I asked men to stand by Kesha, instead I just got hate. I feel more powerful than ever.
MY LIFE SOURCE IS WHITE MALE TEARS.
okay wait, rewind.
So this is how it usually goes when I write a blog on Medium: I get a lot of encouraging comments from my friends and my mum, some of my friends share it, mum ALWAYS shares it, I gain about 120–230 views across four days, I get really excited when upwards of five people recommend it, and I gain maybe three new followers. I feel nice. I feel productive. I feel like I’m slowly chipping my way into that writing career I wanna establish for myself one day so I never have to work a 9–5 job ever again. It feels warm and fuzzy.
Here’s what’s happened over the last 48hours after writing “How about we ask men to support Kesha”: I’ve gained 3,200 views, 115 recommends, 40+ new followers — and a FUCK TON of hate mail.
I dunno what happened. I dunno who out of the ordinary shared it, I don’t know which social media influencer got hold of it and threw it into the internet-sphere, but someone’s done something and shit hit the fan. A moving fan. There’s poop everywhere.
But don’t worry, this is good news guys! How? Because after studying human rights law for four years, some really nice gentlemen (read: assholes) read my blog post about Kesha and mansplained the entire justice system to me! THANK YOU! Who needs to pay the outrageous fees for attending the fifth-best law school in the world when I have… random dudes on the internet?! Omfg, how would I have ever pursued a career in legal advocacy without you?
The only bit these really nice gentlemen (read: assholes) forgot to mention is how the “justice” system was designed and implemented to perpetuate the authority of heterosexual white men, therefore making it incredibly difficult for young women — like, oh I dunno, Kesha — to fairly access and navigate with any expectation of a positive outcome.
Some really nice gentlemen (read: assholes) also very kindly pointed out to me that this was a civil suit, not a criminal case. THANK YOU. A few more really nice gentlemen (read: assholes) recited the age-old platitude on which our legal system is founded upon: “innocent until proven guilty.” THANK YOU!
I’m learning so much today.
Wait a minute, no I’m not.
Bruh, I’d be inclined to take your “innocent until proven guilty” bullshit a little more seriously if white men extended the use of that line beyond trials of fellow white men. Where’s “innocent until proven guilty” for the unarmed black kid that white cop is about to shoot? Why is “innocent until proven guilty” only used to defend that white cop after the black kid is dead? Where was that kid’s criminal justice system? “Innocent until proven guilty” is only used after a white man with a gun walks into a school, a cinema, a church or a Planned Parenthood clinic.
Where’s the “innocent until proven guilty” for the girl that walks into a police station to report her rape, and the line of questioning looks like this:
“What were you wearing?”
“How much were you drinking?”
“Were you flirting with him?”
“Wait, he’s your boyfriend?”
Where’s the “innocent until proven guilty” for Kesha? Where’s the assumption that she’s telling the truth? There isn’t one. She has already been judged by you, gentleman of the internet, as lying. Guilty.
Which flows well into the prevailing issue that all the really nice gentlemen (read: assholes) wanted to gently (read: not gently) press with me: that Kesha had previously testified under oath that Dr Luke had not assaulted or abused her in any capacity. THANK YOU. This was so helpful, because as a woman, I’m definitely not capable of conducting my own research into the history of Kesha’s relationship with her producer.
Oh no wait, I am.
Here’s the thing: When Kesha testified in 2011 that Dr Luke had not drugged and raped her, she was refuting claims made by her former manager — claims stating that Kesha had been vocal about Dr Luke’s abuse since 2005. If Kesha has only recently (circa. 2014) spun the abuse claims in order to terminate a contract she’s unhappy about, why do we have reports of Dr Luke’s abuse of Kesha from 2005?
“Well if Dr Luke has been abusing Kesha since 2005, then it means that Kesha lied on the stand in 2011.”
First of all — are all you men legitimately telling me that the possibility of Kesha lying once suddenly decimates any credibility she may have had? Really? I’ve lied before, and I still think I’m a credible source of information on a variety of topics. You’ve lied before, and you still think you’re a credible source of information on a variety of topics. I know, because my email inbox is full of your unsolicited opinions. What? You’ve never lied? Fuck off, we all know you tell your Tinder matches its seven inches when it’s not even close. Get over yourself.
Okay, shits ’n’ giggles aside. In more depth: Yes. Because in 2011 Kesha was a young, 24 year-old girl whose whole life depended upon one of the most powerful producers in pop music. Their relationship was founded upon an entirely unequal and exploitative power dynamic. She had ditched college for him, on his promise that he would make her a star. And everything this man touched turned to gold — or became ash, at his will. He was going to make or break her. It’s also very crucial to point out that in 2011, Kesha embarked on her very first headlining world tour and also began writing her second album. This was everything she’d ever wanted, and she knew that the man who giveth this to her, could just as easily taketh away again. If you were a 24 year-old singer who was finally making her dreams come true, would you testify against the man who made it all happen for you?
Maybe you would. But she didn’t. And the important thing is that it’s okay. She was petrified of a justice system and an entertainment industry that were not designed with her best interests in mind. But what she wasn’t emotionally/intellectually/physically capable of doing then, she is capable of doing now. And she deserves the space to do so.
Innocent until proven guilty, right?
I suppose the thing that made me most sad about these really nice gentlemen (read: assholes) is that my article wasn’t about picking Kesha’s case to pieces. It wasn’t even about picking Dr Luke’s defense to pieces. It was asking women to stop bitching on each other, and to take notice of the silence coming from the men’s side of the room. And it was asking men to support a woman who was facing an uphill battle against an inherently patriarchal justice system and entertainment industry. The response I got from women & many (MANY) men was overwhelmingly positive, and it made my heart burst with joy. The response I got from a number of other men (that only grew as the hours stretched on) was outright hatred. Some men would rather tear both Kesha and my writing to shreds, than contemplate the notion of supporting a woman who was making an accusation against a man.
And that’s their biggest problem. For all the thesis-length rants I’ve received from men in the last 48 hours, all of them — all of them — look at the issue through an entirely heteronormative male perspective. That is why you can’t rationalize Kesha’s actions, and that is why you lash out at the people who do. White men have the privilege of thinking the justice system is fair. It is fair — for you. And so while you can place your faith in the justice system — we can’t. It’s not here to serve us.
That’s what I wanted you to recognize. And that is why I wanted you to offer Kesha some support. The system is built so that the odds will always be against her. Unfortunately, your outrage at my article only confirms this.
But that’s okay. Your inflated male egos make soft cushions to rest on while I nap through your baseless, privileged ranting. Your bruised anger only shows me that I’m on the right path. After all, your bratty retaliation shows me that I hit a nerve. And I like that I’m onto something. So I’m just gonna keeping whacking on that nerve with a sledgehammer until you either listen to me and absorb what I’m saying, or implode. Either is cool.
So, THANK YOU. Knowing that I have the ability to capture your attention for the length of an article, and knowing that I have the ability to produce an article that incurs an emotional reaction and compels you to respond — it’s empowering. It empowers me to keep doing what I do.
But seriously, the icing on the cake for me is that now these bro-dudes are crying their fragile bro-dude tears because I’m choosing not to publish their bro-dude rants at the bottom of my blog. They’re contacting me saying I’m one-sided and exclusionary. That this is reverse sexism.
First of all:
POWER + PREJUDICE BASED ON GENDER = SEXISM. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS REVERSE SEXISM BECAUSE WHILST WOMEN CAN BE PREJUDICED, WOMEN HAVE NOT — AND HAVE NEVER HAD — POLITICAL, ECONOMIC AND INSTITUTIONAL POWER.
Secondly: my blog, I do what I want.
Ooooh diddums, does that hurt?
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To everyone else that has voiced their support for “How about we ask men to support Kesha”, and shared this blog or featured this blog on their website: thank you. From the bottom of my heart. A lot of people have contacted me with messages of gratitude for writing something they haven’t been able to articulate themselves. I didn’t expect such an overwhelming response to this little old post, but I am thankful for each and every one of you.