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I sat down to write about this dreadful commercial I saw the other night, only to find, upon researching it more, that it has been pulled. Hooray! But the more I think about it this morning, the more I think that just because it’s been pulled and so swept under the rug, the more it needs to be talked about, actually.
Let me check my privilege before I begin here: My mother was a second wave feminist, and she instilled in me some Values. I was in the right place at the right time to be part of the Riot Grrrl movement.* A good eighty percent of the men I deal with are really great people who just, well… get it. The other twenty percent of these guys, the ones who want to take my agency, the guy who pulled the exceptionalism stunt on me in my pigtails at Trader Joe’s last year, I feel empowered enough to deal with them on my own. And I’m privileged enough not to run into the really scary ones that often.** Big. Privilege. Ok, recognized, stated, spoken, there it is: context.
So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about gender, ever since spending the week at Kripalu, engaged in Sisterhood, because this was a different kind of gooey center – I tend to ruminate upon gender in terms of the personal-as-political more than anything else. Men are a very important part of my life, and it helps that I live with two really great men (ok, one of them, at thirteen, is really still a cub – he still has the goofy paws and the learning curve thing happening) who value me as I am – we have a huge amount of mutual respect, a metric fuckload of love, and a really great division of labour (for the record, Will Dearest has changed a few diapers in his time). Which is to say, I am blessed with a home that is a safe place and sanctuary.
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If you don’t understand why this business is so upsetting, go see Shakesville – Melissa McEwan says it so much better than I can when I’m pissed off:
The rape joke, by virtue of its ubiquity, prominently serves as a tool of normalization and diminishment.
No, one rape joke does not “cause” someone to go out and commit a rape. But a single rape joke does not exist in a void. It exists in a culture rife with jokes that treat as a punchline a heinous, terrifying crime that leaves most of its survivors forever changed in some material way.
Go forth & read the whole thing now. Please. It’s important, ok?
(Just to clarify, I don’t intend for this to become a WoW blog – but there’s some WoW stuff that’s totally blogworthy, and when it pops up, I’m totally gonna blog on it.)
How do I even start – this has been talked to death at this point on all kinds of communities, in PUGs and LFDs, and in g-chat in three guilds I’ve been in, so I know it’s not new. But some people just never seem to get the memo that when they open their mouths [type in-game]the stuff they say matters. It’s not even just in PUG dungeons, either – some days I trip across fuckery enough that I wonder if maybe I’m a magnet for it. Or if the entire player base has collectively lost its sense of propriety.*
I won’t even get into ableism** or homophobia*** – isms are a whole can of worms for another day. What I want to talk about is use of the word rape.