Sunday January 27th, 2019

They Extract From Us To Become Themselves

from ALOK

2019: https://www.alokvmenon.com/blog/2019/1/27/they-extract-from-us-to-become-themselves

for the past week i have been receiving non-stop rape threats, death threats, been ridiculed & demeaned, called a monkey & monster, told i have a disorder & need to be exterminated…simply for posting a photo of myself in a swim suit.

several memes have been made out of my image: there is something so degrading about an empowering image of yourself getting repurposed to humiliate you. it’s like getting spat on in your favorite outfit: the extremities of joy & the enormity of pain.

this harassment is coming from both men & women, many of whom are south asian like me. they tag each other to make fun of each other: this is your boyfriend, this is your girlfriend, this is you. essentially: they use me to become. become desirable, become straight, become humorous, become men & become women.

i am familiar with this encounter: being extracted from to create the norm and then subsequently being disavowed from it. being foundational to everything & then being erased from it. in times like these i want to disappear – delete the social media accounts that profit off of me but do not protect me, protect my art & my image & my creativity from a world which punishes me for it.

but then i remember that is precisely what they want me to do: erase myself so they can maintain the fiction not only of their relevance, but themselves.

it’s another unremarkable remarkable day of enduring the vitriol of transmisogyny. it is spectacularly ordinary & ordinarily spectacular. today i am here to tell the story of it, to say “this happens to people like me every day.” to ask: “what are you doing to stop it?” and perhaps: “how are you engendering it?”