Friday, November 15, 2013

I would like to reiterate that I do not agree with and do not condone Lookadoo's presentation at Richardson High School, and neither do I feel like he should be allowed to use the speech he presented at RHS, at any other given public, government funded institution. The purpose of this blog was to present to you what wasn't on his website - what only Richardson High School students and faculty experienced during the assembly.

Thank you,
Aisleen Menezes.

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 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.