Seek and Ye Shall Find

[Content Note: Misogyny and rape culture.]

One of the common criticisms I read about myself and anyone who is engaged in social justice work, whether through a feminist/womanist lens or otherwise, is that we are offended by, or angry about, everything. Often, the criticism is leveled as the exasperated rhetorical question: "Is there anything that doesn't make this [chick, bitch, feminazi, etc.] mad?!"

It is, obviously, a familiar way of leveling the tiresome charge of being oversensitive, hysterical, easily offended, the Angry Feminist. Which, as always, misses the point about being oversensitive vs. not sensitive enough, and misses the distinctions between being angry and being dissatisfied, and being offended and being contemptuous.

Which is to say nothing of the fact that if someone is angry, well, maybe that's because there's a lot about which to be angry.

But framing this space (and lots of others like it) as a seething hotbed of reactionaries throwing red paint at the walls is also dependent on ignoring all the things that are written here about stuff we love. I write with abundant enthusiasm about people I admire (I have a label for "Great Broads," as but one example), about shows and films and music and artists and writers I adore, about my marvelous friends and brilliant colleagues (not mutually exclusive groups), about other bloggers whom I don't know personally but whose work delights and inspires me, about my lovely pets and animal rescue stories that warm the coldest of black hearts, about Tom Hardy kissing a puppy's muzzle! I post pictures of beautiful things and videos of songs I like and share stories of Iain saying funny things and Deeky sending me silly I MEAN AMAZING packages in the mail. There is a lot of content here that is straight-up about Stuff I Love.

Other contributors write about stuff they love, too. And there are plenty of gushing comments about personal successes, great documentaries to recommend, the best new tasty thing you should try, and every other conceivable variation on "I love this thing!"

It's funny that the people who accuse me of looking for things to get mad about seem only to find hatred and anger in a space so filled with love.

And then there's this: People do social justice work for a whole lot of reasons, but, generally speaking, it isn't because they hate the world or the people in it.

When I write a post about, say, the rape culture, cloaked in vibrating anger, it isn't because I hate the rape culture (although I certainly do); it's because I really love people, for the most part, and I don't want anyone, anyone, to be victimized by sexual violence, ever.

Yes, I want to dismantle the rape culture, and if it were a little box placed into my hands, I would throw it to the ground and smash it into a million bits and keep grinding those bits into dust with my fists until I was dragged away. But that is not the thing that motivates me to write about the rape culture, or any other intersecting system of oppression, every day, at no small cost to myself, until I feel sometimes like I'm swimming in a sea of shit that has no shore. What motivates me is love. Love of safety. Love of agency. Love of justice. Love of people.

"Isn't there anything this woman likes?" ask my incredulous critics.

Yes. More than I can say. It's there to find, if you're really looking.

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