Monthly Archives: October 2018

We’re Not Done Here

Longreads

Laurie Penny | Longreads | January 2018 | 19 minutes (4,764 words)

The problem of sexual violation can not be treated as distinct from the problematic of sexuality itself. The ubiquity of sexual violations is obviously related to what is taken to be routine, everyday sex, the ‘facts’ of pleasure and desire.
— Linda MartAn Alcoff, Rape and Resistance

This kind of mania will always at some point exhaust itself.
— Andrew Sullivan, New York Magazine

***

Oh, girls, look what we’ve done now. We’ve gone too far. The growing backlash against the MeToo movement has finally settled on a form that can face itself in the mirror. The charge is hysteria, moral panic, hatred of sex, hatred of men. More specifically, as Andrew Sullivan complained in New York magazine this week, “the righteous exposure of hideous abuse of power had morphed into a more generalized revolution against the…

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We’re All Mad Here: Weinstein, Women, and the Language of Lunacy

Longreads

Laurie Penny | Longreads | October 2017 | 13 minutes (3,709 words)

We’re through the looking glass now. As women all over the world come forward to talk about their experiences of sexual violence, all our old certainties about what was and was not normal are peeling away like dead skin.

It’s not just Hollywood and it’s not just Silicon Valley. It’s not just the White House or Fox News.

It’s everywhere.

It’s happening in the art world and in mainstream political parties. It’s happening in the London radical left and in the Bay Area burner community. It’s happening in academia and in the media and in the legal profession. I recently heard that it was happening in the goddamn Lindy Hop dance scene, which I didn’t even know was a thing. Men with influence and status who have spent years or decades treating their community like an all-you-can-grope sexual-harassment…

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The Unforgiving Minute

Longreads

Laurie Penny | Longreads | November 2017 | 12 minutes (3,175 words)

“I’m sick of being asked to suffer so a man can grow.”

– Alexandra Petri

“Everyone. Fucking. Knew.”

– Scott Rosenberg

This is actually happening.

The so-called “revelations” about endemic male sexual aggression in Hollywood, in the media, in politics, in the tech world, and in communities large and small have not stopped, despite every conceivable effort to dismiss, discredit, shame, and belittle the survivors coming forward to demand a different world. The most uncomfortable revelation is the fact that none of this, really, was that revelatory.

A great many people knew. Maybe they didn’t know all of it, but they knew enough to feel tainted by a complicity that hobbled their compassion.

It turns out that this isn’t about individual monsters. It never was. This is about structural violence, about a culture that decided long ago that…

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The Rub of Rough Sex

Longreads

Chelsea G. Summers | Longreads | July 2018 | 15 minutes (3,801 words)


This is a piece about abuse. This is a piece about kink and a piece about consent. This is a piece about the law. This is a piece about some powerful men whom I’ve never met, and it’s a piece about some nobody men whom I’ve loved. This is a piece about rough sex, about “rough sex,” and about how these two categories overlap and rub each other raw. This is a piece that was hard for me to write and may be hard for you to read. Most of all, this is a piece about why masculinity is fractured, and how women get caught in its cracks.

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On May 7 of this year, The New Yorker dropped itsEric Schneiderman bombshell. The article, cowritten by Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow, gives voice to four…

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The Horizon of Desire

Longreads

Laurie Penny | Longreads | October 2017 | 15 minutes (4,185 words)

“Man fucks woman. Man: subject. Woman: object.”

 —The Fall, Episode 3, “Insolence and Wine”

The first thing you need to understand about consent is that consent is not, strictly speaking, a thing. Not in the same way that teleportation isn’t a thing. Consent is not a thing because it is not an item, nor a possession. Consent is not an object you can hold in your hand. It is not a gift that can be given and then rudely requisitioned. Consent is a state of being. Giving someone your consent — sexually, politically, socially — is a little like giving them your attention. It’s a continuous process. It’s an interaction between two human creatures. I believe that a great many men and boys don’t understand this. I believe that lack of understanding is causing unspeakable trauma…

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It Depends on What the Meaning of ‘Consent’ Is

Longreads

It’s amazing how the #MeToo movement has so quickly reframed our understanding of so many old things — books, movies, culture, news stories, scandals. I’ve been waiting for an updated interpretation of what was once problematically known as “the Lewinsky affair,” and I was so thrilled this week to see it coming to us from Monica Lewinsky herself.

In a personal essay for Vanity Fair, on the 20th anniversary of Ken Starr’s investigation of President Bill Clinton, Lewinsky reconsiders her relationship with Clinton — 27 years her senior — through the lens of 2018, and realizes that given their power differential, the word “consensual” might not have perfectly applied.

Given my PTSD and my understanding of trauma, it’s very likely that my thinking would not necessarily be changing at this time had it not been for the #MeToo movement—not only because of the new lens it has provided but also…

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Greens

Longreads

Kiese Laymon | Excerpt adapted from Heavy: An American Memoir | Scribner | October 2018 | 20 minutes (4,158 words)

You were in Grandmama’s living room delicately placing a blinking black angel with a fluorescent mink coat on top of her Christmas tree while Uncle Jimmy and I were examining each other’s bodies in a one-bedroom apartment in Bloomington, Indiana. I was in my final year of graduate school. Uncle Jimmy and I were having a contest to see who could make their forearms veinier. “Shit, sport,” Uncle Jimmy said as he hugged me. “You eating a lot of spinach in grad school or what? You look like you training for the league.”

I was twenty-six years old, 183 pounds. My body fat was 8 percent.

Uncle Jimmy was six-three and so skinny that his eyes, which were nearly always yolk yellow, looked like they wanted to pop out of…

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