You can’t save the world.
You can’t write all the books you want.
You can’t read all the books you want.
You have set the bar too high.
You do not have enough time.
So, what do you want to do with your life?
What is actually important to you?
So, let me see if I can remember everything that’s happened so far this week. Samantha Allen is forced to quit her job as a gaming critic due to rape/death threats and harassment. David Finch, the new artist on Wonder Woman, claims she’s not a feminist. A video game tournament says it won’t allow women to compete because what if a woman beat a man? (That decision has since been reversed.) Corporations in the States won the right to deny women access to birth control on their health plans. America’s Got Talent aired a transphobic song. Whitney Wolfe, one of the founders of Tinder, filed suit against the company because she received a barrage of sexual harassment and was ultimately forced out of her job because she was a woman. Emily Partridge received rape/death threats for her decision to talk about her harassment/assault within the animation industry. A video of a man viciously beating a trans woman was posted to Vine and it received thousands of likes.
Did I miss anything?
Don’t worry, though. There’s no such thing as sexism anymore. Everyone’s equal. We live in a post-feminist world.
So, it looks like I picked up some new followers recently, presumably because of “Yes, All Men,” which is awesome. Hi! *waves* Sorry I haven’t updated my blog recently, but I’ve been hiding in my writing cave and having mild anxiety attacks trying to get All The Stuff done.
Anyway, let me tell you a bit about myself. My name’s Chris, I’m a writer and I live in Toronto. I’ve written and self-published one book so far (Molotov Hearts). I’m currently working on ZeroWave, the follow-up to Molotov Hearts, which is in the editing stages and will be out this fall. It’s a queer, kink-positive new-adult novel which follows Kettle, a crust punk girl who hides a secret from her best friends: she loves K-pop. When her secret is exposed, she suddenly finds herself free to pursue her interests (musically and romantically) but is forced to make some hard choices about who she wants to be and who she wants to be with.
My other big (okay, HUGE) project is Switchblade Queens, an ongoing serial about a girl gang fighting for their rights in a 1950s metropolis. The preview issue is out now, and I’m currently putting the Kickstarter together, which will launch in July.
Aside from that, I read a lot of comics (though mostly for research), read a lot of books (though mostly for research), and watch a decent amount of movies (though mostly for—er, you get the idea). Yeah, I don’t have a lot of what might be termed “free time” these days, but that’s fine. I’m getting stuff done.
This blog will be more active in the coming months, especially after Switchblade Queens kicks into high gear. I can’t promise that rants against sexism and the patriarchy will come frequently but they will undoubtedly happen. Still, if that’s what you’re into, there’s more day-to-day rage against the kyriarchy on my Twitter account (@the_g33k). If you’re into pics of me, the food I’m eating or the stuff I’m reading, that’s mostly on my Instagram (@hoodieripper).
Thanks for following, everyone! Exciting things are in the works! Talk to you soon!
All men. Yes, all men. ALL FUCKING MEN.
Every goddamn one of us is responsible for perpetuating rape culture.
Every one of us was born into a society which holds misogynistic standards aloft as the norm. We were born into that. It surrounded us. It shaped and influenced us whether we want it to or not. All men have absorbed that poison.
Not all men will rape. Not all men will beat their partners. But all men will benefit from their privilege within the patriarchy. All men will. ALL MEN.
To deny your privilege and to work for change is not a one-step process, though. It does not begin and end with you saying Elliot Rodger was wrong. It is a lifetime of work. It is you gauging every action and word to see the effect it has on women. It is you imagining your actions through women’s eyes and seeing the harm they do. It is you fighting against to tear down the toxic structures both in the world and inside yourself.
Any time you stand by silently or say that it’s not your place to get involved when you see a man menacing a woman, you are one of the men you claim you’re not. It is your responsibility to speak up. It is your responsibility to object when your friends say objectionable things. It is not enough to accept their defence that it was “just a joke.” Silence is the weakest and most cowardly answer.
But more than speak up, what men need to do is shut up and listen to women. To the women in their lives. To women on the internet. To women everywhere. Women of colour, trans women, all women. Listen to their stories about how they have to face misogyny on a daily basis. Listen to their stories of rape and abuse from strangers, from loved ones. Listen to how they are forced to live their lives in fear thanks to all men. Read #YesAllWomen without saying anything. We must recognize our place in those stories. We must realize that our inaction in the face of all of their combined trauma makes us complicit. Disbelieving victims and looking for evidence that they may have provoked an attack or searching for ways that their attacker was a human being makes you a part of the problem. The problem is not a single man who had an axe to grind and killed/raped/harassed women. The problem is that our society makes every murder/rape/harassment a special case perpetrated by a single deranged individual. The enemy is not one man; it’s ALL MEN.
And if you fight against sexism in the world and in yourself, you will slip up. There will be moments where YOU will say things that are objectionable, where you will not speak when you should. All men will. ALL MEN. But that is not an encouragement to give up and say there is nothing you can do about it; it is a rallying cry for you to recognize what you’ve done and continue to fight back twice as hard. And when your mistakes are pointed out to you, do not defend yourself, but listen—really LISTEN. Understand what you’ve done and work to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Not all men? YES, ALL MEN. But it doesn’t have to always be that way. With time and struggle, maybe “not all men” will really be “not all men.” For now, though, it is, and all men must stand up and decry the prejudice that forms one of the most basic cornerstones of our society, the prejudice we benefit from at the expense of 51% of the population. ALL MEN.
YES, ALL MEN.
It was awesome seeing you at the Julie Ruin show last night. They were just as good as I thought they would be (and so much witty banter!). I had a revelation during their set though and it hit me like a hammer: I’ve never thanked you.
Before I met you in the early ’90s I was just average dude in a patriarchal society with average shitty dude attitudes and emotions. You were the friend (and later, girlfriend) who opened my eyes to the larger world with larger problems. You were the one who played Bikini Kill and Heavens to Betsy for me. You were the one who showed me issues of Jigsaw and Girl Germs. You were the one who introduced me to third-wave feminism.
But more than that, you were the one who took the time to explain to me why things like women-only spaces were essential. It happened so slowly and gradually (really, across the entirety of the ’90s) that I didn’t see it happening at the time, but looking back, it was a full education. And because of that education I am the man I am today. Not a perfect man—still learning, still changing as he sees the problems within himself—but one who acknowledges those imperfections and wants to wage war on them, both in his personality and in society. I am a better romantic partner because of that education and, I think, a better person in general.
There is literally no facet of my life that feminism hasn’t touched, and all of it stems back to riot grrrl and the knowledge you shared with me.
I never thanked you because I didn’t realize what had been imparted to me at the time, but I’ll thank you here, now, and publicly because everyone deserves to know the difference you made in my life.
There was every reason to believe 2013 was going to be fucking horrible.
I’d just ended a seven-year-relationship and by the beginning of February I no longer had a job or a place to live. On top of that, I’d decided to strip my possessions down to the bare essentials and move across the country to Toronto, a city I’d never visited before. That’s right, I made the sound decision to move to a completely new place without a place to live lined up and in the middle of winter. I did have one thing going for me, though: I’d been promised a job interview at what had been touted to me as possibly The Best Comic Shop in North America. Well, that was something.
Here, in a nutshell then, is the most important thing that happened to me after I moved to Toronto:
I got the job.
Sure, I found a place to live, but understand something: 2013 could have so very easily been the worst year of my life. It turned out to be one of the best almost exclusively because of my job. I’ve made more contacts since I’ve been here than I made in the entire previous decade I was in Vancouver. I’ve made friends with an amazing group of people who are all connected socially to my job. I’m inspired on almost a daily basis by people in my network who are making and doing things. And most importantly, my co-workers stepped in almost immediately as a support network while I got back on my feet. They became my secondary family. Without this job, without this group of people who got my back when I needed it most, there is no guarantee I wouldn’t have slunk back to Vancouver with my tail between my legs before the year was out. I almost certainly wouldn’t have pushed myself as hard as I did creatively. I might not have published my first novel. I possibly wouldn’t have finished the first draft of its follow-up.
So, at the close of this tumultuous year, I want to send out my most sincere appreciation for the people who welcomed me, stood by me and made this year possible in so many diverse ways: my old friends, of course, and my new friends, yes—but there’s too many of you to name. I love and appreciate all of you so very much.
But more specifically, I want to give personal shout outs to all of my co-workers and former co-workers:
Andrew W-B, Krystle, Lindsay, Christine, Jamie, Arthur, Bettina, Paul, Alex, Geneve, Andrew T, Parrish, Miles, Laura, Jerry, Sab, Jim, Derrick and Jonathan.
Thank you to Peter and Chris for taking a chance on me and making room for me in your family. This opportunity has meant more to me than you’ll ever possibly know (unless you read what I wrote above, in which case you might have a general idea).
And thank you to Steve and Brandon who gave me the personal recommendations that got my foot in the door in the first place. Big sloppy kisses for you. Wait, no. That got awkward.
The first night I arrived in town, I got off the subway onto a street car and rode past my future place of employment. “That looks like a cool place,” I thought to myself. Well, it is that. It is definitely that.