SDS Womyn's Caucus Blog

Posts Tagged ‘rant

By: Karen LaRocca

I might have to drop out of college.

My GPA is a .98; I had a 3.4 back in high school. I was a good student in high school, and I am one now that I am back in school.

According to the policies of college, this is no real excuse for failure in classes to a certain degree.

When college records are examined for maintaining scholarships, transferring schools, or getting an internship or job, GPA is what is seen and not the reason behind it.

I failed my classes because I didn’t do the required work. I wouldn’t go to class, too tired from the racing thoughts that haunted me at night. I wasn’t able to sleep, trapped in the thought of you and what happened in my own bed. I didn’t eat, dealing with the shock. I cut myself, unable to scream loud enough, unable to express the anger inside.

No one likes the depressed girl; the ‘Debbie Downer’ who ruins the vibe. Within a few weeks, I became increasingly alone; it seemed as though everyone had abandoned me. My only friends were Misery, Rage, and Silence.

Some friend of mine you were; telling me that it happens to everyone. Well, it doesn’t. It shouldn’t. If it happens to everyone, why is it never talked about? It seems as though rape is yet another word that is thrown around conversation with no particular meaning. “Ya, I was walking home in that sketchy neighborhood and almost got raped. Hahaha…”  Were you really? Is that what really happened? Why can’t I tell an experience that actually happened? Why does it hurt so much to even think about it?

The confusion; the shock; the self doubt; the disgust; the hate. Who could have seen this happening my freshman year, or any year for that matter? Am I just another statistic? Did I set myself up? If you all were really my friends, how could you just let things unfold the way they did? How could a person do this to me?

Who are you? The power you had over me as you held me against my will, you are aggression. The way you took advantage of me while my mind and body were under the influence, you are deception.

You were a stranger, only visiting friends for the night. I never spoke with you except to know your name. An ambiguous face that could be anyone, you haunt me every time I pass by another male. I wish I could seek you out. Tell you what you did to me then and still do to me now. Share with you the pain I have every day so you will always remember. Maybe you don’t even know what you did.

Trust, broken. Values, changed. Way of being, transformed. Life… somehow renewed.

You made me stumble, but I have picked myself back up. I picked up the memories of what happened that were scattered in the aftermath. I picked up my wounded mind and found a way to heal it. I picked up my torn spirit and made it whole; only a scar and the memories attached to it remain.

It has taken a long time to truely feel it, but I am not a victim of rape anymore; I am a survivor. I control my own destiny, and I refuse to have you control me any longer.

I might have to drop out of college because of you, but I refuse to go down without a fight.

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by Amber, Rochester SDS

So I’ve been thinking a lot about Robin’s post about men and their literary prowess and this is a result of what came out of my brain. Hopefully it all makes sense.

I know full well the idea of it seeming that men are the ones doing all the reading of books about radical politics, (i.e. anarchism, racism, and histories in general). I can remember numerous times where I have been with my radical male friends and almost every single time they tell me about this book they found or this new book that they just read and suggest I read it. Or even being at SDS meetings, thinking back to all the meetings I’ve attended I know for a fact that the majority if not every single time someone recommends a book to read or offers up a book for someone to borrow it’s a male doing that. The one thing that is a huge issue for me is when a male says “Oh you should read this book. It’s a short read, I read it in a day.” Someone told me that about Chomsky on Anarchism, it took me around a week to get through the first ten or so pages and I remember eventually giving up on it because it was taking so long for me to read it.

Read the rest of this entry »

-reposted from facebook with permission-

written by Farah Khimji (former SDS member and organizer from Take Back NYU)

Look at the pictures. pics from new york all look similar to this:

UCLA

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Concrete Ways Not to be a Total Dude Bro

i.e., I Can’t Believe You Guys Are Being for Real

by Adrian & Emilyn with special thanks to Christa.

an entirely accurate depiction of Emilyn (in the middle) and Adrian (on the right) defeating the metaphorical "monster" that is patriarchy.

DISCLAIMER: We recognize that the tone of this piece is probably a little aggressive or angry. That’s because we were really angry and upset and in a bad place when we wrote it. We’ve come back a few months later, removed some of the profanity, and tried to be not so confrontational. But it was also important for us to be able to express these things that we’ve felt for so long, and haven’t been empowered to say. So please, when you’re reading this, try not to get defensive, and try to acknowledge where we were when we wrote this.


dude bro: (noun) \ˈdüd \ˈbrō
1. a gender-normative male-bodied person who acts in a patriarchal way
2. one who is macho and/or overly- and obnoxiously-masculine, in the worst way(s) possible

dudely: (adj.)
1. something/someone with the qualities of a dude bro
2. dominated by men

cisgender: (noun.) (in this piece we use cismale/cismen/cisdude)
1. the contrast to trans on the gender spectrum
2. someone who lives and identifies as the sex they were assigned at birth

  1. Stop prowling (also, stop denying it when you are).
  2. Stop lying to yourself — you’re not a good feminist.
  3. STFU&L (shut the fuck up and listen). Read the rest of this entry »

by Robin, Philly

men reading

This is a topic I’ve been thinking about for a long time and have had a hard time drawing decisive conclusions about. At this point I’ve been noticing it consistently for about 2 and a half years, though, and I think it’s time to throw my thoughts out there to hear what other people think. (And when I say people, I mean, women, trans and gender variant people, and MAYBE some dudes if you’re gonna do something other than get defensive.)

What is up with men and books? So many activist men I know have read about a billion books. All about leftist history and anarchism/communism and racism and sexism, apparently. I’m not trying to say women don’t read books, but to be honest, most of my female friends read much fewer books than the males I know, and they are more likely to read fiction.

Read the rest of this entry »

This is just something I’ve started fleshing out. I think it would be really good for us all to contribute so PLEASE add.

An Apology:

I can’t tell you enough how sorry I am that you are so confined to your awful gender norm that require you to ASSUME positions of power and that require that you have pretty much full control and autonomy over your own life. It sucks that no ruling power is above you besides a government that is made up of ….men. For that, I am truly sorry. I, as a woman, would love to be the first to apologize for boxing you in as my oppressor and making you writhe in discomfort when you talk about how much it hurts you to hurt me. I am SO sorry that by ‘working on your shit’ you mean ‘not’ and trust me, I know, from just how much you’ve told me, that that sucks. A lot. I know what you’re going through; I understand your struggle. I may never be able to understand it fully, but I will try my hardest, throwing aside my own problems to help you figure out yours. After all, it’s hard to be a feminist! Too many ambitions to save the world, too little time. Read the rest of this entry »

What is I.N.A.Y.? It’s an acronym for “It’s Not About You”, a heading under which I plan to do a series of blog posts here. (And I invite others to join me too!)

And now, I.N.A.Y. #1: “Effectively” Calling Out Patriarchy:

Something I am sick and tired of hearing from men who have been called out on patriarchal behavior by myself or another woman is that the way we did it “wasn’t the most effective way” we could have gone about it. Yesterday I had a dude send me an e-mail in which he said, “Perhaps you feel that the way you have interacted with me is just part of your attempt to make me aware of my biases. I would caution you that inflaming anger and defensiveness is not productive.”

Oh! Thank you Mr.Man! I had no idea that my “aggressiveness” that was clearly meant to inflame anger and defensiveness in you was not the most effective strategy for telling you about your oppressive behavior! Next time you act like a dick I’ll be sure to employ more agreeable tactics so you feel more comfortable.

This entitled reaction from dudes makes me think of a few things: One is, what is it they hear when we bring up issues of patriarchy and sexism with them? I am reminded of a comment made by author Marc Rudov on Fox News during the election : “When Barack Obama speaks, men hear, ‘Take off for the future.’ And when Hillary Clinton speaks, men hear, ‘Take out the garbage.'” It seems like no matter how nicely we try to bring things up, no matter how even our tone of voice or how pleasant the expression on our faces, when women break out of passive, silent gender roles and stick up for ourselves, many men hear yelling, “bitching” and nagging. No woman has ever told me she finds me aggressive, but apparently I come off that way to a lot of men.

Second, why is their first reaction not only to tell me that the way I approached them was wrong, but that they know how to do it better. Despite having no experience being on the other side of the interaction, they still know a better way to do it. Not only does the I’m-a-dude-so-I-know-how-to-do-things-best attitude piss me off, but the assumption that I had the luxury to carefully plan how I would call them out and that I am just not strategical baffles me. As an organizer, I know how to pick the best strategies and tactics for my audience when I am planning a campaign or action. That is because I can usually plan a campaign or action in a rational and thoughtful manner with plenty of time. This does not apply to my daily interactions. Not only do I usually have to choose if and how to call a man out on the fly, but I have never been given any guidance or instruction in how to do it. I am figuring it out as I go along. Considering the fact that everything in society has socialized women NOT to address these situations and talk openly about patriarchy makes my act of bringing the issue up at all an incredible feat in itself.

Another thing that bugs me is the ‘the way you did it hurt my feelings’ line. As if it is my responsibility to make sure men’s feelings are not hurt. Not just in our general interactions, but even when I am giving them criticism. Memo to men: sometimes hearing criticism will cause you to feel bad about yourself. That is not my problem. The implication that I should not give criticism because it makes you feel bad (or that the way I gave the criticism hurt your feelings) is outrageous. Especially because – hello? – why do you think I’m giving you criticism in the first place? Because I think it’s fucking fun? “Oh, I hurt your feelings? How do you think I felt 10 minutes ago when you did XYZ patriarchal things, which is the REASON I had to talk to you in the first place??”. Way to privilege your feelings over the woman’s. Telling women that the way we brought things up hurt your feelings or was “ineffective” is just another way women are silenced into not saying anything.

And finally, why the hell do men think they have a right to never have their feelings hurt in the first place? (Let’s not even get into how most of them don’t want to acknowledge or talk about their feelings until suddenly -gasp!- I hurt them!) I think I know the answer to this one: privilege. People with privilege are accustomed to being comfortable, and feel entitled to feel comfortable all the time. They become angry when something, or someone, disrupts that spell of comfort. It scares them, and they want to push it away and/or avoid it rather than allow the feelings of discomfort to sit or to work through them. (If they actually did the work to push through these feelings, they may find that the discomfort was actually productive and allowed them to grow.) They mistake feeling uncomfortable for feeling unsafe. And rather than blame the oppressive systems that have allowed them to feel so comfortable all their lives while women bared the brunt of patriarchal oppression, they blame the women who point out the behavior.

https://i2.wp.com/www.jackyfleming.co.uk/postcards/temper.gif
image by jacky fleming

This is why I am so fed up with hearing that I didn’t call someone out the way they think I have should have. Maybe if they focused their attention on not being patriarchal, instead of critiquing my technique, I wouldn’t have to call them out in the first place.

– Robin
Philly SDS