Formerly/moderately-useful terms I don’t like anymore cuz white people
Right now, “rape culture” is the one that’s bothering me the most. I think how it’s used obscures white supremacy and colonization and, thus, re-centers white people. But I’d like to hear more thoughts on it…
If anyone has thoughts or knows of people who’ve written about this, I’d really like to read all of it!
I think I’m with you on this but I haven’t thought a whole lot about this specific vocabulary, more the actions and intent behind those words. But with regard to rape culture, it definitely does assume that there is one culture built on sexual violence, and that that culture carries out that violence and its aftermath in homogenous ways.
Race was a significant part of me being in an abusive relationship for as long as I was and being assaulted and in the ways that it would go on, and affected the resources I had at my disposal. Race affected how I thought of myself and what I thought I deserved from a boyfriend. I’ll be real about this all day, but plenty of white feminists aren’t: my situation could not have happened to a white woman. I’m not going into details, but it is not possible. Based on how a white person is using an idea like rape culture, I can tell how well they’ve actually listened to my shit, and it has been insulting.
I also recently witnessed some pretty bad misuse of rape culture terminology that, again, was really insulting in how it abstracted my shit and made petty buzzwords out of it, in a way that made it completely foreign to my life. Not to say that I’m 100% right in how I use my words or identify things going on around me; but if I
- wake up from nightmares about rape culture,
- take the meds in the morning that I’m on to help deal with rape culture,
- go to therapy and talk about rape culture,
- go to work and get young men of color to work through their ideas of masculinity as they come up during the day and help students in general work through rape culture affecting their lives as it comes up
- go home and maybe drink off the parts of PTSD that rape culture gave me that I can’t always shake or stay at home or in bed hiding
and white feminists come at me telling me what rape culture means and how it happens uniformly across communities and cultures, and are centering only themselves, and I’m not seeing my daily experiences in it AT ALL, and in fact feel belittled by how those ideas are being abstracted—well, I’m not gonna say they’re wrong necessarily, but something’s gotten fucked up there. Something’s lost in the distance between those white feminists and what they’re talking down to me about (which just happens to be MY LIFE).
All that was to say, I’m with you and if it’s possible, I want to take these words back. And I’m tired of shit like this being abstracted from afar to a point where it’s totally foreign to the people living it and living in spaces that overlap with other things that conveniently have their own sets of buzzwords.