Monday, May 11, 2015

RIP Grace Mann


IMPORTANT NOTE: One thing I failed to mention in this post that is very important is that Grace Mann was a lesbian woman. I also just found out that she was Jewish. Either one of these could have been a motivation for the murder, and most likely it was a combination of these and other things at work. However, leaving out her sexuality when I knew of it was a big no-no on my part, huge straight privilege fuck up, and I apologize.

I have a lot of feels about this one, readers. So many feels that I cannot yet express here, for multiple reasons.

I've been saying for a long time now that the harassment of feminists would lead to dead bodies. And now we're looking back upon this sequence of events:

  1. Feminists at the University of Mary Washington start complaining about gross sexism from the campus frats and the usual shit handling of sexual assault cases by said University.
  2. Members of the Feminists United Club start getting harassed online.
  3. Said feminists expose horrifically sexist and violent chant sung by the campus rugby team.
  4. University suspends the team.
  5. Harassment of feminists escalates, up to and including death threats aimed at specific women.
  6. One of the targets of said threats is murdered by a former rugby player.

Or the short version: Women speak up about sexism --> Men get mad --> University takes action --> Death threats --> Dead feminist.

There's not a whole lot of dots there, and they're real easy to connect. As someone close to me said, "This puzzle activity suitable for ages 3 and up."

I knew that women would soon start dying like this. As I've said in many arguments with anti-feminists and generally misogynists about online harassment and threats, how many women have to die before this becomes a big enough deal? They always say that oh, lots of people get threatened online, these threats aren't credible, women just have to develop a thicker skin, why are you complaining, nothing's going to happen. They quote police (LOL) saying that online threats of mass murder against people who attend a feminist speaking event aren't "credible." How exactly can you possibly know until it happens?

A threat like that is credible at the exact moment that the gun is fired. So, I ask you, how many women have to die after being threatened online before these kinds of threats will be considered "credible," will be considered something worth worrying about, something to be taken seriously, based on the dangerously high standards of these individual anti-feminists? Give me a number. How long does the list have to get before our concern over death threats is no longer irrational whining and attention-seeking? Though I'm sure the list is much longer, we can say for sure that it looks like this:

  1. Grace Mann

How much longer does it need to get, hmm? How? Much? Longer?

I don't fear for myself. I still have that nice defensive "it will never happen to me" thing going on in my brain. But I hate that little look of concern I see in the eyes of my loved ones when I tell them about things like this. When I talk about horrible cases of online harassment that drive feminists from their homes, that ruin careers and lives, and now, this murder. And I hate even more that I have to worry for them, because they could become targets simply for their association with me.

And I hate that the chorus of voices will continue - the one that tells me to grow a thicker skin when Grace Mann is dead in her's. I wish I could grow the thickest skin, so that no blade or bullet or rope or plastic bag could hurt me. I with I could be The Thing. I would be The Feminist Thing and I would track down online harassers and hold them up by their feet and read them bell hooks essays until they begged for forgiveness. But I'm not. I'm no stronger or safer than Grace Mann was.

But I will keep going. I'll be going all the harder with her name in my mind. I'll do all I can to make up for this loss, as she was a very active and outspoken feminist. And if I ever become a hashtag, I expect my friends, family, and fellow feminists to dig up this post and shove it in everyone's face.

Rest in peace, Grace Mann. I will do my best to carry on your work. You are an inspiration to me.

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