Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Defeat for Rape, A Win for Women - A Lesson for Progressives

By Sady Doyle

#MooreandMe: And Then He Came Down


We made it clear that the media narrative of the Assange case, which told us that in order to be pro-WikiLeaks we’d have to minimize, discount, and smear those two women, which told us that women who allege rape and rape survivors are EXPENDABLE when it comes to certain left-wing celebrities or causes, is unacceptable. We made it clear that journalists — men and women — who do this, who minimize and misrepresent those claims, who leak those names, who endanger those women, are going to face consequences. And that those consequences might be bigger than anything they’ve ever seen before; bigger than anything that they had any reason to expect.

I said this on Twitter, before, but: We fought for basic human decency for over a week. We fought, tirelessly, at great risk and expense, to make a mountain move. The mountain moved, like, three inches to the left. If you weren’t looking closely, you wouldn’t notice that it had moved at all. You definitely wouldn’t think to thank or acknowledge the incredibly hard work of the people who moved it. But we moved a mountain. We did the impossible. We went from just a random bunch of frustrated feminists, a random bunch of people on Twitter, to a force capable of changing the rape apologism in the narrative of one of the world’s biggest news stories.
The mountain moved. The man came down from the tower. And we still live in a rape culture; we’re still not done fighting it; the narrative around Assange, in particular, is still hugely misogynist and hugely dangerous for those two women and will still encourage rape survivors not to report. We didn’t get a full apology and correction from Michael Moore; we didn’t get a full apology and correction from Keith Olbermann; neither of them have donated to the many rape crisis and anti-rape organizations to which we’ve provided links; heck, we didn’t even get credit on air. But we know what we’re capable of now. And that is immensely important.

That’s the most important lesson of #MooreandMe, for me, the most important take-away: The next time something is this fucked up, and we feel like we have to fight it, we will. The next time we feel like we have to fight something, we will know fighting can make a difference. The chief thing #MooreandMe gave me, the girl who started out a week ago just writing an irritated Tweet and then eventually hearing a “thank you” from Michael Moore, was faith in the idea that activism can change things. Faith in the idea that you matter. Faith in the idea that, next time we set out to oppose rape culture in our media or our lives, we can do so with that most precious, most rare, most essential of qualities: We can fight rape, and we can have hope.

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