Tag Archives: Washington Post

Controversial RateBU.com lets students vote on hotness of women

Despite the amazing ability and talent and maturity within undergraduates, they continue to make themselves look like complete assholes.  Then again, when the only role model in your life is MTV’s new series Skins, how could you end up as anything but pathetic?

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Students at Boston University can now log onto RateBU.com, rate their female classmates as being hot or not, and help compile a list of the top hotties on campus. As you would guess, the site has angered numerous students and prompted the student government to take action.

“Unique? Not really. Still fun? Absolutely!” the homepage explains

The Web site was created by Justin Doody, a sophomore in the engineering college who got the idea from watching the movie, “The Social Network,” according to The Quad student magazine, which first reported the news.

Unlike Mark Zuckerburg’s earlier “FaceMash” — which pulled photos of women off campus servers — all of the content on RateBU is submitted by users, which Doody believes makes his site legal.

“I saw an opportunity to do it in a different way,” Doody told me. “I think most people understand the site is a big joke and not meant to be taken seriously… It’s not meant to be malicious at all.”

This week students have been fighting back and discussing what can be done to shut the site down. The student government passed a motion Monday night condemning the “offensive Web site” and encouraging students to not use it, according to The Daily Free Press. And at least one Facebook group has organized to protest the site.

“I think it’s completely disgusting and degrading,” said Nicole Rojas, a junior journalism major who created the Facebook group. “I don’t believe degrading girls should be a form of entertainment.”

The number of photos on the Web site grows each evening. The site’s main page claims that it has already counted more than 630,000 votes on more than 400 women. Doody said he has more than 4,000 registered users and more than 3,000 of them have voted on the site or submitted photos. A large number of those users are women, he said.

And there are plans to add a section for photos of men and to expand to other schools.

“I have receive an incredible number of requests from girls” asking for men to also be judged on the site, Doody said. “I never meant for the site to be sexist at all.”

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Washington Post – An education doesn’t grow on trees

I recently read Kevin Sieff’s article from The Washington Post about how two daughters of migrant workers struggle to keep good grades in school.  What a thought-provoking story about the nexus of undocumented workers, legal migrant workers, welfare, and education, and how our struggles for defining American citizenship affect children.

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Knowing cultural view of virginity, Chinese women try surgical restoration

Having just been to China and spent numerous hours discussing transnational gender issues, I found this article fascinating.  For Chinese women these unrealistic expectations of virginity are a real problem, and result in Lolita-like fashions, baby-doll pornography and a booming child sex-trafficking trade.  This also trickles down into personal relationships as women are prevented from feeling sexually liberated due to the double standard.

As much as I would like to agree with Zhou Hong, the doctor performing these surgical restorations, in saying that this is a liberating act, these surgeries avoid the consciousness raising that could come from direct communication.  Read about the stir this caused in Egpt, here.

We could also learn something here, Americans, that virginity before marriage isn’t all that important and it’s far from immoral.  But safety first!

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By Keith B. Richburg in Beijing, The Washington Post
Tuesday, August 17, 2010; A06

China has long been known as the land of fakes — Rolexes, DVDs, handbags and designer clothes.

Add a new one to the list: fake virgins.

A growing number of Chinese women — mostly in their 20s and about to get married — are opting for a surgical procedure called “hymen restoration,” which returns the hymen to its condition before it was ruptured, which typically occurs during first sexual contact but can also happen while playing sports or doing other strenuous activities.

Even as China has flung open its doors to the West and modernized, a deeply conservative and chauvinistic attitude persists. Many men, including white-collar professionals, say they want to marry a virgin. And increasingly liberated Chinese women have found a way to oblige them.

“We can fix it so everything is perfect, so the men can believe they are marrying virgins,” said Zhou Hong, a physician and director of gynecology at the Beijing Wuzhou Women’s Hospital. “We don’t advertise it; we don’t publicize it.”

Zhou, 44, said most of her patients are sexually active young women who are about to marry and have told their future husbands they are virgins. She said a smaller number want to forget a bad relationship and “start over,” and a few have been victims of rape.

Zhou is one of many Chinese doctors performing the procedure, which is also done in other countries. She said she restores as many as 20 hymens a month, and the number is increasing. For as little as 5,000 renminbi, or about $737, for a 20-to-30-minute procedure, Zhou is giving women a second chance at having a first time.

Does she worry that she is encouraging people to start their marriages with a lie? “It’s just a white lie,” Zhou said. And she blames men for having unrealistic expectations.

“I don’t agree with this value” placed on virginity, Zhou said. “It’s unfair to the women. The men are not virgins. But we can’t change this male-privileged society.”

The surgery, known as hymenoplasty, has been around for years, although it is considered rare and is illegal in some countries. It is performed primarily in Muslim countries, where the traditionalists place a high value on a woman’s virginity. It also has become common in France among French Muslims, usually for young women about to enter a traditional marriage. There are no statistics available in China on how often the surgery is performed. But sociologists and other experts, as well as anecdotal evidence, suggest it has gained in popularity.

For women who do not want to have surgery, a cheaper, faster path to “revirgination” is available in most sex novelty shops: a Chinese-made artificial hymen that purports to create a physical sensation for the man and emit fake blood when ruptured.

Good luck trying to buy a kit online! I was going to post a link for everyone but they're all but imaginary.

A 25-year-old woman from Guiyang recently bought several online, intending to resell them to young women in her circle. Some of her friends, she said, were worried that their boyfriends might leave if the truth about their virginity was known.

“It’s really worthless for couples to break up over this small issue,” said the woman, who asked not to be quoted by name.

Some sociologists and others have criticized the virginity obsession as emblematic of a male-dominated society in which women are viewed as sex objects. And they are equally critical of women undergoing potentially dangerous or painful medical procedures to conform.

“I think it is really stupid for women to do this kind of surgery and buying fake hymens,” said Li Yinhe, a sociologist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the country’s preeminent sexologist. “It’s self-deception.”

The virginity topic has surfaced in recent newspaper columns and Internet debates. Several men posting comments on a popular Web site blamed women for what they called modern women’s materialism when seeking a mate.

“Women demand men have houses and cars, why can’t men demand women be virgins?” asked one man on the Tianya site. “So, greedy women, remember, you have to protect your hymens, because those are big dowries for you to exchange for money.”

Some men who were interviewed agreed about the importance of finding a virgin. “I really care about virginity,” said Xia Yang, product manager for a technology company. “If you go to buy a cellphone, of course you’d want to buy a new cellphone. Who would spend the same amount of money to buy an old cellphone that’s been used for two years?”

The virginity debate also underscores a contradiction in modern China: As the nation becomes more freewheeling, there remains a deeply conservative core.

“Since the reforms began 30 years ago, sexual relations in China are actually quite chaotic,” said Chen Lan, a novelist and social commentator. “One-night stands, extramarital affairs, prostitution. . . . All this means Chinese women have more frequent sexual activity, and at a younger and younger age. And this makes men feel women’s bodies are not as clean as before. In these circumstances, men care even more about a woman’s virginity.”

Zhou, the gynecologist, is unruffled by the controversy.

She said that she hears from satisfied clients after they are married, women who text-message her to say that the wedding night was a success.

“That’s the happiest thing for us,” she said.

Researcher Liu Liu in Beijing contributed to this report.

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“No Nukes! No Nukes!”

Holy shit.  Did you guys hear about this?  The Pentagon finally disclosed its nuclear capability – 5113.  Read the Reuters report here.

“The United States is showing that it is being increasingly transparent,” a senior U.S. defense official told reporters at the Pentagon.  “It’s part of our commitment … to set the stage for strength in non-proliferation and for further arms control.”  The news was also a move in pressuring Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to begin nuclear disarmament.

I feel like I should be looking for nutritional values.

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