Attacks Coming from All Sides

This past month has been rough as a woman. I feel like on all sides I’m being attacked–not just during the conservative presidential jostling, but also in my nerd communities. Perhaps this is what happens when you shine the public spotlight on women’s rights at a time like this: you see the horrible monster of chauvinism and male privilege caught in the act of scraping away at it while no one was looking. I generally feel that we’ve been sliding backwards.

I spent the last couple of weeks dealing with a head butting contest I had with one of the lead developers of WordPress, the same CMS I use to run this site, over a comment he made about “women with the golden uterus complex.” While many of the comments that ensued were supportive and pro-female, some were seriously male privileged and derailing.

I illustrated the events with a comic, which you can read at my web dev/design site rachelnabors.com. That’s the last I have to say on the topic. I’m very tired from fighting and now can only sit in the sidelines and cheer others on. It’s not just women out there, either. Check out this video  from the good folks at the Escapist:

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5 Comments

Falcon Whitaker

I think you made some awesome points and I applaud you for taking a stand. People don’t seem to realise these days that Words Mean Things and Those Things Hurt People, which is really, really sad.

Rachel the Great

Thanks. I learned something from all this, too. It really doesn’t matter what I think if someone else is upset by it (excluding white males, who are upset by most everything–as a demographic if not as individuals). Like, say I did something in a comic that a black reader wasn’t cool with. I could hem and haw, say it was artistic license, etc, and make all the excuses I wanted. But in the end, my opinion means shit. My intentions mean shit. Because I’m not the one whose life is being affected by my portrayal.

Also, I used to “sit things out.” Like, I always felt weird when a member of a majority got offended for a non-present minority. It always felt self-righteous, or like the party was trying to adopt someone else’s burden in an egotistical way. (If you’re not Native American, why are you getting offended on behalf of Native Americans?)

But seeing how important it is for males to stick up for females in this community, I’ve realized I still need to be sticking up for others who are getting trod upon. I don’t have to get on my soap box. I don’t have to get indignant. But I can say, “Hey, I don’t think your attitude is cool.”

So I’ve learned some things from all this, too.

cheeseborger

I stand kind of awkwardly perched on this whole issue. I think, as a woman, that women’s rights are important, that sexism is awful, and that women are just as capable of anything that men are. I’m so dead set against censorship that I always have a hard time explaining why I feel so strongly against what amounts to bullying and “-ism”. It does boil down to just because you CAN doesn’t mean you SHOULD, and this video does touch upon that.

I personally try not to take offense from anything anyone says because at worst, slurs and hate speech really just reflect poorly on the person(s) engaging in it. Unfortunately, when the slurs and hate speech come from a community that has a pretty big shield of anonymity like the internet and gaming, then that hate speech instead makes the whole community look bad, so I find myself being dragged down by the terrible reputation created by the very people who spew hateful language and attitudes toward “my kind” (be it race, creed, gender, age, etc).

Unfortunately, with every movement toward progress and improvement, there’s always a negative reaction pushing toward oppression and regression. Sometimes it emanates from people who don’t understand the need for the forward movement. Sometimes it’s from people who don’t know others who would benefit from the forward movement. Sometimes it’s from people who can’t sympathize with those different from themselves. Sometimes it’s just from people who are scared to lose their scapegoats or subordinates.

It’s always good to see other people pushing toward a positive future.

Rachel the Great

I hear you on the awkwardness part. My first web design job was with an adult industry company. I feel more strongly about sex worker unions than I do about porn objectifying women/transsexuals/etc. I make lewd jokes that make male coworkers blush and hide behind their laptops. Masturbation is a staple of my comic plot devices!

But this doesn’t mean I’m not a feminist, that I don’t believe in upholding the rights and equalities women have fought tooth and nail for for centuries. We still have a long way to go, and it requires vigilance to keep what we’ve gained.

Just got to keep your head up :)

Ashley

Now, I will comment on the whole “Golden Uterus” thing. My step-mother is like that and God forbid my father give any of his other children the attention they need and deserve. At the same time that she blames him, she also refuses to leave him. This has created a toxic environment that none of my other siblings want to step into nor can the two in it can get out of. Now I don’t believe every woman is a “Golden Uterus” far from it. But those who are usually have something of a bitter streak to them.

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