I Stand with Planned Parenthood

Look.

This is some major bullshit.

This is some major misogynistic, woman-hating, femme-hating, people-with-uteruses-hating, poor-people-hating, body-hating, science-hating, health-hating, sex-hating, pleasure-hating, family-hating, love-hating, life-hating, liberation-hating bullshit. 

And I am out of words to express my outrage and contempt.

So I’ma let Cameron Esposito handle business for me today. You’re welcome.

[Featured image via. ]

Even Funnier Than Ads for Douching with Lysol

Every now and then, I like to remind myself that this is a real thing that exists in the world.

And then I laugh.

the feminists

[Oh, and about those Lysol ads? Turns out they’re less funny — though no less fascinating! — when you realize they are not actually talking about feminine hygiene.]

♦ ♦ ♦

So tell me: what bit of absurdity never fails to make you giggle? 

Advice for the Unraped, Before Your Next Press Appearance

[CN: rape culture, sexual assault]


I’ll get to Damon Wayans — and his recent, egregious comments on Bill Cosby — in a moment. I’d like to start with a dim memory of a personal essay I read almost two decades ago.

The essay’s author was a man whose girlfriend had been raped by a stranger in a violent assault and who decides to return with her to the scene of the attack so she can show him, step-by-step, blow-by-blow,  what she endured. He agrees to this, hoping a controlled reenactment will help in her recovery…and fearing what he will discover about himself in the process. In going to this dark place, he worries, will he feel what her rapist felt? Will he be confronted by his own capacity to be a rapist?

Yet during the reenactment, the author comes to understand not “I too could be a rapist” — but “I too could be a victim.”

I still remember this insight as a stunning moment of empathy and vulnerability, all these years later. I’m going to ask you to remember too, because I’ll be coming back to this in a moment.

But first I’m gonna talk about Mr. Wayans.

Sigh.

* * *

(youtube screen capture via)
Damon Wayans being interviewed on Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club (youtube screen capture via)

In the last five minutes or so of a half-hour interview Wayans did on Friday on Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club, he was asked to weigh in on Bill Cosby and the nearly 50 women alleging they were sexually assaulted by the comic. If you have seen any reporting on this interview — even if you didn’t read beyond the headline — chances are you have already seen the worst of Wayans’ rape denialism: how the victims are too ugly to be believed. They all look “unrapeable” to him.

Sigh.

Look, if you are filled with umbrage at this comment — if the very idea of using one’s mouth to form the syllables of “unrapeable” raises bile in your throat — I get it. Oh how I get it. If that’s where you’re at today, I’m fully sympathetic.

I’m also tired.

As Kirsten West Savali points out, this is Rape Culture 101-level bullshit, spewed by a “self-proclaimed funny-man in the last gasp of relevancy.” In fact, the whole five minutes could run as a Thought Catalog listicle: 12 Quick and Terrible Ways to Support the Rapists in Your Life — While Undermining Their Victims!  Continue reading “Advice for the Unraped, Before Your Next Press Appearance”

‘Scuze me — White Comedy? Your racism is showing. Again.

[CN: sexual assault of young girls, misogynoir.]


POP QUIZ: 

First, take a look at this photograph.

babies
Cute, huh?

Now — which pictured baby would you name “most likely to have a joke about it getting sexually humiliated and assaulted appear as the key element in a new comedy already heralded as potentially ‘the next Seinfeld and executive-produced by a woman lauded for her outspoken feminism“?

[Jeopardy theme music plays briefly.]

If you guessed the Black girlchild in the lavender playsuit, congrats! we have a winner!

Other acceptable answers: the baby most likely to grow up with an 18.8% probability just of reporting being raped (actual risk of assault significantly higher); a 40% probability of experiencing coercive sexual contact by age 18; vulnerable to a higher rate of domestic violence than most other ethnic/racial communities; a disproportionate risk of being killed by an intimate partner; a 4x higher likelihood of being incarcerated than a white woman, at which point her probability of experiencing sexual violence will again increase.

(Or maybe you just went with “baby most likely to enroll in college when it grows up.” That one works too.)

Gentle readers, I am pissed off.

The Deets of Alice’s Frustration

“Difficult People” is a comedy that premiered on Hulu just a few weeks ago. Executive-produced by Amy Poehler — yes, that Amy Poehler — the series stars Julie Klausner (who is also the show’s creator, producer, and writer) and Billy Eincher as NY comedians named “Julie” and “Billy” who both have a penchant for tasteless humor. That “the more taboo the target, the better!”-style of joking.

Get it??! The main characters are just teeeeerrrrrible. (The show is called “Difficult People,” after all.)

Even with only half-paying attention to the first episode, I still noted drive-by snark directed towards: hipsters, fat people, disabled people, gay people, old people, cancer patients, parents of young children, Jews — and all the stick-in-the-mud characters who don’t see humor in such outrageous statements.

Oh. And then there’s this:

At four minutes into the pilot, we get the full hook for a joke about how teeeeerrrrrible Twitter users are, which provides the running gag for the rest of the episode: people tweeting outrageously mean things to Julie in response to an outrageously tasteless joke she herself had tweeted earlier.

The joke? Julie “can’t wait” until Blue Ivy Carter, the 3yo daughter of Beyoncé Knowles and Jay Z, is “old enough” to be pissed on by R Kelly, the R&B singer who was himself raped at age 8 and repeated sexually assaulted as a child and who has an extensive history as an adult (documented on numerous videotapes and in dozens of lawsuits) of committing sexual violence against young teenage girls, including: rapes and other assaults, multiple pedophilic “sexual relationships” lasting a year or more, at least one coerced abortion, and — the best known incident — videotaping a 13 or 14yo girl as he urinated into her mouth and instructed her to call him “Daddy.”

Are we all laughing yet?  Continue reading “‘Scuze me — White Comedy? Your racism is showing. Again.”

Where I Stand, as I Speak Their Names

I grieve with and for the people of Charleston this week.

I grieve with and for the members of “Mother Emanuel,” the oldest AME church in the South. With and for the families and friends of the nine people shot and killed there this week by a white supremacist in an act of domestic terrorism.

Before I speak for myself on this incident — which I do because (in the words of Jamilah Lemieux) to choose silence, as a white person, is to choose the side of consent, complicity, and violence — I want to honor the names, the faces, and the stories of those nine women and men, who are no longer able to lift their own voices in love or anger or strength or sorrow or peace or frustration or song or prayer.

We must now raise our voices for them.

charlestonvictims

Top left: Ethel Lance, 70, a sexton at the church who worked as a custodian at the Charleston’s Gaillard Municipal Auditorium for more than 30 years before retiring in 2002. Top center: Tywanza Sanders, 26, a graduate of Allen University who earned a degree in business administration last year. Top right:Cynthia Hurd, 54, manager of the St. Andrews Regional Library who had worked for the Charleston County Public Library for 31 years. Middle left: Rev. Depayne Middleton Doctor, 49, a church singer and former Charleston County community development block grant employee who retired in 2005. Middle center: Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41, a pastor at Emanuel AME and South Carolina State Senator. Middle right: Susie Jackson, 87, a longtime church member who was a member of the choir and served on the usher board. Bottom left: Myra Thompson, 59, an active member of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority who was married to the Rev. Anthony Thompson, a vicar at Holy Trinity REC in Charleston. Bottom center: Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., 74, a member of the church’s ministerial staff. Bottom right: Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45, a speech therapist and girls’ track and field coach at Goose Creek High School in suburban Charleston. [via Shakesville, “His Motive Is Known“]

In the midst of his shooting spree, the killer was quite specific about his racist motives — and about wanting those motives to be known. According to a survivor, he told the group, “You rape our women, and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.” 

The lynching-logic of “black men threaten white women” has a foul, persistent history. It is equally repugnant (if not equally deadly) as a pronouncement from a rabid man with a gun or an implication in the mouth of a poet with an audience. And while logical inconsistency is hardly the greatest human failure Dylann Roof has committed in his 21 short years, his act of claiming “you rape our women” as cause and then killing twice as many women as men does warrant attention.  Continue reading “Where I Stand, as I Speak Their Names”

In which I decide I need to SAY IT AGAIN.

I woke up thinking about rape again (the way one does) and pondering my favorite insomnia-producing question: “What does it take to get people to believe rape survivors?”

Which is a variation on another question I think about, any time my blood pressure threatens to drop below aneurysm-inducing levels: “Why don’t men believe women?” The issues are related, not because men are never victims or women are never assailants, but because — okay, that’s for another post on another day. (And if you’re truly confused about the connection between rape culture and misogyny/sexism, well…you may wanna pause here to take a few deep, grounding breaths before reading on.)

#YesAllWomen, according to #NotAllMen
#YesAllWomen, according to #NotAllMen

I mean, How Very Nice that Heisman Trophy winner, top NFL pick, and accused rapist Jameis Winston is now giving inspiring speeches to middle schoolers, but wouldn’t it have been even nicer if the Tallahassee Police Department had believed the young woman who came to them 2½ years ago — and told them she had been raped only an hour earlier?

A full and timely investigation might have, at the very least, spared young Jameis the embarrassment of publicly claiming that being falsely accused of rape is a violent act of victimization equivalent to being raped oneself. (Yeah — but no, Jameis. Just no.)

[“YEAH-BUT-NO TO YOU, ALICE!” yells the strawman rape denier/enabler in my head. “IT’S ALL ‘HE SAID-SHE SAID’! WHY SHOULDN’T I BE SKEPTICAL! IT’S NOT LIKE THERE’S SOME LIST OF CASES DOCUMENTING A SIGNIFICANT AND LONG-STANDING PATTERN OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYERS HAVING A DICEY GRASP ON WHAT ‘CONSENTING ADULTS ONLY’ MEANS!”

Um. Here ya go, Strawman Rape Denier. (And thank you, Jessica Luther, for making my job so much easier!)]

Just keeping you informed about my upcoming intentions.
Just keeping you informed about my intentions.

What does it take for people to believe survivors? I ask again. While Bill Cosby may present an extreme case, the violent aggression and entitlement that supported his predatory behavior occurred not in the unknowable cesspool of a single diseased mind (well — not only) but within a set of cultural norms that encourage and protect such acts, especially for celebrities. [And before you even open your mouth, Strawman Rape Denier, two words: DARREN. SHARPER.]

Continue reading “In which I decide I need to SAY IT AGAIN.”