“I’m against rape culture but I’m sticking by Professor Feminism.”
regarding this. (clarisse at feministe making a post to tons of links about transformative justice).
i don’t even know what to say any more.i don’t know how to explain that post made me sorta want to throw up how she had that big old fucking link to incite! up top with no context, no explaining how she found this group, no reference at all to her *learning*—she’s somehow inadvertantly become the “teacher”—the *expert*—again….
never in *conversation*. always the expert, the teacher. even when they’re wrong.
Not explicitly Schwyzer-related, but relevant as:
1. Clarisse Thorne has been one of Hugo’s most ardent defenders, and
2. This is the way she positions herself as an expert over women of colour, while appropriating their work in order to make herself SEEM like said expert, which
3. Is basically Hugo Schwyzer’s approach to feminism as well.
4. And the approach of many other professional/”career” Feminists, and the culture of which Hugo Schwyzer is a natural byproduct. Like, you know… the shit of the giant colon that is such Feminism. Or something.
Do I get to have a “pre-sobriety past,” as a victim of abuse (rather than a perpetrator)? No, I don’t. While people like Schwyzer attempt to use their sobriety to evade accountability (while preaching accountability, no less!), I am scarlet-lettered with it forever. Why did that happen to her? Because she was unsafe. Because she was drunk. Because she was a user. Because she was promiscuous. Because she was bad.
Here is my sobriety story, for newer followers. Lots of triggery stuff at that link, so please be careful. I wrote it specifically to COUNTER the redemption narrative that comes with so many sobriety stories, because I do not believe I was to blame for my abuse. I do not believe ANYONE in a similar situation is to blame. EVER.
Do I believe a perpetrator will always be to blame? In some instances, yes, I do. I believe in restorative justice in some situations but I do not believe that events can be erased simply because one has worked through that process. Progress is not linear, and the things we have done that hurt others will ALWAYS be part of who we are. This does not mean that I can never trust someone who has been through the restorative justice process, but it means that I do not HAVE to trust an abuser going through such things.
(and he specifically points to tumblr)
aww, that’s cute.
I like to think that he spends his days obsessively reading this tumblr and hellnohugo, and creeping on the facebook group & twitter pages.
Possibly crysterbating, like that guy from American Pie in American Horror Story.
… ok, no, that’s too skeevy. I apologize. WE’RE SO VIOLENT, HERE AT FUCK NO, HUGO SCHWYZER.
Person who has struggled with addiction checking in to note how extra-horrendous and irresponsible this attitude of HS’s is.
This has been your daily ‘Hugo Schwyzer is the fucking worst’ post on this blog.
BECAUSE YOUR LAWYER DOESN’T LIKE IT WHEN YOU ADMIT THAT YOU TRY TO MURDER PEOPLE
Can you even imagine how this conversation went?
“Hugo this is your lawyer, when you keep talking about how you tried to murder your ex girlfriend and had unethical and possibly illegal sex with your students it opens you up to possible lawsuits”
“WHO WOULD SUE ME?!!?”
“Well any of those people involved?”
Right, this is what I find so hilarious.
The fact that JUST NOW, apparently, it has come to the attention of Hugo and his lawyer that it’s problematic as fuck for them for Hugo to go around flaunting his history of rape, coersion, infidelity, violence against women, attempted murder, and abuse of illicit drugs.
I mean - it was always problematic in that it was always actually harmful to the other people implicated in those things - his victims, their families and loved ones, etc, as well as to the women who he was shouting over, the movements, campaigns, etc he was dominating, and so on. Hugo has always been a destructive presence. But you know, he was always able to make a buck, so why should he care?
Apparently it takes the possibility of legal action to get him to realize that he should, in fact, care. He might not give a fuck about the consequences of his actions for other people, but he SURE as shit gives a fuck about the consequences of his actions for HIMSELF.
To be honest, I’ve been waiting for this more or less since this whole thing started. His main defense against people pointing out how, for example, ”“”“having sex”“”“ with his students was cause for him to be fired, has been, “well, my
friends supervisor and some other profs knew, so it’s okay!” Yeah, uh, guess what, Hugo, universities and colleges are run and influenced by a NUMBER of bodies, including alumni, board of directors, student unions, faculty and staff unions, and so on - whether or not your supervisor is okay with you having used your position of power to sexually coerce young women whose academic futures you controlled is one thing, but it’s not enough to protect you should anyone BEYOND the tiny, tiny, closed circle of people you trusted to grant you absolution and not make too big a deal about it find out.
Which it seems as though they may have.
And that thought makes me happy.
As of this moment, legally gagged from further publicly discussing specifics of my pre-sobriety past.
-Hugo Schwyzer via his Twitter account
Posted: 4:24 EST on Jan 24, 2011
Please do not click “More” if you do not want to see Hugo Schwyzer’s reaction to Joe Paterno’s death.
And … you don’t. Not really.
i mean—i wonder if there’s “shades of gray” on how much he loved those kids that he never protected?
why can we always find “shades of gray” when it comes to those in power? but the rest of us are just sad children who complicated an otherwise brilliant man’s career?
[Further And Really Serious Trigger Warning (for child rape, pedophilia & associated apologism)]
I just saw that in November he wrote an article for the Good Men Project headlined “To prevent future Penn States, we need to celebrate the good in male sexuality,” in which almost every single line is vile. I swear I keep thinking it can’t get any worse and it just does.
But we also need to remember that while pedophilia and related disorders are genuine mental illnesses, they are aided and abetted by sexual shame. In a world where the hefty majority of rapists and abusers are men, that means that helping men–all men–overcome that shame is a critical part of the “solution.”
(It’s my understanding that just the opposite is true, and that if you give a pedophile a forum in which to talk with other pedophiles, they will help each other rationalize increasingly overt and harmful abuses against children. Rapists of all types are pretty famous for egging each other on, right?)
That’s his solution, though? That’s where he wants to create lasting change so that no one ever covers up the rape of a child again, so that not one single child is ever sexually abused again? Focusing on the positive aspects of adult male sexuality? What about the shame that Sandusky’s victims felt? What about the shame his victim felt when Joe Paterno saw a rape happening and did nothing? How can freeing the Sanduskys of the world from shame end rape? How can anyone read this and nod along?
I swear I am thinking of the access Hugo has had and still has to young people and I am just sort of seriously freaking out.
This isn’t supposed to be like, ABUSE DYNAMICS SUNDAY or Schywzer Sunday or anything, but the subject has been brought up on my dash and I still have thoughts. Obvious trigger warnings apply. Also this is the excellent comment at feministe that inspired this particular post.
Something that just occured to me is that a lot of the discussion on Feministe etc has focused on the idea of, “Can an abusive/bad person reform to the point where they get to participate in a feminist community?” Which sounds like a valid question, except that Schwyzer is not reformed. He has not taken real responsibility. His entire handling of this situation and the writing he’s been posting as this has gone on is absolute proof of that.
Wanna know what a “reformed abuser” is? It’s an abuser whose victim has finally been able to name what’s going on - who uses the word “abuse” to define their situation, and as such is ready to leave the abuser. The abuser will do anything to keep their victim from leaving, so they will say, “Yes, you’re right. I’ve been abusive to you. I can change. Please don’t leave.” And the victim is shocked and heartened because their abuser has never admitted to his wrongdoing so clearly before, has never validated their perceptions and experiences before. It feels so good to finally hear this. ”He gets it! Finally! There is hope after all!”
But the thing is, the minute an abuser admits their wrongdoing, they become, in their mind, a reformed abuser. They may start therapy, or join a men’s group, and they’re saying they’re doing this so they can stop abusing but really, these avenues just give the abuser yet another form of validation where they can focus on themselves and the wrongs done to them and how hard they have it and totally ignore the hard work they’re supposed to be doing to stop being abusive. And at this point it gets much harder for the victim to name the abuse, because the abuser has a redemption narrative in his head already, can’t you see the hard work he’s been doing? His therapist says this, his group leader says that, now he’s armed with psychobabble and a greater understanding of his own sob story. And now the victim owes it to him to stay, because look at all the work he’s doing. Look at how much he’s changed. Even if he hasn’t changed at all.
So this is obviously my own story, generalized. It doesn’t always work like this or exactly like this. But can you see the parallels between my very personal experience and Schwyzer’s story?
There is nothing in his current writing or behavior that displays true accountability, a real understanding why his presence is actively harmful. Do I believe that people with abusive pasts can change and not become abusive anymore? Well, like, theoretically, I believe it is possible for SOME abusers who aren’t inherently sociopathic or narcissistic with a genuine drive to change their behavior because they are horrified at the harm it has inflicted on their loved ones - in theory that kind of person could sufficiently alter the underlying perceptions and responses to others in such a way that I would feel comfortable saying, “This person isn’t abusive anymore.”
But I have never, ever seen that happen. Because being an abuser isn’t just about hitting somebody or screaming at somebody. It’s rooted in your worldview, your mindset. Non-abusers can behave abusively at times - I bet most of us have. But our underlying sense of how we perceive the world and people around us differs. Hugo may no longer engage in the same kind of obvious abusive behavior that he used to, but the narcissism, the sense of entitlement, the manipulation, the willingness to frame himself as a victim at the expense of actual victims - that’s all still there, loud and clear. And interacting with that person can be extremely toxic regardless of whether or not they are behaving in obviously abusive ways.
“Being an abuser isn’t just about hitting somebody or screaming at somebody. It’s rooted in your worldview, your mindset.” Yep! Love this.
Don’t you even start quoting MLK in defense of a man who led the defense of the racist imagery in Amanda Marcotte’s book “It’s A Jungle Out There”, to the considerable detriment of the women of color bloggers who pointed it out.
You say no one can make one uncomfortable except oneself and no one can silence another. You know what?
That’s BULLY talk.
“I’m not doing anything.”
“Stop hitting yourself!”
If no one can be made to feel uncomfortable or inferior in the face of any kind of social pressure, then what exactly is the problem with people talking about Hugo? Talk about a double standard.
You know what? The moment I stand up and start teaching young people about gender relations and feminism and rape, yes, PLEASE. Pick me apart. Scrutinize me. Put me under the microscope. Nobody should be allowed to do that who won’t withstand the scrutiny, because that scrutiny is necessary.
If I reveal gross crimes in my past and put myself forward as a redeemed figure, you won’t be doing me any favors by nodding and telling me I’m brave for coming forward… if you have any love for me as a fellow human being, you would watch me like a hawk when I think I’m redeemed and would never let me become complacent.
And if my “past mistakes” and present behaviors are incompatible with what I’m doing… yeah, I should probably stop doing it.
Just as an example: I’m personally not capable of safely piloting a motor vehicle for reasons relating to a neuromuscular disorder. Say I caused a terrible accident in the course of discovering this. I didn’t, but say I did. And say I stand up and admit that this happened but it’s in the past and I am redeemed.
Does this mean I’m now a safe driver?
The stuff Hugo rights now is damaging and harmful. You’re imagining that when we say this we’re just being prissy and thin-skinned and hence the bully talk about words never being harmful, but it does harm. It doesn’t “advance the cause”, it teaches men that acquaintance rape (the kind of rape that is most common) is accidental and is the target’s fault as much as the perpetrator’s. Go read the Accidental Rapist, by Hugo Schwyzer. That’s the piece I’m talking about. It was written just this last fall.
His piece on Jezebel about facials centers male sexuality over female’s, pushes forward the idea that men rather than women are the victims of body-image crushing propaganda in our society.
Look, it’s not that he did something wrong one time and thus we don’t care that he’s a great feminist speaker and writer and don’t care about all the good things he’s done.
We’re talking about his whole career, his whole persona, from start to finish. He doesn’t help. He hurts. The things he says that are good and valuable have been said by other people who are ignored in favor of him because the world prizes the voice of the straight white cis male college educated authority figure, and he knows enough about gender relations that he should recognize this and do something about it… but instead he chooses to talk over women, to boost select white women who will boost him in return.
Understatement of the century, but: these aren’t good things that he does.” —Commenter Alexandraerin, on Hugo’s own blog.
-Excerpt a comment (reposted for hilarity) by Feministe commenter piny [Jan 20, 2012]
Note: comment was made in response to Hugo’s supporters and has since won the Best Comment Of The Day award (as far as this blog is concerned).
i’m so glad piny is still around.
(Can you guess who this is?)
When Jill wrote “Filling the Gaps,” it wasn’t. It was “three people, of which I [Jill] am the only one who has any inclination to write regularly.” When Feministe was being taken to task for being one of MANY, MANY mainstream *F*eminist blogs to pass by Jessica Yee’s anthology, Feminism FOR REAL? Then Feministe was not an institution. It was a project, sustained by very few people who all have real jobs elsewhere. How could anyone even *suggest* that Jill is propping up an Internet *F*eminist institution that devalues the work of WOC and maintains a harmful status quo? She writes this shit on her lunch break, you guys.
But when Feministe is criticized for giving a platform to Hugo Schwyzer, a known and un-accountable abuser, Jill doesn’t need to step in because Feministe is bigger than her. She is just one of many talented bloggers who have made Feministe what it is today. Other people have posted about it. Her health concerns (unlike those of certain other people) and personal life prevented her from participating in an institution-wide discussion, not a personal outlet.
And I’m not saying that online discourse—even online enabling and online abuse culture—need to take precedence over everything else, even for *F*eminists. But I am saying that it’s very interesting to see who controls the language that we’re using. And I find it very interesting that the language being used right now, to describe pushback against a Noted Male Feminist who tried to murder his sleeping ex-girlfriend, is “internet blow-up” and not “racism” or “enabling” or “abuse culture.”
So, the other day unknowablewoman asked for help administrating this blog, and I said I’d give her a hand, because I have some experience facilitating campaigns and whatnot. The post by james-bliss went up that night, as I was fussing around with how to actually join and contribute to this blog.
Raven (unknowablewoman) has been handling all the james-bliss-related asks up until now. Which isn’t entirely fair to her, even if I am new to the blog. So after some discussion with Raven, here’s where we’re at with this:
As white women, neither of us feel at all okay with being the facilitators of a discussion about james-bliss and his writings/contributions on the subject of racism and misogyny against women of colour. We really, really, REALLY appreciate all of the feedback we’ve received - and people who’ve written in to us about this deserve massive props, especially the women of colour, so a huge and sincere thank you to so-treu, leonineantiheroine, et al, for all your super-valuable input. Both Raven and myself are, I think, inclined to just post every ask we get about james-bliss with minimal/no commentary.
But we’re concerned about a couple of things - one, that we’re (indirectly or otherwise) being placed in the position of gatekeepers over what gets said about james-bliss, and two, that this isn’t a blog about james-bliss. The obvious solution would be to move the conversation about james-bliss to another blog, but no such blog is available (as far as we know, no one’s made a letstalkaboutjamesbliss tumblr) and for Raven and myself to continue facilitating this discussion is not cool. NOT because it’s ~so hard~ for us or anything, but just because, frankly, if we saw two other white women facilitating a discussion like this, we’d think they were out of line. The LAST THING we want to do is silence anyone. But our intentions can take us so far in this situation. So we’re respectfully asking that this conversation be moved out of the fucknohugoschwyzer inbox.
Some housekeeping notes: It was Raven who reblogged james-bliss’s original post about Schwyzer and his history of racism. She’s spoken already about why she reblogged it, and for transparency’s sake, we are not going to take it down. We will also leave up all the commentary we received on it. We really strongly encourage everyone to read that commentary, especially the commentary of the women of colour who wrote in.
It is important, when we talk about Hugo Schwyzer, to talk about his racism, and specifically to talk about his anti-blackness and how he has treated Black women. Too often, when a prominent “F”eminist/feminist voice - almost always a white voice - attacks, demeans, dehumanizes, and villifies women of colour, white “allies” are silent. There is a long and specific history of women of colour, and especially Black women, being expected to have their own backs. The idea that Black women are “strong” and therefor that they don’t need and/or aren’t worth sticking up for in the face of racism and misogyny, is a pervasive facet of racism and anti-blackness. I say this not for “ally points” or whatever, but because, as someone who has certainly been guilty of such unchecked white bullshit before, I think it’s an important point for the white folks reading this blog to remember. Black women have been targeted for shitty treatment by Hugo Schwyzer in ways that white women just never were. Whether or not james-bliss is a viable ally to women of colour is not up to me or Raven to decide – but what IS up to us, what IS our responsibility, is making a clear, firm, and transparent commitment to centre the voices of women of colour on this blog.
If anything, that is what I want to come out of this whole james-bliss thing – a clearer understanding of my and Raven’s roles as administrators and curators of this space and the fact that we do, HIGHLY, prioritize the work, thoughts, etc of women of colour.
And we want to bring down Hugo Schwyzer. Because he is racist, because he is cissexist, because he is a misogynist.
Finally, we are still looking for co-administrators. Raven and myself are both very busy ladies, in addition the myriad limitations of being, you know, human beings, and therefore prone to fucking up on occasion. I realize that inviting people to co-administer the blog after a recent drama is somewhat, uh, unappealing, probably, but hey. We love you guys. We’d love a new co-admin or five. Hit us up if you’re interested.
It’s also quite telling the most of the hate we’ve gotten on the Feminists Against Hugo Schwyzer has been from MRAs. I’ve gotten anon messages from MRAs, MRAs have attacked me on Twitter over this, etc. MRAs LOVE Hugo.
[contd]… compromise their privacy when you have given no concrete indication you will genuinely listen to them BECAUSE you’re being so passive-aggressive. I can’t imagine why anyone would just up & lie about Bliss for the heck of it - nor would I imagine all WOC share a braintrust & therefore same opinion on him - & as it’s been indicated detractors of Bliss get trolled, obvs they have more to lose by attaching names to their posts than those WOC supporting him.
It’s like you have no idea how Tumblr works, and it’s cute.
I don’t really care what you think, since you’re just another white girl and all. If WOC want to share their thoughts on James Bliss then I’ll be happy to publish them, whichever side of the fence they fall on, and yes, even if they’re anonymous…but your obnoxious ranting and telling me how to run this? No. No thanks. Not interested anymore. IDGAF.
What the hell? No one is playing the victim. Sorry for expressing that I am in a difficult position here. And as far demanding proof goes, uh, I think it’s completely reasonable given the contradictory messages I’m getting. You do understand that I’m getting conflicting messages, right? My inbox has exploded with messages from WOC with names attached saying wait, no, James Bliss is nothing like Hugo Schwyzer. Saying we like James Bliss, we think he’s a good ally, etc. So excuuuuse me for being suspicious of a bunch of angry anons, but this is fucking Tumblr, of course I’m going to be distrustful of anons when I’ve got actual WOC who I know and converse with a regular basis telling me that they’re full of shit.
I mean, fuck, I don’t know what you expect me to do here. I’m sure you would do soooo much better. I’m publishing the messages and that’s all I can do.
And also? This Tumblr wasn’t set up as a safe space for anyone. This Tumblr was set up to rail on Hugo Schwyzer before I even knew about his awful history with WOC. So all this shit is brand new to me and I am learning and you need to get over yourself.
Sigh. Publishing this because it’s the ethical thing to do, I guess.
I DO NOT NECESSARILY ENDORSE ANYTHING IN THE MESSAGES THAT HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED
I just don’t want to silence WOC. So for now, I’m in kind of a bind.
Lord, beer me strength.
I’m white so I can’t really say, but thanks for the link.
Eh, it’s not about needing proof. It’s about wanting know what the hell is going on. But thank you for your message.
1. I don’t think people need to be non-anon to post or contribute to the discussion, it’s a bit disingenous to pretend we don’t understand why people might want to stay anon when there are people like hugo out there, whatever means people need to feel safe is ok by me.
2. I believe I’ve found some problematic entries of james bliss, I can’t be sure if this is what the anon people are referencing, doubly so because I’m white like james, but see for yourself:
Here’s an entry where he criticizes South Asians:
This sounds a lot like someone going down the path of Tim Wise:
He entitles this entry “Just to be clear on my position….” but wouldn’t that be appropriating a position he cannot claim as a white guy?
Sets himself as different from other white people:
“Ever wish you were a pretty white lady?”
Criticism of second-wave feminism
Tagged “nana nana boo boo”
Alright, THANK YOU for these links.
Whatever personal conclusion I come to about James Bliss, I can’t tell WOC how to feel about him. So I’m just going to publish this and let people do their own reading/thinking on the matter.
IDGI either and I have to GO now but I’m sure I’ll come back to some lovely messages in my inbox!
You guys, I don’t know what you want me to do with these messages. I’m not even a WOC. I can’t possibly speak about this James Bliss thing. I’ll publish them but I’m not going to comment.
Yeah, I don’t even know.
I feel you, I really do. I probably wouldn’t trust him either if I was a WOC.
…maybe if you weren’t anon this discussion could be more productive? Just a thought.
Sigh. I’m going to publish all of your messages, anon, but I am staying the fuck out of this.
I’m just going to leave this here for y’all to read.
Okay. Noted. If anyone wants to come off anon to discuss this, I promise not to publish anything.
CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET BACK TO HATING ON HUGO ;__;
When I was a kid, I went to the Unitarian Universalist church here in Nashville. At the time it’s minister was a fairly charismatic, smiling, smooth man named David. I don’t know his last name and I don’t really want too. Y’see, David was a sex addict. He used his position as minister to prey on women, lots of women. While he did this, he used his charm to build support from lots of congregation members, and was generally thought very highly of.
When this came to light, my mom happened to be on the church council. She was one of several that pushed for David’s removal, and the resulting fight split the church in two. She wasn’t even one of the people who came forward and she was called all kinds of nasty names by his defenders, who yelled about how she and the others were just trying to be divisive and that they had something personally against David, that it was just a power grab.
Eventually David was ousted. He didn’t go willingly, and the fight left deep scars in the congregation that still have not healed today. Many of those who were his supporters left the church and there is still tension between the two. New members are told about the history, and more than 15 years later it is painful to those who were involved.
From everything I can tell, my mom loved that congregation, and felt like it was her home. It was one of the first spiritual homes she had since leaving the Catholic faith she’d been raised in.
After the pain of this fight, she never stepped foot in that building again. She’s never found another spiritual home.
But she says it was worth it. David couldn’t use his power to hurt anyone else, and as far as I know, he was barred from any power within UU churches.
To those of you who are holding Schwyzer to his actions, and trying to stay whole, my heart goes out to you. You are doing this with significantly less backing than my mom had, and have significantly nastier shit being thrown at you.
To those of you who are defending him, I’m not angry at you, or at least no more than I was angry at those hurting my mom. From everything I’ve seen and heard, this guy is a slimeball of epic proportions who uses emotional manipulation and abuse to control those around him and protect himself from the consequences of what he’s done, and to keep hurting others. I do ask you, however, to ask yourself if that even if he IS “reformed” is the supposed good that he *MIGHT* be doing as a male feminist leader (mmmph.) worth the pain and suffering he is causing women? In a movement that is supposed to be about women?
To Schwyzer? If you are anything close to the person you claim to be, you’ll realizing that shutting the fuck up is the best thing you can do for those you’ve hurt. You know why? Because your actions have consequences, and one of those is that you will hurt people with your very presence. There is nothing in the world that will change that.
Bolded for emphatic agreement.
Look, I have no idea. I really and truly don’t know shit about james-bliss.
If someone wants to provide me with some links to examples of his poor behavior, that would be swell, because all I’ve got to go on right now is the words of some gray faces; meanwhile, WOC with actual names attached have expressed that they support him.
I’m not saying there might not necessarily be some truth to what you’re saying, just that I can’t possibly in good conscience make a conclusion about this guy when I don’t know anything about him and no one is willing to present specific problematic things that he has done/said.
I’ve gotten a lot of messages on my personal Tumblr about the post I reblogged earlier today.
I seriously wasn’t aware of any controversy surrounding james-bliss. I don’t know the guy at all and haven’t really read his blog in-depth. I’m sorry if reblogging his post bothered anyone, I really am.
For the record, I’m not really sure what to do about it, because I’ve gotten messages from people who support him and people who despise him. If anyone wants to share more info on the guy/discuss this further, feel free to message me here, but pleeeease not on my personal Tumblr; I get enough messages there already, and then if I want to publish them, I don’t have the option to publish them here.
All I do here is reblog anything I see that’s relevant to the Hugo Schwyzer issue specifically. I will be more careful in the future to do a little research on whoever I’m reblogging. That’s the best I can do! There should be a new contributor here shortly so that will help.
just read new post at feministe where the editor pretends to say something and doesn’t. or she says the sentence “i don’t support hugo” about 100 times even as it’s surrounded by a complete non-addressing of anything. i guess that says something.
but one commenter (94) hit something on the head that i don’t think i’ve read anyone say and has kind of been floating around in me felt but not articulated.
which is: just the way he writes is triggering. like, seriously so. and i do not mean that in a joking “ughhhhh just your face is a trigger” way. and this poster very explicitly and accurately described that way of speaking. it’s actually physically revolting and there must be many people who it really viscerally effects because it reminds them of something.
and it is revolting to see “feminism” which supposedly knows so much about gender violence to not *see* that the fucking very style of his writing is exactly what it is.
Oh? I mean, I wasn’t aware of that. I just reblog pretty much anything decent I see in the “Hugo Schwyzer” tag. Sorry!
I’ve read so much of hugo schwyzer’s writing and I still don’t believe he exists for real. he clearly wrote his own wikipedia page. he has a website with an ultra-high resolution photo of himself. he teaches at a community college—which makes him the only ‘professional/academic feminist’ I know of who teaches somewhere where you don’t have to produce any original literature. and he’s never produced an intelletual contribution in any field, neither his actual field of medieval history (gross) or his acquired (sans qualification) field of gender/sexuality studies.
oh, men have body issue problems? thanks for piercing through the darkness of our modern episteme with that blinding insight. I want to know who is reading this guy and finding something redeemable in it. and who knows this guy such that they give a shit about his well-being? I’m not trying to jump into the ‘discussion’ in professional and e-feminism—I don’t know if the violence of the pro-schwyzer camp constitutes participation in a discussion, but that’s the poverty of my language—because I’m very not qualified to. it’s just… this guy exists… he’s taken seriously by someone…? I’ve never known anyone who had heard of him until I got to tumblr. but people know of him, somehow, and he has a career, somehow, and he has never produced anything of any value.
interestingly, though, there’s an essay by h.s. that increasingly seems to be written about himself when he writes of thomas jefferson (the famous murderer and rapist; or, in american, ‘statesman’) as ‘both saint and sinner’. the way that he goes to such lengths to defend jefferson both as a ‘historian’ (it’s ‘bad history’ to call jefferson a rapist because a) jefferson is a complex being who also did a lot of good, and b) it’s anachronistic to call his rape of hemmings ‘rape’ because allllll 19th century women, in schwyzer’s reading, were barred from meaningful consent) and as a (hu)man (‘Like everyone reading this post,’ he says, ‘I have inflicted hurt. The story of my life, like the story of your life, surely contains within it episodes of great kindnesses and incidents of genuine wickedness. [For many of us, the greatest wickednesses we do are rooted in obtuse indifference rather than malice.’])
you know, sometimes you rape a teenager who you own for years… just out of obtuse indifference… sometimes you attempt to murder a woman you’re dating… just out of obtuse indifference. we allllll have our problems…
it just so happens that the only reason h.s. thinks to defend jefferson as a complex non-rapist is because a Black woman wrote an article about how she feels about jefferson.
it’s interesting to see all of the affect that goes into h.s.’s investment in and identification with jefferson. which is probably linked to the way that he fetishizes the non-whiteness of his current wife and the supposed racial ambiguity of their daughter. it’s interesting that schwyzer understands himself as a jeffersonian figure, it’s probably one of the only places where he is in agreement (though for the wrong reasons) with his critics.
I am in a very inarticulate state, but I have been reading the responses to the Feministe mess and seeing multiple complaints along the lines of how feminism has no room for forgiveness, and how can we possibly expect things to change if we don’t accept people who are trying to get better. Well, for one, I don’t believe Hugo Schwyzer IS better, even if he is less likely to try and outright murder someone. But that’s besides my main concern here, which is the apparent obliviousness to the fact that the cultural conditioning of women to be forgiving is an extremely important factor in keeping them from leaving bad situations when they start to turn bad.
People often cite fear as the reason women do not leave abusive relationships. Fear is of course an important factor, as the risk of being murdered is highest when trying to leave an abusive partner. But fear is not the only factor. There is a relationship there, and in that relationship there are people who have grown up in a society that tells them obsessive, volatile attachment is romantic, and that a woman’s love can cure the worst bad boy. It is very difficult, as a woman who considers herself educated and intelligent, to admit you are in a bad situation. There is a compulsion to try to think your way out of it, and one of the ways to soften the process is to remind yourself that it’s good to be forgiving, good to give second/third/fourth chances, because maybe you can change things and make the world a better place. You’re a good person! You know about women who had it so much worse! You should try to change him for them! (After all, it will be so embarrassing if anyone finds out.)
Forgiveness is not something any abuser is owed. If a victim feels forgiving her abuser is necessary to recover, that is her prerogative, but it is not safe until she is out of that situation. Other victims never forgive abusers, and should not be told that they’re bad people for doing so. That distrust is a survival skill.
Regarding that distrust: it’s not easy. I’ve spent months jumpy and uneasy around my current partner because he doesn’t react with aggression, and I have come to realize that that is because I live in a constant state of anxiety, fear of setting off those mysterious triggers that characterize abusive men. I had to explain that it is if you have spent a long time blindfolded in an unfamiliar room full of obstacles; if you try to move, you will eventually hit one, and it will be painful. Some walls and obstacles are much worse than others, and you cannot know where they are. There are few patterns, and there is no warning. It is extremely difficult to adjust to the idea that you might have finally landed somewhere where the obstacles are few, and your partner is actually willing to tell you where they are and help you around them. That distrust is an enormous burden, a necessary poison, and should never be construed as a choice made solely to punish innocent men.That distrust must be examined, but forgiveness will not displace it. It may, however, make one feel guilty for leaving that terrible room, in case you somehow missed some wonderful corner that would have made it all worth it. Forgiving is pointless if you are forgiving a fantasy of what the abuser could have been, rather than what he showed himself to be.
I don’t think it is possible to really communicate all I mean, but fuck forgiveness. Misplaced, it can be deadly.
Thank you for sharing. Everyone needs to read this!