Friday, January 22, 2010

The Internet is a Cesspool

A cesspool in which spawns some of the worst people or writing. I was going over my blog roll and reading through Neil Gaiman's blog when I read something a little confusing and concerning. Basically Neil Gaiman was attempting to apologize for offending some people for using the word "bitch" in the context, "I'm nobody's bitch." He also mentioned his frustration with the subject and decided to leave it be. I didn't exactly know what was going on, but thought I'd investigate and see what merited all the fuss. Little did I know I would stumble across the some of the most hateful and blatantly wrong comments. I just got so angry and spent all this time and effort writing a response that couldn't be posted to the site where all the fuss supposedly began. Neil Gaiman is a writer I extremely respect and enjoy reading. I became furious when I saw him being pegged as an insensitive, sexist pig and then to further see his work being diminished and called sexist and his fiance's character being dragged into the argument! I wrote a response, but didn't post it to the site because 1) comments on the topic are closed 2) no one would listen; they're far too stuck in their own opinions. I'm posting the comment followed by my response. My comment is not the most eloquent or polite, but I'm not trying to sway anyone. It's quite obvious to anyone with common sense, Gaiman's words have been grossly misinterpreted.

Today in Rape Culture
[Trigger warning.]

Smack in the middle of a new profile of Neil Gaiman in The New Yorker:

He was one of the first writers to have a blog—he started it in 2001, and had, at last count, some 1.4 million readers—and he often posts to his Twitter feed a dozen or more times a day. He attributes his recent No. 1 débuts to his ability to communicate directly with his fans: he tells them to buy a book on a certain day, and they do. "It means I'm nobody's bitch," he told me.

The hat tip goes to Latoya, who notes in her piece that Gaiman's success is largely attributable to "his wide appeal to female readers," which makes his use of misogynist slurs all the more tragic.

But let us be honest: The use of "bitch" here is not merely a misogynist slur. To be someone's "bitch" is to be sexually subservient to hir, and the phrase is typically associated with nonconsensual sexual subservience, i.e. rape. (Specifically, it originates with prison rape.)

I understand, quite keenly, the value of being a writer who is able to communicate directly with hir readership. That is a priceless freedom.


Mr. Gaiman, I have been a writer beholden to other people with agendas, constrained in my work by forces I could not control. I have also been someone's "bitch." And they are not the same thing.

Not at all.

My Response:

Dear People on the Internet:
CHILL THE F' OUT & stop being a bunch of haters! Neil Gaiman when he said, "I'm nobody's bitch" did NOT use the term in a derogatory, misogynistic sense in which he implied sexual subservience or rape! The term has become colloquial and been reappropriated. That is no excuse to bash him or his writing. How does using the term in that way undo all the good work he did and strong female characters he wrote? And how does that minimalize the experience of rape?! You're all being f'ing ridiculous! He really shouldn't have to defend himself against your stupidty. Are you currently jumping down every person who says the word "bitch" 's throat? Please go out, track down and start personally attacking everyone who uses the word; don't just single one person out because he's famous. Neil Gaiman is not a dumbass; he doesn't need to be educated as to what the word "bitch really means." He is a brilliant writer and surely has more important things to concern himself with then someone's twisted misinterpretation of his words.

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