Work With Us – Or Don’t, But Stop Blaming Us for Trying

Kristin McFarland on Let Women Speak for Women: How John Scalzi Pissed Me Off:

Scalzi, Rothfuss, and Whedon are—right now—wealthy(ish) white men writing about problems only women face. They are exhibiting the male control they castigate by fighting our fight. I’m not ungrateful, but I’m frustrated that the strongest plays in the feminist fight are coming from men… and even these men don’t seem interested in what women have to say.

They’re taking away our right to fight the good fight.

When women write these posts, they’re quietly applauded, loudly criticized, or just ignored as regurgitating feminist vitriol. So when men like Scalzi step up to the plate, we praise them high and low, and the merits of their argument ring across the internet.

All because they have the lucky position of being a privileged white man writing on behalf of women.

Bullshit.  They are not taking away anyone's right to fight the good fight.  They are opposing an injustice that pisses them off personally.  In some cases, such men may have loved ones who have experienced sexual violence or be survivors themselves.  I'd say that affects them as well.  The fact that they have a gigantic bully pulpit is not the same thing as suppression of another's efforts.  I can empathize with the desire for women's voices to be stronger, but there is a gigantic world of difference between the two concepts.  Claiming one causes the other is an utter logic fail.  There is room for more than one voice on this planet.

Alyssa Rosenberg on John Scalzi And What Men Talk About When They Talk About Rape:

I would be delighted to live in a world where men trusted women and didn’t treat our concerns like second-order needs, and we didn’t need prominent male allies to validate that sexual assault, abortion access, and privacy are important issues. But as long as we do, I’d rather have Scalzi and company in the conversation than not. And I’d note that while pregnancy as a result of rape may be a terrible event particular to cis women, I don’t think that rape is an issue that only women face. Men are sexual assault victims, too, and the taboo around discussing those assaults is in some ways even more profound for men than it is for women.

This issue is a fuckload bigger than what some dimbulbs on the right have been saying.  It is representative not only of systemic attacks on reproductive rights, but also of how all sexual violence survivors are treated by the knuckle-dragging troglodytes and zealots.  Everyone has something to lose if hate, intolerance and narrow minds continue to control the debate.

Interestingly enough, whenever male rape survivors speak out on our own experiences, there is a similarly loud chorus complaining that we are drowning out womens' voices – simply by speaking at all, anywhere (even on our own websites or discussion threads dedicated to our issues).  When we are silent, we are told that our silence enables rapists and fosters rape culture and that we should speak out – but then only on behalf of women.  Then we are criticized for opening our mouths again.

Then male survivors are told that if we will only work to end sexual violence against women, then we can work to help ourselves after that, but until then we are a big distraction from the real problem – violence against women. We are urged, often in mocking tones, to create our own networks, organizations and use our own voices to advocate for ourselves while simultaneously being told that we are hurting women by talking about our own experiences and promoting healing for male survivors. We can't win no matter what we do and will often be vilified, criticized or outright mocked for our trouble.

I'm done asking for permission to talk about something that affects me and millions of other men and women personally. No one, regardless of gender or ideology, has the moral authority to demand my silence – especially if that person has no firsthand experience with sexual violence.

I'm over that ignorant mess and I have no time for those preaching suppression and silence.  They are as much a part of the problem as the wingnuts on the right who seek to restrict the rights of women and wish to narrowly define sexual violence as to make it impossible to prove or prosecute.

If you don't want to work with us, at least stop working against us.  Why is that too fucking much to ask?

 

  About James Landrith

James Landrith is a healing rape survivor, public speaker, internationally syndicated blogger, civil liberties activist and the notorious editor and publisher of The Multiracial Activist (ISSN: 1552-3446) and The Abolitionist Examiner (ISSN: 1552-2881). Landrith can be reached by email at: james@jameslandrith.com or at his personal website/blog.


 

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