Friday, June 20, 2014

A Perfect Lady Business Storm

This week three Very Annoying Posts came across my screen in a perfect Lady Business storm to set off this triple-header of a rant. Salty language and all the triggers I've ever had are included. You have been warned.
George Will Mansplains "Rape Privilege",
Some Guy in North Carolina Whines about Mila Kunis and
Procter and Gamble continues to Tell Women What to Do.

There have been some very eloquent and profound responses to George Will's column, "Colleges become the victims of progressivism". This isn't one of them. My very visceral and instantaneous reaction to his column was, "Fuck you, George. You don't know the first thing about what it is like to be a woman and a victim of sexual assault." If there were rewards and privileges being handed to anyone who claims victim status I'd be the first in line. Hell yeah, gimmee some of those fine benefits that are due me as a survivor of sexual assault. I'm ready for the entitlements, status, reparation, compensation and hallelujah glory that is owed me.... I sense I may be waiting a very long time for my goodies.

Women have all kinds of reasons for reporting and not reporting assault. Trust me, people are NOT speaking up because they want attention and think they're going to get some sort of special treatment. There are more compelling reasons to stay silent than to speak out.  I know stopped speaking out about my own experiences when I figured out that my story was the only part of of what happened to me that I truly owned. My words, my history, my struggle, my survival. The most painful part about being a sexual assault survivor is not the telling of the story, it's when that story is appropriated and changed to fit someone else's world view. Even when it's done with good intentions, say for instance when using an assault story as a shining example of bravery and survival, the experience is reshaped to make the listener more comfortable. I stopped talking about my experiences because I couldn't bear to hear how the telling became flattened, diminished and all smoothed out like a polished stone. The story inside me still feels to be all points and jaggy bits that open fresh little wounds all the time. Tell me oh Great Mansplainer, where is the privilege in a heart full of glass?

Then Mila Kunis did a very funny bit on Jimmy Kimmel telling men to stop using the phrase "We are pregnant". It was a fluff piece, done from the perspective of a very pregnant woman and it made me laugh because I remember thinking the exact same thing when I was pregnant. Not long after, a couple of people posted links to this guy who found her bit  "troubling and hurtful" and wrote "An Open Letter to Mila Kunis: A Response to Taking the 'We' Out of Pregnancy".

Oh for fuck's sake and fuck you too, Paul. You don't get credit for being pregnant and you don't get to claim anything other than being a loving partner and support person. Your desire for inclusive language comes dangerously close to the way men talk about women's bodies as property, as something they should have decision making power over. Let's be really, really clear - pregnancy belongs to the person who's body is changed forever by growing a couple of human beings inside her.  "We" don't have permanent edema from tissue damage. "We" don't have hemorrhoids that never went away from pushing out 9 pounds of baby. "We" are not going to be breastfeeding for several years and suffer the plugged ducts, raw nipples and soaked shirts. "We" did not have a hysterectomy due to cancer caused by a virus that we most definitely shared. "We" are not going in for 3 month checks at the oncologist to make sure that "our" cancer hasn't returned. My body, my complications, my pregnancy.

There are all kinds of "we" in a relationship and parenting. "We are becoming parents." We are expanding our family." "We have decided to adopt." If we want society to be more inclusive of fathers in the parenting process, then let's stopped referring to fathers as "babysitters". (I can't tell you how many times I was asked who was was babysitting the kids while they weren't with me. Really? They're with their completely competent other parent.) Let's stop looking at dads changing diapers as some sort of frickin' miracle and assume that a grownass man can deal with a poopy diaper. Let's stop admiring stay-at-home and single dads as some kind saint who has become eversomuchmore enlightened than the rest of their gender. My mom refers to this as Kramer vs. Kramer syndrome. Millions of single moms manage to raise kids to adulthood and no one hardly blinks. One guy does it and they make a damn movie about it and glorify his "sacrifice". How about if we just take it as a matter of course that you are included in absolutely everything equally EXCEPT the pregnancy and you just let us have that one thing without getting all butthurt and sulky.

Open Letter to Mila Kunis: A Response to Taking the “We” Out of Pregnancy - See more at:
Open Letter to Mila Kunis: A Response to Taking the “We” Out of Pregnancy - See more at:
Open Letter to Mila Kunis: A Response to Taking the “We” Out of Pregnancy - See more at:
I'm sorry, but fuck you too, Procter and Gamble. Have you seen that ad for Pantene Shampoo that tells women to stop apologizing? My whole television watching life has been chock full of ads from the likes of Procter and Gamble depicting skinny made-up glamour girls tossing their hair and saying things like "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful." Now they've decided the way to sell shampoo is to lecture women on how to talk. There may be women who find the message empowering and it may have a practical application in the business world, but I sure as hell am not going to take it from a multi-billion dollar corporation who is only interested in my shampoo dollars.

I also want to know if they are planning the companion commercial that instructs men in how to be more deferential, more apologetic, more compassionate. Women apologize because they care. They care how their actions impact others, they care about being inclusive. They sometime care about looking nice, but most women I know care about being nice. "Pretty is as pretty does," my grandmother used to say. I like to think that the kindness we women have spent our lives cultivating even while carrying a load of pointy rocks in our chests, and 9 pounds of "love goblin" in our bellies is something to be emulated and prized. My words, my space, my kindness. So yes, fuck you Pantene, you don't get to tell me what to do, I got your hashtag right here #shinestrong and just this once I'm not in the least bit sorry.

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