Boys love to talk to me about rape; they like to talk about it like it is some interesting intellectual quandary. They dream up rape scenarios and tell me about them, they play ‘Devil’s advocate’. They ask me for statistics and sources and evidence and proof. They talk about rape like it is not real. My sources are biased and my stats are skewed. My own lived life is not mine, and it is not convincing enough to disprove their own theories that they spent two minutes thinking up. “Well animals rape each other so it’s natural and we can’t stop it” (Animals also eat shit and their own babies) “Men rape and murder women because they are stronger than them” (I am stronger than most small children and guinea pigs but I have managed not to kill any). It goes on. And the whole time we are talking the giant from twin peaks stands on the stage and says ‘IT IS HAPPENING AGAIN, IT IS HAPPENING AGAIN’ and nobody cares enough to see him but me. It is a horrible heavy feeling. It is everywhere and it is suffocating.
Up until this morning I thought Seth Macfarlane was that ginger guy (Seth green??) but now that I have seen THE REAL Seth Macfarlane i am disgruntled. He looks like he has dyed his hair with shoe polish. And why are there so many famous Seths anyway what the hell.
Today I was looking through my work’s “equality and diversity” calendar and on international women’s day it said something like “there’s no sign of an international men’s day but we should remember to achieve equality we must include men and women.”
Heaven forbid the women have one measly token day.
i might just be ignorant, but why not? because all men carry internalized misogyny? i don’t get why men can’t call women on their shit, too.
men don’t have internalized misogyny, they just are misogynists.
ok, that explains absolutely nothing to me, nor does it answer my question. women can’t hate women in the same institutionalized ways as men can? exactly what protects women from the status of misogynist?
The key word is internalized. Put simply, if women hate women they hate themselves. If men hate women they just hate women. The hate is external, directed outwards. Men shouldn’t preach to women about internalized misogyny because they don’t know shit about how women can best make peace with themselves.
by Mia McKenzie
October 25, 2012
A couple of months ago, I started seeing these images going around on Facebook, of Frida Kahlo in various stages of nudity. They were being posted and re-posted by several people I like, awesome POCs whose admiration of Frida Kahlo I definitely share. But something about the images seemed off to me. I mean, where had all these new images come from, all of a sudden? I decided to click on the link, to actually follow it to a web page. And there I discovered the awful truth: that these were all photoshopped images of Frida Kahlo’s face on someone else’s body.
Why would anyone do this? I mean, okay, there are all kinds of photoshopped pics of celebrity heads attached to naked bodies that don’t belong to them. Apparently, the desire to see a woman with her clothes off is so powerful to some people that seeing her with someone else’s clothes off will suffice. I won’t lie. I don’t get it. But I guess some people are into that. Okay. But, right or wrong, I guess I don’t personally associate this phenomenon with the kind of folks who actually know who Frida Kahlo is. Further, I guess I expect that people who do know who she is, and who care enough to click and share a link about her, would respect her enough to not want to see her objectified, and in such extreme ways. But then I realized that the person behind all of this was a white man. And I was like, “Oh. Yeah. Figures.” When did the idea of respecting the image, body, or identity of women of color ever trump the need for white men (or any men, really) to do whatever they please? Brown and black women have been treated as beasts of the sexual burden of white men for hundreds of years. White men have regarded the bodies of dark women as plantation playgrounds, where they can rape and abuse and use as they please, for centuries. This is yet another way to do that. Without any rightful claim to it, this person has taken the idea of Frida Kahlo’s body, staked a claim to it, used it for what he desires, and called it art.
Is this art? Really? Is this “genius” the way it is described here? Or is it just the same old racist, misogynist bullshit?
Don’t answer. It’s a rhetorical question.
There is more at play here, too, than just racism and misogyny (as if those aren’t enough). The fact of the matter is that Frida Kahlo did not likely have a body that looked like any of the bodies being used for these photoshopped images. The real, authentic nude photographs of Frida that exist only show her naked from the front, and from the waist up. What we know about her life is that she was a victim in a terrible bus crash in her youth, and that the results of that crash included years of surgeries, full-body casts, and the inability to have children.
Kahlo was impaled by a steel handrail, which went into her hip and came out the other side. She suffered several serious injuries as a result, including fractures in her spine and pelvis.
Following the accident, Frida would go on to have more than thirty surgeries.
We’d have to be in some serious denial to think that these things did not affect the way Frida’s body looked. There were surely scars, surely much evidence of decades of pain and surgery and brokenness. To replace that broken, scarred body with smooth, un-flawed flesh, as in these photoshopped pics, is plainly able-ist. Further, it dishonors the life Frida Kahlo lived and the experiences she survived. Here was a woman, an artist, whose artistic expression had everything to do with her physical pain, everything to do with existing inside a body that was twisted and gnarled, a body that hurt every day. To erase that is to attempt to erase Frida herself.
At the rate these pics are being shared, if this keeps up, these images of Frida Kahlo, which are not images of Frida Kahlo at all, will replace the authentic images that we have of her in our hearts and minds. People who don’t know her story, who don’t realize how fake these images are, will take them as the truth when there is no truth in them, when they are blatant lies. Lies created by someone who shares neither her color, nor her gender, nor her pain.
Whenever I see one of these photos posted in my Facebook news feed, I write a comment to let the person who posted it know that it’s fake and why that’s fucked-up. Maybe if others join me in this practice, we can help save the real image of Frida from erasure.
Mia McKenzie is a writer and a smart, scrappy Philadelphian with a deep love of vegan pomegranate ice cream and fake fur collars. She is a black feminist and a freaking queer, facts that are often reflected in her writings, which have won her some awards and grants, such as the Astraea Foundation’s Writers Fund Award and the Leeway Foundation’s Transformation Award. She has a novel debuting in the fall and has a short story forthcoming in The Kenyon Review. Her work has been published at Jezebel.com, and recommended by The Root, Colorlines, Feministing, Angry Asian Man, and Crunk Feminist Collective. She is a nerd, and the creator of Black Girl Dangerous, a revolutionary blog.
See Mia in Beloved: A Requiem for Our Dead
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- I do not actually want to kill all men
- I do not actually think all men are evil
- But saying Kill All Men is useful rhetoric in order to clarify I don’t care about being seen as a man-hater, I don’t care about men’s feelings when talking about sexism and shut up and let the women talk, boys.