Emma Sulkowicz (center) and her "Carry That Weight" protest at Columbia University, May 19, 2015 © Adam Sherman | Wikimedia Commons
EssaysSex & Gender

Affirmative Consent and Neoliberal Bodies

The individual yes vs. the social no

I am writing this with great relief as the “crisis” of sexual assaults on college campuses in New York State has finally been addressed through affirmative consent, or “yes means yes” legislation from Governor Cuomo. Having worked for years as the director of a college-based women’s center, having helped write a university policy to address sexual assault on campus, and having counseled many students who were victims and at times …

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IDF soldiers patrolling during Operation Brother's Keeper, June 15, 2014 ©  Israel Defense Forces | Flickr
Essays

Israel’s Culture of Violence

In contrast to the old image of the Jew who was led to his death in Europe without fighting back, the Israeli military has played a vital role in creating a new model, in which the Jewish soldier is a strong man who fights and kills for survival. From a practical point of view, the Army was important for the Zionist project for settling the land of Palestine because it was through the force, protection, and support of the military that the settlers were and are still able to settle Palestinian land.

For the Army to function properly — especially in the case of Israel, where military service is compulsory, meaning the Army is made up of the majority of the Israeli citizenship — there is a need to rally as much support as possible behind them. This is accomplished through state rhetoric that provides reasons for the necessity of partaking in a military offensive. …

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Woman posing with "I don't deserve to be raped" written on her arms for Facebook event protesting misogyny in Brazil. © Unknown | Facebook.com
EssaysSex & Gender

Hard Lessons on Rape Culture: Dispatch from Brazil

“I don’t deserve to be raped! No one deserves to be.” These were the words printed on the signs made by thousands of Brazilian women who decided to join a massive online campaign launched through Facebook some weeks ago. The campaign aimed to protest against the highly misogynist views made public in a recent survey conducted by the Institute of Applied Research and Statistics (IPEA). The data showed that 58% of the interviewed either completely or partially agree that if women knew how to behave, there would be fewer cases of rape, 65.1% agree with the statement that “battered women who stay with their partners like to suffer violence,” and 26% of Brazilians agree with the statement “women wearing clothes showing their bodies deserve to be attacked.” …

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"Sts Savinus and Cyprian are tortured," 11th century fresco in Abby of Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe, France, artist unknown. © Unknown | WGA Web Gallery of Art
EssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

Torture and Dignity

This lecture to the New School’s General Seminar was originally published on the above date. Given the recent revelations concerning the CIA’s program of torture, we are highlighting Bernstein’s reflections today, Dec. 12, 2014. -J.G.

I. The Abolition of Torture

Human beings are the sorts of being who can undergo devastation: they can be destroyed in their standing as a person, as being possessed of morally inviolable intrinsic worth; they can have their dignity and self-respect destroyed. When one loses her dignity she also loses her trust in the world. Dignity is the representation of self-respect, where self-respect is the stance of one who takes herself to be of intrinsic worth and acts accordingly. …

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