so. there has been a whole lot of talk this week, in light of the Elliot Rodger shooting. in fact, there has been a lot of conversation floating around lately about a lot of things. feminism. rape culture. self entitled (white) males. gun violence. the violent culture of america. gun rights. mental illness . . .it goes on and on and a lot of it is interwoven. i get completely overwhelmed at times, trying to wrap my brain around our culture. and trying to boil down my thoughts on the issues into a blog post that makes sense, seems a like kind of a big task. but i’m going to do my best..
entitlement. this gets bantered around a lot. so, from the gist of what I’ve read, this guy was pissed off about not being able to date the women he felt entitled to date.(insert disclaimer about the other 800 things that complicate this story…) and there were various articles talking about our entertainment and how we portray the nerd. the fat guy. the this, the that… getting the hot girl. well yeah. we do. how many sitcoms are based on this? currently its the nerd thing. the nerdy guy gets the hot girl. 10 years ago it was the fat guy. it was a weird sitcom precedence, but i didnt see a surge in fat guys shooting up college campuses when they didnt get the head cheerleader. so you know. maybe this all didnt happen because of seth rogan . . .
(just bear with me, this is gonna get rambly)
there has been a shit storm lately of “feminist” talk. in particular a few celebrities have been singled out for saying shit that wasn’t considered “feminist” enough, even tho they are women. and this kind of pisses me off. i remember when i decided i was going to stay home and raise my babies. and there was a part of me, as a child raised in the ’70’s, that felt like a failed feminist. why do we have to define our independence? why do we have to put such a stringent focus on feminism. you know what? when i’m in a relationship, i like someone who can take the lead. that doesnt mean i don’t have free will, or equal say. sometimes i just like a man to be a man and man the fuck up and take the lead. I can still say no. I can still offer an alternative. and i can still run a chain saw and fix the sink. why does this have to make me a shitty feminist? but according to the internets, it does. i don’t care. i believe in women. i support them and i fight for them. and sometimes tell me where we are going for damn dinner. i like a strong partner. if i was a lesbian would that make me less of a feminist, or more of one? god i get confused.
rape culture. this is where things start to get funky for me. i’ve really been thinking about this a lot. and tonight i had two experiences that were . . well…. contrasts comes to mind.
the first was in the tool isle at walmart. you know that last isle before automotive and after paint where you never really run into anyone because who buys power tools at walmart? i was looking for shop vac filters but thats another story. i’m in the isle and i’m in my own little world and this . . i have to say kid because he couldn’t have been more than 25, approaches me. and let me state, i do think there was somethign “off” about him. His speech was such that he was either a) mentally off or b) high as fuck. either way he approached me by getting directly into my personal space and stared with a heyyyyyy, how are yoouuuu doin’ . . . .? and here is where i always surprise myself, because i am insanely polite to people who invade my personal space and make me uncomfortable. i don’t understand it, and i’ll get into that a bit more in a minute. so he says “so, do you have a boyfriend?”,then he puts his hand on my hip and mumbles something unintelligible. and in my head i’m thinking “really? ” but this type of thing happens. and not every 10 years or something. people approach you, people hit on you and people touch you without asking. yes, usually its people who are drunk. or high. or “off”. but it happens and it doesnt surprise me as often as it maybe should. but so much talk has been going on lately, and i was hyper aware, and also a little . . nervous standing in this isle with literally no one around and i grabbed his hand and removed it from my person and said very directly “I’m here shopping for my kids, and i’m leaving now” and then because there is something inherently wired in me to be polite, I told him to have a good night. and off i went. What made this really interesting to me, was not 10 minutes prior i was chatting with the owner of a bad ass Camero in the parking lot about his super cherry 67 he had just picked up, and he asked me the same question. but from a distance of 3 feet. .like a normal person. and i didnt feel the need to be overly polite. i was regular polite. which leads me to another story.
a few years ago i was out with my work peeps in Chicago at our favorite little dive bar and there was a very drunk patron there, and he kept wanting to talk to me. and when i would head to the restroom he would stop me and make me talk to him. and for like 20 minutes ( or 100 hours as it felt like) he tried to convince me i should go out with him. and on a good day there is no fucking way. and the whole time i’m thinking, why am i talking to this guy? he’s grabbing my hands and touching me and i’m not leaving. i’m trying to talk to him rationally and be polite and I’m getting more and more frustrated and later i’m like “self, why didnt you just WALK THE FUCK AWAY?” because that would be mean. and rude. and there have been enough times in my life that i’ve had men berate me for not giving them the attention they felt they deserved when they approached me. or asked me out. how many times have you, female friends, been called a cunt, or a frigid bitch or some other lovely sentiment by a man you tired to blow off in a bar? so you smile and placate and try to be nice. because somehow, if you ask me out, i’m supposed to jump for joy. expect, today in the parking lot when i was approached with “i’d love to take you out in it sometime, do you have a boyfriend?” and i said “i sure do, but i appreciate the offer” (hey, i can lie . .) it was met with a normal response of “great, glad you liked the car, it was nice to meet you” and we went on our way like normal people. but every time i think about that night in chicago, i’m super pissed off again. and we all joked about it, but what i wanted to do was grab that guy by the throat and get in his face and say “LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE”. actually. maybe that will be my new approach. i’ll work on that . . ..
this is the conversation. every woman i know has multiple stories. and i would bet that there are some men i know who also have stories. and i don’t know if these are “rape culture” issues. or just fucking life as humans. there are so many good men i know, good solid respectful men to treat women well and nurture them and love them. and maybe. maybe we need to start talking about those stories. maybe our culture is much less damaged than we are talking about. yes, we do need to talk about these issues. i WAS more assertive with the young man in the tool isle. more than i typically am in that situation. because its being talked about and i’ve been thinking about a lot of things that have happened in my life, but maybe we need to find some balance to the stories. to remember, that while these things happen far too often. good is happening too.
i started this little post off talking about Elliot Rodgers. and the most frightening thing of all is this: this type of violence, is so commonplace, and happens often enough. that i had to google it, to get his name. because despite the MULTITUDES of stories talking about it, i had already forgotten his name. and THAT. is the most frightening thing of all.
this blog is as scattered and jumbled as my thoughts are on the whole tangled string mess of issues. the only take away, that i have personally, is its on my mind. i’m thinking about it, and i’m examining MY responses to these situations. because as long as i placate and submit and wish someone a great night who has just so very clearly crossed a line, I’m part of the problem. maybe thats where i can start.