Roundup: Mom blaming, virtual sex-ed and more

Including: India's magazine for working girls.

By Tracy Clark-Flory

Published July 31, 2007 1:00AM (EDT)

Just blame mom. I can't bring myself to even type the name of the subject of that vacant-eyed mug shot seen around the world last week. But, she and her mother are the focus of an interesting article from yesterday's New York Times about the mothers of dysfunctional starlets and why they're the ones publicly excoriated for their daughter's DUI, 55-hour marriage or videotaped sexcapades. Kara Jesella asks, uh, what about their absent and dysfunctional dads?

Your kid may be getting a shoddy sex education but there's always ... Second Life. The online virtual world has a new area designed to teach kids about safe sex. Free digital condoms for all! No, really.

Anti-choicers want abortion to be illegal. They just can't quite decide on an appropriate punishment. Anna Quindlen writes: "If abortion is made a crime, then surely the woman who has one is a criminal. But, boy, do the doctrinaire suddenly turn squirrelly at the prospect of throwing women in jail." She continues, "[T]here are only two logical choices: hold women accountable for a criminal act by sending them to prison, or refuse to criminalize the act in the first place. If you can't countenance the first, you have to accept the second. You can't have it both ways."

Truly hideous news out of the Congo: U.N. investigator Yakin Erturk said today that rape and violence committed against women in the region is "rampant and committed by non-state armed groups, the Armed Forces of the DRC, the National Congolese Police, and increasingly also by civilians." She continued, "Women are gang raped, often in front of their families and communities. In numerous cases, male relatives are forced at gun point to rape their own daughters, mothers or sisters." Reuters reports that after being raped, many are "shot or stabbed in the genital area"; some are "forced to eat excrement or the flesh of their murdered relatives."

India has a new magazine for working girls. But not the button-down kind. The monthly "Red Light Despatch" is published in India and is filled with firsthand accounts of life in the country's brothels. And, boy, is it dismal: "My dignity was torn to pieces. I used to cry a lot," wrote a prostitute named Sita. "But I soon learnt some things will never change no matter how much you cry."

Cute and smart better than cute and dumb. So says Danica McKellar, better known as Winnie on "The Wonder Years." It seems that the "dumb and irresponsible" antics of Paris Hilton & Co. inspired her to write a book geared toward girls titled "Math Doesn't Suck." She told the Associated Press, "I want to show them that being smart is cool."

Tracy Clark-Flory

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