Hi internet! It's 2011 now. How is that working out for you? Mine is okay so far. I wore leopard print to a barbecue on New Year's Day but also my girlfriend and I had a fight over a pineapple, so as Robbie Williams would say: win some, lose some. Did you make any New Year's resolutions? I made a couple, but I like to call them New Year's aspirations. At best this sounds more encouraging, but I guess at worst it also makes me sound like a commitment-phobic flake. Case in point: Getting my learner driver license has been on the list of aspirations for the last seven years. While we're on the subject, how weird does it sound when you say learner driver license? I wrote "getting my learners" initially but then I realised that this might not make sense for my international readers. (Yes, I actually have some. This is not wishful thinking. A girl from Ireland even sent me an email once.) So while I might not know how to drive, at least I know how to comprehensively write about my experience of not knowing how to drive. Thank God for that. Thank you Bachelor of Arts degree!
Anyway, my aspirations. I made some. Some of them deliberately achievable (read at least twelve books) and some of them are hopeful (spend some time outside of New Zealand) and some of them are inane (spill less food on my clothes) and there is one that is worth writing about outside of parentheses. So, in 2011 I aspire (not resolve, mind you) to be more like Sady Doyle.
This is a photo of Sady Doyle, who come hell and high water, deserves the title of Sweet Bitch of the Week. This is a photo that I found here, where there is also an interview with Sady, so that's nice isn't it. More words! For you to read! On the internet!
Sady Doyle has been one of my blogging heroes for awhile now. She writes for the blog Tiger Beatdown; a blog which was once recommended to me as being "actually feminist" because I had been lamenting (read: complaining) at the downward spiral of Jezebel, a downward spiral where they now give me advice about how to keep my (non-existant) suede shoes clean and where they actually posted this. Sady writes electrically, and she has written things that have punched me in the gut, like this and this. I mean, she even writes compellingly about her dog, okay.
But (segue alert!) as well as being a really great writer, Sady Doyle started a twitter protest, using the hashtag #MooreAndMe, in response to comments made by Michael Moore and Keith Olbermn about the legitimacy of the sexual assault allegations made against Julian Assange. For the uninitiated, there is a brilliantly thorough recap of events over here, with lots of screen caps and links and documentation of the trolling that went down. For those who are under time pressure there is also a briefer recap here, published on the Guardian. I don't really want to write about the actual events of the protest, because the internet has done that. So if you want more background information, here Sady's initial post on #MooreAndMe, and here is a timeline of events written by Sady and here is the so-moving-I-cried-at-my-desk post that she wrote after Moore and Olberman eventually apologised. If you're interested in any further reading on I highly, highly recommend Kate Harding's fantastic explanation of her involvement with #MooreAndMe; Marianne Kirby's critique of comments made by Naomi Woolf and the commentary at Spilt Milk about rape talk and the WikiLeaks allegations. If I worked at Borders these three blog posts would be the books that I would stick little 'Staff Choice' stickers on, and write little notes about how they are important and about how they are worth your money or the click of your mouse or whatever. Jessica Valenti has also done a pretty great #MooreAndMe link round up here, and for any readers unfamiliar with the term 'rape culture' I give a similar Borders type endorsement to Rape Culture 101, published at Shakesville.
As well as not wanting to write about the actual protest, I'm also not interested in talking about whether Julian Assange is guilty or about how creepy he is or the stupid things he said about Sweden or about the substantial merits of WikiLeaks itself, because really, the internet has done this as well. Well and truly. My feelings on the subject can pretty much be summed up in this Conniptions comic:
And this tweet by Feminist Hulk:
I'm more interested in talking about the bravery and the tenacity and the dogged persistence that Sady showed in keeping that fucking hashtag going. Because Sady didn't just it, she fucking kept at it. For days and days, up against Michael Moore's silence and up against Naomi Of-All-People Wolf coming out and saying that it isn't rape if you penetrate an unconscious woman and up against some of the worst, vitriolic, triggering, slut shaming, victim blaming trolling that I had ever seen on the internet. And by talking about it, by lauding her efforts, I don't intend to minimize the harm or the considerable emotional distress that Sady incurred over the course of the protest and probably will continue to experience. Because she wrote about it, and she wrote about getting death threats because of it, and that shit is fucking terrifying and celebrating her as my feminist hero doesn't make it any less terrifying or upsetting.
The reason, though, that I apsire to be more like Sady Doyle this year is because I tweeted that fucking hash tag like three times and then I gave up. And one of those times, one out of those three fucking times, was a self-servicey tweet I sent yesterday (long after the hash tag had pretty much died) looking for the link to that comprehensive #MooreAndMe recap for this very blog. I mean, could I make this tweet more about me if I tried?
The main reason that I gave up tweeting to that hash tag was because of the trolls. Even my stupid, weeks-too-late, narcistic tweet looking for a link did not go un-trolled.
Yeah. Be careful trawling the internet this week folks, because when you are looking for a link it means you are having a cunt spasm. So like, be careful in public places or whatever.
Weeks later, there are still trolls hanging around that hash tag, looking to frighten and deter and silence those who believe that all rape allegations should be taken seriously, and if that isn't rape culture then I don't know what is. Before this, maybe about three days into the protest, back when Michael Moore still hadn't apologised and when things were looking dire I sent a tweet to Michael Moore (MMflint is his Twitter name) under the #MooreAndMe hashtag.
And this tweet was trolled as well:
And all of a sudden, I just couldn't fucking be bothered. So I didn't tweet to #MooreAndMe again, apart from when I needed a link, because I couldn't be bothered.. I couldn't be bothered tweeting to the hashtag anymore and I couldn't face dealing with rape apologism and mansplaining and a patronising cockwipe telling me that I needed to 'learn' about rape from Julian Assange and that because I am a woman and I felt passionate about something, I therefore must be having a cunt spasm. I didn't have the emotional strength to deal with it, even though I knew that GoldenScepter had ADMITTED to deliberately trolling the hashtag and even though I really wanted to support Sady Doyle and even though I really fucking care about giving rape/sexual assault victims a voice. And Assange and WikiLeaks and #MooreAndMe is inherently linked to giving those victims a voice, because in the words of Sady herself:
"No matter what the actual truth of the Assange case may be, the effect this has on women who are raped is profound, and profoundly terrible. Because it teaches them that, if enough people like your rapist, it is literally unsafe and unacceptable for you to report your own rape."
So the reason that this year I aspire to be more like Sady Doyle is because she kept going when I gave up. It isn't because she started the hash tag in the first place; it's because she didn't stop. And this year, I want to be more like Sady. I don't want to stop. And so, I end the first post of a new year through the immortal genius of not the Bay City Rollers, but of Sady Doyle.
"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."
[Quoted from here.]