I honestly don’t. I do think it’s terrible and I do think animal cruelty is a serious issue but I think calling that rape and saying it’s identical to what humans suffer is just disrespectful and carries a lot of baggage that I think most people don’t consider or aren’t even aware of.
So, yes, animals have feelings and an awareness of some kind, I’m not going to pretend otherwise and I don’t think it’s useful to pretend otherwise. But I don’t believe that the feelings and awareness and understandings nonhuman animals are capable of (or at least most nonhuman animals anyway) are as advanced as the ones humans are capable of. I believe there’s a scale and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to believe that. Fruit flies are not going to have any legitimate concept of captivity like a whale might, for instance, and in that same vein I don’t believe a cow has any concept of being significantly violated, degraded, attacked, etc during a forced insemination like a human might. I don’t think it’s reasonable to compare the two in an apples to apples sort of way. That doesn’t mean it’s not cruel and that doesn’t mean it’s ok to do it but it’s still not rape.
Rape is a problem specifically because it involves a significant psychological component for both the victims and the rapists and I just think that equating the psychological effects for a cow being forcibly inseminated with the psychological effects for a human being raped is so disrespectful to what that human goes through that I don’t even have appropriate words in our language for the magnitude of it and I will never ever ever be ok with what I and others have experienced being called the same as that.
Additionally, there’s a really long history of marginalized people being compared with animals in some way. Women have often been chattel, for instance, and treated as or compared with animal property. Even more than that, though, the fetishizing and dehumanizing of People of Color that have been going on for centuries involve very specific comparisons with animals. The scientific racism of the 19th and 20th centuries even set out to prove that African, Asian, and Native people are closer to animals than they are to white people who are the measuring stick for “human.” That kind of shit is still present in modern day racism and sometimes it’s not even subtle.
So when we social justice people start comparing the experiences of animals with the experiences of humans we’re rubbing up against that and we’re rubbing up against that in ways that just… it’s just too reminiscient of that kind of racism and sexism and I can’t be comfortable with it. I’m not ever going to be ok with people comparing humans and animals in a way that makes anything about them identical because for so long men and white people have been doing just that in order to dehumanize and objectify women and People of Color in order to justify they heinous treatment that they blithely give women and People of Color. So, making comparisons of human rape to the forced insemination of cows without an understanding and acknowledgement of the historic animalistic comparisons made via racism and sexism is just not ok, it’s oppressive even if it comes from a place of ignorance or even if it’s well-meaning.
So, if you want to compare the two that’s your call but I don’t think it’s reasonable, I do think it’s disrespectful, and it’s definitely a corollary with racist and sexist doctrines that still infect modern day racism and sexism. That’s how I see it anyway
There is no unmarked woman.
There is no woman’s hair style that can be called standard, that says nothing about her. The range of women’s hair styles is staggering, but a woman whose hair has no particular style is perceived as not caring about how she looks, which can disqualify her for many positions, and will subtly diminish her as a person in the eyes of some.
Women must choose between attractive shoes and comfortable shoes. When our group made an unexpected trek, the woman who wore flat, laced shoes arrived first. Last to arrive was the woman in spike heels, shoes in hand and a handful of men around her.
If a woman’s clothing is tight or revealing (in other words, sexy), it sends a message — an intended one of wanting to be attractive, but also a possibly unintended one of availability. If her clothes are not sexy, that too sends a message, lent meaning by the knowledge that they could have been. There are thousands of cosmetic products from which women can choose and myriad ways of applying them. Yet no makeup at all is anything but unmarked. Some men see it as a hostile refusal to please them.
Women can’t even fill out a form without telling stories about themselves. Most forms give four titles to choose from. “Mr.” carries no meaning other than that the respondent is male. But a woman who checks “Mrs.” or “Miss” communicates not only whether she has been married but also whether she has conservative tastes in forms of address — and probably other conservative values as well. Checking “Ms.” declines to let on about marriage (checking “Mr.” declines nothing since nothing was asked), but it also marks her as either liberated or rebellious, depending on the observer’s attitudes and assumptions.
“It’s just a couple of comments, don’t worry about it!”
“You care too much, we all have haters!”
“It gets better, be the bigger person.”
“Don’t worry! What goes around comes around!”
No. It doesn’t always come around. And it hasn’t gotten better. It’s only gotten worse. Because now as adults we’ve figured out how to wield the most hateful and strategically wounding comments we can when we want to hurt someone. Bullying is not something that you just get over. Bullying baits internalized hatred that eats you alive. Bullying pushes you to the darkest corner of loneliness where the light of love from your family and friends is dimmed. Bullying drives your insecurity to new heights of paranoia. Bullying kills. Bullying is not something that you just get over. Bullying is not solved by focusing on the victim ignoring it. Bullying is an acceptable form of sadistic power that society institutionalizes as a rite of passage. Bullying gets attention in hindsight but only if someone gets hurt.
We’re tricked into believing that everyone’s status and identity in society is on equal level so it’s seemingly a fair fight between those born with oppressive power and those who live dis-empowered institutionally. And in my case, people don’t understand that this is not the first time I’ve been severely bullied because of my size, race, and weight. This is one out of thousands of incidents where people have found ways to specifically target me for my fatness. Yes, thousands. Because it starts to add up when you’ve been fat since 3rd grade. It starts to add up in cuts when you self-harm. It starts to add up in bad thoughts and bad head space when you’ve previously considered suicide. To the people who dehumanize other people for that temporary laugh, it’s just a penny. But the people who are on the receiving end of that dehumanization have a piggy bank full of pennies, full of shame. And eventually, you’re rich in self-hate, self-doubt, and sadness.
I’ve been verbally harassed my entire life. If it’s not someone yelling “fat ass” from a car window as they drive by, it’s someone pointing and laughing at me in public spaces. I’ve had adults approach me to discuss my weight as if a.) my body is any of their business, b.) my health is any of their business, and c.) I asked for their unwarranted opinion. I’ve had people compliment parts of my being strategically in order to avoid ever giving me an all-encompassing flattering remark that might include my fatness.
I’ve had my privacy constantly invaded without an afterthought. A girl who wanted to record a fat person dancing so badly followed and harassed me around a club. I’ve caught people taking pictures of me while I’m eating. I caught a woman taking a picture of my ass because my dress was accidentally hiked up. She thought it was more important to document a fat person experiencing a commonality for most people who wear skirts and dresses than to tell me that my dress was hiked up so I could fix it.
I’ve been physically assaulted and spit on for being fat. More often than not, men have justified hurting or punishing me for speaking up or being vocal about my opinion because I’m fat. The invalidation of my gender as a fat woman in addition to the invalidation of my femininity and womanhood as a black woman leads to the justification of my dehumanization in society. I’m often seen as aggressive and hostile because of the negative stereotyping surrounding fat people and black women, and that allows people to find justification in bullying me and in the idea that I’m perpetually the aggressor and never a victim.
I was raped when I was 18 by a man who subsequently told me that I should feel grateful that anyone would want to touch me. “You should feel so lucky, you fat bitch,” he said. I never told anyone because why would anyone believe that a girl like me could be assaulted? When I finally decided to open up to someone about it, their first response was, “You’re pretty big though, why didn’t you overpower him?” Because, apparently, being fat means that you have the physical strength to overpower everyone. Because, apparently, being fat also means that your reaction to sexual assault and rape is to immediately fight and be fully mentally present during your assault. Because as a fat black woman, I should’ve been capable to escape that situation because it’s “in my nature” to fight, to use my weight as a means of strength, and to dominate my rapist.
These experiences have shaped who I am today. The persecution I’ve suffered for just existing as a fat black woman has taught me to never stop looking over my shoulder. The oppressive institutionalized premise that I’m not worthy of beauty, autonomy, choice in how I sexualize my body, or the right to EXIST has taught me nothing but internalized hatred for myself. I’ve been treated so horribly and it hurts, even after the scar tissue has made me tougher. I cry alone in my room more often than anyone would ever know, because I’m too afraid no one will take my pain seriously… because people truly believe that hating fat people is normal. So when I have a peer at my university take a picture of me to post on the internet because my body is so disgusting and hilarious to look at, I’m not okay. When I find out that there is an entire 350+ comment thread on a Facebook Group page discussing how disgusting my body is, how “whoreish” my outfit is, and how my weight is something to laugh at and publicly discuss, I’m not okay. Even when you’re at the point of truly accepting and loving yourself, it is so easy for assholes to make you question your existence and self-love in a matter of seconds.
I work really hard at being a confident fat black girl in a world that has made me feel so uncomfortable that I’ve tried killing myself twice. I struggle with waking up in the morning and putting on a smile. I cringe at the thought of hearing roars of laughter because I automatically think they’re about me. I make sure to stay strong for my little sister, my friends, and the people who find inspiration in the work I do in my community. But people don’t know how hard that is when society is constantly telling me to hate myself. People don’t know how hard it is when society has codified my body, my skin, my sexuality, and my gender as less than worthy. It’s that much harder to be strong. It’s that much harder to exist.
This is your monthly reminder that privileged, white, college-educated sex workers are vastly overrepresented on tumblr, while less privileged sex workers are vastly underrepresented. Tumblr Sex Workers ™ views are not representative of the majority of sex workers, the majority of whom don’t consider it “empowering,” fun, or “just another job like any other.”
Vastly underrepresented and vastly silenced. No one wants to listen to a sex worker who isn’t enjoying herself and it’s getting her tits out on the internet and pandering to the male gaze for more follows. The reason why privileged, white sex workers seem so overrepresented on tumblr is because that is who the majority of men will follow, listen to and cheer on.
The women suffering and struggling will get ignored for the sake of keeping up the delusion.