Sadly this whole debacle only serves to prove Tkacik’s most salient point in the piece:
Forcing some sort of dogmatic equivalence upon every action that technically conforms to the legal definition of “rape” seems guaranteed only to condemn the discourse to an eternal rhetorical circle jerk of slut-shaming/finger-wagging/conspiracy theorizing/etc.
I’m writing this right after I learned that Moe Tkacik lost her job. I learned that at around 3 AM. And of course, the media narrative (like you see above; it’s from the Observer) is all, “mean feminists took Moe Tkacik’s job away because she doesn’t get herself in a tizzy about rape,” and that’s inaccurate. Sorry: It just is. I can’t make anyone let you go from a job if they don’t want to let you go, and I can’t make anyone let you go if you did nothing wrong at that job. I can’t just stand there and yell at random for that one professional, friendly, highly skilled bank rep’s supervisor until that one bank rep’s supervisor comes down and fires the guy, especially if I never ask the supervisor to fire him in the first place. Which I never did; not publicly, not privately. I won’t go into that article again — we had about four basic problems with Assange coverage, four things for which we said we would not stand, and she purposefully asked us to read an article which had every single one of those problems — but no matter how bad it was, I DIDN’T WANT ANYONE TO GET FIRED OVER IT.
Now that I’m some heroic super-powerful ultrablogger feminist New Hope for Activism For-Ever, and feeling the necessary bite from that — first they call you the Messiah, then they crucify you, because we wanted a better Messiah than this, anyway — and the inevitable weird envy and suspicion around that, I kind of especially don’t love that there is this media narrative around me “getting” “someone” “fired” on Christmas with my feminist superpowers, because see, I wasn’t a good girl, I was a nasty cunt all along, you were right to hate me, I’m a nasty dirty mean evil bitch who can’t possibly have a point, and the victim here isn’t the two women currently getting credible death threats, the victim is Moe Tkacik, the victim here isn’t all the survivors e-mailing me, the victim is Moe Tkacik, the victim here isn’t truth or the protesters dropping out because they’ve been harassed too badly or threatened at their homes, the victim is Moe Tkacik.
Yeah, I don’t love that. I’m not happy about the timing, AT ALL. Because now I get to take all the blame from anyone who agrees with me that, from the outside, firing Moe looks like a huge overreaction to what she did. I was ANGRY AS FUCK about that piece, and I said some MEAN THINGS, but I just wanted her to redact the names. The rest of the blatantly false “it was just bad sex” stuff, well, I didn’t have the energy to even analyze it. I just wanted the names taken down. But there you go. Fired for Christmas “because of me,” and we all have a mean feminist story to tell around the campfire, because clearly what I wanted was for Moe Tkacik to lose her job and never work again.
Except for the part where I was a huge fan of her writing. Except for that. And consider: We went up against two huge, powerful, wealthy, white, straight men, and got them to give us one tiny fraction of what we deserved and wanted. We went up, in much smaller number, against one woman? And she lost her fucking job.
I don’t care what she wrote. (Well, I do. Because it was unacceptable. But.) That shit’s fucked up. The men face no lasting consequences, and a woman suffers. That shit is FUCKED UP.
You could fire Keith Olbermann. I don’t care at this point. Fire the dude. He’ll be fine. But for one woman (aside from the non-Twitterable Naomi Wolf) who did the same bad things that these men did — and yes, those bad things were very, very bad, and we were right to protest them — to have 0.01% of their power, and 0.01% of their wealth, and for her to be the only one to have her life ruined, at least temporarily, over this?
Yay, fucking feminism. Feminism yay.
And yeah, what she wrote was unconscionable. The problem with Assange isn’t that a condom broke, it isn’t that he’s a misogynist or has a “smallish penis”; she knows this. Even I would not recommend putting a man on trial and/or in jail for misogyny or a small dick. The problem with Assange is that he may have raped two women, and journalists like Moe Tkacik KEEP PRETENDING IT COULDN’T HAVE HAPPENED OR ISN’T A BIG FUCKING DEAL. There’s no excuse for putting scare quotes around “rape,” no excuse for not getting the allegations right, no excuse for basically telling people RAPE isn’t a big deal, no excuse for telling people THESE two women weren’t raped or if they were the US’s MASSIVELY fucked-up rape laws wouldn’t allow them to convict their rapist so WHY BOTHER, why not start a FACEBOOK PAGE for all that CONSENSUAL BAD SEX you’re having.
But, even if women do unconscionable shit — that article was unconscionable, aside from just the obvious problems with the content, I was just kicking back with a drink and watching the protest wind down and wondering what I needed to do to facilitate its end, and then I see this article by one of my favorite writers, and I’m like “oh my god, Moe noticed us! Can’t wait to read it” and then I get HIT RIGHT BACK IN THE FACE with EVERYTHING I HAVE BEEN PROTESTING FOR THE PAST WEEK and I have to start RIGHT BACK OVER, and she wanted it to happen on some level because she called our attention to it, she fucking trolled us — even if women do unconscionable shit, they’re always more vulnerable. They get fired. The men don’t. Moore gets his rep rehabilitated for saying basic shit on TV. Olbermann gets a fucking vacay because CIA honeypot spies have invaded his Twitter account, RIIIIIIGHT.
It wasn’t cool that Tkacik got fired. I was out of my mind angry, but I still didn’t want that. But one of you wanted it, in my name. Left a comment under the troll-ass name “ifiwereyoureditoridfireyou.” DUDE? I get that you’re angry. But you got your wish. A woman lost her job. She had to pay with way more than either of us wanted her to pay; all I wanted was a damn correction and apology; we got that, and now she’s out of a job, and now they can pin it on us. GOOD JOB, YO.
The sentence above means “don’t act like all rapes are bad.” I’m sorry: I’ve read it five times now. That’s what it means. It means “don’t act like all rapes are bad, because some rapes are not that bad.” It’s unacceptable for a person to type this and publish it, especially if she’s getting paid; I’m aghast that someone could actually think this. And now the media is saying that we “proved her right,” somehow, because she lost her job, and look at what mean cunts we are for taking rape seriously.
I mean yeah. She did a bad thing, which is fucked up. She faced consequences that were disproportionate (if they were only consequences for the one bad thing), which is fucked up. We’re being made to look like the villains, and the badness of the thing she did is lost; that’s fucked up. We shouldn’t have to choose between caring about rape and caring about Tkacik losing her job.
Oh, please. You were waiting for there to be a victim in all this, so you could go back to thinking or saying that “all rapes aren’t that bad” and that we should stop taking them “so seriously.” You’re fucking RELIEVED you don’t have to treat us as credible people with a credible point, right now. But also, the victim had to be female, apparently.
But dudes? When you protest, you protest non-violently. You make sure no-one gets hurt, and that includes the people you’re protesting. I really wish you hadn’t asked some woman to get fired, in my name.