A monthly newsletter for students and friends of  Kicks Martial Arts for Women
Inside this issue:

Lessons from Super Bowl XXXVIII

All out for KBAV 2004!

Cool Link of the Month -
Happy Intl. Women's Day!

Rank Promotions

Upcoming Events


Located at the Heiter Community Center • 100 North Fifth Street •  Lewisburg, PA 17837
March 2004

Feature Editorial
Kick Back Against Violence '04 

Lessons From Super Bowl XXXVIII
by Laura Kamienski  

“I’m gonna have you naked by the end of this song!” As promised, Justin Timberlake tore Janet Jackson’s clothing, exposing her breast during this year’s Super Bowl half-time show. This publicity stunt reveals how pervasive cultural misogyny and widespread acceptance of aggressive behavior toward women is. Even with the increased number of campaigns drawing attention to the epidemic of rape and battering, the Super Bowl incident shows how violence against women is normalized and remains alarmingly invisible.gone with the wind
We live in a culture that romanticizes violence against women. From King Kong’s struggling Fay Wray, Scarlett O’hara fighting off Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind, General Hospital’s Laura marrying Luke—her rapist, all the way to contemporary music video and advertising, the romanticizing of sex involves women being seduced by men's force.  The media, especially high fashion magazines and music video, commonly depict women as bound, gagged, on their knees, held by the hair, grabbed by the wrist, yanked around or spread out in vulnerable positions on their backs -- in other words pervasive scenes of coercion, aggression, intimidation and fear. Genderads  is an extremely informative web site on which university professor has dedicated space to these horrific images in an attempt to educate the public about the pervasive misogyny in advertising.galogo

Ironically Jackson and Timberlake’s shock tactic is really nothing new or unique, yet the public has expressed its shock and outrage. A misguided and misfocussed outrage! What we should be shocked about is not Janet’s breast but, that instead of discussing the violence, the attention has been on her attire and whether or not she was complicit.

Michael Powell, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), objected to the incident stating that the exposure of a breast is "indecent." Many of us were initially gratified by the FCC’s protest. But Mr. Powell’s objection raises the question of why women’s breasts are considered to be indecent and obscene. Rus Ervin Funk co-founder of Mobilizing to End Violence (M.E.N.), Louisville, KY, remarked, “Clearly [Mr. Powell] does not watch much TV, for men's breasts are exposed relatively often. This suggests that it is not breasts that are indecent, but women's breasts. Which raises the question why are women's breasts considered indecent, but men's breasts are not? By defining women's breasts as somehow different than men's, and sexualizing this difference by defining women's breasts as indecent or obscene, we create an environment where women's breasts become targets for men's sexualized aggression.”

In an article in the Chicago Times Barbara Shaw, director of the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority said, ''It's a very sad day for society when a bare breast is more offensive than the glorification of sexual violence. [Sexual Violence has become] so pervasive that we don't even know it when we see it.''

Instead of being outraged at Ms. Jackson’s breast, or her behavior, our outrage is better directed at Justin Timberlake's act of aggression against Ms. Jackson. As Mr. Funk succinctly articulated, “The act of aggressively ripping women's clothing to expose her breast is by definition sexualized aggression.  That's the outrage! Women are subject to rape and harassment at alarming rates.  A recent study by the American Association of University Women found that 86% of young women's first sexual experienced involved coercion, manipulation or force.  Put in this reality, examining how Janet's breast was exposed becomes much more urgent than the fact that her breast was exposed.”

During a recent group discussion at Bucknell University, I heard a young man remark that he couldn’t believe that the argument of assault is even being raised. "After all," hekong asserted, “It’s not like she was lying on the ground screaming in pain. And, come on, she knew it was going to happen! It’s a publicity stunt she willingly participated in.”

The pervasiveness of this sort of unacknowledged misogyny enables violence against women to exist in epidemic proportions. It is exactly the kind of rationale that is fueling the backlash against Kobe Bryant’s accuser and other victims of rape and battering. I find it infuriating that Mr. Timberlake ripped off a woman's clothes, and the question being repeatedly asked is whether Janet Jackson planned it. Because she was wearing a nipple ornament the violent content of the incident has been neutralized to being described as simply a publicity stunt.

The bottom line is that whether the incident was planned or not is irrelevant. The focus on Ms. Jackson’s attire is more than reminiscent of how juries are compelled to exonerate rapists because their victims were wearing short skirts or some other kind of “provocative” attire. Janet Jackson’s behavior is the result of an industry that demands that she live up to the male notion of femininity. A 1991 documentary entitled “Dreamworlds II,” which critically examines MTV, the music industry, and music video representations of women and their sexuality, reveals that “these representations are predictable and limited and that they negatively affect men’s understandings of women and women’s understandings of themselves. 

Using footage culled from television and cinema, often without the original accompanying music, the film connects music video to men’s violence against women and rape culture, and makes a compelling case for the inclusion in music video of a wider range of stories about female sexuality and, by extension, masculinity.”

A segment of the film discusses Janet Jackson’s transformation from powerful, rebellious young girl to “sexy”, "available", “feminine” woman. With the release of the video Love Will Never Do in 1990, at age 24, it seemed like almost overnight Ms. Jackson lost weight, donned more revealing clothing and dramatically changed her music content and image. It is a case in point that if a woman doesn’t conform to the “Dreamworld” of male defined “femininity” she will be punished. In Ms. Jackson’s case the price would be her career.

Cool Link of the Month

International Women's Day is March 8th


Over the years, International Women's Day (IWD) has taken to the streets, sparked off a revolution, met cosily at luncheons and concerts, rubbed shoulders with Premiers, Prime Ministers and Mayors, demonstrated at the doors of newspapers and welfare institutions, occupied empty houses intent on gaining shelter for homeless women and has ushered in reform legislation.

The history of IWD dates back to 1910 internationally and, in Australia, to 1928. But socialist women in the United States organised the first national Women's Day in 1908 and helped to inspire the international event.

The day has been variously seen as a time for asserting women's political and social rights, for reviewing the progress that women have made, or as a day for celebration. In keeping with its early radical traditions, Lena Lewis, U S. socialist, declared in 1910 that it was not a time for celebrating anything, but rather a day for anticipating all the struggles to come when" we may eventually and forever stamp out the last vestige of male egotism and his desire to dominate over women" 1

Upcoming Events

  • A six week session of CardioKicks! Fitness Kickboxing will be held at the Donald Heiter Community Center every Wednesday at 5:30 PM beginning on March 3rd. For more information call Kicks at 523-7777 or email ck@kicks4women.com
  • The next rank test will be held on April 3rd at 2:00 PM 

May 1st  - 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM at the Donald Heiter Community Center. These sessions will be for women only.
May 2nd  - 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM at Bucknell University Fieldhouse. These sessions will be co-sex and are open to the public.

Both sessions will include Kicks annual Board Breaking Bonanza!
For event details, or to pre-register, contact Kicks at 523-7777 or e-mail info@kicks4women.com
  • Look for information about next twelve-hour  Empower! Self-Defense for Women.

We'd love to hear from you!
Please send us your comments,
feedback and suggestions.

Kicks Teams up with the Heiter Community Center
and Bucknell Sirens for
TWO Power Packed Sessions!

KBAV logo design by Julie Karchner. All rights reserved.
2:00 PM
May 1st - at the Donald Heiter Community Center

(for women only)
May 2nd - at Bucknell University Fieldhouse
Aerobics Studio

(open to both women and men)
    Kicks Martial Arts for Women is teaming up with the Heiter Community Center and Bucknell University's Sirens for Kick Back Against Violence 2004, the fourth annual benefit for Susquehanna Valley Women in Transition (SVWIT).SVWIT Board Chair, Chanin Wendling at KBAV03
    Last year KBAV kickers raised over $2000.  "We're so excited to be teaming up with these two phenomenal organizations!" said Kicks' director Laura Kamienski, "The community center is such a  positive force in our area and Sirens is an amazing group of students with a strong feminist voice."
    This year, along with the two CardioKicks! sessions , KBAV is encouraging sororities, fraternities and other groups to  participate by offering special private sessions for those raising $1000 or more. “We really need everyone’s support to help us reach this year's ambitious goal of $5000,” said Alyssa Schneebaum of Sirens.
    Classes open to individual kickers are scheduled for 2 PM  (Beginner CardioKicks!), 3 PM  (Intermediate KickStep!) and 4 PM (CardioKicks! Grand Finale’.) Kicks is requesting a minimum donation of $15 per class for individual participants. Private group sessions will be scheduled as needed.

Cristin Kenney earns $600 for one break! Wow! Each session will last forty-five minutes, with a 15-minute Board Breaking intermission between each session. "The Board Breaking Bonanza is always a SMASH!” exclaimed Kamienski, “one breaker raised $600.00 for one board.” Kamienski also noted that those who prefer not to kick or break are still able help by sponsoring a participant.

Kicks is also encouraging local companies to get involved by sponsoring the event.  “The local business community has really rallied behind this event in the past,” Kamienski said. "We're hoping the business community will come through again this year." Corporate sponsorship packets detailing sponsor benefits are available at Kicks.

To register yourself, your group or your company for KBAV04, or for more information, go to www.kicks4women.com or call 523-7777.

Kicks Rank Promotions
Great job!
Everyone did a great job at the February rank testing!
Junior Promotions:
  • Gold Belt Anya
  • Orange Belt Martina
Senior Promotions:
  • Gold Belt Jillian, Karla
  • Orange Belt Deena, Molly
  • Green Belt Katie, Kristen, Lindsey
  • Blue Belt Liz
A special congratulations to Jillian who earned a medal for her outstanding Overall test performance.

Also a special congratulations to Kristen  who earned a medal for her outstanding performance in Forms.

A BIG congratulations to the Junior Student of the Month, Anya.
Great job! Keep up the hard work...

You can check out more test photos by clicking here.

continued from first column... 

After the Rape   We must also consider the issue of violence against women being presented as “entertainment.” The Super Bowl incident is a mild example in comparison to some of the images, dialogue and representations of violence against women in the general media, not to mention pornography. One recent example that comes to mind is the recently launched SPIKE Television for Men, which prides itself on being openly misogynist. Our outrage must be directed at the perpetrators of the violence, and those who sell images of it, instead of at Ms. Jackson and the women who are duped into participating in the production of these images.

Loretta Kemsley, President of Women Artists and Writers International pointed out that the “lies of 'accident' by Timberlake need to be taken as the false pretense of innocence used by any sexual assaulter...even though I have no doubt Janet knew ahead of time this would happen. To allow him to hide behind 'she knew' (which his lies deny) would unfairly relieve him of responsibility for his own decisions. Both knew. Both participated. Both could have said no but easier for him to say no than her, since her career depends upon her sexual exploitation. She gets shamed. He gets macho kudos for doing it.”wedding

The whole debate surrounding the Jackson / Timberlake incident is another example of the increasing acceptance of the view that violence against women is simply a “personal issue.” Instead of recognizing the broader political implications and consequences that are at stake we are being directed, through accusations of “reverse sexism,” and demands for gender neutrality, to focus on individual circumstances, such as Ms. Jackson’s nipple decoration and willingness to participate. Reducing violence against women to a matter of personal privacy or choice is dangerous to the anti-violence movement and is what lies behind this guise of gender neutrality and the equal defense of both sides of the issue. Until women are no longer oppressed, exploited, beaten or raped, gender neutrality is a myth we can’t afford to buy into. Every day we are bombarded with hundreds of images that lend credibility to sexual violence against women in real life. It’s not simply a matter of disrespect, it’s a matter of safety, justice and equality! The Super Bowl incident is yet another of the overwhelming examples of power and intimidation being presented as sexy, hip and normal.

Wendy Murphy, who teaches Perspectives in Sexual Violence at the New England School of Law in Boston, MA, asks, "Would they be so eager to celebrate the edginess of it all if Timberlake and Jackson had acted out a dramatization of an act of racial violence? I mean, what if he 'acted out' having Jackson be forced to the back of  a bus or was dressed in KKK gear when he ripped her shirt? Would they think it was all about the first amendment then? Would women be accused of being un-hip for not 'getting it'? Would it be any less vile because Jackson, a black woman, let it happen?"

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