Tag Archives: rape culture

Geekfeminism.org statement on rape allegations and transmisogyny

This morning as I was about to get on a plane back from a conference I found out that Dana McCallum, aka Dana L. Contreras, a software engineer at Twitter as well as a feminist activist, was arrested in late January and charged with several felonies including rape, false imprisonment, and domestic violence. Some details of the charges are described on SFgate: SF Women’s Rights Advocate Accused of Raping Wife.

Many of us associated with geekfeminism.org and its sister organizations would like to make a statement in response.

This is horrifying and came as a shock to many of us in feminist communities, as McCallum has been a fellow feminist activist for some time. The bloggers at geekfeminism.org would like to express our empathy and support for the victim/survivor and her family.

Another aspect of this case is that the media coverage of the rape and assault charges are almost universally misogynist and transphobic both in their perpetuation of rape culture (for one, by providing an uncritical platform for McCallum’s lawyer) and in their misgendering and obsessive focus on McCallum’s gender identity and history.  Some radical feminist activists (and their many obvious sockpuppets) have also been writing hateful “trans panic” or TERF articles and tweets. We strongly repudiate such responses.

Rape is a horrible violent crime no matter who the rapist is.

The National Center for Transgender Equality director Mara Keisling says on a comment on a post by Nitasha Tiku,

“Rape is a horrific crime. Sexual violence is never okay. But this isn’t a transgender story. We can’t speak to the specifics of this case but sexual assault knows no gender. That’s why the FBI recently revised their definition of rape. As this case gains more attention, we must avoid using it as a reason to misrepresent transgender people.”

For anyone who has experienced abuse or sexual assault, it can be helpful to turn to local or broader resources. Here is a list of trans-friendly and inclusive rape survivor organizations and resources.  In San Francisco,  San Francisco Women Against Rape is a good resource;  WOMAN Inc, the Cooperative Restraining Order Clinic, and GLIDE also provide many resources for people in the SF Bay Area who have experienced domestic violence. Please don’t go through this on your own; reach out to people around you — you’re not alone.

- Liz Henry

cosigned:

Leigh Honeywell

Valerie Aurora

Brenda Wallace

Tim Chevalier

Annalee Flower Horne

Beth Flanagan

Bring out your linkspam! (9 October, 2012)

  • Angry Nerds And How They’re Terrorizing Our Women | GQ: A take down of the nerds as nice guys trope.
  • Death Threats in Open Source Are not Occurring in a Vacuum | Subfictional Studios: “In other words, reducing and eliminating death threats in the open source community starts with being intolerant of microagressions.”
  • The importance of trustworthy power structures | mjg59: “We shouldn’t be willing to give people a pass simply because they aren’t actually groping anyone or because they’re not members of the KKK. Those who drive people away from the community on the basis of race, gender or sexual orientation deserve vocal condemnation, and if they’re unwilling to change their behaviour then the community should instead act to drive them away.”
  • The Kissing Sailor, or “The Selective Blindness of Rape Culture” and The Kissing Sailor, Part 2 – Debunking Misconceptions | Crates and Ribbons: “It seems pretty clear, then, that what George had committed would be considered sexual assault by modern standards. Yet, in an amazing feat of willful blindness, none of the articles comment on this, even as they reproduce Greta’s words for us. Without a single acknowledgement of the problematic nature of the photo that her comments reveal, they continue to talk about the picture in a whimsical, reverent manner, “still mesmerized by his timeless kiss.” George’s actions are romanticized and glorified; it is almost as if Greta had never spoken.”
  • Join the October Feminist Wikistorm! | Claremont DH: “Wikistorm will be an interactive, informational event in which experts will guide participants in editing, expanding, and creating Wikipedia articles. Experience editors will help students, professors, and any other interested participants actively engage with and improve Wikipedia as an online space. Participants will clean up, add information to, create, or expand Wikipedia articles relating to feminist or anti-racist topics.”
  • Some links that reference the recent GOTO conference:
    • Sexism in Tech | Insight Of An Intern: “Yet there are still moments where I am forced to consider whether this is really an industry culture I wish to be a part of- and whether it really wants me to be a part of it…”
    • Sexism in IT, again | Pro-Science: “We need to stop implicitly accepting this behavior by keeping quite, and instead explicitly express our disdain of it.”

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on delicious or pinboard.in or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

The word LINKS spelt out in clips (safety pins)

To Hit Armor Class Linkspam (7 September, 2012)

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on delicious or pinboard.in or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

Close-up of large weathered chain links in sunlight.

Klaatu barada linkspam (29th June, 2012)

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on delicious, freelish.us or pinboard.in or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

Rape As Back Story – now on the GF wiki

Trigger warning: rape culture

As you may know, a couple of weeks ago they announced that in a forthcoming Tomb Raider game, Lara Croft would be more “vulnerable” and that part of the game would involve rescuing her from being raped. (Link roundup at the Border House blog.)

Around the same time, TVTropes recently deleted their page on “Rape As Back Story”, replacing it with a notice that said: “We do not want a page on this topic. It does not meet our content policy.” A copy of the page is still available in Google’s cache and the Wayback Machine. And, as it so happens, TVTropes pages are licensed under CC-BY-SA. So is the Geek Feminism Wiki. That license compatibility means that content can be copied from one wiki to the other, with attribution of course.

Therefore, I’ve copied the contents of the Google Cache page (presumably the most up to date) to Rape As Back Story on the Geek Feminism Wiki. At present it’s just a cut-and-paste from the rendered page, and isn’t properly marked up. We could use a hand cleaning it up. If you’ve got a few minutes to spare and are familiar with wiki editing (or don’t mind learning), please dive in!

2014 update: as you can see in the comments, after public outcry TVTropes restored the pages. We have since deleted them from the Geek Feminism wiki.

Pillar covered by colourful advertising bills

Special Bonus All Video Gaming Linkspam (15th June, 2012)

Our link wranglers found so many this week, we made it a two-parter.

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on delicious or pinboard.in or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

hot-as-hell

Two feminist comics: fighting for rights is awesome, throwing a fit over feminist frequency’s videos is not

For your viewing pleasure, here’s snippets of a couple of comics that were making the rounds:

Kate or Die! distills an argument that we’ve had a thousand times:

That’s just a single panel of a longer piece. View the rest here.

And Catiemonster summarizes what’s been going on over at Feminist Frequency:

And there’s more! With chainsaws! View the rest here.

Linkspammers of Catan (first fortnight of April linkspam)

Enjoy!

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on delicious or pinboard.in or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

Facebook login screen with 'Rape: Never Funny' text

Outing rape culture

This is a guest post by Jane Osmond. Jane is a co-editor of Women’s Views on News, a researcher and chair of a charity that works with women in street sex working.

Trigger warning for quoted rape threats.

Recently Geek Feminism featured a link to the Women’s Views on News (WVoN) campaign which is attempting to get Facebook to take down a particularly offensive page entitled “You know she’s playing hard to get when your (sic) chasing her down an alleyway’.

The main thrust of the campaign is to get Facebook to acknowledge that by allowing this page (and all that are similar) to remain on the site, then Facebook—as a powerful virtual entity—is perpetuating rape culture: a complex of beliefs that encourages male sexual aggression and supports violence against women.

As a writer for WVoN I came across this page when a link was pasted on “I bet we can find 1,000,000 Proud Feminists on facebook’; I then wrote the first post for WVoN, was ignored by Facebook, sent out a media release, got media coverage, got quoted, was contacted or alerted to other groups in other countries who were also protesting, got the page whitelisted and am now keeping up the pressure at Rape Never Funny.

To date, the most interesting question I have been asked about why WVoN is persisting with the campaign is “Do you think Facebook will change its policies as a result of this campaign?’And I found myself saying “yes’.What’s more, I found myself being surprised by my answer.

In more detail, we all, as women, recognise that rape culture is part of the world that we live in and it is not even peripheral, but actually IS the world we live in, so why would a grassroots campaign against the world biggest social network—which, by default, is run by corporate drones only interested in making the most money possible—win?

Because:

  • since the campaign started, there are now similar campaigns in four countries in the Western world
  • there are many more campaigns that have been started and have perished on the vine only due to lack of media attention
  • women HAVE HAD ENOUGH of being told to sit down, be quiet, and stop being hysterical
  • it is time that the world that women form 50% of listened to what women are saying—that rape culture is a WAR against women and it claims thousands and thousands of casualties every day

The scale of the denial of this war is breathtaking: if one of my favourite species from Star Trek (the Borg, obviously) or favourite characters from Babylon 5 (the fabulous G’Kar) popped down to earth to have a look at us, they would find a society that is compromised, with half of its population being systematically attacked by the other half and the people with the power and those who listen to them busily pretending that this is not happening.

I would argue that women who see the hidden war against them are constantly struggling with the knowledge that society refuses to recognise their reality. They are attacked from every side as they struggle to maintain a coherent narrative about the reality of their lives and maintain an identity that does not fit in with the identities “allowed’ for women. For some women this identity is “feminist’; and these women write, talk, blog and do whatever they can to fight the prevailing sexist hegemony.

For other women, perhaps those who are too firmly enmeshed in “allowed’ female identities, “feminist’ as described and perpetuated by superstructures all over the world, is a step too far. Even so, they still display uneasiness about the very real differences between their lived realities – that being a woman is to be in danger, and the messages – “calm down dear’.

Therefore, women KNOW they are at risk of sexual assault and rape at all times, but society, and Facebook, allows this fact to be joked about, thus both denying its seriousness and reinforcing the cultural denial.So women have to live with the dichotomy of not being able to walk down the street safely after dark, being unable to be an effective actor in their world without being threatened with sexual assault, rape and even murder (witness the recent Geek Feminism focus about women bloggers being under attack) but at the same time are told that it is not really happening, it is not really serious, and to “calm down dear’, by everyone around them.

However, for me, what will turn this tide—ironically—is the internet, which although highlights and underlines not only that rape culture is alive and well, allowing the voices of hatred behind it to write and joke with impunity; also allows women a voice that will not be silenced.

Slut Walk, which although problematic on some levels, would not have been possible without the internet, Geek Feminists gather together on this site to discuss and exchange their stories, Women’s Views on News keeps us up to date with the news from a female standpoint; all of the oppressed, marginalised and disenfranchised women in the Western world, and increasingly the non-Western world, are getting access to the internet and outing themselves as people with a stake in the societies they live in.

And that is why I think Facebook will, at the risk of losing its own place in society, have to change its policies: women are here, women are talking, and women are not going away.

This post was submitted via the Guest posts submission page, if you are interested in guest posting on Geek Feminism please contact us through that page.

Feminist license plates, by Liz Henry CC BY-SA 2.0

When you are faced with the disgusting and contemptible

Trigger warning for rape culture rhetoric, and use of rape language as a joke.

This is an Ask a Geek Feminist question for our readers:

What would a geek feminist do about this sign, which was posted all over the walls at a conference I went to this spring?

[From Mary: trigger warning for linked image, a description follows at the bottom of the post.] http://imgur.com/krkwG

I wasn’t sure what to do, and I’d like to hear what other feminists would suggest. I have no idea who posted the sign, or why. The conference did not have a sexual harassment policy. I felt that the sign was inappropriate but I wasn’t confident that I could convince other people of that — since the sign technically wasn’t about raping humans, and since one of the core values of this community was freedom of speech. Yet I still felt that the sign could hurt people — not just people at the conference but also the conference center staff.

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