Posts Tagged ‘don’t be an asshat’

I am Deliberate: On Not Being Silent

September 12, 2014 Leave a comment

So, yesterday, I was chatting with my friend Kristine Wyllys. You know her, right? Fabulous badass, author extraordinaire? Well, she’s awesome. Anyway, we were talking on Twitter about how people can be assholes, and while it isn’t socially acceptable in everyday life to walk away from awful conversations, one good thing about conversations on the internet (Twitter, Facebook, etc) is that you CAN walk away. Better you, you can mute, block, unfollow, or unfriend. Someone says something horrendously stupid? You can disentangle without any consequences. You cannot do that at, say, a dinner party. People don’t have mute buttons. And getting rid of someone in face-to-face life is frowned upon for legal and moral reasons.

Just as a made the point that I realllly wished people HAD mute buttons, a stranger chimed in on our conversation. He said the following:

They do. For men it’s the sentence “I’m pregnant.” For women…em…er…em

Grammatically horrors aside (missing commas abound!), this is insulting, unacceptable, and offensive on SO MANY LEVELS. So many that I’ve resorted to shouty caps. First of all, neither Kristine or myself were basing on conversation on gender. Second, the implication that they only way to silence a man is through the THREAT of pregnancy boils my blood so much that if I ate coffee grounds, I’m pretty sure my veins would fill with Starbucks. Third, the statement that there is no way to SILENCE women (because heaven fucking forbid we have a voice! Oh, no! The patriarchy and humanity will dissolve into nothingness! The world will end!) is so vile because it implies a) that women talk too much and b) that women should be silent.

To complicate this insult of ridiculous proportions, this was tweeted by someone she and I don’t know from Adam. Essentially, it proved the point that, hey, people are assholes. And yes, it’s the internet, so theoretically, I could walk away and not light something on fire.

But, honey, sweetie, darling – the second you imply that I should be seen and not heard is the second you ensure that I will not shut up. This brief interaction was an illustration that not only are people raging asshats, sometimes, sexism is alive and well. And #YesAllWomen. Because the gender implications and insults couldn’t be clearer (or more revolting).

So, perfect stranger dude (who happens to be an author – great. THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS), you are what’s wrong humanity. You’ve implied that all men are terrified by pregnancy – and given that implication, it doesn’t seem like you’d take responsibility for the actions of your own penis. Because, hey, when a woman gets pregnant, it’s totally her fault. You and your helpless sperm were just minding your own business, right?

Excuse me, I need a moment to compose myself, because I can’t stop laughing. *ahem*

Let’s look at this from a different angle. Pretend that this was everyday life, would a man walk up to a woman and say something like this? You want to say no, don’t you? You want to believe that it wouldn’t happen to a woman in person, face-to-face? You want to blame it on the faceless internet, which enables cowards to be dickbags at record level?

Well, I’ve got unfortunate news: this DOES happen in everyday life. Once, I had a man tell me that I should I be seen and not heard, because I’m a woman. Once, I had a different man tell me that I couldn’t be part of something because I’m a woman.

I didn’t realize that having a vagina meant that a) I shouldn’t have an opinion and b) that it rendered me incapable.

Oh, right. It doesn’t. That’s just something shitty people say.

So, to sum up: this weird and offensive thing happened. This was a thing that some random person felt compelled to put in writing. This man thought it was okay to be a sexist schmuck. I considered letting it go. I considered not saying a word. But you know what? No. This is unacceptable. And the only way to change things, even one instance at a time, is to talk about it. Because awareness matters. Because things like this happen all the time.

And because I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to just lie back and think of England, darlings.

“I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.” ― Audre Lorde

* “I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.” (Title credit)
Audre Lorde