Angry women, angry people.

11 Jan

I’m Mad at You Because You’re an Idiot, Not Because I’m a Woman

By Litsa Dremousis from Jezebel:

I was with some girlfriends at an upscale bar downtown when a group of guys asked if they could join us. An attorney with dark, wavy hair in a plaid oxford shirt sat next to me, and we bantered flirtatiously for an hour. He was ring-free and never mentioned a partner. That is, until he asked for my phone number.

“But you’ll have to call me on my cell. My wife and I are in a weird place right now,” he said, attempting to elicit sympathy.

“Maybe that’s because you hit on women in bars,” I noted.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” he asked. “You don’t know the whole story.”

“And I don’t want to,” I said.

“God, you really don’t like being a woman, do you?”

In two short moves we’d leapt from his infidelity to my ostensible gender dysmorphia and/or self-loathing. If this were checkers, he’d have been king, albeit of the dipshits.

What struck me was that both Rex and the attorney had delivered ill-timed, emotionally charged information, and when I’d expressed proportionate anger or irritation, the blame somehow boomeranged back onto me. I’d been expected to remain amiable, though by any objective measurement, that expectation was ludicrous. Either guy could have physically pummeled me had he chosen, so it’s not as if they were in danger, even for a second. Yet their reaction was still confusion and rancor when I pointed out their inanity.

The first time I burped in front of my college boyfriend, he said he didn’t know girls could burp. I pointed out that women, in this case, share the same physiology as men, so why wouldn’t we burp? He said he didn’t know why not, but that his mom and his other girlfriends had never burped. When I laughed and said they’d never burped in front of him, he dug in his heels. His mom and ex-girlfriends didn’t burp, so how was he supposed to know I could? Female burping was an urban legend, apparently, like alligators in toilets or crepes that turn out right the first time.

I’ve been a feminist since I was a little kid, but I’m extremely close with my dad and brother, and at every point in my life, at least half my closest friends have been male. I’m not trying to perpetuate gender stereotypes about dudes, while fighting the ones about ladies. But it’s weird to me that many straight men watch professional sports and action films, or back their friends up in bar fights, and find those displays of aggression admirable— but when a woman loses her temper for a specific and valid reason, these same men judge her for what is, like burping, a human reaction.

How do we alter the notion that a woman who stands up for herself, her loved ones, or her beliefs is the one who’s causing trouble? By accepting once and for all that legitimate female anger isn’t the hallmark of a bitch, cunt, ballbuster, or drama queen. We’re nearly 52% of the population— it’s time for more men to understand our behavior isn’t aberrant, and for more women not to feel “guilty” for not staying in the narrow range of traditionally accepted emotional responses. Women are multi-faceted humans with a full range of ambitions and emotional needs. Guys, sometimes we disagree with you, but sometimes we disagree with each other. Which is how it should be.

When I was much younger, I assumed girly things were bad while being more like a boy was good.  I made fun of my friend when she started wearing a bra.  When my friends and I played imaginary games in the schoolyard, I would pretend to be a guy.  Maybe I was a natural tomboy or maybe it was from idealizing my 3 older brothers, but while I’ve stopped thinking that girls are just a weaker version of boys, it’s hard to shake the feeling that acting too “feminine” in the outdated sense is frowned upon.  It still irks me when my classmates are overly polite, talk in a higher than usual pitched voice, giggle when nervous, preface sentences with “I think / I’m not sure but / Maybe”; all things I still notice myself doing too.

I’m mixed between wondering if part of me still thinks that boys are better than girls, or if it’s genuine frustration with how what’s considered feminine is largely based in what’s considered girlish.  It’s interesting that the author was surprised that her anger was perceived as threatening, and interesting too that the response to the threat was to minimize it by chalking it up to angry female hormones.  It reminds me of why I’m uncomfortable with “Women’s” organizations or specialties like “Women’s health”.  It gets down to separating women from the range of what’s considered normal;  If you’re acting like a woman, you’re not acting like a regular person.

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