This week in “I don’t want to live on this planet anymore…”

It’s been another exciting week of misogyny, sexism and general suckitude! Woo! …wait.

I feel sure that anyone who knows me and thus follows this blog already knows about the trainwreck that happened at PyCon, when “developer evangelist” Adria Richards overheard a joke she found offensive, took pictures of the offending men and posted them to Twitter, resulting in one of the men getting fired, and PyCon changing their code of conduct. Three days after the event, word hit the internet,  which responded in about the way you’d expect, sadly. Sexist, racist, misogynistic threats and insults, as well as a DDoS attack on her company, and clearly the reasonable thing to do is to fire Richards. Right?

I’ll be honest, the worst part about this whole mess for me was going to Facebook and seeing post after post insinuating that Richards was to blame for the response because she tweeted a picture rather than confronting the two guys herself. There’s a lot wrong with that type of victim-blaming in general, but Richards posted a nice description of her week prior to PyCon on her blog, which included multiple instances of sexist comments or jokes EARLIER THAT SAME DAY. Additionally, you don’t understand what it’s like as a woman, especially in a conference that is 80 percent male, knowing that if she did speak to the guys, she would likely just be dismissed. Twitter had a great hashtag for a while: #IAskedPolitely to show people how well that usually goes. (Spoiler: not so well.)

I like to think that I’m enlightened and aware, and as such, that I surround myself with other people who are. But reading social media last week was exhausting and depressing and, more than anything, just made me not want to live on this planet. What do you do to combat that? How do you respond when your male friends show such a complete and callous disregard for a woman? How do you reconcile that with what you think about yourself, and the things and people you value?

Women don’t matter in Steubenville, Ohio

Have you guys been following the Steubenville rape case? In case you haven’t, in a nutshell: a teenage girl in Steubenville, Ohio, accused several 16-year-old classmates, who happened to be on the high school football team, of sexually assaulting her, of taking pictures and videos of said assault, and of distributing them around her school. The girl was drunk, which of course brought all the victim-blamers out. The whole thing would have been shoved under the rug if not for one blogger, who was incredibly tenacious and smart enough to take screen shots of the horrifying videos and pictures that the boys shared. Months after the events transpired, the New York Times did a story on it, which finally drew the attention of enough people that the town decided to take it seriously.

After a very short trial, which required bringing in a judge from outside the town, and which was decided without a jury, the judge declared two boys guilty.

You would think that this, of all the cases in the world, would be a slam-dunk case. The girl was so drunk that she could stand up. She threw up several times. In one of the videos, she was being literally carried from house to house. When she woke up the next morning she didn’t remember any of it.

And yet! You can never underestimate the ability of people to treat a woman like absolute shit when it comes to this kind of thing. The blog Public Shaming has two — TWO! — posts documenting the slut shaming that apparently normal people feel is appropriate to toss on this girl. The one that particularly kills me is one @truthwatcher posted on Twitter. “If Steubenville victim was so innocent she wld hve been puking all over herself after drinking bottle of vodka — political correctness sucks.” So…I’m not even sure what this person is saying. She was drunk, but not drunk enough to throw up, so it’s ok that these boys raped her? 

I realize that I live in a bubble. I live in an incredibly liberal city, my friends are all well-educated feminists. But, seriously? People believe this?

Last week Zerlina Maxwell was enveloped in a cloud of controversy when she went on CNN and told men not to rape women.

All my life I’ve read those tip sheets about how not to get raped. Don’t have long hair, don’t have short hair, don’t go out alone, don’t drink, don’t wear short skirts, don’t don’t don’t don’t. We never, ever actually just tell men, “Hey, how about you don’t rape women?”

One thing I love to death about the kink community is the fact that, for the most part, communication is paramount. The idea of consent culture, of recognizing rape culture, of talking about problems in the community and ostracizing the assholes who don’t follow the rules, these are all things that I never read before I started researching kink. (Two blogs I can’t recommend highly enough for informing yourself about all this stuff, from kink to culture and everything in between, are Yes Means Yes andThe Pervocracy.)

I don’t really know what I meant to say here. I’m just horrified that we still have people who see the result of a trial where two boys took a girl who who was so drunk she couldn’t stand, couldn’t walk, couldn’t consent and raped her , then TOOK PICTURES and video of it and spread it around the school and instead of asking what kind of culture created these monsters, and what resources are available for the mental and physical injuries this girl has sustained…instead they mourn the ruined lives of the rapists.

On band-aids and new jobs

I think about privilege a lot, but it seems to be in small doses, as I notice something. Privilege, of course, is made up of the things you get in society solely by dint of your skin color, your sex, your gender, your sexuality, your financial situation. John Scalzi wrote a post comparing it to a video game settings, it’s been described as a backpack, there are checklists in case you think it doesn’t pertain to you.

But I mostly notice it in the small things. The bandaid that is exactly the same color as my skin, so no one notices that I’ve hurt myself and asks questions that could be awkward, in different circumstances.

The persistent feeling that if I just got off my ass and redid my resume, renewed my subscription to those job search websites, that I could find a job making half again what I currently do. That thought, that optimism, the feeling that I’m the only one holding me back, that’s privilege. Just because I don’t hit all of them doesn’t mean I don’t benefit from the ones I do.

This is privilege, and it’s insidious.

Ahh, Jess blog fail!

Add this to the ‘myriad ways Jess sabotages herself’ files. So, I started this blog with the intention of writing and posting insightful, interesting posts that would bring people and help me create a reputation of being knowledgeable about a field I’m very interested in and follow. I bought my domain, and I found a pretty WordPress background…and then life got busy and I got distracted. So then I read about a thing called the Iron Blogger, wherein I *have* to blog, because if I don’t I have to give $5 for every week I fail! And, well, who isn’t motivated by money, right? And that went decently, except that I didn’t do the research that I usually do until after I signed up, at which point I realized that the guy who runs Iron Blogger, and several of the bloggers who are involved in it, actually work in the field that I’m interested in and hoped to build a reputation so eventually I could get a job! Ack! While you’d think this would be a good thing, instead I just completely froze up. What if they think I’m stupid?! What if some of the stuff I was planning on putting on here is inappropriate and they hate me?!

While I realize that this is largely irrational, and instead I should be really happy about potentially having a platform filled with interesting people who I could learn from, it has resulted in a month-long brain freeze.

I bet now you think I’m going to say that I gave up and dropped out of Iron Blogger, aren’t you? Well, you’d be WRONG! Bwa ha ha. No, I had a really long conversation with a good friend, who made me realize that if I don’t risk anything, I don’t gain anything. I also don’t lose anything, but I’m being optimistic.

So, folks, I’m back. I have some great ideas for this blog, and I’m just going to pretend that I’m writing it all for myself. I’m going to write about things I know and things I don’t, and things I think are interesting and things I think are offensive, and I’m going to interview my friends about the awesome things they do.

So, watch out world, because I’ve decided I’m not scared of you!

(Also, I already own Iron Blogger $20, and that’s kind of painful.)