Friday, August 22, 2014

Sexism analogy.

Dear fellow women, 
You know that really frustrating feeling when you try to explain to a man how unsafe you feel sometimes just for being female, and how you have to always be cognizant of the fact that although not all men will, *all men can potentially hurt or sexually assault you*, and how when you walk down a street by yourself or even with other women, it can be scary just because you're a woman and thereby potentially a victim, and how mad/hurt/confused you get when you hear men or even other women victim-blaming rape survivors for wearing that outfit or for provoking him, saying things like "she was asking for it"

...and you know the man you're talking to is a good man, but he just doesn't really understand what you're saying or he argues with you because you're being dramatic or he undervalues your statements, which by the way, do actually reflect your personal experience in the world of being female, by refusing to accept your explanation of what life is like for you, saying things like "You know I'm not like that, so why are you getting mad at me" or "Not all men are rapists" or "You shouldn't be afraid of men" or "You're imagining things." or simply, "No, you're wrong."

You know that feeling? How helpless you feel to convince the man to put himself in your shoes and accept that this is your reality as a woman? And even though you know that part of why he doesn't want to hear it is because it somehow reflects on him and even though he knows he would never hurt you, it just makes him feel bad and defensive and he doesn't want to talk about it. And you end up feeling unheard or like maybe you're just being crazy or paranoid?

You know that feeling? Yes? So, extend it to others. Can you think of other times this sort of dismissive logic is used? Can you imagine how it makes other people feel when their personal experience of being marginalized or undervalued or targeted is discounted because the people hearing about it don't want to accept that people like them are doing 'bad things'? While not directly analogous, it might help to contextualize in a new way some of what is happening currently in our city/country/world. I hope it helps.


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