Thursday, November 14, 2013

Justin Lookadoo and maybe lookadouche?

Hello there,

My name is Aisleen Menezes, the ever so "famous" tweeter of "I refuse to listen to the enforcement of stereotypes and gender roles."

Currently as a  junior at Richardson High School, I feel the absolute necessity to present the reasoning behind LIVE tweets, from students who were truly offended by the words spoken at the assembly on 11/13/13. There have been numerous articles released regarding this event, many of which discuss his misogynistic and sexist views, but fail to address the actual statements made at the assembly.  

Let me address a few disclaimers before I proceed:
*Yes, I am a feminist. However, a feminist stands for gender EQUALITY. I do not and will not tolerate generalizations made against any gender, male, female, other, neither.
*I did read Lookadoo's dating rules prior to the assembly however, I also made sure that when I was tweeting my opinion, it was relevant to the assembly itself.
*The assembly was deemed "optional" but neither the students nor the faculty knew WHAT the speech was going to be about. Justin Lookadoo's website does not contain information regarding the subject of his speeches. 
*This is of course, in my perspective. Therefore, bias is inevitable.

Please understand that this was written after carefully reviewing a recording of the assembly multiple times. Anything that is underlined and in quotation marks has been directly used from the assembly.

Prior to the assembly the only information that was received, was the name of the speaker and a link to the twitter account. Curiosity of course, led a great number of students to find his website, where we unearthed highly controversial views regarding dating and gender roles. I, along a few peers attempted to make it clear that previous judgments and his personal views could not be used as reasoning for attacking. However, within the first five minutes, regardless of my personal feministic views, I was offended.

The speaker opened up by stating, and I quote "Have you noticed that there are some major differences between guys and girls? And I mean on a biological/cellular level." Alright, sure. 

However, Lookadoo took facts such as boys having a higher red blood cell concentration to explain why it is acceptable for boys to be hyper and run around and tear things apart, but since girls have a higher concentration of white blood cells they have better immune systems... but "yeah, nobody cares!" Red flag number one? Maybe.

Later, Lookadoo asserts once again, "There are some major differences between guys and girls! Girls can't drive! They can only drive in circles!" (How is this relevant to relationships? Isn't that why you said you were here? Once again, please explain the relevance?) 

It is both evident and understood that there are biological differences between a male and a female, however Lookadoo felt it necessary to overplay the significance of these differences in teenage relationships. The ones of course, that aren't going to last because "they're not supposed to last." "The effort put into relationships just dictates how much it'll rip you apart when it ends." (Oh, so the speaker who is supposed to talk to us about relationships is telling us that we SHOULDN'T put any effort into them. If we shouldn't engage in relationships, why are you here talking to us about them?) 

The most angering and raging factor is the overuse of stereotypes and generalizations in his presentation, to try and prove his "points" and keep his audience "engaged." He attempted to use a stereotypical Black woman's voice to mock the female Black American demographic (this voice was used only when something was glaringly evident) and used hasty generalizations about teenagers and teenage relationships, such as "teenage girls physically give into relationships because they want to save them" or because "they're lowering their standards" and "as soon as a relationship becomes physical, all of "his friends know." Scaring girls away as a method of encouraging abstinence? Fantastic. How about proper sex education instead? But of course, "If you'll do it with that idiot, you'll do it with him."

Now, on to more about relationships, or so we hope: "Ladies, I'm going to say this in the nicest way possible....you are the most horrible, awful, vindictive creatures this planet has ever seen." 

Combining sexism and humor? Wonderful.

This was the enraging opening statement used to explain the notion that women are a revenge seeking and smack talking species, and we must rise above that. "There are some major differences between girls and guys. You see, when I get elevated in life, when I start getting better places in life, I'm going to tell all my boys how to get up here...Girls, you start getting elevated in life, you start getting better in life, you spend the rest of your life trying to kick every other girl down."

Once again, stating generalizations. He later contradicts himself by telling the audience that the girls who rise above seeking revenge now, will later be the bosses of the girls who talk "smack", and then will be capable of firing them if they choose to do so.

In the middle of the assembly a student proceeded to raise her hand to ask a question, and the speaker asserted that he would answer questions in the Q&A session afterwards...which didn't happen.

After the interruption, Lookadoo encouraged guys to do something with their lives, because girls will either choose from boys who play video games and "if all you do is sit around and play video games, then you're not attractive, you're a dork. And if you have a girlfriend right now, it's not because she finds you highly attractive, it's because you're the best dork she can find right now."

Now, Lookadoo did make a wonderful point in addressing abusive relationships however, he oversimplified the notion of "just getting out." Anyone who has experienced an abusive relationship understands that there is an emotional aspect that cannot, with justice, be simplified. 

Lookadoo closed his presentation by reiterating that guys should stand up and be a man, which encompasses standing up for others - something only a man can do, and women should simply resist the urge to to sink to a lower level, to be "vindictive."

The episode on twitter came as a result to of being offended by these and other remarks, as well as the demeanor of Justin Lookadoo. The ideologies posted on his website were not directly stated in his presentation, but when they were inquired about, Lookadoo's circumlocutory response left the question unanswered.  In the second Q&A session, as this assembly took place twice that day, Lookadoo stated, to a student who inquired about gender equality, that if she could not bench press a man, she could not be equal to a man. Other questions were answered with a rude tone, and a condescending demeanor.

To enlighten a certain area of discussion, Justin Lookadoo had delivered a speech at Richardson High School four years ago however, many claimed that a large majority of the speech differed from the one delivered in 2009. It is with great admiration that I look to Richardson High School and its PTA, because this assembly was organized for the betterment of relationships among students. The decision to hire Justin Lookadoo, however misguided as it may have been, was in the best interest of Richardson High School students.

Justin Lookadoo's message overall was presented in a demeanor that was offensive to both males and females, and the twitter outrage came as a result. Unfortunately, in the chaos that is social media, the original reasons for becoming offended were lost. The involvement of parents and social media led to the publishing of several articles that directly attack Lookadoo's views. Regardless of how sexist and disgusting I find his "dating rules" to be, I cannot attack him personally. If I am allowed to state my opinion, and proclaim myself as a feminist, he is allowed to do the same, but opposite of course... gender equality isn't a strikingly similar characteristic that we share.

Now, to get to my main point: First of all, this man's career isn't ruined. Of course several thousands of people are going to disagree with his views, however there are also those who absolutely agree with him, and are willing to promote his ideas and would love to have him come speak. For those of you who are discouraging the sharing of opinions, and are shaming those who are exercising their right to free speech, stop. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, including Justin Lookadoo, regardless of the extent of our disagreement.

This isn't a battle between wrong and right, black and white, (no that was not intentional) and it is absolutely necessary to understand that. You will always encounter people who agree and disagree with your views, whether it be about politics, education, religion, shoe colour, etc. If you are commenting on news articles, tweeting, instagramming, please make sure that if you are stating your opinion, that is all you are doing, and not attacking another individual for holding their opinions.


I'm finished with my soap box, I have presented my views, the rest is up to you.


42 comments:

  1. I agree with most of this, however I must point out that opinions themselves, in the realm of free speech, are also open to criticism and ostracization.

    Lookadoo and others are free to share their opinions, but free speech also has consequences. If Lookadoo's potential future employment has been negatively affected by his wildly misogynist views, then perhaps he should reconsider those views.

    Insults, shaming, and ridicule are not nice, yes. But they are an aspect of protected free speech and should exist as such.

    In no way, shape, or form should the school administration, PTA, or any other authority be exempt from such criticism as well. They are culpable and responsible for this mess. They don't deserve respect for wasting taxpayer money and time.

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  2. I think a few of his comments and beliefs have been exaggerated in many articles, but even if they weren't, the whole body of his statements is still quite demeaning.

    Also, please understand that the right of free speech isn't the right to a government sponsored captive audience. So, while his career as a whole isn't over, until he significantly changes his presentation, he shouldn't be given a public school audience.

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    1. I sent the following inquiry to his management:

      "We are planning a series of talks and need a really misogynistic asshat who is not afraid to speak from a total lack of common decency, knowledge, insight and human feeling."

      Wonder if he will accept?

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  3. You are so right on with all of this - thank you for sharing your thoughts and analysis. It was easy for those of us who aren't at your school to get caught up in the hashtag, but I know you and your friends are going to have to be in school, together, for the rest of the year with the teachers, parents, and everyone else who was part of this, and you deserve respect from all of them for keeping such a level head AND for speaking up for what you believe. Never stop doing that.

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  4. He has the right to free speech, but that doesn't mean the government should pay for it.

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    1. The government didn't pay for it.

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    2. Who exactly do you think paid for this presentation, B1Texan? I could be wrong, but I'd guess it came out of the school's budget, which comes from levees at the local level, and taxes at the federal. How is that not taxes, and the government?

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  5. Replies
    1. Personally, it means a lot when someone compliments my writing. Thank you.

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  6. Free speech only means the government cannot arrest him or otherwise attack him for his idiocy. It definitely doesn't mean his ideas cannot be dissected, and frankly, it doesn't mean that he, as an individual, isn't responsible for the sexist garbage with which he is attempting to indoctrinate children.

    The fact that any school EVER hires him to speak to kids is appalling. Not only is what he says sexist, it's misogynist. He is basically attacking/shaming young women and getting paid for it. Vile.

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    1. Right. This is a man who hates women. I'm sure he'd say, no, he loves women--women are soft and gentle, after all. He loves the fantasy of women he's constructed in his mind, where they're all exactly the way he believes women ought to be. But since women come in as many varieties as there are people, well...no, he hates women. He says terrible things. If I were running a seminar for high school kids and the speaker said that women were the most vile, hateful things on the planet, it would be like old-time vaudeville--play you off like Jaws, bring in a hook, unplug the mike, whatever, you're DONE.

      He has free speech. He has the right to pursue a career. That doesn't give him the right to the career he wants, especially if what he "preaches" is actually causing serious damage--attacking teenage girls' self-esteem like a fraking bully, telling teenage boys that they're supposed to be untamed and in charge, holy freaking crap, that's stuff people get in undertones from the media--it's not something you sit kids down for a lecture on. I'm surprised he didn't just tell all the girls that they're unclean during That Week. What a rubbish human being. He should not be speaking to teens.

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  7. An Open Letter To The Extraordinary Student Leaders At Richardson High School Who Took A Stand And Won Our Hearts.

    Read more: http://www.kdge.com/pages/diva.html?article=11828677#ixzz2kjGVp4R3 http://www.kdge.com/pages/diva.html?article=11828677

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  8. You are wonderful. Keep on being a strong woman. We need more young women like you who can see past the pseudo-religious nonsense spouted by woman-hating worthless morons like Lookadoo. Right on!!

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  9. You are fantastic. Thank you for being a LEADER. ;)

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  10. My son was in the assembly. I am proud because he stood up when the comment about gamers was made. He said was he did not agree with his statement. He was asked by Lookadouche if he was a women. He of course said he was not and was told to leave the assembly. I guess free speech only applies if you agree with the idiot speaker.

    On another note, over 200 students signed a petition to have him banned from Richarsdon High School. Less than 30 minutes after the assembly.

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    1. My husband is a gamer and has been pretty much since the age when he could operate a controller. Of course he can be a dork, and so can I, though I'm not a gamer (but I know and have female friends who are gamers!), so I have to be dorky in other ways. He manages to mix it up, too. :P He's also a very intelligent, interesting, articulate, affectionate human being who holds down an 8-to-5 as a university-educated engineer, and credits video games for teaching him the importance of reading (hard to finish quests if you can't read what you're supposed to do) and math, as well as how to reason logically and spatially, how to read a map/orienteer, how to communicate and work productively with others (again, hard to finish MMO quests if your group can't communicate and get along), etc, etc. All of this to say kudos to your son for standing up for himself and gamers throughout his high school! When a quarter of all teens and nearly half of adults 18-49 play video games at least occasionally, it's people like this uninformed speaker that need to watch who they're insulting.

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  11. Thanks Aisleen, I'm pretty sure the future is in mostly good hands.

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  12. I'm a mother of a teen girl, and a teacher at another north Dallas high school. Very proud of you for using your critical thinking skills, and standing up for what is right. It is very brave, especially when the adults in charge were sponsoring this speaker. Thanks to your actions, hopefully other schools will think twice before hiring him to speak. Simply pointing out stereotypes like he did doesn't solve them, it perpetuates them. I also appreciate you for calling attention to the racial stereotyping (imitation of black women). Maybe he thought he was being funny but I'm a black AND a female...I would have been livid at that assembly. Bravo to you and hats off to your parents for raising a smart kid.

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  13. You are an extraordinary young woman, Miss Menezes. I have high expectations that you will go very far in life. I am proud to have students like you in Texas, and it fills me with hope for the future. Thank you for a civil, well-written post, and thank you for your call for more of the same.

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  14. From a feminist more than twice your age, you give me hope for the human race! Keep up the GREAT work!

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  15. I'm sure you don't need any reassurances on this matter, and I hope this doesn't come across as patronizing (it certainly isn't intended that way), but an articulate, intelligent and strong-willed girl like you is far more "dateable" by the standards of decent guy than a girl who "knows when to shut up." Thanks for sharing your thoughts and good luck in the future.

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  16. Kudos to you for standing up and making your voice heard. People like this can't keep perpetuating their bigotry if they get called out on it every time. Well done.

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  17. Dear Aisleen: I’m a professor at Southern Methodist University (Perkins School of Theology), and I simply want to note my admiration for your publicly outspoken, articulate, and courageous critique of Mr. Lookadoo’s comments made at the Richardson High School assembly. Appropriately, you’re angry at demeaning and sexist stereotypes and you spoke out courageously, but at the same time the tone of your analysis and critique has been thoughtful, level-headed, and constructive. Hoorah for your public courage, and that of your peers! Keep up the great work. ~ Dr. Susanne Johnson

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  18. As another feminist almost twice your age, and as a fellow blogger whose blog is focussed on ending all discrimination (It's in Japanese, but you are certainly welcome to look^_^ I believe Google can somewhat translate it), and someone Social Work to actually stand up for others the way a social worker (another Japanese woman) stood up for me, I really can only wish I was this intelligent, well-spoken (even in Japanese!), and possessed this high-level of critical thinking at your age. Now, at almost thirty, sure, I could probably be this analytical, but not at 16-17. At that age, I was a dropout-day-labourer. It took me years to possess the reasoning skills that you have already acquired. With your intelligence, wit and skill, already at such a young age, you have such a good chance at a wonderful future. Also, it gives me, and I see others as well, hope that when it's your generation's turn, especially if there's a lot of your peers like you, things may be pretty good. The event just passed for this year, but I am part of this movement (no, I did not start it! That credit goes to a Mimi Lenox), and I wonder if you'd be interested. True feminism, as you said, is a movement toward equality. Once we are equal, strife and suffering will be greatly reduced. https://www.facebook.com/BlogBlastForPeace

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    1. Thank you for all that you are doing, and I wish you support. I will definitely take the time to look into your movement, and I wish you the best of luck!

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  19. Wonderful blog. Keep up the great work! You are amazing, and I'm so glad you took the time to write this. It takes a lot of bravery to question stuff like that, ESPECIALLY when you're in high school. Hats off to you for saying what you did. You inspire me :)

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  20. Thank you for writing this. And as someone else has already commented, I have a feeling you will go far in life. And despite what Mr. Lookadoo believes, I have a feeling you will also help bring other PEOPLE (not just women) up with you. I have three young daughters and I hope they grow up to be like you.

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  21. So well written, and very much on point in the realm of feminism and how it often gets twisted(another stereotype much?). It's so cool to see agency amongst teens, especially in light of the small town horrors that continue to target young girls. I hope you continue to create change as responsibly as you have in both speaking out and addressing the real issues despite shoddy journalism(which, let's face it, is the majority of 24-hour reporting). Well done!!

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  22. I love what you've done, the impact you were able to make with your thoughtful writing. Your classmates likewise are impressive Thank you for advocating for yourselves but also increasing the thoughtfulness of the public (you've stirred some neurons).

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  23. Ms. Menezes,

    You have learned a valuable nugget of knowledge that I hope you continue to use throughout your life. It's one that seems less and less likely to be used in our hyper-partisan community, especially online. I'm speaking of the right for other people to have and express opinions that aren't yours and that you disagree with. I don't personally believe in the message set forth by Mr. Lookadoo, nor do I believe he is helping anyone, especially women, with his dating rules and ideas he has posted on his website. But everyone has a right to their own opinion and they have a right to express it. Many teens, like yourself, who attended the presentation have every right to put forth their opinions and reaction to his speech. You mentioned that you listened to the entire speech again, and if possible, it would be wonderful to hear it to make an unbiased opinion on. As you correctly surmised, much of the information out on the internet currently has little to do with his actual words and more about the indignation in regards to what he stands for. It makes forming a fair and unbiased opinion rather difficult.

    As to the last commenter, a Concerned Eagle, please don't take their comments too much to heart. While I do see their point - that it's difficult to have a fair and unbaised discussion with someone when you think of them as a "douche" - it's also rather evident that they are trying to make you feel as if you are somehow in the wrong for not only expressing your opinion, but that you have a negative opinion of Mr. Lookadoo and his message. From your statements you indicated that when others attempted to have a open and honest discussion with Mr. Lookadoo he dismissed them or talked down to them. If that is how he wished to engage others, then by all means you should return the favor and treat him as he chooses to treat others. For that, my young friend, is the meaning of equality.

    For myself, I think your online legacy shall not be harmed in any way for speaking your opinion. You write with greater logic and compassion than many decades older than you. Any future employer who stumbles upon your entry here should find you to be a conscientious young woman of intelligence. If they find offense in it then they are doing you a favor by NOT hiring you. People like yourself deserve a far better and more welcoming place of employment.

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  24. I am so sorry this man was welcomed into your school. He should not have been given a forum for his hateful, ignorant misogynistic beliefs, especially not in a school. Keep fighting the good fight, and always be proud to be a feminist!

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  25. This one REALLY gets me "In the second Q&A session, as this assembly took place twice that day, Lookadoo stated, to a student who inquired about gender equality, that if she could not bench press a man, she could not be equal to a man." I can't even BEGIN to put into well-formed words how offensive and prehistoric this is. That answer alone should've sealed his coffin in the public speaking arena.

    And he joins the likes of Westboro Baptist in making Christians seem like idiotic, cruel people. I'm so sorry you had to sit through that, and kudos to you for standing up to it. I did notice that before this debacle, there was a woman on his site-supposedly a co-author, who has now been removed. Also removed were his forums. Hopefully he will crawl back into his cave with his bottle of hair bleach and his weight set after this debacle.

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  26. Your restraint, stance for free speech and encouragement of true dialogue, and clarity of thought are truly admirable. I am delighted to know you are part of the up and coming generation. Hooray for critical thinking combined with compassion!
    Jana

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  27. Amazing! I had to share your post on my FB. I am so glad to see young women using their critical thinking skills and speaking their minds. Keep up the good work. This man was hoping you would be too young to see through his lies. Trust me, when you get older (this is not condescending, you have shown how bright you are already) you'll see that being "datable" is not the #1 thing on your mind and the men that want a Lookadoo's imaginary idea of what a women is are not the men you want to be around. He's an idiot, your an inspiration. You one, him zero!

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  28. Wow. This is much worse than anything on his website. And I had problems with Datable website, but things there didn't seem so blatantly misoginistic, just misguided. I actually ended up writing him about it (though ironically the e-mail I found on his site to contact him was emily@lookadoo.com His wife? Secretary?). But now that I know how misogynistic his remarks actually got, I wonder if I wasted my time (tossed my pearls before swine so to say).

    You are inspiring. Keep writing!

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  29. Ms. Menezes,

    As a father of two boys (4yr old, 2 mon old), I cannot tell you how encouraging it is to read something so intelligently written. It's encouraging because, it will be people like you, in your generation that will (hopefully) teaching my boys in the future. As you get older your convictions may or may not change slightly. However, I hope that you never lose your ability to argue for them so articulately as you did in this post.

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