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View Diary: Sexist words, jokes and images dehumanize women. Here's why (312 comments)

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  •  So true (21+ / 0-)

    You know, I look back over my life, and I can add up the stuff I've been through. To a man, this list might look like I'm padding it (I'm not, I'm sure I'll forget stuff that DID happen), and sadly, to a lot of women, it will look familiar. That's part of the problem here. We go through so much, that we tend to brush it off, because it's all too common. It was even more so when I was younger, but don't kid yourselves. It's still bad.

    I'm betting every woman here can identify with me on at least a few of these items.

    And part of the problem is that it is uncomfortable to talk about these things, so they get shoved under the rug. Hell, my stomach hurts just thinking about typing out this list, but let's put it out there:

    1. As a child, we had two pedophiles on my block. One, sadly, was inside my home. I know at least one of them (the one at home) got to me, although I don't have specific memories of most of it. I did, however, wake up screaming with horrific nightmares after a sister of mine reminded me of a certain workshop on our property that I had blocked from my mind. I still have bad dreams, but the nightmarish quality of them has faded (20+ years after that first nightmare).

    2. I met Ted Bundy, but was lucky enough to avoid getting in the car with him. Long story, but that's enough of it - I didn't actually have anything but a close brush there.

    3. Married a man (first husband) who was physically, verbally, emotionally, and sexually abusive.

    4. Worked at a job where I was sexually harassed. Back then, however, it was called "Don't rock the boat".

    5. Next job, our boss treated women as interlopers. We were supposed to stay home, look pretty, and have babies. He hated all of us who worked there, for that very reason.

    6. I've been flashed more than once, peeped at (through my bedroom window at night), verbally assaulted by men at various times, and groped (in broad daylight, and violently). I slept with a baseball bat under my bed for weeks after that one.

    7. I've been date-raped. Twice.

    8. I've been on a date where the man assumed it was okay to grab my behind. ON A FIRST DATE. And when I called him on it, he just laughed. Like it was a big joke to him. Had a male friend who didn't want to leave after I was feeling weak and needed to be alone so I could go lie down. He decided that maybe I just needed sex, and I had to almost literally shove him out the front door.

    9. And then there is the minor stuff, like trying to go for a walk and having people assume that you're a prostitute, simply because you're walking. Doesn't matter if you're wearing headphones, wearing ratty blue jeans, and carrying groceries. If you're a woman who is walking, you must be a prostitute. Or like being on line for a comedy show, and hearing the young man in front of you call out to a friend "Hey, bring back a piece of ass for me!" And hell yeah, I called him out on that.

    As a woman of my age (52) I've seen far more than I care to think about. I've experienced more than I care to think about. And yet most women here can sympathize.

    After all that - after a lifetime spent fending off unwanted advances, worrying about whether it is safe to go out at night, having to deal with people who are sexist and just plain rude... to come here and have to see it from your fellow progressives - it feels like a slap in the face.

    You expect to be treated badly by strangers. You expect racism and sexism etc. from the right.

    But you DON'T expect it from your friends, so when it happens - it hurts. A lot.

    "We have only the moral ground we actually inhabit, not the moral ground we claim." - It Really Is That Important

    by Diogenes2008 on Sun Jul 31, 2011 at 03:37:09 PM PDT

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    •  That is a horrifying list (9+ / 0-)

      I am pleased to report that none of those things have happened to me. I am sad and appalled that they happened to you.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Sun Jul 31, 2011 at 04:28:10 PM PDT

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    •  A couple of examples from my own life: (7+ / 0-)

      1) At 21, I worked in a dept.s tore while waiting to start grad school (I finsihed a semester early, moved hoem and finished writing my Honros Thesis there to save money).  I worked in Budget Men's Clothing.  The  manager ws youngish (meaning under 35) and being groomed to move up.  He would come over while you were straightening socks or shirts and stand behind you, rubbing up against you as he showed you the "correct" way to fold shirts.  One time he cornered me in the stock room and "accidentally" grabbed my breasts.  Three of us went out to lunch together and I brought it up. Turned out it had happened to all of us.   When we got back, we checked witht he other two women,a nd found they had had it happen too.  SO on break we each went up, one after the other and reported it to HR.  Result: we all got =transferred out of the dept, and he got moved to another store where he eventually made manager.  SO much ofr our rights.

      2) In grad school, one of my professors offered to drop me home--since it was a snowy day, I accepted.  He tried to invite me out for a drink. I invented a fiance on the spot and made sure never to be alone with him again.

      The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

      by irishwitch on Sun Jul 31, 2011 at 08:45:52 PM PDT

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      •  Three (5+ / 0-)

        near-rapes here. First one stopped with a show of physical power, the second with the proverbial scream and the third with a lie. I learned to fight with a knife and I have no compunction about the need to kill or at least horribly maim an assailant. It will never happen again. The rage is buried, but not that deeply.

        •  I hear you (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kyril, irishwitch

          about the rage being buried, but not too deeply.

          Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it. ~Professor Albus Dumbledore

          by Ana Thema on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 07:38:00 AM PDT

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        •  Never happen again? (1+ / 0-)
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          A skinny dude can overwhelm almost any woman.  I am glad you feel prepared especially if it helps you cope.  If something does happen, it is not your fault because you were not prepared enough or you made a mistake or you were not strong enough.

          •  Not if the woman knows how to hurt him (2+ / 0-)
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            elfling, qofdisks

            My first husband never weighed over 150 and stood 5'11.  And he could beat a lot of men MUCH bigger than him--he had 3 black belts and 2 brown and carried an illegal knife in his boot (and knew how to use it, thanks to his training). A woman with sufficient trainign sot hat her response becoems automatic can scare the hell out of someone trying to hurt her. A friend of mine, who wasn't trained, had soemone try to grab her purse. She held on, screamed loudly and kicked the shit out of him. NOBODY helepd and it was 9 o'clock on a Saturday morning and she was on a busy street.  SHe kept her pruse, though she was bruised from being shoved to the ground--but so was he from where she licked him int he shins and the knee. But she as aslo streetwise and had several older brothers and knew something about rough-housing.

            But if you aren't able to fight back, it's not your fault at all. MEN freeze in combat.

            The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

            by irishwitch on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 01:08:41 PM PDT

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    •  1,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 (1+ / 0-)
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      2? Who knows?

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