"Though Men’s Rights activists devote an enormous amount of their time denouncing feminism – or at least the imaginary version of feminism that exists only in their own heads – they’re happy to appropriate feminist concepts when it suits them. One that many MRAs seem especially eager to claim for themselves is the idea of the “safe space.”
Of course, their version of the “safe space” bears only a slight resemblance to the feminist original. Feminists seek to create spaces for discussion in which say, rape survivors can discuss their experiences without being triggered by insensitive arguers and trolls and mansplainers in general.
When MRAs talk about “safe spaces,” by contrast, their goal is often to exclude women not just from discussion spaces but from full participation in society, essentially declaring giant arenas of work and play, from STEM fields to video games, to be places where feminists, and women in general, should fear to tread."
Men’s Rights Activists: Video gaming should be a “safe space” for male nerds. | we hunted the mammoth
Relevant to the post I recently wrote about script-flipping.
"As men and boys everywhere begin to realise that a society less riddled with rape, sexual violence and lazy gender stereotypes might be better for everyone, less evolved men and boys have started to round on them as traitors. One common charge is that men who support feminism are trying to be “white knights”, sweeping in to protect women, not knowing that we capricious females prefer the attentions of the bull-necked misogynists who holler at us in the street.
“White knight” and “beta male” are the most common slurs flung at such men – usually by retro sexists who still think that feminism is all about poor confused chaps getting shouted at whenever they hold open a door for an enormous straw woman. In reality, most women and girls would simply rather that men stopped slamming doors in our faces."
— New Statesman | Laurie Penny: In defence of white knights
"“White knighting” is a pejorative term bigots use to undermine such actions from men who are using their voices for support, not for condemnation and misogyny. Bigots use it to claim men are supporting women in the hopes of sleeping with women. Because, apparently, that’s the only reason you would ever want to treat someone as a person."
— Fanboys, White Knights, and the Hairball of Online Misogyny - The Daily Beast
It becomes more and more clear to me why “straight passing privilege” rubs me completely the wrong way and why it’s not ‘oppressive’ or privileged of bi people to have a problem with that framework, and how directly erasive and contradictory it is to the reality of biphobia for a helluva lot of “straight passing” bisexuals.
You’re literally saying that one of the things which has [personally] hurt and affected me the most as a bi person is something I should be fucking thankful for when it’s actually a direct contributor to a lot of my internal suffering and severe sense of isolation. It makes dating really fucking daunting when being with someone of a gender that is considered “opposite” of your own (gender binarist hell), because it means you have to deal with even more direct, unapologetic aversion towards like, still being queer, from everyone.
It means erasure, more isolation, and people telling you that this “passing” is a good thing like it’s just a fact of life. No citations necessary, everyone just believes it. (Unlike, you know, anything a bi person tries to tell anyone about bisexual experience; and any citations given will be challenged and ‘debunked’ by a monosexual to settle cognitive dissonance.)
Oh, and then people assume you have the same dynamic as two straight people dating but that’s literally bullshit. And like, in my experience, being a bi girl and dating straight men fucking SUCKS because so many straight dudes constantly try to enforce a heteronormative ass dynamic onto you and then you have to deal with hypersexualization and invalidating controlling bullshit most of the time and just, I can’t even..
Being “straight passing” when you are not straight is not, and never will be, a privilege. It’s actually fucking awful because of asswipes like you who don’t even open up the opportunity for conversation about real shit cause you instead want to talk out of your unknowing ass about what “straight passing” entails. You actively deny us space to be heard and while also saying that, if we’re “really” bi, we’ll be “sexually available” to people of our gender lest we want to be read as/told we are “really straight.” Bisexuals aren’t allowed to reject anybody, and I’m not exaggerating: that is a straight up loud and clear message I’ve gotten from day one and continue to receive from people - especially folks on tumblr who are not bisexual but think they’re in a position to tell bisexuals anything about our “het relationships.”
The “straight passing privilege” talking point as it is applied is a bunch of gaslighting bullshit that plays into a lot of really gross, rape culture-y, coercive shit, and I’m done pretending that’s not the case. Let’s just be fucking honest, here.
I wish people would stop pretending this is some necessary ‘privilege’ to discuss when it’s ultimately just feeding grounds for biphobes to use as an excuse for their bi-hating bullshit. It’s about speaking over bisexuals and invalidating our identities. It’s a beat-around-the-bush way of saying we’re straight, and also a way of prioritizing monosexual queer perception of bisexual lives over that of the bisexual people actually living and experiencing those lives.
Yeah, sure, if you don’t visibly look queer to strangers in public then you don’t have to deal with the Queer Show being on display in that direct moment, but like the times you do end up in the position of being that person who is the “gay one” out in public doesn’t just magically shake off when people can’t tell you’re queer anymore. It just highlights a thing you’re still fucking shaken and shaped by and that’s not a goddamn privilege.
I know people have a hard time thinking that how a bisexual person feels about their experience actually counts as part of the experience of oppression but like, how we feel about our treatment actually does fucking count and our mental and physical well being is fucking important and I’m done with the subtle implications that we need to give you more than that to matter in the larger concept of “LGBT.” I’m not here to give you statistics you’ll dispute anyways and I’m not here to reassure you that a conversation about straight passing privilege is still important and whatever bullshit. Just no. How about, shut the fuck up, and stop talking about straight passing privilege until you can genuinely and compassionately listen to the people you’re accusing of having a privilege about their experiences.
Like, no - my experience of being “straight passing” meant constant torment from my peers and family, meant using my “straightness” as a way of denying my queerness to both myself and to others so that I could carry an intense amount of shame and unhealthy policing about my expressions. It meant teaching me to fucking hate myself for being bi, to teach me that I was “wrong” when I did things that resembled being queer (and, in LGBT spaces, “being straight”) and ultimately I was treated as though I was just a more desperate, attention seeking, “sexually available” version of a straight girl (wow the misogyny in even framing straight girls that way tho, like wow). Which meant I was easy prey for sexual and emotional abusers. Every man I met until my current partner was at least one of those things towards me - and every one of those men, except for my current partner, was/is straight.
I was coerced into an appearance that I could have the spoons to deal with the response to and any other expressions were shoved right in my face. The forced closeting has shaped my life in a painful way, and that’s not a fucking privilege. It’s not a privilege to suffer from this shit and have it manifest in the form of self harm and have your bisexuality used against you in a way that causes you to have no community, to need it so desperately that you’re willing to try and buy into this invalidating idea just for acceptance as a queer person.
EVERYONE STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND READ. THIS. NOW.
People who also have ‘straight passing privilege’:
- Lesbian women and gay men who aren’t ‘out’
- LGs who are single (and who fit in to the societal gender presentation norms)
- LGs who aren’t single, but aren’t actively being observed with their same gender presenting significant other(s) (and who fit in to the societal gender presentation norms)
It’s funny (not hah hah funny, but more like ‘does this milk taste funny to you?’) - the first example most people would call “being in the closet" and we all lament how terrible that is to peoples mental health.
The second and third example are symptoms of heteronormativity - and we all lament how terrible THAT is to the mental health of people who aren’t heterosexual.
But, weirdly, when it comes to a bisexual or pansexual identified person - suddenly they are all “straight passing privilege”. Why is that? If anyone tells me that it’s because if I happen to be in a relationship with someone who presents as a different gender that I can walk down the street holding their hands, I’m going to unhinge my jaw and consume them (it’s a bisexual superpower).
Anonymous said: I remember the days when games were about worlds you could explore and about being good, and not about who's got representation and gender this and sexuality that. I miss those days.
Those days miss you, too. I recently found a yellowed letter under one of the floorboards, and it was addressed to you and signed by those days with a tear-stained kiss of lipstick.
Meanwhile, in the present, those of us who work in the industry and who are—amazingly—able to consider more than one idea at the same time, will continue to create good games about worlds you can explore AND occasionally talk about inclusivity.
If you are feeling compassion fatigue, I think it might be okay to sit out those discussions, at least until you get your strength back. While it will be tough not having you available for close consultation, somehow we will soldier on.