Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Why Do We Keep Missing The Point?

Like many I've been following #YesAllWomen on Twitter over the last few days. It has been enlightening, depressing, worrying and many other 'ings'. Too many women who've encountered harassment, too many men who think they are being attacked for their gender, too many trolls.

I came across a blog from Chuck Wendig, Not All Men, But Still Too Many Men. I was prepared to be growly but Chuck, he got it. Please read his blog. This I think is my favourite line.
"This isn’t about you. Don’t derail. Don’t pull that mansplaining bullshit."
I have my own examples; being assaulted, being endlessly patronised in a misogynistic company, being paid less than members of my teams because of my gender, unwanted comments about my boobs and a middle-aged (at that time I was early twenties) guy who seemed to think I owed him my phone number and address because we shared a taxi. He seriously didn't understand the word no.

Was I surprised that the men took the hashtag and Chuck's blog as an attack, and the women said thank you? Not really. I've seen time and again that people can't always see when it's not about them.

I admit, hands up, I have been guilty of missing the point too many times. If I was going to have it explained to me the last few days has been enlightening.

I spend a lot of time on the internet. Too much probably but it has helped me in learning about the world I focus on. The LGBT world is not the same as white couple land in which I live, so I read article after article, and talk to people from all areas of the community. 

I have read a few articles from guys complaining that their world has been hijacked by allies, for instance Pride and the marriage equality campaigns. If I find the links I will include them. My first reaction was to get defensive. Where would the campaigns be without allies yada yada? How stupid am I? This wasn't about me. It was a gay man discussing implications for his life, his community. I needed to read, comprehend, and STFU.

One phrase that drives me insane is check your privilege. I hate it. However I have learnt that if I'm getting pissed off then that's the time I bloody well check my privilege at the door and listen to what people are saying, be it race, gender or sexual orientation. Do I always manage? Hell no. But I try.

Which leads me to my last comment. I know that the question of *mumbles* female authors in the MM genre comes up more times than Prince Harry gets naked, and the initial argument gets easily derailed. I immediately feel so defensive that it's difficult to be objective about it. A random comment at Rainbow Con(not in the man panel) about women always getting it wrong made me see red.

I have tried - honest - and I try to highlight more than one point of view because at heart I am a person who prefers to sit on the fence with a pole up my arse. If you are going to tell me I can't write MM because I'm a woman I'll tell you to take a long walk off a short plank. But if you tell me I need to learn from guys with lived experiences and write it better because I'm getting it wrong, that's where I'll sit on my hands, shut my mouth and listen.

4 comments:

  1. I agree, I think it was one of Chuck's better post.

    As a gay man, I can't tell you how much I respect you for stating that you are willing to listen and learn about the LGBT community. Thanks.

    The idea that women can't write about gay men, or anything for that matter, is idiotic.

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    1. It was a shame that the people who needed to comprehend Chuck's post were too busy talking.

      I am part of the LGBT community but I've lived in straight couple world for so long it's hard to see myself as anything other than an ally. So yes, shutting up and learning!

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  2. What you said. All of it.

    I've been totally stuck on #YesAllWomen since Friday. It almost feels like PTSD. Maybe it is. I've had a lot of experiences O_O

    I know what you mean about the gay romance issue. I've been writing it for 10 years. I started writing it because it intrigued me. I keep writing it because it still does. But I never, ever want to run roughshod over someone else's reality. I worry constantly about that. I go with my gut and my heart, and trust my friends to tell me if I fuck up.

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    1. God, I know what you mean about the PTSD. I've realised how many of those experiences I could tick.

      Ten years! Does it still feel good? A good genre to write in?

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