Dear Famous Feminists: Please Answer Naomi Wolf

This article originally appeared on Fugitivus and is republished here with permission.

Dear Second and Third Wave Feminists With Publicly Recognizable Names:

Some of you, maybe only feminists know who you are, or those who care to crack a book or two. Lots of you have names that have penetrated the mainstream to such a degree that, when mentioned, most people are liable to know that you’ve got something to do with ladies, possibly even the f-word.

You don’t all agree on everything. Who does? Feminism has never been a monolith. We understand this, though the general public is still catching up. But, because your names are known, your words carry a lot of weight, become the assumed standpoint of all feminists. Almost all of you know that already. It’s why you do what you do — to speak for those who can’t speak, or won’t be heard if they do; to shake up the homogeneous, monochrome chamber of voices to which we’ve all become accustomed; to let others know that there are people out there fighting for them, that they, too, can fight.

You’re also human. You have flaws, and stubborn privileges, and blind spots. You have bad days. You may not have asked to become a mouthpiece for a movement, and cannot always bear up under the immense pressure to speak for more people than yourself — indeed, more people than you have likely ever seen with your own eyes. You may only allow yourself to be a mouthpiece because you know you are good at it while others aren’t, and from each according to their own ability, and all that. No one person is obligated to stand up for all the causes, take the right stance every time, and discuss only that which others have deemed important. Even those who are willing to try to do this sometimes cannot do it all the time.

I am asking you to do it this once.

I do not stand with Naomi Wolf.

I’d like to know if you do.

You are feminists who have fought a long, hard fight. We who are here today — young, in a changed world (though not changed enough), navigating the same old issues and ones you could never have imagined — came here on your shoulders, on your uplifted hands. We know you did the good work to awaken many of us. We know you continue in this. “Young” feminists and “old” feminists may not see eye to eye on many issues, but do believe there is never a moment that young feminists do not know that we are here because of you.

I am speaking as one of the young ones. I grew up calling myself a feminist, but I didn’t understand what that actually meant for a long time. I was lucky enough to go to college, and there, I was lucky enough to learn about the paths that had been beaten down before me. I learned the history of women’s rights, and of the women and men who demanded them, unequivocally. And, too, I learned that we are not monolith. I learned about the “waves”, splits across generations only recognized after-the-fact, created by an evolution in technology, terminology, and tactics. Much of this seemed only natural, and necessary; the world changes rapidly, and there is no movement that can hold doggedly steady as it spins. Some of this seemed shameful; the world changes rapidly, and there is no movement without members who are aggressively terrified of what they do not know and do not control. It was all educational. I could understand the path woven from then to now, why splits had occurred, why “waves” happened, and what they looked like from a distance, as a young person who considers these matters “history.”

That is a form of privilege itself — to view what has come before me as settled history, instead of an active struggle. It’s not a privilege I can shed solely through education, or listening; to end this privilege, I must be willing to wait for age and perspective. That’s not easy. I’m sure you remember.

I believe I have gained some age, and some perspective. I believe I have enough to say that the division between “old” feminists and “young” feminists, between the “third wave” and the fourth, or fifth, is not going to come about solely because of technology, or solely because of intersectionality, or solely because of any given divisive issue. I believe it is going to come because of a refusal to view our work — the work of those of my age and my perspective — as real work. A refusal to view our protests as real protests. A refusal to view our theory as real theory. All young feminists can acknowledge the work undertaken to bring us here today, despite our youth, despite our inexperience; it would hearten me to know that the old guard can acknowledge that we have taken up the torch, and continued forging ahead. It would hearten me to know that the age and perspective I will hopefully gain will include the ability to listen to the young, and take them seriously.

“No means no” took us a long way. To put it simply, but not inaccurately, it took us from a world where no meant yes. That is an incredible gain. But “no means no” has taken us as far as it can. Namely, it has taken us to “yes means yes.” It has taken us to a place where we can recognize, create theory, create terminology, and openly discuss the idea that sexual violence and sexual abuse can happen without a “no” as well as with one. We believe that requiring a “no” is not good enough, not a high enough standard. We require a “yes.”

“No means no” gave a voice to the abused, the raped, the victimized. It created a phrase to describe a phenomenon that men and women knew existed, but were unable to describe in a way that society as a whole took seriously. But it did not end the war on our bodies. It did not end the terrorism that makes us second-guess our clothing, map out our return home, walk with chaperones. It did not end the lifelong aftershocks of guilt and shame, wondering why we let them in, why we trusted them, why we kissed them. It did not lower the statistics that mock our hope that we have justice, or equality. The enemy adapted. The enemy always has. If no means no, why, then, ways will be found to keep us from speaking. Ways will be found to make it seem as if we have said “yes,” or not said “no” enough, or in the right tone of voice, or with the proper inflection, or at the right time. No means no, but only if you are not afraid to say it. No means no, but only if you keep saying it, for a lifetime, hoping it will work before the situation escalates. No means no, but only if you never give up saying it because you are tired, you are hungry, you are frightened, you are alone, you are intimidated, you are convinced that this will happen anyway, and will only get worse for you the longer you go on saying “no.”

We need more than “no means no.”

We have already begun creating the framework for this. There is a great conversation happening across the place the new guard has gathered to share, to organize, to strategize: the internet. We are creating theory. We are creating terminology. We are creating tactics. We are attempting to penetrate social consciousness, as you once did, until we can live in a world where we do not exist in a perpetual state of sexual availability, where we are not solely responsible as the gatekeepers of sex and rape. We are trying to create a world where all people are responsible for ensuring that sex is wanted, sex is safe, sex is sane. We are trying to create a world where the responsibility for stopping rape does not lie with the person who is being raped. And, too, we are trying to create a world where the responsibility for defining rape does not lie with the person being raped.

For many of us, that is what saying “no” during a frightening sexual encounter means; if our partner does not care if we want sex, if our partner does not care how we want sex, if our partner does not care if we are in pain or pleasure, if our partner does not care if we feel safe, if our partner does not care that we are moving away from them, if our partner does not care that we are trying to get to the door, then our partner will not care if we say “no,” and we will be raped. This is not difficult math for us to calculate. The only further calculation is how bad our rape is going to be, how long it will last, and how badly we will be injured. So as long as we keep our mouths shut, it will not be rape, and we will not be victims, and this will be over much sooner. If we say no, it will become rape, because “no” is what creates rape, “no” is what defines consent, not the lack of a “yes”. We are responsible for taking what could just be “bad sex,” over quickly and without too much pain, and turning it into “rape,” because we are responsible for saying “no” and our partners are not responsible for seeking an enthusiastic, mutual “yes.”

The people intent upon raping us know that “no means no” as much as we do. The people intent upon raping us do not want to think of this as a rape, do not want to think of themselves as rapists, do not want to allow the possibility of facing consequences for raping us. They will do everything within their power to make that “no” unbelievable or invisible. Perhaps they will try to make us eventually say “yes,” though we have said “no” twenty times. Perhaps they will threaten consequences that do not amount to force, but amount to our partner threatening consequences, and the implication that they are willing to threaten, to punish, to hurt us to acquire our defeat is not lost upon us. Perhaps they will yell, and cry, and scream. Perhaps they will pretend they did not hear us. Perhaps they will pretend they thought we only meant “no” to this and not that. Perhaps they will ask us to coffee later, or text us sweetly in the morning, or tuck us in afterward, and if we do not scream and cry and flee to the police in a shamble, this will be proof that our “no” could not have been such a “no,” because victims do not have coffee with their rapists, and rapists do not kiss their victims kindly. Or, perhaps, they will hurt us, escalate the rape into something that is now (thanks to your work) more commonly conceived as a rape. We do not wish to go through that. We do not wish to be beaten, threatened, choked, or made to bleed internally as the price for knowing it is not our fault. We will say “yes” rather than go through that. We will say “yes” when we know it is coming to that, and we will do that whether or not we have gained that knowledge through acts or words that are defined as rape in a court of law. We will do that because that is how human beings survive attacks. They do not wait for them to get worse. They do not wait until the legal threshold of allowable violence has been passed. We do this because we must adapt to survive, because we are smart and we are strong and we know that living through this with fewer scars is worth more than the bare glimmer of justice years of harassment from now; we do not do this because we are moral children who do not know better.

We are not trivializing rape by saying this is an attack upon us, anymore than it made rape trivial to believe, during your battle for this, that a “no” was all that was needed to create rape rather than a vicious, deadly beating by a stranger, or a loaded gun to the head. We believe there is no way that rape can be trivialized. We do not believe there is ever a time or a place or a situation in which rape is trivial. We want to live in a world where the wrongness of rape can never be called into question, never be made less, no matter what fool thing is said or done by others. We want to live in a world where “trivializing rape” is no longer a phrase bandied about so easily, because it will be an oxymoron. We want to live in a world where this phrase is recognized for what it is: a silencing tactic when victims become inconvenient.

Here is my fear.

I fear that, a generation from now, there will be a new history for the new generation. It will say that the fourth, fifth, sixth wave of feminism broke away because the second and third wave did not believe that a “yes” was necessary for sex. It will say that we broke away because one wave believed rape could be trivialized, and another did not.

I will be ashamed to be a part of the history of feminism, if that is to be our origin. I will have to question strongly if “feminism” is worthwhile as an organizing principle, if “feminism” can also mean that a “yes” after twenty “no”s is good enough, and that if zie didn’t want it, zie should have kept saying “no” until zhe accepted it (whenever that would be) or raped hir with an escalated degree of force (as that is the price zhe must pay if zhe wishes to be blameless).

I know there are those who do not call themselves “feminists,” not because they don’t understand feminism, but because they understand it too well. I know there are those who distrust me when I say I am a feminist, because to them, that means I may dismiss their experiences with race, with class, with disability, with gender ambiguity, with trans-ness, with a host of other issues that feminism has failed routinely. They distrust me because “feminism” means I may do more than actively dismiss, but shout them down, exclude them, call them the enemy, require they give up what they need to be safe, to be sane, to have dignity and basic human rights, so that they can fight my battle. They distrust me because “feminism” means I may shrug when a people who are not part of a feminist “cause” are being trampled and oppressed, because they are not convenient, or feminist enough, for my concerns, because their freedom gains me nothing. They distrust me because “feminism” means I may quit as soon as my own interests are met, as soon as my own comfort level is reached, as soon as I have toppled my own oppressor and taken their place. I struggle every day to hold on to my own label of feminism, because I do not think the people who distrust feminism are wrong. I think they are keeping me honest, if I am willing to let them.

I do not want, a generation from now, to find that the new wave has dropped the label “feminist” because it became synonymous with defiant rape apologism, because it damaged more people than it served. If I ever stop calling myself a feminist, I want it to be because I found something better, not because feminism got worse.

So here is what I am asking of you.

I ask that you denounce Naomi Wolf’s comments on Assange’s rape charges.

I ask that you denounce that “no means no” is all there is to rape.

I ask that you acknowledge that “yes means yes” is now a part of the feminist lexicon, wherever it might go, however it might evolve from here.

I ask that you acknowledge that “enthusiastic consent” is a theory highly worth pursuing.

I ask you to do this because you have names that people recognize as part of feminism. So does Naomi Wolf. And now we are all experiencing, en masse, the old phenomenon: “I know somebody who is a feminist, and they think this is fine.” A big-name feminist has said, publicly, that initiating sex with a partner who is asleep is not rape. That ripping a woman’s clothes off is not a force, is not a threat, is not violence, has no bearing upon the context of safety. That political targets are incapable of raping, because there can be no reason for them to be accused that is not politically motivated. This has given permission to all those who believe the same to tell us that we are wrong. The new guard, we know each other’s names, but the general public doesn’t know us very well yet. We do not have the weight of years of revolution behind us. When Naomi Wolf says that sleeping women can be raped legally, this becomes public knowledge. When we say, “yes means yes,” the general public does not hear, and the general public does not care. They can now point to Naomi Wolf and say, “You are wrong. You are not feminism. She is. And she says I can do this to you, and you can’t do anything about it.”

You have names. You have voices. Please give us somebody else to point to when we are told that we can be raped in the ways Naomi Wolf has decreed are acceptable. Please let us know that we are not on our own, that we have not already broken away, and did not hear the crack until Naomi Wolf “agreed to disagree” about our bodily autonomy, our safety. Please let us know that, with one arrogant statement, feminists cannot really erase the rapes that have been experienced by countless survivors. Please let us know that you hear us, that you believe we are feminism, too. Please do not let Naomi Wolf become the voice of what is rape, because rapists were listening when she spoke, and judges, and juries, and future victims who will spend their lives believing it was their fault, and they are always saying “yes” if they are not shouting “no.”

Ella Baker said, “You must believe in young people, because they have the courage where we fail.” I believed her when I first read that, at 21. I believed in those words, and I believed that it was worth delving deeper into feminism, believed it was worth dropping the naive belief that all our battles had been fought and solved, that the slogans then were all we needed now. I still believe that. I would like to think you believe it, believe that we have something of worth to add, that we are onto new paths and new battles, that we can be trusted to keep going when you cannot.

Ella Baker also said, “There is also the danger in our culture that because a person is called upon to give public statements and is acclaimed by the establishment, such a person gets to the point of believing that he is the movement.” Surely the public seems to believe this. Do not let Naomi Wolf be the face of our movement. Do not let her define what rape is, and what it isn’t, based on her belief in one man’s guilt or innocence. Do not let her statements on rape and consent go by without comment; I believe you know, through your own battles and sometimes demoralizing work, that silence signals agreement, that silence isolates, permeates, and eventually prevails, if uncontested by those with the power and the will. If you do not speak up now, I will have trouble believing you do not agree; certainly, so will those who are far less interested, far less dedicated, and far less informed about feminism than I am.

I would like to feel that I am part of an evolving movement of which I can be proud. It does not have to be perfect. But it has to be growing. It cannot be stagnant. I do not wish to grow older and point to a time at which I broke with feminism, because it was not interested in preserving my body from attack. Because it was not different enough from that which it opposed.

Please. Say something. We are talking as much as we can. We are pushing as hard as we can. We are doing our part. We would like to feel your hands holding us up, your shoulders beneath us once more.

Germaine Greer, please say something.

Gloria Steinem, please say something.

Susan Brownmiller, please say something.

Readers, please add to this list.

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  • squirrely-girl

    Thank you for this blog post!


    While I’m at it – 

    Thank you Jessica Valenti for already saying something. 

    Thank you Thomas Macaulay Millar (Yes Means Yes blog) for already saying something.

  • arekushieru

    And Amanda Marcotte, here, and over at Slate.  She’s fairly recognizable, I think!

  • saltyc

    Wow, just what we needed, come one big names, say something. I know in my volunteer work, I never ask is she was raped, I ask if she was forced to have sex, because many rape victims don’t want to call it rape.

    Can we repeat the definition, of what rape is, sexual contact against our will! Aganist or will! Not against our will-and-you-don’t-buy-him-a-ticket-out-of-town-because-that-means-you-wanted-it bullshit. Against your will and you make a huge stink about it right away and cancel all the parties you had planned and send everyone home and scream and shout that it was rape or else you wanted it. Cause we all know that true victims don’t try to normalize the situation, that they try instead to antagonize their rapists as much as possible.<sarcasm>

    Ms Wolf is dividing rape victims into the true ones (who have been raped by starngers during wartime) against the fake ones like me, who were raped by their partners and didn’t shoot him afterward. And we’ll keep right on gettin raped, Ms Wolf.

  • julie-watkins

    I want to be clear and understood. When I say it appears that this prosecution is based on he-said-she-said and I am suspicious, I am not saying

    That political targets are incapable of raping, because there can be no reason for them to be accused that is not politically motivated.

    I am not saying that rape can not have happened. A rape is a rape, whether or not it is or can be proven “rape” in a fair trial. I am disgusted that anyone who initiates sex when their intended partner is asleep  without having discussed & gotten agreement that “be sure I wake up & if I don’t want, I’ll push you away and you’ll stop.” None of that. I am not defended Assange for anything except the right to a fair trial. I am not denying the right of his accusers to a fair trail: I would like better indication that a fair trial is the actual goal, and their rapes wouldn’t be used as an example of “the only important rapes accusations are ones that can be used against the enemies of TPTB”. I am questioning the motivations of the prosecutors and possible harm being greater than possible good of possible outcomes.

    I am suspicious of rape laws being used for political agendas. It’s happened in my community. A local reformer was falsely accused (many believe) of rape. He was nearly sent to prison for 20 years and the police collected no physical evidence (not even testing for fingerprints at the purported “scene of the crime”). My local DA has been accused of acting politically & not in defense of the law in certain cases where she brought to trial or did not bring to trial. She prosecutes the reformer — he was investigating how area police handle traffic stops in the black areas of town vs student & white areas of town. She tries to send him to prison with no physical evidence, but won’t even have a trial for “involuntary manslaughter” when a cop killed a 14-year-old, outside in the daytime, because he didn’t keep control of his gun.

    Why should we put trust in the law when it’s proven to be the tool of the Owners (in this “Ownership Society”? For anyone who’s not rich (or not much more rich and powerful than his/her rich enemies), involving the Law is a calculated risk. Sometimes, often, it does right. But when the trial impacts on the power of the Ruling Class, it’s too often a tool of Class Warfare. I don’t trust politically motivated rape prosecutions not to be terminally poisoned. I also don’t trust Assange. Granted the mainstream news reports are probably misrepresenting, and a lot of leftist news/commentary is misrepresenting (in ways that are being questioned above) but I want to be sure I am not being considered a rape apologist for being suspicious of what looks like a politically motivated rape prosecution.

    If it’s not a fair trial, I fear little good will come of it. What good might come of it would be unintended, by initiating these tearing-each-other-apart discussions, not because of The Law [Owned by the Ruling Class].


  • lfnyc

    Hi HarrietJ.


    I have a strong opinion about this and ask you to bear with me. 


    First, I am a survivor of sexual assault, and I know what it is like to be assaulted, and I also have had the experience of dealing with the fallout in a legal environment.  In short, if it is someone you know, it’s very difficult to get anyone in a position of authority to care enough to determine if what you say is true.  I agree “no means no”.  I don’t think it is wrong to make an overture to your sleeping lover – but I do think it is wrong to initiate and complete sex without their being conscious.


    Secondly, I’ve become an admirer of Naomi Wolf and her work.  She is talking about a very very important issue in our society that probably puts her in a great deal of danger and under tremendous scrutiny.  


    The point is that Naomi Wolf has worked with rape victims and what she sees is a gross inconsisency in the way that Asange is being “handled” in the face of these allegation by comparison to the way other “powerful” individuals would be “handled”.   It is suspicious.  Here is someone who is exposing our goverment and many others for their duplicitous conduct and the timing of this whole issue is “interesting” at best.


    I think that our younger generation is so accustomed to having their rights trampled and parroting that they live “in a free country” that they don’t understand that they live in anything but a free country.  I will spare you my diatribe on the subject.  But the way our judiciary functions, especially the Supreme Court in the last ten years – we at their mercy.  They can literally do whatever they want.  Our elections have become tainted.  Our right to be represented has been pierced. 


    But what is happening to women in our very own country at the hands of our very own court systems and our very own government is a lot more important than what is going on in Europe and Asange in terms of Women’s Rights.


    Don’t mix apples and oranges.  Asange and Wolf are fighting a battle for our very freedoms.  His arrest was orchestrated to discredit him.


    You are fighting a war against rape.


    Don’t fall into the trap of discrediting Asange without understanding the motivations for discrediting him.  Without Asange or Wolf you probably would not retain the right to write about much of anything that matters for too much longer.  I think this is an area that Ms. Wolf has a lot stronger understanding of than you may.  Listen to all of what she says and separate the battles.


    I’ve been the victim of this crime.  I understand that what Ms. Wolf is doing is extremely important to our country.  She has not abandoned women.  She just knows how the political game is played in a way that most of us do not.

  • squirrely-girl

    Because this is exactly what he’s being accused of doing… oh, and without a condom which she explicitly demanded.

    …but I do think it is wrong to initiate and complete sex without their being conscious.

    Just in case that isn’t clear, he’s being accused of a f’ing a woman while she was asleep, without a condom, after she explicitly told him he had to. 

  • saltyc

    Naomi Wolf has totally discredited herself.

    She went on Democracy Now! and said that the charges as printed in The Guardian are an example of “Model sexual behavior” that she would like to see more men do. What. Forcing a women to have the sex that she explicitly said she did nt want is model sexual behavior.

    And the laughable notion, that without Naomi Wolf or Assange, we wouldn’t be free to write our own opinions is class-a fear mongering and wholly without credit.

    So Assange leaks information about Berlusconi’s extramarital affairs and then complains about the leaked charges against him, slight hypocrisey here? I mean, he really didn’t know that forcing a woman to have the sex that she said she did not want, risking her life & health in a way she did not want, he didn’t think that was criminal? The charges are completely credible, two women who had no previous connections, were both injred by him, had nothing to gain from reporting, and the descriptions are very believeable. On the other hand, Assange’s reactions to the charges are not at all credible and he ‘s the one who distorted them from the beginning, which is why this doesn’t strike me as a he-said-she-said scenario at all. I know it’s hard for people to believe their heroes are criminals. Let him be the example, for what can happen when you rape.

  • hysperia

    I’ve re-posted this to my feminist groups. I hope it will get to Greer and Steinem and Brownmiller. I’ve been a feminist for forty years and I’m with ya! Just wishing I was famous and that what I have to say about this would make a bigger difference in the big, wide world.

  • beenthere72

    You should read this, if you haven’t already:





  • julie-watkins

    Some quotes:

    It’s also obvious that the timing and ferocity of Interpol’s prosecution of Assange is politically motivated. That Interpol should randomly build up such a head of steam about the violation of two women in Sweden, (which has the highest rape rates in Europe and a decreasing rate of convictions) strains credulity. …

    Keith Olbermann used scare quotes around the word rape as though the charges themselves (which are that Assange held one woman down against her will, and in a separate incident raped another while she was sleeping) were silly, and everyone from Glenn Beck to Naomi Wolf rushed to belittle the accusers, along the way employing every victim-blaming, rape-denying, slut-shaming trope ever invented, …

    Piling on the accuser with victim-blaming language, or questioning why this account doesn’t match what we think sexual assault should look like, doesn’t happen in a vacuum. …

    It gets worse. Devaluing victims’ accounts makes it easier for men to excuse or dismiss their own sexually assaulting behavior. …

    I see both misogyny and Class Warfare (since the ideal of Law is being oportunistically applied to protect the interests of the hierarchy). I would hope that the education campaign is both: 1) Rape is rape. and 2) It is a scandal that the  rapes accusations are again being treated opportunistically. All rape accusations deserve investigation, and shouldn’t be more likely to be prosecuted if politically convienient.


    Sweden, (which has the highest rape rates in Europe and a decreasing rate of convictions) strains credulity.

    is an accurate description, this feels like the Gobal Corporations (& the governments of the countries they own) are doing Class Warfare against dissent.

    And speaking very pragmatically, I hope Assange is guilty, and (clueless arrogance) acts guilty as sin at the trial. That would minimize the damage of a pre-judged trial. If he’s guilty, he should be ashamed of the damage he’s done to the causes he supports by being so arrogant. Grumble.

  • arekushieru

    Although, I think what Assange’s complaint about the leaked charges actually were, was that he (via his lawyer, at least) was not able to respond to them as many of the people/corporations that were the target of his organization’s leaks were able to do. 

    However, I have NO problem applauding Assange for his efforts in bringing forth the Afghanistan and diplomatic cable leaks while, at the same time, condemning the actions he has been accused of and believing that there is a possibility that he could have perpetrated such acts.

  • arekushieru

    Have you watched the video by Laura Flanders from GritTV, on this very subject?  It IS highly politically motivated, but that doesn’t make me any less willing to have these charges brought up in a court of law.  After all, while they are politically motivated and the good that may come of it may be unintentional, these charges do set a precedent (that of individual rights being respected, in SPITE of the fact that it arrives on the back of political will.  In spite of, because the very political forces behind the charges being laid, have done more damage to the women’s reputations than Assange’s, himself, the formers’ being something that may, hopefully, be regained by sheer dint of the force of the law, especially since, in this case, it will most likely be acting as an entity in its own right, being something that has grown beyond the control of the political hands behind it, after all).    

  • arekushieru

    I’m not hoping for either guilt or innocence.  I believe that no one person can be all bad or all good but neither do I believe that any one person is more deserving of certain charges than another. 

  • julie-watkins

    And there’s a lot of pressure of a pre-determined vertic from corrupt covernments, isn’t it better for the victim of an unfair trail to be guilty rather than innocent?

    We had a show trial in our town. The guilty vertict was overturned on appeal & retrial (actually, more complicated than that), but the effect has been really poisonous. There’s a lot of apparent police corruption. The conservative newspaper always promotes the police spin of things, and won’t identify when a “public” comment comes from a policeman. I’ve personally seem misreporting of a city council meeting to put actions out of order to blur action/reaction and make a certain group look bad. I should stop babbling. There’s large sections of this community who don’t trust the local police/justice system, with good cause. It has bad impacts.

  • julie-watkins

     it will most likely be acting as an entity in its own right, being something that has grown beyond the control of the political hands behind it, after all

    — that would be appropriate Karma.

    I haven’t seen the video you mention, I should probably watch it.

  • saltyc

    It was specific statements made by Naomi Wolf that were.

  • arekushieru

    But, I still don’t see how it would be better for one to be convicted rather than acquitted…?  Or maybe I’m just missing something, again…?  ^_^;

  • radicalhousewife

    All of the above and EVERYONE on Twitter with the #mooreandme hashtag, courtesy of Sady Doyle of  We no longer need to count on second wave leaders to speak–we can do it ourselves!

  • julie-watkins

    Thanks. I agree about Naomi Wolf.  

  • dadumdumdada

    Katha Pollitt wrote an op-ed in The Nation on the (strange) case of Julian Assange; as is the case with 99% of what she writes, it’s well-worth reading. Innit she mentions Naomi Wolf.


    I enjoyed this piece, but believe it to be in dire need of editing, as the same point seems to be made again and again, and it seems overly long. Also: since some famous feminists have spoken-out on this issue, acknowledgement should have been made regarding them. As it is, this piece reads like one long condemnation of an entire movement, when such reproach isn’t warranted movement-wide.


    I also think an important point is being overlooked regarding this entire controversy. Many artists whose work I appreciate, such as Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Jack Kerouac and Picasso, were total assholes to the women in their lives. I think one can appreciate the art irregardless, while acknowledging that the artist is an ass. This should also be the case here, regarding both Julian Assange and Naomi Wolf: Mr. Assange, if guilty (isn’t he innocent until proven otherwise, in a court of law?), should be given jail time, and Ms. Wolf should be argued with until she realises the error of her statements. But we should also respect the good things that both people have done otherwise, without instantly demonizing them. Human beings are complex creatures, after all. We all have good and bad sides (with the possible exception of dick Cheney).   



  • arekushieru

    Isn’t this type of condemnation similar to the type of condemnation that feminists receive when they point out someone’s privilege to them?  The “Well, I’m not like that, but you’re lumping me in with the rest when you point out just how privileged I am” kind of deal, then?  Nevermind the fact that privilege has NOThing to do with the person, individually, but the population, in GENeral.  It’s kind of a reverse accusation to the one that Nancy Keenan directed at younger feminists, in this case the less privileged.   The author of the article DID point out a few notable feminists who remarked on the issue.  She may have missed a few *accidentally*, but that doesn’t mean that, in general, it hasn’t been largely ignored by the feminists in greater positions of power.  

    Btw, if you would care to read many of my comments on this site, you might see that the point you are trying to make hasn’t been completely overlooked (at least).  The ones that state that I certainly believe that one is innocent until proven guilty, that these rape charges must be taken seriously and that I applaud Julian Assange for all the good work he and his organization have done?  And, now, an addendum: The treatment of Bradly Manning; as in, is Julian complicit in the treatment of Bradly Manning or not?  If he has been able to do anything to improve the way he has been treated, has he done so?  If he hasn’t done so, why?  And, if he hasn’t been able to do so, why?  (But, in no way, do I automatically assume he’s guilty or innocent, under any circumstance).

    Nor have I automatically demonized Naomi Wolf.



  • nancyk

    In Australia the law reads “sex without consent is against the law”.  I think this is pretty clear- think of medical consent…you need a “yes” not an absence of “no”.  You can’t legally consent if you are drunk, under the influence of drugs, underage, asleep etc.  Also, you can withdraw your consent at any time-even during sex .  I think this is very clear. 

  • arekushieru

    …I wanted to share some parallels between David Beckham’s and Julian Assange’s stories and maybe underlining the ridiculousness of Ms. Wolf’s claims.

    Hopefully, someone simply points out the difference between the accusations laid on David Beckham and Irma Nici, here:

    And the accusations laid on Julian Assange.

    David Beckham’s accusations have nothing to do with rape, since neither the woman, herself, and/or a third party, is accusing him of something she didn’t fully consent to.  Personally, I think this story, like the one involving Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinski, should have been buried and forgotten, long ago, perhaps, even, when it was first aired…?  This story truly IS airing someone’s private sex life, publicly and accusations of infidelity are something that should be handled between the people involved. 

  • puma

    we need all you young feminists to remind us what feminism is and does: feminism challenges us to adapt so we can survive. Kudos to you for writing your heart out. I take your point. Consensual sex is not the same thing as doing what you have to do to stay alive – spiritually, psychologically, socially, physically. And, as everyone know, you can’t give consent if you are asleep.