This is not a post about rape, though it was prompted by one–or two–sort of.
It’s not a post about Doctor Who or science fiction or fantasy either, sorry. I’ll get back to my usual Who-centric musings sooner or later, I promise. What this post is about is how adding negativity to something that’s inherently negative just gets us deeper into negativity.* It was, in fact, prompted by a discussion of rape.
Today I read a post by Kristin McFarland that really got me thinking. Her article was in response to a John Scalzi post that I read and RTed and shared on Facebook a couple days ago. You should probably read both so you’ll understand what I’m talking about, though if you’re easily triggered, skip the Scalzi piece. Really.
Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Ok. So McFarland’s piece really got me worked up. It’s titled, in part, “How John Scalzi Pissed Me Off,” but it seems like maybe she’s less pissed at Scalzi himself and more pissed at the world in general for being the kind of place where white males have the podium instead of females, even when the issues discussed center around women. As well she should be! That’s the world we live in, and it does suck. And hooray for everyone (McFarland and Scalzi included) who advances the discussion and does something to change it.
That said, I came away from the piece with a really negative feeling. It seemed to imply that I suck because I enjoyed (well, that’s not the right word–appreciated is probably a better choice) and shared Scalzi’s post. McFarland mentions a piece by Seanan McGuire that was shared around the ‘nets, but that didn’t get the high-profile views it deserves. Well I don’t know who Seanan McGuire is. She’s probably super-awesome. Her piece is probably most excellent. And I’ll almost certainly read it…someday. Right now, my inner 9-year-old has taken over and she’s all huffy about being told I did something bad–that I’m in the wrong because I didn’t share a post by a person I’ve never heard of and because I did share one by someone I admire. 9-year-old E gets defensive easily and is currently saying “Fine! I don’t care what you think!” and storming off to her room to read Nancy Drew.
So that brings me (finally) to my point. When it comes to feminism and women’s issues and such, I agree we’ve got a long way to go before things are truly equal and fair. I feel just as strongly that every single person who’s speaking out for that fairness and equality should be allowed their voice. I don’t think any man speaking about women’s issues takes away my right (or anyone else’s) to do the same.
Should we help the less-heard women in the crowd reach a larger audience? Absolutely! Should that be achieved by silencing other voices who are speaking out for us? I don’t think so. I don’t even think that would work. Silencing anyone scares me. In my book it’s never okay to keep people from speaking their mind. A world like that frightens me as much as a male-dominated one, if not more. I feel that silencing men, especially when they’re on our side, is the wrong way to go about things–a step backward in fact.** That’s the wrong approach. Instead, we should work to make sure everyone is heard.
I think we all can and need to work together: girls and boys and men and women and the many good folks who eschew those labels altogether. We’re all human beings, and we can and should all love and help each other. Let our voices be heard. All of them. Let’s use the loud voices to lift up the quiet ones and use love and encouragement*** to make us all stronger.
All of us.
*Hey! Just like in math!
**Or perhaps just a step towards something scarier, like I said.
***With a healthy dose of discussion and amiable critique! I laud both Kristin McFarland and John Scalzi for contributing to the cause and fighting the good fight, each in their own ways.