Readers! I have not forgotten about you, I promise.
As most of you know, I’ve decided to take a serious hiatus from the blog and contributing to AlterNet and The Daily Beast so I can focus on studying for the LSATs, which I plan to own because what other option is there if you want to go to Harvard Law and be a boss lady?
Soon after I announced my hiatus, several things happened: Elliot Rodger went on a shooting spree in Santa Barbara after posting his manifesto (and some videos to YouTube) plagued with MRA/PUA vitriol that blamed women for his ails and ignited dialogue about how white male privilege, and the patriarchy, are quite literally lethal. Then, the feminist community was rocked by allegations that a prominent male feminist had engaged in abusive dialogue and tone policing towards women (amongst other things). And THEN, WaPo columnist George Will decided that victims of sexual assault confer privilege, or something. Try and defend that irresponsible claim and its subsequent publication, WaPo. I’ll wait. *crickets*
The reason these things are important to my hiatus is because once I decided last May that I was going to be a public and vocal advocate for feminism, I made a commitment to a lot of people that I was going to stand up for their rights and help them establish equity in this viciously oppressive world. This includes not staying silent when things go awry, no matter how busy I am.
That being said, I feel a responsibility to comment on these events because they are impacting me, my community and the people I care about.
1. Elliot Rodger: Misogyny kills. Rodger is proof of that. The hurt feelings of patriarchal oppressors actually believe their feelings are so justified that they will take someone’s life to prove it. This could be true of any homicide- yet, the reason Rodger killed was because the social construct of masculinity failed him, as it does so many other men who are made to believe that it’s Alpha Male or bust. He blamed women for not validating him and decided that he owned their bodies enough to literally take the life away from them. Not all the victims were women (and their deaths are no less important) but we need to have an honest conversation about the state of angry white men in this country who think women (or anyone, really) owe them something. We don’t owe them shit.
The mainstream media failed epically when covering the shooting and the dialogue surrounding the Men’s Rights Movement and its influence on Rodgers was largely absent from major outlets, which is problematic for numerous reasons but not exclusively because it’s an inaccurate representation of a violent crime.
Those who are not active in social justice circles or the feminist movement would not pick up on the absence of PUAs and MRAs from the coverage, since they are largely unknown outside these spaces. Confounded with the fact that it’s easier and more socially acceptable to refer to gunman using standard media capitalist vernacular (“alienated,” “lone gunman,” “isolated incident”), we find ourselves at odds with the reality of a nation whose fibers are woven with misogyny and inequalities and a collective disdain for wanting to find a remedy to all of it. It’s always easier to turn a blind eye and maintain these situations and their creators as outliers, since having conversations about how our culture coddles patriarchal entitlement and why the NRA’s cowboy patriotism has been allowed to threaten the safety of our own people aren’t exactly popular topics. Yet, we continue to demand that “never again!” shall this happen. But how can we make such demands of others when we can’t even bring ourselves to hold our culture accountable for its role in perpetuating violence and inequality?
2. Male feminists: The movement cannot succeed without full and equal cooperation from everyone. Let’s be real about that. bell hooks was not playing when she said that feminism is for everybody. I’m going to brief with this overview because it’s an open and raw wound at the moment, but it does need to be addressed and I haven’t seen many of the more prominent feminists speaking out on this specific event.
I am all for men in the feminist movement- as allies, participants, listeners, thinkers, doers, etc. But to be clear: I am not interested in men leading the feminist movement, nor am I interested in male feminists who are performative to the point of suspicion. It’s really cool and awesome that you want to be part of a movement that literally benefits everyone. But when your support borders on obsessive and silences of the voices of women in the movement, it might be time for you to pack it up or take a seat and reflect on how to be a better ally. It’s not about getting cookies and praise- it’s about getting work done. If you’re here to be The Best and Most Famous Feminist, it’s time to rethink your agenda. Women should be leading the feminist movement. Fin.
3. George Will: TMFRH. If you don’t know that acronym, please look it up because it is NSFW and I am trying to curse less.
Today, WaPo columnist George Will decided to put on his manplainer hat (in my imagination, it looks like Pharrell’s weird new hat, but that’s just me) and tell the Women of America who have been sexually assaulted that they benefit from privilege based on said assault. The thing with this kind of status trolling from Will is that an editor and a copy writer took a look at this column and thought, “Yup, let’s run with this.” As a former columnist myself, I am appalled at the lack of integrity by all parties involved at WaPo that value click bait over coherence and general human decency. To tell a survivor of sexual assault that they somehow benefit from that kind of trauma and crime against humanity completely ignores and erases their experience, and greatly undermines judicial efforts (or lack thereof, as we frequently see) to prosecute rapists and offenders. If George Will believes so strongly that rape victims are privileged, perhaps he can talk to Daisy Coleman or the rape victims at Penn State, Steubenville, the University of Missouri, Vanderbilt, Florida State- shall I continue? What’s ironic about the privilege Will believes assault victims possess is that in his demented writing and thought process, he forgot to check his own. How convenient.
Well, that’s all folks. Tune into the Chloe Taylor Brown show this Wednesday afternoon where I’ll be talking about modern feminism.