I hope that I can properly describe what is happening.
I know that this probably is a topic that people don’t want to read about, and even if it is, I may overtax my abilities to properly say what is happening. I have to try though.
This is how it is for me.
I am a white woman. I am doing my best to recognize the privileges that my race and country of birth have given me. Really. And if I’m not always doing my best (ie: actively trying to find a solution to our problems), at least I’m aware that the privilege is there.
However, I don’t think that calling attention to the fact that being a woman has been problematic for me is akin to ignoring the unfair ladder rung I have on others. Apparently, however, people (mostly male, let’s not kid ourselves here) get a whole bunch of their knickers up in a fuss because I’m not addressing EVERY ISSUE ALL AT ONCE BECAUSE THEN GOD FORBID I CAN CALL YOU OUT ON YOUR SEXIST BULLSHIT.
Today on facebook, I commented on an article that I thought was particularly sexist, saying literally, “this message brought to you by the patriarchy.”
You can find the article here:http://elitedaily.com/life/the-100-things-every-20-something-needs-to-realize/
But I warn you, this is the edited version: and the edited version is still a steaming pile of horseshit.
Now at first, a gentleman called me out on my white privilege.
Okay, fair enough. Like I said, this exists.
However, just because I’m white, does not make me magically immune to the disease of my gender.
That disease being genderism, which can basically be described as a society approved, systematic way of oppressing a people, simply because they didn’t win the chromosome lottery. (In our case, the lucky winners are male.)
This manifests itself in certain ways.
At first it seems to celebrate one sex above the other.
Historically speaking, this meant property ownership, the right to vote, etc, you know, all the good stuff that we take for granted today.
Now however, it manifests itself in sneakier ways. We may not always recognize the source. We celebrate double standards.
Some popular ones are:
A person who sleeps around is a whore if she is a woman, but a stud if he is a man.
A person who keeps a firm grip on their business is a “ball-buster,” if she is a woman, but a savvy entrepeneur if he is a man.
A person who doesn’t want a family is “unnatural” if she is a woman, but this certainly less frowned upon for a man.
A person who speaks their mind is a bitch if she is a woman, but a leader if he is a man.
A person who performs anything from sports to video games to cosplay is “trying to be one of the boys,” or “trying to get attention,” if she is a woman, but if he is a man, he’s just enjoying the thing that he enjoys.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
Now obviously, genderism doesn’t always benefit the chromosome lottery winners.
In fact, it usually means that instead of being multi-faceted, interesting people; men are often forced to being some sort of drone that apparently only thinks about sex, conquering, and throwing ye old pigskin around. These men are accordingly unable to express emotion (which would be womanly, and therefore abhorrent); they are unable to raise children (which is a woman’s job, and therefore abhorrent); and are certainly unable to enjoy the goddamn occasional musical. (Because let’s face it, dancing whilst singing is in fact the devil’s work- so obviously only women- and the homosexuals- should enjoy it.)
I know I’m not the first one to be saying these things, it’s pretty big right now. Everybody is hash-tagging “rape culture.”
I’m just saying that some people seem to think that because you’re calling them out on the floor for their sexist bullshit, that you’re ignoring the problems that other people are suffering- or worse, that you’re trying to blame one particular group for all societal woes.
In this particular facebook incident, I explained that I had been sexually assaulted:
The man who assaulted me, did so in front of crowd of people, at the suggestion of his peers. I assume he did so to humiliate me, even though he didn’t know me, and I had never even spoken to him before that night. In fact, it probably didn’t even occur to him that I would view the incident as assault, let alone sexual assault. Even now, those words are like a curse. They are a heavy implication, and I feel that people are always at the ready to cry fraud.
“Oh that’s not really sexual abuse! How dare you brand that poor man!”
But let us resume. It didn’t occur to him, that as a human being, I might be humiliated, angered, even scared, that a strange man would suddenly put his hands on my breasts and attempt to unzip my dress. Consent was not even implied.
And when I confronted him he said that I was asking for it.
He laughed at me.
He got away with it.
Male privilege is a thing, because to him, I was not a human being worth respect and dignity. I was an object for which was to be the source of his amusement. I was a woman, so therefore I was public property.
This small incident, cannot in anyway compare to the horrors that other women (and men) have encountered. The problem however, is that when you don’t call genderism out when you see it, when things like this happen to people, there is no where to go. Patriarchy hurts everyone. The double standard remains: She was asking for it; Men can’t be raped.
So after explaining that I had been sexually assaulted facebook guy replied:
“yeah, and because i’m a white male i’ve never experienced any hardship.
here’s a thought, everyone has it rough right now, life isn’t easy for anyone. Trying to single out other groups for negative attention, instead of collectively working to make the world a better place for everyone might not be the best way to approach it. I’m sorry you were hurt by someone, but he wasn’t “a male” he was a human, and all humans are capable of cruelty. You needn’t look farther than Jodi Arias, Aileen Wuornos, or andrea yates to see this is true. Cruelty, Rage and Narcissism are not gender specific traits.”
Out of respect for my friend, who requested that I let it go, I did not respond to his commentary.
But since this is my space, I will do so here.
This just eats at me. People try to act like feminism is a plot to subjugate the male population. As if to say acknowledging that your gender has been systemically abused for centuries is exactly the same as saying “all men are evil, they haven’t suffered!” As if making someone “feel bad,” about their place in history, is the same as totalitarian domination over them.
So here it is bro: You’re absolutely right. We should all collectively work together to make the world a better place. However you’re wrong if you think that ignoring privilege where it exists is the answer to working together. You’re wrong when you say “he wasn’t a male, he was human.”
Sure. He was human. He was also male. And he got away with assaulting me because genderism exists. He got away with assaulting me because everyone around thought it was some sort of hilarious joke, that only I was incapable of seeing- because our society dictates that is an acceptable way for a man to behave towards a woman. He got away with assaulting me because we are socialized to believe that men can’t be held accountable for their sexual actions, that women deserve the abuse they receive.
“Oh he’s just being a guy,” or “well why did you wear that dress?” (And keep in mind that women say this kind of crap too, and in this case my attacker was egged on by his male and female friends.)
No, this is not always the case, but in mine it was. In the case of my loved ones, it was.
Their rapists walk free.
You’re absolutely right: that cruelty, rage and narcissism are not gender based traits. Everyone is capable of them.
Just as everyone is capable of being held accountable for them.
I am so terribly sorry my experiences made you so uncomfortable, that you had to take back the space and define it in your own terms. I see now that: The bad thing here is not that patriarchy has given men privilege in our society over women for thousands of years and conditioned all of us to believe that certain deplorable actions are “natural”- it’s just me not putting in the team effort to make sure men don’t feel bad about it. That’s why we can’t move forward.
You’re so right.
I guess I’m just a wayward, feminazi.