Indian Gang Rape Protests
New Delhi & Kolkata
December 27, 2012
AP Photo/Altaf Qadri
I just don’t know, you guys. I’m concerned. I understand what you are trying to do! I really do! (I mean, other than MAKE THIS CAUSE MORE GLAMOROUS BY MAKING IT ABOUT WHITE LADIES’ LEGS, anyway.)
We all agree that victim blaming sucks. We also agree on the subtext of that miniskirt discourse: “whatever we wear” isn’t necessarily about our right to flaunt leg as much as it is about the way our bodies are treated regardless of how we dress them. Most of us get raped in our jeans or our pajamas or our uniforms. Just like how Trayvon’s hoodie is used as an empty excuse, that he was “asking” to be treated with suspicion. Even though really it was his body that marked him in that way. Okay, I get it.
But how are we being so willfully ignorant of the problems with that “whatever we wear” discourse? How are we ignoring the fact that “my miniskirt is not an invitation to rape” is a white discourse? That so many people rightfully take issue with that kind of rhetoric because it’s one that preserves a purity of white womanhood? That when black women are raped, there is no “victim-blaming” because there is presumed to be no victim?
I mean, you could have tried to pretend for a split second that you care in the least bit about people of color who are raped. Like, you couldn’t find a picture of a black woman in a miniskirt ANYWHERE ON THE INTERNET? Really?
How many hoodies have you put on your white body? How many times have those hoodies marked you as a “suspicious” target for violence?
What is the purpose of trying to unify these oppressions into one? Why don’t you realize that by creating this false geometry you are essentially arguing that they were mutually exclusive—if parallel—phenomena to begin with? How many white women have been raped only for an innocent black man in a hoodie to be killed for it?
Do you people think before you say anything ever?
Why is the first statement embodied and the second one is bodiless? Why did you want to show white legs but no black bodies?
Can’t there be one thing that we don’t make about us? Are we not interested in discussing the way people are oppressed unless we can fit it into a conversation about how we, personally, are oppressed? Unless we can fit it under the umbrella of activist acts we already perform? Can you seriously just let this be about black boys for ONE MOTHERFUCKING SECOND?
THANKS GRRRL I FEEL YOU
Because all culture is rape culture. It is. I am thinking about this because last night someone said sagely, “Rape is now a weapon of war,” and everyone nodded their heads because this is a progressive woman-centered way to express the horrors of war.
Let’s just get this out there. Rape has always been a weapon of war. It has. Women (and probably men) were raped during the Holocaust. They were raped during the Civil War. Wherever there is conflict, you will find rape. It is part of war. It is part of conquest. The various empires all advanced and enforced colonial rule via rape. Slavery and rape culture go hand in hand, if you will. Wherever there is oppression, you will find rape. Men (and women) in prison don’t start raping one another because they have suddenly gotten in touch with their inner homosexual, or out of some kind of “love the one you’re with” thing—it is an act of war. Rape is not people expressing their sexuality. It does not happen by accident because someone is drunk. Rape is about power. When women describe their birth experiences as rape, it is not because giving birth is like sex. Rape is not like sex. Rape is someone violating your body.
Why are you hearing about rape so much these days? It’s not because there is more rape than ever before! It’s not because rape is a fad. It’s because rape is being acknowledged–although even here, the cases that come to the fore are the ones involving white, straight, women.
People who want social justice and gender justice don’t talk about rape because it’s a woman’s issue. We talk about rape because it is something we all have in common. All of us—men, women, transmen, transwomen. EVERYONE. It is part of our history and part of our culture. Preventing and stopping rape is not a goal because we think it should be harder for frat guys to have sex. Preventing and stopping rape is is about liberating every gender from “rape culture.” That is the revolution.
Note: I am grateful to Genderbitch for noting my clumsy phrasing about gender and offering a respectful, inclusive way to say what I was trying to.
You can read her whole comment below but for those who don’t read comments she wrote:
“Men, women, transmen, transwomen” should be “cis men and women, trans men and women, and nonbinary/genderqueer folk” or “men and women (cis or trans) and nonbinary/genderqueer folk)”
Someone on Tumblr (I don’t know who–Tumblr confuses me!) made a different change, writing:
All of us—men, women, (genderqueer people, agendered people, bigendered people, pangendered people)
I think the parens are there because that text was an insertion to correct what I had, I don’t think it should otherwise be in parens.
Thank you for the constructive responses! (Oct 7)
Charm City Art Space advertises itself as socially conscientious. Today, it issued a draft statement with the goal of ending debate over claims of sexual misconduct on the part of one of its members. Five women accused one guy of sexually harassing them in separate incidents, including one woman who accused him of having sex with her against her will. Unfortunately for the women, members publicly vetted the question of what happened to them for over six months with several members essentially calling the women liars. As a result, friends of the victims and the victims left the space. The remaining members agreed that, in essence, nothing should happen to the guy. A few people did talk to him about boundary issues.
I don’t feel comfortable calling Charm City Art Space a “safe space.” I am concerned that if one of its popular members sexually assaulted me, that I would be more stigmatized for bringing it up than he would be for violating me. Plus, I don’t want to be a double victim - once as an individual being sexually harassed and then again as a person being alienated by those who fail to listen or, even worse, try to discredit me for refusing to silently be abused.
The above from Ghost Finger. This whole thing makes me sick. It’s notable that on the Charm City Flickr there is not one photo of a woman playing on stage—the only woman pictured at all is someone with an anniversary cake. Their booking page lists sixteen promoters—only two are women.
You’ve got a long way to go, baby.