Friday, August 24, 2012

The privileged don't need internet death threats, they've got better weapons.

As usual, somebody says/does something terrible against an oppressed group, on an issue that they have all the privilege on, there's an outcry, and they highlight/twist the worst reactions they can find and cry that they're really the victim.

It's an outstandingly effective tactic because instantly the narrative shifts.  Nobody likes death/rape threats right?  The poor guy!  Leave him alone!  YOU'VE GONE TOO FAR!!!  And suddenly all the opponents are on the defensive.  Suddenly, everybody needs to disclaim rape and murder, suddenly we're all apologizing for what some random person (if they even exist) did, and assuming responsibility for their ideology, as if we even know what it is.

And why?  Why do I need to disclaim rape threats?  I'm not the one who said the words "legitimate rape", I'm not the one who suggested some rapes are more real than others.  I'm not the one who is trying to take away a person's right to their own body, and a person's ability to remove 9 months of additional trauma from an already horrible and traumatic event.

And what's the point?  Anybody can disclaim anything.  I can say I don't agree with rape or murder of ANYBODY, but it's meaningless if my actions belie my words.  My actions don't even suggest my words.  But what about Akin's?

I'm not the one who needs to disclaim rape right now, or murder.  Akin is.  Because he's the one who said those things, he's the one who believes those things, he's the one who is trying to get into a position to make policy BASED on what he believes.  He's the one that's a threat to real actual people's lives, happiness and autonomy.  He's the one who's playing into the fucked up narrative in our society that we should disbelieve rape survivors, that we should question every rape survivor until they break down and then question them some more, because we know they may have asked for it, may have dressed a certain way, may be married to their rapist.  He's the one who thinks there are "illegitimate" rapes.  He's the one who believes in fantasy fairy tales where the body "shuts that stuff down" to prevent pregnancy during rape.  And he's the one who wants to enforce LAW based on that FAIRY TALE.  Law that harms people.  Law that THREATENS people.

He's the one who should be on his hands and knees disclaiming rape.  Not us.

And that's the thing.  Privileged people.  Powerful people.  They don't need to threaten us directly with rape.  They don't need to say "I hope you die in a fire."  They can smile, they can wave.  They can speak calmly.  They can seem like the person you'd like to have a coffee with.  And all they while, they're men passing laws against abortion, they're cis women keeping trans women out of shelters, they're cis people writing letters from their privileged positions (whether professional or social) to other privileged people asking them to rescind or deny rights to trans people.  They're smiling on their talk shows while talking about the "holocaust" of abortion, knowing full well anybody who truly believes them will see the only logical next step.  They're calmly drinking their coffee and writing a column about how there's a secret Muslim invasion of the West. 

These people don't need to make death threats.  The things they say, the things they advocate for, the voice they have to get people to listen to those things, what they do... those things are threats in themselves.  And they have WAY more of a chance to actually have those threats happen.  Because real people will be without shelter when they desperately need it, rape survivors will be without support, pregnant people without an ability to control their own bodies, Muslim people targeted for violence, abortion doctors targeted for death.

These people make threats every day.  And because they have the privilege, and the position, to be able to do it smiling, calmly, looking just like somebody you'd like to have a coffee with.  Because they never actually said "I hope you die."  It's okay.  They're the victim.  They're the ones who just innocently expressed a random opinion, (as if we believe they threw darts on a dart board to figure out what they believe) and are getting death threats from those meany meany people.

And as always, we assume that the death threats are from the group they targeted.  I mean, they're so angry all the time.  And they're so angry now!  Obviously it must be them!  Apologize!  Say that you don't believe rape and murder is right!

And all the while, the people who DO believe those things are okay?  They continue smiling.

After all, they don't need to write an angry tweet saying to somebody they're never going to come within 200km of, "I hope you die a horrible death!".  They have stronger weapons to hurt us with.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


A British DV agency wants to have a book burning of 50 shades of grey because it promotes the idea that abusive relationships are healthy.

WTF!? >:O

Book burnings are not okay just b/c you don't like the book!

Really? THIS is the symbolic thing you chose!? Given ALL THE HISTORY OF BOOK BURNINGS!?

There are other ways to make your point (also 50 shades of grey is merely the most currently popular example of our society romanticizing abusive relationships, it didn't invent the narrative, also it's porn, it's erotic fantasy)


"Sk8r Boi", "You Belong With Me", misogyny and rape culture

I was ranting about Sk8r Boi on Twitter (I never had a social group until now that I could vent and I realized how much hate for that song I've been storing up) and how it's basically a Nice Guy™ anthem.

There's this pretty and popular girl, she ignores this guy who likes her, he ends up rich and famous and with a hot girlfriend, the girl ends up pregnant and alone.

There's a lot of issues w/ this, of course, there's single mother shaming, there's misogyny, there's the implication that a good reason to date guys you don't like is that they may become rich one day, and there's the usual social encouragement of women to hate each other and view each other as competition and enemies. >:\

But I was also ranting about Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me" and it's spiritual follow up song "Better Than Revenge".

For those that don't know, the first song is about Swift singing about a guy she likes that is only friends with her and is dating the popular cheerleader. The virgin/whore and geek/jock dynamic is strong here: Swift's narrator is said to wear pants and sneakers while popular evil girl wears skirts and heels. She's a band geek, the popular girl is a cheerleader. She gets his humour, popular girl yells at him... etc...

The second one is about Swift's narrator's boyfriend cheating on her with a popular girl (who she slut shames specifically by saying "she's more famous for what she does on the mattress") and Swift talking about getting revenge on her for "stealing" him.

I find it interesting that even in the Nice Girl™ narrative, the villain is the woman. Think of it, the Nice Guy™ narrative also has the ignorant love interest, also has that love interest's partner be abusive and uncaring, but in THAT one, the girl is blamed for CHOOSING the "bad boy" over the nice guy. She's blamed for making poor choices (in Sk8r Boi, there's no abusive husband, but it's implied that her single motherhood is her fault and she's lonely now).

In the Nice Girl™ narrative, a woman is STILL at fault. You'd think the narrative would be reversed, that the boy would be blamed for making poor choices, for dating a "bad girl", but it's the bad girl that's at fault. She's a slut. She's a bad, manipulative person. She abuses him. It's not his fault.

But for a girl, it IS her fault, the Nice Guys™ don't blame the boyfriend, even when they rant about the abusive boyfriend, the rant is WHY SHE IS STAYING WITH HIM, not THAT HE IS ABUSING HER.

In the 2nd song, the guy CHEATS on her, and she still blames the woman. And both of these narratives aren't unique to Taylor Swift, they're all over our media, and even influences the way we see things in our own lives.

The narrative of the bad woman, the slut, the innocent guy deceived by the conniving jezebel are deeply entrenched in our society. It also plays into the idea that when it comes to attraction and sex: men know not what they do. That it's up to women to be pure, and not tempt them with sex. He's not at fault for cheating on her, the other woman's at fault for breaking the female contract and seducing him. ALL women must watch out for the uncontrollable lust of men, and if they cheat, it's our fault.

Men's sexuality is treated "as is."  Male sexuality is pure and innocent, it can't be controlled, merely handed off to a woman to be responsible for.   When it comes to sexuality (and things we see as sexuality, like exotification, abuse, rape, etc) men are neither pure, nor unpure, they're a force of nature, they just are.  Even when men are "evil" and they rape or abuse, we still have a lot of attitudes that suggest they're more of a storm than a person making choices.  We ask abused wives what they did to provoke their husbands, wives call the woman their husband chooses to cheat on a "whore" and a "slut", we ask female rape survivors what they were wearing, what they were doing, if they led the guy on.  For the longest time, we didn't consider marital rape a crime, because the wife has taken responsibility for her husband's sexuality, she's the one who chose to be responsible for the tiger, she's the one who couldn't live up to her end of the bargain. 

Women earn our purity, or lose it, by how we act, speak, think, etc, that we don't act in ways that turn loose the hurricane that society views as male sexuality.  And of course this also leads into rape culture, and how male rapists and female survivors are seen.

Yes, we do hate male abusers and rapists (on the occasions we believe they exist, and a lot of that is because of feminism changing the narrative), but in the undercurrent of it all, there's a sort of sad understanding.  We have storm unprepared for, the animal misled.  The rapist that we all forgive, because she led him on, she put raw meat in front of the wolf, she chose to go outside when the storm hit.  And we have the animal unchecked, the raging storm.  The rapist we hate, hate hate hate hate, but in a way understand.  His desires can't fit in our society, and we can never trust him again, but it's not for his actions, it's for his desires.  He can't help himself.

This also explains why the narrative in society around rape is about men raping women, because society doesn't get things that go against this narrative.  A woman raping a man seems as bizarre in this context as a human biting a wolf.  Humans don't bite wolves, humans don't injure storms.  Misogyny fucks everything up because it divides up men and women as if we're different species, but it also doesn't place us on the same level playing field.

Because on some level, women are to blame, we're the temptation, we're the ones who made the choices that "attracted" men.  We didn't go inside when the storm hit, we didn't put in the raw meat when the animal came.  Even if men committed the act, we committed the sin that brought on the act.  Just as Eve handed the apple to Adam, we're seen as being complicit in our own abuse, and our own rape.