So by now, you are all aware of the #yesallwomen campaign (and if you’re not, make yourself so). I assumed, in my bright and rosy yogi world, that everyone would be as inspired as I was by it. That men would open their eyes wide in sudden comprehension and join us in solidarity. But of course there was backlash.
Backlash in the form of defensiveness (#notallmen). Backlash in the form of threats and locker-room style jokes that lacked humor but packed the full punch of ignorance. Backlash in the form of staunch denial that any of this mattered.
WARNING: This post is written by a feminist. There. It’s out. I said it. I am a FEMINIST. I am a big supporter of equal rights. I firmly believe that neither a vagina nor a penis ought to determine the size of a paycheck, healthcare coverage, or basic human courtesy. So if you’re of a differing opinion, what I am about to say will likely just infuriate your Mad-Men mindset.
I’d like to start off by saying I agree that no, it is not all men. I know this because I am married to a quite fantastic human being, and he happens to possess all the man parts. I know this because my sons are also fantastic human beings, thanks in large part to the standards set by myself and Hubby. The men in this household, they’re good guys. I even know a fair amount of good guys that don’t reside in this house. Which is great. Not all men are misogynistic assholes.
But quite a lot of them are. Not all men. But yes, ALL WOMEN. When female political candidates have their validity questioned for being grandmothers, mothers, or possessing a uterus…yes, all women. When rebuffing an unwanted sexual advance is cause for verbal abuse or ignored altogether…yes, all women. When female athletes are questioned as to why they play sports because it’s assumed they have no future in it…yes, all women. When girls and women are taught how to defend themselves but boys and men are not taught to not attack…yes, all women. When women are raped and asked, “But what were you wearing?” while the rapists go free…yes, all women.
There are also those staunchly bypassing the #notallmen trend and going straight for the misogyny with name calling (bitches, cunts, etc.) or such clever retorts of “Make me a sandwich,” “You just need bitch-slapped”, or “Someone rape this bitch.” Because of course, the best way to control a woman is threaten her physically and demean her psychologically.
And here’s the thing…the bad guys look just like the good guys. If she’s walking alone at night, she doesn’t know if the man approaching her is going to rape her or just ask for the time. The attackers don’t wear scarlet letters on their chests. We can’t tell by looking at you – and often, not even by talking to you – which side you’re on. Better safe than sorry is a sad fact of the male-female dynamic on a daily basis. And we didn’t make it that way.
We also have the crowd claiming all this trend has accomplished is “whining” from women. That it will not make a difference, so why discuss it in the first place? That this inconsistency in treatment, this pervasive degradation that happens to all women, that happens every day and everywhere, is not worth talking about.
Let me assure you, I am not whining. I know it may be difficult for you to hear my tone, but trust me, I am not whining. What I am is fucking pissed off. I am pissed because I spent my teens and twenties accepting this treatment as part of my birthright. I mean, I had fallopian tubes, so this was just part of the deal, right? I am pissed because I have a daughter who has already experienced this inequality of attitude. I am pissed because there are people eloquently expressing just what it’s like to be a female in 20-fucking-14 and they are being brushed off and threatened.
I am pissed because there are still people that just don’t get it. It is something I have a really difficult time wrapping my head around. It’s the same bafflement I experience when I see the Westboro Baptist Church in the news, when I listen to Rush Limbaugh, when I go to local board meetings to fight against sludge. Because I don’t get the hate. And deep inside, if you’re holding someone else down, there’s at least a seed of hate involved.
Yes, all women…because reading this does not shock me because I’ve heard too many similar things spoken: