Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Trigger Warning

Today, a friend posted a status update about the wrongness of a feminist infographic (like this one, though I don't know that it was the exact one he was talking about) that stated Ada Lovelace invented the computer, and Hedy Lamarr invented Bluetooth (also wi-fi).

These statements are factually untrue, yet both women made contributions toward what eventually became computers and Bluetooth (and wi-fi).

A woman, angry at feminists for being too lazy to explain the facts behind these claims, decided to make it about feminists wanting to keep up a phony narrative. Someone else argued that it was probably because the real answers were longer, and more science-y, than would fit their narrative (or their truncated infographic).

Because of this (rather dumb) shorthand, this woman decreed:

"and this is why modern feminists need to be round up and shot squarely in the forehead."
At the risk of being called "overly-sensitive" or any other bullshit derogatory you can manage to associate with being a feminist, I said something. And it started with, "fuck you."

I'm tired of invoking the threat of violence against women, and I find it particularly loathsome coming from a woman.

And the way she worded it... well, it reminded me of this:

He began his attack by entering a classroom at the university, where he separated the male and female students. After claiming that he was "fighting feminism", he shot all nine women in the room, killing six. He then moved through corridors, the cafeteria, and another classroom, specifically targeting women to shoot. Overall, he killed fourteen women and injured ten other women and four men in just under twenty minutes before turning the gun on himself.

That happened when I was 15 years old. I have called myself a feminist since that day. Women were round up and shot for being feminist, even though their only feminist "crime" was enrolling in engineering school. Almost all of the dead and injured women did not identify as feminist. They just wanted to go to school.

As I have come to read more and more feminist scholarship by white women studying intersectionality, women of colour and queer and trans* feminists, I have made it my duty in life to speak out more, to defend the label more, and to let everyone know that advocating violence against ANYONE is not cool.

I fail, a lot. There are some times, and some days, where I would love to give the Women-hating-Republican-who-knows-what's-best-for-vaginas-Of-The-Day a good swift kick in the scrotum. But I don't kick anyone. And I rarely say it out loud. And that's the best I can do, until I find some further Zen-like state. I'm not actually looking for that state, so I don't see that happening.

When I said, as politely as I could at this point, that I was not interested in associating myself with someone who advocates violence against women, she called me some names (including "screeching hole"), said that I was using her statements about violence to not face the real issue [which is feminists lie to justify their continued existence (I think?)]. Then she posted a photo of a woman with her fingers in her ears and eyes closed in the "I'm not listening" pose.

So it comes down to this.

1. I think that over-stating the achievements of women to maintain a "women are awesome" narrative is wrong. Absolutely.

2. I think that rounding up anyone and shooting them in the forehead for ANY reason, including treason and wearing Crocs, is wrong. Absolutely.

3. I think that I have a responsibility to try to be an ally to women, and I fail at it all the time when confronted by women who don't want me as an ally. Call it internalized misogyny or just being a contrarian- but whatever it is I decided that moving on is better than getting into an internet pissing match.

Feminism is a choice to recognize the full humanity of all people. Fuck gender bullshit. Fuck violence. Fuck sexual politics. Fuck rape culture. Fuck unexamined white privilege.

Fuck hate.

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