well with that point in the documentary when they were discussing advertising and women in ads.

Overall, this documentary highlighted for me the lack of female presence in positions of power and got me riled up and ready to make changes. I definitely went home and worked on my absentee ballot registration for Texas for this November. To see that women still only comprise 17% of the House of Representatives and the Senate is just baffling to me. If we comprise 51% of the population, how is it that we are still so underrepresented in Congress?

The film presented this as an issue of how the media portrays women in powerful roles. There was a part with Katie Couric that talked about how the media was very interested in what she was wearing, who she was dating, but how that generally wouldn’t happen to her male colleagues. Or how Hilary Clinton was portrayed during her 2008 Presidential campaign: as a ball-breaker (literally, with a joke nutcracker), as a bitch, as too emotional for the office when she cried once at a speaking engagement, as scandalous for revealing some small amount of cleavage, etc. The idea was that women who run for office or choose to enter the public sphere undergo a much harsher level of scrutiny than men. One of the women interviewed quoted Charlotte Whitton in saying “Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult.”

Seeing all the interviews with powerful women and impassioned girls gave me hope that there can be meaningful change. It seems that with each generation, we have more and more women pursuing the positions of power that can in turn inspire more young people to have a different outlook on gender roles in our society.

I’d definitely recommend this documentary to anyone, as these issues affect us all.

Until next week,