You’re A Man, Honey, and That’s Okay

Male Violence is The Enemy

Hey, guys, I get it. As much as any lady can, I sympathize. Being A Man is a big freaking deal. Men are kinda nuts.

Lincoln

And the way they are mythologized creates an impossible standard!

Forced Into the Butch Box

If you are just not much of a hard ass, if you find yourself drawn to the lighter side of life, you may also find yourself targeted by the Man Police. They are regular guys, your friends, your boss, your teacher. Your Dad. Any or all of them may take it upon themselves to kick your ass if you step out of line.

I’m not going to dig into why that happens. It’s pretty foreign to me, and I truly don’t mean to patronize you.

But this stuff is directly concerning to me because there are men of all ages who I love dearly. They are deeply affected by these things.

One of my oldest friends is a poet and an artist. He is also a hard motherfucker who is covered in tattoos and recovering from heroin addiction. Because of experiences he has referenced but never really told me about.

My husband is barely on speaking terms with his father, who had a habit of humiliating him in front of the old man’s friends for giggles.

My own father has never been able to maintain normal relationships with women. He has apparently wandered off into some scary corner of sexual sadism and I really don’t even want to know about it.

I have two sons and I take my responsibility to them very seriously. Who better to teach them that women are people? I actually get pretty upset sometimes when I see things written by lonely men who are frustrated by their lack of connection with women.

The Root of Misunderstanding

Sad Cowboy

Patriarchy creates a world where a heart is a liability!

They don’t understand that the question, “How do I relate to women?” is the basis of the problem.

You relate to a woman based on what you can observe about who she is as a person.

Women are people, with every personality configuration imaginable. Just like you.

You are also complex and that’s okay. Men are capable of some amazing things, that is undeniable. Being one of the good ones begins with approaching yourself and the rest of humanity with the understanding that we are all people first.

Be Yourself, Darling!

If you feel like you are most feminine person on this green Earth, you do you. I support you in throwing away all that toxic, judgemental garbage that has been polluting masculinity forever. Being A Man has nothing to do with what you wear and everything to do with how you behave.

Be a thoughtful, respectful person. It’s really very simple. Go about your business.

If you find yourself with some leftover passion, join us in trying to stop male violence.

Threats 1

Feminists don’t kill transwomen!

Male violence is what kills transwomen. Feminist activists don’t kill people. Insecure, homophobic men kill people.

Male violence is everything from domestic abuse to mass shootings to war. It is the locker room bully. It is all those ironic motherfuckers who visited me this week and told me their suggested method for my death.

Lead the Revolution!

Male violence is the enemy of us all. Female, male, trans, all classes and races. It is caused by the isolation integral to toxic masculinity.

You could be the front lines of dismantling the system that you so clearly hate. Be A Man. On your terms. Don’t let them take that from you.

Regarding Being A Woman

I am tired of debating who is a woman or what a woman is. That is a stupid waste of everyone’s time – We all know what we are talking about. To suggest that people are going around confused about the biological and potential reproductive nature of anyone’s body is absurd and I am not going to engage with that any more.

Be the femmiest man you can dream of. I will support you and cheer for you.

You are not a woman, honey, and that’s okay. Men can do great things. Go normalize your truth and fuck gender labels.

Love & Hugs,

– Sarah

Shaken, But Not Stirred

WARNING: Rant ahead!

I’m so frustrated lately with my job search! I keep applying for writing gigs, but I only apply to things that really seem like a good fit. And running into the same old problem of not really fitting in anywhere.

Wuthering Heights

Where is everyone?

This last one was a blog ghostwriting service. They literally wanted me to do what I do here, for money. On whatever topic was provided. I let myself get excited when they responded positively because it seemed like a natural step.

So today when I read they were “going another direction” (I’ll go whatever direction you want, that’s the whole idea!) I was unprepared. And embarrassed at being so upset.

But I really needed this right now. Hubs got laid off two months ago and has been focusing on school. At the end of it he’ll have a high-powered degree. I have been teaching and working at the restaurant, but Breadwinner just isn’t a position I am a good fit for at the moment.

The little guy is 21 months old, and is finally starting to get over the awful rash he’s had for two months. He’s been a delight to be around since he’s feeling better, playing toddler games and learning new words every day.

When I come home after a day (or night) of work, too often all the pacifiers are lost. He’s been laid down for the night in shorts, scratching his scabs open. I don’t know what he’s eaten. Clothes are misplaced. I missed something adorable and unrepeatable.

Hiding In The Lobby 1

Gotta keep it together!

When my 5th grader was little, I took advantage of living with family to stay home with him as much as I could. I worked sporadically, part-time, trying to get a foot in the door of my chosen field. But I hadn’t turned my whole life around to not raise my child.

When they’re bigger we pack them off to school, largely so they can find their own footing in the world outside home. It’s natural that they begin to build their own experiences and friendships.

Little ones, younger than 3 or 4, have a stronger need for a connection with one main caregiver. They are constantly changing and unable to communicate most of their needs. More than this, they need a near-constant guiding hand they can rely on.

Don’t get me wrong – My family does a good job taking care of him. They might let him stay up later than I would, but he always gets a nap and his meals. He gets played with and loved on.

Maybe part of it is my own selfish need as a mother to KNOW he’s okay. I understand that many women are not maternal in the least. Until I had my own, I wasn’t either. But when that switch flipped, it flipped hard. Most of the time, it’s actually easier for me to relax with him around.

And when he isn’t I am constantly distracted. I could work more hours and have more money, but I already feel like tearing my hair out.

So I try to use my real skills. I don’t have a journalism degree; sometimes I can’t escape the feeling of being punished for chasing my dreams instead of being practical. But I never appreciated how my capacity for wordsmithing could serve me.

Secretary

If only people would let me correct them!

Yesterday I read a HuffPost article with an entire paragraph from the beginning repeated at the end. An entire paragraph! Someone got paid good money to not proofread that!! 

I see this stuff all the time and it drives me insane –

Misspellings.

Poor word choices.

Sentences so badly put together I have to reorder them in my head to understand them.

On Huffington Post.

On MSNBC.

On Medium.

The New York Times still holds a pretty high standard, but New York Magazine is better.

While attempting to keep up with news and culture I am bombarded with reminders that I am good enough. Either someone will give me a gig or I will piece it together until I can raise my head above the fray and shout, “I am Brazen!

None of my switches can be unflipped, it seems – Not Motherhood, and not my newfound sense of agency. I have slain my dragons and a strange, unexpected feeling of deep calm has come over me as the dust settles. My fury only fuels me. My time is coming.

Whither the Boys?

When women run the world, what will we do with those pesky males?

I have encountered several different angles on the question of being a Feminist while still pursuing less radical womanly things. Especially parenting.

Mother And Her Children By Alfred Stevens 1883

I could be attending a lecture right now!

I read an entire essay about how one woman dislikes males so much she can’t understand why any woman would have a son.

She said it’s misguided to tell women we can counteract the patriarchal culture that tells boys they are entitled. That a mother’s love goes unappreciated and just lays the foundation of their entitlement.

She and some commenters shared anecdotes of little boys being awful to illustrate how boys are allowed to be bad.

Okay, so teach them better.

But we wouldn’t want to give women an illusion of power to influence their own children.

Has this woman never heard of archetypes? Sigh

I read one by a self-proclaimed ex-Radfem who found herself spiraling into fear and hatred to the point she states, point-blank, that Radical Feminism is driven by hate.

She raised several good questions but didn’t answer any of them, one being whether a group is responsible for the behavior of the extremists in their ranks. I would argue that we are, but I’m not sure what to say to someone who has completely written off half the human race.

1950s Usa Johnson And Johnson Magazine Advert

When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

Hating someone because they remind you of someone who hurt you is not fair. Or healthy. Or productive.

If you hate males, fine. Avoiding them is probably best. If you don’t want to have children, we’re all better off if you stick to that.

But it’s weird to me that those of us who have taken the opportunity to do what thousands of generations have done, without which there would be no future generations, are made to feel like the outliers. Like we owe others an explanation.

Yeah, I fell in love and had a child with the man I love. That’s right, he’s a man. Our child will be one day, too. I still think women should be liberated from the oppressive system that reduces us, one way or another, to our breeding status.

And none of this cancels out the horrific stories and statistics about male violence. Whenever a specific example of a man who isn’t an asshole is brought up, it is immediately shot down with variations of the adage “anecdotal evidence is evidence of nothing.”

I wrote an entire post about how we need to examine our motives and influences in our decision-making, especially along sexual lines. But if we do and come to a conclusion that doesn’t involve somehow removing men from our lives, no explanation seems good enough for some

Fit To Kill

I can wear whatever I want! Watch out, you wild animals!

hardliners.

I believe strongly in the major tenets of Radical Feminism. Female oppression is alive and well and must be opposed. Gender roles keep people in boxes that support patriarchy. When I read in black and white that we are what we are and not conforming to expectations was normal, I realized I had always known this. But finding it written out crystallized it in my mind.

I see Patriarchy in my life every day. I have two teenage daughters and they seem to have it worse than we did 20 years ago. I want to work toward a world where boys are taught to focus on their work rather than girls being punished for showing their knees. (Through ripped jeans! In the 90s we would have been lost without our ripped jeans! These girls were WEARING PANTS.)

And I understand that my personal positive experience doesn’t change the fact that many women are relegated to half-lives because they might have a baby.

But I’m also practical at heart. Eradicating males or turning them into some kind of slave class is (aside from being cruel and hypocritical) completely impractical!

This, beyond anything, is my frustration with Feminism of every stripe (except those who are supposedly Feminist but don’t believe patriarchy exists. So what is Feminism to you, some kind of sparkly ruffle book club? What do you think we’re doing here??) We are great at pointing out the flaws in the system and articulating and scrutinizing them.

But no one has any real solutions.

And teaching our sons better is apparently a waste of time.

A Knockout

Whatever, I’m ready to rumble!

This is so frustrating because how are we to fix anything?? Slowly elect a few more women to Congress and hope they aren’t as corrupt as their male peers? I have never seen any evidence that women are less corruptible than men. And it occurs to me that the image of Woman as Stalwart Defender of Morality has a very Puritanical feel to it if you sit with it for a minute or two.

We are all still digging out from under entrenched ideas about what women are and are not, what we should and should not do. If political lesbians want to opt out of this struggle entirely I can’t blame them. It’s difficult and confusing and why can’t we just be human and leave it at that??

Because we came in on the middle of the story. We have to play the hand we’ve been dealt. I have two sons who I am going to hold to higher standards than their peers will. No one ever said doing that with academics or manners was a waste of time.

And I’m damn sure not going to do nothing.

As a kid I was part of the Great Bussing Experiment, where inner city kids were bused out to the suburbs in an attempt to, among other things, accustom us kids to people who were different from us.

And it seems to have worked, at least for me. I score low on racial bias and, because of where I grew up, breathe a sigh of relief when I see some darker faces in a crowd. Being an urban Yankee in the South is weird sometimes.

I’m not immune to the other conditioning I receive but I’m conscious of it as an issue. My mother is a closeted racist and I think quite a bit of progress was made between her generation and mine.

Paintings Of Mothers Mother And Daughter Oil Paintings Victorian Mother Amp Daughter At

Then the female humans got to be people too, and they all lived happily ever after!

And our only alternative is to not try. We have to do something more than nothing. Sorry, straight women, you’re never going to figure out why sex is unsatisfying or how to identify men who aren’t total assholes, because we’re just going to send them all to an island and never speak of them again.

Our only alternative is to excuse ourselves from the fight which, to me, is disrespectful to the women who fought and died so we could read well enough to decide it’s not worth doing.

I also read something a while back that I keep turning over in my mind because it’s so weird. About how semen is a hypnotic agent and women who are exposed to it regularly are docile and controllable. How the Y chromosome is defective and those who carry it are barely better than beasts. How every man is a powder keg of testosterone waiting for his opportunity to rape.

And it read almost exactly like what MRAs write about women. It’s easier to write those off because I am one. I can simply ask myself if X is true or not. It’s harder to wave away screeds about the evils of men because I have seen them do things I couldn’t understand. I have known many who felt no qualms about their right to view as many naked women as possible. I have known a few who did awful things.

A few who did awful things. This is key: most of the terrible crimes are committed by a few repeat offenders. Most men are not rapists, which seems to contradict the idea that they are all just waiting for the right opportunity.

At 15 I was embarrassingly swayed by male attention. This is how I found myself alone one afternoon with an 18-year-old acquaintance. We were in his attic bedroom and no one else was home. He was persistent about touching me and it didn’t occur to me until much later how badly this could have gone.

Jack The Ripper

The famous ones are not a good representative sample!

But when he reached the edge of my experience he stopped without my saying a word. He sent my confused teen self home, and never pressured me for anything more.

A very long story and 17 years later, I married that boy. He’s a sexual abuse survivor too and we discuss this kind of thing quite a bit.

Men’s vanity and insecurity have crippled humanity by crushing the spirit of half our population. As women and leaders we must do better. Men should be held accountable so that one rapist doesn’t have the opportunity to spoil the well for everyone. As a counterpoint to teaching girls to speak up, we must teach boys to listen.

And hey, if entire subcultures in this country can insulate their children from all of science, I feel like I have some hope of teaching my son that women are people.