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Public Bodies, private anger

Content Note; this piece describes sexual assault

On a Sunday I normally write the Sunday Sermon, a wander through the moral and ethical underpinnings to my life. Today if you want considered thought and nuance I suggest you read this wonderful piece by Carter, proving that #notallmen can only be countered with actions not words. Today I am angry though, too angry for a sermon.

Yesterday Elliot Rodger murdered people, took their lives because he was angry. The usual online suspects are blaming the fact he may have had aspergers, or was mentally ill, or rich, or spoilt, or American, or owned guns. Basically whatever their personal bete noir is lined up as to blame. This is all speculation, what we have are Eliot’s own words, where he explains why he wants to kill “blonde sluts”. Apparently though his words are not enough for men, there has to be another reason, after all #notallmen kill, or abuse, or rape, or grope, or leer, or catcall, or grab, or make misogynistic rape jokes, or objectify and dehumanize women amirite?

Whilst I am angry at the mansplainers, the male feminists, the people on twitter demanding I be nice, and less hostile I am also angry at myself. I am angry that when a classmate I considered a friend slammed me against the wall and grabbed my tits I didn’t break his face. I am angry that when the PhD student forced me into the toilets in my first week at college I didn’t bite his dick off instead of sucking if in the hope it would mean I didn’t get raped. I am angry that I didn’t even consider these to be sexual assaults, or worthy of reporting, or even unusual. Its just how men are.

Stavvers rights with passionate anger of what happened when she pointed out the structural nature of misogyny last night. How dare a women reveal the reality of living with the idea men have that our bodies are public, our first thought must be to consider the feelings, and needs of men. Even as I write this someone on twitter is accusing me of ranting, for simply showing disdain for them, because in our misogynistic, patriarchal society a woman’s emotions must be dismissed and belittled as irrational. Men must be treated as special snowflakes whose emotions are always our first concern

This is what is making me so angry, more than I can perhaps coherently express. Rodger believed he was owed sex and affection by women. Their needs, wants, emotions and preferences were irrelevant. Like so many men he only sees womens bodies as public, as how they relate to him. Women are not allowed to have private spaces, internally or externally since that denies men their rights of access. Of course some bodies are more public than others, trans women are groped, their genitals discussed by complete strangers, WoC are sexualised from childhood in a culture that still sees them as lesser and put on the earth to satisfy the needs of white men. Rodger was not a lone wolf, or an aberration, he was simply another form of expression of a culture that says that women are public property.

Most of all though I am angry that instead of looking at why women are angry, and why their behaviour might have provoked it, men are acting just like Rodger, demanding our emotional labour, our attention, our bending to gratify their needs. This could have been a moment to examine why MRAs exist, why pick up culture reflects the norms of our society, instead though it is a moment when men are saying they have no responsibility, that not all men are like that.



One comment on “Public Bodies, private anger

  1. Wickedjulia
    May 25, 2014

    We need men, our allies and the ones who think they are our allies, to take a deep breath, shut up for a moment and think. We, women, know that not all men are like that but, obviously, some of them are exactly like that with deadly consequences for women. That is why for many of us, our default setting is to assume that a man is like that until proven otherwise.

    And think about this, allies and wannabes, some men are exactly like that, broiling with so much rage and hatred that killing a women, or many women, for not making themselves sexually available, is justified in their diseased minds. Why aren’t you asking why some men ARE like that and what can be done to stop those men from being like that? Because when you constantly remind me that some men are like that, you are telling me that you consider their behavior normal and don’t plan to do anything about it.

    So, how are you an ally again?


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This entry was posted on May 25, 2014 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , .

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