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More on Reclaim The Night - Sarah, The Bringer of Tea
22nd November, 2009
11:38 pm

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More on Reclaim The Night
My last post may have created the impression that I think events such as Reclaim the Night are a bad idea, but that's very far from the case. I have problems with the exclusionary and dogmatic brand of so-called feminism that infects the women's movement in the UK and other places, but this post, about a woman who was sexually assaulted while on the march last night shows just what women are up against, and how far we have to go.

This is very depressing sometimes. :-(

Originally posted at http://auntysarah.dreamwidth.org/215733.html - you can comment here or there.

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From:snakey
Date:22nd November, 2009 11:50 pm (UTC)
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It is incredibly depressing, and I agree. But reading what she writes there (leaving aside the fact that there certainly weren't two thousand of them there when I saw them....):

But whatever the reasons for their animosity, they [men in Leicester Square at the time of the march] will never know what it’s like to be scared of being humiliated and violated, in public, by people who feel they have a right to our bodies, our smiles, our time and our compliance. They will never know what it’s like to trade stories, with friends of the harrassment, abuse, assault and violence nearly each and every one of us has experienced, some of us in many different ways. They will never understand that we call these ‘war stories’ because every day is a battle and we are tired of feeling like soldiers, fighting off an enemy that has the better, more powerful weapons. They will never experience life and humanity the way we experience life and humanity because their view is unobstructed.

I was a man in Leicester Square that night, and you know what? Many of us do know that - thinking not only of many trans men but of many men of colour. We know.

And I think that's what my increasing problems with middle-class white cis feminism come down to: intersectionality fail, again and again.

Edited at 2009-11-22 23:51 (UTC)
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From:phonemonkey
Date:22nd November, 2009 11:54 pm (UTC)
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And wasn't there a gay man who was beaten to death in Leicester Square recently?
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From:auntysarah
Date:22nd November, 2009 11:59 pm (UTC)
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I was a man in Leicester Square that night, and you know what? Many of us do know that - thinking not only of many trans men but of many men of colour. We know.

Completely agreed. That's why I think so much of this is dogma - "women poor victims, men evil oppressors, difficult cases are to be blamed for presenting a challenge to our faith."
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From:parmonster
Date:23rd November, 2009 09:20 am (UTC)
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At the risk of being an apologist, what I get from the context of that post is that the author is referring to the hecklers and the outright violent men who were booing the protest, not all men present and certainly not all men everywhere.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:23rd November, 2009 09:09 pm (UTC)
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Hi. I'm the woman who was attacked on the RTN march on Saturday and who wrote the post you're dissecting. I just wanted to clarify that the men I was referring to were the men who were openly mocking us or making threatening or disapproving gestures, not ALL of the men in Leicester Square or ALL of the men we saw along the way or just ALL men in general (including trans men and men of colour). I didn't specify that they all appeared to be cis, white men but then, I wasn't intending for it to be read by a wide audience and be reposted on various blogs around the femininst 'sphere. I was writing it more for myself, as a form of catharsis and to process the event and vent my anger. So I apologise if I exhibited a huge intersectionality fail but I was thinking of nothing and no one besides how *I* felt about my experience, less than 24 hours after it happened.
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From:lisaquestions
Date:23rd November, 2009 12:26 am (UTC)
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Not just acceptable, but mandatory. Some men see women creating a space for ourselves, they think they have to destroy it, put us in our place. :(
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From:ailbhe
Date:23rd November, 2009 12:26 am (UTC)
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I'm really quite cross at the commenter who said that the man was more afraid of her than she of him. The old (het/cis normative, but pithy) line "Men are afraid women will laugh at them, women are afraid men will kill them" popped unbidden into my head when I read that.

I think it all boils down to "You are afraid I will challenge your narrow, entitled view of the world, whatever your privilege is. I am afraid you will kill me."
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From:auntysarah
Date:23rd November, 2009 01:22 am (UTC)
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"Men are afraid women will laugh at them, women are afraid men will kill them"

Hell yes! It's like an injury to ones pride matters as much as, you know, being killed. This thinking is so toxic, and if society collectively got over this, there'd be no such thing as "gay panic" or "trans panic", for a start.
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From:emperor
Date:23rd November, 2009 01:23 am (UTC)
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I struggle to comprehend why those men behaved like that :(
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From:auntysarah
Date:23rd November, 2009 01:36 am (UTC)
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I think I can understand why someone might be motivated to do something like that. Perhaps they don't see the women's points, think it's that "man hating feminist nonsense", think the women need to "lighten up". Grabbing some woman's tits is a way to convincingly "win" the argument, to show the "silly" woman how ridiculous her point is, and how little power she has. For him it ends the debate in a single action. She gets to spend the next few days, or more processing the assault which she was powerless to prevent, he laughs, congratulates himself on his cleverness, and walks on.
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From:cmcmck
Date:23rd November, 2009 12:12 pm (UTC)
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It also makes you realise why women of my grandma's generation (I have a pic of her with friends in, as it happens, Trafalgar Square in the twenties when she was very definitely a 'flapper' :o) had hat pins to hand and knew how to use them! When you are only 4'11" tall as she was, I guess you need to know how to protect yourself.......
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From:ailbhe
Date:23rd November, 2009 01:01 pm (UTC)
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Rapists will have them too.
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