[The thing is, it’s patriarchy that says men are stupid and monolithic and unchanging and incapable. It’s patriarchy that says men have animalistic instincts and just can’t stop themselves from harassing and assaulting. It’s patriarchy that says men can only be attracted by certain qualities, can only have particular kinds of responses, can only experience the world in narrow ways.
Feminism holds that men are capable of more — are more than that.
This is something that happened to a friend of mine in her own words.
“So, on Friday night my friend and I were at her house and wanted to get out and do something for the evening. We brainstormed ideas and she brought up the idea of seeing a show at the Laugh Factory. I’d never been, I thought it sounded fun, so we went. We saw that Dane Cook, along some other names we didn’t recognize we’re playing, and while we both agree that Cook’s style is not really our taste we were opened-minded about what the others had to offer. And we figured even good ol’ Dane can be funny sometimes, even if it’s not really our thing. Anyhoo, his act was actually fine, but then when his was done, some other guy I didn’t recognize took the stage. Of course, I would find out later this was Daniel Tosh, but at the time I thought he was just some yahoo who somehow got a gig going on after Cook. I honestly thought he was an amateur because he didn’t seem that comfortable on stage and seemed to have a really awkward presence.
So Tosh then starts making some very generalizing, declarative statements about rape jokes always being funny, how can a rape joke not be funny, rape is hilarious, etc. I don’t know why he was so repetitive about it but I felt provoked because I, for one, DON’T find them funny and never have. So I didnt appreciate Daniel Tosh (or anyone!) telling me I should find them funny. So I yelled out, “Actually, rape jokes are never funny!”
I did it because, even though being “disruptive” is against my nature, I felt that sitting there and saying nothing, or leaving quietly, would have been against my values as a person and as a woman. I don’t sit there while someone tells me how I should feel about something as profound and damaging as rape.
After I called out to him, Tosh paused for a moment. Then, he says, “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by like, 5 guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her…” and I, completely stunned and finding it hard to process what was happening but knowing i needed to get out of there, immediately nudged my friend, who was also completely stunned, and we high-tailed it out of there. It was humiliating, of course, especially as the audience guffawed in response to Tosh, their eyes following us as we made our way out of there. I didn’t hear the rest of what he said about me.
Now in the lobby, I spoke with the girl at the will-call desk, and demanded to see the manager. The manager on duty quickly came out to speak with me, and she was profusely apologetic, and seemed genuinely sorry about what had happened, but of course we received no refund for our tickets, but instead a comped pair of tickets, although she admitted she understood if we never wanted to come back. I can imagine the Laugh Factory doesn’t really have a policy in place for what happens when a woman has to leave in a hurry because the person onstage is hurling violent words about sexual violence at her. Although maybe I’m not the first girl to have that happen to her.
I should probably add that having to basically flee while Tosh was enthusing about how hilarious it would be if I was gang-raped in that small, claustrophic room was pretty viscerally terrifying and threatening all the same, even if the actual scenario was unlikely to take place. The suggestion of it is violent enough and was meant to put me in my place.”
Please reblog and spread the word.
Ever since the Trayvon Martin tragedy, I’ve seen more and more posts about similar situations pop up on my dash. That is to say, there seem to be more people posting about PoC youths that have been unjustly killed by law enforcement (or similar).
Which is great, in a way, because yes, it happens. And it happens a lot more than most people realise, and often goes untouched by big media outlets.
I can’t help but find the comments people leave on reblogs a little disturbing, though. Not because there’s hate-speech or prejudice, but because it’s like people are just chalking up these victims in a tally. More often than not, the phrase comes up: “another one.”
“Jesus christ, another one.”
The surprise, the dismay, “another one” like Trayvon. As if the death toll of innocent, PoC minors has just been recently piling up since his murder. Nevermind the real timeline. Some that I’ve seen have occurred since Trayvon’s murder. Most haven’t. Most happened before, sometimes years before. Trayvon Martin was “another one.” This shit is nothing new.
For the sweet love of all that you hold dear, please stop just being sad and disgusted and reblogging every time you see an unknown victim on your dash.
And look them up. Read the news reports. Find out who they were, and what happened, and why. Be enraged. Mourn them. Weep for society.
These victims are not just victims. They’re not another tally mark. They are not just “another one.” They’re people who lived, and died, and have suffered from enough marginalisation without being reduced to a piece of proof.
Practically every day in class, I want to say this. Even from guys I otherwise like and like their work. But I’m always met with hopelessness. They’ve been drawing this character that way for years, they won’t change it; they’ve been drawing this comic for months, they’re not going to go back and change this character’s appearance. or they either Nice Guy it and fluffle around the issue apologetically, but never change their ways; or confront it in the manner of “it’s all fake anyways!”.
It’s just like the people who are seniors and still use cheap-ass microns [in one size] to ink their work, people who still won’t look at references or work over photos to get their poses and perspective right. They’ve found their comfort zone, their “good enough”, and it’s a steep uphill battle to even pass the argument.
I guess what I’m saying: if I feel like I’m talking to a wall with fellow students, I only am now understanding how set in their ways most long-term professionals must be.
Panic on the streets of London.
I’m huddled in the front room with some shell-shocked friends, watching my city burn. The BBC is interchanging footage of blazing cars and running street battles in Hackney, of police horses lining up in Lewisham, of roiling infernos that were once shops and houses in Croydon and in Peckham. Last night, Enfield, Walthamstow, Brixton and Wood Green were looted; there have been hundreds of arrests and dozens of serious injuries, and it will be a miracle if nobody dies tonight. This is the third consecutive night of rioting in London, and the disorder has now spread to Leeds, Liverpool, Bristol and Birmingham. Politicians and police officers who only hours ago were making stony-faced statements about criminality are now simply begging the young people of Britain’s inner cities to go home. Britain is a tinderbox, and on Friday, somebody lit a match. How the hell did this happen? And what are we going to do now?
In the scramble to comprehend the riots, every single commentator has opened with a ritual condemnation of the violence, as if it were in any doubt that arson, muggings and lootings are ugly occurrences. That much should be obvious to anyone who is watching Croydon burn down on the BBC right now. David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, called the disorder ‘mindless, mindless’. Nick Clegg denounced it as ‘needless, opportunistic theft and violence’. Speaking from his Tuscan holiday villa, Prime Minister David Cameron – who has finally decided to return home to take charge - declared simply that the social unrest searing through the poorest boroughs in the country was “utterly unacceptable.” The violence on the streets is being dismissed as ‘pure criminality,’ as the work of a ‘violent minority’, as ‘opportunism.’ This is madly insufficient. It is no way to talk about viral civil unrest. Angry young people with nothing to do and little to lose are turning on their own communities, and they cannot be stopped, and they know it. Tonight, in one of the greatest cities in the world, society is ripping itself apart.
Violence is rarely mindless. The politics of a burning building, a smashed-in shop or a young man shot by police may be obscured even to those who lit the rags or fired the gun, but the politics are there. Unquestionably there is far, far more to these riots than the death of Mark Duggan, whose shooting sparked off the unrest on Saturday, when two police cars were set alight after a five-hour vigil at Tottenham police station. A peaceful protest over the death of a man at police hands, in a community where locals have been given every reason to mistrust the forces of law and order, is one sort of political statement. Raiding shops for technology and trainers that cost ten times as much as the benefits you’re no longer entitled to is another. A co-ordinated, viral wave of civil unrest across the poorest boroughs of Britain, with young people coming from across the capital and the country to battle the police, is another.
Months of conjecture will follow these riots. Already, the internet is teeming with racist vitriol and wild speculation. The truth is that very few people know why this is happening. They don’t know, because they were not watching these communities. Nobody has been watching Tottenham since the television cameras drifted away after the Broadwater Farm riots of 1985. Most of the people who will be writing, speaking and pontificating about the disorder this weekend have absolutely no idea what it is like to grow up in a community where there are no jobs, no space to live or move, and the police are on the streets stopping-and-searching you as you come home from school. The people who do will be waking up this week in the sure and certain knowledge that after decades of being ignored and marginalised and harassed by the police, after months of seeing any conceivable hope of a better future confiscated, they are finally on the news. In one NBC report, a young man in Tottenham was asked if rioting really achieved anything:
“Yes,” said the young man. “You wouldn’t be talking to me now if we didn’t riot, would you?”
“Two months ago we marched to Scotland Yard, more than 2,000 of us, all blacks, and it was peaceful and calm and you know what? Not a word in the press. Last night a bit of rioting and looting and look around you.”
Eavesdropping from among the onlookers, I looked around. A dozen TV crews and newspaper reporters interviewing the young men everywhere ‘’’
There are communities all over the country that nobody paid attention to unless there had recently been a riot or a murdered child. Well, they’re paying attention now.
Tonight in London, social order and the rule of law have broken down entirely. The city has been brought to a standstill; it is not safe to go out onto the streets, and where I am in Holloway, the violence is coming closer. As I write, the looting and arson attacks have spread to at least fifty different areas across the UK, including dozens in London, and communities are now turning on each other, with the Guardian reporting on rival gangs forming battle lines. It has become clear to the disenfranchised young people of Britain, who feel that they have no stake in society and nothing to lose, that they can do what they like tonight, and the police are utterly unable to stop them. That is what riots are all about.
Riots are about power, and they are about catharsis. They are not about poor parenting, or youth services being cut, or any of the other snap explanations that media pundits have been trotting out: structural inequalities, as a friend of mine remarked today, are not solved by a few pool tables. People riot because it makes them feel powerful, even if only for a night. People riot because they have spent their whole lives being told that they are good for nothing, and they realise that together they can do anything – literally, anything at all. People to whom respect has never been shown riot because they feel they have little reason to show respect themselves, and it spreads like fire on a warm summer night. And now people have lost their homes, and the country is tearing itself apart.
Noone expected this. The so-called leaders who have taken three solid days to return from their foreign holidays to a country in flames did not anticipate this. The people running Britain had absolutely no clue how desperate things had become. They thought that after thirty years of soaring inequality, in the middle of a recession, they could take away the last little things that gave people hope, the benefits, the jobs, the possibility of higher education, the support structures, and nothing would happen. They were wrong. And now my city is burning, and it will continue to burn until we stop the blanket condemnations and blind conjecture and try to understand just what has brought viral civil unrest to Britain. Let me give you a hint: it ain’t Twitter.
I’m stuck in the house, now, with rioting going on just down the road in Chalk Farm. Ealing and Clapham and Dalston are being trashed. Journalists are being mugged and beaten in the streets, and the riot cops are in retreat where they have appeared at all. Police stations are being set alight all over the country. This morning, as the smoke begins to clear, those of us who can sleep will wake up to a country in chaos. We will wake up to fear, and to racism, and to condemnation on left and right, none of which will stop this happening again, as the prospect of a second stock market clash teeters terrifyingly at the bottom of the news reports. Now is the time when we make our choices. Now is the time when we decide whether to descend into hate, or to put prejudice aside and work together. Now is the time when we decide what sort of country it is that we want to live in. Follow the #riotcleanup hashtag on Twitter. And take care of one another.
Eph. Added by myself. Possibly for the benefit of skimmers, but also to highlight things that I found interesting and enlightening and don’t see being discussed in the regular reporting on the riots. When I woke up from my homestuck and self-doubt induced slumber to find the news of this, my primary question was: Why? There’s this thing that gets talked about a lot in social science circles, the disparity between how much research is applicable only to the US and how frequently other countries and other Western countries get researched critically. It doesn’t make sense that one man getting shot would spark upheaval of this magnitude, unless there were further injustices and fears to cause the perpetuated injustice and fear. So, while shocked and agog at this whole thing, I’m looking for all sorts of information around this.
Shit I’m thinking about [besides the oft-referenced recent civil unrest and upheavals in Middle Eastern/N.African countries] L.A. Riots, The Blackout of ‘77. Feelings of injustice, spun out of control.
My thoughts on the condoning/condemning of violence? When looked at politically it seems to muddle things, doesn’t it? But there’s something I emphasis to myself: “Us” and “Them” are illusions, we are them and they are us; there is no “Us” v. “Them”. Every “Them” is a possible “Us” who might sympathize with [the cause]; every “Us” was one of “Them” at some point and perpetually continues to be, so long as one participates in any social structure.
In other words: trying to extract meaning from the act of smashing symbols of power without engaging the source of the power. It doesn’t really do anything good for you, is what I’m saying.
Fuck this shit.
It would be a shameful, shameful thing for mandatory enrollment in one the most shameful nation’s military.
I would be so, so very against it if it were, and for that reason I would say if it absolutely were to ever happen, conscientious objector should still exist. And be easy to get into for spiritual but not religious folks and agnostics/atheists/skeptics, etc.
I’ve been thinking about this. Though I object to the military and object to the government’s military objectives, locations, etc. I think….well, a volunteer-based organization only attracts people who…y’know, want to be there, and then also, to keep membership up, attracts people who have no other options of obtaining the benefits that the organization provides as incentives to join. Also it creates a privileged class of military personnel; the privilege of being current or former military offering a means of power to people who crave it or have no other means of getting it.
Thus: the military becomes a haven for people who want to kill other people, and due to our foreign wars, possibly for bigoted and prejudiced reasons. It also becomes a way for rich, powerful people to treat poorer, socially disadvantaged people like cattle, because affluent kids only go into the military by choice or tradition, not as a means to pay for college, etc. And finally, by creating a military class, it makes military personnel figures to be respected simply by virtue of being military; it’s not a commonly shared experience, and often I’ve seen in civilian settings messages or attitudes that suggest that military personnel deserve my respect or are doing something for me [usually “defending my freedom!” as if the politics of other countries actually affect my autonomous being…and not in some abstract globalization way, but as if it’s a direct threat to my way of life, yeah?]—making mandatory military service would equalize people.
An over-all effect of this is that, with a mandatory service, people might start giving a shit about politics again [again?], who our leaders are, what their policies are, what laws and regulations we’re agreeing to by-proxy, what wars we’re getting into by-proxy, where the money and focus of our government should be more focused on [again, by-proxy].
A danger of this is that we effectively become a militarized, nationalistic society. We’d have to look out for fascism and supremacy even more than we do now. Questions this raises is: can people still be objectors, questioners, etc, and still have a functioning military? That is, do we need to police the faith in our military even more so, to appease people’s misgivings about the very dangerous task of the military; or is their still room for objecting and freedom of speech? Will we become a police state or is their a way to hold contradictory beliefs and thoughts in the open-air?
“Roseanne Barr was a sitcom star, a creator and a product, the agitator and the abused, a domestic goddess and a feminist pioneer. That was twenty years ago. But as far as she’s concerned, not much has changed.”