As I go out and tonight mentally prepared (though perhaps not emotionally) for most women I come across to be clad in a Sexy ___ getup, and for the regrettfully harsh judgments I will inevitably pass on their taste and lack of ingenuity, I will remember my disturbing trip to the Halloween costume store a couple of weeks ago.
I will remember that these were not in the “Sexy” aisle of the costume store. No, they were all around me. Everywhere. There were no non-sexy options. The dude section was full of fully clothed doctors, cowboys, folktale heroes. What was the lady alternative was to those? I don’t even have to answer that. You know what I’m saying.
I have a friend that waited too long to get her costume together and ended up at the Halloween store. She wanted something funny and cool. She got Sexy Robin Hood. She hates it. Even though she had no intention of going sexy, she didn’t have much of a choice once she was there and in a hurry.
So I will remember all of that as I head out into the craziness tonight, and I will only blame the patriarchy for demanding that women are sex, even on the one day a year we’re supposed to get to be something else.
There are approximately 452 cop shows on American TV at any given moment of the day. My new roommate, I’ve discovered, loves cop dramas like I love reality competition shows on Bravo. And cheese.
GAWD I hate cop dramas, but sharing my space with someone else means compromising a bit. I demand the TV when Top Chef is on and I begrudgingly accept cop shows playing on my television sometimes.
The troubling aspects of cop dramas are worth a whole feminist blog series, a book even, but at the moment I’m caught up on clothes.
Female cops all wear the same outfit on every one of the 452 cop shows: A tight solid color t-shirt, most often a scoop or v-neck, tucked into belted, form-fitting dark slacks or blue jeans if they’re off-duty or a promiscuous alcoholic. They complete the outfit with a cute matching jacket; leather if they play the “sexy” cop. To wit:
No colorful patterns, no linen, no turtlenecks, no sweaters. Please feel free to submit your theories on this phenomenon.
Maybe I’m coming in a little late to the game and there’s already a whole bunch of incisive commentary about Pandagon’s ads. I’m new to that site, having just discovered the Google Reader iPhone app and gone batshit crazy on adding every femblog I could think of to it, so pardon my ignorance to the backlash, if one indeed exists.
So what the fuck? When did popular feminist blogs start being okay with ads using the faux-frightened, finger chewing women wearing only t-shirts to sell clothes and a naked Pamela Anderson to promote PETA, one of the most mysogonistic organizations to ever curse the planet? “Watch as this sexy icon lays it all out in this very graphic video.” Clever bait and switch, except not. Vile and disturbing and profoundly disappointing.
That’s the kind of shit I expect to see on just about every other kind of website in the universe – liberal and conservative and ecommerce and catholic and movie review and cooking tips and music downloading and nutrition and world news, whatever. It’s everywhere. But on a feminist blog? Are you freaking kidding me? Is nothing sacred? Nothing at all? Isn’t this exactly the kind of thing the writers at Pandagon are trying to change about the world?
I actively avoid sites/blogs that use this kind of imagery to sell or promote. It ain’t easy, I tell you what, but I do it because seeing that stuff a thousand and one times per day makes my hands shake and puts me in a funk that’s getting harder and harder to shake off. Of course I realize that I can’t entirely avoid provocotivey positioned ladies on the porn-addled, man-is-the-default-user innerwebs, and I’m more than adept at clicking away when I see it, but I honestly expect that the sites that I’ve designated in my little reader as Feminist will not actually contribute to the woman-hating horseshit I presume they’re rallying against.
For heck’s sake, Pandagon. I hope you get your priorities straight.
This story actually made me laugh out loud rather riotously at work. I think I startled my cube mates.
So, according to Science!, if a woman takes really good care of herself and eats the right food, when she finds herself great with child she will be rewarded with a bouncing baby boy. Regularly skimping out on breakfast? Eating junk food? Sorry lady, you’re stuck with a girl. And it’s your own damn fault. Now go to your room and don’t come out until you’re ready to breed properly.
Oysters may excite the libido, but there is nothing like a hearty breakfast laced with sugar to boost a woman’s chances of conceiving a son, according to a study released Wednesday.
…a low-energy diet that skimps on calories, minerals and nutrients is more likely to yield a female of the human species.
Beside racking up a higher calorie count, the group who produced more males were also more likely to have eaten a wider range of nutrients, including potassium, calcium and vitamins C, E and B12.
Fifty-six percent of the women in the group with the highest energy intake had sons, compared to 45 percent in the least-well fed cohort.
Ah, so much snarking and blaming to be done, so no brainpower to be thinking or desire to be typing. It’s beautiful out there and I have some veggies to plant!
Just one thing: 54% to 45%? That’s your “more likely”? Is that statistically significant enough to warrant a press release? Even if it is, the research methods seem pretty sketchy here. I’m skeptical about the methods, assumptions, and results of all gender-focused Science!, but the studies that rely entirely on daily self-reporting are especially suspicious and less than credible.
The odds of an XY, or male outcome to aalso went up sharply “for women who consumed at least one bowl of breakfast cereal daily compared with those who ate less than or equal to one bowl of week,” the study reported.
Great. Can’t wait to see the Special K commercials after that gets out.
1. Does Kelly Ripa really expect us to believe that she runs home and cooks macaroni and cheese for her family after hosting a nationally televised morning talk show and then doing 6 other gigs? Ok, let’s say that’s even possible. Why is she doing this? Hubby Mark isn’t working these days, is he? I haven’t seen him since his All My Children days 10 years ago. I’d like to see the commercial where Mr. Ripa talks about the demands of supporting his wife’s career while taking care of the family and home. WAY more compelling.
2. Top Chef is the most gender-egaliatarian show on TV. Talented chefs compete against each other to make the best dishes with nary a mention of what gender is supposed to be like this and like that. No female chef is coined “the hot one.” None of the women talk about being a “girl winner” of Top Chef. (See The Biggest Loser for comparison). And there is no reason to believe that this competition isn’t entirely about the chef’s body of work and not the chef’s body. Love it. (For the record, I feel the same about the competitors on Project Runway, but the fact that they’re making outfits for rail-thin models and are consistently befuddled when presented with regular-woman-size challenges sorta negates its feminist goodwill).
3, Do the powers-that-be at Law and Order and CSI think that the raped and tortured and dead women will remind us of how dangerous it is to be a woman and we’ll proceed accordingly? Or do they know that TV watchers at large actually prefer to see women raped and tortured and dead as opposed to, uh, alive?
4. From The Office: “Yeah, I have a lot of questions. Number one: How dare you.” Ha! Kelly makes me laugh. Everybody on The Office makes me laugh. I love this show.
I’ve been trying to figure out sex-positive feminism for a while now, I’ve read a bunch about it, but ever since this Twisty post and this post at Rage Against the Manchine I’ve been preoccupied with figuring this shit out.
I’ll admit that I’m a total n00b when it comes to this topic – it took many years of considering myself a feminist before I could meaningfully articulate what that meant to me, so understanding and being able to take a side on all the controversies ostensibly existing inside the feminist sphere is this whole other level of challenge.
What I do know is that this sex-positive feminism thing has never sat well with me. I suppose it’s partly because my sexuality isn’t really that important of a thing to me and expressing it isn’t anywhere close to the top of my list of things to do in a day. Sex is fun sometimes and the freedom for women to be sexual is paramount, but I don’t understand the preoccupation with needing to turn and be turned on. Maybe other women understand feeling sexy and having orgasms as an important part of their identity and their mission. Okay, that’s fine. I’m not against sex, just a little sex-neutral (as defined here)
But now I’m realizing how much sex-positive feminism rankles me, mostly because the mainstream world seems to think it’s the cool young sexy fun and entirely non-threatening part of the whatever Wave we’re riding these days. And also because it has the word feminism in it. (And from this point on, I will call it sex-positivity).
I dunno, but trying to make misogyny work in our favor doesn’t feel like any kind of a feminist movement to me. I know that women as a class do this every second of the day for various reasons and at all levels of oppression, but doing it is one thing. Calling it a feminist movement just because some women choose it/enjoy it/feel sexy and empowerfulled because of it – well, that feels like delusion.
Female sexual empowerment in the form of lap dances and porn parties and hawt women making out for the sole purpose of titillating the menz as a path towards gender equality? Whatever. I think true sexual empowerment would look a whole lot different than a 16-year old boy’s Tila Tequila-inspired spank bank and from where I sit, equality has very little to do with sex. Gender equality, or as I like to envision it, gender devaluation, would have to come before any meaningful sexual empowerment for women.
I read this today, which is from John Fisk’s book on the politics of popular culture via an essay collection called “Third Wave Feminism and Television”:
Radicalism’s “progressiveness is concerned with redistributing power within these structures (family, work, education) toward the disempowered; it attempts to enlarge the space within which bottom-up power has to operate. It does not, as radicalism does, try to change the system that distributes power in the first place.”
So first of all, I guess that means I’m radical, because everything that I believe can be done to combat the woman-hating that presents itself in the form of CSI and 14 year old girls cutting themselves and bikini babes on boat-selling websites and 13-year old pregnant FLDS commune wives – they all revolve around changing the system entirely and most certainly NOT around believing that the solution to the problem of mysogny is to make it work in my favor.
Anyway, the Fisk quote makes sense to me. Sex-positivity may be considered a progressive movement because it’s attempting to give a form of power to a traditionally oppressed class. Feminism, on the other hand, wants to change the system that distributes such power and not simply redistribute it.
OR… the alternate way to read this is that it’s all under the feminist umbrella, but the progressive faction is defined by its so-called female sexual empowerment and the radical sect is concerned with making sexual empowerment of women moot because there would be no distinction among gender-specific power and roles in the sexual sphere.
Aw shit. I don’t know what to think right now.
I can’t reconcile myself to calling sex-positives anti- or non-feminist because I just can’t believe that the feminism I believe in is the only thing that can truly be called feminism. That makes me uncomfortable. But I also can’t embrace sex-positivity as a feminist movement because it goes against so much of what I think feminism is. So much of what I feel it is.
All I know for sure is that feminism is a fight and sex-positivity feels to me like an admission of defeat. It’s like the back door to the club with the sketchy dark twisted hallway that distracts you with all its mirrors but then stops at the velvet-roped dance floor where the burly bouncer tells you to go back to the mirrors and check your makeup.
ETA: I realize that sex positivity encompasses far more than the Pussycat Dolls characterizations I’ve made here. I know that it’s about sexual agency and subverting the patriarchy via personal choice and liberation from conventional notions of femininity and female sexuality. That said, I still think that the belief that it’s possible for a woman in a patriarchy to become a sexually empowered subject by choosing to embrace misogynistic objectification is what results in things like Girls Gone Wild being considered the new feminism.
Good Mothers are nurturing. They suckle, groom, and protect. Bad Mothers lose interest in satisfying the demands of their children and go off and do their own thing.
Yeah yeah, nothing we haven’t heard before.
But now Science! has proof that Bad Mothers have something seriously wrong with them. They’re not just weird and self-absorbed, they’ve actually got a mental illness, for chrissakes.
By comparing the good mothers to their less attentive relatives, the group has found that negligent parenting seems to have both genetic and non-genetic influences, and may be linked to dysregulation of the brain signaling chemical dopamine…
Child neglect has devastating consequences, Auger says, and the natural occurrence of maternal neglect within this mouse strain offers a powerful opportunity to investigate the biological and behavioral bases of maternal neglect…
Next, Auger says, “We hope to understand in greater detail the basis of naturally occurring neglect and provide treatment paradigms to these animals to restore natural maternal care of offspring.”
Let’s hope that shit’s treatable! Cuz lowered knows there’s nothing worse than a mother who refuses to suckle and groom her own damn kids while babydaddy is out re-planting his seed/being listened to/drinking Pabst with the boys.
Why I’m so pissed off about this article right now;
1) The immediate editorial judgment of what is good and what is bad when referring to the behavior of mice.
2) The glaring lack of comparison data on father mice, despite repeated use of the word “parent” and “parenting”.
3) The inference that mice behavior is completely transferable to human behavior without question, even though humans, ya know, use verbal language and have complex political and cultural structures and stuff.
4) The assumption that Bad mothering may benefit from “treatment paradigms,” which will inevitably be offered by ginormous pharmaceutical companies as a solution to the problem of women who work and women who date women and any woman who doesn’t feel up to providing constant, unappreciated care to another human being entirely dependent on her for survival and the ability to form healthy relationships as an adult.
5) The not-so-inferred-but-totally-stated idea that “good” mothering is what is natural and deviations are unnatural, as in fully against the irrefutable laws of nature that humans have no choice but to abide by.
Okay, any Science! project that tells me what Mother Nature herself has decided for me based on some assumed but yet to be proven ability to make babies simply REEKS of patriarchy ball sack. These kinds of seemingly innocuous and supposedly well-intentioned studies about women (let’s save the children!) are what make up the substantial body of work that keeps us out of the way so that men can carry on with the business of being fully realized human beings.
I was in and out of the hospital for a few weeks a couple of months ago with some crazy intestinal bullshit that made me walk all hunched over popping chewable fiber tablets, terrified of eating bread products or spicy food. I was suddenly a hundred years old. I most definitely blame the patriarchy.
I went in to see my doctor in the morning a few days after the last hospital visit with some new belly pain and she forced me to go to the ER because she was worried my condition may have worsened. I really, really didn’t want to go. The last time I had gone to the ER with stomach pain I was there for 4 days and left with a mild morphine addiction. They sure are liberal with that stuff when they don’t know what’s wrong with you, lemme tell ya.
On this ER visit, I was attended to by a creepy ass old doctor with a long grey ponytail that despised me. I could tell this by the way he sneered at, chuckled, and dismissed my complaints. I wanted to scream at him that my doctor had forced me to come. I wanted to go home and curl up in bed for the rest of the week. I was mos def not on a mission to get narcotics. If a cup of Maalox was gonna make the pain go away then please, give me the goo and let me be on my way. Please please please, don’t admit me.
But this guy straight up hated me. He didn’t believe a single word that came out of my mouth. I knew this the way that people just know things.
Needless to say, I didn’t trust him much either, so when his evaluating presses on my abdomen became a little too gentle and caressing, I got tense. It wasn’t egregious fondling, and if it had been my own doctor I would have thought she was just expressing care, but it was a little too gentle for a doctor that had showed nothing but skepticism of my illness and contempt for my existence since I walked in the door.
He fed me some tummy medicine and came back a few hours later to see how I was feeling. “I think I’m fine” I said. “No more pain.” I got up and waddled around the room in a haphazardly-tied hospital gown and old undies, declaring myself fit as a fiddle. It worked! The Maalox worked! Can I please go home now? Then the doctor says:
“Jump up and down.”
“Jump up and down?” I asked.
“Yeah, let’s see if you’re really feeling better.”
“I will absolutely not jump up and down in front of you.”
Looks at me quizzically. “You won’t?”
I sit back down on the bed, determined. “No. No. I won’t.”
He looks at me from the side, with his eyes all squinty, and writes something down.
I lose my shit. “I’m not a crazy person! I’m not! Why are you looking at me like I’m crazy? Seriously, I can’t jump up and down in front of you. No! No. But I feel better, I feel just fine. Let me go home, okay? I won’t jump up and down. No. Definitely not. And I’m not insane.”
Looks at me as if I’ve just threatened to blow up the hospital. “I’ll just have to take your word on that.” Audible Pfft. “You can go.” Wave of the dismissive hand. “I’ll have the nurse bring in the papers.”
Of course I acknowledge the possibility that there was some sort of medical necessity at work there and that my doctor was truly attempting to determine, via the random jump demand, if I was lying about feeling better. In this scenario, my creepy doctor was looking out for my well-being.
If this is truth, it’s partial at best.
Taking in the whole scenario, I think it’s clear that dude was on a serious fucking power trip, to say the least. Me: A sickly woman in a stiff, cold, sterile bed, mostly naked under a thin hospital gown, who has expressed fear about her impending bankruptcy from these endlessly escalating hospital bills and wants nothing more from this man than to be allowed to go home. This is a portrait of vulnerability, and we all know how appealing female vulnerability is to men who get off on their assumed patriarchy-given power to demand things from women that they have no right or reason to demand.
Maybe I’ve been fortunate in my choice of female doctors and therapists, because in all my years, no female doctor has ever demanded uncomfortable personal information that was irrelevant to whatever I was there for. No female therapist has ever asked me for sexual details. No woman has ever demeaned me by asking me to jump up and down in front of her for any reason, ever. No woman has ever asked me to do something that made me feel like my vulnerability was being taken advantage of. That’s not to say that no woman has ever done such things, but never to me.
Or maybe I’m more conscious of my vulnerability and discomfort with male doctors than with women and more suspicious of their motivations. Yeah, maybe that’s it.
Or maybe I’m absolutely right to think that men in positions of close authority over women’s bodies are allowed to force a level of intimacy that is uncomfortable and wholly unnecessary, and that this is true especially in the most sanctioned of authoritarian relationships – the ones where the disparity in power is accepted near-universally.
Whatever little sovereignty a woman may have over her experiences, her body, her choices – these are negated entirely when in the presence of an authority man. Especially when she is at her most vulnerable, when she is most dependent on his assessment of her.
The man in this kind of power position has the legitimate right to take for himself anything and everything that belongs to a woman, all in the name of her health and well-being. He can demand her humiliation with little challenge, as long his demands aren’t outright illegal, because the world expects its men, especially those with his kind of power, to dominate the half of the species that are supposed to exist solely for the purpose of arousing, satisfying, and comforting the other half. And because the patriarchy expects its authority men, its doctors and psychiatrists and police officers, to verify for the rest of the world how not-quite-human women really are, what with their odd afflictions and emotions and behaviors, by treating them as not-quite-human.
He can tell a woman to jump up and down in front of him. He can ask her questions that nobody should ask for any reason. He can softly caress her belly when he should be pressing down on it. He can write down notes about how crazy she is because she didn’t do what he told her to do. And she’s the one with the problem, because she’s a woman. He’s a doctor. Enough said. End of story.
And I say boo.
Okay so I know it’s hot out and everything, but where the hell did guys get the idea that it’s perfectly okay to saunter around the 7-11 without a shirt on? I get the no shirt thing when you’re putting a new roof on a house or maybe installing an irrigation system, but out in public, walking down the street, in chilly air-conditioned convenience stores? What’s the deal?
Yeah okay, you have a nice chest. Your celtic tattoos make you an intimidating sexpot. Your nipple piercings make us all quiver with desire. Your well-defined pecs haunt my dreams. Whatever. Put a fucking shirt on.
Here’s the root of my problem with male shirtlessness: It’s profoundly unfair. As you probably know by now, I’m not a huge fan of patriarchical injustice, and this one just reeks of it. Not only is it unacceptable for women to walk around topless, it’s plain illegal. It’s called indecent. Immoral. In too many places it’s still illegal to breastfeed in public, and in the Bible Belt you can be arrested for not wearing a bra.
Actually, I made that last part up, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were true.
Why? Because it is unfair to tempt straight men this way. See, it’s also illegal to go around feeling women up, and if women could go topless in public it might make it more difficult for the tempted men to not break that particular law. Can’t count on men to control themselves, or course. It’s gotta be up to women to make sure men don’t violate them. Men are not responsible for their own impure thoughts and compulsions to act on them, women are. Fancy that. Classic boys-will-be-boys, women-are-responsible scenario.
Now let’s say I got a strong desire to go lick the pierced nipples of celtic tattoo man. Which, for the record, I most certainly did not. Pretty much. Anyway, it’s fairly clear that no one’s too worried about my impure thoughts and desires, otherwise male shirtlessness would be similarly outside of conventional moral boundaries. Either this is because the world thinks that women don’t have such desires or it’s just not concerned about our inability to control ourselves.
It’s a bit of both, I suspect. Most (American) women have been taught to maintain pretty strict control over our desires and sexual compulsions ever since about the 3rd grade. Such enduring lessons include: Make them want you regardless of if you want them back, and don’t give in to your own want unless it will get you something more meaningful in return. Approach their desire with caution and in a proper ladylike fashion while maintaining your sexual attractiveness at all times. If you express or give in to your own desire, we will call you a slut. If you don’t give in at the appropriate time, when they really need it, we will call you a tease, especially if you dare tempt them with revealing clothes.
Them, them, them, them, them. Blah. What a bunch of horseshit. Too bad so many of us still abide by this stuff. This is the stuff that keeps us fighting with each other over developmentally disabled frat boys, questioning our worth and value in the world because the dude that we’re not even that into doesn’t call us back, and trying to find clothes that reveal just enough to make them wish they could touch us but not so much that they’ll actually try.
Basically, this is the stuff that patriarchies are made of. It’s a very useful tool for male domination: keep the women repressed with concern over how to get men to want them while still keeping their dignity intact, as well as how to prevent men from hitting them, raping them, leering at them, ignoring them, or just generally treating them like shit, and the men are free to walk around town with their shirts off enjoying all the perks of male privilege that are so ingrained they don’t even know they have them.
Oh calm down, I wasn’t talking about you.
When I was 16 years old my best friend left the homecoming football game we were at together to go to a party with another friend. I went to her house after the game and waited for her to come home. When she got there many hours later she immediately took a shower then crawled into bed next to me and cried as she told me how a guy she met offered to give her a ride home, brought her to his house, got her more drunk, and raped her in his bed. She was a virgin.
That was my first experience being with someone right after they had been assaulted. It wasn’t the last.
So I’ve made a list. In my 33 years I’ve known at least 16 women and girls that have been sexually assaulted. I’m sure there are more than that, but ‘only’ 16 of them have told me their stories.
3 of them were raped by strangers. 6 of them were date raped. 2 of them were likely drugged. 7 of them were children molested by a man they trusted, usually from within their own family. 16 women and girls just from my own small life makes for a very high rate.
None of these rapists, predators, and pedophiles, not a single one, experienced any consequences for what they had done. Each and every one of them got away with it for some reason or another.
He didn’t get erect. It’s been too long since it happened. Her story didn’t add up. She was too young to be trusted. She didn’t scream or try to fight him off. She asked him to put on a condom. She didn’t react how a rape victim ’should’ react afterwards. There wasn’t enough evidence. She was dressed like a whore. She was lying, acting out, trying to get back at him. She said yes before she said no. She was drunk.
No matter the situation, the guy got away with it every single fucking time. Until now. I hope.
The last predator asshole on that long list of predator assholes, one who somehow thought it was within his rights to fondle and kiss a 13 year old girl who had trusted and loved him since she was a young child, was arrested and charged. I think he will go to jail for a long time thanks to the awesome courage of a girl who knew, despite her reluctance to talk about it and her fear of everything about it, that he would do it again to someone else if she didn’t say anything.
Finally, someone who won’t get away with it. I have my fingers crossed too tightly.
And here is where I begin my feminist response to this bullshit:
There is war on against women that is defined by sudden or subtle and always brutal violence, sexual assault, verbal abuse, harassment, and discrimination. Can there really be any doubt about it? How can anyone think women these days have it made? Do really believe that having the right to vote and being more involved in the workplace are the same as being free from oppression? Haven’t you been paying attention?
As long as a woman is sexually assaulted every 6 minutes and 82% of these crimes go unreported, we remain oppressed. Fear of being abused by men is a mighty powerful tool, and it has been in us since someone felt the need to let us know that boys were stronger than us.
“The only identifiable risk factor for rape is being female.” -Center for Injury Prevention, 2006.
The most insidious and dangerous thing about this ugly war is not that there’s a denial that this shit happens, but that women are entirely responsible for both starting it and stopping it. It’s somehow totally our fault that men rape us and it’s our responsibility to make sure it doesn’t happen. It’s seen as nothing more than a women’s issue, not the global humanitarian crisis that it is.
As if rape were a chick-flick. Please.
So yeah, it’s apparently our responsibility to stop it, but the women who do try to do or say something, anything at all, are dismissed as bitter man-hating lesbian feminazis with boy baggage who just need a good lay. Nice.
Funny but not really how it’s only situations where a woman has been assaulted or harassed that we too-often assume that the victim is somehow more responsible for the crime than the perpetrator. Do you automatically assume that the male victim of a random street mugging is making it all up? Can you imagine dismissing the legitimacy of the crime against a man because he was dressed provocatively or had too much to drink or because he had sex with someone earlier that day?
Can you even for once second fathom thinking that sex crimes against women are wholly and entirely the fault of the man who committed the crime? Why is that such an impossible thing to believe?
Someone who found out about my 13-year old friend’s recent fucked-up experience with the old family friend 20 years older than her asked me why she didn’t scream to wake us up. I had an answer for him, but seriously, does that really matter? Why didn’t he ask me how she was dealing with things or how long the asshole who did it would be in jail for? Why, when I say “my best friend was raped by a guy at a party,” do you immediately wonder if she was drunk? Doesn’t that seem the slightest bit off to you? Do you still think that the patriarchy is some benign force that we shouldn’t mess with?
Hey ladies, you ever get the feeling that the world hates you? Like it’s trying like hell to get you to shut the fuck up, sit the fuck down, and deal with the fact that your experience as a human being will never be taken seriously? That you don’t count? That men are people and you are just a woman? That you’re supposed to be nothing more than what men see you as?
Because I do. Every fucking day. And I would bet my life on the fact that you’ve felt it too.
Maybe you felt it when you told your mom what happened that night and she asked you what you were wearing. Or when a group of boys at school demanded that you take your bra off and jump up and down in front of them. Or when you read the fat-girl story Tucker Max’s blog. Or when you scanned the tabloids in the checkout line one day 4 years ago and realized that every one of them had stories about the sex life of Kobe Bryant’s rape victim and pictures of famous women who gained or lost weight.
This is a war with the mission of maintaining the male-domination status quo by granting men the right and obligation to control our bodies and instill fear among us. When women in masses stopped being so content with being maids and baby-feeders and started wanting to participate in the public world, something had to be done to ensure that we didn’t stop men from being important and powerful. The patriarchy shifted its focus from making sure women didn’t care about the world outside their homes to exacting punishment on our bodies and souls for daring to venture out into it.
Congratulations, it’s working. It may not be as overt as it once was, but don’t doubt for a second that this war it exists. It’s become crafty, insidious, and manipulative and it’s everywhere all the time.
Men right now have a power over women that they steadfastly refuse to admit having and virtuously claim to not even want. And those are the supposed good guys.
Hey, deny it all you want boys, but it’s true. The patriarchy has granted you this power by birthright. You’re winning a war that’s been so much a part of your life since you were born that most of you don’t even have the capacity to acknowledge that it exists, much less to see that you’re winning it.
We’re not only afraid of the men we pass on the street in the dark and the boyfriend who gets overly jealous, we’re also afraid of what men will think we are when we tell them what another man did to us. Thanks for that, fuckers. The patriarchy is thriving.
Not to relieve the men who commit atrocious acts against women of their responsibility, but please just have a look at the bigger picture for one second.
In a patriarchy, women are defined by their sexual behaviors, and their bodies are part of the public domain – a domain controlled by men. These bodies seem to have actually been created and designed for men, to be looked at and used by men in whatever way they please. A woman’s personal sovereignty over her own body is invalidated in the courts and on the sidewalks and in the bedrooms of the world every second of every day. It is unsurprising that sex crimes happen with such unspeakable frequency.
When women are portrayed and treated as OBJECTS of men’s interest/desire/contempt/jealously/lust/gaze, as opposed to SUBJECTS of their own lives, as they are in any patriarchy and as should be evident by about an hour a TV-watching or magazine-reading, it is inevitable that far too many men will abuse their inherent male privilege by asserting their perceived rights to those bodies.
When female bodies essentially belong to men, it is shockingly un-shocking that the default position on sexual assault is that the man has been somehow wronged or misunderstood and that the onus is on the woman to convince the world that an actual crime has indeed taken place. If she can’t prove it to the immediate satisfaction of this woman-hating, man-loving world as controlled by the male-dominated judicial, political, familial, and media arenas, she is either a lying, vindictive slut or a self-righteous prude.
Again, shockingly un-shocking.