It is an “I’ve had it” kind of a day and appropriate therefore to the spirit of Fat Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, and the Lenten season which is now upon us, a time of introspection and casting off oppressions of various kinds for those of us with connections to Christianity, whatever they might be.
I’ve had it this morning with the way so many men seem incapable of carefully reading posts and comments and commenting intelligently thereon. I have had it with the way so many male-born types think women owe them our lives, our attention, our care, our nurturing, our kindness and compassion, even here online, even when we have never once laid eyes on them. I have especially had it with the blind arrogance and misogyny of religious men. Following are examples of things with which it I have had.
In response to the John Petroski/”Rape Only Hurts If You Fight It” thread, a male passer-by attempted to comment as follows:
If freedom of speech isn’t the freedom to say things that some people find offensive, it’s meaningless.
This is NOT North Korea. This is NOT China. You do NOT get to put people in jail for saying things you don’t like.
If you don’t like the ideas he’s putting forth, put forth better ideas of your own. Calling for him to be silenced by force is fascistic.
Can this guy even read? Where is his mind? His and others’, lots of male others, who have attempted to comment here similarly. Who here has called for John Petroski or anyone else to be “silenced by force”? Where are the hordes of policewomen crawling out of this guy’s computer screen from my blog in the search for John Petroski, warrants and handcufffs in hand, determined to “send him to jail” for “saying things we don’t like.” How is it that these guys make this preposterous leap with such predictable regularity?
What is of more concern, though, is that this guy doesn’t know, or doesn’t care, that indeed, various civil authorities in the United States DO send people to jail for saying things they don’t like. In the age of Homeland Security under the Bush regime, in particular, the U.S. IS like China and Korea. Then again, it always has been this way for certain kinds of people who say certain kinds of things, for political activists and dissenters, people like the Black Panthers, like members of the American Indian Movement, like Martin Luther King and others in the Civil Rights movement, like Emma Goldman, like Alice Paul, Susan B. Anthony, Mumia Abu-Jamal, School of America’s 16, like Marilyn Buck, like Helen Woodson, like Leonard Peltier, like the Cuban Five, like Dorothy Day, like a whole host of people going back centuries now. But no, so far as this guy is concerned, women objecting to a horrifying essay about rape, which refers to why rape is good for ugly women, which confuses rape with “sexual intercourse” and asserts that it only hurts if women resist it are the rough equivalent of real life fascists bent on putting the essayist in jail. Right.
In the category of male-born types who believe they are entitled to the love, devotion, care, nurturing, care-giving, unending patience, hugs and kisses, and, in general, the Big Tit of All Women Everywhere, there is someone I will not name who, after having preyed upon a very long list of very young feminist and lesbian women over many years now, after having deceived, manipulated, and exploited many, many women in various venues and having caused them real-life difficulties of many kinds, all the while advancing a bizarre and self-serving version of “radical feminism,” come to find out, blames feminist women — including feminist women this person has never once spoken to, seen, encountered or engaged with in real life — for this person’s state of impending homelessness, joblessness, theoretical doom, and overall foul mood and depression. It’s all feminist women’s fault. Feminist women are to blame. Feminist women are the powerful people in the earth after all; they run the nations, the corporations, the banks, the religious institutions, the institutions of science and medicine. They are the ones who, even though they are basically strangers to this person, have been able to destroy this person’s life. Hell hath no fury like a male-born scorned.
Finally, we have the guy who e-mailed me yesterday to break it down to me that I have become a “reproach to the gospel:
I’m so sorry to see that you have become a very sad individual. Years ago I bought my wife a subscription to [my publication] because you produced some very profitable material for Christian women to read, and ever since your fall into sin we have sadly watched you steadily decline. Cheryl, your in complete rebellion against God, and I don’t believe its even necessary to quote scripture passages – you know. However, I’m afraid your sin has completely blinded your eyes and clouded your mind to what is true. Your unfortunate experience has brought you to hate God’s order and love your own [will worship]. Cheryl you will not win the fight, because it’s not against man, sexism, tyrannical control, etc. – it’s against God. You have become a great reproach to the Gospel. Repent while God has still graciously given you space to do so. Cheryl, God has given you so much, please don’t continue to defy Him…
Such a paragon of courage this guy is as well; his e-mail is anonymous. He signs it, “His Servant.”
First of all, who invited you into my e-mail box, “His Servant”? I don’t know you. You are some white, heterosexual, conservative Christian, male stranger, and my experience with white, heterosexual, conservative Christian, male strangers is not good, to be understated about it.
Nevertheless, here is a clue for you. I am no “reproach” to any legitimate “gospel,” neither do I “hate” any legitimate God’s “order.” I am, however, a dedicated and committed reproach to arrogant patriarchs like you, and to “orders” and deities men like you have invented out of whole cloth, by way of which you have made and continue to make life a living hell for countless numbers of women, children, creatures. Neither did I “fall into sin.” I came to my senses. I came into the light. I’d had enough. I gathered my courage and my wits about me, I summoned all the strength that I had, and I walked away from a decades-long house of horrors in the form of an abusive marriage men like you think women ought to devote their entire lives to, because why? Because that makes men’s lives easier, that makes your life easier, because that allows men like you to control women, and children, and creatures, and the earth, because you believe you deserve to control us, that somehow you are deserving of commanding a house full of doting, smiling servants. You somehow believe we deserve no more than what you have decided to give to us. The gasconading self-importance stuns. Anyway, bud, you’re wrong. And I am going to devote the rest of my life to making sure everybody knows the precise nature of your wrong and how very wrong you are, you and all of your brethren, who wouldn’t know love, or devotion, or spirituality, or the divine, if you encountered them near an empty tomb early on a Sunday morning. I believe you’d be looking around, wondering what was up with all the women hanging around there and why they weren’t at home attending to their wifely duties, all the while completely missing the person you believe you know and serve.
I don’t know what random, vague, “unfortunate experience” you might be alluding to that I had, but here’s what’s true. I was targeted and attacked for destruction by very powerful, in some cases very affluent, white, heterosexual men just like you who made it their — your — business to cause me, my many children, my creatures, and my publication great and lasting harm. I will defy the “God” men like you have created in your own image — because make no mistake, that is the deity you worship, a deity who bears no relationship to the historic Jesus, a bloodthirsty male who thinks like you and looks like you and who has authorized genocide and unending atrocities against women and children — with my last breath.
And make no mistake. I not only will “win” this fight I’m engaged in, I already have, just by taking up the battle. Just as every woman wins just by taking up the battle. So back way off. I spent way too many years of my life caring what men like you thought. That’s history now. I have moved severely on.