Yet another front in the war on women-who-don’t-like-rape-threats. Here’s one summary:
Jacobin Magazine published a piece by Amber A’Lee Frost on Saturday denouncing the “troubling new trend in younger leftist circles” of ascribing all sexism to “bros”. The article hung all of its critical extrapolation on what amounted to two tweets, one by Aaron Bady, and a second by Al Jazeera English writer Sarah Kenzior. Kendzior objected to the use of her tweet, a reply to a friend in which she characterized someone sending her rape threats as a “brocialist,” particularly since it was used by Frost as a finger-wagging example of how one ought not to use the word “bro.” In fact, Frost later* writes “Give me a card-carrying brocialist over one of these oily “allies” any day,” which it’s hard to interpret any way other than explicit support for the person sending Kendzior rape threats, so what’s that about?
And where does Jacobin stand editorially on rape threats? The piece’s editor, Micah Uetricht, apologized to Kendzior, explaining that he “didn’t read piece nor link closely enough—thought it was saying something else.” Megan Erickson, on the other hand, whose Twitter bio says she is “Editor, @jacobinmag,” said that Kendzior’s complaint was “dishonest, childish bullshit,” and that she “didn’t edit it, but I agree completely with the sentiment and don’t apologize.” Erickson later clarified, however, that she is “not a journalist. I’m a teacher. And thank the fuck Christ for that, if this is what you call journalism.” So I guess that makes Jacobin Magazine some kind of school for scandal? Kendzior eventually wrote a blog post about the fracas, calling out Salon editor Elias Isquith, who apparently deleted the tweet she was referring to, having merely chosen an inopportune moment to deploy that old-time Twitter-brand tone-deaf humor. “The left has a rape problem,” Kenzior says.
Kendzior’s post is a stick of dynamite, and makes me feel like a fool for not having heard of her before.
She starts by saying she doesn’t write personal essays, which already makes me feel an affinity with her, because I don’t either. I use a personal voice, most of the time, as opposed to an impersonal academic-like one, but I use that voice to talk about things that aren’t me. I like writers who talk about things that aren’t themselves.
I do not like to write about myself, and I do not like to write about my pain. Today Jacobin put me in a position where I had no choice but to do that.
For the past few weeks, I have been receiving rape threats and constant harassment from people who describe themselves as leftists or communists, and apparently want to rape their way to revolution. I have attempted to handle these threats privately. I mentioned them on Twitter twice: once to violentfanon, whose podcast I nearly had to cancel on because of the intensity of the threats, and one to Kenzo Shibata, in a Twitter conversation.
During the YesAllWomen hashtag, which happened at the peak of the threats, I was tempted to open up about what was happening. I was moved by others sharing their stories, many of which were similar to mine. Like many women, I deleted more tweets than I submitted. In the end, I only referred to my situation obliquely. I could not go through with it.
Today Amber A’lee Frost at Jacobin magazine linked to my conversation with Shibata in order to mock my rape threats.
There are not words to describe the experience of reading an article, coming to the word “rape threats”, and then seeing that the rape threat is about you – intended to debase and humiliate you for admitting you have been threatened.
When I objected to the piece, two Jacobin editors admitted that they had not edited or carefully read the piece in question, and removed the link. Then another editor, Megan Erickson, said I was being “childish” for noting that they had mocked me for my rape threats. She and others spent the day mocking and harassing me.
Because this was now being handled in public, I was fortunate to receive the support of hundreds of people on Twitter – as well as attacks from others. I always expect some form of trolling, but I did not expect one of the attackers to be an editor at Salon, Elias Isquith, who questioned what my potential rape meant for “hashtags” and “brands”.
So in one day, two leftist publications used rape threats to me to belittle me, humiliate me and defame me. And then others accuse me of wanting attention.