Stephanie Rogers believes the protesters recognize the intersecting oppressions of gender, race, class, and sexuality, but there are still some sides she wishes she didn’t see.
I’ve been 100% on board with Occupy Wall Street since it began almost a month ago. I wrote about my experience protesting with them on October 5, and—leading up to the Times Square Occupation—I almost had goose bumps. I was ready to take the square. And then, it happened—I browsed Facebook. In my defense, I went to the Facebook community page for Occupy Wall Street to find out exactly when and where I should meet my fellow protesters, but instead, I found a YouTube video posted by the page administrator that more than seven hundred people had shared and on which hundreds of people had commented. I had to watch it. I wish I wouldn’t have. The “comedian” ranted with so much repressed disdain for women that it couldn’t help but leak out, turning his tirade from something intended to critique Wall Street and the Banks into an opportunity to degrade women directly; when he ranted about the true Economy Tankers, or the mainstream media, or those who don’t support the movement, he conveniently addressed them as an abstract and general “you.” I created a transcript of the entire video just to make sure I wasn’t going all woman and not understanding comedy and getting unnecessarily pissed about little things that don’t matter. Let’s see! Video and transcript below, with bullshit in bold:
The New York Times, the highly respected New York Times, did a great article yesterday about Occupy Wall Street. The entire report revolved around how Occupy Wall Street is a big pain in the ass to the area’s public bathrooms. Now there’s two things you need to know about the last sentence I just said. A: I’m not kidding. B: The double entendre was unintended. There will be several more of those in the following three minutes, and all of them are unintended except for seven. The New York Times, which is a so-called liberal media outlet, is more concerned about the harm done to the public restrooms than they are with the harm done to the American people by corporations and Wall Street titans who make Charlie Sheen’s moral compass look like that of Harriet Tubman. As billionaires continue to shit all over this country like it’s a bathroom near Occupy Wall Street, the media is more worried about the bathrooms near Occupy Wall Street? Are you fucking serious? Get your head out of your ass, and maybe you’ll be able to better see your priorities. This world is a shit storm of greed that desperately needs mopping up. We’re talking about people’s homes, people’s lives, people’s dreams, and the media wants to make it about the discomfort of millionaires who live around Liberty Square? The article said mothers have trouble getting strollers around police barricades. God forbid the revolution should get in the way of your evening stroll with pookie wookie. This may not be a revolution in the traditional sense, but this is a revolution of thought. Americans are tired of greed over good, profitable pollution over people, war for wealth over the welfare of average workers. This is a thought revolution, and the revolution will not be sanitized. It will be criticized, ridiculed, intentionally misconstrued, and misunderstood. But it’ll push through. Shit all over it all you want, but the floodgates are open now. The revolution will not be tidy. The revolution will not fit with your Pilates schedule. The revolution will not be quiet after 10 pm, and it will not fit easily into a mainstream media- defined paradigm. The revolution will affect your bottom line. The revolution will affect you whether you ignore it or not. The revolution will not be dissuaded by barricades or pepper spray, driving rain, police raids, or ankle sprains. It’s like the postal service on steroids; pepper spraying us is like throwing water on gremlins—the more you do it, the more of us show up. The revolution will be annoying to the top 1% and those who aren’t open minded enough to understand it. The revolution does not care if you satirize it; you still won’t be able to jeopardize it. The revolution will not wait until after your hair appointment, your dinner party, tummy tuck, or titty tilt. The revolution does not care about your lack of intellectual curiosity. The revolution will not be televised, but it will be digitized and available on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and anywhere real ideas are told. The revolution will not be hijacked by your old, tired, rejected political beliefs. The revolution will make politicians squirm, bankers bitch, elites moan, and those with Stockholm Syndrome scream, “Hit me, punk criminal assholes. Shut up and do what our captors told you. There’s a sitcom on about a chubby guy who hates his wife, and we’re supposed to watch it. Now fall in line.” The revolution will not be monetized, commercialized, circumcised, or anesthetized. Good god, don’t you get it? Greed is no longer good, and it’s not god. The thought revolution is here to stay whether you give two shits about it or not. The revolution would, however, like to apologize for shitting all over your apathy. Now pick a side.
If we are not willing to invest in the very programs that will help pull some of our poorest Americans—single mother led households and women of color—out of the spiral, then we are not rebuilding the economy. We are only as strong as our most vulnerable, as the saying goes. To continue a national discussion on unemployment and the recession without acknowledging that our women and children are suffering the most, not because we aren’t able to implement programs and pass legislation like universal, affordable child care, paid sick days, increased food stamp benefits, fair pay standards and more but because we aren’t willing to do so, is something we must own up to and do something about if we are to rise above these hard times and come out stronger than we were when we headed into the recession.
When we think about the elite 1 percent in a position of economic and political power in America, we have to recognize that those elites are predominantly straight, white men. Their position of power is upheld by patriarchy, by white privilege, by heteronormativity. If we want to dismantle oppression in our society, we can only hope to do so by recognizing the ways in which these various systems of oppression intersect and support one another. That doesn’t mean we can’t focus on the economy as a nexus of inequality; clearly, the occupation of Wall Street speaks directly to fighting corporate power and economic privilege. But we cannot imagine creating a society rooted in equality without fighting for all forms of equality, and that includes embracing feminist values.