Apparently, I was not grateful enough to Sady Doyle. There I was, once some little podunk blog (aside: I am still a little podunk blog. I rather like this, but no matter), and she came down from on high to recognize me, and give me readers, and make me something. Let's be real: I was nothing without Sady Doyle's grace. I should know my place.
But yet, I have been so ungrateful: I have disagreed with Sady Doyle on something. And made a joke about a silly argument she made (look: it was a silly argument). And called the logical reasoning behind said silly argument "UTTER SHIT."
Also, I was upset because I cannot have or hear any discussion about criminal justice without taking race and poverty into account. And I am extremely wary of the state criminal justice machine, because: we know which bodies it mostly polices. We know that it is an oppressive system. Relying on, or championing, the criminal justice system, is not going to be the answer to oppression. The problem, as far as I saw it, was rape culture, and I was worried that people were looking to a system that is not made for victims, and is looked at by many people in this society with distrust, as the answer to that rape culture. And the criminal justice system: it just isn't the answer.
So when people, not any one person, not any single instance, but many people, were talking about the criminal justice system in a way that was not nuanced, that was not seeing how merely prosecuting rape for political reasons would make us ALL lose, that was advocating against the very important need to keep the state from running over the accused, that was conflating challenging charges with challenging victims, well . . . like I said, I cannot understand any conversation about criminal justice without thinking about race and poverty. It made me nervous. So I wrote a post with Silvana.
I should point out that Sady and Silvana and I were all on the same side. I had already written a post about rape culture and how the media was perpetuating it and how fucked up that was. I just didn't like where the conversations by some people, specifically around the criminal justice system, were going. That was my real and primary and continuing concern.
But I have been kindly reminded by Sady that I am terribly ungracious. I should not disagree. What I am doing, apparently, "isn't feminism." Also, I probably don't like that a lot of money went to RAINN for rape victims. I am a terrible person. Clearly. Because who would deny rape survivors money? Me, obviously. Who didn't even have the good sense to shut up when I saw something I thought was wrong.
In truth, I must tell you a fairy tale. It is in fact a true fairy tale! Settle in, now. So, once upon a time, there was a Gayle who was having a really hard time surviving her rape. She was isolating herself and wasn't telling anyone anything about it. Her therapist was getting increasingly worried about her isolation and suggested at the very least, she just start writing about it. At least get it out. At least don't keep it in.
So she did! She started a blog. And she told NO ONE ABOUT IT. Which was the plan! She liked the idea of getting it out into the universe, there, real, tangible, for anyone to find, but no one SHE knew, no one it would matter to, what she was writing, no audience she had to keep in mind and thus censor herself for. No expectations. She was just releasing all these demons into the ether.
Well, see, that's not true: she told one person her secret. A single person. Who had a blog. And who recently had been writing about very personal things. And Gayle thought in reading this blog with these personal things, well, this author, she can do this, she can write about these hard things, and it doesn't destroy her. So maybe I can do this too. Gayle wrote this person to thank her, in a personal email, with her real name, just to say thanks for helping her realize that putting whatever is plaguing you into words can be ok.
And then this person paraphrased and quoted from Gayle's personal email, and put a link to Gayle's blog on HER blog, which was widely read, and then Gayle had a panic attack. Because: her blog wasn't supposed to have readers. And her email wasn't supposed to have been public. And her very personal shit was now VERY, VERY visible. She felt overexposed and out of control, because she was not asked, or consulted, or told this was coming.
But, it had already happened, and she thought, well, this person with the widely read blog, she must have meant well. I mean, right? Gayle thought maybe she was trying to be kind with her offerings of readers, and so Gayle was gracious, and said thank you, and figured the damage was already done, and tried to take it as best as possible.
It would be the end of the fairy tale, but some days, as Gayle, I can tell you: I wish I didn't have readers. Sometimes, I wish I didn't have followers, and I contemplate turning the comments off all the time, or going and starting some secret Tumblr something so I can ACTUALLY be more properly anonymous or sparsely read. So, it's a little hard for me to be chided for not being grateful enough, when I was never actually grateful in the first place. I felt, instead, at the time, used.
But no: I should be appreciative! I now owe allegiance! For the "demonstrated substantial personal generosity and kindness" of deigning to link to my sad, podunk blog once, in a post that was actually about how what Sady Doyle does MATTERS, and I was merely evidence of that. But not clearing it with me beforehand. Or warning me. Why would I be having any control issues about anything at that moment of dealing with a rape? Because I was nothing without Sady Doyle.
Maybe Sady is feeling hurt by our post. But I cannot imagine so hurt that Silvana and I, with our concerns about how the criminal justice system was being invoked, were the "lowest blow" in this entire #mooreandme thing - we are not lower than the rape defenders, the rape apologists, the assholes who threatened death and bodily harm. I'm sorry, but no. And Sady will have to excuse me if I am still not feeling the shine of her beneficence. I am just a lady, with a blog, trying to continue to get shit off my chest so it doesn't eat me up. And if obeisance is what Sady needs, and everything else is "isn't feminism," then I'll take Sady's idea of what "isn't feminism" from here on out.
Update: Silvana responds here.