Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Frankly, I'm Disgusted

So recently at Feministe a guest blogger, Erica, has been collecting sex stories and retelling them. I have found the series entertaining, enlightening, and at times a sad and frustrating mirror on our society. However, all in all, I think the stories are what we need to hear.

Then, late last week, Erica wrote a piece titled "Jesus is Such a Cockblocker." The post (originally listed w/o the now included trigger warning) sparked a lot of controversy as it attempts to humorously describe a situation in which a young woman coerces her Christian boyfriend into having sex, without outright acknowledging that this is sexual assault.

Then, Erica issued an apology, also originally without a trigger warning, in response to the fact that the first post angered a LOT of people who were pretty upset that a fabulous feminist website would essentially post a story which boiled down to a rape joke. The main objections were:

1) If you reversed the male and female characters no one would be laughing. Why should we be treating men differently?
2) Why wouldn't Erica acknowledge the problematic nature of this topic?
3) Why wouldn't there be a trigger warning?
4) Why did the apology say "I apologize if some of you found the language used in it triggering..." (emphasis mine) making it seem insincere.
5) Why did Christianity have to be made fun of in the post?
6) Why would Feministe put this up?
7) Why aren't we calling this woman a rapist?

Of course, comments amassed on both of the posts...I abstained from saying anything there, because I felt everything was already very well said. I felt that a pretty healthy discussion opened up about the appropriateness of putting this on Feministe. Some people made way too many assumptions about the original story, but other than that, I felt the backlash was healthy and deserved.

I was curious why no one from Feministe (from the NONguest status) really came out and said: Yes, this is a problem, and we won't be posting stories like this again.

Then today I look at those entries and commenting is closed.

I don't get it.

I'm pretty disappointed about how Feministe has handled this. It essentially is their error, and instead of more proactively taking ownership of it, they have erased all of the comments, including the very healthy ones which tackle this problematic situation head on. I just feel that putting up the two trigger warnings isn't enough.

This story still could have been told, but through the lens of discussing it for what it really is: A tragedy examining how differing opinions, religion, and rigid gender roles can complicate sexual relationships and lead to really nasty things. Not as a joke.

I guess I just expected more from Feministe.

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