Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Things That Piss Me Off Tuesday - the rape culture is a thing edition

Hi. Waves. I haven't done one of these in about.....ohhhh.....five months or so.

Not that I haven't been pissed off in that time period. I have. Trust.

I just haven't been writing much for a whole bunch of reasons, some of which you may care about but most of which you probably don't, so I'll spare you the details.

Mostly I am just really fucking tired of arguing with people online, and have found other ways to more productively channel my energies.

But alas, I am here today. Pecking away. I have work I need to get done, and am trying to multitask, which is one of my actual superpowers. Hooray ADHD. Use your powers for good, you guys.


Rape Culture is SO OBVIOUSLY A THING

Hi. I'm so tired of explaining this one. To friends, to strangers, to co-workers. It seems like every week, there is some new breaking story of some man in some position of power or influence or fame who is being accused of sexual harassment at least, aggravated rape at worst. I could list them here for you, but that would be a really long fucking list, and at this point I am truthfully more surprised when a story breaks that ISN'T about some dude treating women like crap.

There are all these people who think that at some point, it'll be a tipping point in terms of the current presidential administration. I don't. His fans/followers/voters/base voted for him knowing exactly who he is and was and has always been, and I don't anticipate there being anything that could sway them. Certainly a settlement with a porn actress about an affair he conducted with her while his third wife was pregnant won't do it.

Stop waiting for people to do the right thing. Stop waiting for Congress to do the right thing. There are probably a whole bunch of men in those hallowed halls who've done the same or worse, so I wouldn't hold my breath waiting on their moral authority.

I am sick and tired of the selective outrage, of the immediate defense of the accused based on whether he is funny or good with a football or OMG YOU GUYS HE IS MY FAVORITE ACTOR EVER or political affiliation. This shit transcends everything. Culture, class, religion, race, all of it.

It is societal.

The pessimist in me, knowing that the vast majority of women I know have dealt with this stuff in one degree or another, suspecting that the vast majority of men I know get a little more uncomfortable with the Aziz Ansari accusations than the Harvey Weinstein ones because they're a bit more familiar, feels like our generation isn't going to be the one that fixes this. We may be irredeemable.

That's not to say that individuals can't atone for the harms they've done, learn, do better, all that jazz. They can. But as a generation, this just might be the thing we're remembered for. Which is great.

Generation X - #metoo

We've got to be better parents than ours were, we HAVE to teach our kids better. We have to raise our sons to value autonomy and consent and healthy, reciprocal relationships. We've got to stop making women's bodies commodities, we've got to stop teaching little girls that when a boy chases you it is because he likes you. We have to, or we're destined to allow this shit to perpetuate.

In which case, we'd be known historically as the generation of #metoo that did nothing.

That would be even worse.

Whitewashing history, with a song a dance
Holy crap the justifications people will use to fall in love with a musical. Yeah, I get it. Hugh Jackman is a great entertainer. Musicals are one of my all time favorite genres of film.

The Greatest Showman is a fictionalized story loosely based on the life of P.T. Barnum, and by loosely based, I mean they trivialized or removed entirely his horrid racism, the fact that he was a slaveowner who went to extreme measures to make sure he could keep his slaves in free states. He objectified anyone different, profited on the differently abled, abused animals and more.

But that tap number. So good.

Jesus.

Yeah, sure...some people know these things about him and will be able to separate the movie that is so fictional it should not have any association with real life people, who'll use it as a jumping off point to do actual research about what a monster he was....but most people won't.

Most people will go, fall in love with the shiny dude on the screen, celebrate the positives of the film, never bother to learn the truth, and have their impression of this actual historical nightmare be completely warped.

This, by the way, is how we got into the political mess that is 2018. Warped history. White washing. Ignoring all the terrible things and upselling the "good" ones with a catchy song and dance.

People being falsely educated about an actual historical character isn't a fun family movie experience, it's really fucking dangerous.

Ugh.

It's almost time for another reminder of the power of privilege
The days are ticking by and it is almost February, when some really awful stuff happened last year.

Well. More specifically, when some really awful stuff came to light in a public, ugly way.

I still won't tell the story because it isn't mine to tell, but I'm dreading the narrative that I know is coming.

We all lost something, sure.

Some of us lost a lot more.

Some people risked their financial security, the welfare of their families, to stand in their truth.

At the end of the day, though, the reason we lost that thing isn't the fault of those who shined the light. It isn't.

It couldn't be.

Even the ultimatum that so many have held up as evidence of how it was the fault of those who spoke up...it isn't. It wasn't.

When you give a person in power a choice between doing the right thing and running it into the ground and they choose to run it into the ground, that choice is not the fault of those who called it out.

It is not.

That choice rested, as it usually does, in the hands of privilege.

You can tell a lot about people in a hurry in these situations, about where their loyalties lie, about what they value the most, about whether biases dominate their assumptions. I have no regrets about where I stood back then. I have no regrets about where I stand now.

I'm still mad as hell, though.

And I'm pretty sure I'll never stop being disappointed in people.

What I am rarely, though...is surprised.

This 2018 version of me...still fueled by coffee and rage.

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