“Our Boys will be Boys”—New York Times Article In Cleveland, Texas, an 11-year old-girl was gang raped by more than twenty men ranging from amiddle school age to a 27 year-old man. According to police statements, the young victim was invited bya 19-year-old boy for a ride in his car. Soon afterwards, she was led to an empty house, owned by one ofthe suspects, where she was forced to strip under duress and raped by several men. However, the sus-pects were interrupted by one of their relative’s coming home early which forced them to transfer thevictim to an abandoned trailer, where she was continuously raped and videotaped. Although this tragicevent took place last Thanksgiving, charges were not made until March 7th after video of her being rapedwent viral. With this evidence, eighteen of her attackers were found thus far and charged. The young vic-tim has also transferred school districts. However, it was not the story itself that developed high cover-age, but the New York Times article that covered it, which sparked interest and debate. The New York Times is known as a national newspaper, well-known for its prestige and reliability.Also, they have gained a reputation for being unbiased. On March 8th, The New York Times article enti-tled “Vicious Assault Shakes Texas Town” by James C. McKinley Jr. went under fire for not having a bal-ance of opinion in his article. In his article, McKinley Jr. focused on the suspects rather than on the victim.He says, “five of the suspects are students at a nearby high school, two are members of the basketballteam, and a 21-year-old suspect is the son of a school board member”. However, the only informationprovided about the victim is her age. From the beginning, the author exposes the suspect’s statuseswhile creating doubt for the reader. The victim has already disappeared from this article as well as thecompassion for what she has endured. McKinley Jr. continued on with quotes from Cleveland residents that criticize the victim ratherthan her attackers. The residents’ quotes recalled the young victim dressing, “older than her age, wearingmakeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20’s. She would hang out with teenage boysat a playground.” This quote implied that her lifestyle was why she was raped. In many cases when awoman is raped, society and media can’t help but ask why she was walking around by herself rather thanacknowledge her right to do so was violated. Instead of blaming the men for raping this young girl, onebystander says, “Where was her mother? What was her mother thinking?” This statement suggests thatthe victim’s mother is at fault for her daughter’s rape, but no one asked where the suspect’s motherswere in order to blame them for their sons’ actions. Another resident states that, “these boys have tolive with this the rest of their lives.” No one mentions this 11-year-old girl who has been gang raped andvideotaped will also live with this for the rest of her life. Even though this young girl is forever trauma-tized, the residents of Cleveland, Texas are concerned for the impact this will cause on the boys and thecommunity. However, no one addresses the fact that these boys made a conscience decision to rape this11-year-old girl. These boys believed they were entitled to the young victim’s body and should be heldaccountable for their actions. Another portion of the article asks, “If the allegations are proved, how could young men havebeen drawn into such an act?” The New York Times writer, James C. McKinley Jr., has shamefully includ-ed this quote which implies something encouraged these young men to act out. Due to these factors, thisNew York Times article is indirectly blaming the victim and giving the excuse, ‘boys will be boys’ to itsreaders about the attackers. ‘Boys will be Boys’ is an old time saying coined by society in order to excusecertain male behaviors. Lastly, the word “rape” is avoided throughout the article because the reader istold that “the girl had been forced to have sex,” she was “sexually assaulted,” and she was threatenedwith violence if she “didn’t comply.” Not even the article’s title mentioned rape.
James C. McKinley Jr. and Erica Goode released a new article “3-Month Nightmare Emerges inRape Inquiry” on March 11th to replace his previous bias article on the news story. In the new article,McKinley Jr. and Goode retold the events, but with a more balanced story and a 3 page article. They re-told the story from the beginning with in depth details about the victim and quotes from her father, Juan,about the incidents. The New York Times article gives details and names of the suspects as well as men-tioned that the victim’s family is in immediate danger, which is the reason they have changed districts.However, the seed has already been planted previously by NYT that this young girl was an enabler to herown rape. Either way the victim loses even though she was the one helplessly violated.
A Cosey Corner (1884): Francis Davis Miller (1846-1912)In the midst of January, we have encountered many different types of snow storms. On Tuesday after-noon, after an ice shower I went to the library with my classmates and professor to view paintings andsculptures that we wanted to write about. There were many people present, some tourists and fellowNew Yorkers, out on a cold day to explore the Metropolitan Museum of Art. As we explored the museum,I couldn’t find a sculpture or artwork that reached out to me because everything seemed so common ornot worth my time. Suddenly I came upon a painting featuring a young girl, dressed in nineteenth centuryfashion, sitting in a nook near the window of an old fashioned kitchen while reading beside an open fire.The lower left side corner of the oil painting was signed F.D. Millet 1884. Once I caught sight of this pic-ture I immediately warmed up as I gazed at her open fire and her relaxed position in the nook of herkitchen. The more I viewed the painting the more she came to life. I began to imagine her life back then inthe nineteenth century and she became real to me, as real as the fire lite in her kitchen. In that moment Ilonged for my own “Cosey Corner” on that cold January afternoon in the Met. Francis Davis Millet, an American painter of “A Cosey Corner”, was born at Mattapoisett, Mass, onNovember 3rd, 1846. Apart from his previous participation in the Civil War, Millet graduated from Harvardin 1869 and entered the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium, two years later. Eventually, hereturned to the States and began painting murals. During the Russian Turkish War of 1877-78, Milletserved his country again by becoming a war correspondent between America and England. Soon after hisinvolvement, he was appointed as one of the American members to the international art jury for the ParisExposition of 1878. The following year, Francis Millet married Elizabeth Merrill, a sister of Frank’s friend from Harvard.His accomplishments grew over the years, everything from becoming a member of the society of Ameri-can Artists to a trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. After exhibiting art at the Salon in Paris andthe Royal Academy in London, Millet served his country once again by going to the Philippines as a warcorrespondent. When he was done serving for his country, Millet booked first class passage on the RoyalMail Ship Titanic to return home to his family on Sunday April 14th, 1912. However, the following morningafter at 2:20 the ship collided with an iceberg causing it to sink within hours to the bottom of the coldNorth Atlantic Ocean. From eye witness accounts, Millet was last seen assisting women and children intolifeboats. He died leaving behind his beautiful dear wife Elizabeth and their four children. Many of hispaintings are still popular and featured today, such as “A Cosey Corner” in New York City’s MET and“Between Two Fires” in London’s Tate gallery, London. “A Cosey Corner” by Francis Davis Millet, painted in 1884, depicts the social and political role ofwomen during the nineteenth century. Throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth century, womenwere subjected to a list of inequalities due to their sex, such as not having the right to vote or own. Earlyin the 1800’s women were not allowed the right to continued education after grammar schools. Mostwomen who were interested in continuing their education continued to do so privately because they hadto perpetuate the idea that woman are non-intellectual, feeble and sensitive creatures. Even in politics,men were viewed as logical and women as emotional creatures who reason with their sensibility ratherthan sense. However, it was later in the nineteenth century that women colleges began to emergethroughout the United States and young girls were jumping at the opportunity to be educated. As womenstarted to become formally educated, others began to speak out against issues, such as woman’ssuffrage, slavery and alcoholism.
Due to the factors of the time this painting was created in, I have interpreted “A Cosey Corner” as evi-dence of the fixed conception of young girls and women in the eighteenth century. This portrait showsthe young lady eager to continue her education, but she is forced to hide her intellectual capacity athome as she reads in her kitchens. The kitchen represents her restrictions to her environment becauseduring her time period a woman’s place was ‘in the kitchen’. This oil painting reveals the suffrage of wom-en yet the rising of them as many more continue to aspire to learn more about their surroundings andsubjects that were withheld from them due to their sex.
Excerpt from Superbad: A feminist film In accordance with Millar’s article, Superbad was created in response to the Commodity Model that“reinforces patriarchal sex roles and constructs, and it allows for the construction of the concept of slut-hood” (Millar 35). Millar acknowledges that the Commodity Model requires “one person to ‘give it up’ andthe other to want to ‘get some.’ The ‘it’ and ‘some’ being the paradigmatic commodity: crudely, pus-sy” (Millar 35). However, Superbad reverts the Commodity Model to denounce the reinforcement and theconcept of sluthood by using Jules and Evan’s character to defy those norms. Seth wants Jules to ‘givesomething up;’ however, she doesn’t give in because she expects more. Becca seeks out Evan so she can‘tget some,’ but Evan wants to build a relationship on something more. By doing this, both characters openlyreinforced the Performance model, which concentrates on more of the sexual act itself. Although Evan andJules are attracted to their partners, they want the circumstances to be different in order to engage in anytype of sexual activity, therefore they are putting more importance on the act itself. Superbad also deconstructs social and gender norms in regards to masculinity. Society has built up thefollowing characteristics in response to male masculinity: men are strong physically and emotionally, menare more logical in moments of crisis, and men don’t cry. The movie is focused around the co-dependentfriendship of Seth and Evan. From the beginning of the film it is obvious to viewers that Seth and Evancare deeply about one another, but they make sure they don’t show those emotions openly. When they en-counter other high school seniors who inquire where they are attending college and after Seth and Evan saythey are going to different schools, they are continuously asked how they will cope without one another.Even though both boys deny any hesitation about going to different schools, they are awkward every timethe issue is brought up due to the fact that they have a strong attachment to each other. In one scene later onin the film, Seth and Evan have a huge argument about losing each other and attending different schools. Inthis instance, they begin to expose all the hidden emotions they have kept others from seeing because theydeemed it as unfit to share it with the outside world. This is the first time Superbad begins to deconstructthe social norms surrounding masculinity. In another scene, after Seth and Evan escape the house party following a police raid they return homeand lay side by side in their sleeping bag. Both boys are drunk and begin recapping their experiences of thatnight, during their recap they start admitting how much they care for one another. Seth says, “I fucking loveyou, too, man! I’m not embarrassed, I just love you!” (Superbad), his statement insinuates his bold expres-sion of feelings should make him feel embarrassed because it is not socially acceptable for him to say suchthings aloud especially to another man. The ending is important as Seth and Evan are together in the mall and encounter Jules and Becca. Afterspeaking for a while, Seth goes off with Jules and Evan goes off with Becca in different directions whilethey are separating they gaze at each other longingly. This is important because even after the deconstruc-tion of gender norms in Superbad everyone ends up happy from the outcome.