#IveBeenThatGuy (after #metoo )

 [please share/reblog/#/etc]

In light of the current #meToo movement (and previously #yesallwomen), many amazing friends and survivors have reminded me that, while pointing out how shamefully prevalent sexism, sexual harassment, and sexual assault are, is terribly important, maybe survivors shouldn’t feel obligated to relive their trauma? Shouldn’t us men feel MORE obligated to take responsibility? The fact is, as both the beneficiaries of privilege and the vast, vast majority of the time—the perpetrators of rape culture—MEN MUST TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. We must bear the burden of the work if the problem will ever be fixed. Helping those heal who have been hurt is terribly important—the only thing that would be even better is if we stop patriarchy, sexual harassment, and sexual assault from happening in the first place—and that can only happen when those of us who are most responsible challenge ourselves to take responsibility.
So I would genuinely Love it if any and everyone who feels comfortable admitting that they have EVER been “that guy”, would share #iveBeenThatGuy
It doesn’t mean you are a predator and it doesn’t mean you are a bad person. It doesn’t mean you haven’t grown and changed since the last time you were “that guy”. It doesn’t even mean you acted out of malice or bad intentions—we live in an all pervasive culture that seeps into our minds and habits, which often makes us support systems of injustice, even when we don’t intend to. And that is really the point: patriarchy, sexism, heterosexism, etc., are not problems because a few bad apples hate all women and think rape is their right—rape culture is still a problem because it’s so pervasive, so insidious, so ingrained that it’s a part of ALL of our lives. Men who work in domestic violence shelters have objectified women, including myself. The best, most kind, woke men in the world have used misogynistic and homophobic language at some point in their lives. Men with strong values have sexually assaulted because they did not know what sexual assault really is, cause our culture teaches that many forms of sexual assault are just “boys being boys”.
The problem is not that women/trans/queer folk are assaulted. The problem is that Men keep assaulting. Of course anybody can be a perpetrator and anyone can be a survivor/victim. But the point of this post and hashtag is to address the specific problem of problematic masculinity that uses privilege and power to make cis-straight-men, not only feel entitled, but Obligated to take advantage of that power and privilege to dominate anyone who is not a heterosexual cis-male. If your friend, brother, boyfriend, father etc. may not be super down with this entire article, maybe copy and paste the middle. Because, while some may get defensive (and understandably so—after all the men I’d like to jump on board are not the monsters who we already know are shit, but all those good guys who have at some point been caught up in the momentum of culture), I think any any honest man can admit that they have at least 1 time in their life, treated a women in a way they wouldn’t want a stranger to treat their daughter.
And let’s not forget that ending problematic masculinity helps us men too; While the overwhelming majority of violence and dehumanization of women is perpetrated by men, the vast majority of violence and dehumanization of Men is also perpetrated by other men.
Let’s also pair our honesty with action:
Step 1: share #ivebeenthatguy
step 2: Share a specific instance of when you have been guilty. Perhaps the time you most regret, if you feel safe and comfortable doing so publicly.
step 3:When you see your friend post #ivebeenthatguy and STILL act/talk disrespectfully,  call them out and point out that pretending to be woke for the Facebook likes, and not backing it up with real world change, is lying and wont be ignored.
 step 4: Encourage the men in your life to share; it doesn’t mean they are bad people, it just means that, unfortunately, if we are honest, at some point in our lives (maybe years ago) we have ALL treated a women in a way we wouldn’t want a stranger to treat our daughters.
 Let’s stop treating Only symptoms. Lets treat the actual cause. Let’s start by admitting that just as pervasive as survivors of rape-culture, are us perpetrators, who, even if we are not aware or didn’t intend to, have participated, and therefore it is OUR responsibility to raise awareness of our own part in the problem.

#ivebeenthatguy

Transracial Identity: what are the limits to Identity?

Though this fake-ad from Salvo Magazine has an agenda, the philosophical, ethical, and potentially-political fiat is relevant:

Whereas, Gender and Race are socially constructed concepts on a spectrum, which may diverge from biological norms, and

Whereas, Gender is understood as mobile, controllable,  and protected as a human right,

Race must also be understood and protected as such.

Caveat: Recent scientific research generally agrees that there is no object scientific thing as race. Biologically, two “White” people may have less in common genetically than either has with a “Black” person, who may in turn have more in common with a Chinese person than someone from their own country of origin.

As transgenderism and non-cisgenderism become more widely excepted and celebrated, the inevitable question arises: which aspects of our selves can be or should be protected and where do we draw the line, if we choose to draw one at all.

In a vacuum, the recent populous view that gender should be open to choice by each individual, would transcribe to an individual’s right to choose their race, from social transactions to racial-reassignment surgery. Though sympathizing and supporting sex-reassignment may be an easy act of love for many progressives and queer activists, Racial reassignment likely leaves an undefinable sourness on your tongue. This may be due to the historic context in which one’s “Race” has been used as an excuse to enslave, murder and rape, as well as subversive movements such as the “Black is Beautiful” and “Red-Pride” slogans designed to promote self-love in spite of social pressures to conform and assimilate.

But non-males/ non-hetero males have been similarly raped, murdered, and enslaved–There are more slaves in the world today than at any other time in history and the vast, absolutely overwhelming majority are women. Women were granted the right to vote in this country after former slaves and people of color. With this in mind, though Female-to-Male (less privileged to more) Reassignment is more prevalent, MTF accounts for about 25% of sex reassignment surgeries (SRS) in the US (Gender Center). Would Racial reassignment be similarly distributed, more balanced, or racing to one race? Many studies have found that when someone identifies as both a marginalized gender/sexuality and a marginalized race, racial identity tends to trump sexual/gender identity (Violence against WomenRacial Identity, Masculinity and Homosexuality in the Lives of Young Black Men).

Tangential questions that elective-surgery prompt: what constitutes the self? Which, if any, parts of the body constitute one’s self? and What are the limits of identity?  Many “Wannabes” around the world have an immutable urge to have elective amputations, feeling that they won’t be whole until their body is divided (Wannabe), while those with Phantom Limbs (Ted Talk) still feel parts of their body that are no longer there. Sergio Canavero (head transplant) plans to conduct the first human head transplant–Dogs have already had head transplants, but only lived for up to 7 days (still pretty impressive/scary). Would this really be a body-transplant? If so, would the body have different rights than the head? For example, if the body had raped and murdered someone, would the resulting human pastiche have the right to vote? In our brain-centric culture/paradigm, the answer may seem obviously yes, but heart-transplants have been observed to have much influence on a person’s tastes and personality; How much influence would the presence of an entire body, the result of decades of architecture and experience, have?

How important are physical characteristics to our psychological well-being? Amputees (who don’t happen to be Wannabes), survivors of severe burns, and others with drastic, sudden physical changes often suffer from severe depression and reported loss of identity, but how different are the effects when that physical change is sought after and planned for, and what are the limits? Where do I stop being a better looking version of Phil and become a stranger with a fragmented identity of self?

These questions may seem sensational and lacking relevance to some, but so did many questions around non-cis gender/sexuality, sexual reassignment surgery, and the limits of individuality/identity, before movements around the world opened our eyes to how many millions of people face these questions everyday. Moreover, with the fields of genetic manipulation and ever more complex surgeries becoming commonplace, these are questions we will no doubt have to answer as citizens, policy-makers, and most importantly, as sentient Humans.

Identity is more than a name or a social security number. It is an essential foundation to our happiness, decision making process, and ability to navigate the social and physical worlds in which we live. Like never before, we will have to fight for our rights to identity and choose which we will celebrate and which we will not.

transracial

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