Dear Men, This Is Why We’re Tired

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Emotional labor is unseen. It’s the energy women spend managing other’s feelings and emotions, making people comfortable, or living up to society’s expectations… the barrage of expectations we feel from the time we’re told to be nice and polite while boys are told not to cry. It’s a thing. It’s also a weight carried by some femmes and some men, especially if they’re the main caregiver in the family.

But this is not about that kind of emotional labor.

When I read Cara Delevigne’s account of her harassment at the hands of Harvey Weinstein, I felt every word. When I heard the recording of Ambra Battilana Gutierrez pleading with Harvey Weinstein to let her leave, I felt it in my bones.

In the words these women bravely shared with us, I heard everything they felt. The fear. The confusion. The disbelief. The shame. All of those feelings are a cocktail women are forced to swallow- all while reacting, deflecting, minimizing, and smiling because maybe you misunderstood his intentions, and fighting or plotting escape.

Most of us have sipped this putrid cocktail. Many of us have had it forced down our throats more times than we can even remember. My first time? I was three years old. My “Harvey Weinstein” was a sick young man of 18 who likely had his own trauma story. My young brain went into survival mode and I lived with it like an ugly stain I chose not to look at.

What I experienced at three years old was traumatic. The things I experienced as a teen and a young woman weren’t traumatic. They were your average, run of the mill, everyday sexist things. Some small, some not so small. Awkward moments of being treated like an object but not understanding what was happening. Infuriating infractions against my autonomy. Most of them weren’t scary, but they were all tinged with fear. And they are nearly universal experiences that girls and women go through. Average. Run of the mill. Because that’s how insidious this problem is. We’re used to it. Except, we’re really not and we really never will be.

Grabbing our body. Cornering us in a room or office or hallway. Making suggestive comments. Scanning our bodies while grinning sadistically. The kisses forced on us while we push away and clench our lips, our teeth ready to bite. The demeaning remarks. Belittling our intellect or experience or our right to be in the room. Talking to us like we’re children when we had to grow up at the age of 3 or 8 or 16… the assumption that we don’t know things when our knowledge of things unspoken would make your blood run cold. And still having to coddle your knowledge because we need our job, or our kid needs to play on your team, or we need our car fixed, or insert any fucking reason because I’m tired.

All of this is emotional labor. It’s the adding up of little things and placing them on the spectrum of bullshit that women go through at the hands of sick or entitled or clueless men. It’s reliving our experiences when a friend confides hers. Or when a plot line in a movie goes there. It’s watching the debate and feeling our body grow hot because we know what it’s like to have a man try to intimidate you by standing too close. It’s watching Billy Bush play wingman and fuming because we’ve seen that bro code play out like a bad movie on repeat.

It’s getting threats online. And every woman you know who blogs or is involved in activism online also gets threats. It’s the fact that your friends have a detailed protocol they follow when harassment and threats become serious, and they’ll share it with you like it’s their grandmother’s chocolate cake recipe.

It’s remembering that back in 2014 you read about journalist Amanda Hess and her online stalker. About how she had to carry her case files with her when she travelled because his threats followed her to every town she visited and she needed to be able to alert local police and show them proof BECAUSE OF COURSE SHE HAD TO SHOW THEM PROOF. And three years later not a damn thing’s changed because Twitter and Facebook are cool with rape and death threats. It’s realizing that all of this means that women are expendable and even well known and respected journalists get shrugs of indifference. All of this makes us feel some kind of way… Tired. Angry. Frustrated. Fed up.

It’s the emotional labor of feeling all these things every single time we watch a man help himself to one of us. The sisterhood of We’ve Had Enough Of This Shit.

It’s the drip drip of everyday sexism that is more on time than the trains and more relentless than Harvey Weinstein in a bath robe.

There’s nothing more paradoxically mundane and infuriating than someone who thinks he’s clever saying and doing the same thing you’ve been hearing since you were 3 or 8 or 16.

And it’s the guilt. The guilt for being there. For laughing. For not leaving sooner. For not fighting hard enough. For not actually biting his lip even though we were this close. And the guilt we find ourselves accepting from the men who take from us. Don’t embarrass me. C’mon, I’ve been so nice to you. Guilt because we’re conditioned to carry emotional labor for others and our inclination to people please supersedes our safety for a few minutes, and then more guilt because we know it’s sick to feel guilty for hurting our abuser’s feelings.

It’s when badass women write about their harassment, their abuse, their rape. The healing and strength you get from reading it. And knowing that every time they write about it there’s a sub-reddit forming around their words to discredit and threaten them. That her unburdening and words of healing will likely just heap more abuse on her own plate.

It’s the exhaustion of not being believed. Of knowing that even the good guys may not believe our experiences until it’s corroborated by at least a dozen other women. Or until Hannibal Buress includes it in his stand up act.

It’s the time we have to spend assuring men that we know they’re not all like this. Again. And feeling equal parts sad and angry that it will take a whole chorus of us to explain it because one woman’s words have never been enough and in these moments his feelings are more important than the shit we’ve lived with and the shit we’re still reeling from. We have to press pause to explain that we know it’s not all men. We have to hold off on what we’re trying to say about abuse and assault and sexism -that’s pretty fucking important by the way- to massage a man’s feelings. Again.

It’s the fact that when the Weinsteins of the world are exposed, we still have to moderate our tone and keep our emotions in check or we’ll be labelled with the female malady of hysteria.

It’s the deafening silence of every man who doesn’t call out another guy for the rape joke, or the office banter about the new girl, or the locker room talk. Because every time you laughed or didn’t call him out or didn’t step in to intervene you became an enabler. Your silence makes you complicit. Do better.

It’s seeing that things don’t change. That these stories echo the stories of your mom getting chased around her desk in 1977. And she couldn’t quit her job because the fridge was already empty and it wasn’t pay day yet so she would survive on cigarettes and adrenaline so you and your sister could eat. It’s seeing that in 40 years the only thing that’s changed is HR has to pretend to care.

It’s the relentless onslaught of dudes who feel compelled to comment on each story of abuse and trauma in unhelpful ways. Who love to muse that women should have spoken up sooner, or women should have prevented it, or women shouldn’t be victims. Who can’t seem to understand that their job is to Listen. Stay silent. Or go after the predators. And with every chin scratch and psuedo-intellectual analysis they are kicking dirt in the face of every woman who has been dealing with this shit since they were 3 or 8 or 16.

Some of the things that happen to us are inconveniences. But because they are so tied up in the big things and sometimes they are hints of the traumas we’ve collected, they register. Because they all live on the same spectrum of abusive behavior they aren’t easily dismissed. What your bro sees as a joke, is our memory of what we’ve experienced or what our friends have whispered to us. Our lives and the onslaught of bullshit we put up with is your punchline. Even the small things take up time and energy. They make us pause and assess. They make us document or take screenshots or vent in private conversations with our girl friends so we can not snap at the next man that crosses our path because we’re tired.

I’m tired of laboring under all of this.

I’m tired of watching women go through it over and over again. I’m tired of the memories that flood my mind every time a story breaks and the visceral reaction when I see men dismiss women’s experiences. I’m tired of trudging through this virulent sludge on the regular, while men act shocked every time they see a woman with dirty shoes.

This is the emotional labor that sticks to me and buries itself into my psyche. The labor that feels like it’s siphoned off by men like Cosby and Ailes and OReilly and Weiner and  Weinstein and names you’ve never heard of because this isn’t just a sickness of the rich and famous. This is a sickness of a culture that sees women as commodities. That sees us as punchlines. As unreliable witnesses to our own experiences. It’s the emotional toll of watching men shake their heads but say nothing. It’s the emotional work we have to do to not be bitter or angry or hardened. It’s the multitude of ways we are co-opted  by the society that encourages it, enables it and even glorifies it.

Men, if you’ve been wondering why we’re in your face about it, why we have no more tolerance for dismissals and deflections, no more sympathy for your shock or surprise, why we won’t soothe your dismay or feed your ego when our bodies have been slandered, this is why.

Because we’re tired.

Signed,

The Sisterhood Of We’re Tired Of This Shit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

97 Comments

  1. As I read your article the first time, I was compiling a list of “yes, buts”: not every woman experiences this, not every man is like this…. After I finished the article, I tossed my mental list of “yes, buts” into a very real emotional wastebasket. I have always thought of the plight of women, historically, as an obscene mark of disgrace upon all men, but that the situation has improved. I understand now that it has not, and that “heartbreaking” is not a strong enough description of this ongoing travesty with which all women are forced to deal. As a result of two weeks of being haunted by the article, I have decided to assign it to a class of high school juniors and seniors as an analysis piece. There are those that may feel this is too harsh a subject for teenagers, but the harshness of this affront is already their reality. The only way we can improve this situation is to shine the light of justice upon it, to bring it into public view for well-deserved and long-needed scrutiny. High school is the best place to start, in my opinion.

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  2. Poignant, but vital.

    On Sun, Oct 15, 2017 at 3:19 PM, Drifting Through wrote:

    > Gretchen Kelly posted: ” Emotional labor is unseen. It’s the energy women > spend managing other’s feelings and emotions, making people comfortable, or > living up to society’s expectations… the barrage of expectations we feel > from the time we’re told to be nice and polite while ” >

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  3. In the last 72 hours I have been accused of being a man-hater. Yes, that old chestnut! This, despite the fact that I was married to a man for 30 years. A man who is as appalled as I am about the abusive and sexist behaviour of the male gender as a whole. Are people of colour called ‘white people-haters’ when they, justifiably, get angry, name and speak out about the abuse perpetrated on them? Are gay people called ‘heterosexual-haters’ when they, justifiably, get angry, name and speak out about the abuse perpetrated on them? So why are women called man-haters when they, justifiably, get angry, name and speak out about the abuse perpetrated on them? Women hate the violence, sexual harassment and abusive behaviour, not men. Why wouldn’t we be angry? It cannot be denied that the violence and abuse experienced by both sexes is perpetrated mostly by men – as is evident in the ‘me too’ campaign. You just have to watch the world news, as I have done every night since I was a child, to see that, 9 times out of 10, it is men who are doing the killing, raping, assaulting and harassing. Have I, over the last 5 decades, witnessed women in their millions killing and raping men, children or other women? No. Are there refuges all over the world overflowing with men who have been beaten half to death by women? No. Who is raping those young boys in institutions? Women? I think not. In Australia, 4 women are murdered at the hands of a violent male every week? Are 4 men murdered every week at the hands of a violent woman? Not to my knowledge. I am tired of men saying ‘me too’ and making this issue about them. If men want to stand in solidarity then maybe they can support the ‘me too’ campaign by saying they support it or better still create a campaign which targets men and challenges the male-dominant hierarchy. I will not pussyfoot around this issue for fear of being labelled and dismissed as an ‘angry woman’ by men. I am pissed off with men’s abusive, sexist and murderous behaviour and I will say so. It needs to be named. Men should be naming it. Why aren’t they out there screaming from the rooftops? It is up to men to take responsibility and effect change from within their culture of toxic masculinity instead of paying lip service or saying ‘but I’m not like that’ or ‘that happened to me too’ and diluting the message to which women are trying to bring attention.

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      1. Hi Doug. Totally agree with the comment in the article I.e. ‘we need to make some social changes to, 1. Give women a safer employment environment free of predatory males, 2. Enact laws if necessary, 3. Raise a social awareness.’ What do you think is the best way to go about making those things happen? Kind regards, Katherine

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        1. Well, Katherine, in the here-and-now of it all one of the ideas I had would be relatively easy to implement and not cause business or government a ton of money. Make it a federal mandate but enforce on the state level… we have HR forms for insurance, filing EEOC complaints, Worksman’s Comp claims… I see nothing wrong with going down to your HR ( or obtaining a form online) to file a sexual harassment claim, one copy to HR (or the business) and one goes to the state. The state retains the filing for two reasons… as a followup to make sure the company has investigated the claim in a timely manner (say, 30 days) and what action was agreed for the employee. Obviously HR will use their filing to initiate an internal investigation.. knowing full well that they will have to answer to the state in a timely manner on a decision. Also… the state will have a record of the filing in the event there’s a trend coming from one company.

          If the harassment was such that it crossed legal lines then obviously the victim would have to file a police report and that has it’s own progression. But I am talking harassment of the kind most women receive in the workplace, similar to the stunts Weinstein pulled. While this forces a company to actually investigate the claim it also forces the company into creating a solution to the complaint amicable to all parties. Filing this form isn’t an automatic “the SOB gets fired” result. It’s also not going to result in the company cutting the complainant a check for $5k for her bad day at work. That kind of judgment would have to fall under civil litigation. Likely most solutions will be to separate the two parties in their roles in the company as a first step But the major point of all this… there is now a record and the company can’t just wash it away… and retribution would be far more difficult.

          But honestly, this issue goes way beyond this solution. This idea only serves the immediate work-related issues of sexual harassment. I could go on and on with this.

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        1. To presume men are alone in the vacuum of human interaction would be a mistake. Your link suggests the idea of addressing masculinity.. or the general idea of what really makes a man a man. I think if we go down this road we also have to explore what makes a woman a woman.. and not because of some knee-jerk pissing match between genders but rather because so much of what makes up our individual genders coincides with the expectations, true or imagined, one gender acts toward another. Remember, our sole role of existing according to nature is to reproduce.. hence there is a natural and unconscious gender role of seduction going on. And NO.. that does NOT mean we all need or even want sex with each other. It means our genders have been conditioned to adapt to separate roles to attract… or not.

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    1. This hit me like a ton of bitter memory-infused bricks. My experience with sexual harassment changed because I underwent transition from being a closeted trans girl living as a boy to just living as a woman. When I was young and living as a boy, I was demonstrably feminine which attracted a lot of physical abuse but also sexual harassment and attention from older men, sexually charged teasing and belittling from guys my age and a general belittling of my impulses and feelings. I had no language to describe what that did to me at the time, I just lived with it and internalized the shame. But fast forward to my post-transition life and the difference between the harassment I got before as a femmy boy and the harassment I get now as a woman is night and day. As a woman, I deal with general, everyday sexism of course, having my opinion less respected, being accused of being “emotional” if I express any dissent from the males in the room, being ignored at work, being told I’m overreacting and it’s my “imagination” when I object to a former male friend grabbing my ass and verbally perving on me, etc. But worse than all of that is the knowledge that my body and personhood are seen as belonging to others, particularly to men. I saw this last year when the x-ray tech rubbed himself against me from behind while putting me in the upright x-ray machine and I left wondering if I had imagined it and not wanting to raise a fuss but knowing he had done it. I saw this living in Seoul when guys would try to feel me up on the subway. The list is too long to enumerate upon and I have only been living in my correct gender for 5 years. I think of how that has changed me and how it has impacted my confidence, self-esteem and emotions and the fact that most girls have been dealing with this since they were really young kind of breaks my heart. I’m not the same person I was because of it. And when I object, when I say what is bothering me, when I express how I feel about it, my feelings are dismissed even by guys that have known me for years and I am expected to be understanding of the men involved. I’m tired of it. I could SOOOO relate to the feelings expressed in this article.

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  4. This is copied from my interaction on DRIFTING THROUGH – “Welcome to the inner workings of my mind”
    “Women Are Not Here For You. You Do Not Own Us.”

    The responses it garnered are eye-opening.

    deepthought64 says:
    May 28, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    And it’s SOOO bloody sad that men are governed by their gonads. If only men’s intellect and intelligence could match the size of their balls we might have solved 90% of the world’s problems by now. If only the testosterone-driven male had a fraction of the insight and intuition of women they might have made a better fist of their relationships, but they choose instead to make a fist round their members and sow their seed into tissues. All the while ogling porn and fantasizing about the ways they could use and abuse the women they hate. If a tiny portion of the imagination they put into thinking about how to harm or dominate their mothers, sisters, cousins and neighbours was applied to redressing the destruction they cause to our environment by their manic lust for power, wealth and property we might not be facing extinction. And before you say we are not just Google “Probability of Human Extinction”.

    So a woman changed her mind, well, I’m amazed. She played a little hard to get because all her life she’s been told that men don’t really want a woman who gives in too easily, that such women are sluts that you wouldn’t take home to mother. Pity men aren’t judged by such standards, shame they think that being a Jack The Lad is a badge of honour instead of proving how shallow and insecure they are.

    After countless millennia of repression, suppression and oppression women are finally seeing some redress of the balance of power. Men are finally being forced to accept responsibility for THEIR actions and they don’t like it. The Pussy-grabbers and self-appointed judges of the limits THEY place on Female independence and freedom are terrified of their loss of Supremacy. Because they know that once women attain their rightful place as the MAJORITY gender their power will have to be shared equally or they will lose it all. It’s pitiful and demeaning how men think so little of themselves that they can only justify their existence by the degree to which they deny the value of those who gave them life, changed their nappies and bandaged their bloody knees. You misogynistic and self-pitying man-babies cast shame on all men.

    Here is a thought for you to ponder. Those who put the blame for their life experiences on the shoulders of others also give them the power for their weaknesses and failures. Powerless to change the past and unable to grow into the future they remain stuck in the quagmire of their own making.

    Time to grow up and start asking yourselves, “what lesson can I take from that experience, how can use what I’ve learned to grow into a better, more self-actuating human being and stop blaming others for my own inadequacies?” It’s a shame so few of you will even ask the question let alone seek the answers.

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    1. Do you have a point? What’s your argument? P.S. Before saying that God made it this way, check also the theory of evolution. It’s obvious you need to question your mind in many aspects.

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    2. And God made these people to:
      Intersex people are born with any of several variations in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals that, according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, “do not fit the typical definitions for male or female bodies”.[1][2] Such variations may involve genital ambiguity, and combinations of chromosomal genotype and sexual phenotype other than XY-male and XX-female.[3][4]
      Types include:

      17-beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase deficiency
      5-alpha reductase deficiency
      Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome – AIS
      Ambiguous genitalia
      Aphallia
      Clitoromegaly
      Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia – CAH
      Cryptorchidism
      Endocrine-disrupting chemicals
      Gonadal dysgenesis, partial or complete
      Hypospadias
      Iatrogenic
      Idiopathic
      Kallmann syndrome
      Klinefelter Syndrome
      Late Onset Adrenal Hyperplasia – LOAH
      Micropenis
      Mild Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome – MAIS
      Mosaicism involving sex chromosomes
      MRKH – Müllerian agenesis; vaginal agenesis; congenital absence of vagina
      Not XX and not XY
      Ovotestis, formerly called “true hermaphroditism”
      Partial Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome – PAIS
      Progestin-induced virilization
      Swyer syndrome
      Turner syndrome
      XXY

      Liked by 1 person

      1. May I please quote the *learned* part of your comment elsewhere from time to time, unattributed?

        I didn’t think that your comment was really addressed to what Defeed was saying, but I don’t think that what Defeed said was terrible relevant to the post either.

        Defeed was saying that there are two sexes, and not to be misandrous just because one was abused sexually by a male when a child, and subsequently. That was insensitive. But you tried to refute Defeed’s “get over it” comment, by pointing out that there were various intersex people as well as normal males and females. As a response to Defeed, I didn’t feel that that worked. However, that’s not important in the big scheme of things, or even for present purposes.

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    1. I think that Drifting Through and Gretchen Kelly are the same person, so it looks like she plagiarized herself–which is fine.

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  5. You and every woman out there as every right to be enraged, this women are fair game culture is am insult to the women and the sad low life’s that perpetrate it, too many turn a blind eye to this kind of abuse. It must stop!

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    1. I would say that it is partly due to the minimisation of sexual assault: Boys will be boys. You can’t blame a guy for trying. It’s just banter.

      These are just ways in which we create this idea that such “pussy-grabbing” sentiments are seen as inevitable and natural. Look at the response to a woman when she claims her husband doesn’t watch porn: a knowing wink and laughter at her naivety. Because hey, all men do it.

      And then of course some women, just like some men, voted for him because they are idiots.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You may be an idiot yourself. Sme people might have voted for him because they felt he would be a change from Obama/Clinton (read: Soros) debacle.

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        1. …by surrendering their morality on what is wrong about making women victims of sexual abuse?? Was hating Obama/Clinton worth enabling Trump as a sexual predator?
          Let’s place this in current terms. Was the trade off worth it given the chaos and division of today?

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    2. I think most voters vote tactically, *against* candidates they fear or despise more, rather than voting enthusiastically, “for” candidates they fear and despise less. Clinton won Trump’s election campaign for him.

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      1. Certainly it seems to point in that direction, my friend. Somehow the intense hatred against Hillary was of greater value than voting “for the devil” (and I use that term as a metaphor and not to assign some religious villainy). Well.. now look where the nation is. Ye reap what ye sow.
        Most certainly as it relates to Gretchen’s post here.. people voted for the same person that makes up Weinstein’s sexual persona.

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        1. I think you made my point. This vitriolic divisiveness is way out of control in this country. This person wishes me, a total stranger, to die because she apparently loves Trump and what he stands for.. even if he’s still a sexual predator.

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    3. The ones that voted for 45 have been brainwashed from birth to think that no woman should ever run anything. So, they voted for the white man.

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    4. I think it possible if not probable it is a result of Conditioning. In the same way that those who experience Stockholm Syndrome in which they come to identify with and even sympathise with their abuser/s will excuse or embrace the ideology or rationale to the point in extreme cases where they espouse it too. One has to take into account the literally constant and continuous brainwashing that the Female gender has been subjected to almost since the first appearance of Homo sapiens on this planet.

      What I find amazing is that ANY women have discovered the courage, strength of character and sheer grit to challenge the orthodoxy and refuse to be cowed by it.

      There is also a well-known psychological phenomenon in which some people will side with a position they KNOW to be wrong in order to protect their own position or advantages to the extent that they will foster and encourage those attitudes and participate in furthering them. These individuals are less worthy of sympathy or acceptance. An instance that springs to mind and that is very relevant in that the consequences it brings were fatal to the victims was the cooperation of influential Jews in Warsaw with the NAZI oppressors in identifying and cataloguing those to be shipped to the Gas Chambers.

      Some Humans are willing to countenance the greatest horrors to others if it means their own survival or prosperity. Just look at Gropers today happy to watch millions lose their Health Coverage in order to enrich themselves.

      If there is one certainty I have been forced to accept it is that Man’s (or Woman’s) Inhumanity To Man (And Woman) knows no bounds or limits in too many instances.

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      1. What you say has a measure of sense to it. But I’m a humanist and I do problem-solve in pragmatic ways so I will also tend to align myself with nearly a million of years of not only social conditioning but instinctual evolution. As I say very often these days.. gropers and power-manipulating predators are not one bit new to the 21st century.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Likely many do, Kimberly. But that doesn’t seem to say much for female empowerment in society and asserting their independent thought, does it?.
        There are also a fair number of “people” (sadly i sense more women) who just plain do not follow politics, for a myriad of life’s reasons. So they default toward the person they most respect. But to keep it in context a bit… we all have one vote and with that comes the freedom to use it as we wish. Hence there is no “right” or “wrong” way to reason your vote. The fact I may give intense thought and be a news junkie to try and stay informed so I can use my vote effectively is just as valid as the person who could care less about politics and maybe flips a coin in the voting booth.

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  6. I believe that we have
    Experience this in one way
    Or the.other the words are interchangeable
    What makes this hard because if you have
    Live with it,hearing about.how long this guy
    Was allow to walk around this a.kicker of this all

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  7. You have described this beautifully. It’s exhausting to hear these stories because they always remind me of that time when…..or that other time when a trusted confident….or when I was scared because he…..or when that manager at work….. It’s an endless G-Damn loop and I need to prepare my daughter for it and that pissed me off the most.

    Liked by 6 people

  8. It’s the deafening silence of every man who doesn’t call out another guy for the rape joke, or the office banter about the new girl, or the locker room talk. Because every time you laughed or didn’t call him out or didn’t step in to intervene you became an enabler. Your silence makes you complicit. Do better.

    That is the one thing I have made a change in, and will teach to my son. We are the solution, we have to speak up early and speak up often. It will not be a path to popularity, but it is the right path to take.

    Too often as a younger man I didn’t speak up. I am sorry.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Wow, Richard. I’d love to see more comments like yours online.

      I’ve always wonder “where are the MEN in this conversation?” If they want us to believe that they are not ALL “like that” – where are their voices? Thank you so much for this comment. VERY impactful. Your son will grow up to be a man we ALL can be proud to know.

      As far as Twitter and Facebook being “cool with rape and death threats” – they are unlikely to change as long as WE keep enabling them with our attention and patronage. If women and male supporters would stop using those platforms – and send a letter explaining WHY, I think heads would snap noticing how fast things would change. Follow the money.

      As for Agent Orange and HIS behavior – unconscionable and inexcusable. EVEN if I had once been a supporter (and I was NOT), I couldn’t look myself in the mirror if I had voted for him after his behavior and beliefs about women became public. HOW do those people face their daughters? What are they saying to their sons?
      xx,
      mgh
      (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
      ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
      “It takes a village to transform a world!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. YESSSSS. PREACH GIRL. I hate that I have to love this. But it’s so damn true.
    “There’s nothing more paradoxically mundane and infuriating than someone who thinks he’s clever saying and doing the same thing you’ve been hearing since you were 3 or 8 or 16.”

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Right on, sister! I’m going to share this with every woman I know. Fantastic compliation/explanation of why we are tired. Thank you! Patricia

    >

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  11. Hello Gretchen,

    Greetings to you from Athens, Greece!

    This is a great piece. Covers so much. Reading it is like: Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, and Yeeeees! Every point you make is essential. Correct. Crystal clear and spot on.

    I believe also it’s time we insist on active solidarity from self proclaimed “good men” rather than accept their passive alliances. It’s 2017, more than time for men to acknowledge that women’s rights are human rights, more than time to walk the talk,more than time to stand with women and girls when they see or hear about out everything from casual “everyday” sexism to full scale abuse. Time for men to stand side by side with women and girls and become active feminists.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Those of us who have get the same abuse, condemnation and vitriol from the Mansplainers, Exploiters, Cowards and Entitlement Promoters as Women do. I accept it gladly because I know it means I have struck home and called out the Misogynistic Man-boys. Their anger is proof of the paucity of morals and decency they claim as strength of character or position.

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  12. Thanks for that release, Gretchen. Throughout my life in Guyana, Brazil, and here in the USA, I’ve faced sexual harassment from bosses, friends of my father, and male friends. Even as a Catholic nun! I share this experience in my novel, The Twisted Circle, that I’m currently shopping for a literary agent/publisher.

    Like

  13. I am not happy about this piece. I am not happy that you have had to write this piece. I am definitely not happy that this is the everyday, common or garden experience of, I venture to say, virtually every female ever born on this planet. I am decidedly not happy that so many men will seek to down-play, down-grade or outright deny your experience and use any pathetic excuse to absolve themselves of responsibility.

    I have a spiritual (not Religious) belief in the concept of Transmigration of the Soul, maybe out of self-delusion or a need to make sense of a senseless existence or simply because it feels right. Whatever the reality my personal philosophy is based on the notion of becoming. Of a process of continuous spiritual and existential development that requires I (the Essential Me) experience ALL aspects of the Human Condition in order to fully become a complete Human Being. That means that my incarnation in this life as a Man, Father, Brother, Son, Husband and latterly Celibate (from choice) Divorcee is only one small fragment of my Soul’s journey. I believe with all my heart that other lives have been lived or will be lived in the body of a woman, a slave, an oppressor and a victim. For this reason and because I am driven to aspire to a greatness of spirit and not that of a cowardly bully I can no more think of oppressing a woman than I would oppress myself. Every human ever conceived began with the potential to be male AND female. To my fellow males I ask you to imagine yourself as a woman victimised by men. Because in another life you may well be.

    Sorry to bring the metaphysical into the discussion. I doubt many men will even consider the proposition. For me the chances of Human Survival lie with the Feminine and Female aspects of Homo sapiens. :Left to Men, Humanity is on a one-way trip to Extinction.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “I am decidedly not happy that so many men will seek to down-play, down-grade or outright deny your experience”

      I bet none of the world’s men actually do any of these three things. I hope that gradually you become less not happy, as you realise that this isn’t going to happen after all.

      “and use any pathetic excuse to absolve themselves of responsibility.”

      What responsibility are you referring to, for the infliction of the said experience?

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      1. I knew a man had written this before I even went back to look. While you may not think you will have any of the reactions you mentioned, you shouldn’t discount the reactions many men ( and women) will have.

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        1. I am willing to bet with you that no “reactions” at all will ever be published here (or at least within, say, a week, so I have a bet with you I can actually win – deal?), that (as “deepthought64” put it) “down-play, down-grade or outright deny” the bad experience of the author, when she was three – experience she had with a man who was eighteen at the time – disgusting! Time will tell whose predictions are more accurate, mine, or yours and Deep Thought’s.

          Harvey What’s-His-Neim wasn’t working for official The Patriarchy, within our rules, when he did the workplace sex harassment thang to various Hollywood starlets and no-doubt scrumptious underlings of his (allegedly). Allegedly, Harvey broke our rules, like a rampant, predatory son-of-a-bitch, ill-disciplined like a bastard child of matriarchy, not a proper son, oblivious of the property laws that decreed which chap presently owned the rights to the particular women-and-girls chattels he wanted to man-handle from time to time.

          Check it out. Who am I? Do a “who is” query on the domain Patriarchy.org.uk. You’ll find out that I own that domain.

          You’ll never be able to smash The Patriarchy. We are too powerful. But we aren’t quite powerful enough yet to destroy rogues like Harvey as soon as they transgress. For that, we need the help of you girls. The Patriarchy is a sort-of charity. Wimmin-and-girls are beneficiaries.

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      2. Men have already responded before during and after the fact to posts just like this one. Perhaps a stroll through the self-justifying and gender-motivated attacks on THIS link will open your eyes.

        https://driftingthrough.com/2017/05/06/women-are-not-here-for-you-you-do-not-own-us/#comment-19208

        Your assertion Quote
        “I bet none of the world’s men actually do any of these three things. I hope that gradually you become less not happy, as you realise that this isn’t going to happen after all.

        “and use any pathetic excuse to absolve themselves of responsibility.”
        was redundant before you made it unfortunately. You lost the bet even as it was taken.

        In my own career as a psychotherapist I listened to many men explaining how it was the woman’s fault that they had beaten her. That the frail subject of their violence deserved what she got just for being there. That it was their Mother’s fault or the sister who had teased them or the culture that allowed women to dress as they pleased, think what they wanted or act in self-interest. To be fair I also experienced first-hand the determined and deliberate provocation to the point of violence of a woman I was in a relationship with who literally followed me from room to room and down the street when alcohol had robbed her of self-awareness.

        However I did not extrapolate from her specific emotional and psychological instability to the general justification of abuse towards women that was and is excused by men as “she deserved it”. Her demons were hers alone. I have never used them to generalise the individual weaknesses or behaviours of women in particular.

        Perhaps you think from a Western “civilised” perspective as you ignore the Tribal Council authorised gang-rapes of young female children from Africa to India, the Middle East to the Orient. Or the Japanese culture of public sexual assault, or the selling of child-brides in Asia, the East European networks of traffickers, or the quaint British concept of “she’s no better than she ought to be”.

        Truth be told, the denigration of the female perspective is as old as the hills and as widespread.

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        1. I did actually read that earlier post, but didn’t comment.

          What I was saying was only that I didn’t believe that “many men” would “seek to down-play, down-grade or outright deny” the writer’s experience. As it happens, I haven’t noticed that any have even now, ON THIS PAGE. However, I might not have read every comment.

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        2. Gretchen Kelly wrote BOTH Blogs, the link I gave demonstrates quite clearly the response that many men feel is appropriate to any woman’s complaint about her treatment or experience. As I said the comments have already been made. Perhaps Gretchen has had the good sense to block those men who have denigrated her reality so that they cannot spread their misogyny to this post. I don’t know how WordPress works.

          If she did, I wouldn’t blame her.

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  14. First off, I agree with the tired part, your words are excellent. I am not trying to derail a justified conversation about the crap that goes on, I believe completely. I want to honestly ask, how can men help? What do we say to the water cooler conversation that demeans women, when the perpetrator is the person who signs your check or has control of your career advancement, ( not suggesting that something doesn’t need to be said – but trying to bring awareness that men also are affected by pressure to conform or not make waves etc), what do we say to our children about sexism? What do we say to our friends that are victimized by sexism, our sons and daughters who are confused about this issue? I want to help, I want people to treat each other with respect and dignity. I want all people to be free of this crap behaviours, to be able to reach out with no fear when it does happen to be able to be believed to be able to heal and to be able to be supported. How do men help, most effectively? I applaud Terry Crews for admitting that he also was victimized by a person in the industry. Maybe more men coming forward and admitting how they where treated and what feelings they had could be a start to get the conversations going? I am not saying that men being victimized is the only reason for this to be ‘fixed’ just trying to give more people food for thought- if a ‘240 lb black man’ had difficulty addressing this issue when it happened to him (due to perceptions of how a physical response would be perceived) – how difficult for another person who is smaller in stature etc. I feel that the conversation needs to address that abuses by people in positions of trust and authority, need to cause an appropriate response regardless of who the victim of that abuse is, weather it is a woman, child, or man. They are all people, they all are hurt and degraded by the abuse and the problem needs to be addressed for the betterment of all. I would only add that, people choose to react to these situations in a variety of ways for many reasons, but I think that many times the victims and bystanders need some time to process what has happened and to think about the response. We need to hold ourselves to a higher standard and also do hold our coworkers, friends, and family to that same standard. It is ok if others don’t agree with my ideas, I just want to get honest open communication going, so hopefully we can change things going forward.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. THANK YOU. I devoured this when I got it in my Inbox this morning. This work gets to feeling like I’m pounding on a brick wall. Even more so, sadly, with the “nice” guys who “don’t do this.” I need THOSE men to speak up, because too often they stay silent, or they don’t investigate the ways in which they STILL propagate sexism against women. (Because they dooooo. All the time)
    This gave me courage to keep speaking up too, because it gets so damn tiring… but knowing you are out there still speaking gives me courage to keep going. I’m not in this alone. Grateful for you, Gretchen!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I am so glad women have women like you to speak out about this kind of thing. I am also glad women like me (who have not…because let’s not go there) have women like you to still fight for us when we’re in the shadows on the sidelines cheering you because we were never in the ring. It is GUTTING that women like you are put in the ring and disgusting that men put you there…but so heartening to know you’re not taking it, any of it, lying down. I am ON SIDE ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Beautifully said, Gretchen! You have encompassed everything I have felt – and that millions of women have felt – and how we still ask ourselves: What else could I have done? In other words, was it somehow still my fault?

    Brilliant rebuttal of “my fault”!

    Sincerely,

    Helle Patterson.

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    1. It is NEVER a victim’s fault that predators, power-hungry sociopaths or just plain thoughtless caricatures of Human Beings (of both genders) feel the need to demean or belittle others in order to bolster their own fragile egos. It is sad that so many damaged children grow up to be damaging Grown Ups (NOT Adults).

      Like

  18. Thank you for sharing your true and deep gift with the world! This is one of the most powerful shares I’ve ever read. Deep bow to you. Much love, Miriam

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I sit here trying to find right words. I’ve seen plenty of the defensive, “We’re not all like that.” comments to women’s stories, too often followed by something clueless or patronizing, or, worse of the, “See how those angry women paint us all with the same brush.” kind. So, what’s real right now? I’m sad+angry at the wrong that is so deeply woven into this culture that this speaking out is needed (The second such I’ve read this morning and reblogged). Thank you, Gretchen

    Liked by 4 people

    1. What culture are you referring to? What different culture have you lived in that doesn’t have wrong woven into it?

      I think the reason for the defensive “We’re not all like that” comments you’ve noticed, to other examples of sad testimony of abuse laced with everyday, generalising misandry, is the political correctness nowadays, that seems to see misogyny as something taboo to be “called”, whilst misandry is seen as a coherent, quasi-Marxist ideology to be dissented from only on peril of facing heresy charges. That imbalance makes people nervous.

      Masculism, Feminism and the Euro Tunnel
      https://johnallmanuk.wordpress.com/2015/02/16/masculism/

      This particular piece of prose-poetry was good, in comparison to some of the rants of the same genre on the internet.

      Like

      1. John, I was referring to the predominant culture of what is generally called Western Civilization, which does have a long historically documented bias toward patriarchal social organization which supports the practices and behaviors of which the author complains. And, yes, no culture is without problems, conflicts, and injustice.

        As for misogyny and misandry, neither is undeserving of meta-comment as at least gross over generalization. I do not see what the author has said here as an expression of misandry. Rather, it is a description of lived experience related to abusive behavior in which some men appear to feel privileged to engage toward women and girls. If I were the object of such behavior and expected to tolerate it, I would be mad as Hell. So, I must ask you, how can it be right or just that one gender should be granted more privilege in relation to, and control over, the other, in either direction?

        Liked by 2 people

        1. “Western Civilization … [has] … a long historically documented bias toward patriarchal social organization”

          Maybe so. Patriarchy in the sense of who one’s dad is being important socially. That what you mean by “patriarchal social organisation”?

          “which supports the practices and behaviors of which the author complains”

          I don’t see the connection between patriarchy (as I understand the term) and these practices.

          “how can it be right or just that one gender should be granted more privilege in relation to, and control over, the other, in either direction?”

          I’m not at all sure that it can be “right or just”, so I’m the last person to ask *how* it can be right or just.

          Like

        2. First, definition: Patriarchy – definition from the Oxford English Dictionary
          1 A system of society or government in which the father or eldest male is head of the family and descent is reckoned through the male line.
          ‘the thematic relationships of the ballad are worked out according to the conventional archetypes of the patriarchy’
          1. 1.1 A system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it.
          ‘the dominant ideology of patriarchy’
          1.2count noun A society or community organized on patriarchal lines.
          ‘we live in a patriarchy’
          2.
          Origin
          Mid 17th century: via medieval Latin from Greek patriarkhia, from patriarkhēs ‘ruling father’ (see patriarch).

          In the present context, it is that second, derivative, definition that is most relevant. It speaks to an imbalance of presumed privilege, control, and authority (i.e., “power”) between males and females. It is precisely that real or perceived difference in “power”, taken as “the natural order of things”, supported in custom, sometimes codified in law, and often justified in religious doctrine and scripture, that some experience as giving them the permission, or the right, or even the duty to impose their will and desires upon another of the lesser class without consent or consultation. That is the connection between patriarchy and the abuse of females by males. It is the idea that men are to rule and women are to obey and summit regardless of their own will or desires.

          Across any of the many ways that such imbalances of “power” can be manifested – Male visa vie female, light skinned visa vie darker skinned, wealthy visa vie less wealthy, and, since Mr. Marx got mentioned, the owners of the tools visa vie the wielders of the tools of production, those who hold the “power” are most comfortable seeing that situation as “natural”, “inevitable”, “rightfully earned”, or “divinely ordained”. Thus, they are inclined to see any of the lesser class who complain of an abuse of that power as mistaken, ungrateful, radical, dangerous, malicious, even insane. And, they fear to loose that power and become the subject class, or even be destroyed. They are in a zero-sum game.

          I prefer to seek the non-zero-sum relationship, the win-win. Perhaps that is why women speaking as does this author don’t frighten me.

          Liked by 3 people

      2. Misandry in this system is justified, i don’t see too many people talking about how it is unfair to talk about shark attacks it is true. When over 80% of all violent crimes and rape a committed a one gender(men) anything less than misandry is pure foolishness and lack of self-preservation. It is shocking to see that despite all the power men have in the world they are still as fragile mentally as 2-year-olds unable to self-evaluate and see anyone else’s side. You are a prime example of every sad and patheic characteristic she talked about in her article. You can’t seem to tolerate the fact that some other more well-evolved men can see there is a problem and are trying to help, don’t worry you will go the way of the dodo. I am only thankful not to be a position be around you either as a family member or as a colleague because you are the epitome of a toxic male(not man) male.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. “You are a prime example of every sad and patheic [sic] characteristic she talked about in her article.”

          From this sentence onwards, your comment contained nothing except a verbal attack on me, based upon nothing whatsoever that I have written on this page, and therefore presumably completely unfounded. I might be as horrid as you say. But you have no way of knowing that.

          Specifically about rape, in the UK, the definition of “rape” is such that only way in which a woman can commit rape is as the accomplice of a male rapist who does the actually raping. Inevitably, therefore, 100% of rape offences are committed by men, rather than women. That is why I have argued for the abolition of the offence of rape, here:
          Abolish rape!
          https://johnallmanuk.wordpress.com/2015/03/07/abolish-rape/

          You are correct that a large majority of violent crime is committed by males, albeit mostly against other males. An exception is domestic violence offences, which are committed roughly as often by men as by women in the English-speaking world. I am told that the majority of domestic violence is committed by men rather than women in South America, where the culture is different.

          But none of this detracts from the beauty of the text. It is prick to the conscience of every man who has ever looked upon a woman with improper lust, that what he did on that occasion, rather than being appreciated, may be making the woman feel as bad as this writer explains she feels herself when this happens to her. Her feelings are raw and real and elegantly expressed in this prose-poem. I have responded to this piece by renewing my covenant with my eyes, like Job’s with his, not to look lustfully upon a young woman. I think that this is probably all I can offer.

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      3. Oh, well then, let’s just ignore 100,000 years (minimum) or so of male domination, destruction of our planet, oppression and repression of female intellect, emotional stability, talents and gifts and focus on the long overdue payback that men are now rightly experiencing and blow their little noses, dry their eyes and give them all a cuddle. Just as they never have done for women. (With a VERY few notable exceptions).

        Like

  20. Thank you again for you words of wisdom……to me, they are a cool drink of water on a hot day. Just know, your time spent wordsmithing is a gift to many. Kindly, Sarah Hess

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, President Clinton should be included. In fact, Hillary should be included as well because she enabled her husband and even viciously attacked every accuser.

      Like

      1. This “enabling” thing is a fad term that’s getting a lot of play across all social issues and not just this one. Honestly, when you get down to third and fourth generation enabling (broadening the blame), that gets a bit much. My point is that the women who voted for Trump (and men) not only fed his impetus for thinking he got away with it (enabling) but also decided that women who were victims of his abuse were just a trade off for political expediency. I then ask you, was their suffering worth what we have now in America? More to the point, if any of you women who voted for him were groped or anything worse by that guy would you have still voted for him?
        I am glad the outrage of abuse against women is finally seeing more light. There sure seems to be a lot of “enabling” to go around, ya think?

        Like

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