Read Into It: Sarah Silverman on Rape Culture

Late last week, Sarah Silverman retweeted a satirical twist on real-world lists that have circulated for years purporting to advise women on how to avoid being raped.  Silverman’s post shifted the focus to men and jokingly relayed what they could do to prevent themselves from becoming attackers.


And the social media backlash ensued.

To paraphrase the general consensus of the outrage, men who were angered by Silverman’s tweet felt its content perpetuated the generalization that all men are predisposed to rape.

In response, I would like to thank the twittersphere for so perfectly proving her (what I believe to be thinly-veiled) point, because their reaction is exactly the kind of short-sighted, flawed thinking that this post was intended to call attention to.

I bet what these fellas don’t know is that lists actually exist that advise women to urinate, pass gas, or claim they have a disease to fend off a potential rape attack. It’s these real-life lists that suggest that men have an inherent proclivity to rape women that all men must be protected from, not the comedic take used by Silverman to bring attention to this fallacy.

To be completely explicit for anyone still choosing to apply strict constructionism to Silverman’s post, Silverman was not making a joke about rape. She was using comedy as a tool to make the broader social statement that rape culture focuses on what the victim can do to prevent “inevitable” attack, rather than holding attackers responsible for their deviant actions. It’s a powerful message conveyed in an easily digestible package, in the format of satire, which is not anything new. See for yourself via CNN’s headline on the rape-prevention topic, and don’t tell me for one second you think CNN actually advises that women make themselves vomit to fend off attackers.

So what’s the takeaway here? Let’s stop giving social-media-ites a bad name. Don’t take the easy way out and get riled up over the literal interpretation of one comedian’s tweet. Let’s all make a concerted effort to participate in the deeper dialogue and not take every 140-character sound bite at face value. And let’s start placing blame where blame is due, on the criminals who perpetrate sexual violence on others.



The Lovely Lawyer

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Don’t Do as the Romans Do

I find it so interesting that we all tend to get so reflective on New Year’s Eve,  as we feel this is the one chance we get every 365 days to really make things right in our lives. So many of us look to the start of the new year as a sort of “fresh start” or as a panacea for all of our troubles, when in reality, it’s just another day, made up of moments like every other day that has led us to where we are now, be blessed or be damned.

yearfromnowTime marches on and when the clock strikes 12:01 am on January 1, 2015, it will still be the same tomorrow you would have had if this was some non-descript midweek night in March, or any other month. The fact of the matter is that your troubles will all still be there tomorrow, because the past doesn’t magically disappear with a ball drop or a fireworks display, as much as we may want it to.

So take stock if you must, but do so knowing that every day you have the power to change your circumstances. Every. Single. Day.  In case no one ever told you, you don’t have to wait for some arbitrary date that was preselected for you by the ancient Roman Senate in 153 BC to get your life together.

The only way to change the things that you don’t like is to own your actions, or lack thereof, and the effect they have on you and the people you love, and to act consciously towards your desired end every day. So yes, make 2015 count. But just make it all count.



The Lovely Lawyer

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I’m A Barbie Girl

A new study published today in the journal “Sex Roles” purports to claim that young girls who play with Barbie dolls have limited career ambitions for themselves. That seems like a pretty tenuous link to me, but let’s explore it a bit further anyway. Here’s the basic lowdown of the findings that were published, as repBarbiesorted by Oregon State University, which funded the research:

Girls ages 4 to 7 were randomly assigned to play with one of three dolls: a fashion Barbie with dress and high-heeled shoes; a career Barbie with a doctor’s coat and stethoscope; or a Mrs. Potato Head with accessories such as purses and shoes. Mrs. Potato Head was selected as a neutral doll because the toy is similar in color and texture, but doesn’t have the sexualized characteristics of Barbie.

After a few minutes of play, the girls were asked if they could do any of 10 occupations when they grew up. They were also asked if boys could do those jobs. Half of the careers were traditionally male-dominated and half were female-dominated.

Girls who played with Barbie answered that they could do fewer jobs than boys could do. But girls who played with Mrs. Potato Head reported nearly the same number of possible careers for themselves and for boys.

Based on these reported results, on the surface, one might say that Barbie exudes an inherently negative message that women are less capable in the career world than men.  I, however, think the takeaway message here is much more subtle.

Let me pull out some lingo from my Ohio University days in Elementary Research Techniques class.  In my opinion, what we have here is a spurious relationship.  A spurious relationship is when two things appear to be directly related, but there’s actually a third unseen factor at play, also known as a lurking variable, that is the true cause of the scenario.

Doctor BarbieLet’s take a closer look at what’s really going on here. Yes, some little girls played with Barbies, and yes, some little girls identified fewer jobs as possible choices for themselves than boys.  But does that necessarily mean it’s Barbie’s fault? I think the end result here of perceived limited career prospects probably has more to do with the meaning that outside influences in these girls’ lives have placed on the “sexualized” characteristics of Barbie (aka the fact that she has boobs, unlike Mrs. Potato Head), rather than any wrongdoing on the part of Mattel.

I think it’s quite likely that the little girls in this study identify with Barbie, a social symbol of beauty, and that they also identify beauty with a lack of intellectual ability.   It’s then possible that based on the feeling that they can’t be both beautiful and intelligent, subconsciously the little girls who had just finished playing with Barbie chose beauty over intelligence, and limited their view of potential career choices accordingly.

What I’m saying here, in a lot less words, is that the problem isn’t Barbie. The problem is that society paints a picture that pretty people can’t do stuff.

Case in point: a woman who shall remain nameless recently referred to me as “Malibu BarbBarbie has everythingie with a law license” in what I’m assuming was an effort to insult me, or cut me down. The reality of the situation is that I’d be doing well to be Malibu Barbie, with or without a law license! Malibu Barbie gets shit done! She’s a doctor, a veterinarian, she’s been to the moon, she drivers a convertible and she owns her own dream house! It’s Barbie’s dream house, not Ken’s dream house, people, and she holds all those titles without ever missing a root touch-up or a nail appointment!

What all of that boils down to is that Barbie is my freaking idol! Let’s stop projecting our prejudices onto Barbie, and attributing ideas to her that by all representations she clearly doesn’t condone.  Embrace the fact that it’s perfectly acceptable to be appearance-conscious AND intelligent, friends.

PS If anyone from Mattel is reading this, PLEASE hop in your time machine and come out with 2010’s Graduation Barbie so I can complete my collection which currently consists of only 2006 and 2003! Please and thank you. Smart is Sexy! World peace!


The Lovely Lawyer

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Secret Surgery

I think Plastic Surgery should be renamed.  It’s a misnomer anyway because they don’t really use plastic. But aside from that, I think Plastic Surgery would much more aptly be referred to as Secret Surgery instead. Since It’s so often treated as a matter of national security, the rename just makes too much sense.

Secret Surgery is such an interesting phenomenon. We fill 1045lips1our lips, freeze our wrinkles, pump up our busts and clip our noses, but no one wants to admit it!  People want to masquerade around like they fell from the sky looking like a perfect angel, but why?  Should it be a source of shame that a person wasn’t born looking exactly the way they want to look?

We just can’t help that these self-perceived “afflictions” befall us,  and the fact of the matter is that we live in a world where if you’re not happy with the way you look, and you want to change it, you can. People dye their hair because they’re not happy with the hair color they were born with, and no one bats an eye lash.  Speaking of eye lashes, can we talk about the plethora of options available to enhance just this two-inch piece of real estate on our faces? Strip lashes, individual lashes, lash extensions, creams to grow your lashes longer, lash tinting… and mascara counts too! Would you lie about wearing mascara? I think not. So why do people lie about having plastic surgery?

The main reason I’m so against “Secret Surgery” is that I feel it breeds hypocrisy. It sets an unrealistic standard for “natural beauty” and quite frankly, it’s a unique form of lying.  Remember the story about the guy who made headlines for suing his wife, and winning, over having an “ugly” baby? As the story went, the wife had had over $100,000 worth of “Secret Surgery” before she met her husband, and as a result their eventual children looked nothing like her! Later reports called the accuracy of this story into question, but the idea isn’t so unfathomable.
 Let me go on the record saying that I wear mascara. I am one of those people that looks waaaaaaaay better with makeup on, so I wear lots of other makeup besides mascara, too. I also get my hair highlighted, get spray tans (Bronzed by Bentley… check it out, not kidding.)… and as of right now, I have implants.

The irony of my situation is that, if you watched The Drama Queen, you know I had surgery just over 3 months ago to downsize my implants, and now tomorrow I am going back under the knife to have them completely removed.  Who knew dropping down from 420 cc’s to 250 cc’s would still leave me with a freakin’ huge rack! Until tomorrow, I’m still a C, and sometimes a D cup!  After tomorrow though, I’ll hopefully be back to my former B cup self, and look a lot more proportional for my size. But let me also say that I’m terrified that the end result will leave me with the dreaded “pancake” boobs… here’s hoping I avoid that pitfall with the help of a fancy little stitch that my surgeon calls an “internal lift.”

sad pancakeFor me personally, being open about having had plastic surgery in the first place, and then having it again to try and undo that surgery, has made me the subject of quite a bit of ridicule (also, that hypocrisy I was talking about… yeah, watch The Drama Queen…). That’s ok though, because I know that if you have something done, and you’re open about it, people will be open about their opinions on what you’ve had done. But guess what? That’s FINE!

Let me let you in on a little secret… whether they share them with you or not, people are going to have opinions about what you do, anyway!  My grandma Lynne (my Dad’s Mom) always told me that opinions are like assholes. Everybody’s got one and most of ’em stink. So who cares what people think of your decisions?  Just own them!

love your decisionsIn my opinion, an easy way to make the world a better place is to let your Plastic Surgery flag fly!



The Lovely Lawyer

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About The Lovely Lawyer

Everyone has probably heard about a million lawyer jokes… I get it, they’re funny! They’re funny because they’re rooted in truth. Lots of people don’t like lawyers for a lot of really good reasons… they can be a little boring, they seem to know how to talk their way around anything, they’re freaking expensive… the list goes on! But here’s the thing about me… I’m the lawyer you actually you like!

Maybe it’s because I went to law school, or maybe it’s because I’m a middle child with a tendency to be the peacemaker, but I just so happen to be the person in my friends’ lives that they go to for advice. And I have to say I give really good advice! Now, I don’t always take my own advice, but that’s another story.  It’s kind of like how they say the lawyer who represents herself has a fool for a client… I digress. The point is, I’m here for you!

I have had the pleasure (and the pain) of having lots of varied life experiences up until this point, so odds are I’ve been in your position before, and I have an opinion on almost everything, so that’s what you’ll find in my blog, The Lovely Lawyer… The Lawyer You Actually Like!  I’ll give you great advice on lots of things, legal and otherwise, and I’ll do it for free! And I’ll also throw in some funny stories about the crazy random things that happen to my friends and me, because I live in Hollywood, and let’s face it, the shit that I see is pretty funny!


Stephanie aka The Lovely Lawyer

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