This is our truth, tell us yours
This morning a group of people I chat to on twitter were all painted with a big scarlet letter of A for abuse, and I was included. Some of these people I know outside of the interwebs, others I barely speak too, but we all apparently abuse other women by discussing feminism. Although one of the people listed (whatkatiedid) I discuss Sherlock and The Hobbit with, presumably we are using some secret smaugsexual code without releasing it. Oh and an apology, this post will contain navel gazing in extremis and the names of people who will probably mean nothing to most, but having been dragged into this a reply seems needed.
So not for the first time Glosswitch has accused people of abuse. Carter was on the receiving end recently, and wrote inspired and thoughtful posts here,here and here. There is a huge issue around calling consensual BDSM abuse.Firstly it erases the agency of women, treating us as mere ciphers in our own sex lives, it also suggests that decent women do not desire to be dominated, cannot be masochist, so it must be abuse. Secondly as the Spanner case showed framing bdsm as abuse will always be used against those society already oppresses first. Lastly, but of no lesser importance it makes it harder for those who are in abusive BDSM relationships to speak out, as letting the side down, or bringing BDSM into disrepute is seen by some to be disloyal or wrong.
So throwing the abuse word around with no thought for the implications is something that both Glosswitch and CCP (she seconded the claims against Carter) are willing to do. Now crying wolf is a hard phrase to use in a place that puts believing victims at the center, however despite my reservations at the phrase when people call things that are not abuse, abuse, then it is harder for others to be heard.
There is always an element of perception to abuse, if someone calls me a disease riddled whore online I laugh, others might find that exceptionally upsetting. Rape threats are water off a ducks back, especially when mixed with the hilarious shoplifting/stealing jokes. If though you see simply being disagreed with as being abused then it makes the word abuse meaningless. Even Ceasar had the slave whispering in his ear, it is not a great thing to be always agreed with, even if it is what some people desire.
Of course perception applies also to me. I have as some of you know had hellish moments in 2013. Shaking whenever you get a text, living in fear, unable to leave the house without the threat of a panic attack are some of the effects of stalking, not a few nasty words on the internet, but a person fixating on you, a person who knows where you live and from the content of their threats has an unhealthy sexual obsession with you. Unexpected knocks on the door still scare me, I may no longer check every door and window is locked with an obsessive fear but the scars are still there barely healed. So when people are clearly watching what I do online, the fear returns. I am an unknown sex worker who set up her current twitter account to keep in touch with friends, it was protected for quite a while, and yet Glosswitch and CCP are reading it, and taking issue with what I say. The question has to be why?
Is the idea someone disagrees with them so upsetting that a complete nobody with a joint blog and a few hundred twitter followers must be targeted? If so, then I am sure I am not alone, so why me,why do they care what I tweet?
The last seems the most likely, which is of course feeding my perception of being watched, being stalked, by people with an off beam sense of proportion and boundaries. No doubt even the writing of this, which is a cathartic thing will be seen as abusing them some more. However write it I will, I and people I care about are being accused of being abusive, of believing we are perfect, of a whole host of crimes that are hard to pin down and slanderous. The sad fact is this is nothing to do with feminism, but a couple of people feeding each others delusions and paranoia and demanding the whole of the internet join them.
There is more I could say, on specifics of ignoring the objections of WoC, trans women, of the horror of revelling in support from Julie Bindel for smugsexual, of the rewriting of history that is going on, but frankly, you either know, or dont care. I just want to ask, stop obsessing over me, I don’t know why you do, or what you want, but it is scary, and does you no favours in your desire to be seen as reasonable mainstream feminists
For those who might want to, the tweetlonger from today