I read an article today on the BBC about the shooting in Santa Barbara over the weekend. It was a related article about the social media reaction to the event. I think y'all know how I feel about the incident itself if you've read anything I've written at all. I'm only just barely holding back my ranting, why I don't know. It's been done, I guess, by other equally eloquent bloggers.
There was an image embedded that showed a Tweet with a reply from the kind of person that Mr. Rodger would have agreed with wholeheartedly. The reply itself is what got to me, it really did. I actually felt kind of shaken and sick to my stomach after reading it. And it takes a lot to do this to me. I can't copy and paste it here, it's just too horrible. Here's a link to it if you really must know. It's the first example in the article.
I lead a happy little life where I've never been physically, sexually assaulted. I don't like the fact that I could say I'm lucky for that fact. I shouldn't feel lucky about that. Never having been raped or beaten, should just be a fact of life for every human being. Luck should have nothing to do with it. Period. End of story. I would feel lucky if something exceptional happened to me like winning the lottery. Not having been raped and/or beaten should not be so exceptional that I should have to feel lucky.
I've used the hashtag #YesAllWomen. It's still completely valid. I can say I've never been overtly, physically or sexually abused by men, but I've certainly been treated or looked upon differently because of my gender. So no, not all women have been abused, but we have all certainly been made aware that there must be something fundamentally wrong with our gender and how each one of us chooses to embody it.
Yes, it's true that not all men are like Mr. Rodger and that Asshat that posted the comment linked above. It would be foolish to think that everyone using that hashtag assumes that all men are boorish, ignorant, sexist and misogynistic arseholes. I know there are men out there who are fully capable of being decent to other human beings regardless of what's between their legs etc. Decent human beings do exist. I swear. I have to believe that there are more out there than just the ones I call friends, it's what gets me through the day.
I've recently encountered the very same entitled attitude that Mr. Rodger used to justify his heinous act. I'm glad that those who've behaved that way towards me were mostly harmless. I assume. I hope. I recognize that I'm able to say this from the safety of my side of the keyboard/screen. If you read my last post you'll know how I feel about men with entitlement issues (they are owed exactly nothing from me and women in general) same goes for the notion of being in the "friend zone". I had a guy tell me he wasn't interested in getting into the "friend zone". Well, you won't be getting into any kind of zone with an attitude like that. I responded to tell him that my friend zone was pretty amazing and it's his loss. And it was the nicest thing I could have possibly said. I just didn't see how unleashing a giant feminist rant about entitlement and my right to choose what sorts of relationships I have with people to be useful. I know a message like wouldn't even get a cursory glance.
I wasn't even going to write about this. It's been done over and over, like I said, by equally eloquent bloggers from all over. But is it not worth it to keep talking about it? To keep it on people's minds? To keep those that need to know aware? "Can't stop the signal, Mal"...
Is it working? Are we making any progress? Sometimes I don't think we are. I can't foresee a wide-scale change in my life time, even now we creep ahead bit by bit. I often forget that I'm part of a marginalized group. The largest umbrella of marginalized people, half the world's population and I forget this because I have it pretty good in life, but I'm still a woman. Which means there's always going to be someone out there who only sees my anatomy, someone who will judge me for the choices I make, or what I wear, how I wear it and what size it is. Someone who will imagine me naked or what a good fuck I'd be. There will always be someone who doesn't think I'm capable of doing certain things because I have a woman's body, or that I'm not smart, genuine, geeky or modest enough. There will always be someone who will think I'm a bitch because I have opinions. There will always be someone who will readily try to shame me for embracing who I am.
It breaks my heart that we have to keep saying it. Over and over. That this is a point we have to keep making because some unbalanced fella isn't getting it. Because tragedies like this keep happening. And it makes me sad that once the hype is over and the hashtag fades into obscurity again, we'll have to start all over. Until it happens again.
Of course I hope it doesn't. And it shouldn't ever happen again, but I'd be lying if I told you it will never happen again. Keep talking about it, keep being who you are, ladies. You don't owe anyone anything. But you owe yourself everything.