Real Rape

I have to admit I had not heard of rape epistemology, though I read Susan Estrich’s book Real Rape — as you can imagine, right away, or should I say the moment I knew about it and it was published — as I and another person in my nuclear family had it happen to us.  (This is their story to tell).  Witnessing the aftermath being washed away is almost more horrific when it happens to someone else than when it happens to you.

That said, I witnessed before I experienced — aftermath only — as for this person I was not ashamed but outraged — or at least enough to watch . . . I remember feeling powerless, and being afraid.  Given the absence of clothing (i.e. pants), I figured it was a gang — so my only comfort years and years later was that mine was not.  We, who were awake, were all agog.

Now, decades upon decades later — I was a child, a minor, therefore was I agog or we were encouraged — to do this was to do the “right” (i.e. wrong) thing.

Rape epistemology — as I sat there in a friendly audience of most, not all, who accepted the premises — is just remembering: Rape jurisprudence means that it was the men — fathers, sons, brothers, uncles — who were to blame.

We lived in a household with no brother, uncle, son, let alone father — had no one to ask, therefore my nuclear-family member and I simply did the right thing — not report it so as not to bring shame to THE family — THE big family or the extended nuclear family.

What I can now see — and this echoes one of my mother’s favorite expressions — is that curiosity kills cats, and we knew better than to ask — only do the right thing.  In this case, the right thing for the family was to swallow it all, if you were a witness, or had gained this terrifying experience.  How is this different than honor killing — this took me years and years to face — and then neotribalism said it all.

My mother made sure that we remained silent — and all did the right thing.  I had an early lesson learned that I would not need for 5ish years, as my situation took that long.  I was no longer a minor, nor was s/he/they.#

Bodies in Thought

Why do we study a woman’s every move? Some women can speak, and some women cannot speak. Or if these women dare to speak when they shouldn’t, we see how they say nothing. Their generic bland words convey a static form of silence.

Husband by their side, they shake their heads in agreement, as all the while their bodies are screaming no. Their bodies betray their words, undercutting their veracity.

Picture Mommy on the steps of her house, smiling to her 3-year-old son who is frightened by the noise of his father’s rising anger, indicative of pending violence. She’s says Daddy’s not mad, Mommy’s okay. She smiles. But the terror behind her smile reveals her lie.  She convinces no one, and her son associates smiles with lies and terror.

I had a teacher like this, the only teacher I remember from elementary school. Mr. T smiled and spoke softly when he was mad, and he would hurl abusive insults at anyone who disturbed classroom peace.  Whereas I can’t remember one of the “yellers,” as we called the female teachers who expressed their anger.  Expressing their anger was direct.  No mixed-up signals, no ambiguous social cues.  Unpleasant . . . it was true.

The most an abused woman can do is sneakily shout for help.  Melania certainly did with her highly interpreted wrist-flick rejection of Trump.   You have to watch it 5 or 6 times, but it’s there.

And of course there is the infamous happy/sad façade or the creepy or skin-crawling meme of Melania at her husband’s 2017 Inauguration.   No mistaking that face.

Whether it is Melania’s wrist or her quick frown-of-relief smile we all see, what we see is real, albeit subjective.

Crazy counternarratives can be spun, for sure. These narratives will be heard in captions by those in their part of the polarized political valley. But these narratives will be twisted and counterintuitive. Bodies are visceral. Bodies express feeling more freely than words. The difference between recoiling and rejecting someone’s spontaneous touch is immense. We don’t need words to know something strange is going on. The movement requires explanation. The movement is significant.

So if politics includes bodies in movement, not just words, how can we read American Political Thought that does not cover bodies of thought, but only words — let alone published words from eras when white men with property had a monopoly?

There are no bodies in thought. Yet bodies moving in emotional reaction can be pegged as triggers.

 

 

 

MSNBC Follows Roger Ailes’s Media Recipe

Unknown
Look. Gretchen Carlson’s Title VII civil-rights lawyers do not have to look far to find evidence of how Gretchen’s been treated as a sexual commodity selling bad boy/moralistic mama in 2016’s horse-race politics. MSNBC follows Roger Ailes’s recipe in a New York Times advertisement, making Nicolle Wallace the centerfold.

The MSNBC producers – the supposed opposite of Fox News – present their “Codebreakers” with pride. The code, to me, seems to be protecting our commodification of women newscasters. It’s more akin to custom keepers, not breakers of any idea or thing.

Whether it’s covering or uncovering women, it’s neotribal to me when both supposed sides of the supposedly polarized news treat their women* the same way.  Bare or veiled, it’s all about commodifying women.

Being veiled makes women personal property, whereas being bare-armed and bare-legged makes them corporate sales commodities.  Here’s the newscaster-women-commodification custom recipe: Place woman in the center, showing her décolleté, legs, and bare arms, surrounded by five men (one African-American as a token of Obama’s presidency, and one just this side of 40 wearing frat-boy tennis shoes, a nod toward Bernie Sanders millennials).*

Isn’t this what Gretchen’s brief describes, protesting sexual discrimination? MSNBC producers cannot see or sense how out of sync they are. Oh, I forgot, they fired Melissa Harris-Perry when she complained about her show being bumped one time too many for the 2016 political-circus travesty, when she too was discussing politics.

Perhaps Hillary Clinton’s insistence on wearing pantsuits is cheeky and counterculture after all.

* Token outspoken progressive lesbians like Rachel Maddow exempted; she gets to wear pants and don sleeves in a different ad in this series. Oh, and I forgot the morning-show housewife who puts up with Morning Joe Scarborough’s put-down banter, who gets to wear unflattering sweater sleeves as long as those legs remain exposed.

Fox’s Ailes Is Better at Chasing . . .

imgres   TellingStories   imgres

Here’s a picture that won’t surprise you. By picture, I mean read the lawsuit. A sample: “I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago and then you would have been good and better and I would have been good and better.”

What I mean by “better” is more effective in hiring, targeting, harassing, and then firing their loyal women announcers (who undoubtedly don’t believe in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, protecting them from discrimination, until it “suits” them).

http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/?GCOI=80140100171860

https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2941030-Carlson-Complaint-Filed.html

Five Minutes of Freedom Ain’t For Free

Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 4.01.51 PM.pngWatch the 5.08 visual version of Jennifer Lopez Singing for Hillary Clinton

While I don’t like wading through advertisements, this version is the best song for Hillary Clinton, the General whose fighting the GOP’s War against Women, now waged by Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee.