I woke up on Monday hating men. I am not sorry.
Here’s the thing – I have said and written (probably) about how I’m a feminist, yadda yadda, and how I don’t hate men, I love men, how I don’t want to rule men, I just want to be treated equally. Is that so hard?
But the truth is I’ve had a smoldering outrage building and building and building inside me the older I get, the more I see, the more I experience. And now I feel like it’s not just about equality, it’s about survival. I feel like I’m coming off like a doomsday prep-er, but I barely even care.
My awareness and outrage began building over many small things throughout my adult life. In college during a gender studies class I was the only one in the room to self identify as a feminist. I think this speaks to a lack of education on what that means and the social acceptance that gender inequality enjoys right now, has always enjoyed. When I was 19 I had a boyfriend scold me for wearing a tank top and a messenger bag. He told me that my school bag pushed against my boobs and made people look at me.
But it wasn’t until the most recent upheaval of legislature pushing back on women’s health issues that threaten to push gender equality back 30, 40, 50 years that I really started to feel under attack. It wasn’t until I got pregnant the first time that I really understood the importance of abortion as an option, the importance of easy and affordable access to birth control, and how punishing women in the workforce for pregnancy is a huge culprit in workplace inequality. And by punishing I mean not being accommodating for pregnancy disabilities, not awarding bonuses if a woman is out on maternity leave even if she works and achieves the vast majority of the year/quarter/etc. Not hiring pregnant women. Having a minimum of time spent at an employer before you are eligible for maternity leave (if you get it at all). Being wary of promoting a pregnant woman or a woman with children because her time may be valued elsewhere. Because the most powerful, company running men in the world are all single without children, right?
Conservatives want to restrict or abolish access to abortion, and conservatives want to be able to pick and choose what kind of healthcare coverage they offer their employees if it doesn’t mesh with the core beliefs of the company. Except none of those health related issues have to do with men. There is no insurance restriction on Viagra or penis pumps based on an arbitrary value system. Penis pumps are actually covered by medicare.
So these political things are on going: The slut shaming of Sandra Fluke after speaking to congress. Hobby Lobby and the Supreme Court. Wendy Davis and her filibuster, her necessary filibuster to block a bill that would have shut down 37 of the 42 abortion clinics in the state that provide a wealth of women’s health to an often impoverished and desperate population. And on and on and on. If those things aren’t enough to make me feel personally attacked, like a war is being waged and my vagina is at the center of it – don’t worry! There’s more.
There is the growing Men’s Rights Movement that discusses lowering the age of consent in order to lower the number of rape charges (among many other horrific mindsets). Because who are the real victims in rape accusations? Men, of course.
There was Elliot Roger’s Manifesto and his crusade to murder innocent women around the University of California Santa Barbara because, according to him, they wouldn’t have sex with him and that was a crime punishable by death. This also shed a light on how big, graphic, and angry the Men’s Rights Movement really is. Especially after so many came out in chat rooms supporting his martyrdom.
On a base level there is Men Taking Up Too Much Space on The Train. This is the perfect example of entitlement and privilege. When the rest of us are squished, with bags in our laps, elbows in, knees crossed, pregnant and standing, disabled and having to insist on a seat, men spread ’em wide and never even think about it. It’s not malicious, of course not, it’s just a given.
Then there is everything about pregnancy and child rearing. That socially it’s seen as a woman’s job, a woman’s sacrifice. Do it all and do it all well. It’s my choice as a woman to be pregnant so it is also my burden to carry. This child is 50% his, but let’s not inconvenience the fathers with having to go to all of the doctor’s appointments. Let’s not wake them during night feedings because we wouldn’t want them to be tired at work. Let’s not expect them to make professional sacrifices in order to be home with a sick kid, wouldn’t want them to miss out on that big work opportunity he’d get to travel for, men can’t really be trusted to ask the right questions at the pediatricians office anyway, right?
And now I’m having a daughter and what kind of world am I bringing her into. The kind where women’s health is still politicized, where walking down the street without comment is a privilege and only one you can enjoy if you’re in the company of another man. Where catcalling is a compliment, bitch, can’t you take a complement, I’m just saying you look good today. A world where if she has babies her partner may be ushered into the dad’s club of working from home possibilities, an understanding male boss who looks the other way when he’s got to check out early to grab a sick kid, while she takes the smallest amount of time off after giving birth so that the family doesn’t lose too much money and she doesn’t look too bad to her employer.
I woke up on Monday hating men because, whatever… I’m tired of you, men. I’m tired of playing nice and trying to get you to see my side of things. I’m tired of arguing semantics and politics and who has the right to what and what freedoms are we really restricting, and and and they are MY freedoms you’re restricting. Those are my streets I’m waking down, with my legs that don’t require a comment. That’s my seat your shoving your knee into on the bus, and no I will not give you a smile. Does the United States really think a company is going to have its feeling TOO hurt by providing birth control to female employees? That if a company provides birth control then the company might not get into heaven? I mock that. I mock it all day long. And I don’t mock the Men’s Rights Movement, I take it seriously. It’s a terrorist group made up of people who hate that they can’t just take whatever they want whenever they want and the desire that binds them happens to be between women’s legs. My legs. The legs of the little girl inside my belly.
So we’re no longer buddies, men. I don’t think we ever really were. You probably think I’m crazy and need to lighten up anyway.