Feminist Outrage Circa June 2011

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Feminist Outrage Circa June 2011

So far 2011 is reminding me alot of 1991.

Twenty years ago, a series of spectacles of full blown sexual abuse in all its variations erupted in NYC and on the national stage. A couple of the highlights: The Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, which turned into the public trial of Anita Hill. The stories were creepy and awful, the boss who continually makes lewd jokes, and men, these jokes, the pubic hair on the coke, it's not sexy. Hate to break it to you. It's not a turn on. I will channel my inner Whitney and become Every woman in the world and say: It's not a turn on. For us.

It's a humiliation. Which apparently is a turn on for you.

Then there were several awful rapes in NYC area. Like the high school football team that brutally raped a disabled woman, gang raped her, raped her with a frigging baseball bat. A baseball bat. She was out numbered, she wouldn't have been able to protect herself, even if she hadn't been developmently disabled.

The horror didn't stop there, of course, the young men got turned into the real victims by their hometown and the woman was villified and it was just too much. It was so too much that for a brief moment women got over their deep and abiding distrust and dislike of each other that is the residue of sexism, of deep misogyny throughout our culture; so sickening that it prevents us from doing anything about our own situation because we despise the members of our class, and yes, I hate women too.

For a brief moment, there was a feminist direct action group, WAC, and what brought us together was our combined horror and outrage, our inability to stomach how pervasive this crap was. And our knowledge that men were just not there for us. I'm not saying that every man was participating in or condoning this crap, but I didn't see any guys who understood that every woman in this country works in a goddam hostile work environment.

And of course if you have privilege of some sort, you might be insulated from the worst of it. You might not get a baseball bat shoved up your ass, just have to put up with the pubic hair jokes. You might not have to worry about getting raped when you clean up the shit skid marks of some millionaire, you might not get deported if you lose your job but you might still be worrying about losing your job.

WAC was wacky, I won't bore you with the lament, but for a brief, all too brief moment, we came together with a shared sense of outrage. Wondering if it will happen again.

Can't tell... But it feels like a moment when the women I talk to in person on line, in person are really really so pissed off that we are almost ready to get over our own self hatred and come together. We are sick of the media that can't distinguish between rape and consensual adulterous sex; that thinks we are just a bunch of prudes who aren't worried about the "big" or "real" issues.

I'm sorry, but living in a fucking sexist culture really gets in the way of saving the whales, or growing my own vegetables, or whatever the hell else you define as important.

Of course the environment, corporative greed, the endless war, yes. All important.

But I work just a wee bit better when I'm not afraid. When I think that women can conduct themselves in their lives and not worry about harassment, or rape and continual humiliation. Wow, I'm so much more on my game when I feel like I'm not going to hear about a woman getting raped...

Here's the deal folks, there's certain basic things that are required for humans and if they are not there, THERE IS NO BIGGER ISSUE. If you have to put up with sexist harassment at work or get fired, perhaps deported. THERE IS NO BIGGER ISSUE. If you work on social justice but continually find yourselves betrayed by progressive politicians who are misogynist pigs, THE BIG ISSUES TAKE A BACK SEAT. I don't hold my breath on this. I don't have a lot of hope in this really.... But I am not infrequently and pleasantly surprised.



Comments [1]

Conlite's picture

This is not the only place I

This is not the only place I have heard comparisons to the early 90s being made.  I don't know if a revitalised femminist movement will come of it or not, but with abortion and even birth control rights currently being attacked by the U.S. right wing again, we could sure use a little protest here and there!