Tag Archives: victim blaming

Privilege Denying Occupier Dude

6 Nov


[Inspired by this comic and this meme.]

See also:
OccupyPatriarchy.org
“Feminist Call to Action: Occupy Dudeville”

“Our ‘Brethren in Struggle’, I Presume?”

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Conference Videos: “Anita Hill, 20 Years Later”

5 Nov

Go check out a whole bunch of videos from a conference discussing Anita Hill’s testimony 20 years ago, sexual harassment, and law. The event was from a couple weeks ago and includes many wonderful speakers and discussions.

Related:

Website for the conference, “Sex, Power, & Speaking Truth: Anita Hill 20 Years Later”

Links: May 10, 2011

10 May

This will be a special “Slut Walk” edition of links. Cuz I’m topical like that.

Woman On A Journey: “‘The sluttier the better’-that’s what men think, anyway”

Guardian: “SlutWalk is not sexual liberation” by Gail Dines & Wendy Murphy

RMott: “The Ultimate Slut”

EasilyRiled: “Slut-Walk. Sigh.”

I Blame the Patriarchy: “Toronto activists take back the slut”

Video from “The Agenda”, featuring Gail Dines (35 minutes).

Audio from “World Have Your Say”, also featuring Gail Dines. Listen online or download the mp3 (download only available for 1 week). Big ol’ trigger warning for victim blaming from (especially from callers and other people who sent in comments to the show).

Video: “Slut Walks and Modern Feminism”

7 May

[Trigger warning for discussion of sexual violence and pornography.]

File this in the overflowing drawer marked “Gail Dines BRINGS IT”.

The video wouldn’t embed, so go watch the 35-minute program on the website for “The Agenda”.

Here’s just a few of my thoughts on Slut Walk and the video:

– Slut is a construct made up by males in order to demean women. Sluts do not exist. You can’t reclaim a word that was never yours to begin with.

-Jaclyn says that slut walk sends the message that “if you call one of us a slut, you have to call all of us sluts”. Yeah. MEN ALREADY DO THAT. They call all of us sluts because that is what most men thing of women.

-The interviewer’s framing is odd at times, and it seems that the pro-slut-walk guests are incorrectly understanding what Gail meant when she brought up male sexuality. She’s talking about porn culture, something that really hasn’t been confronted by liberal feminists.

-Finally, as a younger feminist who is a victim/survivor and who has been harmed by pornography, Gail Dines does speak for me.

[Updated May 10, 2011 to add the following additional comments:]

This whole thing is just so bizarre. I mean, totally in keeping with liberal feminist sex-pozerism, but really… you’re actually calling it a Slut Walk? I was thinking today about what Suzanna Walters says in her “From Here to Queer” article about reclaiming language. Could you imagine something like a “Nigger Walk”, “Kike Walk”, or even “Faggot Walk”? Allies welcome to join! Ugg.

I’m absolutely puzzled as to why the response here to being called a slut is, “Yup, we are exactly what you say we are! You’re right. Women ARE sluts!” As if the police or dudes give ONE shit about your ‘nuance’.

Small Victories, #MooreandMe, and Olbermann & Me

22 Dec

[Trigger warning for Assange things, sexual assault.]

(If you want a recap of everything that has happened with the #MooreandMe protest in the last week, this post is incredibly comprehensive, and this post has a great number of links to articles and blog posts about it. And here’s another huge linkfest.)

On Rachel Maddow’s show last night, Michael Moore stated the obvious, which — unfortunately — is cause for minor celebration. He said that women’s allegations of rape must be taken seriously. It’s a crumb, in a way, but as Sady explains today, the mountain moved a little bit, and it’s because of the #MooreandMe Twitter campaign. Maddow wouldn’t have framed the issue the way she did if not for a week’s work of tireless tweeting, emails, and blog posts telling Moore that he needed to talk to us.

After most of the protesters had either gone to bed or taken a break last night, I was still up and on when I noticed that Keith Olbermann was tweeting away. This was at about midnight. I thought this might be a chance to actually get through to him, since my previous attempts at interaction that day had gone unanswered. I had asked him to please correct his claim that consensual sex without a condom is considered rape in Sweden. It’s immediately laughable, since, you know… how is there any population growth in the country then? Yet, this had gone uncorrected. I also wanted the lie about the allegations being only about a “broken condom” to be retracted. Here’s my first try, second try (with a bit of snark), and third try.

Here’s what happened when I finally got through.


And then he signed off for the evening. I was all shakey and really weirded out by the whole thing. I’ve watched this guy’s show every day for six years. The internet is a strange thing.

So, no, he didn’t say, “I’m sorry I stated something incorrect, I retract it,” but he did kinda-sorta say that the case was not about a broken condom. While doing this, though, he throws in something about “the story” changing which either refers to ‘what the public hears’ or ‘what the accusers claim happened to them’. I’ll be generous and hope it was the former.

The biggest thing I got out of this, though, which Sady’s most recent post talks about, is that a bunch of feminists with computers can actually affect what happens in “real life”. RAINN and more local anti-rape organizations got a bunch of donations (many in Michael Moore’s name), and two progressive leaders, Maddow and Moore, showed that you can support the guy’s organization without dismissing the likely event that Assange sexually assaulted two women.

Two women. That’s the other thing in all of this that I’m having trouble with. Rapists don’t have all of their assaults reported, nor do they just do it once. As blogger-journalist Andrea Grimes points out in her great post from yesterday , “Who Will Rape Me?”:

And you know what? The person who rapes me probably won’t even think I’m all that special since he’ll probably have raped seven to nine women, depending on what stats you rely on, before he’s ever put in jail.

It’s unlikely that this was the first time Julian Assange has sexually assaulted women. We also recently found out that he stalked a college student who expressed that she was not interested in him, sending her many emails and calling her home repeatedly.

With all that the two accusers have had to deal with – death threats, rape threats, people posting their full names, photos, home addresses, and more information online – it is very unlikely that another victim of his would ever come forward, if she or they exist. Besides that, this whole ordeal has been a lesson that women, should they be raped by a popular hero of the Left, they should shut the fuck up for the cause. Further, it showed all women that they are not to be trusted as reliable witnesses to their own assaults.

For all the damage that was done and will continue to be done, there’s a portion of women who saw the feminist blogosphere response and felt validated. Swedish women and feminists started #prataomdet (#talkaboutit) to discuss their own sexual assaults in the open. For the same reasons, “We’re Telling” was created. Finally, there was a national audience of millions who saw Rachel Maddow and Michael Moore denounce the unconditional support of an accused rapist who appears to otherwise be on ‘our side’.

Yes, it’s thoroughly sad that this is groundbreaking, but it’s not nothin’ either. Dismantling misogyny and rape culture happens chip by chip, and so slow that most of us won’t see the results of our work within our lifetimes. But we do it anyway, against all of the forces that say we’ll never be able to change anything. Well, chip chip chip.

Now, onto the next battle.

Keith Olbermann Either Awful or Not Paying Attention

20 Dec

Oh, but it was a trick! He’s both apparently. So, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann kicked his voice back into the ring on Twitter today regarding #MooreandMe. He left an extra-long tweet which was so full of wrong, and I feel I have to address it. Below, his über-tweet with my comments interspersed.

I endorse, sympathize with, and empathize with, the rape consciousness goals of #mooreandme, and have already apologized accordingly. [Didn’t actually apologize for spreading one of the accuser’s names or for not challenging Moore’s lies when he was on your show last week.] But I cannot defend and will not accept their tactics which mirror so many of the attitudes and threats they fight. [Yeah, because our campaign is… like rape? Good to know!] I do not know of what Julian Assange is guilty, if anything, and neither does anybody else. [Sure, but you DO know what the accusations are and you SHOULD know that rape culture is fueled by people not believing rape victims, yeah?] But given the extraordinary efforts by Sweden to extradite him, to say he is benefiting from some form of rape apologism is not fact-based. [We’re not saying he’s benefiting in a legal way at least, we’re saying that misinformation and demeaning the accusers is DIRECTLY harmful to other women who may never report their assaults now, or blame themselves, etc. All of this doesn’t occur in a vacuum. This is just one example in a whole line of victim-blaming and rape apologism.] It is also unfair to condemn as anti-feminist those who merely address the juxtaposition of this prosecution to the fact that Assange threatens the secret and nefarious activities of dozens of governments. [I think literally everyone in the #MooreandMe protest agrees that the extent prosecutors have gone to get Assange to return for questioning is not what normally happens. That’s one of the reasons this whole thing hurts so much. IF ONLY all accused rapists got this treatment.] And I will not engage those who suggest that those who do not prioritize one issue to the exclusion of all others [“Why do you ladies keep talkin’ about all this LADY stuff… let’s get back to REAL politics!”] should succumb to forced financial contributions [suggestions that you donate to an anti-rape organization are just suggestions, and if you read what people were saying, you’d know that], or should ‘kill themselves’ (examples of each will be retweeted shortly, along with my previous apology). [Obviously it’s terrible that someone said you should kill yourself. Clearly not okay. Did you happen to see the 550+ tweets from just one person who called all the protesters ‘cunts’ and threatened us with rape as well? How about the other people who did that too?] The #mooreandme attacks do not help those who fight against rape, they hurt them. [Are you KIDDING me? The feminists and anti-rape folks who are participating are the ones who fight against rape culture ALL THE DAMN TIME. Lots of us are even survivors of sexual assault. WE ARE THOSE WHO FIGHT AGAINST RAPE. You have 5 hours worth of TV time every week, and you certainly haven’t made defeating rape culture a priority (until now, I watched your show every day). And indeed they feature something larger than anti-feminist. This is, to use a clunky phrase, anti-personism. [Oh, those feminists just hate EVERYBODY! Can’t please them, amirite?]

Really, dude? Really? You think that this campaign hurts those you fight against rape? That is just the biggest steaming pile o’ LOL I’ve seen lately. And now, a Special Comment.

*turns to camera two*

Who the hell are you, sir, to tell a bunch of sexual assault survivors and activists that we are the ones “hurting the cause”. A cause that you, sir, have disregarded as “prioritizing one issue to the exclusion of all others”.

This “one issue” by the way? It’s creating a world where women don’t have to face rape. A world where a woman who is raped can report it without being shamed or disbelieved. A world where supposed progressives don’t diminish the testimony of women who say they were raped, even if the accused rapist is a man whose organization you support.

This “one issue” is women’s rights, and I think you know that. You have to. You are not the first progressive man to suggest that progressive women should just pipe down a bit about “women’s issues” since it “hurts the cause”. Well, you are hurting the progressive cause. There is no room in a truly progressive, Leftist movement for persons who don’t consider women’s rights a top priority. We’re half the population, if you haven’t noticed.

If I may, I will now quote Sady Doyle quoting Robin Morgan. Forty years later, still relevant as hell.

And that’s what I wanted to write about—the friends, brothers, lovers in the counterfeit male-dominated Left. The good guys who think they know what Women’s Lib, as they so chummily call it, is all about—who then proceed to degrade and destroy women by almost everything they say and do: The cover on the last issue of Rat (front and back). The token pussy power orclit militancy articles. The snide descriptions of women staffers on the masthead. The little jokes, the personal ads, the smile, the snarl. No more, brothers. No more well-meaning ignorance, no more cooptation, no more assuming that this thing we’re all fighting for is the same; one revolution under one man, with liberty and justice for all. No more… A genuine Left doesn’t consider anyone’s suffering irrelevant or titillating; nor does it function as a microcosm of capitalist economy, with men competing for power and status at the top, and women doing all the work at the bottom (and functioning as objectified prizes or coin as well). Goodbye to all that.

Goodbye to me watching your show every day at 5 pm. Goodbye to me watching the repeated episodes or going online to catch what I missed. Goodbye to me defending you. Goodbye to me believing you were on our side to begin with.

There is something every woman wears around her neck on a thin chain of fear—an amulet of madness. For each of us, there exists somewhere a moment of insult so intense that she will reach up and rip the amulet off, even if the chain tears the flesh of her neck. And the last protection from seeing the truth will be gone. Do you think, tugging furtively every day at the chain and going nicely insane as I am, that I can be concerned with the peurile squabbles of a counterfeit Left that laughs at my pain? Do you think such a concern is noticeable when set alongside the suffering of more than half the human species for the past 5,000 years—due to a whim of the other half? No, no, no, goodbye to all that.

Yup, “Free Speech”

18 Dec

[Trigger warning for rape apologism.]

Larry Flynt, pornographer and woman-hater extraordinaire*, has given $50,000 to the WikiLeaks defense fund. This comes after Michael Moore put $20,000 towards Julian Assange’s bail recently. Cozy company, eh Mike?

Flynt, in his ‘explanation’ on the Huffington Post, says this is about “free speech”, how Assange is a journalist, a hero. . . but wait. He closes with this:

Assange has been hit with dubious criminal charges because his condom failed during a sexual encounter. Give me a break.

Julian Assange should not face a prison sentence. We should have a ticker-tape parade for this brave man.

Not only is that a LIE about the accusations, but it shows exactly what Flynt and other Assange defenders care about. They’ll say it’s about ‘free speech’, but when it comes down to it, it’s straight up misogyny. It’s not about helping the organization’s work, it’s about protecting one of their own (a man).

*In case you are unfamiliar with Flynt and his publication, Hustler, I recommend the site Hustling the Left, though be warned there are very triggering images and cartoons involving sexual violence and other hatred.

Assange Can Be Both Hero and Rapist

14 Dec

[Trigger warning for sexual violence.]

I wrote an email to Michael Moore tonight, since his victim blaming is the final straw for me. I’m tired of progressives defending Julian Assange and discrediting his accusers. I can’t fucking take this any more. Consider this an open letter to any other defenders as well.

Dear Michael,

[Stuff about how I love and own lots of his films, etc… How his films were what first got me politically active, etc…]

Upon reading your reasoning for posting bail for Julian Assange today, I found myself disagreeing with one part — a very important part. I am not naive about “how the government works” because I refuse to wholly support Assange. I support Wikileaks, and, luckily, Assange is not Wikileaks. It is entirely possible for a man to do awesome things politically and also be a man who sexually assaulted women.

Again, I am not dumb. As a feminist and a blogger, I am more aware than most about how infrequently rape cases are prosecuted, let alone lead to convictions. I also know how common sexual assault is. Ask me, ask all of my female friends. The fact that Assange has been given inordinate attention for his alleged crimes is heartbreaking not because he’s innocent, but because he’s only being pursued because certain governments don’t like what his organization has done. They’re trying to get him on anything they can since what they’d actually like to get him on can’t be done (see also: Al Capone being imprisoned for tax evasion).

You are not the only progressive I have been disappointed in lately for their victim blaming in this case. Assange is accused of holding one woman down and raping her, and raping another woman while she slept. This is not “the condom just broke” or “she felt guilty the next day” or any number of other victim-blaming excuses. It seriously hurts to see you and others I thought were on “my side” act like there’s no way Assange may be guilty of a crime that at least 1 in 6 women experiences.

Really, what’s more likely… that the accusers are CIA operatives sent in by the U.S. government to ensure Assange is put in jail for a crime not normally taken seriously by law enforcement, or that a man raped two women?

Finally, I invite you to read the following articles and reconsider your previous impressions about the accusations.

“What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape” by Jaclyn Friedman at The American Prospect

“The Rush to Smear Assange’s Accusers” by Kate Harding at Salon.com

After seeing your appearance on Keith Olbermann’s show tonight and screaming at my television before turning it off while my eyes teared up, I’m not sure I want to see your films in the future. I will be too reminded of your “doubts”, which in turn reminds me of the “doubts” of a million other rape apologists I’ve heard over the years.

I will continue to subscribe to your newsletter for a while longer in the case you alter your views about Assange’s accusers, which I certainly hope you do.

-[lishra]

*Update (12/15/10): Shakesville and Tiger Beatdown have more on Michael Moore’s rape apologia.

Links: December 14, 2010

14 Dec

The Bitch Who Roared: “Short Post: Please Don’t LGBTQI Me”

Said It: “Little Women, Big Men: Sexism and the Language of Size”

A Radical Profeminist: “The Trans/Gender Politics of Shaming Women-as-Women, Around and Beyond the Queer, Antifeminist Blogosphere”

Lots more links involving Julian Assange and the ongoing saga of worldwide victim blaming… [TW]

The Curvature (Tumblr): “So Here’s the Thing, People”. And I’m gonna go ahead and quote a bunch of it here, because the post is just so awesome.

This right now is probably not a good time to say “I’m real happy for you, and Imma let you finish about all of this girly rape apologism stuff, but the fact is that Assange is only being charged with anything because of Wikileaks.”

Because you know what? Chances are we know that. Chances are, it really fucking hurts to see governments finally taking rape “seriously,” only to know that they’re likely not taking it seriously at all, that they couldn’t care any less about rape than all of the librul d00ds running around talking about how women are lying whores and CIA operatives and radical feminists but lying whores especially, and are just using violence against women to their own ends in an attempt to shut down work that we support.

CHANCES ARE THAT HURTS A LOT. And that it hurts us, and upsets us, and affects us a whole lot more acutely than it affects you, dude, who thought now was the perfect time to mansplain this shit. Chances are we’re not stupid. And we know. And maybe also we’re feminist bloggers who spend EVERY SINGLE FUCKING DAY WRITING ABOUT HOW NO ONE CARES ABOUT RAPE, so if anyone knows that no one would care if Assange raped an entire fucking country of women except he pissed some governments off, it’s us.

The Washington Post: from Jessica Valenti, “What the Assange case says about rape in America”

Shakesville: “Yikes”, on Michael Moore posting bail for Assange, and the little tidbit of ‘them lying bitches’ that Moore manages to get into his explanation of why he paid his bail.

And from the comments on the previous post, via B., comes Assange-victim-blaming bingo!

Spilt Milk: “Who hears you, when you speak about rape?”

Jessica Valenti, “AOL News at the center of ‘sex by surprise’ lie in Assange rape case”.

Links: December 11, 2010

11 Dec

[Trigger warning for sexual violence and victim blaming.]

Hanna Fridén, a feminist journalist-blogger in Sweden, clears up a bunch of nonsense: “Sweden does not have a broader definition of rape – Assange charges probably would have been the same in the US”

Tiger Beatdown: “How We Describe Women Who Report Sexual Assaults Now”… Assange’s lawyer calls accusers ‘bizarre trolles’, to which Sady says,

You guys, why are these women engaging in the (risky, socially consequential, unlikely-to-succeed) act of charging a socially prominent man with lots of supporters of sexual assault? They’re spies, right? Or they’re feminists who go around tricking men into having sex with them so they can make rape accusations? Whatever the case may be, it sounds like this is totally just about broken condoms, of all things! HOW BIZARRE!

The American Prospect: from Jaclyn Friedman,  “What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape”

Had the backlash against Assange’s arrest focused on Interpol’s hypocrisy, my colleagues and I would have been free to join and strengthen that critique. But it didn’t.

A Truly Elegant Mess: “I’m Not Dead, I’m Enraged”

You know what? This “Wikileaks founder arrested for rape” shit has me pissed the fuck off.

Wanna know why?

Reclusive Leftist: “Naomi Wolf to serve as new spokesmodel for Ladies Against Feminism”

A Polar View: “Don’t Rape Her”. . . helpful tips on how not to rape women.