(Content note: discussion of abuse)
I started listening to Citizen Radio back in, I think, 2012… or possibly earlier. It was the very first truly left-wing podcast I had ever heard. In fact, I think it was the first podcast I ever listened to at all.
At the time, I was still pretty right-wing/Libertarian in my thinking. I found them while looking for something that would challenge my thinking/worldview, and, as should be obvious by now, it worked. Through them I found Radio Dispatch, Democracy Now, Tell the Bartender (and through that podcast I found The Struggle Bus), and Best of the Left. Through Best of the Left I found This Week in Blackness Prime, and through them I found The Black Guy Who Tips, The Read, the Three Fifs podcast, Keith and the Girl, Applying it Liberally, the Friend Zone, and many more.
So I always rather loved Allison Kilkenny and Jamie Kilstein. I even saw Jamie live at one of his improv shows in NYC.
So maybe that’s why, despite the fact that, in hindsight, I really shouldn’t be surprised, this was like a punch in the gut to me:
What I’m about to say didn’t really register consciously to me over the years I was listening to Citizen Radio. However, looking back with hindsight, it becomes clear…
I’ve always felt that Allison Kilkenny was the heart and brains of the CR operation. While it did seem, when I first started listening, that both pulled their weight equally, over time it became obvious that Allison was the one doing all the work and research while Jamie was just making it about him. And he got more and more ridiculous while Allison always brought the news, facts, and information.
Subconsciously, I began looking forward to the shows Jamie wasn’t in, like Lady Power Hour. They were just… better. Allison seemed… almost… freer… during those episodes. And when Jamie was there, things just seemed… well… not right.
Now I know why. Now I know exactly what I was hearing. Now I know exactly what was going on.
And as PZ points out in his post, this isn’t new. In fact, it’s disappointingly familiar, and infuriatingly common.
This kind of thing is why I’m not calling myself a feminist anymore.
Yes, I still support and believe in the movement. I still believe that men and women are equals, and they should be treated as equals. I’m not rejecting any of it at all.
But “feminism” is not a label; at least, not for men. I now see it as more of an action verb. As a label, it can only be given to me, and to all men, by women, based on our actions. Just like a lot of women, I no longer trust any man who loudly, and constantly, proclaims himself to be a feminist.
And… further… no one should trust me.
In fact, I’ll say this:
Don’t trust me.
Why should you? I’m yet another straight, white, cis-gendered, able-bodied man. I am the living embodiment of Patriarchal White Supremacy. Yes, I know my intentions. I know my mind and what I believe. But intent isn’t magic.
And how can you know them, anyways?
You don’t. You can’t. You aren’t psychic. And if previous experience is anything to go by, my words (perhaps even my actions) tell you nothing about me. I’m not insulted if a woman doesn’t want to be alone with me, or even be around me. I’m the one who has to earn that trust, and if I fail to, it’s nobody’s fault but mine. If I were to blame anyone besides myself for that, it would be Patriarchy.
It all goes back to to the idea of Schrodinger’s _________. Remember Schrodinger’s Rapist? A lot of people, men specifically, lost their minds over that. A lot of #notallmen went around. But they missed the damn point.
We have no problem with the idea of Schrodinger’s Thief/Mugger. It’s why we lock our cars and our homes, and protect our valuables. We have no problem with the idea of Schrodinger’s Murderer. It’s why we protect ourselves when we go out.
But Schrodinger’s Rapist was a bridge too far?
And now we have Schrodinger’s Pseudo-Feminist Abuser (really, a subset of Schrodinger’s Rapist). Because it’s happening far too often for trust to just be given willy-nilly by the people who could potentially be victims, and the people who are victims. Too many men are calling themselves feminists in public while, in private, being utterly horrible to the very women they claim to support. Feminist communities become a hunting ground for these men, and they think they can hide behind their very public protestations to being a “good ally”.
To wrap up, I 100% believe all of the women who have come forward, hasn’t yet, or chooses not to at all. I hear them, I believe them, and I support them. And I will continue to forever.
As for Jamie Kilstein… he can go fuck himself sideways into the ocean with a cactus.
*So… I think I made a mistake. Those of you who’ve read this between March 1st and March 10th might have noticed a change. I named three of the women who came forward because they had been named in other publications, and I assumed they were okay with that. However, a recent Jezebel article was written about this, where they all were kept anonymous. As such, I have removed their names from this article, and I’m truly sorry for publishing them in the first place.