I try not to be afraid. I am still afraid.
December 8, 2015 12:14 PM   Subscribe

Canadian National Treasure Anne Theriault
posted by SassHat at 12:20 PM on December 8, 2015 [11 favorites]

You repress so much about how bad it gets, how bad it was when you were younger, how it bad it will be for your young nieces (if they aren't learning already), and then you read this and goddamnit, it is time for it to stop being bad for us.
posted by Kitteh at 12:22 PM on December 8, 2015 [14 favorites]

I feel like that is a lot of our personal histories. At least 7 of those stories rang some kind of familiarity bell in my head. But at the same time it felt like reading a horror story. I need a new word for an emotion that is sad, outraged, defeated, inspired, and done all at the same time.
posted by danapiper at 12:23 PM on December 8, 2015 [17 favorites]

I feel like the wind was knocked out of me
posted by clockzero at 12:52 PM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

One of the least-discussed side effects of menopause is the transformation of polite, untroublesome ladies into vicious little old women who, when presented with men behaving badly, will lean in and hiss "Bring it, you nasty little shite. Go on, try me." I suspect there's a hormonal switch in the brain that shuts off any tolerance for entitled male bullshit. I also suspect that males can sense when that switch has been thrown, and that's probably why they used to burn us at the stake.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 12:58 PM on December 8, 2015 [99 favorites]

Girls can do anything that boys do but it turns out that sometimes they get killed for it.


But damned if II'm not going to keep warring with the sexism that continues to menace women.
posted by bearwife at 1:00 PM on December 8, 2015 [15 favorites]

Sometime within the last year I commented in a thread about how now that I'm getting old, I don't get street harassed. Then I realized it wasn't totally an old thing but rather I'm not in those situations as much where one can get harassed. I'm indoors among family or co-workers 98% of my week. I don't ride the bus anymore. I don't walk to work or walk at lunch, I generally work through lunch and then am a homebody. I'm a woman hidden away. And I know that I'm not too old because I've been pretty shocked at getting harassed the handful of times I was out in public – hanging out in the downtown plaza listening to music, walking some errands around town one more leisurely day. I was harassed. So, not too old to be some asshole's random power trip, just a woman hidden away.

But it starts so young.
posted by amanda at 1:07 PM on December 8, 2015 [10 favorites]

Someone, during the gaters disaster claimed to know where my son went to school, and that was the point where I dropped all of my social media, including my 15 year account here, changed the names on all my domain registrations, and did as much as possible to strip my internet past of anything that could tie my real identity to anything I've ever said as a woman in public.

And while as a menopausal woman, I have zero goddamn fucks to give when it comes to putting up with shit in real life anymore, the implicit threat against my kid was an effective tool for closing down my willingness to play on the internet while being openly female. Metafilter is about the last place on the web where I both interact and am clearly female. I've stopped writing about games, or really any topic where I'm likely to attract attention from misogynists and the culture which celebrates them.

The culture of violence is deep, and unforgiving, and I have no solutions for fixing it.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 1:19 PM on December 8, 2015 [51 favorites]

Thank you for posting this.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:57 PM on December 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

Yeah, I don't think I know a single woman who couldn't have written this. And that makes me absolutely sick.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:34 PM on December 8, 2015 [8 favorites]

Yeah, I don't think I know a single woman who couldn't have written this. And that makes me absolutely sick.

When I was applying for training as a volunteer rape crisis counselor, the interviewer asked if I had been sexually assaulted and, if so, how I had dealt with the emotional aftermath (it was probably phrased more skillfully; it was basically a question of "Is this job going to trigger you in ways that are dangerous for your mental health and the emotional safety of our clients?"). I answered something like, "No, I haven't been assaulted... well, I mean, not any more than any every other woman -- getting groped on the subway, catcalled, followed home, guys being pushy about sex.... Just that kind of stuff." And it was just in that moment that it really hit home how ubiquitous sexual assault is, and how much we all minimize it (sometimes just to survive), and how sad that made me.
posted by jaguar at 6:20 PM on December 8, 2015 [21 favorites]

So I was listening to the Savage Lovecast today, and a girl calls in around 32 minutes, saying that her boyfriend BIT HER PINKY FINGER and BROKE IT, and now he's all sad and how can she make him feel better? And Dan's uh..producer, not sure what she is, Nancy, basically lost her shit over this call. Why didn't you call the cops and dump him? Try biting your own pinky and think of how hard you have to go at it to do that damage! (And yes, the caller said no to this and he did it anyway.) They called it a trend of "women are idiots" because women are afraid to say anything to situations like this, or even the previous call when some girl wanted her boyfriend to get a less shitty mattress but couldn't say anything.
Why won't they use their words or dump someone like this?

And I thought, we're all afraid to make a guy unhappy because if he's not happy, the first thing he's gonna do is take it out on YOU. If you piss him off, if you object to having your finger broken, who knows what worse things he'll do?
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:47 PM on December 8, 2015 [22 favorites]

I heard the same episode and had the same response to it. I thought Savage's producer was 100% correct but also somehow missing the point—we're not, most of us, conciliatory because we're dumb but because being confrontational is not a great survival strategy.
posted by joannemerriam at 10:22 AM on December 9, 2015 [4 favorites]

I am fourteen and my classmate’s mother is killed by her boyfriend. He stabs her to death. In the newspaper they call it a crime of passion.

I read this and realized I've known multiple women killed by men, but I can't recall a single man of my acquaintance killed by a woman.
posted by sobell at 1:41 PM on December 9, 2015 [3 favorites]

As these discussions happen on metafilter, first I felt relief that it wasn't my fault, and then for a long time I felt so desperately sad and overwhelmed at how bad it is, how ubiquitous these experiences are and I started avoiding these threads. But somehow, just now, I feel there's a difference to this appalling inevitable experience.

You know what the difference is now? We're talking about it. We're not just experiencing and keeping this as OUR own dirty secrets because our breasts were too big or we wore shorts on a hot day or dared to walk down a public street doing normal things. We're talking about it online, in the media. We share with other women, and maybe more now, with men we trust, who we had to bludgeon (gently,metaphorically) into believing us that yes, it really is that bad and in fact, as a woman, I'm trained to minimise and not complain, so actually, it's ten times as bad as I'm telling you. I told a couple of colleagues who I go to trivia with what one of the other guys did, that my original impulse was to be discreet about, to just fade out - but this guy does this stuff a lot, apparently, so he felt the need to tell his side of the story first and how it's an accident when he does such things. And my guy mates were great - there was no "well, you shouldn't have sat beside him, been polite, shared a ride". And now I have my own trivia team, because as one of my colleagues-friends said, "I don't care to socialise with a dickhead'. I've been telling friends I've met through online dating that there's a good reason women react the way they do to some of these guys reasonable-ish approaches - and they're horrified at the unsolicited dickpics, the vicious response if you politely explain a lack of interest instead of just blocking them.

I believe it's changing. For a long time I had thought equality and feminism had stalled, and gone backwards. A lot of young women were saying the glass ceiling was broken and that any activism was extremist and man-hating. Now, over the last five years, here at metafilter, other places online, some television shows, some newspapers, some governments, some political parties - they seeing what was invisible because we all experienced it, but we knew it wasn't to be talked about - it made others uncomfortable, and it's our duty and honour as women to make everyone feel happy and comfortable and if it involves our body being invaded against our will - well, we're just too sensitive, it's no big deal, can't we take a joke, we shouldn't be do flirty.

It's changing. It's visible. We can talk about it. We have support. It's a long, long, impossibly, infinitely long way to fairness, and safety and freedom, but we're headed in the right direction.
posted by b33j at 2:49 AM on December 10, 2015 [9 favorites]

Oh, and those stories were so familiar to me - being coerced into sexual exploration as a child, being touched familiarly by Oder men with my parent's tacit approval despite my obvious discomfort (who said afterwards "I thought you liked it.") being touched on public transport by men of all ages who would (plausibly) deny it, being yelled at on the street - most recently the same night as the trivia event - but to both those things, for the first time in my life, I didn't quietly accept it: the first, I gave him an opportunity to retract his comments - he didn't - and I stood and walked out, unbended, unrepentant, and clearly disgusted; the second - teenage boys - I flipped them the bird, knowing it was increasing my danger, but just so fucking tired of being called a whore, a cunt, and threatened with violence (sexual or otherwise) simply because I am a woman. Date rape, incest; gaslighted during my marriage, all responsibility for housework,maintenance, finances, cooking, cleaning, childcare, emotional support, emotional labour and suggestions from all directions that my marriage would work better if I just tried harder and gave more. Frigid or a slut, no right to own my own sexuality, forced to tolerate the inter/national stereotypes of women: no good at math, can't drive, read maps, shopaholic, parasite to a man's earnings - can't you take a joke? But don't dare criticise one - ballbuster- your complaints can't ever be considered - they're automatically invalid because you're just a girl, you throw like a girl, the best cooks in the world are men because women just aren't that clever - it has nothing to do with opportunities and responsibilities. Women are stupid, sly, conniving - all of them if you loved me, you would...
posted by b33j at 3:04 AM on December 10, 2015 [3 favorites]

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