The Privileges of Getting Raped!: The Week in Women
Good morning! Ready for your Friday roundup of lady-news? This week was a real doozy. Let's start with a rape-denial op-ed written by the old, white, straight conservative George Will. He doesn't merely jump on the rape-denial bandwagon. That would hardly warrant notice, sadly. No, he goes even further, arguing that rape victims are actually "privileged." As he warns in his piece, when colleges and universities make "victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate." Oh! I get it! So, rape victims aren't proliferating because they are being raped. No. They are coming out of the woodwork because being a rape victim has become something akin to being homecoming queen. Except, instead of a crown, high fives, and dates, your privileges include things like depression, shame, and trauma!
In all fairness, Will should know what he's talking about when it comes to privilege. He's white, male, has benefitted from an elite education (Princeton and Oxford), and thus has the luxury of feeling and displaying a shocking lack of empathy. What a sexual assault victim might actually experience is clearly unimaginable to him. Now that is privilege.
There is a silver lining to this rain cloud of misogyny. Will has a tendency to not believe in things like, well, reality. This is a man whose rape denial is paralleled by his climate denial. As he once said, with his signature empathy, nuance and unjustified air of authority, "How do we explain the heat? One word: summer... We're having some hot weather. Get over it." So, in a way, we should be grateful that this lunatic isn't tainting by association those of us who do actually believe in rape.
this is what "#survivorprivilege" looks like
Fortunately, some good did come out of the evil that is George Will's screed. Namely, feminist blogger and organizer Wagatwe Wanjuki showcased the ridiculousness of Will's position by starting the hashtag #SurvivorPrivilege.
And it took off.
GWB (graduating while breastfeeding)
Another thing that went viral this week was a picture of woman taken while she was... wait for it... breast feeding! Last month, Karlesha Thurman graduated from California State University Long Beach. After receiving her diploma she walked off the stage and fed her hungry three-month-old daughter. Thurman's friend took what should be a totally fine, actually totally adorable photo of the mother and daughter. Thurman posted the photo to the Facebook page of Black Women Do Breastfeed, which encourages women of color to breastfeed. An administrator of the site liked the photo so much, she reposted it with the comment, “Giving her daughter more gifts than one! Isn’t this beautiful?! #NormalizeBreastfeeding.”
In case you think the hashtag is over the top, it's not. The reaction to the photo quickly demonstrated just how abnormal breastfeeding is seen by some people who are apparently really uncomfortable with the female body, biology, nutrition and health. This was one of the classier social media responses to the photo.
Luckily, not all of the responses were from haters:
All those who are weirded out by a woman giving her baby something to eat, need to look at this, which I found on the Black Women Do Breastfeed Facebook page.
Mormons totally prove they're not sexist by threatening to ex-communicate woman who organized against sexism within the Mormon church
Seriously, people. Who does the PR for the Church of Latter-day Saints? Because I'm not sure that threatening to ex-communicate a woman for daring to speak out against sexism in the Mormon Church is the best way to go. Mormon Kate Kelly is the leader of Ordain Women, a group of "Mormon women seeking equality and ordination to the priesthood." Two months ago, Kelly organized a demonstration calling for equality, which hundreds of people attended. On Sunday, the Mormon Church responded by informing Kelly that she will have an ex-communication hearing later this month. I'm sure the Church will come around soon enough. After all, they started ordaining black people back in 1978 when LDS President Spencer W. Kimball was told by God that it was time to stop banning them from the priesthood. The fact that the IRS was threatening to revoke the Church's tax-exempt status if they continued to exclude black people from the priesthood had nothing whatsoever to do with the decision. Pure coincidence.
Marriage: Your ticket out of domestic abuse hell!
You may remember the Washington Post for publishing that horrible George Will piece discussed above. Well, that's not all they excreted this week. Check out this snazzy victim-blaming headline, which appeared on Tuesday:
Understandably, this "close your legs if you don't want the crap beaten out of you" message was met with criticism. So, the site offered a new and improved headline free of all traces of sexism and slut-shaming. It might as well have been written by Gloria Steinem:
OK. Maybe not the biggest improvement. And, beyond the tasteless, click-baiting headline, the article isn't actually that accurate, according to Mona Chalabi at fivethirtyeight. She has her own headline:
See you next week!