It’s On: Radical and Left Feminists Split on the Julian Assange Rape Case
Didn’t know there was a split? Or that feminists disagree and duke it out issues amongst themselves? Get an education right here. From Democracy Now!, a debate on rape and Julian Assange:
As more details emerge about the sex crimes allegations against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, we host a debate between two feminists: Jaclyn Friedman argues the sexual assault allegations shouldn’t be dismissed just because they’re politically motivated, while Naomi Wolf says by going after Assange, the state is not embracing feminism, it’s “pimping” it.
The featured debaters? Jaclyn Friedman is executive director of Women, Action & the Media, and is a charter member of CounterQuo, an organization dedicated to changing attitudes about rape and other forms of sexual violence. She is the editor of the anthology, Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape. And Naomi Wolf, who is much more known, is a feminist and social critic. She is the author of seven books, including The Beauty Myth and The End of America.
I’ve already put my two bits in during an earlier post about Assange; I’ve read so many articles and viewpoints on this case, I am on overload. At the least, Assange is an insensitive oaf with a severe lack of social skills, like some computer geeks. At the same time, though, Friedman’s points–that any sexual act that a woman doesn’t like from a man constitutes rape–disturb me. I keep asking myself, if I left within hours after being used in a manner I did not like; if I recognized that I had a choice between leaving with my integrity intact or staying and taking such behavior; then why didn’t the wom(e)n chuck his ass out, too? Or get help to usher him out? Or raise a stink immediately thereafter? Within the political circles in which these two women moved, it definitely would not take much small talk for women on the grapevine all over to revise their ideas about the new hero on the block to the point where hardly any woman would pursue or give him sexual favors.
How do women collude in their own oppression, and thus bow down to celebrity, status and fame? Particularly revelatory are some controversial Twitter messages written by one of the women, said by the Times of India to be a woman named Anna Ardin, that shows her boasting that she had slept with Assange, thus raising her status among other women who admire and are in competition for him. Half the time, I am just shaking my head at the waste. Why didn’t the
paranoid idiot guy simply submit to a test for STDs? I just want the trial to happen so they can make these people take the stand so that the truth will indeed come out.
What is really bad is that behind the scenes, the end of Internet Neutrality may occur today so that there are no more Wikileaks or online whistleblowers. Unprecedented government pressure has been put to bear on Bank of America, PayPal, Visa and MC and on those running internet servers and portals regarding WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks is not dispensing gossip, it’s giving us the dirty lowdown of what our elected and appointed representatives do in our names. A lot of people have eggs on their faces. As a result, it’s an opportunity for both corporations and the government to squelch investigative journalism and the people’s right to know.
There are times that I wish feminism was not simply seen as a white woman’s thing. Maybe a couple of feminist black or other women of color coming on each side could have given a different perspective on the controversy as well.
I don’t know; we can discuss all we want, but when our rights to know and to know why are being chipped away, action is required and not just talk.