On Friday, actress Charlotte Rampling said that anyone boycotting the Oscars is "racist against white people." (Charlotte Rampling? More like Charlotte Rambling! Amiright? Please don't stop reading because of that pun!) It reminded me of an instance five years ago where I hosted a comedy open mic in Seattle. Because I was hosting, and the only woman, roughly 20 of the 40 men on the lineup made comments about my body and having sex with me. After the lengthy show I started crying (so cute) and someone told me that by doing so I was "sexist against men." My response was, "you can't be sexist against men." Then I, as a 23 year old girl sobbing in a bar, listened while five men explained to me that *I* was the bully.
Additionally on Friday, a male friend posted a cartoon on my Facebook wall that a few other women and I considered sexist. Then a completely different man argued with me for multiple hours that I was "mistaken" and "incorrect" for being offended. The conversation trickled to a flaccid conclusion as he attempted to assert that by identifying my feelings of discrimination, I was the jerk.
I acknowledge as a white, cisgender person that my beliefs come from a ridiculously privileged place. I understand that white feminists' voices have flooded civil rights conversation over the last couple years. That being said...
If someone tells you that they are offended by something... just believe them.
One can not be racist against white people. One can't be sexist against men. You definitely can not be heterophobic. (When I first heard that word I thought it was a joke!) There is no such thing as cisphobia. The majority can not be oppressed by minorities. Reverse discrimination is a fallacy. Other groups speaking up about injustices is not in any way oppressing the majority group. Reverse sexism accusations are simply the patriarchy's not so subconscious aspiration to silence women. I'll NEVER be silenced. Even in sleep, I snore, talk in my sleep, and sometimes laugh like a cartoon clown in a nightmare. And in death, I plan to haunt you all.
Charlotte Rampling suggesting that anything could possibly be "racist against whites" is like someone saying that you drew on the white piece of paper with a white crayon... and also it's like saying "I'm dumb!" Moreover, if some white person gets uncomfortable about the Oscar boycott... good... and also... no one cares.
If a friend of yours tells you that something offended them, just believe them. They have no reason to lie about something that trivial. Don't tell them that they're mistaken or incorrect for being offended! How can a feeling be incorrect or a mistake? Also if you are coming from a place of privilege and someone from a less privileged group tells you that they felt oppressed, they have more insight into that perspective than you! In a speech in 1965, Malcolm X said, "Truth is on the side of the oppressed."
One time a man said to me, "So just because three women told me something was sexist, that makes it so?"
I said, "YES."
The white actress claiming that something is racist against white people, and the group of men telling 23 year old crying me she was sexist against men, and my friend telling me I was incorrect for being offended, all fall into the same category. (That category being crappiness. Surprise, everything is the worst.) If you're in the majority and someone tells you that something is offensive, just shut up and listen to them! It's not up to men to decide what is sexist. It's not up to white people to decide what is racist. Etcetera...
I'm constantly working on being a better feminist and all around ally. I strive to acknowledge my own privilege and work to rectify the system... or burn it down -- nope, I meant rectify it. I don't think I'm a perfect feminist yet, so please don't be mad if I got something wrong... Actually, if I accidentally said something that wasn't very feminist or progressive, please tell me. I would love the opportunity to learn and grow. Additionally, if I offended anyone, I would never tell them that they were wrong for feeling so.
If you take anything away from this piece, please let it be that when I was 23, I got objectified because I was super hot.