Misogynist Soup

Maggie Goes on a Diet While I Go on a Rampage, We've Already Been Through This and More H8 4 Michele Bachmann

To make this week’s Misogynist Soup, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Paul Kramer, author of the upcoming children’s book Maggie Goes on a Diet.
  • A middle school in Missouri.
  • Andy Richter.

The Broth

One hyphenated word: Pre-order!!!
Image via Amazon.

According to statistics in the book Body Wars: Making Peace with Women’s Bodies, forty-two percent of first, second and third grade girls say they want to be thinner.

I know — I’m also appalled that number is so low. I’d like to see statistics closer to 100% just as much as you would, which is why I was elated to discover that the charming children’s book Maggie Goes on a Diet by Paul Kramer will be released October 16, conveniently in time to give elementary school student females the incentive they need to ensure they can squeeze into Halloween costumes from the toddler aisle.

The book, written at a 4 to 8-year-old reading level — the first book a young girl reads on her own could be this one! — chronicles the life of Maggie, “a 14-year-old girl who goes on a diet and is transformed from being extremely overweight and insecure to a normal sized girl who becomes the school soccer star. Through time, exercise and hard work, Maggie becomes more and more confident and develops a positive self image.”

While this book could have offered healthy lifestyle tips in a million different ways, it chose the path of using a girl on the cover who stares into a mirror at a thinner reflection while holding up a pink dress she’d presumably like to fit into. Is Paul Kramer trying to Shyamalan readers with a surprise soccer twist, or…?

Anyway, I’ll definitely be picking up a copy for my little sister, as having a negative self-image until you’re “normal sized” is exactly the kind of inspirational message a 6-year-old needs. My only disappointment is that Paul Kramer didn’t create one with a male protagonist for my little brother. How sexist!

Source: Huffington Post.

The Meat

This. Needs. To. Change.
Image via RAINN.

A Missouri middle-schooler, identified as a 7th grade special education student, was raped on campus in 2009.

In the interest of being entirely factual, I should tack on that this is “according to a federal lawsuit” but I’d rather say that this should never happen. This should never happen. But since it did, this is where the story should end. It doesn’t.

Following the rape’s report, the school took on a dismissive and interrogative tone — part of the reason why only 60% of rapes are reported to the police in the United States. Then, they lost their minds. After deciding the girl apparently imagined the assault, they instructed her to write an apology to the boy accused of raping her, personally deliver it and then suspended her for the remainder of the school year.

When the girl returned to school, she was sexually assaulted by the boy again but kept it a secret due to fear of expulsion. When school officials were notified of the incident, they were all, sigh. We’ve “already been through this”.

The girl’s mother took her to a child advocacy center that confirmed sexual assault and DNA found inside the girl matched the male student, who was taken into custody and pleaded guilty to the charges brought against him.

Despite all of this, the girl was suspended from school for “disrespectful conduct” and “public display of affection”.

Now I’ll mention the lawsuit: The school district is denying the accusation that they failed to protect the middle-school girl from being raped. They also think the lawsuit is “frivolous” and the girl “neglected to use reasonable means to protect herself”.

I can’t. I just can’t.

Source: CNN, CBS

The Topping

Image via a screen cap from Feministing.

The tragically misguided Republican candidate Michele Bachmann came under fire again last week, this time due to a Twitter opinion from Conan O’Brien’s sidekick Andy Richter.

“There’s nothing wrong with Michele Bachmann that two solid weeks of orgasms couldn’t cure,” he tweeted.

While I haven’t even tried to hide the fact that I think there is a lot wrong with Michele Bachmann, I’m really tired of sexist jokes, especially ones that imply the thing women must be lacking is exposure to their mystical panacean penises.

Source: Feministing


Combine all ingredients and bring them to a boil, much like my blood pressure is at the moment. You’ll know it’s done when it tastes like misogyny with a hint of “please tell me this isn’t real life”. Enjoy!

  • http://www.facebook.com/carolineammurphy Carrie Murphy

    funny and smart.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002153822908 Carla Ann

    Totally agree with respect to portrayal of female politicians in the media. I live in Australia, and we recently elected our first female prime minister. The kind of nasty hate-filled sexist rants by both respected and other less respected news organisations makes me sick.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002153822908 Carla Ann

    make* me sick.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000424656906 Jessica McKelvin

    This comment mostly relates to the first ingredient. My two 8 year old twin sister-in-law are already concerned about their weight. One more so than the other it would seem. She even says she’s been eating less because she’s not hungry, but I’m worried she’s avoiding eating just to loose weight. I also wish she’d stop talking about my 6 year old daughter’s weight. Even though she’s trying to be positive about her being “skinny” I don’t like it. She’s healthy and that’s what is important.

    As for the other two I’ve read about the middle school it’s just disturbing and sick. The comment on Michelle Bachmann, I’m no fan of hers, but still the comment was uncalled for. Not every problem a woman has can be solved by some midol or a man.

  • http://www.facebook.com/catturra Clemencia Mora

    Dear Cézanne, in the *MEAT* part of your soup the 60% of rapes are those *not* reported.

    BTW, very witty column, pinpointed exactly what’s most sexist in the world this week. The least funny is the part about the raped girl, what that school did to her was really awful. I’d rather the world had more people like the managers of the Sofitel Hotel of the DSK case. They believed the girl, them let courts decide what’s the degree of the offense etc… although it seems it will only be a civil case now …

    • Filleosophy

      Ah, thank you! I was looking at the site while I typed, so I’m not sure what happened… I think I was distracted by my rage and typing too fast. Anyway, yeah, the way the school handled it seriously disgusts me. Ugh.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001592478655 Laura Mendez

    why society is so centered in forcing women into fitting some stereotyped mold is beyond me. Even as pre-schoolers, they’re given an idea of HOW they’re supposed to look. That just heightens their insecurity. That book is outrageous.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001684683148 Amber Arias

    Cézanne, I know I may be going against the grain on this one, but in regard to Paul Kramer’s childrens book , I don’t think that is necessarily a negative message to send to children. Now don’t get me wrong, telling little girls to drop some weight to feel skinnier is wrong, but maybe making them aware of good diet and nutrition isn’t such a bad thing with:
    •Percent of adults age 20 years and over who are obese: 34% (2007-2008)
    •Percent of adults age 20 years and over who are overweight (and not obese): 34% (2007-2008)
    (according to the CDC’s website)
    So with over half of the population 20+ years overweight/obese, maybe it would be good to deliver the message through literature too? Again, not telling them they need to trade their medium sized clothes for x-small, but maybe instructing the age group that later will become those overweight 20 year olds on how to be healthy would be a good thing.
    And as for the litle girls saying they feel they need to be skinner, maybe thats just a young generation’s awareness that America IS fat. Maybe some education to these kids will steer them from both McDonalds AND bulimia altogether, toward a healthier lifestyle.

    On the “meat”… AWFUL. All I can say. The statistics on MEN who are raped is even more horrifying. Most men that are raped feel too embarrassed and demasculated (sp?) to even report it. And then imagine those numbers of who is ACTUALLY arrested, and convicted, and sent to prison. They suffer as silently as women do. Its horrifying.

    And the topping… Andy Richter. your not funny. Your just the side show for when Conan can’t come up with something quick enough. And suddenly your brazen enough to say some stupid crap like that. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    • http://www.facebook.com/NefariousNewt Nefarious Newt

      Not a negative message? Did you look at that cover picture? It’s not a 14-year-old girl in a doctor’s office — she’s standing before a mirror, looking longingly at a dress!!! This book isn’t purporting to teach girls that obesity is bad for the physical health, but their societal health, i.e. “boys don’t make passes at girls with fat asses.” This is the same mentality that causes men to think they can rape women who dress like “sluts.” This is the same mentality that doesn’t take on Michele Bachmann for her beliefs, views, and logic, but denigrates her based on her gender. This foul and ichorous stew of gender savagery makes my blood boil. I have a six-year-old daughter who is growing into a world that is a minefield of sexism, misogyny, and body image flagellation, and I DON’T LIKE IT!!! I refuse to watch as girls are told to think of themselves as objects, told that they are not to be valued for how smart and funny and wonderful they are, and that they aren’t suited for any job because they are female. All the things in this article sicken me, but the idea that we have to treat obesity because it will make girls look better sickens me most of all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001684683148 Amber Arias

    Please note I said “not necessarily a negative message”. I understand you position on the matter though. My point is not the bash the concept entirely, and obviously the cover art would be offensive to many. This book, though I haven’t read it, I’m assuming isn’t coming from the same place I am on the topic. Again, “telling little girls to drop some weight to feel skinnier[ or sexier OR prettier] is wrong”. I agree with you. I do feel you made a leap, “Nefarious Newt”, with the idea that girls needing to be prettier for guys is the same mentality of men expecting women to look a certain way and that makes them think they can rape them? (sorry the phrasing of that sounds incredibley offensive, but I can’t think of any other way to phrase right now). Doesn’t make sense. Men don’t think they can rape girls because “guys don’t make passes at girls with fat asses”. I feel like your blurring the two subjects into something completely inaccurate.
    I am all about women’s rights and helping other women to feel independent.
    But I do feel that some women get so wrapped up in feminism that they are close minded to anything but their own point of view that women are good; men are bad and dirty. The world is not against women. Women are valued and appreciated in many different situations, and though there is still some discrimination (of course), I feel that as a whole women have overcome A LOT of misogyny over the years.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001684683148 Amber Arias

    Also, we are not trying to “treat obesity because it will make girls look better”. We are trying to “treat obesity” because it causes a large number of health problems such as:
    •Coronary heart disease
    •Type 2 diabetes
    •Cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
    •Hypertension (high blood pressure)
    •Dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides)
    •Liver and Gallbladder disease
    •Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
    •Osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint)
    •Gynecological problems (abnormal menses, infertility)
    (again according to the CDC website under the Overweight and Obesity Health Consequences)

  • http://www.facebook.com/coll.e.bain Colleen McKnight-Hanniford

    Amber, while I agree with you that it is important to encourage kids to eat healthy food and exercise for the sake of their health, this book goes about it in entirely the wrong way, and that is the problem. Making overweight children think their appearance is unacceptable in society will give them body issues they may never recover from. Eating disorders can be just as deadly as diseases associated with obesity. It is sad to see unhealthy overweight children, but the answer to that is not to tear down their self esteem and tell them they aren’t good enough, it is to make them love themselves and want to be healthy for themselves. Children should be taught to appreciate what their body can do, not obsess over what size it is. Little girls need books about positive body image, not about why they should go on a diet.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001684683148 Amber Arias

    Colleen, very true. I agree

  • http://www.facebook.com/liz.haebe Liz Haebe

    I love reading these every week, but they always make me sad. Perhaps none more sad than this week. A girl was forced to apologize to her rapist? And, then she was suspended? Okay, I just…I just can’t even wrap my brain around that. And, then, we’re given a book about how little girls should lose weight. Ahhh yes, what that would’ve done for my already fragile, and vulnerable little body image back in those days. I was a heavy child, so I might’ve wanted someone to tell me I was perfect the way I was, not have a book thrown in my face telling me I’m a fatty and here’s how to lose weight. Children don’t need that kind of reinforcement. I’m sorry, it’s wrong, and if the child needs a healthy lifestyle, it should come from the parents and the family, and through LOVE. Not a stupid book.


    But, as always, great article!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000228502515 Sara Hankins

    pleasepleasePLEASE continue writing so I don’t feel like the only person who’s living in cray cray land!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/saytrumbo Anna Hussein Trumbo


  • http://www.facebook.com/bethiegee Bethany Grace

    I left this on my friend’s FB wall after she posted a link to this story. I’m going to share it here, too.

    I’m glad that she brought up that the girl who was the victim of an on-campus rape in 2009 was criticized for not protecting herself. Too often, ‘rape prevention’ is just another form of victim blaming. It is never the victim’s fault. Ever. And it can’t be prepared for, either. No one leaves the house in the morning thinking, “I wonder if I’ll be raped today at school? Gosh, I’d better be prepared!”

    I don’t know how other universities handle it, but mine offered a presentation on ‘Sexual Assault Prevention Strategies’ for free last fall, presented by the health center on campus. I attended it out of curiosity. It was full of good advice, to always travel in pairs, to never leave your drink unattended, etc. These are good things. The audience was mostly women. But the thing about sexual assault is that no matter how prepared you are, you never expect to be molested or raped. Ever. But it can still happen, no matter the circumstances. It happens in schools, it happens in churches, it happens in one’s own home, it happens in nursing homes, it happens everywhere. It happens to women all over the planet, no matter their age, weight, race, religion, the size of their social circle, or their blood alcohol content level. There is no such thing as prevention, other than maybe carrying a loaded weapon with you at all times, wearing video and audio surveillance equipment concealed on your person, and having one hell of an attorney on your side.

    What always surprises me is that this kind of presentation isn’t also geared toward men on campus, who are statistically more likely to commit a form of sexual assault than be the victim of one. Why don’t they have presentations along the lines of, “How to see your female friends as humans, rather than objects” or “How to not rape someone”. Or have significantly more stringent punishments for anyone who is implicated in the case of a sexual assault. It seems like every year, another young woman on a school’s campus (usually college, but high school is also becoming sickeningly common) is publicly shamed for coming forward and reporting her sexual assault, damaging the reputation of a male student in the process. It needs to end. We must seek and demand justice. Things must change.

    That was long. I just wanted to say kudos to the author for being as outraged as I am. We must never stop speaking up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001316455842 Roby ‘n Sugar Watson

    Hooray, the rape story comes from the county adjacent to the one I grew up in. WHY AM I NOT SURPRISED?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=72611568 Randi Bergsma

    This kind of sexist bullshit make me SOOOOOOOOO furious!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1843501647 Lela Wilson

    Misogynist Soup is always something I look forward to on this site. You’re by far my favorite contributor here!

    Also, that poor young girl from Missouri! Our countries rape culture is sickening. Seriously, forcing her to write an apology letter… if I was her parents I would have spit in the principals face. It is absolutely atrocious to think people with this mindset are in charge of the well being of hundreds of students.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1843501647 Lela Wilson

      I meant “Our country’s rape culture…”, my apologies.

  • http://www.facebook.com/awakeandalive Sara Michaels


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