Your Whole Thing Put Me in Negative Space for Way Too Fucking Long

I discovered Bikini Kill when I was a sophomore in college in 2007. In the past year or so, I had discovered feminism through a women’s history class I took during my freshman year (the professor was a second-wave feminist), and then spent much of my time reading feminist blogs on the Internet. This was one of my main sources of entertainment—I found making friends to be difficult since I had developed some major trust issues after my first boyfriend raped me and (after I broke up with him), my “best friend” started dating him and wouldn’t believe me when I told her what he did. I acted in my campus’ performance of The Vagina Monologues, and met some awesome feminist ladies that way, but was still very afraid to really reach out to them and create real friendships (partially because they were all older than me and I didn’t see myself as being cool enough). In April of freshman year this changed a bit when the campus “pro-life” group posted offensive anti-abortion signs all over the quad (example: “Satan is pro-choice”), and we all banded together to start some dialogue about why this wasn’t okay, and decided that we’d be starting a real feminist group the following fall.

That summer, while stuck at home, I kept on reading the feminist blogs, and waited for school to start back up again so I could actually be part of the movement. I came to the realization that most of the music I listened to offered nothing in the way of female empowerment, and started looking around for feminist music. I discovered The Gossip first, followed by Sleater-Kinney. I had heard of Bikini Kill before, and near the beginning of my sophomore year, I decided to check them out and bought The Singles. “I Like Fucking” soon became my favorite song: in high school I had gotten something of a reputation as being a “slut,” and so that song felt like both a redemption of my identity and as a big “fuck you” to everyone who said that.

There was another song on that CD which I totally identified with, too, though I was afraid to admit it back then: and that one would be “I Hate Danger.” During the end of my freshman year and the beginning of my sophomore year, I’d spend every Friday night hanging out in the basement of the student center of the college that my then-boyfriend went to (different school than mine, but not too far away). He and his friends would be playing Dungeons and Dragons, and I’d sit there with my computer waiting for it to be 1 am so that the center would be closing and we could leave. Some of his friends were nice enough (the girls, mainly), others were jerks. (I could go on a huge tangent about how one of them was a huge sexist prick right now, but he’s not the focus of this.) But there was one guy who was part of the group who my ex did not much like, but still associated with. He worked as a bouncer at parties thrown by the fraternity he belonged to, and was generally a quite rude (as in, if he needed to get by someone whose chair was too close to the wall, he wouldn’t ask “hey, would you mind scooting in?”, he’d just shove his whole body in there, which led to quite a bit of nonconsensual head-crotch contact).

Anyway, on one particular night, September 21st (the last time I ever went along on one of these excursions; from then on I asked my ex to pick me up after all of this was over, though in all honesty I should’ve just dumped him right then)—and the fact that it was mid-September makes this even more painful since I was raped in the middle of September in 2005, so my emotions were extremely heightened that week—Annoying Guy decided that it would be incredibly fucking funny if, when heading into destroy some village or whatever, he started singing “it’s raping time it’s raping time it’s raping time” in a twee little childish voice over and over and over again. I was fucking furious and immediately stalked off to the bathroom to cry. I was gone for maybe twenty minutes (and considered staying there until 1 am, but was afraid that my computer would get stolen, plus bathrooms are pretty boring places to be and I stopped crying eventually). When I came back, no one noticed that I had been gone. I sat at my computer for the next hour or so listening to Bikini Kill and writing angry things on my own blog. When 1 am hit, I left with my boyfriend, and he asked me “did you have fun tonight?” as we walked to his car.

“Sort of,” I responded. “Until about an hour ago.”

“Why, what happened?” he asked.

“You didn’t hear?” I asked. I was incredulous. The fact that he didn’t put an end to it didn’t surprise me—I knew I couldn’t count on him for that kind of thing. But that he didn’t hear anything in the first place made no sense. Annoying Guy—and a couple other people—were singing loudly. He was sitting at their same table. I explained to him what he had heard and he shrugged it off. And when we got to his apartment, and I lay in bed unmoving, he didn’t seem to understand how difficult this was for me, and how little I believed him about “not hearing it.” I still don’t believe him, though I stayed with him for nearly three more years.

It was songs like “I Hate Danger” and other Bikini Kill songs which allowed me to realize that the anger I felt about this situation, about being raped in the first place, about people either not believing me or not wanting to hear about it—that all of that was normal. That it was okay to categorize his behavior as being cowardly and dick-ish, because that’s what it was.

(“It’s a predictable point of view/This group dynamic caters to/It’s a particular point of view/I think you know when it caters to you/(and if you do know don’t act like you
don’t/’cause it’s really annoying/and if you don’t know/well, let’s just say/You’re a lot lot/stupider than I thought.)/I’ll pretend your friends are my friends/But I don’t wanna hear you defend them/In fact that kind of insults me and/I kinda don’t really wanna be here right”)

Peace,

Genevieve

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4 Responses to “Your Whole Thing Put Me in Negative Space for Way Too Fucking Long”

  1. biostuart Says:

    Yes, so glad I took the time to read your post — a good one. Hope you’re far from that negative space now….

  2. one of my favorite story in all of them

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