Dear women…

When we co-operate, we’re awesome, but there are things we do to ourselves, each other and to the guys that I’d really like to talk about. I’d also like to talk about them calmly, with the understanding that airing this stuff is not an act of breaking rank. All of these are some women, sometimes, so add that caveat a each round.

We shame each other over body shape and size, and aspects of appearance. Any statement that has the term ‘real women’ in it is poisonous because it implies there are some people who seem female but don’t really qualify. When that’s about body shape, reproduction or some other thing where you might or might not, it really sucks.

The people who taught me that being attractive to men, getting male attention, was more important than anything else I was, were women. The people who told me guys don’t find smart girls attractive and that I ought to wear makeup, were other girls. I was about ten when that started. If we only write each other romance stories and define happily ever after purely in terms of a man… we’re putting ourselves in a really problematic position, and we need to stop doing that stuff.

We need to stop apologising for and making excuses for the bastards. We defend the guys who hit us ‘it was only… he didn’t really mean…’ we defend the rapists if we agree that yes, it was a short skirt. We support the idea that men can’t help abusing us every time we teach our daughters how to avoid being raped rather than teaching our sons some self respect and self control. Men are able to choose and we need to be totally intolerant of the ones who think they can’t help it.

We have to stop saying ‘all men are…’ where we’re being negative. If our only story is that all men are potential abusers, we leave no space for a guy to choose differently (they can choose). If we refuse to accept that a guy might totally agree with us that women should be respected, we alienate our allies. If what you want to do is beat up on all men, that’s not feminism, that’s hate, and we don’t want hate, we’re trying to unpick hate against women and we don’t sort that by making guys into hate-objects. Some men are total bastards. Traditional rape is thing men do to women, and in that context, all perpetrators are men. However, not all men are perpetrators and we need to respect the difference if we want things to change. If we say all men are rapists, we’re actually letting the rapists off the hook – we’re telling them they are perfectly normal and there’s nothing they can do about it.

If we respond to sexism and patriarchy by being just as rude and unpleasant, we won’t get  culture of respect and decency. Thank you.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

8 responses to “Dear women…

  • Druid Dave

    I Love It! You State My Feelings On The Subject Perfectly!

    3X3

  • Aurora J Stone

    You have delved into some important issues that, it seems to me, have been brushed aside, obfuscated, conveniently ignored. I agree completely it does no one any good to do unto others as they have done unto you in this regard.

    It is interesting to note that some of those who came to America after the clearances here and settled in the southern states did the same thing to the Native Americans as was done to them.

    We simply cannot afford any longer to behave in this way as it perpetuates the same sort of structures and modes of being women have been trying to be free of. If we turn around and do the same things then we are no better and nothing has fundamentally changed in society and culture.

    And it certainly does not do our daughters or sons any justice by engendering hate, fear and resentment against half of the world’s human population that does not anatomically resemble them..

  • syrbal-labrys

    Absolutely! Back in my Army days, as with all things Army — there were mild hazing the Newbie moments. Except I noted a bit more enthusiasm than usual occurred with female newbies. Usually, a container of “chad” from the teletype machines was dumped over the newbie’s head — well, when another woman and me were being so treated, they got EXTRA into making sure the itchy little paper bits went down our uniform shirts.

    This rather incensed us both, so WE started grabbing handfuls and putting it down THEIR male shirts. “You arent’ supposed to fight back!” they cried. “Tough shit!” we cried — we WACS don’t take Regular Army crap off you men!

  • Several Great Posts on Feminism and Gender Issues | The Lefthander's Path

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  • Janice R. Baker, LMSW, CAADC

    Hi Nimue. This is Janice Baker. I wanted to apologize for responding so rudely to your last post that was circulated on LinkedIn. I think you are a decent young woman with a clear talent for writing. I am sending along good wishes for your continued success in the U.K. I hope you understand, but I had never heard of you before your articles starting coming to me on LinkedIn. I’m not a milk drinker, and getting your articles sent to me just about daily, was starting to feel like someone was placing a bottle of milk at my door every day :-). I am generally a happy, positive person, and I think most who know me would describe me that way, as well. I get dragged down, depleted around chronic negativity. I respect your opinions but generally don’t identify with your personal issues, cultural references, belief system or more mistrustful worldview.

    That does not mean that I don’t want you to be successful and happy. I do! I also think you have an ardent fan who probably just wanted everyone to enjoy your darkness as he does. I understand that. I also needed to better respect my own choice. So that I won’t take out my frustration on you again, I have disconnected from that LinkedIn source with good intentions. Now we should all have the freedom to have our wishes honored, and that was my thinking. Again, all good things for you and your family, peace, and contentment. Be well!

    Kind regards,
    Janice

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