I was much taken with Clementine Ford’s comments today (June 19, 2018) about #notallmen. It hit the spot, and I had intended to share it on facebook with my (not very numerous, but much valued and respected, contacts). But a longish rant came out, and I realised I’m really quite angry – and justifiably so. So I’m blogging it here instead.
“This is … #notallmen’s greatest insult. Women don’t need to be told to look for the goodness in men, because we try our damnedest to find it every day. We work hard to nurture it, even as we’re told to be grateful for it. For our own survival, women must believe that not all men are the enemy. … We search for the humanity in men only to have them turn away from the reality of our pain. It can be pouring out of us, but they’ll only consent to look at it if we promise not to hold them accountable.”
The rest of it is here:
Here’s my account what some men do when held accountable.
I have pissed off and been ‘unfriended’ recently by a number of men I have known and supported for decades.
All of them have been welcomed into my home, where they have enjoyed my hospitality, food, wine, listening ear, and career support.
My crimes are as follows:
1. I called out someone who has habitually named me as his ‘mentor’ for over 2 decades for letting his new, paranoid girlfriend I have never met write abusive messages to me and claim he no longer ‘wants to be friends’. (Damn that flattering profile photo!)
When I suggested this was concerning behaviour that won’t end well, he said, ‘You’re just jealous of my success’. Yeah, Right. (Actually I was concerned she will eventually knife him. But anyhow …)
2. I called out a friend who I have even made birthday cakes for (because his exes and kids won’t have anything to do with him and I felt sorry for him). I called him out for telling me, and another friend who, like me, has a serious chronic health condition, that Stephen Hawking has now escaped his ‘prison’. I told him this is Ableist bullshit. Without his wheelchair and NHS supports Hawking would never have had a career at all, much less the stellar one he ended up having, and I very much doubt that the wheelchair was NOT part of his self-identification. The chair was the equivalent of his LEGS, people! And as such, is not a ‘prison’ but an accessory that allowed him to participate in society.
But what would WE know, we women with lived experience of existing in society in a disabled body, surrounded by well-meaning but clueless able-bodied men? I called it because it was rude and disrespectful, and I am tired of being spoken to like this. (Of course he wouldn’t even countenance actually watching the Stella Young TED talk I sent him, titled ‘I am not your inspiration, thankyou very much’. No doubt because she was a woman. And we don’t listen to women, do we? Much less people with disabilities.). Yep, you guess it, ‘unfriended’.
3. I called out another bloke I have known and supported for decades, and asked why only 1 in 5 readers at the literary gathering he was spruiking was a woman. He accused me of ‘man hating’ and subjected me to an astonishingly vicious outburst of vitriol and misogynist hatred – including accusations of ‘man hating’. Conveniently forgetting the many years of uneventful, positive interactions we have had with each other. Yep, ‘unfriended’.
4. He undermines me on every occasion. At my 50th birthday party he becomes frighteningly aggressive and tries to start a brawl because someone he doesn’t like has arrived. At MY home. He books our band for gigs with enough certainty for us to instigate rehearsals, then gives the date to someone else. (I can tell he’s hoping for a reaction, so I ignore the invitation to attend as audience and say nothing. Because I don’t play this game with narcissists.)
At a private lunch party, he loudly criticises my performance in a singalong because it isn’t worthy of Carnegie Hall (no, it’s the living room, stupid, and we’re just singing, unrehearsed, for fun, not to impress YOU).
He boasts about helping students gain postgrad qualifications by writing their theses for them and collecting thousands of dollars for it. He just doesn’t get that the people he says this to are not impressed that he has ‘gamed the system’, that they have actual ethics and have worked hard for their own qualifications.
He inserts himself into a thread on my facebook page, hijacks the conversation to make it ‘all about him’, then gets abusively angry when I point out he is not only off topic, but is being self-obsessed and rude. On MY facebook page. Yep, ‘unfriended’.
Yes, I have a problem with men. And it is this:
You! Blokes in the literary firmament!
I’m a grownup. I’m a writer. I am educated to the same, or greater extent, as you are.
I am allowed to ask you a question, or disagree with you.
You’re not smarter, better, or more important than I am, so stop acting like it.
You do not have the right to abuse me, call me names, conveniently forget my many kindnesses, and minimise my contribution to your ‘successes’ because on ONE occasion I don’t agree with every word you say and kiss your entitled arses.
Oh, and if I hate men, what the hell is my much-loved partner of 25 years? Chopped liver?
And you think I am jealous of your dysfunctional and endlessly-changing revolving door ‘relationships’? (Because you can’t commit to one woman, because we are interchangeable and, anyway, not really worthy of respect. Just ‘walking vaginas’, really.)
You are delusional. You have nothing I want, and nothing I need.
You are unevolved, patriarchal manbabies.
I WILL call you out when you are sexist, racist, ableist, entitled or just acting like a tosser in my orbit.
If you don’t like that, get out of my way. Find someone else to sympathise with your whining about mean editors and nasty women.
Oh, and make your own birthday cake.
No, you can’t come to my house.
I will no longer cook for you, come to your book launches, or supply you with food, booze or weed.
I’m done with this shit. You are incapable of respecting me. Simply because I am a woman with an opinion.
You don’t get to reject me, I unfriend and reject YOU.
And I wish I’d done it years ago.
(Oh, and PS. I love Facebook, for helping to so clearly delineate the vague reservations I have always held about you. I see you, more clearly than ever now, and it ain’t pretty. Equality is coming, ready or not. Because we won’t tolerate this condescension and sexism anymore. YOU are the dinosaurs who’ll be left behind.)