Women stick their necks out to say that something is fucked-up, hurtful, oppressive, scary: Misogynist. They do this knowing full well that there will be social consequences. Remarkably, we’re all familiar with the idea that the women who do this are bitches/ugly/humorless/scolds/delusional (“you see sexism everywhere”)/hysterical/oversensitive/insensitive/etc. We know that we take on most of the risk, in this conversation. We know that we have to be very careful in terms of what we say, and to whom; that we will be expected to choose our targets and our words very carefully, seem “understanding,” seem “empathetic,” make all the right allowances, be oh so very polite. We labor over our words, swallow our anger, push through our fear (and most women who bring themselves to make these kinds of statements are very afraid of reprisal; we know it happens, in overt and subtle ways, pretty much every time), construct these carefully tortured and worked-out sentences; we work at this shit.
And then, after all that work, some dude makes a joke about how we need some dick — not even a joke he’s had to work on, really; that line’s been around forever — and everybody laughs, and it’s over. We get no apology. We get no consideration. We get no hearing. We get nothing. What this exchange ultimately proves to women, every time it’s played out, is that no matter how hard we work, we will never matter. We will never be heard. It’s just the same fucking thing, every day, like a punch to the gut: You think you can change shit? You think I care how you feel? You think I care what you think? No. Never. You think it fucking matters that you don’t like what I do to you? It doesn’t. I’m gonna fucking do what I want to you. Sit the fuck down, shut the fuck up, and take it. Or else I’m gonna tell everyone what a bitch you are, that you won’t play my game. My very special game, that I designed. And here are the rules for the game: You Lose.
fuck, fuck, fuck. this is so true it hurts. fuck. i promise you, this kind of bitterness and rage doesn’t fade.
This happens over and over and over again. Male friends, relatives, coworkers, random observers and passers-by on the internet, whatever. If you encounter dudes at all, you are statistically likely to encounter this mindset from at least one of them. I know I do, usually about once a day.
Then I come home, or go downstairs, or take off my headphones, and my female roommates do the same thing — and they wonder why I just wilt and stop talking. They don’t understand that it feels like being the last human being alive on earth. Like, “seriously? You’re not even in this with me? Which means … you’re not even in this with yourselves? Fuck. As a group, we really are fucked.”