Yes All Women


I’m not even outraged. My heart isn’t broken. Which breaks my heart.

I’m just sad. And tired.

Some guy in America shoots and kills a bunch of random, innocent people. And he’s white, so it’s not terrorism.

And why? And why? And why?

There’s no “why” anymore. If your child, if your parent, if your brother or sister were one of a dozen shot & killed by some spoiled boy in a BMW there’s no f***ing why. He’ll never answer the question, no matter how long his manifesto is. His psychiatrists will never answer the question. The internet, the media, the NRA and any politician will only be too happy to answer the question and even be so kind as to give you someone to blame. Which is worse than not answering.

I can’t bring myself to even wonder why anymore. I can’t search for reason or meaning in this. Newtown did for me.

But I am glad other people are, in this particular case. Because when they ask why this happened, eventually the conversation comes around to how women are treated, how they’re viewed, and how they’re abused in this country.

Granted, if you’re reading this, you’re probably thoroughly aware of all this, already. But in case you’re not, go to Twitter and search #YesAllWomen. The idea, as I understand it, is that every woman in the US has been subjected to abuse by men. At best, sexual harassment, at worst, something out of a Scandinavian murder mystery. Every woman. Every. Single. Woman.

Reading some of the accounts in this movement on social media, it’s difficult for me to fit them into my frame of reference. I don’t experience the world like this. I’ve never been sexually harassed. Some guy tried to preach to me at a public urinal once. That was awkward on a number of counts.

But as a hetero guy, I’ve tried to find an analogy that will put this in real terms I can understand. And I think I’ve found it.

Prison. Federal Maximum Security Prison with all the rape and violence Hollywood can conjure.

So you’re in prison. Not every guy in there is going to rape you. Some of them are great guys who would never even think of such a thing. There are even some, probably, that you could form a close, serious relationship with. But however much the statistics are in your favor, would you really pick up the soap?

Think about your day-to-day in prison: How conscious you’d have to be as you move through life among gangs and mafiosos and the most violent men the justice department can prosecute. How aware you’d have to be of your surroundings, of your own body language. How much eye contact is safe? How much is a challenge? Which remarks, which looks do you acknowledge? Which do you ignore? What combination of posture, courtesy, and hardness is going to keep you from being stabbed, beaten, or worse?

It’s not a perfect analogy, but once I started thinking about it I was pretty sickened by how close it matched what I was reading. I was comparing life in maximum security prison to being a woman in the US, and it was matching up.

It also served to make me wonder at the resilience of women. To wade through all this demeaning bullshit, and still function in the world, still take joy in things. If I was the primary market for cleverly designed tote bags and I had to cope with this kind of idiocy on a daily basis? Well, I would not recommend investing in cleverly designed tote bags in this scenario.

Blogging by it’s nature is pedagogic. It lends itself to going full South Park and ranting about the world’s ills and then telling the internet how to solve them. But I think on this issue, mine is not the gender that should be talking. I think, in this circumstance, I’ll just listen.

Everybody with a penis, let’s all just shut up and listen for a while.




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2 responses to “Yes All Women

  1. I think it’s a brilliant analogy, thank you 🙂

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