Through a few linkages and emails, I stumbled across the story of “feminist activist” Kyle Payne. (See also belledame, who details the “story” part of the story, Ren Ev and Galling Galla, though I won’t be linking to the guy himself, personally)
Like belle says, from the beginning, there’s something about this guy that gives off a really skeevy vibe. See, there’s a big difference between “empathy” and the kind of hypersensitive, over-investment, over-identification that this guy displays when he not only breaks down in sobs talking about the horrors of porn to a mainly female/feminist audience, but situates this experience as high among those that make him quintessentially him. I often think about people who have boundary issues not just as people who have trouble maintaining their own or who are inclined to violate those of others, but as people who seem to actually lack the understanding of where you start and they end. Meaning they take on emotion that’s yours in ways that are just inappropriate, and becomes kinda controlling, and can be really overwhelming…and given that, it’s not actually that surprising when the people with a saviour complex start getting offended when the designated-savee decides no thank you, that’s not the way she wants to go, develop delusions that they and only they can handle the necessary struggles, and become really fucking controlling, actually.
It’s very Gaius Baltar, if you ask me.
Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that sexual assault is akin to an inability to understand boundaries. I think on one level it does require that, in the sense that it requires a predator to function in a way that necessary denies the full humanity of the victim, that either negates/ignores what she wants or actively thrives on her suffering. And I’m also not saying that every male who talks the feminist talk is this kind of evil fuck. But I am saying that this is on a continuum of self-aggrandizement in ally-work, and that discussions of the horrific experiences of others (be they sex workers, or rape victims, or women of colour, or women as a whole, or people with disabilities) that re-centre the conversation on how you feel, what you’ve done, the deep emotional impact and the journey of self-discovery that you are on…they’re on the same continuum, and they’re not alliance.
They’re appropriation, and they violate boundaries, and they come from a mental place that doesn’t quite recognize the full humanity of whomever you’re talking about, as distinct from you’re own. They’re narcissistic. I guess one of the things I’m saying is that, sad as I may be about it, I’m not actually that surprised to find someone like this who goes so far as to actually assault people. Using feminism in your arsenal of weapons for power and control, in a word, sucks, but it’s just another attempt to gain trust, to build up self, to differentiate yourself, because whatever you were doing, you were doing it for the noblest of reasons, and not for the sordid hedonism of sexual pleasure or power.