By now you've undoubtedly heard of the shooting that took place Tuesday night. I've been avoiding writing anything about it because it's deeply upset me. The media has almost been sympathizing with the killer, George Sodini, labeling him a lonely man who just wanted to get laid. This, of course, has brought the MRAs and the anti-feminists out of the fucking woodwork, which has only upset me more.
This man who apparently thought he deserved a woman, and was so obsessed by this that he felt it was his duty to openly murder women at a gym as some sick retribution has been uplifted as a hero. I found some quotes over at Alas, a blog, and while I will not post them here, I feel I should respond in some manner. Just as a warning, I found it difficult to read any of them, and couldn't even bring myself to finish reading them.
I am forced to confront my own fear on a daily basis, a fear that men can never know. They can sympathize, but they'll never know what it's like to wake up, and be afraid. To wonder if the shirt I am putting on will get me raped, or if my challenge to patriarchy by blogging or by speaking up to family and friends will earn me more than ridicule. Every time there is a tragedy like this one, I feel something in me wilt and die. My heart goes out to the victims.
But I cannot ever act like it has not affected me because I wasn't there, because I wasn't one of the victims. Horrors such as this serve as constant stinging reminders of how men like Sodini, and men in support of Sodini, feel just in their violence against women. Women should never have to have sex with a man without consenting (it's rape, no matter how you skirt around it). Women should never have to be in fear for living their lives, for having autonomy over their own bodies. Rape and violence is never justifiable, and to say that women (feminists in particular) should simply "put out" whenever the fuck a man wants is absolutely sickening. The sheer numbers of people defending this sick man is frightening in itself.
Not only is there victim-blaming (even though Sodini never knew the women he shot) but we have men saying that they deserve to use women's bodies as they wish, and if the women refuse, then suddenly there's this right to take sex. Buying me a drink does not give anyone the right to rape me, nor does my rejection warrant my murder, and this is true for all women.
Tragedies such as this are perceived as punishments to women. To show us what will happen if we have the audacity to speak up for (deserved) equality. We are in constant threat, where acts such as this serve as reminders: "See what could happen?" the media seems to ask, and anti-feminists applaud.
But these sickening reminders only reaffirm a determination to fight for women's rights because we're human, not some fuckable toy which men get to use as they please. We have rights to safety and autonomy, and assholes like Sodini, and the ones guilty of uplifting him as a goddamn hero need to learn that.
This just illustrates how far we really haven't come at all.
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Thursday, August 6, 2009