So… what is it with rape culture and Julian Assange that brings all the level-1-trolls and wannabe-witty fauxminists out of the woods? The Assange case has been debated for a long time now, and still, the same “arguments” are evoked over and over again, no matter how many times they have been refuted – it’s not like any of Assange’s defenders (as in: either saying the women are lying and are honeytrapping CIA-spies, or that if there was a rape it wasn’t all that bad, or that this is all a plot by The International Policy Conspiracy to get him executed) have any new clues or epiphanies to share. The enthusiasm for Assange coming from many fuzzy Pirate Party edges could somewhat be expected; the half-ass trolling from alleged progressive or even feminist (don’t know if the ones I am talking about claim that term, though) women was not, at least to this extent – although I should have known better, given the delightful insights Naomi Wolf has shared already.
On her blog, Dominique has written a great post about women who denigrate feminism, and it is quite funny and disturbing at the same time how many of the archetypes she describes in her article fit so well on the people who have been arguing against the, in their view, silly concept of rape culture lately.
People who have followed the “debate” on the “Mädchenmannschaft” blog post on the Pirate Party, Spackeria, Rainer Langhans and his donation to Assange’s defense funds, know who I am talking about in particular (yes, journalist and blogger Julia Seeliger – and yesterday was the last day I talked to her directly, and today will be the last I talk about her), but this behaviour is nothing new and nothing too exciting in terms of trollfeminism – it is rather a good example of a classic tale.
Because the “conversation” between Julia, others and I was, quite frankly, both absurd and triggering [and obviously, a TW is in order here for rape apologism following], it has been deleted in part. People then resorted to Twitter to continue virtually yelling at each other, which was both fun and exasperating, because I would have thought that people who are invested and also known for journalistic excursions into leftist and gender politics would know a couple of things about it and not stomp their feet, start mocking others and projecting every possible, boring cliché about feminists onto those who dare criticize their views. Oh, how wrong I was…
Whereas the thread on Mädchenmannschaft was actually talking about Rainer Langhans, certain associations of germany’s Pirate Party and the (I maintain that) closely related “Spackeria”, it basically got derailed into the above mentioned “discussion” whether Assange’s case is true or false and whether rape culture is stupid or not. Yeah, that’s right.
Julia started out criticizing that Julian Assange was being made into the poster boy of rape culture, and if we were determined to do that, we should also include other men in that definition, because incidents like the ones Assange is accused of would happen every day and would necessitate talking about uncomfortable issues, e.g., condom use. Whereas she deems it appropriate that the women pressed charges against Assange, the European warrant for his arrest was highly unusual.
Having been criticized for, well, that (her misinformation, the fact that people talk about rape culture all the time and most frequently without Assange as the go-to-guy, the fact that she is reproducing some of his defenders’ strategies and outright lies, etc.) and also informed that the charges against Assange not “only” include the missing condoms but penetration of the sleeping women and using his body weight to hold them down, Julia then resorts to calling the Assange case “highly subjective”, since he was a dude who merely doesn’t like condoms, and that there are many other cases where the issue is much clearer and the charges more justified than with what allegedly happened to the women with Assange, namely – wait for it… – “sleepy sex.”
In her opinion, rape culture equates sex with sexual assault, so “you people” are taking all the fun out of things and are actually “raping Foucault” (she told me that on Twitter after saying that she now has to leave to have some burgers, and she hopes that I’m “also a vegan”, wink wink, smile smile, CAPS LOCK, heart sign heart sign, and that she “invented troll feminism, honey”) and are actually bathing in all the self-pity of female victimhood, since it “frees women” of the “responsibility to take charge” in bed.
Is anyone provoked into a blind rage yet or somehow personally hurt? Because I think she and others who argue along those lines are stuck somewhere between amusing and pathetic. The “you people” are “raping Foucault”, “I hope you’re also a vegan” who will now lose it because of the beef, the “you’re all just whiny hippies” and “I invented troll feminism, honey” are very, very subtle attempts to invoke an emotional reaction and a textbook example for projecting your ideas about humorless, frigid (and mostly also fat and ugly) feminists onto the person who criticizes you for your political positioning. Booooring…! Despite popular belief, troll feminism is not an art, it’s old. It’s pointless, it’s telling, and it’s very obviously showcasing the fact that you troll because you have no substantial arguments to make and/or cannot argue properly against those of others. Also: the combination of cluelessness, arrogance and lazy self-centredness you’re portraying makes you look like the dumbass you are. I urge you to stop talking, roll around in glitter and dance for me instead (to paraphrase Sheelzebub).
That people still confuse sex with sexual assault, consent with “I wanted you/have said yes before, so this consent is given for all eternity, no matter what state I am in” and the qualification, sometimes outright encouragement of rape with “daily sex”, is something I cannot be bothered to get into anymore. I expect people who think they can take part in feminist debates to have at least some basic knowledge of Feminism 101, concepts of rape culture and enthusiastic consent, and, you know – basic human decency.
Because this is what baffles me slightly: even if you believe that rape culture is an exaggeration or invention by fun loathing misandrists who never get laid and hate orgasms, the thought of qualifying women’s experiences with sexual assault is an entirely different stage. I really wonder how the people who think that it is common and more or less not a big deal to penetrate someone while that person is unconscious (i.e., the “sleepy sex” Assange is accused of…), to not use a condom when consent is expressively tied to it, to hold someone down during sex so they cannot escape, and to not, you know, stop when someone tells you to stop, actually have sex? From ‘common’ (as in: non-violent and consenting, albeit maybe not enthusiastically consenting) sexual experiences – how can you actually think this is “normal” behaviour, if you also define yourself as not explicitly misogynist and a violent asshole? Relationships and sex are also about negotiations to a certain extent, yes. But in what universe do you penetrate a sleeping person who cannot consent, if you are not a rapist who is very well aware of what s/he is doing and are actually repeatedly on the lookout for certain “opportunity structures”? Moreover, if you feel so inclined to smash feminism for its alleged misandry, in what universe do you equate these types of behaviour of dominance and power and humiliation of others to *male (hetero?-)sexuality as a whole, thereby both justifying it and accusing all men of not being able to keep it in their pants, because biology?
Apparently, you missed the memo. I am sorry about that. But we cannot start at point zero every couple of weeks and every time people feel the need to shout a little about things they can neither fathom nor comprehend on the most basic level, only to make people look at them and, ideally, clutch their pearls. And no, this is not about Doing Feminism Wrong, diverse theoretical/practical approaches or even tone. This is about the mere fucking basics of patriarchy/kyriarchy, axes of domination, slut shaming and victim blaming you still don’t got down.
Maybe you can start with the links provided, and, maybe, see you again in a couple of months. Also, you should probably refrain from writing about gender issues and related things until you know what you are talking about. Best of luck!