Monday, November 10, 2014

Honoring -- Instead of Gaslighting -- Women's Stories



Marcy and I watched this documentary last night about Kathleen Hanna, the lead singer of Bikini Kill and just all around amazing artist.  (It was packed full of awesome and I highly recommend it. The punk scene back then has some disgusting parallels to the gaming/tech scene now -- you know, the whole "because you're a woman, we don't want you here so here's some death threats" thing?)

But it was some stuff that Kathleen said at the end that really caught me and stuck with me and it wasn't about how men treat women but how everyone, including women, treat women's stories.

She pointed out that when men tell their stories, they're believed, but women have to explain and justify and worry about how they will be perceived, and of course, she further articulated this feeling that if we tell our WHOLE story that no one will believe us AT ALL because it all just seems like way too much.

Yep. I get that. I hold back for that very reason: who would fucking believe all this crap!?

But here's what really pisses me off, the thing that is very popular to say in today's relativistic world: "Well, that's your version; there are so many perspectives..."

It's really a sick and subtle form of cultural gaslighting that has become acceptable.

How about we stop saying that to women who have been through hell and back, huh? How about if that's all you've got, that you simply shut up?

How about instead we empower women and honor their stories as they are with NO DISCLAIMERS?

How about we create a culture in which women are not afraid to tell their WHOLE story? In which women's stories are held up as victories and not some shade of grey?

How about we listen and then if we feel the need to respond, we say, "I am sorry that happened to you."

The same damn stories get repeated generation after generation BECAUSE we don't believe them ENOUGH which leads us to not taking them seriously ENOUGH which leads entire families and systems of (culpable and complicit) people looking the other way, as they mumble under their breath, "Well..that's her version."

Yes. It is. AND it's the whole damn truth.

I'm sorry if it's hard to look at it. Imagine what it was like to live it.


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