Just Be A Man About It

I was on Facebook today and saw a status that pissed me off. Perhaps you can relate. No, of course you can relate. What is Facebook really for, if not for showing you which of your acquaintances and family members you probably should not be in a room with for more than ten minutes? 

The status in question was, presumably, borne of a domestic squabble, because it said something along the lines of, “why can’t MEN with FEMALE emotions learn to grow a pair?” Aside from the well-established fact that .0001% of your Facebook friends are interested in reading about your personal drama, this status rubbed me in all the wrong ways. And, sure, I get it, people say really idiotic things when they’re upset. It’s natural – we get frustrated, we vent. But if you’re going to vent on a platform that, by definition, will be seen by hundreds of people, instantly, with zero context and with zero warning, then as your ‘friend’, I am entitled to form an opinion about a) the subject of your venting and b) the way in which you vented. Thanks, Mark!

I am completely uninterested in this particular person’s personal drama; however, I do take issue with the way she decided to articulate its aftermath. As a woman, I have been subjected to countless instances of subtle discrimination and mockery because of my gender. It comes from everywhere: television, movies, advertising, family, friends, even myself. It’s ingrained. I am quick to make the disclaimer that I ‘throw like a girl’ because any attempt to fling anything at anybody in a setting that demands some level of precision and athleticism typically goes hilarious awry. I repeatedly reminded myself to ‘man up’ while getting my first tattoo, lest I give any outward sign that I was uncomfortable. I’ve even caught myself calling frightened characters in TV shows ‘pussies’. I am a person WITH a pussy; why would I even think such a thing?! It’s inconceivable, and yet, totally normal. Calling out my own internalized misogyny is not something I thought about doing until I was in my 20s, and now that I’ve started doing it, I’ve come to realize just how much self-hate I’ve been living with. It’s pretty scary.

What does that have to do with this status? Clearly, this person was talking about men. Well, it has everything to do with it. I am proud to call myself a feminist, albeit also quick to clarify exactly what I mean when I say that, because apparently, it’s still necessary: I believe all genders should be treated equally. Women, men, trans, non-binary, everybody. And building imaginary fences that separate MALE and FEMALE emotions is not only completely asinine; it’s insulting to EVERYBODY. 

Basically, this person is saying that men should not have female emotions, because it negates the existence of their testicles. (???) This was clearly expressed in a negative light. Ergo, the lack of testicles = bad.

But then, this person is a female, with presumably female emotions, and testicle-less, so are we to conclude that this person = bad, as well???

Probably not, as she is one who wrote the status. Okay. So the problem must be the man…but she decided to emphasize the fact that he is afflicted with ‘female emotions’. If he did not have these emotions, it follows that this status would not have been made. Makes sense, right?

So. Let’s examine the real enemy: FEMALE EMOTIONS.

Aye, here’s the rub: Emotions do not have a gender. Emotions are chemicals telling our brain to do stuff based on stimuli and our experiences and our unique perspectives of the world. (Science??) Emotions are not blue or pink. Emotions do not have identifying chromosomes. Emotions are common to humans. Every human has emotions; the same emotions, more or less. 

Don’t be an asshole, Carla, clearly she’s talking about emotions females feel more often than men. Thinky-hurty-talky emotions, right? The ones that make women cry and men scowl. Women supplicate and men cross their arms. Women placate and men smirk. Women are the sensitive, nurturing, articulate ones, who feel more deeply and think more carefully and hurt more…prettily. While men are the stoic, calm, centers of the storm, responding calmly and rationally and so, so obtusely. Just, totally missing the point. Right?

No, no, wait. That isn’t right. Because this guy had female emotions. So that means he was being sensitive. And needy. Probably whiny. 

But it could also mean he was uncommunicative. Closed-off. Unwilling to compromise. Because at the end of the day, I have no idea what the situation was. So the only thing I can reasonably conclude is that this man acted in a way that this woman didn’t like. A way that warranted him being accused of being similar to a woman. So…who is really being insulted here?

If you weren’t sure what I was talking about when I mentioned ‘internalized misogyny’, I sure hope you get it now.

 

 

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