"We seldom think of conversation as commitment, but it is... Coping with a lifetime of change is a struggle, but through a lifetime of change we will only experience ourselves as full persons only to the degree that we allow ourselves that commitment to others which keeps us in creative dialogue."
by Mwalimu Imara, in Dying as the Last Stage of Growth
You know, it’s actually horrifying how embedded patriarchy is in our society. As women we walk around with this veil of naiveté that the men in our lives stand solid in our fight for equality, for body autonomy; but often times thats just not the case.
I made a comment to a relative the other day, about how I wished people would use better metaphors for things they want to describe as weak, other than “pussy”. You would have thought I attacked his intelligence, or his children the way he defended himself and came for me.
Men may be able to lift more in some cases physically, but what about my having a womb is weak?
what about being a portal for new life is weak?
Mind you, this was family who used said "metaphor", and to whom i expressed my thoughts to. Some would call this conversation, where he saw it as an attack.
Men, especially men who think they are smarter than you, always take (constructive) criticism as an attack when they don't want to be held accountable. It is not easy showing up in dialogue all the time, especially when it ushers in new perspective, but unless we are willing to have conversations what really is the point of any exchange. Your average male does not want to believe they play a role in patriarchy's rule, but also refuse to check their actions.
Naturally, this man lashed out in response. First, in trying to publicly paint me as a man-hater on twitter, a villain who wishes to divide the sexes [which if you are black + female, this is a whole different conversation]. Second, in hitting below the belt with insults meant for a quick win; telling me how i need to get over it, how it's not that deep, and how irritating I was for even mentioning it, instead of reflecting and trying to find middle ground. This my friends is called gaslighting.
Don't be so quick to lead with your emotions. Lashing out as a means of communication is abusive, and shows a lack of emotional depth and maturity. People will only tolerate it so much, and survivors of abuse, even less.
I was in an abusive relationship in the past, and know the signs and my triggers. Family or not, I will not allow someone to gaslight my genuine concerns, or to belittle my fight because they cannot take responsibility for their own actions. I have no tolerance, and no time.
We are living in an age where women don't need men to function in society in the same capacity we used to. I love this for us, but for the men in close proximity to act as if we are not actively fighting a war for our bodies is a slap in the face.
I think what stung the most was, this relative calls me his best friend, his little sister etc. even has a daughter of his own, and still doesn’t recognize his consistent lack of respect for women. You do not get to claim to be supportive of women's fight for equality, and in the same breath shame her for speaking her truths or seeking change.
how are women, black women, am I to be made to feel safe, and taken care of if I am shamed for seeking truth, for pushing the dialogue forward.
ye and still ladies, we have to keep speaking up, and drawing the line.
pussy is power, fuck your patriarchal views.