"For The Rapists Who Called Themselves Feminist" Poem By Blythe Baird Reminds Us That Rape Culture Is Everywhere — VIDEO
We'd like to think that we can tell who is an ally to marginalized people and who is dangerous. But as Blythe Baird's poem "For The Rapists Who Called Themselves Feminist" so eloquently shows, no group of people is exempt from committing acts of violence or misogyny — not even feminists. A lot of attention has been brought lately to men who adopt this label in order to elevate their status, and Baird's poem shows exactly what can happen when people support feminism in their words but not their actions.
"When another male friend turns out to be a rapist, the same male friend who wore 'feminist' across his chest like a pageant sash, I can't help but remember meeting him at a sexual violence prevention rally, and the disappointing irony," Baird reads as she performs. "And when another male friend who identifies as a feminist gives himself permission to make a rape joke and call it reclamatory, as if he doesn't already catcall the girl who jogs by his house every day to remind her that she is just a woman, just a thing he can exert power over, just a guest in what has always been his world, his streets. Never mind that your joke just made a survivor relive what was likely the worst thing to ever happen to them," she continues.
Stories of people who advocate gender equality publicly but undermine it in their personal lives are all too common. It's one thing to profess progressive views, especially if you're in an environment that rewards you for doing so, and another to disown your own privilege and do the opposite of what society has trained you to do. That's why, for example, Bernie Bros can talk about wage inequality but still use misogynistic slurs. That's why sexual harassment can exist in organizations aimed at furthering social justice.
People may defend certain perpetrators by claiming they're not capable of misogyny or sexual violence because they're progressive or they're feminists. But, as Baird points out, it is very possible to be sexually assaulted or otherwise mistreated by a feminist, because rape culture is everywhere. And this is true, Baird points out, even if "not all men" are responsible: "This is not even to say that all men are hunting, but haven't we all found the bones of a woman stuck like leftovers between a full man's teeth?"
Listen to the full poem. Take it to heart. It's too important to miss.
Image: Button Poetry/YouTube