The Best . . . and the Worst
Published: September 28, 2011
Nice Best of (Best of Baltimore, Sept. 21). I read so much of it while on the can that my legs fell asleep.
Great pix too. Well done.
On behalf of Hollaback Bmore!, whose efforts you have covered in the past with our utmost appreciation, I must say we are very disappointed by the recent Best of Baltimore category “Best Selection of Yoga Pants . . . to View” (Sept. 21).
This past Saturday a successful SlutWalk (a protest against the victim-blaming of survivors of sexual assault and rape) was organized in Baltimore and it was extremely disheartening to see this kind of blatant sexism being displayed so soon after we had made such an effort to speak out against it. We strongly believe that every individual has a right to feel safe in their own community and that this article jeopardizes that.
By publishing this Best of Baltimore category (in the “Goods and Services” section no less) you have promoted the objectification of women, pinpointing a specific area of Baltimore where “shameless pigs” should be sure to go to “ogle” women, almost like the Safeway is a tourist attraction for viewing “fly honeys clad in formfitting, moisture-wicking goodness.” It shows a complete disrespect for women’s safety and well-being in public spaces, which is a tough enough battle as is (otherwise Hollaback Bmore! would not be in existence).
A common myth associated with street harassment (sexual harassment in public spaces, including but not limited to: leering, honking, whistling, degrading comments and gestures, stalking, assault, and rape) is that women who dress “a certain way” are “asking for it” (whatever it might be) and deserve what they have coming to them. In reality, women get dressed for the occasion, for the weather, for comfort and the company. We do not get dressed hoping strangers, our fellow Baltimoreans, will approve of (and comment on) our bodies. It is our mission at Hollaback Bmore! to debunk these myths because they excuse the behavior that leaves many women, half of your city’s readership, feeling uncomfortable and unsafe in their own communities.
Please do not take this as an attack on City Paper. You do so much for Baltimore, and we appreciate that, but we can all do better. We want to make this city great and you can help. Please send the message to all of your readers and affiliates that City Paper does not find objectifying women acceptable behavior. Instead of asking for a forced apology buried deep within the next issue, allow Hollaback Bmore! to work with you on an ad that educates our city on street harassment. Help us show the city the difference between a look and a leer, the difference between a compliment and street harassment—something everyone can appreciate.
I recognized a few symptoms in Brian Morton’s “The President I’d Like to Have” (Political Animal, Sept. 14), and I think I know the solution to his dream-guy fantasy.
It helps to think of our political system as an English boarding school with us as the underclassmen. Of course, at lights-out, a tiny minority of privileged upperclassmen “exploit” us halfway up our digestive system, but during the day we get to elect their status as villains or grooms. No matter which of the two alternatives we select, the moonlight never brings any romance and only the inevitable ankle nibbling results.
When I was younger, I used to dream about that special guy too, but unfortunately life has a way of sneaking up on you from behind. So let’s just tie our aprons on and get back to work squeegee-ing windscreens with our infants for quarters.
An astute political commentator, Yogi Berra, once remarked, “It ain’t over until it’s over,” and this applies to the November election for Baltimore City Council. Too many of you have accepted the Democratic Party myth that the primary was the election and that one-party domination must inevitably continue, because, well, because it has in the past. If you look at the political landscape today, there are enormous changes—not all positive—going on.
While there are many reasons for the abysmally low turnout in the primary elections, I think one source is the media, which endorses the incumbents and status quo but which also refuses to provide factual news coverage for challengers. You have the right to your opinions, but I think dropping a news blackout on non-Democrats and repeating the manta “the primary is the election” is unfair to your readers but also to the citizens of Baltimore.
I am a challenger to the status quo, and if you remember, I got 27 percent of the vote in the last general election, a higher percentage than some of the primary candidates whom you covered so extensively.
The writer is a Green Party candidate in the 3rd District City Council race.
Editor Lee Gardner responds: City Paper’s primary election coverage focused on competitive races on the primary ballot, which included a small number of “non-Democrat” Republicans running for office. Since noncompetitive third-party candidates are not listed on primary ballots, they will be included in our forthcoming coverage of the general election.
Corrections: An editor’s note in the Best of Baltimore Readers Poll mistakenly stated that the Charm City Circulator, which won the Best City Service category, is not, in fact, a city service. While it is run by a private company, Veolia, it is operated with city funds.
In addition, the “Best Politician in Need of a Slap Upside the Head” blurb mistakenly stated that blogger/gadfly Adam Meister had run previously against outgoing 7th District City Councilmember Belinda Conaway for her seat. Meister ran unsuccessfully for an 11th District City Council seat in 2007, when his Reservoir Hill neighborhood was part of that district. It became part of the 7th, represented by Conaway, earlier this year.
City Paper regrets the errors.