I read this over at Shakesville today and i want to urge you to go over and read it, now. There was a response over at Hoyden too, that’s well worthy of a look. I read Melissa’s post briefly and have been meaning to go back over and read it more thoroughly, but i wanted to write briefly on a couple of points that immediately came up for me. The post discusses the idea that feminists hate men and Melissa points out all the reasons why, it’s not that she hates men, but doesn’t trust them. It’s a long and spot-hitting list that details the many ways that women are dismissed and treated like shit and expected to pretend that it’s not happening or take it as a joke.
This stuck out for me initially;
There are the occasions that men—intellectual men, clever men, engaged men—insist on playing devil’s advocate, desirous of a debate on some aspect of feminist theory or reproductive rights or some other subject generally filed under the heading: Women’s Issues. These intellectual, clever, engaged men want to endlessly probe my argument for weaknesses, want to wrestle over details, want to argue just for fun—and they wonder, these intellectual, clever, engaged men, why my voice keeps raising and why my face is flushed and why, after an hour of fighting my corner, hot tears burn the corners of my eyes. Why do you have to take this stuff so personally? ask the intellectual, clever, and engaged men, who have never considered that the content of the abstract exercise that’s so much fun for them is the stuff of my life.
It brought me back to moonlit, late-night bedroom debates that slid through hours; weeping with laughter at concocted absurdities, raging political discussions, personal revelations, insights, breaks for cigarettes out the window, runs to the fridge for a drink, and the feeling of immense connectedness that these, late-night-even-though-we’ve-got-work-tomorrow-we-are-smug-in-our-cocoon-and-together-against-the-world, discussions would arouse.
These nights of joy were offset by the nights that turned suddenly away from the personal, the political, and the fun, and became these wtf abstract philosophical arguments that were nonsensical to me. I thought i was being intolerant, i thought that i was inarticulate, i thought that if only i could argue better that i would MAKE.HIM.SEE. That these are people, this is me… you are talking about. ME…I am one of them. I would often end up, a seething, raging, distraught wreck and he would remain in perplexed calm. why are you so…emotional?
These things, they are not the habits of deliberately, connivingly cruel men. They are, in fact, the habits of the men in this world I love quite a lot.
Yes, it’s the additional pain of betrayal, when it’s the men that we love or think of as allies; the partners, fathers, brothers, mates, uncles, lovers, grandfathers and workmates, who leave us gutted by their seeming indifference towards women’s lives and their refusal to own, reflect on, or change, their fucking nasty and demeaning behaviors.