When you’re at the pool lounging on a beach chair and some little kids are running and the lifeguard screams out “no running” do you respond “excuse, not all of us are running”? No, you don’t. The lifeguard didn’t have to specifically state who they were talking to because you’re intelligent enough to comprehend that the comment wasn’t being directed at you.
Asking a person to acknowledge how pervasive an oppressive system is directly challenges their place within it, and that makes people uncomfortable. It makes people angry. And it’s easier to dismiss someone than admit you don’t have all the answers.
This is particularly true when the subject is male violence against women, whether that abuse is sexual, psychological, physical or some combination of all of the above.
In no other realm would anyone try to argue that a person’s experience with a subject actually disqualifies them from offering an opinion about it.
Imagine telling a veteran that they’re too emotionally connected to the subject of war to discuss it properly. Anyone making that argument in public would be dismissed as a crank—and they should be, because it’s an absurd argument. We otherwise readily acknowledge that a person’s direct experience with a subject makes them more qualified to discuss it. It doesn’t grant them infallibility, of course. Nobody can lay claim to that. We’re talking about some level of expertise that the average person doesn’t necessarily possess.
But we hold women to a different standard when the subject is abuse. And then we dismiss them as conspiracy theorists when they start to talk about the existence of a rape culture.
"Anaconda" shifts the common narrative of a man conquering female bodies to Minaj’s own stories of sexcapades without apologies. Towards the end, the only man in the video appears: Drake, seated in the middle of an empty room with roaming spotlights and Minaj treating him to a lap dance. In the final seconds, he reaches to touch Minaj’s ass after she had been flaunting it in his face, and she immediately swats his hand and struts away. Her body belongs to her, and she can twerk it and work it however she pleases, and she doesn’t owe anything to anyone.
I wouldn’t necessarily mind people not knowing I’m gay, but I don’t like being thought of as straight — in the same way that I don’t mind people not knowing I’m a writer, but it would be awkward if they assumed I was an extreme skateboarder, because that’s so far removed from the reality of my life. But there is no blank slate where orientation is concerned; we are straight until proven otherwise. And if you’ve never seen how dramatically a conversation can be derailed by a casual admission of homosexuality, let me tell you, it gets awkward.