[TW for Violence/Murder of Women] The Whorearchy and You (and Me because you keep dragging me into it)
TW: This post will be dealing with whorephobia. Specifically the kind leveled at full service sex workers.
I got really worked up the more I wrote and I’m hoping my language isn’t offensive. I welcome feedback and other people’s opinions on this subject provided they aren’t more whorephobic comments.
This post was spurred by a comment that I myself made when discussing the game ‘Cards Against Humanity’ with some friends. The card ‘chunks of dead prostitute’ came up and how it is one of the most violently awful cards. I mentioned that a ton of people I have played with have played this card during my judging rounds because as a sex worker they think I’ll find it funny.
Let me correct that.
They think that AS A STRIPPER I will find it funny.
It’s a subtle but important distinction. Because, you see, as a stripper I must hate all full service workers. I must loathe them entirely. Despite them. Find the fact that they are put in more danger than me hilarious.
This, readers, is the whorearchy.
The whorearchy is a system that has non sex workers and sex workers alike sort of ranking workers against each other. Who sits where varies from person to person but a common view is that strippers are definitely above full service workers. And even within full services workers, the kind portrayed in Secret Diary of a Call Girl are above the streetwalkers you see on Law and Order. It pits sex workers against each other. It’s what leads to many strippers, porn stars, cam girls, dominatrices saying they are above workers who actually have sex with their clients and customers.
This is bullshit.
I’m not going to get into the whorearchy within the sex work field as that is a different post. I’m here to talk about when you, the non sex worker, supports it. When you try to drag me into it.
Stop. Just stop.
First of all, you do not get to decide that I am better than other sex workers. That’s not accepting me and my job. That’s saying ‘oh I’m still fine with being your friend as long as…’
You don’t know what I do at my job. You don’t know shit about my job, okay. I may not be doing full service but I do plenty at my job (and back when I did bachelor parties) that I’m not sharing with you because I know what your reaction would be. Because I’m not ready to face that rejection from you. Because I’d be part of your joke. Because then if I died at work, I’d be funny to you.
When you tell me that as a stripper I’m cool but that full service workers suck, you are saying you hate women (and men and non-binary people but honestly are you even considering them?) who have sex. That’s it. You hate people who exchange sex for money. You have drawn a line and it is penetrative intercourse. That is what you are doing. You are not being supportive because you aren’t supporting sex workers when you’re only supporting one branch of the sex work tree. You’re supporting strippers in the same way you supported your friend in high school who made out with three guys on spring break but made fun of the girl who slept with one.
Also, let’s look at who CAN’T be strippers. Because stripping is a very looksist job. Much more than full service work most of the time. A lot of people are turned away from being strippers. This ranges from things like people having too many tattoos or alternative haircuts to people who have visible disabilities, people of color, trans people, people of size, and older people.
Full service work is often something people can do independently on various economic levels. It’s something they can come and go from even easier than dancers can come and go from a club. It’s a job where many people from marginalized groups can make a living and work around their needs as people.
And you just shit all over it.
When you say that my being a stripper is better, you are saying that sex work which excludes the groups I mentioned is better. You are saying that people who have a harder time finding work due to discrimination are awful for trying to make their way. You’re also saying something about who should be allowed to be ‘sexy’ and ‘sexual’ and your choices are pretty normative and restrictive.
Lastly, I want to go back to that card and why people would think I find it funny.
Full service workers work outside of the law in most places. This puts them in danger. Danger which is often put in the media as a joke, as a punishment, as something deserved and expected. It is usually female sex workers who are shown on tv as corpses and in films as mutilated props.
Honestly what about that is funny? You think I enjoy my job because I’m not one of those women? That because my job is relatively safer and I experience less stigma I’ll join in on the joke? That me and my coworkers sit in the back room reading about how Gary Ridgeway got away with murder for years because he figured his victims wouldn’t be missed? And that as far as the police were concerned he was right?
Fuck you for trying to pull me in on your bad taste. On you getting off on murder. Fuck you for thinking I take enjoyment in this. How dare you try to pit me against other people. Against other women. How dare you try to bring me in on a massive level of girl hate.
Because something tells me you’re trying to get me to say it’s okay. It’s okay for you to hate full service sex workers because if the stripper says it’s okay then you and your little office or retail job that you hate can totally say it’s okay. Because you’re so far from it. But if the person who does sex work is cool with it then it must be okay.
That’s not how it works. You’re a terrible person.
And you know what, nevermind. That thing I said about not wanting to face rejection from you? I changed my mind. I’m rejecting you.
Anyone who tries to pit me against other sex workers has proven themselves to not be an ally or a trusted individual and they can get the fuck out of my life.
EDIT: SERIOUS TRIGGER WARNING FOR GRAPHIC VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
This is a really serious problem, guys.
Let me tell you a story. Once there was a multi-millionaire pig farmer in Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada, by the name of Robert Pickton. Pickton liked prostitutes, especially poor prostitutes from the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, the poorest postal code in Canada. What did he like about them? He liked how he could invite them out to his farm for work, he liked how he could kill them, he liked how he could cut their bodies up into chunks and feed the pieces to his pigs, he liked that no one cared about investigating missing prostitutes, and he liked that he was able to continue this operation of murdering women for twenty years.
So, “chunks of dead prostitute”? IT HAPPENED. IT HAPPENS. IT IS SICK.
On with the story. The murders started in 1983. They continued until 2002 when the RCMP arrested Pickton for firearms possession and then received a warrant to search his farm in connection to the BC Missing Women Investigation. The RCMP found items belonging to some of the women reported missing, so the farm was sealed off and and forensics teams came in to search for remains.
On Friday, February 22, 2002, Pickton was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Sereena Abotsway and Mona Wilson. On April 2, 2002 three more charges were added for the murders of Jacqueline McDonell, Diane Rock and Heather Bottomley. A sixth charge for the murder of Andrea Joesbury was laid on April 9, 2002 followed shortly by a seventh for Brenda Wolfe. On September 20, 2002 four more charges were added for the slayings of Georgina Papin, Patricia Johnson, Helen Hallmark and Jennifer Furminger. Four more charges for the murders of Heather Chinnock, Tanya Holyk, Sherry Irving and Inga Hall were laid on October 3, 2002, bringing the total to fifteen, making the investigation the largest of any serial killer in Canadian history. On May 26, 2005, twelve more charges were laid against him for the killings of Cara Ellis, Andrea Borhaven, Debra Lynne Jones, Marnie Frey, Tiffany Drew, Kerry Koski, Sarah de Vries, Cynthia Feliks, Angela Jardine, Wendy Crawford, Diana Melnick, and Jane Doe (unidentified woman) bringing the total number of first-degree murder charges to 27. [x]
So they had found evidence that led them to charge Pickton with 27 counts of first-degree murder. Pickton also boasted to an undercover police officer posing as a cellmate in prison that he killed 49 women and lamented that he couldn’t kill just one more before he got caught so he could make it an even 50. He said the only reason he was caught was because he got “sloppy”.
However, the trial only ultimately charged him with 6 murders and (of the original 27, one was dismissed for lack of evidence and the other twenty were split for another trial), while the jury decided he was guilty, they lowered his charge to second-degree murder. That’s right, the jury decided that these murders weren’t pre-meditated. That they weren’t planned. Pickton had been killing sex workers for almost 20 years and the jury thought he wasn’t planning this shit.
Of the remaining 20 charges of first-degree murder that were still laid on Pickton, none of them ever went to trial and were officially stayed by the Crown in 2010. The reasoning given was that there could be no increase to Pickton’s existing sentence, because he was already serving life in prison.
So how did no one notice that women went to the Pickton Pig Farm and never came back? The thing is, people did. People reported it. A prostitute was stabbed by Pickton in 1997, survived, told the police, but the charge of attempted murder was dropped.
At the preliminary inquiry it was revealed that in 1997 Pickton had been charged with attempted murder in connection with the stabbing of a prostitute. The woman survived and testified at the 2003 preliminary inquiry that after driving her to the Port Coquitlam farm and having sex with her, Pickton slapped a handcuff on her left hand, and stabbed her in the abdomen. She also had stabbed Pickton. Later both she and Pickton were treated at the same hospital, where staff used a key they found in Pickton’s pocket to remove the handcuffs from the woman’s wrist. The attempted-murder charge against Pickton was stayed on January 27, 1998, because the woman had drug addiction issues and prosecutors believed her too unstable for her testimony to help secure a conviction. The clothes and rubber boots Pickton had been wearing that evening were seized by police and left in an RCMP storage locker for more than seven years. Not until 2004 did lab testing show that the DNA of two missing women were on the items seized from Pickton in 1997.
In 1999, Canadian police were tipped that Pickton had a freezer filled with human flesh on his farm. Although they interviewed Pickton and obtained his consent to a search of his farm, the police never conducted one.
That’s right, because the woman suffered from drug addiction and was “unstable”, prosecutors decided it wasn’t worth it to try and convict Pickton. In 1998.
The testimony at the trial was horrifically gruesome. Skulls cut in half with hands and feet shoved inside. A revolver with a dildo attached to the barrel, because that’s not seriously fucked up. Pickton boasted that a good way to kill a heroin addict was to inject her with windshield washer fluid. Shit like that. It’s also likely that Pickton mixed the flesh of his victims with the pork from his pigs and then sold it to the public.
So, the next time you joke about “chunks of dead prostitute”, remember Willy Pickton and his pig farm, the police that let him continue murdering because the victims were just poor drug addicted prostitutes, and remember Pickton’s victims, women who were just trying to make money to live and ended up being murdered and fed to pigs for the amusement of a multi-millionaire.
Full service sex workers are people. They are no less than you. They deserve justice and respect just like anyone else. Every time you joke about gruesomely murdering and dismembering a full service sex worker, you’re telling people like Robert Pickton that he chose the right victims.
It’s also really disgusting to me how “prostitute” is often a qualifier for devaluing women’s humanity. That Cards Against Humanity card would have never gotten published if it was “Chunks of Dead Women”, because most people understand that that is horrifying and unfunny. But “Chunks of Dead Prostitute” made it in, because to a bunch of white, cis men (aka the creators of CAH) if a woman is a sex worker, her value is automatically diminished to the point that any violence done against her is deserved enough to be humorous. Those (and most) men have the privilege of never having to even imagine how it feels to have a job in which your own death at the hands of a client is a very possible risk, and one that will likely go unpunished or under-punished simply because of how society sees you.
I need white people to stop pretending consent was possible during slavery.
Stop lying to yourselves that those black cousins are the result of illicit love affairs & grasp that slaves could not say no.
When consent is not an option, when you’re only seen as 3/5ths of a human being & you have no legal standing? You can’t say yes.
I need white America to sit down for a sec. Look into the faces of black Americans with the same last names & figure it the fuck out.
Our ancestors were raped by your ancestors. Regularly. Some of the kids were treated kindly. Most were not. They were sold.
White mistresses punished the slaves for “tempting” master & congratulated themselves on that bloody work. Read the narratives.
Not the cleaned up ones either. Read Incidents in The Life of A Slave Girl & understand that Mammy was a victim, not the one who loved you.
She couldn’t care for her kids, couldn’t choose her husband or their father most of the time. She was a slave.
Millions of people died on the Middle Passage. Millions more died here at the hands of your ancestors. Own that.
Now you want to sing Kumbaya & keep oppressing our communities & erasing our contributions. Spare me the tired bullshit.
Male slaves fared no better. There’s a long history of them being raped, tortured & killed too. That was slavery. Stop romanticizing it.
Our children were fed to alligators as bait (feel free to look that up) died of starvation or exposure & that was slavery too. Yep, we were livestock & you use sickly livestock as bait.
Stop watching Gone With The Wind & fantasizing about beautiful plantations if you can’t accept what happened on those plantations.
House slaves had it better in the sense of access to food & possibly better treatment, but they were still slaves.
14 year old slave girls weren’t falling in love with the men who could beat them & everyone they loved to death.
Read the tales of enslaved women who killed their children to spare them. Read about people beaten to death as an example.
Sally Hemings could have left Jefferson in Paris. Of course her entire family was still in his power. And his “love”? Didn’t free her. Ever.
Go look at the pictures of former slaves backs. Whipped until they bled & left to scar so they were maimed for life & couldn’t run.
Also before you talk about the cleaned up narratives, remember that the people relating their stories knew lynching was always possible.
Records of slavery were deliberately destroyed so that former owners wouldn’t have to pay anyone.
That “peculiar institution” was generations of blood, pain, & terror. That’s what built America. Never forget that.
Now stop talking about anyone’s white ancestors like they deserve the fucking credit for the success of people descended from slaves.
American slavery began in 1619. June 19, 1865 was the last official day of slavery. Do the math on how long it takes to heal that wound.
After slavery was officially over? Black codes & Jim Crow laws followed. America’s history of oppression is longer than that of freedom.
Also before any d*mb motherfuckers land in my mentions. I have a degree in history. I will read you to filth & bury you in sources.
Trust & believe there is no country here for people who want to romanticize a system that is still grinding away at my community.
All this fluffy fucking talk about American history to coddle white kids feelings & engender patriotism? You won’t get it here.
My ancestors built this country, I served this country & I will tell the damned truth about this country. Don’t like it? Fuck you.
Now let me get in my feelings about slavery before Africans were brought here. Because we weren’t the first people enslaved.
We were deliberately sought out for our skill sets & resistance to disease. Know why we were resistant? We’d had contact for years.
All of that “My ancestors never owned slaves so it has nothing to do with me?” Go look at those NDN ancestors again. See how many were free.
While you’re in there checking that out? Look up those old country ancestors & see how many benefited from slavery indirectly.
Also while we’re talking about NDN relatives? Yo, learn a name besides Cherokee. Better yet, learn about the genocidal tactics they faced.
Look up immigrant groups becoming white in America. Find out who had to bleed so they could gain access to white privilege.
Let’s really talk about the Red Summer of 1919 & how it wasn’t an unusual occurrence. Tulsa, Rosewood? They were just famous.
Let’s talk about welfare & who could access it. Hell let’s talk about who is collecting more of it right now.
Let’s talk about the primary beneficiaries of affirmative action (spoiler! White women!) & what it means to attack black people instead.
Shit, let’s get into the Great Depression & the Great Recession & who is hurting the most financially through both.
Let’s talk about conditions on reservations, in the inner city, & the violence faced by POC who try to leave those areas.
Hell, let’s talk about why we don’t see shows that reflect the American population set in the past, present, or future.
Go read Columbus’ diaries & see what “civilization” really meant to the people he encountered.
For that matter go read up on King Leopold & the Congo. I’ll wait while you cry.
That’s the thing about whiteness as a social construct in America. It’s not about white people, it’s about white power over others.
When we’re talking about white privilege? We’re talking about what it takes to shape this society based on oppression.
America is a young country with a lot of power because of genocide, slavery, & continuing oppression. Individuals build institutions.
All of these conversations aren’t about bringing out white guilt, they’re about ending this institution developed over the generations.
Also let’s be clear that America is sick with this ish across the political spectrum. It may manifest differently but it exists everywhere.
Before I go, let me also suggest that people who are curious about anything I tweeted about take a tour through Google with terms.
It’s not that I won’t answer questions, but there are books out there that I think everyone should read on slavery, whiteness, & America.
Karnythia, laying it down with righteousness on Juneteenth — the truth about slavery and its lingering effects on America. (via skyliting)
I don’t want to see tl;dr no you ALL need to fucking read this. (via thisisnotblackhistorymonth)
I’m too “biracial” to hear this
*sits back and sips tea*
When [an abusive man] tells me that he became abusive because he lost control of himself, I ask him why he didn’t do something even worse. For example, I might say, “You called her a fucking whore, you grabbed the phone out of her hand and whipped it across the room, and then you gave her a shove and she fell down. There she was at your feet where it would have been easy to kick her in the head. Now, you have just finished telling me that you were ‘totally out of control’ at that time, but you didn’t kick her. What stopped you?” And the client can always give me a reason. Here are some common explanations:
"I wouldn’t want to cause her a serious injury."
“I realized one of the children was watching.”
“I was afraid someone would call the police.”
“I could kill her if I did that.”
“The fight was getting loud, and I was afraid the neighbors would hear.”
And the most frequent response of all:
"Jesus, I wouldn’t do that. I would never do something like that to her.”
The response that I almost never heard — I remember hearing it twice in the fifteen years — was: “I don’t know.”
These ready answers strip the cover off of my clients’ loss of control excuse. While a man is on an abusive rampage, verbally or physically, his mind maintains awareness of a number of questions: “Am I doing something that other people could find out about, so it could make me look bad? Am I doing anything that could get me in legal trouble? Could I get hurt myself? Am I doing anything that I myself consider too cruel, gross, or violent?”
A critical insight seeped into me from working with my first few dozen clients: An abuser almost never does anything that he himself considers morally unacceptable. He may hide what he does because he thinks other people would disagree with it, but he feels justified inside. I can’t remember a client ever having said to me: “There’s no way I can defend what I did. It was just totally wrong.” He invariably has a reason that he considers good enough. In short, an abuser’s core problem is that he has a distorted sense of right and wrong.
I sometimes ask my clients the following question: “How many of you have ever felt angry enough at youer mother to get the urge to call her a bitch?” Typically half or more of the group members raise their hands. Then I ask, “How many of you have ever acted on that urge?” All the hands fly down, and the men cast appalled gazes on me, as if I had just asked whether they sell drugs outside elementary schools. So then I ask, “Well, why haven’t you?” The same answer shoots out from the men each time I do this exercise: “But you can’t treat your mother like that, no matter how angry you are! You just don’t do that!”
The unspoken remainder of this statement, which we can fill in for my clients, is: “But you can treat your wife or girlfriend like that, as long as you have a good enough reason. That’s different.” In other words, the abuser’s problem lies above all in his belief that controlling or abusing his female partner is justifiable…. Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men (via seebster)
When you are hurting, there will always be people who find a way to make it about themselves. If you break your wrist, they’ll complain about a sprained ankle. If you are sad, they’re sadder. If you’re asking for help, they’ll demand more attention.
Here is a fact: I was in a hospital and sobbing into my palms when a woman approached me and asked why I was making so much noise and I managed to stutter that my best friend shot himself in the head and now he was 100% certified dead and she made this little grunt and had the nerve to tell me, “Well now you made me sad.”
When you get angry, there are going to be people who ask you to shut up and sit down, and they’re not going to do it nicely. Theirs are the faces that turn bright red before you have a chance to finish your sentence. They won’t ask you to explain yourself. They’ll be mad that you’re mad and that will be their whole reason alone.
Here is a fact: I was in an alleyway a few weeks ago, stroking my friend’s back as she vomited fourteen tequila shots. “I hate men,” she wheezed as her sides heaved, “I hate all of them.”
I braided her hair so it wouldn’t get caught in the mess. I didn’t correct her and reply that she does in fact love her father and her little brother too, that there are strangers she has yet to meet that will be better for her than any of her shitty ex-boyfriends, that half of our group of friends identifies as male - I could hear each of her bruises in those words and I didn’t ask her to soften the blow when she was trying to buff them out of her skin. She doesn’t hate all men. She never did.
She had the misfortune to be overheard by a drunk guy in an ill-fitting suit, a boy trying to look like a man and leering down my dress as he stormed towards us. “Fuck you, lady,” he said, “Fuck you. Not all men are evil, you know.”
“Thanks,” I told him dryly, pulling on her hand, trying to get her inside again, “See you.”
He followed us. Wouldn’t stop shouting. How dare she get mad. How dare she was hurting. “It’s hard for me too!” he yowled after us. “With fuckers like you, how’s a guy supposed to live?”
Here’s a fact: my father is Cuban and my genes repeat his. Once one of my teachers looked at my heritage and said, “Your skin doesn’t look dirty enough to be a Mexican.”
When my cheeks grew pink and my tongue dried up, someone else in the classroom stood up. “You can’t say that,” he said, “That’s fucking racist. We could report you for that.”
Our teacher turned vicious. “You wanna fail this class? Go ahead. Report me. I was joking. It’s my word against yours. I hate kids like you. You think you’ve got all the power - you don’t. I do.”
Later that kid and I became close friends and we skipped class to do anything else and the two of us were lying on our backs staring up at the sky and as we talked about that moment, he sighed, “I hate white people.” His girlfriend is white and so is his mom. I reached out until my fingers were resting in the warmth of his palm.
He spoke up each time our teacher said something shitty. He failed the class. I stayed silent. I got the A but I wish that I didn’t.
Here is a fact: I think gender is a social construct and people that want to tell others what defines it just haven’t done their homework. I personally happen to have the luck of the draw and am the same gender as my sex, which basically just means society leaves me alone about this one particular thing.
Until I met Alex, who said he hated cis people. My throat closed up. I’m not good at confrontation. I avoided him because I didn’t want to bother him.
One day I was going on a walk and I found him behind our school, bleeding out of the side of his mouth. The only thing I really know is how to patch people up. He winced when the antibacterial cream went across his new wounds. “I hate cis people,” he said weakly.
I looked at him and pushed his hair back from his head. “I understand why you do.”
Here is a fact: anger is a secondary emotion. Anger is how people stop themselves from hurting. Anger is how people stop themselves by empathizing.
It is easy for the drunken man to be mad at my friend. If he says “Hey, fuck you, lady,” he doesn’t have to worry about what’s so wrong about men.
It’s easy for my teacher to fail the kids who speak up. If we’re just smart-ass students, it’s not his fault we fuck up.
It’s easy for me to hate Alex for labeling me as dangerous when I’ve never hurt someone a day in my life. But I’m safe in my skin and his life is at risk just by going to the bathroom. I understand why he says things like that. I finally do.
There’s a difference between the spread of hatred and the frustration of people who are hurting. The thing is, when you are broken, there will always be someone who says “I’m worse, stop talking.” There will always be people who are mad you’re trying to steal the attention. There will always be people who get mad at the same time as you do - they hate being challenged. It changes the rules.
I say I hate all Mondays but my sister was born on one and she’s the greatest joy I have ever known. I say I hate brown but it’s really just the word and how it turns your mouth down - the colour is my hair and my eyes and my favorite sweater. I say I hate pineapple but I still try it again every Easter, just to see if it stings less this year. It’s okay to be sad when you hear someone generalize a group you’re in. But instead of assuming they’re evil and filled with hatred, maybe ask them why they think that way - who knows, you might just end up with a new and kind friend. By telling the oppressed that their anger is unjustified, you allow the oppression to continue. I know it’s hard to stay calm. I know it’s scary. But you’re coming from the safe place and they aren’t. Just please … Try to be more understanding. /// r.i.d (via inkskinned)
I could argue that any negative reaction to my skin is a problem for others to grapple with and of no concern to me. I’ve tried that approach before; one memorable attempt ended with me being pulled out of my car by two police officers and handcuffed for the felonious infractions of having a blown headlight and insufficient self-abasement. It is an unspoken rule that blackness’ first and most important task is to make everyone feel safe from it. We ignore this mandate at our own peril, realizing that a simple misunderstanding is a life or death proposition.
Jonathan Ferrell ran towards police seeking help after a car accident and was given a hail of bullets for his troubles. Renisha McBride went in search of a Good Samaritan after her accident and a shotgun blast answered her knock. Teenager Trayvon Martin walked home with candy and tea and was greeted by the nervous trigger finger wrapped in an adult’s gun. Jordan Davis sat in a car outside a convenience store listening to music and a man who objected to the volume cut his life short with the boom of a firearm. The principal crime all of them committed, like countless others over the centuries, was being black and not sufficiently prostrating themselves to ensure the comfort of others. Theodore R. Johnson, “Black History Month Isn’t Making Life Better for Black Americans” (via thisiswhitehistory)
Anonymous asked: hey did u know that its really not good to use like more or less human as words to describe characters?? especially characters like parker who can be read as autistic??
I can understand that and I can definitely be more sensitive in my sentence structures.
I gotta say though my hackles went up when I got this. I can understand as to why my wording could/would hurt someone and can certainly empathize— who hasn’t got their feelers hurt ‘cause some ass-hat is flinging out offensive and hurtful words left and right?
The problem I have with this is: at what point in modifying my speech is it considered enough? I mean, fuck, the only words I’d have left are the conjunctions. That’d be one long run-on sentence ehehee.
Communication is my thing— I’m a writer, I like connecting with people most days and I use words to do it (obviously, okay, yeah— but some people are cool enough that they just use their eyes). To have someone dictate which words I can and cannot use or tell me how to properly word my sentence structures so as not to offend anyone— well that gets me all kinds of pissed off.
So I guess I should make a disclaimer or a forewarning of sorts. I’m not going to tiptoe around using nothing but niceties and dulling my words to appease anybody. I’m not gonna be a dick either so… there’s that.
Fellow writer here. So believe me when I say I do understand the kneejerk defensiveness and the almost possessive sense of “but they’re my words and you don’t get to tell me how to use them”. I’ve been there, done that. More times than I care to count.
But to say that “the only words I’d have left are the conjunctions” is incredibly disingenuous. You’re positing a blatantly overblown slippery slope argument.
I mean, you’re a writer. You love language and writing and words and communication. So you of all people should know that language is a vast and varied and adaptable thing, and there will always be some other way of conveying whatever meaning you intended to convey. There are synonyms, descriptive phrases, loanwords and phrases, all the usual hacks and workarounds that any system as complex as human language will inevitably have. Stretch your writerly skills a bit and find them. Find multiple ones and try them out and work with them until you’ve got one that works well for you, or at least well enough.
Because if you adamantly refuse to make that effort, what you’re saying is, “I prioritize my ability to say whatever I want over your ability to navigate the world unharmed.”
In this specific case, we’re talking about a character that could be read as autistic, and a phrasing that subtly implies that she might not be entirely human.
Have you by any chance looked at the statistics on the murder of autistic people by caregivers recently? This is A Thing That Happens. Not just with autistic people, but with people of all kinds of disabilities. Sometimes it’s direct murder. Sometimes it’s medical neglect - there was a horrific story recently about a woman who needed a permanent feeding tube to live, and the doctors and nurses and basically fucking everyone involved kept trying to pressure her out of it, quite literally encouraging her to let herself die rather than seek this treatment. This kind of shit happens, and is excused or at least kinda tolerated even by the well-meaning, because we collectively see people with disabilities as less than human, their lives worth less than non-disabled people’s lives.
So when you refer to a potentially autistic character as “are you even human?” you are, with your choice of words, directly contributing to upholding a collective worldview that literally gets people killed.
Do I think it’s malicious or intentional? Not in the slightest. But the thing is, that doesn’t make it not hurtful or harmful anymore.
So if someone tells you that you’re doing a harmful thing, and your response is “don’t tell me what to say, I’m gonna say whatever I want in the name of “not appeasing anybody” and you can’t stop me”…yeah there’s pretty much no way for you to not be a dick about it. That is, by definition, a dick move.
To be fair, you did start by saying you “could be more sensitive” in your wording, and that’s good. But you then devote like three more paragraphs to why you shouldn’t have to do that. Kind of undermines it a bit, you know? ”Yeah, I could be more careful…but I really shouldn’t have to be and here’s why.”
Your ability to use the words you like should never be considered more important than other people’s lives, health, safety, and well-being. So as much as I understand being upset because someone told you you’re doing something wrong, I would urge you to rethink that position.
Take it from another writer, one who has made some pretty solid changes to their idiolect and writing voice for these kinds of reasons: it’s really not that bad, nor is it that hard. Once you’re used to it and have got your preferred workarounds in place, you don’t even notice the difference. (Hell, it can actually make your communicative abilities better; giving up calling things “gay/lame/r******d” forced me to find new and, at this point, increasingly inventive ways to express my displeasure with or derision for any given object or person or idea. It’s a lot more satisfying to tell someone “that’s the most cocktacular idea I think I’ve ever heard” or “you know, I have to almost admire your ability to combine absurdity with malice” than it is to say “that’s lame/you’re crazy”)
PS using minimizing language like “tiptoe around” and “appease anybody” in your reply is in itself a dick move, even setting aside the ideological aspects of the issue. So if you’re serious about not being a dick, you might reconsider that, too.
Lupita Nyong’o, from her cover story in Dujour magazine about the horrifying things she learned while studying for her breakout role as Patsey in 12 Years a Slave.
So they DID make stuff out of the skin of slaves?
I’ve been in existence for nearly 22 years and I’m just NOW learning this? The American education system can get fucked
I’m probably going to throw up oh my god I can’t believe it
If you don’t believe me about Pope Francis being a huge motherfucker
I am so sick of people praising him just because the motherfucker said that queer people should not be judged for being sinners because we’re all sinners (THAT. IS LITERALLY. WHAT HE SAID. NOT THAT WE’RE HUMAN. NOT THAT WE’RE NOT DEVIANTS.), because he hasn’t YET spoken shit about women since being elected as Pope while he did when he wasn’t - and I mean VILE AS FUCK SHIT ABOUT WOMEN. Shit he’s never once apologized for. Both about his homophobic bullshit and his misogyny.
And let’s again NOT EVEN GET INTO THE WHOLE JUNTA THING.
Or actually, let’s do it.
But others, especially in Bergoglio’s native Argentina, see in Francis the Church’s stubborn pursuit to remain silent over some of history’s worst crimes, even to re-write history to cast a more positive light on the Church.
The fact is Francis does not arrive at the Vatican with a clean slate. Even before he could lead eager throngs of Catholics through his first papal “Hail Mary” from the loggia overlooking Saint Peter’s Square on March 13, allegations of his complicity with Argentina’s bloody dictatorship in the 1970s and 80s were already resurfacing on the Internet.
The 1976-1982 junta’s so-called “Dirty War” targeting leftists resulted in as many as 30,000 dead and disappeared, including dozens of priests, nuns and lay people working for the Church at the time.
On Sunday, an Argentinian newspaper published a government memo that seems to definitively prove that Bergoglio did indeed provide information to the murderous dictatorship, informing authorities about allegations against two Jesuit priests who were kidnapped, tortured and imprisoned for five months for allegedly contacting anti-regime leftist guerrillas. Furthermore, Gregoglio is alleged to have sold the priests out even while he personally promised them his protection. On March 13, Digital Journal published a lengthy article detailing Jorge Bergoglio’s— and the Argentine Catholic church’s— alleged role in collaborating with that country’s brutal, US-backed military dictatorship, a regime characterized by kidnapping, torture, murder and disappearance. As many as 30,000 people, from students, trade unionists, journalists and leftists and their sympathizers to children and even pregnant women (whose babies were stolen), were killed or disappeared during the 1976-1983 ‘Dirty War,’ which was fully supported by the Carter and Reagan administrations. Many of the most brutal regime figures, including the dictator Gen. Leopoldo Galtieri, were trained by the US military in kidnapping, torture, assassination and democracy suppression.
I am Chilean. We ALSO had a military dictatorship at around the same time Argentina did. Plenty of other South American countries did. All around the same period of time. All in which the USA’s government was involved.
The Catholic Church was at best silent in every. single. case. Why? Because those dictatorships overthrew left-wing governments, including ours, which was a democratically elected Socialist government (I am no fan of the UP or Salvador Allende either, by the way, BUT THESE ARE THE REASONS WHY THE US WAS INVOLVED. COLD WAR. AND THAT IS THE REASON WHY THE CHURCH COLLABROATED OR REMAINED SILENT TOO.)
Here we have Francis along with Videla, a member of the fascist junta!
Poor thing. He looks so distressed!
About his homophobic and misogynistic remakrs:
says women are unfit for political office, that gay adoption is child abuse and that same sex-marriage seriously damages the family. In short, the new is just another religious bigot, with a record of misogyny and homophobia.
"Women are naturally unfit for political office. Both the natural order and facts show us that the political being par excellence is male; the Scripture shows us that woman has always been the helper of man who thinks and does, but nothing more."
Through a memo, the Movilh (Pro queer Chilean group) assured that the new pope “has taken role into plenty of hateful crusades against equal rights for sexual minorities.”
In the same way, said movement reminded us that he tried to stop in 2010 the bill of marriage equality, which provoked conflict in the Argentinian government.
Time's Person of the Year, everyone!
Crystal Ragin, an Army sergeant serving at Fort Eustis, told a judge that she feared for her life and didn’t know what would happen to her and her four children once she left the courthouse. Earlier, she had testified against her husband in a domestic abuse case accusing him of picking her up and throwing her to the floor.
The judge issued the protective order that day barring John Ragin from having any contact with Crystal. But before it could be served, the Ragins got into a dispute at Crystal’s home. Police arriving to that call for help couldn’t find the order in the system and let John Ragin go. The next afternoon, Crystal and three of her children were found stabbed to death. One child, John Ragin’s biological son, was left unharmed and taken by John Ragin to South Carolina after the murders.
A sheriff’s deputy arriving to serve the protective order 24 hours after it was issued found police searching Ragin’s Newport News home. Ragin, who was arrested in South Carolina, faces charges of capital murder and is awaiting trial. BEHIND THE BLOODSHED: THE UNTOLD STORY OF AMERICA’S MASS KILLINGS