I kind of wanted to wait for the dust to settle on the events of Elliot Rodger’s vile attacks before weighing in on the whole insane affair. #yesallwomen got a lot of input from a whole lot of people who had a dog in that fight and I felt it was more important to let their voices be heard rather than dilute the debate with my ham-fisted ramblings. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve come to realize a couple of things: 1) Rodger was mentally unstable to begin with and that, doubtless, contributed to his attacks and 2) sexism is far more prevalent and institutionalized than I had previously realized. I got that other countries had big issues with sexism (India! Come for the squalor, stay for the gang rape!), but when the stories started coming out, I guess I was blindsided by just how common it was here in the States. If nothing else, at least some of those stories are getting heard, so maybe at least it will change a few minds.
Now, barely what, a whopping two whole weeks has passed and the fickle media has moved on to which celebrity is boffing which other celebrity and our short attention span theatre has drifted to whatever else tickles our fancy for the moment. The sad part of all of this is the problem still remains: the men’s rights groups are still spilling their vitriol, women are still getting shit on for being women, and nothing has really changed. The dialog rapidly shifted to gun control and everyone was happy to let it go that way because advocating for women is far less interesting than things that go boom. After all, if you’re going to tilt at windmills, gun control is a great one; you can feel like you’re actually making a change while not really doing anything.
But the stories are still out there and the problem still remains and all the dialoging (not sure that’s a word, but it works) is accomplishing exactly squat because all anyone wants to do is enact big laws that will never see the light of day and think big thoughts about “Why is this happening?”
Sometime last week a friend of mine posted a little blurb on her fb page (she shall remain anonymous unless she feels like weighing in, in which case, please go for it. You know who you are), about how the mailman at her company had felt the need to opine about her tattoos. It’s not like she’s a tatted up biker, but even if she was it was really none of his business. Yes, even after all the stories about misogyny in the news recently, this nutsack still felt that she needed his opinion of what makes a woman beautiful, as if that was the most important, hell, only important thing she could be. Never mind the fact that she has many other skills and a good mind, too.
It’s stories like this one that kind of brought home for me the fact that women, as a whole, take a whole hell of a lot more crap than men do. This is despicable.
What’s even more despicable is the hatred flying around the Men’s Rights Groups and the Pick Up Artists and all their ilk, those pathetic losers that have had bad experiences and decided that all women are responsible for their miserable little lives. It really saddens and sickens me that not only are these guys spouting this, but other guys are busy agreeing with them. I read an interview with a young woman who had the dubious pleasure of interviewing one of the bigwigs in the Men’s Right’s movement. He was an insufferable ass who has threatened to rape anyone who disagrees with me. I really wish I had bookmarked the article because I can’t find it again. After the interview she found anonymous men talking about how much fun it would be to slit her throat while raping her. The young woman handled the slings and arrows with a great deal of aplomb, so my hat is off to her and I hope the spineless assholes who posted those screeds find themselves face to face with some of this country’s law enforcement.
Doubtless, if they were arrested they would blame it on her, rather than their own irrational hated. After all, they will think to themselves, if that little lady had just known her place none of this would have happened, right?
Now, I’ll grant there are some areas where men get the shaft. They’re much fewer and further between than when women get the shaft, but it does happen. Still, blaming all women for your woes and threatening rape and murder is not the solution, it just makes you (and by association, all men) look terrible. You’re pissed off because the women you’re interested in aren’t interested in you? Suck it up and get over it. We’ve all pined away for the one who wasn’t interested. It sucks but you don’t declare war on all women over it. Move on, my son, women are diverse and varied group and someone who likes you for you is out there, somewhere.
To all the Men’s Rights Groups spewing their hatred and institutionalizing misogyny, to all the Pick Up Artists who are busily reducing women to an object to be conquered, to all the idiots who think it’s okay to marginalize an entire gender, as a man, I’d like to off you all a nice tall glass of shut the fuck up. Seriously, just shut the fuck up.
A number of years ago, I read an article by a feminist columnist that retread a lot of the same things that women are facing today, so you know this is hardly a new thing. I don’t recall the author or, even where I read it (doubtless a plot by women! :)), but I do remember one thing that resonated with me. She made a point that by calling women girls, we’re unintentionally (or intentionally) infantilizing all women. It may seem a trivial thing, but I took it to heart and have since tried to avoid calling women girls. Words have power, after all, and sometimes it’s unintentional power.
If we accept the definition of feminism as the radical idea that women are people, too and deserve to be treated equally, then I am more than happy to bear that title, wear it proudly and woe unto you of Earth and sea who decide to take me to task for it.
So, I’m not going to lie and blow smoke up everyone’s asses by proposing an intricate solution or a study that will finally and resolutely answer “Why?” I can’t change the world. I can’t make men stop behaving like idiots. I can’t make the nonsense and the vitriol and the hatred stop. All I can do is make a promise that you won’t catch it from me. If you do catch something like that from me, please remind me that I’m being an idiot and tell me to shut the fuck up.
In 1989 a little known, seldom talked about movie about a couple of time travelling goofs dropped on theaters all over the world. You may have heard of it, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Among other things, it dropped Keanu Reeves into the lap of an unsuspecting public and, for a while there, everyone was quoting the movie. A couple years have passed since it came out and I still get a chuckle when I think of the “iron maiden? Excellent!” line, but I keep coming back to the idea of “Being excellent to each other.”
So, that’s what I’m personally going to try to do: Be excellent instead of being a jerk.