October 26, 2014

Alt Lit and Rape Culture - Smart People Writing Elsewhere

A look at what people have said elsewhere on the internet about the rapes and assaults in the Alt Lit community.

From Stop Denying and Unseeing Rape Culture, by Carolyn Zaikowski:
It should go without saying that writers are good at language. Poets, novelists, and other types of writers, when they are abusive, often use language in extremely complicated ways that cover up, erase, and promote literary rape subculture, whether it is in private conversations with the abused, or in public conversations on message boards, Facebook posts, in classrooms, or at conferences. At worst, this manifests as abusers actually making poetry or novels out of the “material” of their abusive exploits.
From Why the Alt Lit Rape Scandal is a Hidden Opportunity, by Emilie Friedlander:
Jon Caramanica once wrote that “the avant-garde need not be moral.” I tend to agree with that statement—at least inasmuch as it suggests that art can be moving, or even politically meaningful, without seeming to abide by the rules of socially scrupulous behavior. But when the line between life and art becomes very blurred, as it seems to in the writing of Tao Lin, I wonder if you can continue to separate the ethical shortcomings of one from the ethical shortcomings of the other.
From A Review of Rape Culture in the Alt Lit Community, by Dianna Dragonetti:
I would also like to draw attention to the fact “We’re Fucked” was published (sometime between 6 to 8 months ago) without first seeking the consent of everyone whose likeness was used. Thus, not only was I re-traumatized learning of my inclusion in this text, compounded by the fact that I am already a survivor of sexual abuse and violence, but the inadvertent manner in which I found out exacerbated this. I am certain that many others have experienced a similarly horrible arc, given the commonality of trauma.
From From the Mouth of a Survivor: An Open Letter to Elizabeth Ellen's Open Letter to the Internet and the Conversation Surrounding, by Sarah Certa:
It is clear that he is scared, doesn’t deny what happened, yet still says “idk if it is legally what they say it is,” meaning: he doesn’t know if he “legally” raped or, just, I don’t know, casually? I’m actually not sure what Stephen means. He is most likely in denial. And he is definitely unaware of what rape is, which is, perhaps, one of the biggest problems in responding to a victim’s story with “What about him?” Many men accused of rape aren’t going to say that’s what happened because they don’t know what rape is and that is because they are so deeply entitled to women’s bodies. They have very little concept of rape or sexual abuse because such violence and entitlement has been normalized. 
From On Deciding What Counts: Elizabeth Ellen and What Makes a Victim, by Mallory Ortberg:
A woman who says “No thanks, I’ll sleep on the floor”; a woman who freezes up and tenses at your touch; a woman who says “I really don’t want to” and “We really shouldn’t” and “We can’t” and “Please at least wear a condom” is not saying yes to you, and if you would like to pretend that that is unclear, you are a liar, you are being disingenuous, you are lying and you know it.
From When "No Means No" Doesn't Quite Fit, an interview with Sophia Katz by Flannery Dean:
It’s rape because I said no…I said no many times. That is what assault and rape is…People like to think about rape as a violent physical forcing of a body onto another with one body not consenting to it. And while that is rape, there are unfortunately many different kinds. And one of the more insidious kinds is the kind that I experienced, where the person being raped or being assaulted, even themselves isn’t sure if it’s rape because the rhetoric being forced upon them is so intense.
Have something to say? Email comments, questions, responses, links to relevant articles elsewhere, and submissions to: rapeculture.and.altlit [at] gmail [dot] com. For the original call for submissions, see here. To read all the essays in the series, click here

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