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Law and Justice in Real Time Sexual Violence and Patriarchy

Oscar Pistorius: Perceptions of Disability and Masculinity

Now that you all already know the main facts of the Oscar Pistorius’ case — that he fatally shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2013, in the bathroom of his estate in Pretoria, South Africa – and especially now that the sentence has changed, I thought that I would delve deeper into Oscar Pistorius’ intent on murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. I think that we can all agree that Oscar Pistorius shot through the bathroom of his estate four times and that his girlfriend ended up dead because of it; however, there has been some controversy over whether the homicide was pre-meditated, with him knowing full well that his girlfriend was in the bathroom, or if it was accidental, with him thinking that an intruder was in the house, just chilling out in the bathroom with the door shut. It is completely possible that an intruder could have been in the house that night, given the high crime rate, especially in gated communities. The following image states the order of events that happened the night of the shooting.

Source: National Post,
Source: National Post,

From here on out, I am going to assume that his testimony of what happened that night was completely truthful. However, regardless of whether he thought that he was shooting an intruder or if he thought that he was shooting Reeva Steenkamp, his intentions were the same. There was no way that he could shoot a person four times through a small bathroom with nowhere to go and not kill them. However, the act of grabbing a gun when he heard sounds coming from the bathroom was likely the result of the fact that he was disabled and was more likely to experience fear and feel that his life was being threatened.

Q: Is the fact that Oscar Pistorius is disabled an excuse for him to kill his girlfriend? Are there any excuses for him for shooting Reeva Steenkamp?

No, even though disabled people feel more threatened than able-bodied individuals due to the fact that when they are in high-stress situations, they are less mobile and less likely to get out of the situation, just because he does not have the bottom half of his legs is no excuse to committing murder. He still has two working eyes and he could see if his girlfriend was in bed with him before shooting up a bathroom door.

It is also believed that Pistorius’ disability led him to feel emasculated, because disability is often considered feminine. He used women, sports, and guns to develop his masculinity. He was involved in relationships with attractive blonde women to satisfy any inadequacies in his life. He probably engaged in younger, thin, blonde women thinking that they would be insecure and that he could diminish his insecurities by controlling them and being the “man” in the relationship.

The Most Important Question: Did the emasculation from his disability cause Oscar Pistorius to shoot Reeva Steenkamp?

Q: If you were in the same situation as Oscar Pistorius, would you do the same thing that he did? Why or why not?

Personally, I would not have done what he did. First, I would have looked to see if my significant other was still in bed and then when I saw that she was not in bed, I would have just assumed that it was her in the bathroom and gone back to sleep.



Abrahams, N., Jewkes, R., & Matthews, S. (2010). Guns and Gender-Based Violence in South Africa. South African Medical Journal, 100 (9), 586-588. Retrieved from

Breetzke, G. D., & Cohn, E. G. (2013). Burglary in Gated Communities: An Empirical Analysis Using Routine Activities Theory. International Criminal Justice Review, 23 (1), 56-74. DOI: 10.1177/1057567713476887

Cherney, J. L., & Lindemann, K. (2014). Queering Street: Homosociality, Masculinity, and Disability in Friday Night Lights. Western Journal of Communication, 78 (1), 1-21. DOI: 10.1080/10570314.2013.792388

Hickey-Moody, A. (2015). Carbon Fibre Masculinity: Disability and Surfaces of Homosociality. Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, 20 (1), 1-17.

Onishi, N. (2015, December 3). Oscar Pistorius Guilty in Murder of Reeva Steenkamp, Appeals Court Rules. The New York Times. Retrieved from

(2014). Oscar Pistorius Trial: Evidence. BBC News. Retrieved from

The Complexity of the Planned Parenthood Shooting

Unfortunately, mass shootings seem to be the the main headlines in the news on a regular basis recently. There is mourning and prayers sent to those who lost their lives, then we wait for the next shooting to happen and just repeat the cycle. Last month, on November 27, there was a shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs that killed three people. One police officer and two civilians lost their lives. This shooting surfaces a plethora of problems, due to the complexity of the intent of the shooter, Robert Dear. The recent shooting at Planned Parenthood forces us to take a closer look at abortion and women’s rights, domestic terrorism, and gun control and violence.

The obvious issue, gun control, is an issue that has been on the mind of many Americans lately. The map below shows the mass shootings since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. There is a need to protect American’s right to the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, but there is an extremely large need to find a way to protect citizens from the overwhelming amount of gun related violence. President Obama has addressed two key focuses to this issue: to expand the background checks needed to obtain a gun and to fund research to recognize the causes of these mass shootings (Mitka, 2013). Robert Dear had a fairly extensive record, including animal abuse and charges of domestic abuse that were dropped, but was still able to be a licensed gun owner. The link between gun control and violence seems to be evident, but there needs to be steps taken to control this violence while permitting Americans to their Second Amendment rights.

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 12.23.19 PM

(Lopez & Oh, 2015)

While mass shootings seem to be the cause of someone who is mentally ill, Robert Dear outspokenly had political motives behind his attack. After his arrest, Dear is quoted to be saying, “Protect the babies,” a clearly anti-abortion and pro-choice expression (Vercammen & Yan, 2015). This raises the issue for many that this attack could qualify as domestic terrorism. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the following is the definition of domestic terrorism:

  1. Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law
  2. Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
  3. Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.
    (Definitions of Terrorism in the U.S. Code, 2013).

This attack was clearly dangerous to human life, killing three people. It was intended to intimidate the Planned Parenthood population, influence the abortion policies of the government, and affected the government by a mass killing. The attack occurred within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States. This attack seemingly falls into the definition of domestic terrorism, however officials are so hesitant to label it as such. Perhaps we are quick to label those who are not the majority in our nation, for example Muslims, as terrorists, but are fearful to label a white Christian man such as Dear as a domestic terrorist because he represents the majority population.

Below the surface of this attack, the morality of abortion and the rights to healthcare women have is brought to debate. De-funding Planned Parenthood has been a heavily debated topic in legislation today. However, de-funding clinics such as Planned Parenthood would leave women and particularly low-income minority women, disadvantaged and without access to affordable healthcare. Concerning the right for a women to choose an abortion, it could be seen as being protected under the First Amendment. Many religions, including Christianity, the predominant religion in the United States, see abortion as immoral. However, the First Amendment protects freedom of religion, meaning that religious beliefs and morals cannot be used to influence laws, such as an anti-abortion law. On top of that, women are autonomous agents, meaning that they have the right to make decisions regarding what happens to their body. These women have the same rights as anyone else to affordable healthcare, which includes access to the choice of abortion, and defunding clinics such as Planned Parenthood would disproportionately effect women, particularly minority women.

Ultimately, these mass shootings, particularly this shooting at Planned Parenthood, surfaces critical issues towards the safety and rights of Americans. Citizens should know what constitutes as domestic terrorism, and evaluate what changes we need to make in response to domestic terrorist attacks. The debate over abortion rights and the funding of Planned Parenthood will continue, but it is important to keep in mind the rights that the Constitution provides. The link between these mass shootings and gun control is apparent, and it is evident to see that there needs to be a change. These mass shootings, particularly one like the Planned Parenthood shooting that have a political motive, bring rise to all of these issues, and make it evident to see that policies need to be changed for the safety of citizens. Mass shooting front page headlines should not be a regular occurrence.



Lopez, G., & Oh, S. (2015). Mass shootings since Sandy Hook, in one map. Retrieved December 16, 2015, from
Mitka, M. (2013). Search for Ways to Reduce Gun Violence Spurred by Toll of Recent Shootings. JAMA, 309(8), 755-755.
Vercammen, P., & Yan, H. (2015, December 10). Planned Parenthood suspect Robert Dear has outbursts – Retrieved December 16, 2015, from

FINAL POST: The Subordination of Women through the Normalization of Brothels and the Sex Industry



Look at the image above. Do you recognize this place? This is the ‘Red Light District’ in Amsterdam. In this area, the trade or sexual services for money, goods, or exchanges of services is perfectly normal and well accepted. People from all over the world come to the red light to participate in the services offered which are typically considered taboo or illegal in their country of origin.



Women stand in windows parading their bodies around for viewers to see on display. Users of this sector of the sex industry are given the opportunity to walk down the streets and essentially window shop for their good time that night. The use of women for sex and leaving women without free choice is becoming such a normal aspect to most of society. We see it in Amsterdam’s Red Light district with the legal sale and encouragement of women to join the sex industry. Again we see it in places such as India that women are used for sex without consent and nothing is done. Women are being viewed plainly as sexual objects throughout the world. By turning women into sexual objects we are abandoning their humanistic aspects and turning them into an object, ready for anyone’s use.

We see this normalization of prostitution and the sex industry in the United States as well. For instance, the State of Nevada is the only state in the United States that has allowed for the use of brothels and has legalized prostitution within certain district limits. I personally feel like a large portion of citizens in the U.S. did not even know Nevada has prostitution laws making the act legal. That was until recently, when earlier in 2015, celebrity basketball player for the Lakers and ex-husband to Khloe Kardashian, Lamar Odom, had an incident at one of the brothels available in Nevada.



As some may know, Lamar Odom was reported at ‘Love Ranch’ in Nevada earlier in 2015 where he reportedly overdose and spent ridiculous amounts of money for female companionship (e.g.: sexual services). Odom was found by two of the females onsite who had been servicing him during his week long stay. Medical teams quickly responded and brought Odom to a hospital where he has been in recovery.

What most people do not see wrong with this story is how normal it was for Odom to be reported at a brothel. Nor was his drug use out of character, because I mean he was in a brothel and drugs and prostitutes kind of go hand in hand. The use of women for sex has become such a normal part of our society. Women fulfilling the sexual needs for males is essentially saying males have the upper hand while women are just things. This is similar to the ‘sexual contract’, which states men have control and access over a woman’s body. Good bye social contract, hello sexual contract.

The women who choose to partake in the sex industry set precedent for how all women are seen or viewed in society. This will set a norm for a patriarchal state.



  1. Is the normalization of the sex industry leading to a more patriarchal state?
  2. Does celebrity use of prostitutes and brothels normalize the sex industry?


The Rich White Man’s Burden: House Arrest In a Mansion

Many people know Oscar Pistorius as the first double leg amputee to perform at the Olympics. However, on February 14, 2013, Pistorius fatally shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in the bathroom of his estate in Pretoria, South Africa. There has been some controversy over whether Pistorius knew that Steenkamp was in the bathroom, which determines whether this was pre-meditated murder (after a domestic dispute on Valentine’s Day) or if he truly thought that there was an intruder in the house; the location where Steenkamp was sitting/standing/crouching in the bathroom; and whether he took the time to put his prosthetics on or if he was just on his “stumps.” The entirety of the facts of this case will probably never be known, because this all happened in the privacy of his own home.

(Source: "Paranoid Parrot Oscar Pistorius Meme")
(Source: “Paranoid Parrot Oscar Pistorius Meme”)











During the trial, Oscar Pistorius showed a lot of emotion, including crying, or more like sobbing, as well as puking when he saw a picture of Steenkamp’s remains. However, he also seemed very confident that he would be released and be back on the track shortly.

Q: Were the emotions that Pistorius showed helpful or hurtful in his trial? Was he able to cry because he is an athlete who is confident in his masculinity? Was the perception of his masculinity, or lack thereof, misconstrued by him crying? Did his emotions thwart the outcome of his trial?

This case is very similar to the OJ Simpson case. Both OJ Simpson and Oscar Pistorius were athletes and were both accused of murdering their significant others. Being athletes, they are famous around the world and are also of a higher socioeconomic status. They are also more confident individuals in that they play sports at a highly competitive level. Therefore, they can be seen as dominant to their female significant others, especially with the use of a weapon.

Q: Which social construct is most important in this case: socioeconomic status, race, sexual orientation, or gender, or do all of them work together?

(Source: Times Live "Pistorius Roses are Red Meme")
(Source: Times Live “Pistorius Roses are Red Meme”)

After 49 days in trial over a course of seven months, Oscar Pistorius was charged with culpable homicide. Culpable homicide is a lesser sentence than pre-meditated murder in South Africa, which is the rough equivalent of involuntary manslaughter in Anglo-American law, or the unlawful negligent killing of a human being.

Q: Do you think that Oscar Pistorius was charged with culpable homicide because of the fact that he was a well-known athlete? If he was an average human being, do you think that he would have received the same punishment?

Although he was sentenced to five years in prison, since both of his legs are amputated, he is expected to be staying in the hospital wing of the prison while he is in prison, away from most of the other prisoners. South Africa also has a law stating that for sentences of five years or less, you only have to be in prison for one-sixth of the time that you are sentenced; in his case, he is required to stay in prison for 10 months out of the five years that he was sentenced and then he can petition for house arrest for the remainder of the sentence. He was sentenced on October 21, 2014 and released on October 19, 2015 after spending just less than one year in prison and will now spend the next four years on house arrest at his uncle’s mansion (pictured below).

(Source: The Telegraph, 2015, "Oscar Pistorius will live in luxury after his release under house arrest")
(Source: The Telegraph, 2015, “Oscar Pistorius will live in luxury after his release under house arrest”)

I chose to discuss Oscar Pistorius’ murder case, because he was just released from prison last week and is now on house arrest. Also, this case encompasses race, class, gender, and privacy. Steenkamp is a victim of homicide as a result of her being in a heterosexual relationship with Pistorius. Regardless of whether the act was purposeful or accidental, Steenkamp would not have died that night if she was not in a relationship with Pistorius. Although Steenkamp was a white victim, Pistorius, as a white man, did not receive as harsh of a sentence, in my opinion, as a black man would have received. However, Pistorius’ fame and social class also contributed to the lenient sentencing. A person living in a poverty also would not have received the same sentencing as Pistorius had. Finally, the fact that Pistorius did this in his own home and that there were no reliable witnesses, also contributed to this being sort of up in the air, not knowing the whole truth about the sequence of events that happened that night.

Q: Do you think that Pistorius’ lessened sentence (culpable homicide vs. murder) as well as the fact that he was released from prison to be sentenced to house arrest in a mansion devalues the life of Reeva Steenkamp? Should Pistorius be required to compensate the Steenkamp family for what he did?



(2015). Q&A: What House Arrest Means For Oscar Pistorius. Sky News. Retrieved from

(2014). Oscar Pistorius Trial: Evidence. BBC News. Retrieved from

Phipps, C. (2014). Oscar Pistorius Trial: The Full Story, Day By Day. The Guardian. Retrieved from


LGBT; Sexual Stigma and Gender Identity

When it comes down to it, the essence of the LGBT movement is about everyday individuals wanting the same chance as everyone else. Whether it’s the ability to earn a living, be safe in one’s community, serving ones country or the biggest thing of all; being with the one you love.

Picture source:

Basic fundamental opportunities everyone should have, and yet they are halted if not stalled. On a federal level companies that have contracts with the government are now prohibited from firing or discriminating against employees based on their sexual orientation or gender identity due to an executive order President Obama signed in June of 2014 (Bendery). However, 33 of the 50 states have no state-level gender identity protection, this meaning in over half of the U.S it is perfectly legal for employers to fire employees based solely on their gender identity.  Nor is there a state-level protection for sexual orientation in 29 of the 50 US states. The overhauling idea that merit is null void if they happen to find your gender identity (i.e., transgender) or sexual orientation (i.e., lesbian, gay, bisexual) to be that of conflicting alignment.

In some ways it’s quite flattering to think that what someone does in the privacy of their bedroom carries so much weight in the public sphere. And yet one must ask the question, why does it in fact carry so much weight?



Prevailing argument is that sexual preference shouldn’t in any way be a derisive point in anything but one’s personal choices and can ONLY ever be useful in the dividing of groups which would otherwise agree. Gender identity, not unlike racial segregation and class separation, are not a political statement but a personal one, one which should be treated with the same involvement other people take in when choosing to have breakfast or not.

In June of 2015, the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision allowed the right to same sex marriage. Stating “No union more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a martial union, two people become something greater than they once were.Marriage is a “keystone of our social order..”

My personal favorite part..

“adding, that the plaintiffs in the case were seeking “equal dignity in the eyes of the law”.



1. Justice Kennedy stated that the plaintiffs in this case were seeking “equal dignity in the eyes of the law.” What does that mean to you?

2. Should individuals in the LGBT communities right and protections be intrinsic?

3. If the federal government can ban workplace discrimination against LGBT employees of federal contractors and the federal government, why don’t all the states follow suit?



Bendery, J. (n.d.). It Is Now Illegal For A Federal Contractor To Fire Someone For Being LGBT. Retrieved October 21, 2015.

Deena Fidas and Liz Cooper, The Cost of the Closet and the Rewards of Inclusion: Why the Workplace Environment for LGBT People Matters to Employees, Human Rights Campaign (May 2015): p. 4-5.

Deena Fidas and Liz Cooper, The Cost of the Closet and the Rewards of Inclusion: Why the Workplace Environment for LGBT People Matters to Employees, Human Rights Campaign (May 2015): p. 4-5.

Liptak, A. (2015, June 26). Supreme Court Ruling Makes Same-Sex Marriage a Right Nationwide. Retrieved October 20, 2015.

Do gender stereotypes only affect women?

Have gender stereotypes improved?

In American society when it comes to the media and society advertising, entertainment, women & men are both portrayed by media with stereotypes. Women often times usually end up with disadvantages in this. The disadvantage with women is that when they are portrayed by the media often time they are perceived as sexual objects. Even when women are not being seen as sexual they are shown as the weaker gender between the two sexist. This video also shows that gender stereotypes aren’t just harmful to women they also can have a negative impact on men as well. The only difference is that men are not shown as sexual objects they are seen more as being macho and handling majority of their problems with violence to show that their being masculine.



With Mo’ne Davis participating in the little league world series their was no secret that her parents did not raise her gender specific. If they had she would be playing softball not baseball. She has inspired many young girls to go out and do what they want to do instead of letting society define their roles. In our society many aren’t still use to this which caused some her to deal with some problems. As much praise as she got she has also had negative situations that came with it.


sex object cashpoint whih is more degrading

Can men be victims of sexism ?

Gender stereotypes not only exist in the media but some court rulings reinforce the typical gender stereotypes. Courts often view the males as the provider in relationships just because in American society we view it as this is how things should be done and have always been done as the man taking care of the women. In traditional gender roles females are viewed as stay at home and males are seen as the cash resource or the one who supports the relationship. Many times in divorce cases the judge will often rule in favor of the male to pay alimony even if the wife has enough potential to make a lot of money.  Back in the 50’s it was more reasonable for males to pay alimony for the simple fact that women were housewives who stayed home and and handled all of those responsibilities. Now things have changed for the simple fact that there women in today’s society have the ability to get jobs well payed jobs at that and have their own money. For example, their was a report about a divorce case that a women received her PhD. during the marriage and even earned a high paying job that paid just as much as his job did. She quit to start up her own practice which made her salary take huge deficit. The judge then required the husband to pay a lifetime of alimony.


  1. How much influence do you think the media plays in gender stereotypes today ?
  2. When talking about gender stereotypes how can we ensure equality for both men and women?
  3. What are some of the negative stereotyping on today’s youth? How are these stereotypes influencing the pattern of being raised gender specific?



Berlatsky, N. (2013, May 29). When Men Experience Sexism. Retrieved October 21, 2015.



Patriarchy: An Outdated Ideal? Or Necessity for a Thriving World?

We know memes, The patriarchy is here! The argument against being a feminist
We know memes, The patriarchy is here! The argument against being a feminist

For the betterment of our intelligence I challenge you to think critically of the arguments you may or may not have concerning Patriarchy. To go even farther, think what that word means to you. Can you think of an instance where Patriarchy or Matriarchy is a good thing? Do you simply see it as a means of oppression and power? Or as a way of showing love by sacrificing to provide happiness for the ones that matter to you? I want to show you what the mainstream media and various social institutions won’t allow… that Patriarchy, in its truest form, is good for society. That the word Patriarchy has been dragged through the muck and along the way picked up the image of privileged, lazy, and greedy men not wanting women to enjoy the same freedoms.

Patriarchy is not some fabricated oppressive strategy formulated by a conclave of sexist men who made a pact to keep their gender “on top”. In fact Patriarchy stems from basic biological differences in males and females. Men cannot exist without females and females cannot exist without males, that being said however, females have the most vital components for the continuation of life. The carrying of the next generation. Men on the other hand are needed “technically” for only one step in this entire process. And we all know which one that is. Throughout history though we don’t see mass communities based solely on females while the men meander around independently only to show up to fulfill their “one job”. This is because of Patriarchy, the idea of men being the prominent member, the leader, of the family. It is simple biology, women are not as physically strong naturally as men, women are also not as capable of independence (true independence) while pregnant. Men however are perfectly suited to provide and work every day of their lives upon reaching maturity. If you take a step back you can see that this isn’t an issue of preventing one gender from freedom but rather conforming to roles that are the easiest and most natural so that the human race can thrive. The reason this makes sense is because humans are communal creatures. We were not made to be alone in the world. Without social contact we struggle and decline. However in a social setting, a community, we thrive. “In patriarchy, men sacrifice their energy, their time, and sometimes even their lives for the betterment of women and children, and women give themselves to nurturing children and families. Feminists define patriarchy as a system of dominance, in which men oppress women. This redefines men’s sacrifice as an act of control, rather than love.”Link <- disclaimer this website offers some more extreme views, they are not necessarily fact but opinion, you are free to interpret in any way you see fit but an open mind can truly help you evolve as an intellectual!

Why Patriarchy is the greatest social system ever created-Return of Kings
Why Patriarchy is the greatest social system ever created-Return of Kings

So… how does all this tie into criminal justice? What if i said abolishing the patriarchy leads to more crime? Lets look at why we work, more specifically why men used to always choose to work and pursue the highest paying job they can net. What is their drive to do so? if you are living alone do you need to work 50 or even 60 hours a week to survive and be happy? No in fact living alone the average person wouldn’t need to work that hard to get by. For a single adult living in king county the living wage is $11.19 which is barely above minimum. Not hard to achieve after a year or so working a low end job and the plus side is you don’t even need higher education to achieve this… However for 2 adults and lets say 1 kid in an ideal situation where 1 parent is working the living wage jumps to $21.51. No longer can an uneducated, unmotivated individual attain this. Don’t believe me? check out the living wage calculator yourself. An unintentional loss by promoting feminism and the abolishment of the patriarchy is the prevalence of work less and enjoy your time more, don’t sacrifice your time working for a corporation to make more when you don’t need it to survive. This mindset of be independent and live a minimalistic life has taken the motivation for hard work out of the equation. So what do we get with a populace of uneducated individuals with lots of free time on their hands? These statistics are what we get. link

Based on the above graph Income is apparently directly related to crime. To round up this post and get off my soapbox that I am sure is covered in rotten food thrown by the reader by now I will conclude that Patriarchy is a positive social system. That being said however I do believe in equality and feel a different word is needed to level against males exerting dominance and oppression while feeding their superiority complex. These males incorrectly use patriarchy by believing their job is any more important than their partners. That is sexism and that is unjust and should be readily punishable by law. How about we officially call them pricks. All I am putting forth is that males are natural leaders and breadwinners, without that job, s*** tends to hit the fan and we as a society suffer because of it. In my opinion respect for each gender is the key to solving these problems. If a male could come to terms with seeing that females have a rough life as well, there would be far less problems by abolishing the entitlement that all so easily leads to abuse.


  1. How has the patriarchy benefitted you or your family?
  2. Could we still achieve equality within a patriarchy?
  3. Is there a problem with masculinity and strength in todays relationships?
  4. What are your thoughts on a female supporting a stay at home husband and child and vice versa. Would you be happy knowing your other half doesn’t work 8 hours a day mon-fri and relies solely on the money you make?

Norms & Stereotypes Defined by Privacy?


Privacy and gender can be connected by using the way our norms // stereotypes affect our social self. While in the safety and security of the private sphere, we are able to express ourselves in a way which correlates to how we feel and act inside. Consequently when this protective coating is peeled away and exposes us to an outer world, we lust to fit to societies standards, changing our actions to suit this norm. As privacy soon disintegrates and we are rarely ever able to be our actual selves, conformity takes control and personal freedom is lost.

Connecting to Social Psychology, there are two fundamental axioms ::

  1. People create their own reality; meaning that each individual has a different interpretation of the world in which we live. Even though these views may misrepresent the actual truth, they are subjective, not objective.
  2. The power of the situation has more influence on how you act than you ultimately do. (Ponder for a moment this scenario, if you were to fall down a staircase, how would you react by yourself, with a friend, or in a part of a play; now how about a crush you’ve been eyeing?)

So when we strut around in the world our actions will be relational to what we feel those observing us find acceptable. For women this may mean having to act womanly, kind, “pretty” instead of how they actually feel inside. Men must take on a masculine approach, being strong, brave, or the forefront of a conversation. Though we have taken strides to alter our perception of right and wrong, there are still issues of correcting negative behavior to address.

(start 6:00 in)


As our lives become more complex with the various accounts, devices, and drones; the chance for someone peeking through, becomes an issue. With various areas to give away personal information to the internet such as Google and Facebook, our private lives are becoming less private. For those who enjoy keeping their opinions and interests to themselves this is a growing problem which can affect other areas of our lives as well.

Being something not directly related to criminal justice, going further as to gain access to a potential criminals history and activity may bring possible evidence to light for a conviction. One such image // story which took a stroll around some Facebook accounts depicted an NFC chip (<– link) in new phones. Though some people did believe this piece of hardware was able to track their person and report it back to some government agency. However silly this is, processes with the same outcomes don’t need some hardware, when being discreet is the name of the game. Instead a series of code is embedded (similar to government sanctioned back doors) to collect their sought after information; thus preventing any ability to hide details about yourself from public eye. Personally and emotionally, it becomes drastic. Those private moments, photos and conversations which took place when no one was watching, well now people are and if people find them… judgement ensues.


In 2014 a mass of private photos stored on iCloud were hacked and released to public eyes, disclosing many celebrities secret pictures. A popular name ,The Fappening, was a designated headline which displayed how gender-centric around men this event was. Since only women’s pictures were the main news story, we are shown how much more we objectify women than men. As actress Lena Dunham stated on twitter following the event, “viewing these pictures violates these women over and over again”. 

Though I personally don’t feel threatened about how our internet history is tracked, or our likes are recorded because in the end, you are you, why is this something that needs hiding? However when our entire private selves are purged onto the internet for the public eye, a line has been crossed. 


Why do we need privacy?

How much do you value your privacy? Internet life vs. reality life?

What are the consequences if every move you make over the internet was recorded and posted online?

Do gender stereotypes continue even when in a private setting? And how much of difference would people act if there was no sense of privacy?

Image “Artifact” link

Planned Parenthood: What they do and who it really helps

As the presidential debate progresses, the funding of Planned Parenthood has become a heated topic. Disagreements on the funding of Planned Parenthood even threatened a government shutdown. While differing opinions on the Planned Parenthood controversy are getting major headlines, lets look deeper into the people who are really effected by this decision.

Planned Parenthood

via The Washington Post

As this graph shows, only about 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services are abortion services. Why is this important? Because it is the anti-abortion claims against Planned Parenthood that are being debated. 42% of Planned Parenthood services are STI/STD testing and treatment. A significant portion of their services are also towards contraception, women’s health, and cancer screening and prevention services.

These statistics may just seem like numbers, but when looking deeper, there are several underlying race and gender disparities. Here are some facts:

  • Of those diagnosed with breast cancer, African-American women are most likely to die from breast cancer.
  • American Indian/Native Americans are more likely to be diagnosed with HIV or other STIs/STDs.
  • For 35 years, the number one killer of Asian American women is cancer.
  • Breast cancer is the number one cause of cancer death among Latinas. Even when diagnosed at a similar stage and age as non-Latinas women, Latinas are more likely to die from breast cancer.
  • In Miami, black and Hispanic girls are at a higher increased risk for unplanned pregnancies.

via the Miami Herald and Planned Pregnancy

These statistics show that minorities are disproportionately effected by breast cancer, STDs/STIs, and unplanned pregnancies. Defunding Planned Parenthood would have a greater effect on the minority population in the United States by taking away services that are needed by these women at an affordable rate.

While looking at nationwide issues it is easy to feel removed from the situation, this issue falls close to home. However, on September 4, 2015 the Planned Parenthood in Pullman was firebombed. While the arsonist is still unknown, detectives have thought that this was a direct attack against Planned Parenthood. After insurance coverage, an estimated $250,000 will be needed for Planned Parenthood to be rebuilt.

Overall, the funding of Planned Parenthood continues to be a large debate. However, defunding Planned Parenthood would disproportionately effect the minorities and women in our society.

PP men meme

PP minority meme

  1. If Planned Parenthood was defunded, how would those who need access to other women’s health services (such as cancer screenings and STI/STD screening and treatment) find those services? Would there be other funding or would women, particularly minority women, just be denied those services? What does this say about the quality of care for women and minorities in our society?
  2. Take, for example, the arson of the Planned Parenthood in Pullman. Detectives say that this was most likely an intentional attack against Planned Parenthood, so lets say that is true. Why is this not considered a hate crime, or even more an act of terrorism? What does this say about how we interpret violence?
  3. In what ways are the two cartoons satirizing the issues that have arisen from the debate about Planned Parenthood funding?


During National Minority Health Month, Planned Parenthood Urges Communities to Work Together Toward Health Equity :: Planned Parenthood. (n.d.). Retrieved October 7, 2015.

Sorenson, K. (2015, October 6). Why we continue to need Planned Parenthood. Retrieved October 7, 2015, from                       

Ye Hee Lee, M. (2015, August 12). For Planned Parenthood abortion stats, ‘3 percent’ and ’94 percent’ are both misleading. Retrieved October 7, 2015, from


Race and Gender in Our Perception of Mental Illness in Criminals


I’m sure you are all familiar will the Charleston shooting that happened in June this year. If not, here’s a summary of it from Wikipedia:

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown CharlestonSouth Carolina, United States. During a prayer service, nine people were killed by a gunman, including the senior pastor, state senator Clementa C. Pinckney; a tenth victim survived. The morning after the attack, police arrested a suspect, later identified as 21-year-old Dylann Roof, in Shelby, North Carolina. Roof later confessed that he committed the shooting in hopes of igniting a race war.”




The media was quick to call Dylann Roof “mentally ill,” claiming he needed help. Do a quick google search and at least half of the hits on the first page are questioning whether or not Dylann Roof is mentally ill. This isn’t to say that he didn’t have some type of mental illness, but if a black person was to commit the same crime, I doubt the media and society would have been so quick to call them mentally ill. They more likely would have been called criminal, a thug, a terrorist, or anything but “mentally ill.” So, did the media’s immediate assumption that he was mentally ill have anything to do with the fact that he was a white man? I think so, and so do a lot of others. Titles of a few articles on the topic after a quick google search were, “It’s Not About Mental Illness: The Big Lie That Always Follows Mass Shootings by White Males,” “Racism is Not a Mental Illness,” and “Shooters of Color are Called Terrorists and Thugs, Why are White Shooters Called Mentally Ill?” There’s clearly a lot of controversy over calling this young man mentally ill right off the bat. Is this a problem for you?

Take a look at some tweets shared by people who were against labeling Dylann Roof as mentally ill right after this tragic event (keep in mind – this isn’t about whether or not he was later found to have a mental illness, because yes, obviously white people can have mental illnesses…This is about the media and society’s immediate jump to call him mentally ill based on his race and gender).









This topic led me to do a little research and think a little deeper about how race and gender may affect our perceptions of mental illness, and how this can affect people in the criminal justice system.

According to the US HHS Office of Minority Health, black people are 20% more likely to report that they have serious psychological distress than white people. This is because they are more likely to live in poverty and crime ridden, violent areas. Even then, they are less likely than white people to be assessed for mental illness after committing a crime. According to “Gender, Race, and Mental Illness in the Criminal Justice System,” (Melissa Thompson, link:  “Violent women, for example, are more likely to be evaluated for psychiatric conditions, while African-American men are less likely to receive psychiatric evaluation.” This quote is in reference to the courts, where it is decided whether or not a criminal should be evaluated for mental illness or if they should just receive punishment. I think, and most people would probably support this, that minorities are more likely to be considered “thugs” or “terrorists” before and after committing crimes, whereas whites are more likely to be considered “disturbed” or “mentally ill.” In addition, I think that women are more likely to be perceived as mentally ill than men are. These biases can have serious effects on a person’s life after they commit a crime. Consider a young teenage black boy who has grown up in poverty. His mother is addicted to drugs and his father was shot and killed a year ago. All of his friends and older siblings are involved in a local gang. In these conditions (or similar conditions), which are a reality for many minority youths in America, it is easy to see how a person could develop some type of mental illness. Instead of considering the environment these people grow up in and may be involved in, society just chalks these individuals up to be violent criminals when a crime is committed. But when a white person commits the same crime, we are more likely to consider them disturbed or mentally ill. Even before a person commits a crime we may have biases that lead us to believe if they will or will not commit a crime, and if they did, what their motives behind it may be. If a person is genuinely mentally ill and this was the story behind their crime, but they are seen as simply a criminal, they may not be referred to psychological evaluation and just given punishment. This type of person (and probably society, too) would definitely benefit a lot more from mental health treatment, but instead they may be locked up. Also, since women may be more likely to be considered mentally ill after a crime, and men may just be brushed off as criminal, this could leave men without the proper care and treatment they deserve if they are truly mentally ill. This could also send a woman into mental health treatment when in reality she just deserves punishment. Yes, women are more likely to have a mental illness. Minorities are also more likely to have a mental illness because of the poor conditions they live in. So, in this case, are mentally ill women receiving more of the treatment they need after criminal acts than men are? Are minorities not receiving the treatment they may need if they are written off as “thugs” or “terrorists?” If so, does this perpetuate sexism against both genders and racism against minorities? Just because men are less likely to develop a mental illness does not mean that they cannot develop one.  Also, just because the majority of people living in poor, impoverished conditions are not white does not mean that white people cannot develop a mental illness. These biases that history, society, and the media have created are contributing to an unequal justice system that isn’t getting everyone the care and treatment they may need, and possibly forcing people into psychological treatment that they DON’T need. We may be locking up people who are truly mentally ill who would benefit a lot more from treatment, and we may also be passing off people as mentally ill when they aren’t. Race and gender should have nothing to do with referrals for mental health treatment or who society views as mentally ill or simply a “thug” or “terrorist,” but unfortunately they do.


Are we more likely to assume some offenders are just mentally ill after committing a crime over other offenders because of certain biases we hold? Consider race and gender. What might some of these biases be? Why do we have these biases in the first place? What role does the media play in creating these biases? What role might history play?

Who is in charge of deciding whether a person should be assessed for mental illness or simply given punishment after a crime? Is this just the court’s job? Does society’s opinion on certain races and genders affect the court’s view on whether or not a person deserves to be evaluated for mental illness?  Do we need to consider the individual’s living conditions and surroundings when deciding whether or not they deserve mental health evaluation?