On Kindle now, enjoy 13 Reasons Why: The Memes!
My new Ebook is out today! It is a book of slime recipes for children. I am having so much fun dipping my toe into the world of epublishing. If any of my blogging buddies have any questions about publishing all you have to do is ask!
So….this has nothing to do with feminism, but I am so excited. I made a little side project, my first ebook! A book of slime recipes for kids. I had so much fun putting it together. Buy it here for your Kindle!
Hello! I have not been around in a long time! Many changes in my life. Marriage and a child and career changes. It’s been quite the whirlwind.
However, I am proud and happy to announce that I have an ebook coming out soon titled (you guessed it) Musings of a Geek Feminist. Very proud and happy!
When you find out that someone you love has been raped it is patently obvious (one would hope) that this is not about you. It’s about the rape survivor. That said, after the smoke has cleared you may feel a lot of emotions while you are processing that you may or may not be ready for.
I want to clarify that this post is not about the what to do during a conversation if someone confides to you that they have been raped. How to handle that conversation deserves a post on it’s own, but the first and most important thing to do is BELIEVE THEM. For God’s sake, don’t ask them what they were wearing, or if they were drinking. Really. I’ll repeat that, it’s that important. Don’t tell them they have a “duty” to report their rapist. That’s not your job.
Your job is to say “I’m so sorry that happened to you.” Your job is to say thank you for trusting me with this. Your job is to say you love them. Your job is to call their rapist a sick son of a bitch. Your job is to support them, another topic that deserves it’s own post in the future.
I’ve have the privilege of never being raped myself. That has not been the case with several people I care about and unfortunately I have a lot of practice with this conversation. I tend to be empathetic, see all perspectives of a situation, and not judge. Maybe I just have “one of those faces.” Whatever the reason, people have tended to confide their secrets to me my entire life. I’m thankful they do.
I would also like to add that I’ve never been in the position where a child or someone that needed my protection confided in me. These were adult women (and one adult man) and their rapes all happened several years ago. I also did not know any of the rapists personally. I don’t want to say if the rape survivors were family, friends, or a mix of the two because their story is not mine to tell.
The rapes ranged from years of childhood sexual abuse, a roofie during a college party, an assault while passed out drunk, an attack that included torture, and once the rapist was their ex-romantic partner. However I think Obama said it best (and even his detractors would agree on this point):
“Rape is rape. And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we are talking about doesn’t make sense.”
I found that no matter what the circumstances, the process I went through afterwards remained more or less the same. I want to make clear that I’m not an expert or a counselor, but the following coping methods are what worked for me.
Your first responsibility is to your loved one. You may not be sure how to act after the initial conversation, but the answer is really easy. You don’t need to walk on egg shells around them. They are the same person they were before. You just know their past better. Respect that gift for what it is. They did not need to make themselves vulnerable to you. Take that for what it was, a sign of trust. However, once you get home you will most likely experience the following:
You will feel rage.
Blinding, unrelenting rage. It is inevitable. You care about and cherish this person, and some deviant tried to reduce them to nothing more than a Kleenex for them to use.
Along with the rage comes violent fantasies. Technicolor, detailed, violent fantasies about what you would want to do to their rapist. I had never had really violent thoughts before and they are disconcerting and disturbing.
I found that exercise helped. Get on the treadmill and exhaust yourself with physical activity. It exhausts the body but it also exhausts the mind. Once when I was exercising hard I just burst out crying. It has a way of bringing emotions to the surface.
Eventually, the rage turns to anger and the anger fades to a dull ache. The fantasies and details become less sharp, less graphic, less detailed.
Also, do not discuss with the rape survivor the anger you are feeling. It serves no purpose except to hurt them and feel undeserved guilt. Be an adult and show some wisdom.
You May Have Nightmares
This is normal, and they will pass. If you wake up from an especially disturbing one turn on your lights and read for awhile and try not to dwell on it. Your mind is trying to process the anger and misplaced guilt you have about not being able to protect your loved one. The aforementioned exercise will help you fall asleep faster and deeper. Melatonin is a good natural sleep aid that helps put you to sleep but doesn’t keep you asleep all night.
Throw Yourself a Pity Party
Don’t pretend everything is fine. It’s not. Your heart has just been broken. Unplug the phone, call in sick to work, and take to your bed. Get drunk. Eat a pint of Ben and Jerrys. Cry and feel depressed.
But then…then you need to stop and get up. Jesus rose after three days and so can you. The important part is to get it out of your system. The next important part is to go on. If you feel you can’t, then it’s time to get some professional help.
Don’t worry about feeling guilty that you feel so upset when the crime didn’t happen to you. It’s all part of the process. You care about the rape survivor and they are your first priority. But it’s okay to take care of yourself too.
You May Get Depressed
You may feel a crushing sadness. You may lose faith about the goodness in humanity. You may question why God would let this terrible thing happen. You just have to get through to the other side. Like the anger, it tends to fade with time.
Talk to Someone
I never went to counseling, and to be honest maybe I should have. It may have helped. Call a rape counseling hotline or therapist. Talk to a friend or family member about what happened. Though be very mindful and conscientious about not speaking to someone that is in the same social circle. Even if they are not in the same circles there’s no reason to use their name. Respect their privacy.
Become a Feminist
Between the confessions of rape and confessions of domestic violence in my immediate circle I felt like I didn’t have a choice. All the stereotypes that I’d be perceived as a bitter, ugly, angry man hater didn’t matter. I simply couldn’t live like this any longer. My heart couldn’t take it.
It helps you feel empowered. It takes away the helplessness felt during depression because it feels like you are finally “doing” something to help stop the violence.
This is an aside but feminism helps combat male rape too. One of the reasons male rape is so often suffered in silence is that rape is seen as something that happens to women. Thus likening the survivor to a woman. In other words, they’re weak.
The more I learn about feminism the more I want to know. The stereotypes aren’t true. It’s simply women and their allies uniting around the simple truth that “this is my body and it belongs to me.”
The reality is that 1 in 4 girls will be sexually abused. 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted. 1 in 7 women will be raped by their husbands. Join in the fight to help support strangers and reduce the amount of rapes and violence.
So be well. Love on your friends and family. Take care of them, and take care of yourself.
RAINN – Rape and Incenst National Network
“Whitney Houston’s cover of “I Will Always Love You” was constantly on my FM Walkman radio at the time. I think it made me cry because I associated it with absolutely no one.”
-Tina Fey, Bossypants
Straight up? I love Tina Fey. Whether she’s telling the audience she can see Russia from her house as Sarah Palin, or screaming at a plastic bag stuck in a tree, she’s always engaging to watch. I saw her memoir on the shelves and after the obligatory split-second “What’s wrong with her hands?“ moment, I couldn‘t wait to read her book.
She tackles the “How did you get that scar?” inquiry right off the bat and makes a joke that the question can act as a barometer regarding a person’s rudeness. The more tactless a person is the quicker the issue comes up. Strangers don’t even introduce themselves before demanding an explanation about her face.
For the record, she got her scar while playing in her front yard when she was five years old. A disgruntled man approached Tina and randomly slashed her in the face. I’ve wondered a few times where she picked up the faint line on the left side of her face and had no clue the answer would be so violent. Fey declined discussing her scar thus far because it is impossible to talk about the incident without exploiting it in an sensational way.
I enjoyed my time reading this book, but it‘s just not as amusing as I thought it would be. Tina Fey is the funniest woman in Hollywood. So why wasn’t her book?
I think I was subconsciously expecting the autobiography of Liz Lemon, the goofy and scattered workaholic from 30 Rock. What I got instead was the memoir of a tenacious woman who clawed her way to the top of the male-dominated comedy world. Talent won out and so did the non-revelation that chicks can be funny too.
I wasn’t looking for career advice in this book, but it’s what I got. Among the most valuable is to be careful and not to fall into woman vs. woman hate crime.
”This is what I tell young women who ask me for career advice. People are going to try to trick you. To make you feel that you are in competition with one another. “You’re up for a promotion. If they go for a woman, it’ll be between you and Barbara.” Don’t be fooled. You’re not in competition with other women. You’re in competition with everyone.”
Now regarded as one of her keystone achievements, ironically her scathing Sarah Palin impression basically fell into her lap. She wasn’t even working on Saturday Night Live when it all went down. The writers of SNL created & wrote the skits, Tina would swoop in and deliver the lines, and swoop out again to go back to work on 30 Rock. She felt like the eye of a febrile political storm and still gets hate mail on a daily basis.
The book chronicles her well known work: her rise in SNL, the production of Mean Girls, and the creation of 30 Rock. There’s been some meh projects here and there (Date Night, I’m looking in your direction), but that’s the exception rather than the rule. Tina Fey proves that smart and sexy are not mutually exclusive concepts. Plus, she’s hilarious. But you already knew that.
With a best-selling book titled In Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks Adam Carolla is hardly seen as a progressive voice for women. Although currently famous for having the number one podcast on iTunes, Adam Carolla has been around for decades and is known for being the quintessential dude-bro. I’ve heard him make sweeping generalizations about all women on a fairly regular basis. His most infamous, that women aren’t as funny as men, was widely reported and I’m not here to be an Adam Carolla apologist. This is what made the following all the more surprising.
On his April 30th podcast The Adam Carolla Show he was in the process of telling his co-hosts how his seven year old daughter wants to get her ears pierced and how she has an overall preoccupation with being pretty. Adam shared that this is troubling to him because he wants his daughter to feel that there’s more to her and more to her life than her looks. He couldn’t find a solution to the problem though. The following is an excerpt from the show.
“So my daughter, everything about her is about being pretty, being pretty, being pretty. She likes ice skating and she’s smart and she’s very athletic and stuff like that, but all the conversation is just about being pretty, being pretty, being pretty. And it’s like, I don’t want that to be the end all and be all. On the other hand I don’t think the game has changed much in 50 years.”
“I also know we’ve created a society where it’s not acceptable for a woman to go out to work with not a stitch of make-up on and their hair all frizzy and sweatpants…it’s sadly not acceptable…women are spending an hour a day if not more on something other than math or science…You take that chunk of life…the amount of money, energy, and time expended…it’s putting them at a deficit. I wouldn’t call it crippling but it’s not fair.”
He pontificated about possible solutions. He thought that if all women back off the beauty emphasis on an honor system it would be like steroids in athletics. Women would cheat and use (beauty regimens) to get ahead of each other and we’d back to square one.
As a joke he offered possible solution about all chicks rocking the burka here, then they’d be on an even playing field. The problem with that route he says, is that it leads to getting acid dumped on them for daring to read a book.
Adam admitted he didn’t know what the solution and the conversation drifted away to another topic. It was interesting to see Adam Carolla, so eternally sure and confident of himself, admit the Catch-22 that women are hindered by the burden and judgment of their appearance in a way that men aren’t.
In another recent podcast, (The Adam and Dr. Drew show #117) he expands on these ideas even further. To build his daughter up his wife tells her how pretty she is and Adam doesn’t like it.
“My wife is doing the thing that society has taught her to do which is…[telling his daughter] ‘You’re beautiful. You’re beautiful.’ And I just stopped her and said, wrong message…Let’s stop telling all young women you’re beautiful…That shouldn’t be the message. The message should be you’re compelling, you’re smart, you’re interesting, you’re funny…Arguably, in a weird way, being exceptionally beautiful could be a curse. To a young woman starting at age nine or ten and moving all the way through high school, that woman, her job is going to be being hot. She’s never going know her to full potential!
Adam then acknowledged that he and his wife are guilty of treating his son and daughter differently. They emphasize his daughter’s looks and his son’s actions. This worries him about what this is doing in shaping their identity.
“My son, all we do with my son is, ‘oh you’re great at math Sonny, that’s great, maybe one day you’ll be an engineer. You’re great at this and that and we never talk about his physicality. We never talk about what he looks like… …He doesn’t hear anything about what he looks like…it’s neither here nor there…my daughter is already getting sucked into this world where ‘you’re beautiful’.
The conversation then drifted to Lena Dunham, the star and creator of the HBO show Girls. For those that don’t watch the show Lena is considered talented, hilarious, and has received no end of accolades despite the fact that she could be considered plain and a bit overweight by classic TV standards.
“What I want to say is I don’t want to get hold of a 9 year old Lena Dunham and try to explain to her and convince her that she’s beautiful. I want to say to her ‘you’re smart, you have other gifts. And by the way, gifts that are going to keep going into your seventies, whereas the beauty, at some point that’s going to fall off a cliff. So you’re lucky. And the good news is, there’s plenty of dudes out there that will be interested in a smart, funny, successful person with your personality and your gifts.”
I could hardly believe my ears. While I don’t think Adam Carolla should get a ticker tape parade for espousing decent sentiments, I couldn’t help but be somewhat astounded. Considering that The Man Show ended every episode with scantily dressed women bouncing on trampolines as the credits rolled, the previous quotes can be considered somewhat radical.
Adam Carolla has never had to deal with the pressures that society places on women, he had the privilege of being able to ignore them since they never impacted his life. I’ll be curious and interested to hear how his views evolve as his daughter is continues to grow up. He seems to resent and be somewhat frightened of her as being seen as merely ornamental and not as a full human being.
You can’t get much more feminist than that.