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Trigger warming: extreme violence against women, discussion of murder, suicide, online bullying
As a sexologist, I’ve been writing and educating about sexual double standards for years; the age-old damned if you do, damned if you don’t predicament women face about their sexuality. If you have sex, you won’t be respected, but if you don’t have sex, you still won’t be respected. It’s an impossible paradox. This week, that paradox became deadly. This week women have died for saying yes to sex. And women have died for saying no.
First, earlier this week the story of Alyssa Funke broke. She said yes to sex. And she agreed to film it for other people to enjoy while masturbating, and was paid to do so. When her friends and the internet found out about her porn video, she was harassed so vehemently she committed suicide with a shotgun. She was slut-shamed to death. She’s dead because she said yes to sex, and people (mostly men) tormented her about this fact. They tormented her about her decision the have sex until the point that she believed being dead was a better scenario that dealing with the torment.
BUT THAT WASN’T ENOUGH FOR THEM!
Even though she’s dead, men continue to tweet at her remarks that simultaneously shame her for saying yes to sex, relish her death, and delight in masturbating to her video. The tone I read over and over again was “She filmed herself having sex, so she deserved to die. I enjoyed watching her have sex, but she still deserved to die.”
If some men believe the death penalty should be the punishment women, and women alone, receive for saying yes to sex, they must believe that sex is the worst of crimes, and we should therefore say no to sex. But saying no to sex resulted in women’s deaths this week too. The double standard isn’t just damned if you do, damned if you don’t anymore. It’s dead if you do, dead if you don’t.
A man killed 6 people and wounded 7 others at the University of California Santa Barbara two days ago, shooting into a sorority house, as promised, as "retribution" that since puberty women have denied him the sex and attention that he thought he deserved for being a “gentleman”. Women said no to sex, and now women are dead.
BUT THAT WASN’T ENOUGH FOR THEM!
Men began posting to twitter, Facebook, and Instagram that, well, these women got what they deserved. The tone I read over and over again was “This is what bitches get for denying the guy some pussy. He was a rich, good looking guy, and stuck up selfish prude sluts wouldn’t put out. Let this be a lesson to you ladies, the next time you refuse a man a blow job.”
It is open season on women. If he was black and he drove down the street killing people from his car window, he would have been labelled a “thug”. If he was middle eastern and struck fear into an entire town by murdering strangers as they walked down the street, he would have been labelled a “terrorist”. But he was an affluent, young, white man on a mission to murder women, so he’s just a depressed guy who understandably snapped after being rejected by women for too long.
So what can we do to stop this? We can refuse to participate in policing other people’s sexuality. We can call it out when we see others doing it. We can petition the media to address the misogyny and sexual double standard when discussing these murders. We can talk about it- blog about it, post status updates about it, write school papers about it, talk to friends about it. When it happens online, we can report it.
But we have so much work to do. When I reported to twitter that people were still sending horrific messages to Alyssa Funke, calling her a “whore” and rejoicing in her suicide, twitter informed me that they will not investigate my complaint. Only the person being subjected to the harassment directly can file a report, they told me. Well, Alyssa can’t do that twitter. She’s dead.
Rich Goldstein asked me what I consider to be obscene in his article on my work, ‘Oh Joy Sex Toy’: The Internet’s Most Radical Sex-Fueled Comic Strip (via erikamoen)
C’mere, Tumblr, let me explain you a thing about trigger warnings with a really terrible metaphor.
Trigger warnings are kind of like weather reports. They won’t stop the storm from coming, but they can enable you to say “I need a raincoat today,” or “I should grab an umbrella,” or “I think I’ll hold off on running these errands til tomorrow,” or “I’d better go pick up some supplies in case the power goes out,” or even “I don’t mind getting wet but maybe I won’t wear that really thin white shirt.”
Trigger warnings don’t mean that storm automatically makes the weather unacceptable and something that should be avoided at all costs. For some people who’ve been in terrible meteorological disasters, it’s even empowering to face the eye of the storm and see others do the same. But for other people, the best thing they can do for their health is go to a shelter with some canned food and a transistor radio and wait it out. Even if it’s a good storm.
Just because you feel better dancing between the raindrops doesn’t mean that other people’s desire to avoid the lightning is invalid.
(one of the many reasons i reblog this every time i see it is b/c i think its really really important to challenge white/esps middle class white discourses on ~the true behaviors of woman~. Because I see it leveled in transmisogynistic ways and those ways effect everyone, but people who have had to fight to survive most of all, and in a very literal sense thats poor twoc. I’m really sick of surviving and behaving the same way other women around me have survived and behaved being shown as example of something other than life as a woman, and I’m absolutely 100% done with white and/or monied trans women doing that)
reblogging for commentary
In a class on anti-racism and justice work I took maybe four years ago, one woman tried to reframe someone’s comment and suggested to the group that we be careful to use I statements. The professor, who is white, asked what would happen if instead of saying things in the (sanctioned) white social worker voice, we said what we meant.
but why not, you ask???? let me tell you
because tumblr saviour is fickle and tends to break or slow down when having too many things added to its blacklist.
if i have #food blocked, and you tag things with #tw food or #tw: food or #trigger warning: food or #blacklist: food or however, then i have to add all of those to the list for the same thing!! and if i only have 4 things to block that’s already 16 items on my blacklist!! wow
which will cause the posts to take longer to be blocked and cause detriment to the user.
how do we fix this??
by tagging with the blacklisted item first!
tagging things with #food tw and #food blacklist etc will catch all those posts with me only having #food blacklisted and takes just as much time!
it’s a way better and more efficient way of making things easier on folks with triggers or with things that upset or bother them! and it’d be real appreciated if put more into practice.