So says @JaclynArcher in a column for Eastern Washington University’s student newspaper, The Easterner:
What is oppression? According to the Blackwell Dictionary of Sociology “Social oppression is a concept that describes a relationship between groups or categories . . . of people in which a dominant group benefits from the systematic abuse, exploitation, and injustice directed toward a subordinate group.”
I suffer from oppression. I am black, I am a woman. I am bisexual. I am an atheist. Various systems, including a flawed justice system, the patriarchy, institutional heteronormativity, and Judeo-Christian philosophical dominance (in the United States) actively marginalize and repress my experience and limit my social freedom, to the benefit of others unburdened by these characteristics.
These various oppressions interact with one another in distinct and various ways. As a woman I am more likely to be sexually assaulted than a man, however, as a black woman I am statistically more likely to be sexually assaulted than a white woman.
Because I am a black woman I am more likely to be perceived as unprofessional, promiscuous, or having “an attitude.”
There you go, eh? The first and most important lesson college students learn in the 21st century is exactly how oppressed they are.
Honestly, I think half these kids claiming to be “bisexual” are just looking to up the ante in the Texas Hold ‘Em Oppression Tournament.
Sexual abnormality is like hitting an ace on the river. Somebody goes all-in expecting to take the pot with three of a kind — say, a female Hispanic afflicted with bipolar disorder — and then . . . “A-ha!”
Here is Ms. Archer with a full house of oppressions: Black female atheist and — what luck! — she gets the bisexuality card on the river.
Not even a pansexual genderqueer could beat a hand like that.
Of course, atheist bisexuals aren’t really oppressed in America. At least 30% of the Obama White House staff are bisexual, and let’s not even mention the gossip about Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin, OK?
Heck, it’s 2014. There’s not a sorority girl in America who hasn’t at least once posed for a selfie kissing her girlfriend at a frat party, but most of them don’t “go Kappa Phi Omega,” IYKWIMAITYD.
Queer is the New Normal. Progress ruins everything it touches, and now they’ve even taken the fun out of sexual deviancy. It used to be you had to be weird and wild to do this stuff, but 21st-century progress has made it commonplace to be a perverted freak. Kinky has become boring. It’s us married Christian conservatives who are the weirdos now. My wife and I have six kids. Procreation is a far-out fringe fetish in 2014.
“You mean, you even did . . . PIV? Without protection?”
Yep. PIV barebacking. Multiple times. Consensually. On purpose.
While feminists recover from that shocking idea — I probably should have included a “trigger warning” — I’ll point out that escaping patriarchal oppression is so easy it’s become a journalistic formula: Turn queer and you get your own Salon.com column.
When people ask how Sam and I met, I almost never tell them the entire story — that I was Sam’s big sister in a sorority. I still feel ashamed of that detail, as if I did something wrong by falling for her, or I took advantage of her in some way. So I keep my answer simple. I tell them we met in college.
I never planned to pledge a sorority. I went to Emerson to be around nerdy artistic kids in an urban setting . . .
(This is what we used to call a “euphemism.”)
. . . but I arrived to find the small liberal arts school lacking in a party atmosphere of any kind. … I missed my friends from back home. So when a girl from my dorm asked me to go to a sorority rush event, and I found myself in a roomful of girls who talked about parties and boys and looked so comfortable together, I desperately wanted to belong. I attended more rush week events, hoping to meet a few girls I could call my friends. I never thought I’d meet the girl I’m going to marry.
(Music cue: Darlene Love.)
Before Emerson, my closest encounter with lesbians was kissing a friend on a drunken dare. I’d only ever been interested in guys. My teenage years as an insecure and unsophisticated Long Island girl — who was not only a foot taller than most boys in school, but who spent much of my time listening to Enya and writing in my journal — didn’t prove to be particularly fruitful when it came to getting noticed or falling in love. . . .
(Yeah, being “a foot taller than most boys in school” is another one of those euphemisms, like “varsity volleyball.”)
But the sorority didn’t just offer me dining companions. I now had a group of girls I could hit the bars with. Our sorority was 100 percent boy-crazy. (Well, maybe not 100 percent.) . . .
(Bah-da-BOOM-crash! She’ll be here all week, folks. Try the veal.)
I’d never been in a real relationship, and at 19, I was scared of being vulnerable. . . .
(Fear and Loathing of the Penis is rampant these days.)
I met Sam at the start of my sophomore year, my first time holding rush events as a full-blown sister. Sam was a transfer student from Florida who’d experimented with boys, girls and drugs, and she was paired with me as my Little Sister. On the surface, we didn’t have much in common: She had too many piercings and a lack of respect for the sisters. But I knew there was something different between us. . . .
(“I see,” says the therapist. “Please continue.”)
After a few months of being around her I knew that I didn’t feel the same around Sam as I felt around the other girls. When Sam touched me, my skin burned. When she looked at me I felt completely exposed, and the lingering scent of crisp fruits and fresh florals from her perfume — Ralph Lauren Cool — made me dizzy.
The old college cliché of girls experimenting with girls exists for a reason, but I didn’t want to experiment with Sam. I didn’t want to be anywhere near her, because my attraction to her terrified me. When a group of us went out to a bar one night, Sam went home with one of my suitemates. Sam tells me that it was casual, and that she knew I wasn’t ready. But I felt like she was making a bold statement. When I arrived back at the dorms, terrified and full of vodka, I pounded on the doors. Sam says I kissed her. I say she kissed me. But in all my years of kissing nothing had ever come close to this bipolar feeling of comfort and panic. I didn’t tell a soul.
Gossip soon ran rampant throughout the sorority. . . .
Yeah, you can read the rest of that, if you’re interested, but these stories — “Omigod, I Suddenly Discovered I’m Queer” — are beginning to bore me. Never thought I’d say that. However, after months of researching radical feminism, I’ve come to the conclusion that the only reason girls insist that their parents pay to send them to a “small liberal arts school lacking in a party atmosphere” (Emerson College annual tuition, $37,350) is so they can get a Salon column out of it.
And also marry a lesbian with too many piercings.
Give it a few years, and maybe she’ll write another Salon column — perhaps “Omigod, My Lesbian Wife Dumped Me Because I’m Not Queer Enough for Her” — but my point is that (a) the sapphic bildungsroman is swiftly becoming a journalistic cliché, and (b) it is therefore absurd for Jaclyn Archer to say she is oppressed by “institutional heteronormativity” at Eastern Washington University.
“We’re here! We’re queer! And it’s hopelessly boring.”
It’s like those drug-addict stories we read about in junior high. Nice kid smokes a doobie and, two pages later, he’s murdering people to feed his heroin habit or flying out a window on LSD. Then we got to high school — it was the 1970s — and everybody was on dope.
Mostly it involved toking up, turning on a blacklight in your basement rec room and listening to Pink Floyd. We wasted a lot of time and nearly flunked out, but very few of us turned into murderous junkies or took acid-induced suicidal leaps from tall buildings.
There weren’t any tall buildings in Douglas County, Georgia, in 1975, but watching “Romper Room” on purple microdot? Wow, man.
Fortunately, nobody ever told us we were “oppressed.” The Democratic Party didn’t have a Teenage Dopehead Caucus, so there was nothing political about our situation. Nor is there anything truly political about Jaclyn Archer’s bisexuality, except she has been told so.
“In the hands of a skillful indoctrinator, the average student not only thinks what the indoctrinator wants him to think . . . but is altogether positive that he has arrived at his position by independent intellectual exertion. This man is outraged by the suggestion that he is the flesh-and-blood tribute to the success of his indoctrinators.”
– William F. Buckley Jr., Up From Liberalism (1959)
How naïve are these kids to believe so fervently that they are oppressed? Oh, look, another bisexual college student. I’m shocked.
No, I’m not shocked, not at all. Do these kids believe they invented deviant sex or something? You’ve got no idea, kids. No idea.
At least three guys I went to high school with in the 1970s died in the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s. I could name them, but that would serve no purpose. One of those guys played first clarinet in band, which gave him the privilege of sitting next to Kelly Goldsmith, a privilege I envied him, from my distant seat back in the (all-male) trombone section.
Some days Kelly wore halter tops, and when she turned a certain way you could see — well, quite a lot, but Mr. First Clarinet was rather obviously not interested in girls that way.
Nobody gave a damn. Forty years ago in Georgia, gay people were known to exist. They didn’t need a ideology to do so. It wasn’t until Ronald Reagan got elected president, then re-elected by a landslide, and the AIDS epidemic broke out that suddenly sodomy ceased to be a private amusement and became a Democrat Party issue.
There are now only two reasons to vote Democrat, sodomy and abortion, and Wendy Davis got 38.9% of the vote in Texas on that basis.
Having lost friends in the AIDS epidemic (the clarinet guy was never my friend, but a couple others were) I’m tired of being accused of homophobia and tired of watching young people wallow in confusion and misery while claiming to be “oppressed” — by me!
That’s it, you see? Married, white male Christian father of six — I’m the demonized oppressor in this political morality tale these kids are taught. I’m so heteronormative it’s probably a hate crime.
How the hell did I become so powerful that college kids thousands of miles away are victims of my patriarchal oppression?
And why do I find myself diagnosed by complete strangers who insist that anyone who votes Republican must be suffering from a mental illness — homophobia, an irrational fear of gays — when my fearlessness in that regard is quite nearly notorious. I am not sexually “repressed,” nor am I “ignorant,” and neither my Christian faith nor the fact of my rampant heterosexuality are symptomatic of insanity.
You Can’t Out-Crazy Stacy McCain™ — you have my guarantee on that — and who else would even try to make sense of the radical feminist theory being taught in Women’s Studies programs in 2014?
What has happened is that the whole world has gone so crazy in the past 40 years, no sane person could possibly hope to understand it.
In crazy times, the Madman becomes the Prophet.
And hey, just because I’m hetero doesn’t mean I’m normative.
Blame it on that purple microdot.
First published at TheOtherMcCain.com
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.