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Posts tagged ‘egregiously long posts’

Vietnam, Part 2: Cu Chi and a small dark hole in the ground

When articles or documentaries on the Vietnam War want to gesture at the advantages of guerrilla tactics, they usually say something like, “The Viet Cong used their knowledge of the terrain to outmaneuver American G.I.s who were more comfortable in the cornfields of Iowa than in the tropical jungles of Southeast Asia.” Until actually visiting one of these jungles, I never really understood what that meant. After all, what’s the learning curve on hiding in the underbrush? How hard is it to find the higher ground? Are there poisonous jungle plants that take a trained eye to avoid? I knew traps were involved in there somewhere, but again, I couldn’t see how that would furnish such an asymmetrical advantage. What is a land mine, after all, if not a trap? Read more

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Harassment: A Definition?

[NOTE: In my last post, I mentioned composing but then shelving a response, which I described as being “not a defense of the men who harassed [UnWinona] but a limited critique of how she and some of her commenters have framed the issue.” This is that piece.]

What do we mean when we say “harassment”?

With the current political climate being what it is, I’m reluctant to say anything that could put me on the wrong side of the debate over sexual violence and women’s rights, but this tumblr post by UnWinona and the reaction it has received brings to light a shift in how men and women interact that I think may have broader social implications than we recognize. Read more

I debated whether or not to share this critique

A week ago, a blogger going by the name of UnWinona told the online world about the harassment women face on a regular basis. In her post, she described a particularly bad train ride: a group of boys in their late teens boarded the train, approached her, invaded her private space, hit on her, and then, when their advances were rebuffed, began a campaign of catcalls and verbal harassment; after the teenagers disembarked, another man boarded the train, approached her, invaded her private space, hit on her, and then, when his advances were rebuffed, flew in to a violent rage. Read more

A Scrub at the Jjimjilbang, Or: How I Got to Third Base With an Ajeoshi

Personal space is of course culturally determined, but it isn’t until a masseur crosses the “bathing suit line” that the truth of that statement really hits home.

Say what you will about regulating a cottage industry like massage therapy, but in this case, regulation has definite benefits: by standardizing the certification process, the customer has something to lean on as he is stripping down to underwear or less. I’m naked with a stranger, but this is a professional environment. Nothing weird is going to happen. Massage therapists employ a long list of comfort-bolstering rituals—all geared at preventing that molesty vibe—but the sine quibus non of the professional massage are as follows: anything not currently being massaged stays happily hidden beneath a drape or towel; going much below the waist requires permission; and genitalia, inner thighs and butt cracks are all OFF LIMITS. Read more