The L Word, Season 2, Episode 3-
(This is an extreamly brief background) For weeks now Jenny and Shane’s roommate, Mark, has been secretly recording the girls every move via hidden video camera (in the living room, kitchen, bedrooms) under the guise of “making a documentary” he has been collecting footage (While attempting to receive funding from a sleazy porn company). Jenny accidentally discovers the tapes one day and confronts Mark:
Jenny: “Do you have any sisters?”
Mark: “Yes, I have 2 younger sisters…”
Jenny: “I want you to ask them a question, and the most important thing is that you really listen to their answers, I want you to ask them about the very first time they were intruded upon by some man or a boy-.”
Mark: “What makes you think that my sisters have been intruded upon?”
Jenny: “Because there isn’t a single girl or woman in this world who hasn’t been intruded upon, and sometimes its relatively benign and sometimes its so fucking painful that you have no idea what this feels like.”
“Im going to decide when you can get those rapey cameras down, now get the fuck outta my room”
My relationship to Jenny on the L word is strenuous at best and yet there are times in which I can’t ignore her. The crudeness of the statement that there isn’t a single woman or girl in this world who has not been intruded upon by a man was strangely validating to me when I first heard it at maybe 17 years old, freshly out of the closet I spend a summer watching the L word with my girlfriend. Watching the same clip now 4 years later I am concerned with the lack of nuance in that statement and yet I feel part of me slipping away even as I write the former statement.
I do believe that there are power structures that function off of our socially constructed but mentally ingrained capitalistic society that emphasizes competition for “scarce” resources which creates the necessity of in-equality a battle which has been dominated by the straight, white, rich able-bodied, gender conforming etc. etc. etc. male.
It is no wonder that in a world such as this the male takes a dominating position in history that ignores the roles of those who are not the straight, rich, WASP, male; specifically, within this country. This dominance thusly solidifies the role and the gaze of the male for centuries so long as it continues to be taught.
What is changed when a man is in control of the story, how does that lens modify/ignore the lives of those who are not male?
At a crossroads to understanding how to change the course of history for future generations it is necessary to learn history, real history, her-story, (his)story, my-story, your-story because together these narratives can show us errors and unite us as we fight the powers that create inequity.
Crucial to this project is my belief that through reclamation of histories communities can find space to strengthen, empower themselves and take ownership over the future. While this is not a systematic change it is my belief that gradually if people are able to re-frame the way that they see history it will change what is taught, thus creating greater systematic awareness and ability to fight the system.