14
Jul

Women still stuck doing men’s work

   Posted by: Britt   in General

If the world really is what we think about, then why does male-induced violence still dominate the headlines? Clearly I’ve done a lot of thinking to the contrary. Perhaps the next step is stating my thoughts out loud? 

I’m bored. What to do, what to do….

Oh, I know, let’s stir the pot shall we? Let’s talk about male-induced violence.

{{PD-US}} Dessins de Martin van Maele. Martin Van Maele. Illustration extraite de L'Histoire comique de Francion. En laquelle sont découvertes les plus subtiles finesses et trompeuses inventions tant des hommes que des femmes de toutes sortes de conditions et d’âges. de Charles Sorel. Jean Fort, Paris, 1925.Now, whenever I raise the issue of male-induced violence, especially violence against women, I inevitably get the insufferable tired refrain that “Men get beat up too y’know.”

I hate HATE hate that I even have to respond to this, but time and time again I find that I do. So I’ll dedicate a few simple lines here to the above inane comment. If you’re smarter than that, you can just skip on to the next paragraph. Otherwise:

Consider these terms: rapist, abuser, attacker, killer, murderer, pornographer, gang banger, violent offender, kidnapper. What gender mostly comes to mind? [Pregnant pause.] There’s a reason why your brain automatically assigns a particular penile gender to these labels. Do I really need spell this out? It’s because 95% of such crimes are committed by men. And, yes (sigh), women rape abuse and murder too.

So here’s my little trick (you may have already noticed this): I’ve changed the language, changed the terms. I don’t talk about rape or abuse or murder. I talk specifically about male-induced violence. This way, I can include all the hockey coaches and football coaches and priests who like to diddle their boys. This way, I can include all the fathers who want to (and do) fuck their daughters, believing this to be some sick inherent birth right. This way, that teeny tiny handful of folk who want to campaign against female-induced violence are free to do so, in any conversation other than mine.

Now, when a strident feminist typically starts talking about male-induced violence, the next step is usually some form of radical action. Burn a bra. Walk around topless. Write a letter. Slam down that angry fist and demand change. Gosh darn it all.

Not me.

The thing that I’ve come to realize, my ultimate sadness, is that there’s not a goddamn thing that I can do to shape up men’s perception of women, of men’s chronic misogynistic treatment of women. And the other thing that I’ve come to realize: The world is NOT going to become a better place for anyone until men—that’s right, MEN—step up to the plate.

Consider the unholy trinity: the bully, the bullied, and the bystander. The bullied, that poor skinny sap with taped up glasses, can never convince the bully to stop kicking sand in his face. The job of rallying must fall to the bystander, the one who is actually a peer to the bully.

Sadly, we’re not a society of strong bystanders, are we? We really are a pathetic bunch of spineless bystanders for the most part.

All my life I’ve been surrounded by these soft cushy cowardly man-boys who claim to be feminist-friendly. Yet, when some dork makes a dumb-ass blond joke or salivates when a pair of boobies float by (they’re actually breasts attached to a person, but you’d never know it based on this a-hole’s salivating response), these so-called feminist-friendly man-boys snort-and-guffaw along with the rest of them, awkwardly shift their balls from one side of their pants to the other, and cast me this hopeless “Oh well, what can I do” look.

{{Information |Description={{en|1="Queen Guinevere", James Archer (1823-1904), Scotland, c.1860, Oil on canvas. Dimensions: 32 cm wide, 61 cm high }} Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not advocating a return to some moral code where men revered women (and where women where barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen). The whole idea that there once was a moral code is a laughable. That era has never actually existed. Sure, King Arthur had his code when it came to the Guineveres of the world. But that honourable code typically didn’t include the beggar girls, the hired help, the single moms, the un-beautiful abandoned children, or the wrecked and manipulated prostitutes.

Without a moral compass set and monitored by male peers, rape has always been – and continues to be – common place. It’s called sowing your seed. It’s called boys will be boys. It’s a known and documented war tactic. It’s “ethnic cleansing” (godhowIhatethatterm). It’s the husband-steps-on-his-broken-wife’s-head-to-feel-better-about-himself way of life.

Male-induced violence is so goddamn commonplace, mundane and boring that I’m willing to bet that at least half of the women through whom you were ultimately conceived have experienced it at some time or another.

It’s true for me and my circle of friends, family and acquaintances. Rape by a stranger, date rape, gang-banged, victims of incest, we cover the gamut, damnit.

And it’s not like I sit around with the woman in my life swapping who-got-fucked-by-whom stories. It took about 40 years for just a few tidbits to come out. I’m convinced there are more layers of secrets that no one is talking about.

I’m not playing a sad violin here; I’m not drawing the old sympathy card. I’m too old for that shit. I’m simply making the point that male-induced violence is so incredibly dull, so incredibly mundane, that even your own family is besotted with it; you just haven’t realized it yet.

The kicker? Eliminating male-induced violence is not a woman’s job; it’s a man’s. To put it bluntly, reducing male-induced violence is out of scope for us women.

We women have our own work to do. We’re as catty as hell amongst ourselves. We’re too busy feeling fat to actually acknowledge our own beauty and brilliance. We’re all-to-happy to pass along the derogation we’ve suffered onto our sisters or worse yet, our female children – all too apparent in the female tradition of FMG (female genital mutilation), staunchly handed down the maternal lines. We still only earn seventy cents (give or take a few pennies) for every dollar a man earns. We’re under-represented in governments and power positions around the world. And while our own bodies have the godlike capacity to conceive, create and bear life, we still defer familial lineage and power to the donor of the fertilizer. (That one just baffles me beyond belief.)

Ani Difranco, one of my most favourite angry chicks in this world, captures it nicely: “Men are delicate / Origami creatures,” she writes in one song, “Who need women to unfold them / Hold them when they cry.” Like I imagine Ani to be, I’m fucking sick and tired of doing the work that men themselves should be doing. Like ending male-induced violence.

So if you are a man (or know one), then ask yourself (or him): Are you man enough for the job? Ready to man-up? Then stop being a bystander and help put an end to this shit. Be the man that changes the world, that makes it a better, safer, kinder place. Mankind will ultimately thank you. And so will we women.

– Britt Santowski.

AuthorBikerCartoonist. Feminist at large.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, July 14th, 2012 at 9:17 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 comments so far

 1 

Yes.

July 31st, 2012 at 6:00 pm
Caitlin Hopley
 2 

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June 27th, 2013 at 3:40 am

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