I had a few entries all lined up – then I went to Chicago to see some dear friends and the world exploded.
I got in on Thursday night then – Friday morning, the world changed again. By now, everyone has heard about the shooter, his video, his reasoning for doing what he did, and we have all witnessed the collective sound of the internet basically breaking in the weeks after.
It has taken me a while to even begin to respond to this, Except the night after. The night after I posted something on my Facebook. Something to the effect of (without knowing all the facts at the time) Of – “Can we please stop saying that this guy was mentally ill – He wasn’t. He was a misogynistic asshole on a power trip.” This is, of course paraphrasing. This was immediately followed by a backlash from a friend. It ended up making me take the post down for a number of reasons. Number one, because I was not expecting the differing opinion from her – Before you say anything, I’m totally fine with debate. I have amazing, awesome, intelligent and amazing friends – but because it came as a surprise in the way that it went down.
I am not going to lie here – the whole shooting, for some reason, hit home in a really powerful way. I haven’t been tweeting about it. I haven’t been making powerful declarations on Facebook – I’ve been just sitting here, watching the whole thing unfold.
It goes without saying that SOME of the men involved in the discussions have some serious issues. I actually read on one forum “He should have killed more of them. That is what happens when you stupid bitches don’t just know your place and put out.” Yet on the other end of things there are clearly women who have completely lost it as well. I’ve sort of been watching the whole thing unfold in disgust and often I’ve found myself yelling at the computer screen.
Being a pin-up model has put me in an awkward position with a lot of feminists. I have actually had women tell me “Look at you. You have no respect – You flaunt your sexuality – YOU are the reason that women get raped.” It has been a very long road to walk…Not really knowing where I fit in. This shooting tapped something inside me that made all of the anger I have been taking and ignoring and stuffing down inside me completely bubble over.
It bothers me that people are blaming the shooting on his mental illness. Was he mentally ill? Probably. It goes without saying. He shot a bunch of people and killed a good number of them. He made a video and wrote several things detailing what he was going to do. As a woman? This makes every ounce of fight in me come to the surface.
I am listening to men respond to this – in anger “Come on. You know not all men are like that…” Every time a guy says this, I want to smack him. Most of my dearest friends are men. Some of them even gun owners. To me, the debate is less about gun ownership, or men vs. women (Though the shooter was definitely a misogynist. There is no getting around that.) To me? There are a lot of parts of this whole discussion that we are not having…in fact that we are just ignoring, and instead, blaming it on the availability of guns. Or the treatment of men, and women in America alone…There are just so many conversations that we should be having that we AREN’T.
In my line of work I get just as many hateful comments from women who consider themselves feminists as I get letters from men (And sometimes women) demanding more nude pictures…Demanding inappropriate attention that to me crosses the line into personal – And I always respond politely, but I tell them “I’m sorry. I’m not giving those to you. I’m not meeting you. I’m certainly not having sex with you just because you have seen my naked body and you feel entitled to touch it.” Most of the time, it never escalates past a few more angry messages. I am not even involved in a part of the industry where I would have a massive fan base – I live in a small corner of the net and have a small number of fans.
I think one of the real problem here is expectation. Entitlement. This man decided that since he was a “Nice Guy” He deserved to have what he desired (Which was a beautiful white woman on his arm.) And because he was not getting it – he decided to make a lasting impression to teach someone some kind of lesson.
I’m still not sure what message we were supposed to get other than “When I say I want you – you have no choice, you’d better fuck me or I will kill you because you are THAT disposable to me.”
After the shootings I went back and looked over every creepy letter I have ever gotten. A lot of them sound a lot like the way that this man was speaking. I don’t feel like I can really be open with women who self identify as feminists because a lot of them have been downright mean to me about what I do – up to and including telling me that my embracing of my sexuality is the reason that men “Like him” do this kind of thing.
I can’t really talk to my male friends because all most of them do is apologize and do things to show me that they are not at all like that (Which I already know. It’s why we are friends).
I have felt really challenged by this.
I want to speak out – but it seems like everyone else has that covered and quite frankly, the one time I did, I was chewed out publicly and by someone who I thought was my friend. I’m pretty sure that it was because she was just feeling as impassioned as I was…but it really just showed me that I have no place anywhere.
Lately, I have been feeling like my opinion doesn’t matter. Like my presence doesn’t matter. A lot of signs in my life have been pointing toward me needing to make some MAJOR changes. I just don’t know what they are.
For now though…I’m going to start going through this weeks letters…Counting how many of them say things like “You need to get over here and fuck me.” or “Who the fuck do you think you are? You didn’t respond to me fast enough whore.” And I think I am going to start using them to make some kind of art…because I know I am not the only person in my industry who gets these kinds of letters. It’s time we stop ignoring them ladies and Gents,
xo xo xo