Posts Tagged ‘media

Men!  The only animal in the world to fear.  ~D.H. Lawrence

Last week, a terrible crime was committed against a very poor woman in the city where I live.

Not only was she assaulted and raped, but impaled as well. She agonized – while remaining conscious –  for a few hours at the place where she was dumped by her assailant. When the police finally found her, she was showing signs of hypothermia.

As if this weren’t enough, when they found her they asked her if she had medical insurance. She said no. She was then taken to a hospital about 20 minutes away from where she was, instead of taking her to another – private – hospital that was just a couple of blocks away.

The poor woman never stood a chance. She died later on due to cardiac arrest, after enduring several operations and all kinds of procedures to save her.

The worst part was the way the media treated the whole thing. It was pitiful and uninformative, to say the least.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to write this post and how to approach the broad array of issues that arise from such a hair-raising event, but in the end all I can say is that I’m sad. Sad and enraged.

Truly and deeply sad.

I’m sad because I feel like something inside of me died a little. Maybe it was hope. Because I always thought human beings were essentially good, but it seems to me that this theory has been proven wrong way too many times already for it to be true.

I’m sad because this was a monstrous crime committed against a helpless woman.

I’m sad because of the way she was treated for being poor and because no one should have to suffer what she suffered only to die part of a health-care system that wasn’t willing to help her.

I’m sad because this is not how things are supposed to be.

I’m sad because the justice system of the country I live in had already tried her attacker before for sexual assault and murder and had released him only 15 months after his conviction. Several arrest warrants are still outstanding for his involvement in other crimes of a similar nature, and yet he has just been released, again, after being apprehended this weekend due to “lack of evidence” or some sort of BS story concocted especially to let the perp walk.

I’m enraged because impunity is, in my opinion, the mother of all other crimes. I mean, why even bother making laws if they are only going to be stomped on by animals such as these and their lawyers, who are just as bad?

But what really infuriates me is that this sort of thing happens all around the world and no one seems to know. Or care.

And I’m not only referring to random violent crimes like this one. I’m talking about systemic, reiterative violence. Against women. Against children. Against other human beings.

People will only become aware of these things if the media informs them about it. But if the media hasn’t heard of it or decides it’s not newsworthy, then it’ll just be ignored and that is so unfair. And since this case had to do with a poor woman in some God-forsaken third-world country, no one will ever know.

Because I’m pretty sure the global media has ignored this: I googled the news in English and only found one reliable source that has not even been updated: http://www.ntn24.com/news/news/outrage-colombia-rape-and-impa-13948

So, I’ve decided to inform the few people who read my blog about it. As long as just one person reads it, I’ll feel like I’ve done my part by making that one person aware of what has happened to that woman nobody seemed to care about.

She is just one of the many who are killed, assaulted, raped or abused every single day across the planet. We can’t feel regret or remorse for things we aren’t aware of, but we should, every now and then, think of those who are not sufficiently important to be on the news, but who nonetheless suffer the unthinkable – some of them, every day -.


I read that last week Mr. Karl Lagerfeld, the man behind Chanel, recently stated that Adele was “a little too fat”. And what did Ms. Adele do? She just won 6 Grammys and looked absolutely fabulous in the process, wearing Armani I might add. Ha!

When the movie Titanic was the hype, I read that James Cameron would call Kate Winslet, Kate “Weighs-a-lot”. Nasty. And what has she done since then? Every single time she is a part of something she gets nominated for an award, and more often than not, she wins. She also looks like a million bucks every time she’s on the red carpet.

When I lived in Paris, and English friend of mine had a French boyfriend who used to say that Cindy Crawford had “big” thighs. Also in Paris,  I was at the movies watching “Mickey Blue Eyes” with Jeanne Tripplehorn, and at a certain point she is wearing a little something to seduce her boyfriend, Hugh Grant, and the ladies behind me said, “Oh My God, that actress is fat”. I remember thinking that if that was the French standard of beauty, ordinary women like me were doomed.

In what universe are these woman fat?

My younger sister, thin as a stick and childless said, upon watching Heidi Klum hit the runway about 2 months after the birth of one of her children, that all new mothers should get their old bodies back just as quickly as Heidi had instead of making excuses not to do it. My older sister and myself, knowing what childbirth entailed, jumped at her immediately, obviously. Not only is it difficult to focus on anything but your child, let alone yourself, but also, normal women don’t have million-dollar contracts forcing them to be in tip-top shape to parade VS underwear (with all due respect to Heidi and VS), nor the helping hands to get you back in shape while someone takes care of your little one, etc..

How is it that men (mostly, but not exclusively) get to dictate what women should look like and what beautiful means? I mean, why did we gave them the right? But also, why would they impose on us things they don’t really care about when it comes to themselves?

If women had a true say in what beauty should look like, we wouldn’t be subjected to unbearable high heels that make walking, let alone standing, a miserable experience;  we wouldn’t feel the need to wear body shapers to fit into clothes that are usually intended for women on the catwalk; eating properly and exercising would come naturally, since no woman would feel so bad about herself to sabotage her own body for not feeling pretty enough or for not having the stick-thin figure we are forced to believe is the only beauty standard worth living up to.

I’m not trying to criticize or judge, but I do firmly believe that our health and beauty standards have been so distorted throughout the years that we are endangering the future generations’ perception of themselves.

I say it because I’ve seen with my own eyes preschoolers that are worried because they think they have a big belly and refuse to eat to avoid “getting fat”. Ergo, the anorexia this population has been increasingly displaying in recent year. And yet, I don’t see anyone alarmed.

My 5 year-old daughter hasn’t shown any of these signs yet, but if this trend continues, I’m sure it won’t be long for her too. The worst part is that even though as parents we try to instill that beauty is an inner condition, that she must love herself for who she is and that looks mean nothing, if she gets it into her head that she doesn’t look like she is supposed to, nothing we say or do will change that.  Our kids are so exposed to pictures of “perfection” everywhere they go that the voice of the minority – their parents – can’t be heard over the din made by the media.

And so in my house, there is now a blanket ban on saying that people are fat or ugly, on criticizing people on how they dress or look and in general, on anything that demeans another human being on how they look vs. what we think they should look like.

Beauty, as it is frequently quoted, is in the eye of the beholder and I hold that statement as my beacon (along with another: live and let live). As long as you think you are beautiful – in the ways that count, anyway – and love yourself as you are, then everything will make sense. Let the others concern themselves over minor stuff if they like.

I’ve seen so many friends of mine trying to change to look like their husbands or partners wish they would look like, working out their butts off at the gym, starving themselves to death, or letting their hair grow out when they’ve always preferred it short, that it breaks my heart. These women, all of them powerful and extraordinary in their own way, and with so much to give, are constantly insecure about the way they look and feel like they are worthless if they are not appreciated by their significant other.

I understand that our perception of ourself is a great part of our self-esteem, but we can’t expect external factors to boost it if inside we feel like the tiniest grain of sand on the bottom of the ocean. Our appreciation of ourself must come from inside, and it must encompass not only what we are, but who we are. Any changes required must be motivated from the inside, not the outside, because, how can anyone that hasn’t lived inside your body and mind know what you need to feel better about yourself?

Recently, a well-known model (locally, I should say), a stunning beauty, went public on some problems she had with a butt filler. It appears that the doctor who put the hyaluronic acid in her butt used a far-from-ideal product, even though the product itself was duly registered and approved by the local equivalent of the FDA. So while the doctor is suing the lab, the model is now telling everyone that she has now had to endure several surgeries to remove the stuff (or at least that’s what I’ve understood so far).

The irony is that when asked what surgeries she had before, she stated something like this in the following lines: “only breast implants and a nose job, the normal surgeries women get done”.  I wanted to slap her square in the face for saying such a stupid thing. Yes, I know, cosmetic surgery is a reality and millions of people get things lifted, augmented, eliminated or reduced every single day across the globe. But does that mean that cosmetic surgery is now a normal thing for people to do? If it is, then stupid me for thinking that people still cared about the important stuff.

Don’t get me wrong, I know cosmetic surgery changes the life of many people every day, such as burned, disabled or maimed people, but these people truly need it to be able to fully live their lives and regain their self-esteem. Elective cosmetic surgery, such as the model’s choice, is exactly that: elective. You can either choose to live with what you have and make the most of it, or live in misery because you don’t have a bigger backside, smaller breasts or that button nose you think you need to be complete.

So, basically, my thought for today is, forget what other people have to say or what they think. The only opinion that matters, is yours. The only person’s appreciation and approval you truly need to get you through each day is your own. And don’t let anyone try and convince you otherwise.

I went with my husband to the mall’s food court a few months ago to grab a quick bite before our movie started. There was nothing unusual for a Friday night at the mall, except for the fact that there were 4 teenagers at the table behind us just sitting there in silence.

Puzzled by the lack of any sign of movement or sound, we turned around to take a look. As it turns out, there were 2 girls and 2 boys (I’d say around age 16), the girls on one side, the boys on the other (it looked like some kind of blind date for one of the couples). Things were fine up to this point. What left us dumbstruck was the fact that they were – each of them – texting on their phones and that kept them from interacting with each other. It was the saddest thing I ever saw.

I know well that times have changed, me being part of the generation that learned to type on a typewriter and gradually made the transition to a PC; to print my first papers on the noisy dot matrix printer and end up with a petit laser printer; from having (and using) regular phones at home to not knowing how I ever managed before cordless phones appeared, and from using the huge devices that were the first cell phones to the minimalistic cell phones available today that have buttons you have to stick your nails into if you want to press them. Or even better: there were no cell phones in my childhood and early adolescence, so we had to use the regular phone (or payphone) to get in touch with our parents to let them know where we were and that were OK.

Oh yes, times have changed.

But does that mean that we now have to be 100% reliant on technology and forget that as human beings, we are social animals and as such have the physiological need to interact with others (even if sometimes we don’t particularly enjoy it)?

I mean, these kids were just a small example of something you see everyday: you’re at a meeting and one person in 3 is busy texting away while pretending to pay attention to what is being said; you’re in someone’s living room, or visiting a relative and there are at least two people (not necessarily teenagers) who have chosen a quiet corner in which they can text away at their leisure. Or even worse: there are two or more people at the same gathering who are texting each other and passing jokes and comments on their phones, not even bothering to speak to each other.

What is going on? Is this what we’re becoming?

I know that most people now have BBs and similar because they need them for work, or at least that’s what they’ll tell you. I wonder if they really do. Of course I admit that current technology has improved our lives in ways we never could have imagined, but I’m also certain that we have become dependent on our “gadgets” in a way that is almost dehumanizing.

I’m quite sure that our parents were just as good and effective employees back in their day as anyone who is currently a part of the workforce. The main difference is, they were able to “disconnect” themselves and do so much more for themselves and their family. Even though many of us had workaholic parents or parents who just had to work extra hard to support their household, at least in my case, when my mother was with us, she was with us heart, mind and soul, if even for a little while. Which is why I find it surprising how nowadays, in spite of the ever-growing array of working options and the greater freedom given by employers worldwide to make it easier for their employees to spend time with their family, people are just not taking advantage of it and are “not all there”. 

For although they can move around a lot more and share some time with their kids and spouses, people are always losing focus on things that matter and concentrating on more “urgent” stuff – a.k.a. everything else. Even when doing something they really enjoy (watching TV, eating out, etc.), people are unable to keep their mind on what they are doing, and instead are thinking of the other million things that are happening while they are “absent” or “disconnected”. It’s almost like things have been reversed: instead of thinking about what you’re missing when you’re not doing what you like the most (e.g. thinking about fishing while at work), we’re worried about what we’re missing while we are doing the things that at some point gave us immense pleasure.

Ever wondered why good TV shows get cancelled so soon? My guess is that, among others, people are not focused on what they’re watching and quickly lose interest in the plot if it requires their full attention and putting down their phone, no matter how good it is.

It’s like our generation and those behind us have lost their “lust for life” and have settled for being permanently hooked on our gadgets as if they were another appendage.

I guess we convince ourselves that what we are doing what must be done in order to live our lives the best we can and as such, every single personal life-related decision is valid. However, once we start losing sight of who we are, and unable of separating it from what we do and what we want, there is no turning back.

Our generation, I believe, is doomed, but there’s still time for the others to straighten their ideas and get it right before it’s too late and the cycle repeats itself: parents not paying attention to their kids, spouses ignoring each other, etc. and therefore the pattern repeating itself with each new generation.

I just hope I’m wrong.


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  • Carrie Rubin: I don't always remember names well, but I remember circumstances. I especially remembered yours because it's such a rare cancer, and you were the firs
  • iamtheinvisiblehand: Thank you for your kind words, but also thank you for remembering it was me....it's amazing that you'd remember this considering the endless stream of
  • Carrie Rubin: I am so sorry to hear about your mother. After you commented on my blog yesterday, I remembered that your mother was the one who had cholangiocarcinom