As a woman, I can’t post pictures containing my nipples on Facebook. Facebook’s nudity policy considers male nipples acceptable to publish, but female nipples are considered against their nudity rules unless engaging in breast feeding, with direct mouth to nipple contact shown.
I can technically exist topless in the UK, but as a woman my nipples being visible is accepted only on the vague wording that I not display “intention to cause distress, alarm or outrage”, a distinction that doesn’t apply to men’s nipples.
I can’t post pictures containing my nipple to Pintrest or Instagram either, where as male users of those services can post topless pictures.
Today, I want to answer a simple question. As a trans woman, what day did my nipples begin to break rules, laws and community guidelines?
So, let’s start a ways back. This is a picture of me at age 16. At the time…
For an editorial that attempts to stray from simple “dichotomies”, April 18th’s take on the Antifa (Antifascist) presence does little to impart any complexity into the recent riots in Berkeley. For all its early wholesome message that, “Kids, there’s no clear right and wrong here,” the Antifa are swiftly named the heroes for their brave efforts to “protect” minority communities.
Amusingly, the dissenting opinion shows more clarity than the former, that this fight after fight has not wavered anyone’s ideological commitments, and that polarization further perpetuates this violence because we continue to fail to understand the violence itself. I mean, what is there to understand when you self-righteously embolden yourself as the acolytes of free speech or the saviors of minorities against the encroaching threat of fascism? Alternatively, the majority opinion does little to affirm any skepticism in a movement named after “Antifascist” yet rather eager to brutalize dissenters with U-locks, and then attempts to argues that the presence of neo-Nazis and white nationalists within the protests should conclude any remaining speech advocacy amongst onlookers. Was it not the American Civil Liberties Union that asserted, after their defense of groups such as NAMBLA and Neo-Nazists, that the “defense of freedom of speech is most critical when the message is one most people find repulsive”? Instead of this courageous slant against the violence, the Daily Cal editorial board doubles down, confident that the Antifa as a reactionary response to incendiary speech absolves it from its actions.
A more presumptuous conclusion is that not only should the Antifa be disassociated from its actions (not similar to when the Editorial rightfully associatedYiannopoulos to a history of “incendiary, useless harassment”), but that the “net consequences of its actions were that neo-Nazis and white-supremacist groups with violent rhetoric were denied a platform to speak in the city of Berkeley”. While this seems all dandy at first glance, it somehow insinuates that the incident happily results in the safety of minority communities; though I have yet to see how the feats of violence in Berkeley will defend immigrants from ICE, stall the present consideration of police practices that eventually fall under racial profiling, or the transgender communities in any way? Furthermore, in an earlier article by the Daily Cal, Sakura Cannestra reports that according to a campuswide email, the “damage inflicted upon campus property” during the Milo protest was, by no means, a small fee and “was estimated to cost $100,000”; the payment for this security enforcement on the behalf of the Antifa was not simply the refusal to allow speech, however repulsive it may be. There are clear, material costs to the violent protests; costs that don’t take into consideration the average students’ payments and loans, the average Californian taxpayer’s contributions, or the federal funds we are using. If Yiannopoulos is to be considered not a “productive member of society” nor belongs here with his rhetoric, by the standards of February’s editorial opinion, then how do we go about Antifa-ing the Antifa?
A movement that splashed eggs on bystanders, including yours truly? A movement so brave in its protection of the communities that an alleged member of the Stein and Sanders camp was not only hounded for being on the “wrong side” but had his keys stolen and/or shattered on the floor whilst others cackled? A movement that has become conflated with ideologies such as communism and anarchism, which is amusing given the extraordinary amount of WWII rhetoric that few followers tend to interject? In short, what does anyone expect to “protect” when these security forces are massively decentralized to a fault, have little to say for the casual violence that falls upon bystanders or neutral parties, and then plays the role of the “valiant hero” or “downtrodden victim” when the protest concludes with substantial damage costs, not including our valued reputation?
And if there’s ever an oversimplification, these are the heroes of the Bay Area? And all of this because a now jobless provocateur amongst others decided to hurt a few people’s feelings or march for their cause? Because that’s what it is. Hurtful speech. I don’t know what’s worse; having faith in the machinations of a group so devoted to the art of violent protest that their name seems no longer level-headed with their mission, or that minorities such as myself are considered so sensitive to the provocations that we have endured for centuries that we simply cannot function nor advance without crippling our liberal democracy in the process.
There is no doubt that Juniperangelica X. Cordova-Goff’s article is narrow-minded. Of course, there is no doubt because she begins with the ever-clever affirmation that there is no warrant to worry about the loss of freedoms pertaining the violent riots in Berkeley. Of course, not because freedom of speech shouldn’t be an absolute priority for any liberal concept of a civil society, but because freedom of speech is (and has always) never been “alive”.
Predictably, Cordova-Goff fails to validate this perspective and instead, anxiously broods that the speech generated by minorities in America is not valued as would the speech by the majority. However, this is not an issue to have pertained in the first place because it assumes that there is to be an equality of worth within all spectrum of political thought or worse, that certain voices ought to be filtered through some mechanism to ensure this ‘equality’ of a sort. What is this assumption that African American female senators are discredited not on the basis of partisanship or merit but on the basis of their gender and race? Or that Trump supports white nationalism in the United States in the first place, and not that he is legitimizing the misguided concerns of his base support? Are these not remarks that are often confronted with embittered backlash, especially in this tense political climate? It is through our constitutional rights that Cordove-Goff is able to say such intellectually dull remarks without the fear of retaliation from an authoritarian state.
A resonating idiom from the comment sections, “A political activist calling for the suppression of speech is like a fish complaining about the dampness.”
You are not living in a genocide; circumstances are cruel, I know. I am a proud child of illegal immigrants who have worked day in and night out from the motels of East Los Angeles to the security forces of Las Vegas, Nevada to the highways of California itself. We face obstacle after obstacle, but this is natural; this is to be expected because our families came here illegally, knowing it will be tough. The natural response, for those born outside Mexico yet so familiarized with the sorrows of undocumented immigrants, is mutuality, but through what means? Of course, I support comprehensive, sensible amnesty and immigration reform, but if our means to that goal include the Antifa, a violent force conflated with the ranks of anarchism and communism, then I am happy to accept the status quo with open arms rather than invite forces who refuse to abide by the law and order that this “white supremacist, capitalistic and patriarchal” society follows.
However, the most presumptuous sentiment would that I, as a minority, would be any safer because radical left-wing authoritarians are safeguarding my delicate ears from controversial speech. Yes, I am not a fan of the rather rehashed accusation after accusation from rightwing pundits, but will these intimidating officers throws eggs (at times indiscriminately), a general pain in the ass to wash off the next morning? Will these intimidating officers heckle you for recording without their consent or for engaging with the “wrong side”, before smacking your keys on the floor and running away gleefully like a petulant child out of control? Will these intimidating officers assault you in daylight with a U-lock amidst peaceful engagement, and then have you, the bleeding man on the floor, then called the oppressor, the fascist, the villain of this reality?
This sudden impression of state force is not a clever attempt to unpack your lifetime of “state violence”; it’s to rebuff the anarchists and communists who not only decide that my voice, my minority voice, is not only theirs to represent but that it’s worth destroying and whining at any cost, including our campus’ political climate that we so love to reference. After all, it was your “lighter fuel” that may cost me the quality of education and community support, when the protest is over and the bill is paid.
PS: To my amusement, I realized that I came out in one of those videos whilst searching for evidence to support my claims during the riots.
I am currently working on an op-ed (more like a letter to the editor) regarding what seems to be their Editorial Board’s apologism for the infamous Antifa, already having submitted an article. However, if it seems my article has no opportunity to be uploaded because it fails to appease their standards, I will upload it here.