Bit late to the party, so to speak, but look: GenderTrender has been suspended again! (scroll down to the comments section).
GT, for those unfamiliar. is a blog with a somewhat unfashionable stance on Gender politics, its proprietor, GallusMag choosing to frame her reportage on current affairs thru the lens of sex rather than the currently-popular language of gender identity.
The last story featured on said, prior to administrator, GallusMag being locked out of her own blog, concerned the case of Dana McCallum, recently charged with five felony counts, including Rape, False Imprisonment and Domestic Assault. Whether the suspension related to that post in particular, or the style and content of GT in general, one can only guess.
Framing McCallum’s (alleged) crime as female-on-female (rather than male-on-female) indubitably alters readers’ perception of said crime; rendering it freakish on the one hand (do women actually do that stuff? Surely not!) whilst simultaneously playing to both liberal – literal – oversimplifications of equality, and conservative suspicion of women. The latter two add up to the same thing: in an ‘equal’ world, we’d both be as nasty as each other. Cynical at best; disingenuous, and still cynical, at worst. A woman accused of violent – and especially sexually-violent – crime is frequently subject to a doubly-potent judgement: guilty not merely of a crime not merely beyond the pale in a supposedly civilised society but also of transgressing her supposedly passive and nurturing rôle. This works against (so-called) cis-women but (covertly) in favour of trans*women, who liberals outwardly support (on principle of their much-vaunted, albeit specious hyper-oppressed status) but whose gender they – also covertly – doubt, since they also grew up sodden with the ‘hormone wash’ of gender (as understood by second-wavers). Clusterfuck is the word, and the last thing anybody with a modicum of agency wants is for you us to understand.
McCallum is an employee of Twitter. Whether S/he was about to come into some money or not, Twitter is still, at present, a force to be reckoned with in online social media. It doesn’t need bad publicity right now. WordPress – and its bloggers – depend on Twitter and other sharing apps for consciousness-penetration. Nepotism is a prevalent – and at lest in part, patriarchal – force in industry. Join the dots, folks…
Despite recent-historical legal improvements made in the handling of sex-assault investigations, ‘the system’ is still fatally-loaded in favour of the accused. Days ago, Tory MP Nigel Evans was acquitted of a series of 7 allegations. Even – generously – allowing a 50/50 ‘benefit-of-the-doubt’ ratio for/against, the statistical chance of him being innocent of all 7 charges (or rather, of 7 witnesses independently accusing him of the same kind of offence) works out at .0078125, or, less than 1%. This less reflects the ‘no smoke without fire’ cliché, than it confirms a generalized failure on the part of the public to believe in sexual assault as a normal fault/consequence of patriarchal modes of human relation. Rape (and violence in general) are depressingly normal, yet we wish to believe them exceptional, requiring proof – even as we privately acknowledge such proof to be empirically impossible to procure – of their reality. Is Evans guilty? Is McCallum? I can’t answer that. What I can say is that their guilt would fall within the parameters of ‘normal’ male behaviours. The fly in the ointment is that we have been persuaded – propagandized – into believing that such behaviour is not in fact, normal, or indeed, as common as witness testimony would lead us to believe . We have to apprehend our condition truthfully if we are to fix it.
It’s a true indictment of our societies that reportage such as GallusMag‘s is read as controversial and worthy of censorship. One can only guess at their motives; but in the absence of proper information, guess we will. GallusMag sits within a tradition of conscious dissent that spirals back thru the likes of Copernicus, Joan of Arc, John Stuart Mill, Jenny Bonett and Germaine Greer – women, and the occasional man – who just won’t toe the party line. The internet was meant to make this shit easier, wasn’t it? It makes it easier for the dissenters to consolidate, for sure; it also makes it easier for the haters to hate, to bully. Who do you want to win? Is oiling the gears and keeping the peace more important than telling the truth? Is the medium your message?
Whilst at school, I did – to my shame now – laugh at all the homophobic jokes; even as wearing my hair long exposed me to ridicule and hurt. I’ve questioned my masculinity; but never my maleness; not even after sex with men. I understand the difference between sex and gender. It’s not even a fine line.
Like ‘misgendered’ vs raped: upset vs physically assaulted. Does McCallum’s feel ex any more or less injured for her alleged assailant ‘identifying’ as female? A recent UK case suggested our legal system was all for treating female sex offenders who identified as male as if they were just that? Does this work in reverse? In the US? Worldwide?
This is what the WWW is for, folks.
Grasp the nettle. Say what you think. What you feel.
*apologies, that link is no good – the programme in question is no longer available on iPlayer. In brief, it’s a documentary about sex offenders including a guy who started molesting his ten-year-old sons to get back back at his wife whom he suspected of cheating on him. This kind of behaviour is, by many accounts not uncommon and is highlighted in Louise Armstrong’s 1994 study on incest, Rocking The Cradle of Sexual Politics. I’ll try to find a new link for the doc, or another suitable case.