I am mad. Mad for women, on behalf of women, as a woman. I have a wonderful father, a wonderful husband, marvelous sons, and even an incredibly wonderful male cat. I love them. Generally speaking, I love men. This isn’t about Men. I am not, as my father’s extended family used to “joke,” a femi-Nazi. (PS- not funny then, not funny now.)
This anger is about patriarchy and men who persist in behaving badly and who feel entitled and sanctimonious and smug. Toxic masculinity. General bullshit. Assault, cat calls, unequal playing fields, unequal standards, unequal pay, the male experience being the default, the woman having to prove and compensate and do more. The ways women are and are not allowed to emote. The expectations about how women experience their sexuality and how men do, and what is normative in each realm. Sluts versus youthful men sowing oats: nonsense like that. For the record, I’ve known a lot of male sluts. None was ever called a slut or a whore. How about we all just accept that anyone can love sex and choose to engage in lots of it, and none of that is any of our business whether that person is male or female. Thanx.
I am mad that despite the ease of that simple wish of gender parity and a realistic approach to libido, holier than thou men and women wish to abstinence-education away sex and so kids are neither given sex ed nor equipped to deal with their hormonal urges and burgeoning sexuality, and oh, let me think, which one gets pregnant and is then judged by/saddled with a child? That would be the female. See this link if you really do not understand that men are awfully responsible for pregnancy and maybe we all just need to accept that and find ways of encouraging all sexually active people to be both safe AND respectful of the fact that just one partner gets pregnant. Even if you understand this, you should still read that thread. And also, abortion should be absolutely legal and safely accessible in part BECAUSE not enough people seem to understand how pregnancy happens.
I am mad that because Brett Kavanaugh coached his daughter’s basketball team, it appears to be inconceivable to far too many that he ALSO seems to have assaulted a peer while drunk at a party and that maybe he doesn’t respect women and legal precedent enough to not overturn Roe. You know what’s infinitely conceivable? That a comfortable white guy with every advantage in the world since birth both did assault a peer AND has since coached his daughter’s basketball team. That shit is not mutually exclusive. Also, it’s very likely that he will vote to overturn Roe which is rich since he A) does not have a vagina or the ability to get pregnant and B) has said just enough about legal precedent to make GOP women feel warm and fuzzy about confirming his ass. Susan Collins, you are dead to me and I hope you lose HUGE in November. Do you remember all you said about how Franken MUST resign? No claim against him involved forceable assault of an underage woman. Your hypocrisy on behalf of party is ugly.
This Kavanaugh crap mirrors in gross ways shit we’ve already seen and struggled with. Per the remarkable Rebecca Traister, “27 years later, almost to the week, there will be another hearing into alleged sexual abuses of a SCOTUS nominee. Also almost a year to the week of the Weinstein story, two years to the week of Access Hollywood tape. 229 years since women’s riot kicked off French Revolution.” Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill, Harvey, our “president,” Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Les Moonves, and on and on. Is someone kidding?
I am real mad at women in history getting the shaft as the present and future march on. Who saw Hidden Figures? Also, Texas just voted to remove Helen Keller and Hillary Clinton from their school history curriculums. This is not remotely surprising but it is enraging on multiple fronts. Why not excise a man or two from the curriculum? And why does Texas still wield such power over the textbooks the entire country of America uses to “educate” its kids? This article, written in 2012 and fully corroborative of the paper I wrote at Harvard in 2005 about Texas’s influence (bad) on American texts, still holds today. And it’s why American kids in public schools are getting screwed more and more when it comes to real education as facts and science would have it.
I am peeved to the max that my female students report having to work extra hard to be heard and appreciated in their STEM classes (versus their male classmates), and I am angry that the statistics on women in STEM in America show a major drop from interest to degree attained and then another drop from degree attained to actual field worked in.
I am also mad at women who behave badly, lest you continue to think this is a gendered issue. Tomi Lahren, Anne Coulter, and Dana Loesch? Hard pass on all three. They are toxic, venomous, soulless vessels who put nothing positive into the world. That repulsive white cop in Dallas, Amber Guyger, who murdered the man in the apartment directly above hers? That bird needs to go to jail for the rest of her life.
And don’t even get me started on the racism in this case. In so many cases. This tweet says it all in that respect:
I’m also mad at women who throw other women under the bus. Mad because they sometimes feel like they have to because women are fighting for a tiny slice of the pie and available attention and sometimes figure they need to throw their lot in with the men. Any woman north of 20 years old has experienced being hurt, betrayed, or even ghosted by another woman for (often) no reason beyond some manifestation of competition.
And lastly, I am damn tired of emotion being equated with behavior. Emotions are what any sentient person experiences when in touch with their inner selves: disappointment, fear, exhilaration, pride, love, sadness, fury, jealousy. The better acquainted we are with our feelings and the better we are at articulating them makes us better able to empathize with, support, understand, disagree, and live. The healthy expression of emotion is valid but is NOT the same thing as shitty behavior. My kids can be frustrated with me but that gives them no right to break my belongings.
While I’m at it, let me voice another potentially inflammatory opinion by stating that I disagree 1000% with the National Organization for Women’s petition to dismiss Carlos Ramos from umpiring professional tennis because of his calls during the US Open final between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka. By all accounts, from men and women alike, Ramos has long had a reputation for being strict but fair, an excellent ump. NOW’s demand befits only the stereotype of women as one-dimensional hysterics, and I found it appalling. Did Ramos officiate perfectly? No. Did Serena Williams behave perfectly? No. You know who was flawless? Naomi Osaka, the player who won and then apologized for winning because everyone’s disappointment in that was abundantly clear. For more on this perspective, please see Martina Navratilova’s opinion piece and also this piece by Juliet Macur.