*Before we jump in*
I haven’t written on this website in a very long time, and while it’s true that I’ve genuinely been very busy these last couple years with my job, I’ve also become much more aware of my privilege and some blinders that I’ve had in respect to that, and I’ve had trouble in thinking about how to move forward from that on this site. While I agree with a lot of the views I’ve shared on my blog over the years, I am VERY aware now that a lot of it was from a white feminist lens. While this wasn’t my intention, I’m very aware that impact matters MUCH more than intent, and I’ve felt trepidation about how to keep this blog going, after recognizing that I’ve addressed issues from my position as a white cis-woman, and not doing a good job of examining how different issues I tackle effect people with less privilege, specifically women of color who have been leaders in movements I care about for-freaking-ever. I understand a lot better now, that my feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit.
I know that it isn’t helpful for me to be quiet about these things, so I want to write more, knowing that I might not talk about everything perfectly, that I’m going to possibly (probably… definitely) mess up, but that has to be better than doing nothing.
Anyways. Back to your regular scheduled “Jessi Rant” programming.
I have some feelings about some things that have happened in the last few weeks. This sentence could be said about just about ANYTHING because of the dumpster fire that 2018 is, but bear with me. I am fucking angry.
Let’s jump into a time machine. The year is 2014. Obama is still president, I was vlogging on the reg, and my hair was full and beautiful because I hadn’t yet bleached it to hell in my attempt to become a real life mermaid.
I made the above video about Elliot Rodger, who shot a bunch of folks because he was “such a nice guy” but us ladies were just too stupid to fuck him. Not an exaggeration. In reviewing this video to see how it stands up to today, I actually feel pretty proud of everything I said, although I cringe every time I used the word “females.” I don’t remember if I was trying to use the language some men use, but seriously, I’m sorry, it’s terrible.
Anyways. Four years later. Trump is president after bragging about sexually assaulting women and grabbing pussies, and Elliot Rodger is apparently the patron saint for delusional men who believe women owe them sex.
A few weeks ago, Alek Minassian posted on Facebook singing the praises of Elliot Rodger before murdering 10 people in Toronto.
A few days later, after years of terror, the Golden State Killer was caught. A headline said “EXCLUSIVE- Ex-fiancee who broke suspected Golden State Killer’s heart, and ‘sparked his rape and murder’ spree, is a travel blogger who went on to marry successful accountant and is now in hiding”
The premise of the video I recorded 4 years ago still stands. This violence against women isn’t indicative of mental illness. The mindset these men have is cooked into our culture of toxic masculinity, where women are expected to be the gatekeepers of men’s sex drives and egos; WE are responsible. This line of thinking isn’t a mutation; it’s in the air we breathe, it’s part of the normative culture.
Let’s be really clear here. No woman makes a man a murderer. He has agency, and he makes his own choices. To suggest that women are responsible for men handling normal life events like breakups badly, (in this case, raping more than 50 women, murdering more than a dozen) is absolutely maddening. And yet…
I say all of this, and I feel so angry. And it’s in part because while I’m aware of how unfair this mindset is, it doesn’t make me exempt from having to play by those rules.
Years ago, I made a conscious decision to no longer make excuses to a guy who asked me out that I wasn’t interested in. It’s always been easier to say something else; I’m seeing someone, I don’t want to date anyone right now, etc. Saying “no thank you, I’m not interested” feels like so much work because so frequently “no” is seen as the beginnings of a negotiation, not a full sentence response.
There more I thought about it, the more frustrated I was that “I’m not interested” wasn’t seen as a real response, but “I’m seeing someone” was. Non interest from a woman isn’t enough, but if it’s implied that she’s seeing another man, even if he’s not present, knowing that she’s with another man is more acceptable than her just not seeing interested, as if that’s the only reason she wouldn’t want to date him.
I’ve done this for awhile, and with interesting results. This screenshot from was certainly one of the more extreme/awkward responses, and he actually went on to say that my philosophy degree was a waste, and that I was incapable of logic. I should have given him a chance, right y’all?
This particular example is just to show that no matter how nice you are, it’s pretty typical for dudes to respond poorly.
I’ve actively wanted to resist bending to that. I don’t want to have to lie to someone and tell them I’m seeing someone, just to protect their ego so they don’t suddenly flip the switch and move to insults, or worse.
**Side note** In the last couple years I’ve primarily dated women, and this has NOT been an issue. Catch up, guys.
That being said… We can choose to resist tempering guy’s attitudes. We can firmly say we aren’t interested, we can tell a dude to fuck off if we’re being catcalled, but it’s 2018. The president is a rapist. Virtually no one has been held legally accountable for anything yet folks are calling #MeToo a witch hunt, and right here in Pittsburgh in 2016 a woman was shot dead for rejecting a man’s advances in a bar. We can be firm, but at what cost? It doesn’t feel strong enough to say this is rape culture. What do we call it when you are afraid to say no to a guy because you don’t know how he’ll react?
I don’t have answers to this. I hate that four years ago I was lamenting Nice-Guy Syndrome and that today there’s an army of misogynist dudes who want to carry the torch for Elliot Rodger, to make women afraid of men. We’re already there. We’ve BEEN there. I don’t know who my audience for this blog is anymore. I don’t have answers but I want to start talking again. Not talking is certainly not the answer.