I haven’t really written about the #MeToo movement.
At least, I don’t think I have, not specifically at least. I could check but that’s boring and I don’t want to.
So, we’ll just assume I haven’t.
Not that it matters.
Anyway, I had this slightly annoying, but not horribly upsetting interaction on Twitter.
Some actress posted a video of herself and a friend pretending to sob at “Trail of Tears” sign. I don’t know who she is, I only know her from this particular piece of work.
I really try to keep the outrage down as much as I can because we’re all outraged all the time and outrage gets so goddamn exhausting. This, however, outraged me.
The disregard and callousness in which she mocked genocide was outrageous to me.
So, I posted something about it on Twitter which sparked the annoying, but not super upsetting exchange.
I would give you the actual exchange, but the dude deleted his tweets and blocked me. So, his side is coming from memory so it won’t be perfect, but it’s pretty fucking close.
Anyway, we will call this person “douche twizzle”.
Douche Twizzle: Lighten up, sugar panties.
Me: Lighten up because I think it’s abhorrent to mock actual genocide? For reals?
Douche Twizzle: Do you spend each minute of every day waiting to be offended?
Me: Nope. I do not. Do you spend each minute of every day looking for people to berate because you feel like they are spending too much time being offended?
Douche Twizzle: Pretty much.
Me: Carry on, then. I would ask that you not call strangers sugar panties. It is dismissive and it makes you look like an ass.
Douche Twizzle: I always come up with nicknames for people. It’s all in good fun. Sweet pants. Oops, there I go again.
Me: That isn’t how nicknames work. You can’t give a nickname until you know someone. You have no idea who I am. Calling me sugar panties wasn’t you being friendly. It was you being dismissive. It was you attempting to establish dominance and make me feel small.
Douche Twizzle: I don’t know why you’re getting all upset. I see people saying a lot worse than sugar panties. That isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever said.
Me: Are you really asking me to be okay with something because it’s not the WORST thing? My bar is a lot higher than that.
Me: I do appreciate you not going more on the attack. You are right, usually when men behave the way you’re behaving, it is much worse.
Then, he blocked me and deleted his tweets.
So, I would like to think that he saw the error of his ways, felt bad about his dickish behavior and that’s why he deleted his tweets. Then, he blocked me because he was ashamed. But I think it’s probably more likely that he didn’t want his incel buddies to see him congratulated, by the enemy, for only being kind of an asshole.
I’m finding it more and more difficult to let bullshit like this go.
I’m tired of feeling helpless.
I’m tired of feeling anger that has nowhere to go.
I’m tired of feeling guilty that I didn’t stand up more for myself and other women when I was young.
I am sorry the burden lies so heavy on the shoulders of my younger sisters.
I’m tired of taking the high road and not making waves. I’m tired because I followed those rules and it didn’t fucking help.
I’m fucking tired as shit of watching men behave badly toward women.
I know I’m going to get things wrong. I will be accused of being over-sensitive. I know that I am looking backwards at a problem and that my way of processing information isn’t the same as it was 30 years ago. But I’m tired of shutting up and I’m not going to.
It’s time to call these motherfuckers out. Fuck them.
I’m not saying that I want to go on a hunt for men behaving badly just so I can speak sternly to them. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, that just isn’t my plan. I’m saying that I’m not shutting up when men say dismissive, aggressive, inappropriate shit, I’m calling it out.
Do I think talking sternly to people either online or IRL will change them and make the world better? Nope. I kind of think it won’t make a difference.
But do you know what I know doesn’t make a difference? Shutting up and taking it. That fixes nothing.
So, maybe I will not make a difference by speaking out.
Perhaps I will find myself in uncomfortable confrontations, which is one of my least favorite things ever.
Fear of confrontation is what most of my social anxiety revolves around. That’s okay, too.
I’m getting older and if I don’t speak out now, I’m going to run out of time.
I believe the following two things need to happen for women to affect change when it comes to being mistreated by men.
First, we have got to stop going after each other. For all that is fucking holy, we have to build each other up. We have to help each other.
This is a request for my sisters: if you find yourself shit talking about another woman for her weight, her age, or her leggings, please just stop. Just keep that thought in your head and don’t release it. We have to stick together. I am not excluding myself. I am not perfect. I promise to do better.
Secondly, we have to start objecting more when we are dismissed or treated in a hostile manner. I’m not suggesting that anyone put themselves in harm’s way, I’m just saying when you can, very clearly demand to not be mistreated. And if we are unified, we will be heard. I promise you. We will.
That second point? Everyone can help with that one.
I don’t think that twitter exchange qualifies as a #MeToo moment, it’s just that when we accept this behavior, I believe it makes it easier for the predators to take that next step.
We deserve respect. We deserve to feel safe. We should be able to speak our opinions without fear of repercussion. That is not to say that others shouldn’t disagree with us, but it would be nice if we weren’t trivialized or threatened with rape or fire over our opinions.
“Speak your mind even if your voice shakes.” -Maggie Kuhn