I’m not sure if any of you have ever actually read my bio, but it says that I am a generally pleasant person. This is true. What it doesn’t tell you is that I feel things deeply, my empathy muscles are in pretty great shape, and I am a feminist. These are things I don’t announce to you because, if I am living my life appropriately, they should be obvious.
So it should also be obvious that I have spent the last few months very frustrated, and no one should be shocked when I say that events of the past few days have made me livid. I don’t get truly angry very often, but I am actually and legitimately pissed.
I don’t need every news outlet from here to Australia to tell me how much of a disaster area my school allegedly is; I am acutely aware of how clusterf*cky we appear to the general public. And are we in a bad place right now? Well, yes. But that does not make articles like this okay.
That links to a story on Jezebel—a website I have faithfully and gleefully read for years, that offered me a feminist and liberal refuge while trapped in a Red State—that systematically lambasts nearly everything that makes me who I am. It attacks my school. It attacks my course of study. It attacks a sport I love, people I care about deeply, and somewhere that I consider my home.
And that’s not right.
I am the first (no, really) to go off on a tangent about rape culture, about how unacceptable victim-blaming and slut-shaming are, to explain to you why I am deeply offended by the vast majority of things my generation says and does. I love the conversations that are sparked by my reading books like this in public (what what, Howard Thurman Center). I marched in Take Back the Night. I have absorbed the fight against patriarchy, and misogyny, and inequality in all its forms, into my personal psyche. I fight, and I fight, and I fight.
And then shit like this gets published, and it seems like none of it even matters. And that makes me sad. And then it makes me really, really angry. Because just as it’s unfair to blame “hockey culture” for the alleged actions of two individuals, to scapegoat Boston University for all of rape culture is sweeping and offensive. And I don’t like it.
I’ve been wanting to write a frustrated post for months—about how I’m sick of living in a world where people still treat feminism like a four-letter word, where I have to bend over backwards to make sure I have someone to walk me home at night, where disgusting and degrading things are said and no one bats an eyelash. I’m tired of living in a world where dental dams are “awkward,” where people think rape jokes are funny, where ANYONE of ANY GENDER has the audacity to begin any sentence with “Well, she was wearing a short skirt…”
What I need, is for everyone to educate themselves. To learn why people are offended. To pay attention to trigger warnings. To stop starting their sentences with “I’m not a feminist, but…” To hold the door open for everyone BECAUSE IT IS A POLITE THING TO DO, not because of some outdated and gendered notion. I need the focus to shift from “don’t get raped” to “don’t rape.” I need everyone to start paying attention. I need people to care. We need to stop passing the buck and take some accountability. It’s not enough for me to say “rape culture is bad;” I have to critically examine the things I say and do and actively try to eliminate anything problematic from my behavior. Similarly, it is not enough for Jezebel—or anyone, really– to say “BU has a rape culture problem,” because scapegoating passes the buck. They need to be a part of the solution.
I need the brilliant and accomplished young men and women that I walk down Comm Ave with every single day to stand up and prove that they’re better than what the world thinks of them. Start asking the right questions. Start offering answers. Start caring. Because I do. And I’m not going to stop caring, and I’m not going to shut up. But no matter how much fire I may have in me, I cannot fight this fight alone.