I’ve decided to implement a weekly place where I get to rant about all the things in the news that upset me in a given week. Hopefully, this will serve as an impetus for me to get back into regular blogging, but even if it doesn’t, I’m still going to log on here to complain about all of the things that bug me in a week’s news. Given that this has been an incredibly stressful news week, it seemed like an appropriate time to set out and spread the angry word (and, since Twitter limits me to 140 characters, my good ol’ blog will allow me to go on at length).
To start with…Russell Tovey. What can I even say? To hear one of the stars of a fairly well-respected, if somewhat pedestrian, gay drama so blatantly disavow, nay disparage, effeminacy–and, by extension, gay men who dare to act effeminate–is, to put it mildly, disheartening. To say what I really feel, however, I think it is utterly, unequivocally disgraceful and harmful, perpetuating exactly the kind of gendered policing that we as a community (whether imagined or not) should be rigorously, consistently, and vociferously fighting against. I’m sure that Mr. Tovey would be gratified to know that it was exactly the effeminate men that he so eagerly and flippantly dismisses who made it possible for him and his fellow “straight acting/masc” lads to live their lives outside the shadow of homophobia, both through their flaming activism and, to be quite honest, because they are the ones that have to take the most flack from society at large for their unwillingness to adopt “gender appropriate behavior.” The alleged appeal he has, rather than being based in his self-touted “flexibility” as an actor, is in fact based in gay men’s continued destructive fetishizizing of masculine rough trade at the expense of any other type of gay experience. To add insult to injury, his “sorry/not sorry” tweet, full of smarmy self-congratulation, was enough to make me throw up in my mouth.
Of course, Tovey isn’t the only nodal point of latent misogyny percolating in the commentary-sphere this week. Nico Lang’s fantastic article about male privilege and the touching of women’s bodies, published at Salon, invited the typical comments-section drivel spouted out by thinly-disguised MRAs touting their own objectification. Comment after comment went on and on about how the commenter, as a man, was subject to the unwarranted of women. Two comments are in order here. One: GUESS WHAT MEN, IT’S NOT ALWAYS ABOUT YOU. Two: Women and men occupy VASTLY DIFFERENT power positions in society, meaning that who has access to who’s body means very different things depending on the gender of the people involved. I’m not saying that makes it okay for women to have unfettered access to men’s bodies; I’m just saying that we don’t have to always make it about men. We can, instead, say, “You know what? Why don’t WE ALL become more conscious about personal space and integrity?” Of course not, because that’s obviously too fucking much to ask.
And, lest we forget that the realm of higher education is a shark tank ready to devour the “weak” and the “unprofitable,” the private, women’s only, liberal-arts oriented Sweet Briar College announced that it will be closing its doors. This is disheartening for so many reasons: the fact that a bastion of liberal arts education can’t remain sustainable is sad enough, but it’s compounded by the rhetoric of entitlement that surrounds it. Students are upset because of their lack of access to a Starbucks (apparently the nearest one is~wait for it~30 MINUTES AWAY). Gods forbid that students learn in a rural environment, or anything outside of a major urban center. Or worse still that they be seen to enroll in a school emphasizing the skills inculcated in a liberal arts curriculum. This is, I fear, just the first of many such closings, as the relentless machine of capitalism grinds up these smaller institutions into so much grist for the MOOC, STEM, and trade school machines that universities and colleges everywhere are fast becoming. So much for diversity in the field of higher education, eh?
So, there you have it, my rants for the week. Agree? Disagree? Both? Sound off in the comments below. I’d love to hear what you think.