YesAllWomen

I’m Sorry

Alexander Archipenko, "Seated Woman," 1912-Bronze

Alexander Archipenko, “Seated Woman,” 1912-Bronze

Really, I’m sorry.  I’m sure you’re tired of reading and hearing about this, everyone who’s anyone or no one has already blogged, posted, written this article or that essay.  I want to let this go, want to roll my eyes at the stupidity of people and snicker about those on the Right getting the candidate they deserve.  I can’t do it.  I can’t let it go, and I don’t believe anyone deserves someone who brags about sexual assault as their President.  Not even those who want him.  Maybe especially not them, because in the year 2016, there shouldn’t be one woman in the world who believes sexual assault against women is a man’s right. Not one woman.

I can be uptight in many ways, but language isn’t one of them.  I straight out tell people not to bother checking out Mrs Fringe if they’re offended by the word fuck.  I tell them because I acknowledge that some people are offended by certain words, and if you are, you aren’t going to be happy here.  I love language, and I love words, all of them.  Words are powerful, written or spoken they can outlast a good deed, a box of candy, they can remain and ring through your brain and guts longer than any slap upside your head.  A couple of years ago there was a hashtag that went around twitter, #yesallwomen in response to #notallmen, I blogged about it here.

And here we are again.  Only I’m seeing “not all men,” “not my men,” “not my sons,” etc, in response to comments and posts supporting Trump, saying that horrific tape of him speaking about women, with charming highlights like, “I moved on her like a bitch,…she was married…you can do anything,” and of course, “Grab them by the pussy.”  I literally feel sick to my stomach with every comment and post I see in support of him and his words.  Here’s the thing, most of those posts and many of those comments are from women.  Women.  Protesting that all men speak that way, no big deal, it’s only words.  No, these aren’t only words.  And no, I haven’t suddenly become a delicate fucking flower, offended by the word pussy, in need of men to stand up for me and remind everyone that when Trump was speaking, he was speaking about someone’s wife, mother, daughter.  I saw a meme floating around to the effect of “If Trump’s words are so offensive to women, who bought a gazillion copies of Fifty Shades of Gray?” Sigh.  If this makes sense to you, look up logical fallacy.

These language used is not colorful, against the rules of the FCC, or naughty.  They are words describing assault, making it clear that he sees nothing wrong with literally aggressively touching and grabbing another human being whether they want to be touched or not.  A likely smaller person, not as strong physically, and likely someone he’s in a position of power over.

I don’t want to hear about responses that begin “But Hillary,” or “Well Bill.”  This has absolutely nothing to do with Hillary Clinton, and she is not responsible for what Bill Clinton chose to do.

When I was 16 I worked as a cocktail waitress.  Think about that for a second.  16, working as a cocktail waitress.  Standards, not that high.  I remember one busy night, I had just begun serving wine to a large table, no room to maneuver with another table right behind me when one of the men reached back and, well, grabbed me by the pussy. In the moment, with his wife sitting right next to him, I was stunned.  He said (exact quote, because WORDS), “Sorry sweetie, I touched your box.”  And he smiled.  A fucking fifty year old man, who turned his back to his wife and didn’t move his hand.   At this point in my life, I had already learned there were situations where I could be out numbered and overpowered but this wasn’t one of them.  I lifted the still full carafe of wine I was holding and poured it on him, “Sorry, sweetie, did I pour that on your dick?”

The manager came flying across the restaurant and hustled me into the kitchen before going back to the table, apologizing profusely and comping their wine and their meal.  I didn’t lose my job, I had been working there long enough and the manager knew me well enough to know I wasn’t kidding, imagining, or exaggerating what had happened.  If you’re thinking what a good guy the manager was, stop.  This is the same man who, when I asked for a specific day off from work a few months later, told me he’d be willing to give it if I “popped his son’s cherry.”  In retrospect, I’m sure the whole underaged thing played into the decision to keep me, too, not a scenario where he would want attention.  It didn’t occur to me that by comping this man’s meal, he was rewarding him for being a pig, I was just grateful not to be fired.  I’ll be honest, at that time, it wouldn’t have occurred to me to make a “bigger deal” of what happened.  Sure I knew I didn’t want his hands on me, and I sure as shit could tell him to get his fucking hands off of me, but I’m not sure I knew I had the right to do so, and I had no idea that this was something that could be considered assault.  If someone had floated the word to me at that time, in 1980something south Brooklyn, I would have either laughed or taken off, certain that I would be the one in trouble.  Why? I don’t know, something about not having dangly bits and being the kind of girl who worked as a cocktail waitress.

I’m not sixteen anymore, and I know better. I know better, my husband and I have both taught our sons better, we’ve taught our daughter better.  That doesn’t make us anything more than decent human beings, who’ve tried to raise decent human beings.  Don’t you dare, anyone, tell me or anyone else, that Trump’s words are no big deal.  I’m not offended.  I’m sickened that anyone, male or female, is telling our children that assault of women is okay.  I’m disgusted that there are women who are just fine with this type of behavior for themselves, their children, their loved ones, for the hussy down the street they’ve hated since the third grade.  I’m saddened that people are perpetuating the myth that women are less than men, because that’s what you’re saying when you condone this message.  I’m angry, because get your hands off my body!  This isn’t about not-all-men speak this way, or think this way.  This is about no woman should accept this as a fact of life, ever, and it is unacceptable for any man.  Not if he’s older or younger, rich or poor, famous and powerful or a shlub toiling away in obscurity.  #Notoneman.

#YesAllWomen

This is the hashtag making the rounds on Twitter right now.  Yes, sorry, back to back quasi feminist rants.

The Gilded Cage

The Gilded Cage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The hashtag and tweets are in response to this atrocity. A young man went on a rampage and killed seven people, including himself, in Santa Barbara, California.  First and foremost, my heart goes out to the victims and their families, including the family of this young man–who reportedly saw his rantings/manifesto, tried to get him help, reported him to the police.  I’m not sure how this still happened, and I’m not blogging about this to speculate re who dropped the ball.

No matter how many episodes of Criminal Minds I watch I’m not a psychiatrist, not his therapist, not an expert in human behavior, I can’t say if he was a sociopath or plain old crazy.    What I am is a woman.  And this young man’s harmful delusions centered around himself and women, their rejection of him.  His sense of entitlement to “get” hot (or whatever the current catchphrase is) blonde women, and their lack of interest in having sex with him.  Gee, can’t imagine why, his videos make him seem like such a charmer.  #YesAllWomen have said no at some point. If you’re an asshole, you’re going to hear no a lot.

The problem as I see it, the reason #yesallwomen is the hashtag and not something tied in to gun control, or “affluenza,” is that he was so easily able to find his peeps, other men who feel their dangly bits entitle them to say insulting things to and about women, have sex with whatever women they want.  In addition to his 140+ page manifesto, he left a hell of a cybertrail, rants on misogynistic websites.  No, I’m not going to link them, I’m not going to help give them more hits and traffic so easily.

It’s the same sick fountain of bullshit that allowed the man I wrote about in my last post to not see any jail time, for his ex-wife/victim to be told instead she should forgive him. #YesAllWomen are still individual beings with the right to say no, even if we get married

How many women, whether they’re twenty or fifty, can say they’ve never had the experience of being called a bitch or a tease because they didn’t want someone touching them? Or commenting on their bodies?  Because, yanno, we should all be flattered–it’s a compliment, someone wants you.  Yeah.  #YesAllWomen have experienced that moment of fear and tension, hoping the man making kissy sounds and following them will leave them the fuck alone.

Of course, this isn’t limited to misogyny, this young man’s rants had a heaping dose of racism and self hatred (he was half Asian).  Because it all goes together.  Hatred is hatred.  I do believe, I have to believe, that he was mentally ill.  But I don’t believe everyone who agreed with him, egged him on, everyone who is trolling by making provocative and hateful comments in response to the Twitter hashtag, is mentally ill.

Like every other social issue, I don’t think there is one answer, one solution.  So many things feed into these attitudes, beginning with children, teaching little girls to hate their bodies and at the same time teaching them their bodies, their faces, and how they display them are the most important part of who they are.  What? You would never feed into that! Never teach your little girl to objectify themselves, or teach your little boy to objectify girls/women.  Of course not.  So how come there are padded, push up bras in minuscule sizes in the girls’ department of clothing stores?  I’m a shoe gal, I admit it.  Heels are sexy, they make me feel…I dunno, powerful, in a way.  Women are and should be entitled to dress however they’d like.  Women.  Not girls, women old enough to have learned their bodies are a part of who they are, not the sum total.  Sure I’m uptight, sure I’m not an expert, but what is the reasoning behind these types of things beyond objectifying girls?  #YesAllWomen don’t look like the ones in magazines, and it can be a hard battle to find self acceptance.

Children are still told that when they’re shoved to the asphalt on the playground, it’s just because he/she likes you.  The same pressures put on girls are put on boys.  Stop it. Being a man has nothing to do with your girlfriend–who she is, what she looks like, or if she exists.

Women are still attacking each other for individual choices. What do you mean, you don’t want to have children/be married/have a career/use cloth diapers/breastfeed/formula feed? #YesAllWomen are being told they not only can have it all, they have to do and be it all.

With all my waiting on agent replies, I’ve been doing a lot of obsessing thinking.  One of my thoughts (and I’m sorry, I can’t remember how much I blogged about this and I’m too lazy to read my old posts) is about those romance novels that I wrote.  I’m wondering how much our society’s emphasis on romantic love contributes to these delusions.  I know, the romance heroes (mine or anyone else’s) aren’t misogynistic assholes–or if they appear to be at first, they quickly realize the error of their ways and come around to worship the heroine.  On the writer’s forum I’ve seen several instances of people being told by agents or editors they need to add in or increase the romance in their stories to make it more marketable.

Is this true, readers will be unsatisfied without romance in their thriller/fantasy/coming of age story?  Yes, we, as women, have come far.  As a society, we’ve come far.  Most people will at least pay lip service to lifestyle choices. But.  How often do you hear people asking a single woman when they’re going to get married? How about hearing someone ask your 10/11/12 year old if they have a boyfriend/girlfriend yet–and if the answer is no, why not?  And I’m not referring to Great Grandma asking these questions. If we believe a story is not complete without strong romantic elements, and we are partaking in a steady diet of these books and movies, how far away are we from saying people are not complete if they don’t have a significant other?  Hmmm, somehow this isn’t sounding as far removed from the days of “old maids”  as it should be. #YesAllWomen need to feel good about who they are, not just who they’re with.

Not all men are aggressive, entitled, driven-by-their-gonads jerks.  I believe, at this point, those men are the minority, especially as we look to the younger generations.  But too many still are.  And too many more are given a pass, because oh, well, that’s just men.  No, it isn’t just men.  It’s us, male and female, what we’re willing to say is ok and close our eyes to, and what we’re willing to stand up and say no to. Enough is enough.

#YesAllWomen because

everyone gets rejected. Deal with it.

rape jokes aren’t funny.

we still hear, “all she needs….”

we still hear, “well, what was she wearing?”

men need to know we value those who treat us as human beings, not objects.

you _____ like a girl shouldn’t be an insult.

love doesn’t conquer all.

 

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