Queen Of Everything

Sometimes the world makes me so sick that I want to fold myself, like a crisp sheet, into an incorporeal, unnoticeable flatness.

Something about the college experience that has always bothered me is the sexual aspect. Wait, course correct: the sexual-social aspect. Wait again:

I’m taking a course right now entitled “Sex, Power & Politics,” and that, that is what I’m trying to put my thumb on. That is the point on which I am trying to place my thumb. Words. Thoughts. Anger.

Mostly anger.

I don’t know if I have the permission of an extremely brave young woman at my campus to repost her story, because her words, as are the words of any person, are hers to own and share and defend. EDIT: She wants people to read her story. It’s here. Don’t even think of commenting on it until you’ve read the entire thing.

In her case, she will have to defend them, her words. And it is absolute bullshit that she, or any other person (let’s just even remove gender from this), would have to be the one actively defending herself from the truths of a crime in which she was the one who was attacked, robbed of her personhood and treated like a rag doll (although in her case, the comparison is more apt to that of a blow-up sex doll).

Except a doll can’t feel pain, and shame, and the kind of hollowness that follows after being absolutely gutted by someone you’d grown to trust, and even if you or I can’t understand that trust, or her immediate actions afterward, the question to be asking isn’t “Why didn’t she report it?”, but rather “Why did she feel she couldn’t/shouldn’t report it?”

I don’t have a list of statistics to quote about rape—that violation that is always equated on the same scale as murder, as in the actual taking of physical life, so what does that say about what rape as a crime means, in theory, to our society—but I think that even a quick Google search on these numbers would be telling.

Forget Google. Read this.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a woman in the world. And yes, gender binaries are falling apart, but as it stands, there’s still Men and Women, or as much of mankind sees it, Us vs. Them. Why should we accomodate the needs of women. Why shouldn’t they just take the opportunities they have. Ladies, sexism is dead, so what’s your excuse for your shortcomings. The glass ceiling is shattered. Work harder. Make sacrifices. Lean in.

This comes, nights after a comedian on national television joked about actresses baring their bodies in the name of art, about the lengths so many women go to fit certain body images. “The flu” is deadly, which is evident to even one person who’s seen a living skeleton complain about the weight of her skin.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t men with these same issues. This isn’t to say that some women are naturally more this or that than another, or that there aren’t women who don’t give a shit. But I’m tired of a world in which people tell others that they’re too fat, not curvy, pretty but not beautiful, cute but not sexy, words words words words words.

I’m also tired of a world in which women tell other women that there’s no need for feminism anymore because hey, they’re having a great time, there’s no inequalities around them. Great. Preach it for us sister, why should it concern you that just because you have XX chromosomes, you’re automatically fair game for any attack on your sexual “morals,” your choice in attire, your likes and dislikes and personal opinions.

Anita Sarkeesian gets it. Taylor Swift, in her little Ivory Tower built not of intellectual detachment but of bloated, selfish fantasies, doesn’t. Feminism isn’t about propping women up above men. It’s about not being patronized when you try to do things that the “men” do. It’s about living a life without having to deal with this bullshit.

This is all without touching upon the hypersexualization that many women of color go through too. No, I don’t want to “love you long time,” you asshole. And the day I pant a seductive “Me so horny” to anyone is the day I cleave my head off my own shoulders.

The knowledge that people expect me to be certain things—

I am a young woman of Asian-American descent. My hair is dyed dark red and my eyes are brown. I like Thin Mints and Jameson, “Game of Thrones” and “Parks and Rec,” Queens of the Stone Age and Annie. I work hard. I work a lot. I also spend some days sleeping until noon, and some nights in unknown, dimly lit and crowded houses, ignoring homework and work work in order to throw down sickeningly sweet store brand soda and vodka that comes in plastic handles.

My body is mine. My mind is mine.

When friends turn to me and say “Isn’t she such a slut,” I want to slap them but I don’t, because it’s too much work to explain that just because someone’s wearing a short skirt or a tight shirt doesn’t mean that she’s wearing them for you, or that she should have to wear them for anyone’s enjoyment, or that she’s inviting your goddamned opinion. Can you look? Of course you can fucking look, because that’s what eyes are for, but saying that someone looks good and that someone’s an object specifically meant to pander to or offend your personal sexual desires are two different things.

Some days, I am that girl; will you say the same thing about me, dear friend?

The same conversation applies to words like trashy or classy, sexy or darling, pretty or ugly. The discourse around body image bounces from dichotomy to dichotomy, but the only thing that remains constant is that everybody feels like shit on some level, and then passes the shit along.

Someone on Tumblr anonymously called my roommate a cunt, a word that’s apparently applicable to nine-year-old girls now, a word that OF COURSE doesn’t have any gendered connotations behind it. This happened because my roommate challenges peoples’ expectations and perceptions about the world. This scares people. People get defensive.

But they should be more scared of what they’re defending.

There’s so many threads of conversation that I want to start, that I want to have, including one on cultural appropriation and/or plain old racism (because of a certain incident at my school; but trust, it happens everywhere!!!), but I don’t have the time or the patience to follow them all out to their ends.

I’m tired of all of this bullshit. Every time I hear about somebody in an abusive relationship or listen to men (and it’s almost always men) talk about the kind of women they’re into

(“I really like, like, half-Asian girls, because I like the exotic look, but I could never go full Asian; but I mean, that inevitably happens”) (I had to clench my fists instead of smashing them into his drunkenly jabbering mouth)

or rate women, who are already balancing on a wire that tells us do/don’t do this based on a system that has been created by men and which still largely favors men,

just,

this has to end one day. It has to. Because this is the last frontier of bigotry, the last shield behind which people can duck when they feel threatened. “She’s just a stupid whore.” “She’s so goddamn emotional.” “She can’t relax and get over it.” “She doesn’t get the joke.”

Oh, I get it. I just ain’t laughing—but when these institutionalized prejudices begin to crumble apart, you better believe I’ll be at the front lines whooping it up.

(Image via sirkusar; no original source found)

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4 thoughts on “Queen Of Everything

  1. I’m going to play devil’s advocate.

    A good friend of mine was falsely accused of rape by his ex-girlfriend. When they were in a relationship she cheated on him at least once that I know about, she was mean to him, and did a lot of messed up things I’m not going to go into detail about. After the breakup, to get back at him, she started spreading a boldface lie on her blog about how he raped her. She did not report the rape. She later admitted she lied about it.

    “””FBI reports consistently put the number of “unfounded” rape accusations around 8%. The average rate of unfounded reports for Index crimes is 2%. However, “unfounded” is not synonymous with false allegation.”””

    It’s impossible to know how often false rape accusations occur, because if there is not enough evidence to convict the accused, there is usually way of knowing what really happened. False rape accusations do occur, and they occur a lot. They screw things up for everyone. As painful as it may be for a rapist to defend their story to police, to detectives and to defense attorneys, it’s necessary to parse out true rapists, who belong in prison, from innocent people like my friend who do not belong in prison. Who do not belong in a court room. Who do not deserve the life ruining sentence rape accusations can give a person. My friend was lucky his ex didn’t go to the police. To the interviews and questioning Tucker Reed had to go through, you can thank people like this.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/9894588/Compulsive-liar-jailed-after-11-false-rape-claims-in-decade.html

    • Just because false accusations exist doesn’t mean that this small percentage of incidences should somehow supersede the larger problem at hand. If you want to talk about dire consequences as the result of a false accusation, there’s so many other false accusation crime statistics that mirror or exceed those of rape e.g. crimes that have attached to them the death penalty.

      Additionally, especially in cases of rape, underreporting, not overreporting or reaching for an accusation, is the problem. For anyone to falsely accuse someone of rape is speaking to a power play by a specific person, as rape is not about sex but about power.

      Regarding the idea that these false accusations occur a lot, in every rape case, it’s the accuser, not the accused, who gets scrutinized immediately. A rape accusation should not, ever, be something tossed around lightly, and I’m truly sorry that your friend went through that bullshit. But, a false accuser is so much more likely to be caught than a legitimate rapist is to be condemned at all.

      I know you’re playing devil’s advocate; I just want to point out that your anecdote doesn’t somehow negate or disprove a culture in which most victims are too afraid or ashamed to speak up.

      • In this report done by the National Center for Prosecution of Violence Against Women, estimates between 2 and 8% of reported rape crimes are false. http://www.ndaa.org/pdf/the_voice_vol_3_no_1_2009.pdf

        This article also goes on to say most false accusations are NOT reported, claiming the women involved want attention and typically do not want the person they accused to see jail time.

        This study suggests that false rape accusations are as high as 50% of all rape allegations

        http://blog.lib.umn.edu/jbs/maysession/KaninFalseRapeAllegations.pdf

        There is evidence provided by this FBI report that rape accusations are 4 times higher than other crimes.
        http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/1996/96sec2.pdf

        ” But, a false accuser is so much more likely to be caught than a legitimate rapist is to be condemned at all.”

        Can you tell my why that is? If a person’s DNA evidence is found inside an individual accusing someone of rape, how can you possibly hope to know if the act was consensual or not?

        I think false rape accusations are disgusting. However I also don’t think they should be ignored. There’s evidence to suggest they happen more frequently than other false criminal accusations, such as murder and theft.

        I think it’s a sensitive matter, so people don’t like talking about it, but I think these numbers are important. I still strongly believe in an innocent until proven guilty court based system, where person is only found guilty when they have been proven beyond a reasonable shred of doubt to have committed a crime.

  2. All of that information suggest that the rape allegations are fase OR “unfounded.” the problem you are ignoring is that the justice system has yet to figure out how to respond to rape as a crime since it is so hard to gather evidence. Most of the rape victims I know literally had nothing that could be considering “strong physical evidence” in court and so their cases would automatically go in the unfounded category….

    Innocent until proven guilty is how our court system works and it should, but cases should be dealt with on an individual basis. It makes no sense to bring up false allegations when we are pointing out the systematic problem of rape which exists. Also, the FBI just recently changed their definition of rape to include forms besides vaginal penetration…this was last year…our government hasn’t exactly been a friend to rape victims. For instance did you know in 30 states there are still special spousal exemptions when it comes to rape, and most of those exemptions are made when “force” isn’t necessary, like when their partner is asleep or disabled?

    The FBI has come through however, in surveying college women. They found that 25% of women who go to college will get raped or survive an attempted rape in those 4 years… http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/pdf/e03021472.pdf.

    This is the information they got, not when they looked at cases that went through the system but by straight up asking women about their college experience. So yeah when 1/4 of college women say they experience rape or attempted rape themselves when finally just asked I think its ridiculous that false allegations continually dominate the discussion when someone is simply trying to cry out against a world in which rape happens all the time and no one seems to give a damn. Based on my personal experience that 1/4th number seems a bit low. Think about how horrifying that is.

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