Originally this was written as a response to a single inbox message, and then I got a couple more of them, and now it’s a letter to all of you. I am tired of you.
[TRIGGER WARNING: Rape, rape culture; eating disorders]
It must be exhausting carrying all this hate around, huh? You’re right! It is fucking exhausting! And if it makes me seem like a cranky, miserable bitch, then more power to me.
Do you know why I do it, though? You don’t really deserve an explanation, but I’m going to tell you anyway.
I do it because women’s bodies are sold and used to sell products and somehow this has become one and the same. Because a woman’s accomplishments will never be as important as her appearance in this society as it stands now. Because 65% of girls and women have reported eating disorders.
Because so many, many people — most of them men — tell me I am overreacting or hysterical or a cranky, miserable bitch when I talk about sexism.
Because if I had a dime for every time some privileged, pompous ass doesn’t listen to me or tells me I’m wrong for no reason, really, just because he has a thing for Scarlett Johansson’s hair and doesn’t want to think about the fact that hey, maybe women are represented badly in the media, I could probably pay my rent for a year.
Because men feel entitled to tell me their opinions on women and entitled to be skeptical of my opinions on women as if I am not better able to comment, as if men are considered the experts on absolutely everything — oh wait, because the entire fucking news media thinks that they are.
Because I live in a world where I spend way too much of my time calculating the possibility that I will be assaulted. I do not know any woman who doesn’t do this. I do not know any woman who doesn’t constantly consider and reconsider the risk of her activities, even if she doesn’t do it consciously, even if she no longer thinks twice about going to the grocery store by herself — if she does it late at night, you can bet there’s a part of her that’s thinking it.
Because I live in a world where I have been told since I was single-digits young that men can hurt me. I live in a world where one out of six of my peers will be raped or sexually assaulted in her lifetime, and 54% of those assaults will go unreported, and 97% of those rapists will walk free. I live in a world where nine out of ten reported rape victims are female-bodied and the vast majority of rapists are men. I live in a world where 2/3rds of the women who are raped are raped by people they know and trust. This is the world I live in. This is a world you don’t even have to think about. This is a world that allows you to feel entitled to tell me my opinions don’t matter to you because they were presented in a way that didn’t cater to your ego, and call me a “cranky, miserable bitch” in the meantime as if you have any idea of whether or not I am actually either of those things.
So no, I do not need to be polite about your “counter-points.” I do not need to say “Ah, yes, good point,” when you’re not making a good point at all. You are not unique. You have said to me what literally hundreds of other men have said to me before.
And I don’t need to listen to your bullshit, or anyone else’s bullshit. Ever.