What This Administration is Teaching Our Children

The last two years in politics have been an utter shit show. It’s hard to keep up with all the shit going on. The key players change weekly. The plot twists happen so fast if you blink you miss it. And we have all had to face the harsh reality that we are a nation run by racists and sexists.

But this isn’t just about surviving these four years and hoping that we still have elections and a right to vote and that we don’t end up in a nuclear war in the meantime. There are very clear, very dangerous lessons we are passing on to the next generation right now.

The youth of our nation are watching, and we are teaching them horrible truths.

What our boys have learned from this administration:
-There are no consequences.
You can treat a woman however you want. You can violate her body and the law and openly brag about it. You can blame alcohol. You can deny. You can coerce. If you want it you can have it. And nothing bad will happen to you. You won’t go to jail. You won’t lose your job. You can even rise to the highest power of our nation. So what’s stopping you from taking it?

-Women are not credible advocates for their own story.
Look at Dr. Ford. She has advanced degrees, a prestigious career, and has multiple sources supporting her credibility and honesty. She was calm, poised, eloquent, and professional. And yet she was maliciously questioned, attacked, and told all the ways she had misunderstood her circumstances. Meanwhile Brent Kavanaugh can scream and cry and behave like a bafoon and his testimony is considered the credible one.

-If you don’t like the truth, you can just call it fake.
The new mantra any man can use now when someone is telling a story they don’t like: Fake News. And that ends the conversation. A woman accuses you of rape? Fake News. There is undeniable evidence that you payed hush money? Fake News. There is testimony from multiple sources that support claims of sexual assault? Fake News. Man can determine truth and lies based on what is most convenient for them. The reality they want they get.

What our girls have learned from this administration:
-When men yell, they are passionate and full of conviction, when women yell they are unhinged and discredited.
We all know the narrative. If a woman expresses an emotion she must be on her period. And if she is on her period we are not to take her seriously. Because being on your period means you are irrational, and more importantly incorrect. This narrative is pushed in every platform. Find me one sitcom that doesn’t push this narrative and claim it to be humor.
And we women have learned that because of this ridiculous narrative that we must remain calm, quiet, and patient when we are fighting for what we believe.
During the last two years our girls have watched countless men yell and scream because they weren’t getting exactly what they wanted how they wanted when they wanted. While a woman calmly and patiently stood her ground and told the truth. From Hilary Clinton to Sally Yates to Dr. Ford, our girls have watched powerful and intelligent women stand their ground while men yelled and screamed at them.

-What happens to you in your teenage years doesn’t matter, because what teenage boys do doesn’t matter. Boys will be boys.
Just as boys have learned there are no consequences for their actions, girls have learned there is no protection to be found when they are violated. There is no protection, no justice, and their bodies are not their own. And more girls are learning to fear coming forward.

-His future is more important than your body.
We can’t punish him for raping you because think about his future? It doesn’t matter that he was caught in the middle of the act by two sober men who will testify exactly what they witnessed. It doesn’t matter that there are multiple women coming forward with the same story. It doesn’t matter. Because his future is more important, and we must protect his future, not your body.

 

We have to change the message we are sending to our children. This isn’t about republican vs democrat. This isn’t about political parties. It’s about teaching our children to be honest, respectful, and good. Otherwise our children’s fate will be worse than our own. #MeToo won’t matter, #TimesUp won’t matter, women won’t matter.

Our girls deserve better. Our boys deserve better.

The Mid-term elections are almost here. Go vote on November 6th. And maybe we can tell a new story.

 

-Darci

 

GUEST WRITER: Trust and Care for Yourself – Part 1

It’s been a year since #MeToo swept the nation. So this month I decided to open up my platform to allow some other amazing women in my life to share their anger as well. Want to be a guest writer for Angry Feminist as well? Let’s talk! – Darci 

This is part 1 of a 3 piece story.

PART 1

I am 27 years old. This year, I left my husband. And it is the best choice I have ever made for myself.

While getting divorced was the best choice I have ever made for myself, it was in no way the easiest choice. This decision took me five years to make and act on. I did not rush into this, and I strongly believe that no one should. I do not think my ex-husband was a terrible person, just someone who couldn’t face their own issues.  That being said, divorce is not the black sheep that we have made it out to be.

Let me give you some back story.

My ex-husband and I met when we were 18. We started dating within a week of meeting each other, and because we lived in the same dorms we spent essentially every waking minute together from day one. He was my first real boyfriend, my first relationship that lasted more than three months, the first person I kissed. We were madly in love. We could talk for hours on end about music, something we were both passionate about.  I felt fully comfortable talking to him, like I didn’t have to put on an act and be cooler than I was. He would buy me little gifts even though we were both poor college students and went out of his way to make me feel special.  He respected my boundaries and didn’t kiss me until I was ready. This carried on for a year and a half, and then he proposed when we were 19. Neither of us had finished college. Neither of us was out in the real world yet, but I was confident we would be good partners.  We were at a Christian school that has a reputation for “ring by spring,” and I felt like I had found my person.  My conservative religious upbringing was pointing all fingers towards marrying him.  He had a rough upbringing and his parents had a troubled marriage that we talked about constantly.  He told me how much he disliked their relationship, and how committed he was to not falling into the same patterns they had. He wanted kids right away, but I talked him out of it with the draw of traveling the world.

We were engaged for another year and a half, then married at age 21.  That first year of marriage, I continued on and finished my degree, then was hired in the career of my choice. He did not and found a blue-collar labor job that he felt was beneath him. That first year was the best year of our marriage.  We were poor, we lived in a terrible apartment on the bad side of town, we bought groceries with change, but we were incredibly happy.  He still went out of his way to tell me how much he loved me, how fantastic it was to be sharing life with me, and I felt the same about him.

The following year is when the emotional abuse began. I was 22. I found a different job, where I immediately felt a sense of belonging and fulfillment.  My paycheck increased, and we lived in a beautiful house instead of a crappy apartment.

It started small and didn’t feel like anything out of the ordinary. He would eat the dinner I made every night, but would find something to complain about, and would not help clean up. His reasoning was that I made that mess, I wanted to cook, therefore it was my responsibility. Always. Then the same story happened again when we got a dog. I wanted the dog; therefore, it was my responsibility to clean all the floors in the house. Always. These were both things I’d grown up watching my mother do for my father, so I didn’t bat an eye. I told him I would like some help, but his reasoning was solid and he couldn’t be moved.

And apart from those things, our relationship seemed good. We could be goofy together, we liked watching the same shows, he made me laugh and feel loved. We had a million inside jokes and were constantly making more.  I still thought our relationship was fine but was starting to realize I wasn’t the same kind of wife as my mom.  I didn’t feel it made sense for us both to be working full time jobs, but for the running of the household to fall on one person.  I knew he loved me and I loved him, but I started having questions about our relationship.  I knew he was unhappy with his job but thought that once he found a better one things would improve.

Then clearer cases started to show up.

When I was 23, I would come home after a hard day at work, talking about my frustrations, and he would stop me to say “Well you chose this, so you can’t complain. I don’t want to hear it.” That was the end of me talking about my job. But since his career was not what he “chose” he was allowed to talk about it for hours on end. He began telling me I needed to work out because I wasn’t as in shape as I should be. I look better when I wear more makeup. I should be sexier. I must be afraid of my own sexuality. I must be stupid, because I can’t navigate to a new or very recent location without asking for directions or using GPS. My job is easy and overcompensated. I wouldn’t take a keychain off my purse to fit his visual preference, so he wouldn’t talk to me at a friend’s wedding. He did not speak for the rest of the event.  For the entire drive home.  We left early because he was making everyone around us uncomfortable.

At this point, I realized I was married to someone I had completely misjudged. I found myself dreading going home. We lived somewhere that had his friends surrounding us, but none of mine, so I felt like I had no one to turn to. Eventually I broke down with a couple girlfriends, crying that my husband, who had promised to love and cherish and support me until the end of our days, thought I was worthless, stupid, ugly. He had to be right about everything. If I disagreed on something, he would beat the subject until I said he had changed my mind. We were 24 and had been married for three years now.  I was heartbroken that the person I trusted most was betraying my trust, was telling me terrible things about myself and hurting me in ways I had never thought possible.  He had promised we would always talk things through, but I began realizing that meant we would talk until I gave up on changing his mind.  This was not the partnership he promised, the open communication and respect to avoid the trap his parents fell into.

 

-Adira

To be continued…. 

GUEST WRITER: What Do I Tell My Female Students?

It’s been a year since #MeToo swept the nation. So this month I decided to open up my platform to allow some other amazing women in my life to share their anger as well. Want to be a guest writer for Angry Feminist as well? Let’s talk! – Darci 

“Ms. K—what does it mean now? Will Kavanaugh definitely be confirmed?” It was the end of Friday’s lunch period, just moments before class was set to begin. The sophomore girl looked at me, eyes wide, asking not just for answers, but for hope. She shared with me that her mother had cried in the car today while they were listening to the confirmation hearing on the radio. I felt like crying myself as I watched her face fall as I explained that, given this morning’s vote to continue the confirmation process, it seemed likely that Judge Kavanaugh would be confirmed. When I finished my answer, she stared at me as if the response had been in a foreign language. Her voice held a similar tone of shock and confusion: “But… really? After all of this? Why didn’t anyone care about Dr. Ford?”

Usually, teaching at an all-girls, college-preparatory school is inspiring. Usually I am in awe every time one of my students tells me about a game she coded, or about the social justice conference she went to, or about the non-profit she started. There is so much I should be hopeful for—so much promise this current generation of youth holds. Most days I swell with pride and the knowledge that these women are so talented and ready to take on the world and make a difference.

But somedays the world wins. Somedays I have to watch the confusion and pain in their eyes when they realize that the world might be more broken than they thought, that they might not be listened to or believed. The confirmation hearings of Brett Kavanaugh caused days like that, as did the election of Donald Trump.

I remember the day after the election. The excitement had been palpable in the school the day before—the girls had been ready to celebrate America’s first female president. They were ready to hear that society had rejected the person who bragged about grabbing women—“they let you do it… you can do anything”—and instead took a brave and long overdue step toward equality. The shock and disappointment filled all the classes the next day. I remember the same confused faces, the hurt and the anger as well.

Sometimes, I see these brave, passionate, intelligent women shocked to the core that the world we’ve built for them is still so unequal—still so full of sexism, rape culture, and oppression. On those days, I feel so sad and so angry.

This isn’t the kind of world I want to send these young women into. I’m not proud of this world. So, I’m going to keep fighting. I’m going to tell them, “We’ve come so far, but it’s not far enough, and some people want us to go back, to surrender our rights. We can’t do that.” I’m going to tell them, “We’re not going to forget, and we’re not going to stop.” I’m going to tell them, “This isn’t the world it could be, but we’re going to keep fighting—together—so that it can be.”

 

-Lauren

 

A Car Salesman Found Me Intimidating – But Why? 

Recently my partner and I purchased cars. It was a life step he was very excited for, and I was dreading. See, to me, a car is just a way to get from point A to point B as safely as possible. I don’t get excited about cars, I don’t find them sexy, and I don’t want to show them off.

But it was time for a new car. My car was old. My car was about to need work that would require putting more money into it than it was worth. And while it was a loyal and wonderful car, its time had come. So we did our research and made our short list of cars to test, we checked the dealership websites, we learned what these cars were actually selling for, and we got our game faces on.

Now what you don’t know about me is that I work in sales. High pressured, fast paced, major expectations sales. I don’t sell cars, but I know all the tricks. Which makes me kind of a car salesman’s nightmare.

I hate the process of buying cars. But we survived and walked away from the weekend with new cars that we are happy with. And when we finally negotiated my partners car down to a deal we were happy with and ready to move forward with, the salesman said to me, “I mean this as a compliment, but you are a very intimidating negotiator”.

Ok let’s back up for a moment. I’ll be honest, I didn’t love this salesman. Pretty much from the moment we started working with him I was not impressed. He talked too much, he talked over me too much, he couldn’t get to the point, he took a long process and made it 3x as long because he wouldn’t stop talking. But my partner is a much kinder person who was taught not to dislike people, so he was fine with the guy. And it was his car, so if he was fine with the guy that was what was important. But I was not impressed with this guy.

So when he first told me I was intimidating, I’ll be honest, I was almost flattered. In a world where men dominate, it is satisfying to knock them down a peg or two and remind them that women are a force to be reckoned with. But then I started thinking about it and started to wonder, what made me intimidating? I wasn’t chatty, I was knowledgeable about the car prices and discount options that were available to us, I had to ask him specifically to stop talking over me during the negotiating process, and I wasn’t putting up with his bullshit.

But here’s the thing, he didn’t try talking over my partner. When my partner spoke, the salesman let him speak, and waited for him to finish before talking. The salesman didn’t have to be asked to let my partner speak. When my partner asked him questions, he answered them directly, he didn’t flower them with stories meant to charm. When I told him the price wasn’t good enough he went on and on about why the price was the price, when my partner told him the price wasn’t good enough he went to go negotiate a lower price.

So it wasn’t so much that I was intimidating, but more that I didn’t fit his expectation of women. He expects the men to come in with knowledge about the car and knowledge about the market, he doesn’t expect women to. He expects men to negotiate, he expects men to keep their cards close to the vest, but he doesn’t expect women to. He sells to women very differently than he sells to men, because he thinks women have different values. He doesn’t respect women like he does men, and he doesn’t expect women to demand his respect.

Look, this guy isn’t a villain. He doesn’t start his day hating women, he doesn’t end his day hating women. In fact, he probably considers himself an advocate for women. He doesn’t realize the socialized sexism he carries with him every day. This man wasn’t sexualizing me, he wasn’t harassing me, he wasn’t even degrading me. And yet he was still behaving in a very sexist way. He doesn’t realize how drastically different he treated my partner vs me. He doesn’t realize the obvious lack of respect he had for me. He has these subconscious expectations of women that inform how he treats women. When I didn’t fit his expectations, when I demanded equal treatment, when I demonstrated my competence, he didn’t know what to do.

And that’s why I was intimidating to him. All of these micro aggressions he is allowed to get away with on a daily basis I would not put up with. I was intimidating because I wouldn’t take his bullshit and I demanded his respect right then and there. And he clearly was not used to that.

And if that doesn’t explain the battle women fight every day I don’t know what will.

 

 

-Darci

 

After a Year of #MeToo, Has Anything Changed?

It’s been roughly a year since #MeToo erupted and the world got a glimpse into the reality of what life is like for a woman. Many celebrities and public figures started by simply sharing #MeToo, but others started to share more. Details, stories, encounters, emotions. Then women everywhere started sharing #MeToo. Your aunt, your old Sunday school teacher, your neighbor, your co-worker, maybe even your ex. They all started sharing their stories. And suddenly this wasn’t just some Hollywood publicity stunt, this was a real-world-right-in-your-face issue.

And to a lot of men, this was a jarring revelation. How could someone be sexually harassing my old college best friend? Could this really be about more than just drunk and crazy men on the street screaming at strangers? To most women, this information was just a normal Tuesday. Because women already knew the reality. We already knew that sexual harassment and assault is part of our daily lives. And that it comes from the men in our daily lives. It was just men who were shocked.

A lot of men in the public eye have fallen from grace and had to go into hiding (though not to jail) and some have been uglier than others. But not a lot of men in our day to day lives have had to face any consequences. Most likely the men in our daily lives haven’t even change anything about their day to day actions.

I’ve thought about this a lot over the last year. Despite all of the women in my life who shared their #MeToo moments, not one named names. Not even me. Despite sharing our truth, we felt this urge to protect the men who made us feel unsafe. Perhaps because we understand the harsh reality that no matter how calm, collected, eloquent, and convicted we are, we will not be believed. Perhaps it’s because we fear further danger by escalating the truth too much. Or perhaps it’s because we have been conditioned our entire lives not to embarrass men.

But also, none of these guys stepped forward. Not one man who I called out (anonymously) when I shared my story attempted to apologize to me. All were friends. All could and most likely did see my post. All would have recognized themselves in the story. But not one tried to make it right. And yet I still protect them.

Justice wasn’t the point of #Metoo. Tearing men down wasn’t the point of sharing our stories. The point was to show just how prevalent sexual harassment and assault is. That it happens every day to every woman. That it is a problem that needs to be address, and change must happen.

There are plenty of men who were shocked by the information and shared #IBelieveHer type things. But there are also plenty of men who are mostly concerned with how this past year will affect them. Men who are worried their “good intentions” will be misunderstood. Men who fear women will confuse flirting with sexual harassment and they will have to face unfair consequences (even though none of them have faced any consequences). But there are still no men taking responsibility. All of the change is either unneeded or some other man’s responsibility to make happen.

What if, and stay with me here, men started sharing #ItWasMe? What if men started sharing their stories owning their mistakes, taking responsibility for their actions, and continuing the conversation. I know it’s crazy. But what if the next step of this story is men owning up to their actions.

Things like:
-I used alcohol as an excuse to grope my friend;
-I used alcohol as an excuse to ignore boundaries;
-I coerced my partner into sex;
-I wouldn’t take no for an answer;
-I was only interested in a relationship with women if it turned sexual; or
-I considered being Friendzoned an insult;
-I laughed at stories about assault rather than calling people out;
-I knew things were happening and didn’t report;
-I refused to get help when I realized I had a problem;
-I wasn’t an ally when I was needed;
-I could have done more, but I didn’t.

And of course, I know why this won’t happen. It’s an admission of guilt. It could lead to consequences. Right now, we live in a world where men can downplay all of their actions, they can gaslight all of their victims, and spend their days doing what they want to who they want and nothing bad really happens to them.

And god forbid a man be confronted with his past, attempt to be held accountable, face his accuser, he can cry and be as hysterical as he wants denying his responsibility, and still rise to power of Supreme Court Justice, or even President of the United States. So there really is no incentive to take responsibility, to apologize, or make right. And little boys everywhere learn that nothing happens when you assault women.

 

Darci

Is There a Turning Point?

I have to be honest with you: I’m tired.

This has been an endless summer with a breakneck pace, and I have finally hit my wall. I think for the first time in my life, I actually don’t want an adventure, I want to sit at home with my cat and my partner and enjoy our home.

I took a week off. I traveled. I went to new places. I drank wine. I ate cheese. I avoided the news. It was wonderful.

But alas, the world keeps on spinning. And with the current state of things, it feels like missing one week of news is like missing three seasons of Game of Thrones. There are new characters, I have no idea where the old ones are, and the plot twists are become more and more bewildering.

I continue to be utterly baffled by what we are willing to accept, tolerate, defend, or even vote for. I’m not even sure what the line is anymore. I’m mortified at how many people are willing to vote for men who have sexually assaulted someone. We are living in a time when the exploitation of women is on full display, and we are turning a blind eye?

I’m deeply saddened by the fact that people find it more believable that a woman simply wants to ruin a mans career, not that he actually committed a crime. That we consider it more tragic that the mans life/career/future could be ruined, rather than the well being of the victim.

I’m angry that #believesurvivors even has to be a thing. Like what the actual fuck.

Here’s the thing, no woman has ever gotten famous for reporting sexual assault. It just doesn’t happen. And a lot of men don’t even face punishment when it is reported. So why do women report sexual assault? Why when they see the man who attacked them rising to more power do they say something? Because they are looking out for the next woman. Because he is a predator and it’s only a matter of time before it happens again.

So I guess here is my question to you: what’s your limit? What does it take for you to finally say this is too far, this isn’t ok, something has to change? Because after the last two years, I’m starting to think there is no limit, and nothing is going to change.

 

-Darci

What if Misogyny Were a Hate Crime?

Every woman has a story about sexual harassment. Every woman probably has a story from the last week about sexual harassment. Our entire lives revolve around avoiding harassment. It determines how we dress, what routes we take, when we go out, every time we leave our home harassment is on our radar.

And yet, despite how prevalent harassment is towards women, we have as a society chosen to completely normalize this dynamic. When we go out for a run, go to the grocery store, go to a bar, literally just step out of our homes, sexual harassment is just a reality we are forced to bare. Men are left unchecked, unchallenged, and absolved of responsibility for their own actions.  

If someone targets people based on their race or their religion they can receive harsh legal punishment. Someone who repeatedly targets women faces no such sanction. Are we okay with that?

And don’t worry, I hear you already: this #MeToo movement has gone too far! Catcalling is just a compliment, you should be flattered! I wish people complimented me every time I left the house! If we police all of our interactions men will never be able to talk to women again!

To you I say this, we’ve talked about this before. Flirting and sexual harassment are not the same thing, women know the difference, and if you don’t then you shouldn’t be talking to women. I’m not asking for the opportunity to charge every man who dares speak in my direction with sexual harassment. But the men who catcall me, the men who call me a bitch for politely declining them, the men who purposefully get in my way so I cannot get past them in the street, I want them to know there are real consequences to this behavior. That this kind of behavior is not flirting, it is harassment, and harassment is not okay.

And maybe if harassment were a crime, the difference would be much more understood.

Misogyny isn’t going to disappear by itself. Women are being raped, abused, and harassed daily and our instinct is to defend the man, downplay the crime, and find a way to blame the woman for her fate.

If we classify sexual harassment as a hate crime that can be reported and charged, people will start paying attention. They will pay attention to the statistics more, they will pay attention to the severity more, they will learn hard and fast what the difference is between harassment and flirting. And most importantly, women will feel like as a society we are finally listening. That we take the #MeToo movement seriously and are no longer accepting the status quo.

This isn’t about persecuting every cat-caller and creepy neighbor, it’s about telling our teenager girls who get harassed that their anger and fear is valid. It’s about telling the world that women are people and we must respect them.

 

-Darci