Let’s talk about empathy. Why? Because intersectionality–this concept that all isms have the same perpetrator and depend upon each other to oppress various groups/identities–never struck me hard until i thought critically about this erroneous course in sexuality I’m taking. Granted, I disagree with most of my professor’s outdated perspectives, i still give partial credence to my professor for making me play the opposition (perceive my position as a member of an oppressive group, men). Having to defend the intentions of masculinity, and thereby seriously embodying an emblem of manhood, brought me to a more intimate proximity with the grievances of a womyn’s experience. The final acknowledgement of subversive interactions with womyn, that rarely is the object of contemplation, strengthened my advocacy for an intersected approach to deconstructing an exploitative system.
This week my class discussed porn; specifically, the prominence of male violence. My instructor very forcefully focused a debate that inevitably pitted all my womyn classmates against the males, in an effort to chastise male usage of porn. She asserted that men desire violent manipulation of womyn–money shots in addition to pushing down the heads of womyn–and that most men are incapable of separating fantasy and reality. Surely, i was pissed because she would not acknowledge the independent viewing of porn by womyn and the presence of some womyn as stakeholders in the industry. Claims of both sides were valid, but for me pledging allegiance to either, being a male and a feminist, the aim became synthesis.
The intersection, as I see it, of monetary value attached to violence against womyn and the commodity of racism through periodicals and comedy traces back to capitalist exploitation. These days the tragic lived-experiences, and the necessary diversity of those occasions, lures its consumption. Escaping from the particular universe of sexism or racism, by way of empathy or noting how i can become an oppressor and oppressed interchangeably, clarified my intuition of the problem for social change. Of course! Marcuse makes so much more sense, we are indeed capital (objects of value) when we are productive and when we do whatever in leisure.