I would like to show you this piece by Andromeda Turre: ‘”What are you?” Is Not an Icebreaker’
The ridiculous shit that’s followed her around all her life as a mixed-race person (I just learned a new word: Blendiva!) is now especially thick in the air in her online dating life. And it’s still not cool. Look at this!
I have gotten this question all my life. At school. At the park. At parties. On the subway, a woman once tapped me on the shoulder and had me take out my headphones, interrupting my favorite Mariah Carey song, to ask me, “What are you?” She wasn’t ready for the answer she got that day, because it was just a whole lot of side eye.
“What are you?”
“I’m…going to put my headphones back in, pretend you didn’t just say that, and I will bite your hand off if you touch me again!”
For me, my identity has caused a lot of arguments and pain in my life. So I might not want to answer “What are you?” because I might be apprehensive as to how you, a total stranger, are going to judge me and possibly react to the choice of identity that took me years to accept and understand.
She’s gotten all the layers of horribleness from her peers due to their inability to fit her into their boxes. The white kids objectified her, Latinas marginalized her, and blacks took exception to her identifying as something else.
And then I have to explain why I “talk white.” And that my hair is real. And that my mom was not my babysitter, but in fact my mom. And that my dad did not adopt me. And it all becomes so tedious and exhausting I almost want to walk around covered in blue paint because it might actually be easier. Everyone loves Blue Man Group. No?
That shit is exhausting as fuck. It attaches a ton of complication to the demand to know, very first thing, “what” she is. It’s not a good way to put someone at ease when you’re possibly interested in getting a date with her. Folks, don’t do that.
There’s another interesting point she brings up, early in her article: this shit doesn’t happen to white people, but there’s no reason why it shouldn’t. Most white Americans are not descended from people of only one country! Most of us are a hybrid of several different European ethnicities. Some have some Central Asian ancestors. Most white Southerners have a little African-American ancestry, too! We don’t have to deal with people asking us, before we’ve even exchanged “Hello” and “What’s your name?” whether we’re English/German/Italian/Irish/French/Swedish/Czech/Polish/Spanish/Greek, and in what combinations and percentages. No, that kind of categorization is only imposed on people who appear to be descended from at least two continents. It’s overwhelmingly on people whose complexions are much darker than mine.
(I had to deal with plenty of people demanding to know whether I was English/German/Swedish/Dutch/whatevs during my Peace Corps assignment, so I’ve gotten enough of that kind of attention to know it’s obnoxious as fuck, but here in the USA we palefaces are just…white. No explanation needed.)
Here’s the thing: it’s not wrong to have this curiosity about someone as you get to know her. Ms. Turre isn’t saying you can’t ever know her racial make-up. It’s okay to ask this sort of question later. Maybe, get acquainted with someone, give her a chance to get comfortable with you, and wait for the issue of heritage to come up in the conversation? Even then, there are much better ways to phrase the question than “What are you?” What is the pronoun we give to an object. Ask about heritage, ask about racial background, ask about ethnicity. We’re supposed to be adults around here, folks. Let’s use our words.
But, seriously, do not pull that shit on the totally unknown person you’ve spotted on the subway. Mind your damn business.
Scott Kaufman at RawStory reports on this asshole:
According to his ruling, Judge Christopher McFadden claimed that a new trial was necessary because the unnamed victim waited a day before reporting the rape, and because she did not behave like a rape victim.
Nor, in his opinion, did William Jeffrey Dumas, who was convicted of repeatedly raping the victim in 2010, “behave like someone who had recently perpetrated a series of violent crimes.”
The evidence isn’t in dispute. Mr. Dumas’s semen was found in the victim’s bed, and the doctors who treated the victim found her injuries “consistent with multiple, forcible rapes.”
No, the judge’s issue with the conviction is that the victim and rapist, respectively, did not behave like a victim and rapist.
Plenty of rape victims wait a day, or longer, to report the crimes. Many don’t report at all! They often don’t report because they’re afraid (and not without reason) that some asshole, or several, in the justice system will scrutinize their behavior and decide they’re not acting victim-y enough.
People who commit rape aren’t oblivious to this theory of “acting like a rape victim.” Most rapists know their victims, and are well-acquainted enough with them to draw out the violation by coercing their victims to behave in certain ways, which most people tend to see as “not acting like a rape victim.”
When we expect victims to behave a certain way, we just give rapists instructions on how to get away with it.
The rape victim in this case has Down Syndrome. People with disabilities—most especially developmental and cognitive disabilities!—are particularly vulnerable to sexual predation, precisely because so many people don’t take their accounts seriously.
The message Judge McFadden is sending her is that it was a mistake to report her rapes. Her testimony doesn’t mean anything, so she should’ve just kept quiet.
I am sitting here cringing in solidarity with Paris Lees for having participated in a “debate” with Julie Burchill at the Spectator. It didn’t go well, but she seems to be dealing with the horror of her experience much better than I would. She has some handy, astute things to say about progressive concepts such as intersectionality, which seems to be catching a lot of flak from British white cisgender feminists lately. I will share her insights, as she is much more gracious than I am.
Intersectionality is a fairly unattractive word to describe a fairly useful concept. People face multiple forms of prejudice and intersectionality is simply about recognising the difference, say, between being called a “slag” and being called a “black slag”. Burchill says she doesn’t “like” intersectionality – but it’s not a case of liking. You either accept that some people have more to struggle against than you, or you don’t. And you either wish to help them, or you don’t. What she really means is that she doesn’t like transgender people objecting to her cruel and inaccurate jokes – just as some people say they “don’t like” political correctness because really they don’t like gay people asking to be treated with respect.
I see nothing unattractive about the word, but whatevs, it’s a term that’s in use for the discussion of social justice issues, and you’re either invested in those issues, or not.
Also, this happened:
Burchill also accused me of being a privileged graduate who probably spent my time at university learning academic jargon at sit-down protests. The truth is that I’m even more common than she is and turned to prostitution to put myself through higher education. It was more “lie down” than “sit-in”.
I’ve seen a screencap of Burchill’s writing in which she says that sex workers should be shot as collaborators with capitalist patriarchy. Maybe she’s developed a more nuanced view since then. For some reason I’m not interested in extending the benefit of the doubt.
Solidarity, the sort that Burchill says her dad believed in, was about everyone who was less well-off helping each other to achieve a more equal society. It’s a lovely idea but it wasn’t always successful. Increasing rights for workers didn’t necessarily apply to women, for example.
And fighting for better conditions for women doesn’t necessarily work out as improvements for women across the board. It’s like, some marginalized people are less marginalized than others, and the less marginalized aren’t necessarily interested in the concerns of those who deal with multiple oppressions. Working-class white cis women aren’t necessarily standing up for the rights of homeless trans women of color, for example.
On Road, the organisation that manages All About Trans (a project that introduces media professionals to young trans people), also works with homeless people, undocumented migrants, travellers and people with mental health issues. Intersectionality isn’t a competition, it is about promoting equal rights for everyone. I suspect that Burchill knows that, deep down, and couldn’t care less.
I think the qualifier of “deep down” is too generous.
I woke up late today to find that some shitlord had hacked into my email AND WordPress accounts and sent out bullshit links. If you saw another post here, titled with just my name? Not my doing.
If the hackers are reading this? Y’all are pathetic. Find something better to do with your time.
The latest offering from Emily Yoffe is this shit:
College Women: Don’t Depend on “Bystanders” to Rescue You from Assault. Rescue Yourselves.
So what is her advice to young women for “rescuing themselves,” I wonder?
(Those scare quotes around “bystanders” are VERY REASSURING.)
Teaching young people to intervene when they suspect sexual assault is an important tool in reducing such crimes on college campuses. An article by Michael Winerip in theNew York Times on “bystander intervention” describes these programs that teach young people how to spot suspicious behavior and what to do about it and points to some early successes. Winerip writes, “The hope is that bystander programs will have the same impact on campus culture that the designated driver campaign has had in reducing drunken driving deaths.” He adds, “Both take the same tack: Drinking to excess can’t be stopped but the collateral damage can.”
Someone has evidence-based advice for reducing the incidence of rape on college campuses! Don’t worry, Yoffe is here to derail it.
No matter how reprehensible Yoffe’s latest fit of faux-feminist drunk-shaming may be, I’m sure it’s nowhere near as repulsive as Julie Burchill and Helen Lewis complaining about how the intersectional feminists are so MEEN to them. I would rather pull my toenails off with pliers than give even one more pageview to anything written by Burchill, the vicious transphobic piece of work. I gotta practice self-care sometimes, folks.
Today, I’m going with the lesser of two evils.
No time for a full post at the mo’.
A little bird showed me on Facebook this morning that Emily Yoffe has once again taken to Slate to run her mouth about the relationship between intoxication (just on women’s part) and rape (overwhelmingly committed by men). It was a train wreck the last time did she did it, and it looks like she hasn’t learned a damn thing.
I can’t read the article. Not right now. I’m at work, where the pressure is absurd as usual, and…I think it’ll be best if I get nice and wasted before I dive into Yoffe’s latest iteration of Don’t Call it Victim-Blaming When I Blame Victims. I need to ride out the day, get home, have my way with the liquor cabinet, and THEN I can do something about this shit.
Transcript is below the jump. Links are at the very end.
This happens in my inbox on occasion. Somehow I suspect these messages are reserved just for bi women.
That’s my username blurred out at the top, but something tells me they sent the same message to a lot of users at the same time. Part of me is tempted to respond to this message and ask for specifics on what led them to choose me as a possible candidate for their triad.
A handful of little birds told me about these messages received by various women around OKCupid, and I agreed to use them as examples in a post of What Not to Do in Online Dating, Dudes.
Oh, who am I kidding? There is no “little bird told me” here. These all came to my inbox. These are all recent additions to your blogger’s experiences in online dating.
I’m giving advice that applies to everyone seeking everyone, but since I’m a woman who gets messages mostly from men, I’m going to frame this as advice to men seeking women.
First on the docket is this guy:
At first I thought maybe I’d reply to this guy as an experiment. I’d tell him about how annoying it is that I keep getting messages from guys who don’t appear to have read my profile, and see how he responded to that.
It’s a sign of how jaded I am, as a woman who sees (and sometimes experiences) the range of skeevy shit that men pull to try and pressure women into opening up to them. My first impression of this message was that this user was trying some PUA shit, similar to “negging,” in which he’s trying to get me to respond and show him that I’m not like all those other, soulless online daters who can’t take the time to get to know someone.
Like I said: jaded. This is no country for Pollyanna.
I’ve decided against engaging with him, though, because he very well could be sincere. He might be genuinely put off by his experiences in online dating and just wants someone to talk to.
Doesn’t mean I’m going to become his new friend, though.
I’ll tell you what really does irk me about this message, regardless of my assuming the worst of his motives: there’s no sign that he has actually read my profile. I can’t tell that he wrote this message specifically for me.
I see this happening a lot. Usually it’s just a generic, barely even existent little fart in my inbox. I don’t think “hi how r u” or even “hi princess hows it going?” is adequate for introducing yourself to someone you’d like to date, but maybe I’m just a snob. Sometimes, though, I get lengthy, detailed, well-composed messages that seem to be very thoughtful until I take a step back and realize that the user copy/pasted his missive to a number of accounts who fit his demographic requirements but don’t seem to have much else in common.
I’m sure this happens to everyone to some extent, but then I also get an additional dose as a bisexual woman. I get the messages from couples who want to find another woman to join them in threesomes, so they scoop up a bunch of bi women’s accounts and just shotgun these transparently non-personalized “please give us a chance” missives without even checking our profiles for any sign that we’re into threesomes. I mean, we’re bi, so, obviously we MUST be into threesomes. Duh. Which is why these poor sad couples need to spray their come-ons at as many women simultaneously as they can.
(Quick digression: it’s always M/F couples who’re seeking threesome partners. I’ve never had a M/M couple ask me to join them in the sack.)
Now I’ll show you some more guys who’ve hit my Squick buttons, and very recently. I don’t mean this as a tall glass of Guys, Don’t Do That. It’s more a helping of Guys, Do This Instead. Let it never be said that feminists are humorless, sex-phobic harpies who want men to be miserable. I am handing out FREE ADVICE to improve your chances of a response, dudes! I can’t give you advice that’ll guarantee a reply, and certainly none that’s certain to make a woman want to jump on your peen. That advice doesn’t exist. I will, however, help you to get out of your own way. Especially if you’re seeking an intelligent, thoughtful woman for a long-term relationship.