I don't have a problem with men. Far from it, I really love most men, because most men are just people, living their lives. They are working to make the world--or at least their world--a better place, just like most women.
But there are some men I do have a problem with. These are the men who can't stand a woman who has an opinion, the men who try to shut her up with violence:
- they refuse to make eye contact with her, reasoning that if they don't acknowledge her in a discussion she will cease to exist.
- they are patronizing to an extreme, hoping that by speaking to the woman as if she were a very stupid person she will become one.
- they call the woman names--ones that demean women particularly--and often they do it publicly and in writing, either anonymously or using their own real names.
- they repeatedly bully her with words, and then they friend her on Facebook or send her a congratulatory message to spike the creep factor a bit more.
- they send her sexually explicit hate mail which describes how they would like to teach her a lesson.
- they murder the woman after raping her.
I've had each of these things happen to me. Well, not the last one, but the rest of them have happened to me again and again.
The violence in these interactions is very specific. It is about me being a woman and them being a certain kind of man. After all, it's not like these same men are disagreeing with other guys and then attacking them by describing sex acts they'd like to perform with those guys. No, when these men behave as they do towards me, they are being misogynists.
I understand that the violence which I endure is the price I must pay for being a woman who shares her opinions publicly in today's world. And I recognize that if I would just shut up these bad people would cease to be a part of my life, but, somehow, that price seems steeper to me.
Gwenn Seemel is a French-American artist who blogs bilingually.
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