Tag Archives: gay

Links: How to Address Sexual Violence, Feminism and Dating, and Being Better Allies

Combating sexual violence is a key part of the movement for social justice.

Why is it so important to remember these connections? Because it has a big impact on our tactics. Without understanding the broader connections, combatting sexual violence gets simplified into just educating women about safety when going out at night.

Combating sexual violence gets simplified into telling young girls not to talk to strangers.

Combating sexual violence gets simplified into telling women to dress more modestly.

Combating sexual violence gets simplified into relying on the criminal (in)justice system to protect us from violence.

Combating sexual violence is not simple, and its elimination is going to require a big picture strategy that takes into account all of the factors that contribute to its existence.

I had a friend who gave me a copy of Why Men Love Bitches by Sherry Argov. I was frustrated that an intelligent, independent woman was getting her advice from a book like that. There are also plenty of books written by men about dating for women. [Travis L. Stork’s] Don’t Be That Girl was probably the most appalling book I’ve ever read. Each chapter was a caricature of a woman – Busy Girl, Needy Girl, Whiny Girl – and advice on how not to be that girl, including, “Don’t talk about your job too much” and “Don’t ask when he’s going to call.” These dating books fall into a long tradition of men diagnosing women and their nervousness.

It glosses over substantial differences in experience in a way that can be hurtful, insulting and alienating.  After Prop 8 banned same-gender marriage in California, gay news magazine the Advocate published a cover story that declared that “gay is the new black.”  The problem is, this is frequently stated by white queer people.  And while white queer people have historically experienced hate crimes, police raids, and a whole lot more, we haven’t been lynched, been forced to sit at the back of the bus, or experienced the accumulation of oppression over generations on a single family or neighborhood.  Black/African-American communities have.  Intentional or not, claiming that “gay is the new black” is deeply disrespectful, and it’s often experienced as such.