Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I cringe a lot

I know I'm hitting this up with the ILL lateness!

The above interview was a tad horrrrrrrrifying! We should problematize the generalization that Jezebel is the new feminist voice of the nation, representative of my generation of mouthy 20 to 30 somethings. I don't feel accurately represented in the writing, despite falling into their targeted demographic, but I think that the site is an important venue for women to have; to serve as a point of awakening to those who would be indifferent otherwise. Indifference is bad - I don't play that. With this interview, Lizz is badgering those women, and is on the offensive while climbing atop her soap box. But then the Jezebel ladies said some pretty awkward thangs. I don't know how drunk folks were during the filming, but Moe said some dumbass shit in the hopes of trying to pass as cute. Which really makes me wonder why Tracie has been getting the brunt of internet reactionary blogs? I can only assume it's because on her personal blog, she talks a lot about her sex life. So, of course the H8 be rolling in!

My take is that there is a misunderstanding of the control dynamic that exists in sexual assault between attacker and victim. It's not like some video game where the big boss at the end of the level is some dumbass fratboy with rufies, and the little power meter indicating your sword upgrade determines whether you'll fend a rapist off by the end of the night. I believe that rape (and abuse, too) is shaped, coerced, and buttressed by the need to maintain patriarchy and sexism, ultimately resulting in the disempowerment of women. Sure,"things are a lot better than medieval times," but that shit ain't cured yet! I mean, these beliefs are condoned by society with the whole "how can you not expect to get raped if you are dressed that way?" Oh please, fucker...the better question is: "WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO RAPE PEOPLE IN THE FIRST PLACE?" Women I know should be able to walk around naked if needed, without it being seen as an act of seduction. If people are aroused by that, why is it my problem since we're supposed to operate on accountability in our society? As in, I am in control of my body, I feel fine naked. You are in control of your body, either don't get aroused, or handle it in a way that doesn't impose your wack shit on other people (ie. jerking off in front of me in the subway, copping a feel, not listening to someone when they tell you to back off, molestation, rape, etc.) And if you're smart, don't even get me started on "men have needs" defense, because women have needs, too! WOMEN NEED NOT TO GET RAPED! How 'bout that?

If we are united, and understand the interlocking nature of oppressions, to confuse censorship with belligerence is difficult. This is ultimately the same power dynamic created within language that allow "more unacceptable" events to occur, like racial slurs, epithets, hate crimes, etc. Ultimately, groups like the Ku Klux Klan rely on the same First Amendment freedom to propagate hate and discrimination. As a woman, many of the challenges we face are relegated to the sidelines to make way for "more important" issues, because as soon as something is labelled "a women's issue," entire communities no longer feel accountable to the cause. Because rape, sexual assault, and domestic violence happen to a majority of women, people really push to silence the issue, as if as a society, we've grown beyond it. But no, we haven't, and people still talk a lot of shit and make traumas and experiences, punchlines. So, I like to go by my golden rule on this one: don't say fucked up shit you don't mean; should you do so, you best done your homework on the issue and make sure you have a better defense than some YOU CAN'T CENSOR ME type bullshit when you get called the fuck out. This process that I just cursed through is the process of accountability.

Anyway, now that I've looked into it more, it's lucky I came into the Jezebel internet-dramz later, since there's been a lot of follow-up. Here's what's happened after it all:
  • The Transcript of interview on Slut Machine's Blog (Tracie from the above video)
  • A video response by some dude
  • What's most hurtful about this situation: the vile comments on anything the woman writes!
  • Yes, I googled her, too (just like you will in about 3 minutes,) and found Tracie Egan's fantasy rape article in Vice, which I don't think should be chalked up against her in how "fucked up" a woman she is. I'm sure she's fucked up somehow (in the same way you and I are) but that's not what the article represents to me. We all have rights to our fantasies, it was a consensual encounter, and by all means, a great read.

    My bottom line: I like Tracie, but I disagree with a lot of what she says. As a former sexual assault counselor and my work around domestic violence, I understand I am using a very different framework to contextualize this situation. I think it's also because I am a woman of color who identifies with much of Post-Colonial/Third World/Socialist feminism. I don't know much about the authors she's listed (Christina Hoff Sommers, Debbie Stoller, Daphne Patai, Sylvia Ann Hewlett, Susie Bright, Camille Paglia,) but I'll read up on them, and make up my mind to see if I agree, or if the ideas are "too white" for me.

    On the H8: she is, of course, entitled to her sexual fantasies and should be able to write about whoevs she fucks on her blog, without being attacked for it. I hope folks aren't just using this incident as a passive-aggressive opportunity to get their jabs in. I mean, some comment-ers in her blog drop Susan B. Anthony's name like science. We got the vote, DINTCHOOKNOW?!

    Let's recalibrate, people.
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