Standing on the edge

wewantchange

Does anyone else feel like we are at the point in human history where revolution just seems inevitable? Where the systems and constructs that we've so carefully crafted to have order in our world and our societies just don't seem to be cutting it anymore. How much more can we take of the tired rhetoric of "this is the way the world works" and "this is simply the way it has always been" and all the other variations on the status quo? Are we not supposed to evolve as a species? As a society? Please don't hate me internet, but as the boys in Nickelback are saying these days, "We're standing on the edge of a revolution."

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The shooting of Michael Brown was a tipping point. It has brought the ugly truth of racism in North America right to the front lines of our news feeds, Twitter streams and viral, live-streaming world. It showed us what happens when we question the system. It showed us the levels at which authoritarian governments will go to maintain "the peace"and what happens when you step out of line. How they will try to control the narrative of events and the status-quo of a world where everyone needs to know their place in it.

I've had a few conversations over the past month with people who have said to "wait for all the facts" and "let the courts and those in charge figure this out" and THEN, I can make an "informed" decision about what happened. For me, and for many others too, this line of thinking falls apart when it's the very people in charge who are the ones that are working within a system that fails to recognize it's own ingrained biases. What this says to me, is "Let us figure this out, and then we'll TELL you what to think" and I, for one, am just not down with that.

"What do we want? We want change. 

How we gonna get there? Revolution."

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Anita Sarkeesian was forced to leave her own house last week because of threats made against her and her family on social media. What terrible thing did she do to bring on this level of abuse you ask? She released the most recent of her series of videos on "Tropes vs Women in Video Games." and by pointing out and discussing the way that the rape, maiming and murder of women is uniquely used as background narrative or character development in video games, she was subsequently threatened by members of the gaming community with all of these very things. I am not sure how much more her point needs to be hammered into someone's head when the very thing she is criticizing about video games, ie, violence against women, plays out in real life. That certain individuals (men) believe that this level of violence against women is just a NORMAL part of video games and somehow integral to the gaming experience is a problem people. A BIG one. Sarkeesian says that when these games are critiqued for their levels of violence against women it further perpetuates these beliefs and frames the "misogyny and sexual exploitation as an everlasting fact of life and as something inescapable and unchangeable." It is NOT and we do NOT have to accept these narratives "as some kind of necessary cultural background for our media stories."

"What do we want? We want change.

How we gonna get there? Revolution."

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Now on the "Ladies Master List of Things NOT to do to Avoid Being Violated" you can include taking racy photos of yourself with your smart phone. Add that to, don't get drunk, don't wear short skirts/low cut tops, don't walk alone in a dark back alley/parkade, and don't ever, EVER, leave your drink unattended - unless you have your special nail polish on that is - and it's just becoming a bit (read: A LOT) ridiculous. The level to which rape culture/victim-blaming is alive and well in our world is so insidious that it takes a couple of minutes (days) for people to register that the rape-drug detecting nail polish is actually NOT a great idea/invention or that saying, "Well, in this digital age, people (ei: WOMEN) should know better than to put naked pictures of themselves on their phones." is tantamount to saying that the VICTIMS of this CRIME are somehow partially to blame for said CRIME. In case I am not making myself clear, all of those pictures circulating on the internet are not a LEAK, and this is not a celebrity SCANDAL. This was a planned and deliberate crime, perpetrated by pathetic individuals who violated personal property, STOLE personal images and distributed them to the world for consumption at will. And EVERY SINGLE PERSON who downloaded them and got a nice good look at them is equally at fault for continuing to violate the privacy and personhood of these women. Take a stand people! Tell your friends that Googling the pictures is wrong. Tell Perez Hilton that he is a major ass creep for posting them. Unfriend /Unfollow anyone on FB or Twitter sharing them and let them know WHY. If you need some more info to convince them, Deb Rox at Blogher says it all right here: "We can start by calling this "leak" by its real name: sexual harassment via theft and publication."

"What do we want? We want change.

How we gonna get there? Revolution."

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I watched a documentary the other night called "L Word Mississipi: Hate the Sin" about the lives of lesbians living in the deep south, deeply Christian bible belt of America. It was a tough film to watch as these women tried to navigate living their lives and loving their partners surrounded by family members who openly told them they were going to burn in hell, strangers comparing them to child molesters and living lives denying their true selves for the sake of the church. I cried as I watched these women struggle with coming out to their deeply religious parents and the especially difficult story of the one woman who was "reformed" and trying to reform her gay son. At one point, my husband came in the room and asked me why I was watching such a depressing show? I was crying too much to answer him, but here is why. Because I wanted to bear witness to these women's lives, to their pain and struggle. And while that pain is not mine, I felt a profound allyship with these women. I felt loss when one woman's family left all of her childhood belongings on the doorstep of her house, as if to say, you no longer exist in our lives. If God is Love, then why can't Love be Godly? In all it's forms? Hating the sin is simply HATE folks. And that just has to stop.

"What do we want? We want change.

How we gonna get there? Revolution."

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The thing is, revolution is never pretty. It's not quiet. It is not NOT angry. It is not always orderly and it doesn't happen with all parties coming to the table for a "civilized" conversation and leaving happy. Revolution is by it's very definition an overthrowing of a social order in favour of a new system. Revolutions are emotional, they are fuelled by passion and anger and that stuck in your craw feeling that enough is finally, and absolutely ENOUGH!  It takes strength to not back down. To not retreat to the way things have always been and just live out a mediocre existence in a world full of overt or not so overt oppression. You've got to get in some people's faces and keep doing it over and over and over and over again. Revolution happens when someone takes a stand, plants themselves there and refuses to sit down. And then someone else joins them. And then another person. And another. And another. And, well, you get the point right?

I do believe that in a lot of ways our world is indeed on the edge of a revolution. The question is, are we willing to step off that edge?

n~

Nickelback just released the new video for Edge of a Revolution yesterday.

You are welcome/I am sorry.