Posts tagged: feminism
When you are hurting, there will always be people who find a way to make it about themselves. If you break your wrist, they’ll complain about a sprained ankle. If you are sad, they’re sadder. If you’re asking for help, they’ll demand more attention.
Here is a fact: I was in a hospital and sobbing into my palms when a woman approached me and asked why I was making so much noise and I managed to stutter that my best friend shot himself in the head and now he was 100% certified dead and she made this little grunt and had the nerve to tell me, “Well now you made me sad.”
When you get angry, there are going to be people who ask you to shut up and sit down, and they’re not going to do it nicely. Theirs are the faces that turn bright red before you have a chance to finish your sentence. They won’t ask you to explain yourself. They’ll be mad that you’re mad and that will be their whole reason alone.
Here is a fact: I was in an alleyway a few weeks ago, stroking my friend’s back as she vomited fourteen tequila shots. “I hate men,” she wheezed as her sides heaved, “I hate all of them.”
I braided her hair so it wouldn’t get caught in the mess. I didn’t correct her and reply that she does in fact love her father and her little brother too, that there are strangers she has yet to meet that will be better for her than any of her shitty ex-boyfriends, that half of our group of friends identifies as male - I could hear each of her bruises in those words and I didn’t ask her to soften the blow when she was trying to buff them out of her skin. She doesn’t hate all men. She never did.
She had the misfortune to be overheard by a drunk guy in an ill-fitting suit, a boy trying to look like a man and leering down my dress as he stormed towards us. “Fuck you, lady,” he said, “Fuck you. Not all men are evil, you know.”
“Thanks,” I told him dryly, pulling on her hand, trying to get her inside again, “See you.”
He followed us. Wouldn’t stop shouting. How dare she get mad. How dare she was hurting. “It’s hard for me too!” he yowled after us. “With fuckers like you, how’s a guy supposed to live?”
Here’s a fact: my father is Cuban and my genes repeat his. Once one of my teachers looked at my heritage and said, “Your skin doesn’t look dirty enough to be a Mexican.”
When my cheeks grew pink and my tongue dried up, someone else in the classroom stood up. “You can’t say that,” he said, “That’s fucking racist. We could report you for that.”
Our teacher turned vicious. “You wanna fail this class? Go ahead. Report me. I was joking. It’s my word against yours. I hate kids like you. You think you’ve got all the power - you don’t. I do.”
Later that kid and I became close friends and we skipped class to do anything else and the two of us were lying on our backs staring up at the sky and as we talked about that moment, he sighed, “I hate white people.” His girlfriend is white and so is his mom. I reached out until my fingers were resting in the warmth of his palm.
He spoke up each time our teacher said something shitty. He failed the class. I stayed silent. I got the A but I wish that I didn’t.
Here is a fact: I think gender is a social construct and people that want to tell others what defines it just haven’t done their homework. I personally happen to have the luck of the draw and am the same gender as my sex, which basically just means society leaves me alone about this one particular thing.
Until I met Alex, who said he hated cis people. My throat closed up. I’m not good at confrontation. I avoided him because I didn’t want to bother him.
One day I was going on a walk and I found him behind our school, bleeding out of the side of his mouth. The only thing I really know is how to patch people up. He winced when the antibacterial cream went across his new wounds. “I hate cis people,” he said weakly.
I looked at him and pushed his hair back from his head. “I understand why you do.”
Here is a fact: anger is a secondary emotion. Anger is how people stop themselves from hurting. Anger is how people stop themselves by empathizing.
It is easy for the drunken man to be mad at my friend. If he says “Hey, fuck you, lady,” he doesn’t have to worry about what’s so wrong about men.
It’s easy for my teacher to fail the kids who speak up. If we’re just smart-ass students, it’s not his fault we fuck up.
It’s easy for me to hate Alex for labeling me as dangerous when I’ve never hurt someone a day in my life. But I’m safe in my skin and his life is at risk just by going to the bathroom. I understand why he says things like that. I finally do.
There’s a difference between the spread of hatred and the frustration of people who are hurting. The thing is, when you are broken, there will always be someone who says “I’m worse, stop talking.” There will always be people who are mad you’re trying to steal the attention. There will always be people who get mad at the same time as you do - they hate being challenged. It changes the rules.
I say I hate all Mondays but my sister was born on one and she’s the greatest joy I have ever known. I say I hate brown but it’s really just the word and how it turns your mouth down - the colour is my hair and my eyes and my favorite sweater. I say I hate pineapple but I still try it again every Easter, just to see if it stings less this year. It’s okay to be sad when you hear someone generalize a group you’re in. But instead of assuming they’re evil and filled with hatred, maybe ask them why they think that way - who knows, you might just end up with a new and kind friend.
Last month I was invited to speak at the XOXO conference & festival in Portland. I used the opportunity to talk about two forms of harassment that are commonly used to try and silence and discredit women but are not as easily identifiable as misogynist harassment: conspiracy theories and impersonation. (Note: trigger warning early on for examples of rape and death threats)
I am aware that there are some people who do not seem to like me or my blog very much. You might know that I’ve had to deal with overt threats and some pretty nasty business with being harassed online in the last year or so. While that’s bad enough, please don’t send me links to online content that involves long and drawn out conspiracy theories about me.
If you need to understand the “what” and “why” of things like that, if you see them, just watch this video from about 9:00 on. If this looks familiar:
^ That’s because it’s the same old song and dance that happens when any woman, but especially a woman of color, engages in cultural criticism.
I am aware that there obsessive and disturbing bits of flotsam floating around how I am 1. lying about my racial identity; 2. fooling, manipulating or brainwashing people; 3. doing it all for that sweet, sweet blogging cash.
It might as well be a bingo card at this point.
If you don’t have the wherewithal to watch the video, here are two highlights:
"For these detractors, it’s easier to believe that I am a skin-bleaching, mind-controlling, video game-hating scam artist involved in a masterful long con, than it is to believe that the tide is turning in gaming, and that larger numbers of developers and fans are challenging the sexist status quo and embracing the ideas expressed in my work and the work of many other women doing the same work in cultural criticism.”
"What I’ve described to you today is not unique to me and my experience. Every day, many women voicing their opinions online deal with a similar flood of slander and defamation designed to undermine their careers, their credibility, their resolve, and their confidence.”
^^ No one is interested in doing anything about online harassment. Everything from the recent ————- debacle, to attacks on professionals like Anita Sarkeesian and/or women of color struggling to survive academia take pretty much the same exact form. And if you can’t keep in mind that people can literally say anything they want to about anyone for no reason with no consequences, then I guess I don’t know what to tell you.
Also relevant is the portion where she discusses how certain targeted misinformation is repeated over and over across social media platforms as accepted facts, and then more layers are piled on until you end up with a monstrous thing straight out of the sketchier tabloids.
But making quick and sick threats has become so easy that many say the abuse has proliferated to the point of meaninglessness, and that expressing alarm is foolish.
So women who are harassed online are expected to either get over ourselves or feel flattered in response to the threats made against us. We have the choice to keep quiet or respond “gleefully.”
So I will leave you all with this screencap of the FAQ:
Don’t, however, send me links to 10k-word count manifestos about how I am a secret Nazi medical experimenter. Thank you for reading, and have a nice day.
BILL SIENKIEWICZ CORRECTS TERRIBLE ‘SUPERMAN DOES IT AGAIN’ SHIRT WITH APPROPRIATE LEVELS OF VIOLENCE
By Chris Sims
By now, you’ve probably heard all about the genuinely awful licensed t-shirt featuring Superman planting a seemingly unwelcome smooch on Wonder Woman and proclaiming “SCORE!” and that he’s “done it again.” It’s bad for a lot of reasons — blatant sexism, the awful lettering of the caption box — but, as an optimist, I’ve always taken the position that nothing is so bad that it can’t be improved in some way. And apparently, that’s Bill Sienkiewicz’s position as well.
After everyone got up in short-sleeved arms about the shirt, the legendary artist behind Elektra: Assassin, New Mutants and much much more took to Facebook in order to provide his own version of the shirt, complete with a new piece of art for the back that solves its major problems in the way that all superheroes fix things: Violence!
“I find it amazing how much you appreciate being a nerd once you get older. Adding two cups of wisdom along with a pint of experience and mix it all together with maturity gives you a bewitching concoction of someone who is secure in who and what they are. My security and confidence may not be at 100%, but its steadily growing year by year. I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I am an…
At Mostly Film, Blake Backlash writes about films “mixing of Hollywood’s Grande Dames with Grand Guignol.” “Such cinematic mixing of Grande Dames and Grand Guignol had its heyday in the second-half of the sixties, and such films are sometimes (more-or-less) affectionately known as psycho-biddy pictures. They tended to feature an actress over 50 in some sort of peril, a melodramatic plot and a…
At Vox, The Gameological Society’s Todd Van Der Werff has a pretty good synopsis of the recent trouble in gaming.
The last few weeks in videogame culture have seen a level of combativeness more marked and bitter than any beforehand.
First, a developer—a woman who makes games who has had so much piled on to her that I don’t want to perpetuate things by naming her—was the target of a harassment campaign that…
Jenn Frank writes about horror, games, “Tropes vs Women In Video Games” and “consuming media responsibly”: “I think what I’m getting at is, especially with the horror genre, it’s less important what a movie says and more important that you, the viewer, understand whyyou’re enjoying it. I believe in judicious self-awareness; a director like Nicolas Winding Refn knows exactly why he makes the…