Academic Whiteknighting Students FTW

Something that annoys me very, very much is how the subject of queerness is treated. I’ll be talking mainly about the pre-university and undergraduate landscape of this country, because that is what I am familiar with, though I suspect that my experiences and observations will be applicable elsewhere as well.

You will notice that quite often, students like to talk about queer issues when discussing ‘a controversy or noteworthy social topic in your country’, or something like. Sometimes the conversation will be about assimilation, sometimes about equality. Rarely does the lecturer or teacher set it as queer rights and queer culture directly. Most of the time the group decides on their presentation subject themselves.

Already we perceive a problem. I have noticed that these groups tend to typically be either majority or exclusively hetero/sexual people (a word which I parse as straight and sexual). The fact that they choose such a topic is a form of anthropological curiosity. It becomes a way of demonstrating their edgy, pseudo-progressive viewpoints, while doing nothing for the queer community, and while doing nothing for their own blinkered ignorance.

Wednesday is very annoyed.

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Dear Anon.

Dear Anonymous,

I see you stand with Egypt and Algeria.

I don’t think.

Okay, this is what I want to say, Anonymous: you people suck. A lot.

Social justice? You wouldn’t know what social justice was if it popped out of the ground in front of you, mewled adorably, and then sprang tooth and claw towards you and nipped you viciously.

It’s not social justice, darlings, when you decide how fun it’d be to trigger people with photosensitive seizure disorders. That’s ableist, that is, my dearests. That’s the privilege of your able-bodied selves deciding that disability is a fucking laugh, that people don’t work to manage their own lives already, that your actions have no repercussions. The ability to ignore the consequences of what you do — that’s the privilege of those who don’t have to suffer from it. I’m disabled, I don’t appreciate this shit.

It’s not social justice, darlings, when you decide you have to pick a side when an influential man is charged with rape, and so decide to pick the winning side, the powerful side. You’re reinforcing a structure of power, of privilege, of oppression. You’re continuing to trample over the bodies of women — that’s not edgy, that’s pathetically and sadly mainstream. You’re pushing the same toxic myths about rape — survivors lie, survivors must behave in a certain way, survivors can’t be feminists or liberals or what the fuck standard you decided to move the bar to today — that we’ve been told a million times. I’m a woman and a rape survivor, I don’t appreciate this shit.

So. Privilege? Anonymous, you have it in spades.

So. Counter-cultural? Oh, please, Anonymous, what’s so counter-cultural about privileged, straight, abled middle-class men taking pleasure in mocking marginalised groups? That’s not counter-cultural, my dearests. That’s the goddamn culture I live in, everyfuckingday. Depressingly, painfully the norm.

Well, then, Anonymous, don’t talk to me about social justice now — we’ve watched as you committed the same injustices that the kyriarchy as a whole does to us all the time. And don’t talk to me about net neutrality. Where were you when people exactly. like. you harassed Kathy Sierra? Where were you when Sady Doyle was threatened? Oh, right, you were on the other side of that fight. Justice and Internet accountability — not things for wimminz.

No thanks, Anonymous, I’ll stick to this side of the fence where I and many others try to make them things for everyone (that’s why they’re universal human rights).

Now, when you talk about standing with those poor oppressed folks down south and east, Anonymous, when you repeat your twaddle like ‘People should not be afraid of their governments; governments should be afraid of their people’ — well, Anonymous, this is a very polite request to STFU, please make a note of that.

We’ve discussed privilege earlier in this post, haven’t we, Anonymous? We’ve explained why you have it in spades. D’you think your head could get round a new word now, Anonymous? Specifically: orientalism.

The non-white/Western world is not a stage for you to gawk, gentlepeople. It’s not a stage for you to hijack with your rhetoric, either. It’s not a stage for you to project your beliefs. It’s the majority of this globe demonstrating on behalf of their beliefs, not yours; it’s the majority of the globe which colonialism squashed and which you continue to oppress with your hegemonies and your power systems of today. It’s a people standing up for themselves and by themselves, who couldn’t possibly give less of a fuck about your posturing. Because it is posturing. It’s like poverty-porn except feel-good for you white/Western audiences; it’s revolution-porn.

You didn’t change anything, Anonymous; you only solidify the walls that keep us out.

We’re changing our world, Anonymous, one teaspoon at a time against your ocean of bullshit, so please to take a step backwards and sit yourselves back down.

I like rape jokes with my pancakes and jam.

by Weds.
TW for criticism of a rape joke.

Omigod, Straits Times Life! section? Did you just make a rape joke yes you made a rape joke.

Context: John Lui’s article on working at a pastry shop making crêpes.

#protip 1: Crêpes are not pronounced with an ay sound for the e-with-circumflex.

#protip 2: Ergo, they do not rhyme with rape.

#protip 3: Where in hell does anyone get off joking about a pancake stall being called Serial Crêpeist-rhymes-with-rape?!

I stopped reading right there okay. And flailed. Because. What the shit. Seriously.

Did the Penny Arcade FAIL not clue you in to the fact that rape jokes hurt real people?

Failure to Report

by Wednesday.

Trigger warning for rape/sexual assault.

In the latest episode of Crimewatch (available here), the Singapore Police Force emphasised the need for people who have been sexually assaulted to report the crime as soon as possible. If you don’t do so, the narrator cautions, the perpetrator(s) will remain at large, and will likely abuse others.

Well and good, up till the point where the implicit message is that you, if you do not report, are somehow responsible for further assaults.

Hell, no. That’s not true, that’s never true. The only person responsible for rape is the rapist.

So that’s not a good reason to report, is it?

But if the only party responsible is an attacker, and it is not (ever) the survivor’s fault, then why not report?

Some people don’t understand this. (I want to believe that they are genuinely ignorant, but a part of me is willing to yell, ‘Douches!’ loudly.) Failure to report jeopardises your status as a survivor, they suggest. You must have done something provocative, because honest men have nothing to fear from the law!

*helpfully distributes a bingo card*

Not from the spirit of the law, perhaps, but certainly from the spirit of some people involved in the legal enforcement process, and definitely the spirit of many people in society.

We don’t even need to look abroad, where politicians blithely let rapists walk free even after having received their confession, or where rape kits sit on shelves for years, untested. We’ve seen it at home, too. We’re not in paradise. Rape apologists crawl out the woodwork (such as here, or here).

After all (h/t to @awarenews), it’s alright if the victim was of ‘immoral character’. Good girls can’t be raped. And since no one can ever meet all the standards of a good girl, all women are fair game.

With odds stacked against them, who can blame survivors who don’t report?

I didn’t. And I don’t regret it, because I know I wouldn’t have had the spoons to go through the interrogation, knowing that I’d be likely to lose not just the fight to have what was done to me recognised as assault, but also to lose my own right to privacy.

Not reporting doesn’t make you any less of a person. Survivorship, not victimisation, is what must define you. And, thank you, Crimewatch — failure to report is not failure as a survivor.