I am not in the least zeitgeisty.
I’d go so far as to say that if we take the Wiki definition of zeitgeist as being ‘the general cultural, intellectual, ethical, spiritual, and/or political climate within a nation or even specific groups, along with the general ambiance, morals, sociocultural direction, and mood associated with an era’ then I’m so far out of being zeitgeisty that I am, in fact the Anti-Zeitgeist. All hail and tremble before me, trendy people!
From not understanding the point of Twitter to not knowing my Pop Idol from my X-Factor from my Britain’s Got Talent, to being unable to order a Happy Meal, I am not of the moment. When younger, this used to cause me some discomfort (‘Why? Why?? WHY??? can’t I be normal??!?), but not now. Now I’ve realised that it’s the rest of the fucking world which is loop-juice fucking crazy.
Which partially explains why I’ve only just come across Amber Cole, but more importantly explains why I just don’t get how people – and I mean everybody, people! – can’t see how fucked up this whole thing is. How people can’t hear about what has happened to Amber Cole and to a fucking person understand how fucked up it is that:
A 14 year old girl gives a blow job to make a guy like her.
That she does it whilst being watched by another guy.
That the recipient is happy to receive a blow job while being watched by another guy.
That the watcher videos the whole thing.
That the watcher and/or recipient puts the whole thing up on the internet.
That people don’t immediately recognise, when they stumble on the video, that they are watching, at best, a form of child sexual abuse.
That those people don’t immediately notify the site showing the video and the site don’t immediately pull it.
That, instead, people actually discuss at great length, the girl’s sexual technique.
That, instead, people actually discuss at great length, what a complete and utter fucking slut/whore/ho the girl is.
That, instead, people actually discuss at great length, how she’s some nasty-assed black girl who lets down her race and gives black women a bad name.
That people never talk about the nasty-assedness of the boys involved.
That people never talk about where the fuck these boys‘ morals have come from.
That people never talk about where the fuck these boys‘ parents were.
Fucked up. And you wonder why I’m not at all concerned about being normal anymore. Ha!
And that’s just the misogyny.
I read about Amber Cole via Womanist Musings (not Twitter, obvs – waaaay too zeitgeisty), which also accuses the white feminist community of ignoring Amber Cole.
‘When I wrote about this last week, a commenter brought up the issue of lack of coverage of the incident in the feminist sphere.
‘I know that as bloggers, we have limited resources and we have to make careful consideration over what we bring attention to, but the glaring silence about Amber Cole is painful. Black women have spoken up in droves to claim #teamambercole, as a method of rejecting the slut shaming and the cyber bullying involved in this incident.
‘The silence of our supposed White female activist allies speaks loudly.’
Given that the only reference in white-feminist-spaces I could find was to a frankly jaw-dropping piece on Jezebel, entitled ‘I am Amber Cole’s Father’ by somebody who isn’t (but who actually says shit like ‘where was her mother?’ – read this to get a flavour without having to actually eat any of it), I would have to agree. Sure, some people will miss it (like, er, me), some people will just be holiday that week, some people will have spilled coffee on their computer…but, no one? Really?
Every time something about women doesn’t get reported (like, oh, every day for, oh, the last however long since people first communicated via drawings on cave walls…have I mentioned Women\’s Views on News?), I immediately think ‘Really? Really? Are you frickin’ kidding me? Sexism, much?’
I’m thinking that now, only ending with ‘Racism, much?’
I get that feminism tends to be dominated by white women and I get that white privilege still seems to get in the way of white feminists understanding that it’s not enough to simply say, ‘well, why don’t women of colour just get involved then, yada, yada?’ and that there is an active obligation on the movement to create a safe space to welcome those women, whilst said feminists simultaneously insist that the Patriarchy creates a safe space for them. I don’t like it, but I get it.
But are white feminists really so wrapped in privilege that we really don’t see that what has happened with Amber Cole is more important to speak about because it happened to a black girl than to a white one? Because Amber Cole is being shamed not only as a female but as a black female? Because black women are essentially, again, being told to shut up about sexism because they’ll ‘divide’ the anti-racism movement? Like women of all colours are being told vis-a-vis the Occupy movement? People, this shit is all connected!
‘...if Black women don’t stand beside [Amber Cole] and declare that cyber bullying is absolutely wrong, and that slut shaming a young girl for failing to make a wise decision is indefensible, then no one will.
‘The only people we can reliably count on is each other. I have been told many times since I started Womanist Musings that my approach is divisive, and that I cause harm to the delicate fabric of female solidarity.
‘If being angry at being neglected, when we are so clearly being attacked is considered divisive, then you don’t really have a vested interest in women.’
I can only really agree. I mean, jeez, I’m still a novice when it comes to examining my own privilege but surely white feminists everywhere have at least read a bit of bell hooks? Surely?