Today, several sources ask us to think again about issues of interest to Pagans: women's equality and animal cruelty.
Modesty or Control?
Ann K. Ream writes about "a fashion trend that pushes anti-feminist values (and) sends a dangerous message to young women" in an article in the L.A. Times titled The False Modesty Movement.
What is it about the growing "modesty movement" that makes me so nervous? On the face of it, there's a lot to like about a girl-driven "revolution" that offers an alternative to the in-your-face fashion popularized by the Britneys and Bratz of the world. When a statement T-shirt can turn a girl from a subject to an object -- "I'm blond. I don't need to be good at math" -- in no time flat, who could argue that a return to sartorial decency is in order?
......One of the most vocal advocates for a return to female modesty is, perhaps not surprisingly, a man. In his book, "Manliness," Harvard University professor Harvey Mansfield argues that women, in demanding equality inside and outside the home, have created a crisis for men.
Her article reminded me of this quip; a tart summation of the advice some men like to give to women:
In short, my deary, kiss me and be quiet.
- Lady Montagu
Links - Modesty Movement
Pro & Con: Is the Modesty Movement Necessary?
Girls Gone Mild (MSNBC)
Dog Fighting In the U.S. - The Michael Vick case
Jemele Hill of ESPN writes about the Michael Vick case in her letter to young black men titled Bottom Line: Vick Did This To Himself
As the Vick case shows, millions of dollars are little protection if a certain mentality remains. Until now, Vick was considered one of the lucky ones. He rose out of poverty to become one of the most mesmerizing athletes of our time. He went from nothing to millions. He wasn't the American dream, but the American reality. He had the support of a city, of a people and he struck a chord with many young, black men because they saw themselves in him -- rebellious, strong and heroic.
But Vick let you down. He betrayed you. He heightened the stereotypes of black men instead of eroding them. Racists certainly will feast on Vick, but he was the one who made himself an entrée.Greg Couch of the Chicago Sun Times wonders How Many More Vicks Are There?
The thing that's starting to bother me is this: Exactly how many athletes are into dogfighting?
It's starting to smell like this is not just a Vick thing, but something much bigger. How can anyone possibly be trying to defend this guy, to equate what he did with something in the mainstream?
And why would they?
At one point in this whole Vick mess, Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis said: ''It's his property, it's his dog. If that's what he wants to do, do it. People should mind their own business.''
Portis also suggested dogfighting can be found almost anywhere.
Just a hunch, but maybe we're going to start hearing about other dogfighting rings involving NFL players.
As these recent examples show, the high incidence of animal abuse cases in the NFL indicates a disturbing trend that needs to be addressed immediately:
- Earlier this year, Vick's teammate Jonathan Babineaux was accused of inflicting blunt force trauma on his girlfriend's dog, Kilo, following an argument. Kilo died after reaching the emergency vet clinic.
- In 2004, NFL running back LeShon Johnson was found guilty for his involvement in a massive dogfighting ring.
- In 2001, former Eagles running back Thomas Hamner was twice charged with beating his dog and has been convicted of animal cruelty
|Click here to watch boxing champ Lamon Brewster's|
PSA Against Dogfighting.
|PETA is offering a $5,000 reward for|
information leading to the arrest and conviction
of anyone involved in dogfighting. Click here to
Click Here and use this form to ask the NFL to take cases of animal abuse seriously in the future by updating its personal conduct policy
Update: 8/23 The BBC News has just posted an article on the brutal culture of dog fighting in the U.S. - Warning: This article is not for sensitive readers.
Evidence gathered by animal welfare groups suggests that, despite the fact dog fighting is illegal in all 50 US states, it is both widespread and growing.
An estimated 40,000 people in the US are thought to be involved in "professional" dog fighting, using some 250,000 dogs.....there is evidence to suggest that its growth nationally is related to its adoption as a part of violent street culture.
John Goodwin, an expert on animal fighting for the Humane Society, says one way to track the prevalence of dog fighting is to monitor the number of pit bulls coming into animal rescue shelters.
Whereas 15 years ago 2-3% of the dogs brought in were pit bulls, the breed now makes up 30% of the total nationally and 50% in some areas, he said. One shelter in Mississippi reported taking in 300 pit bulls, of which 60% had scars indicating they had fought.
"Urban areas are where a lot of the growth has been and the shelters get inundated with the castaways from dog fighting," Mr Goodwin ads. "Dog fighting has become popular in gang culture."Support your local animal groups and help get dog fighting out of your neighborhood. Report any suspicions you may have to your local animal control, the Humane Society or the ASPCA.
Update 8/29/07: Chewed up Michael Vick cards sell for $7,400 online, proceeds to go to Humane Society
A page about Pit Bulls from the Partnership for Animal Welfare
Pit Bull Saves Girl From Assult
Off the Shelf
Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time
In 1993, Mortenson was sheltered for seven weeks by the small Pakistani village of Korphe; in return, he promised to build the impoverished town's first school, a project that grew into the Central Asia Institute, which has since constructed more than 50 schools across rural Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mortenson and Relin argue that the United States must fight Islamic extremism in the region through collaborative efforts to alleviate poverty and improve access to education, especially for girls.