When I identify as a feminist, often the immediate response is, “Does that mean you hate men?” followed quickly by, “Are you a lesbian?” This, in turn, is sometimes followed by, “What is your favorite pagan ritual involving the goddess Hecate and menstrual blood?” After repeatedly explaining to various people that I do not, in fact, wish men ill and plan to overthrow the government and to install a matriarchy, I finally gave up and decided to stop worrying and love misandry. If people were going to level unfounded accusations at me, I might as well run with it and have a little fun. I was, for instance, delighted to find a blog entitled “Misandry and Kittens.” Occasionally I terrorize my hapless boyfriend by letting him know how cute I think it is that he has opinions, but how I don’t really support the whole “strong man” thing because, well, that’s just taking things a bit too far. Sweetie, if I am emasculating at times, it is only for your own good.
Of course, men oppressed for being men is a rampant issue that absolutely needs to be addressed. It came to my attention that my thoughtlessness and disregard for others’ feelings was causing some general discomfort, but I am afraid that this is one of the consequences of free speech. For the most part, I am directing my comments toward people who perpetuate misogyny, so if you aren’t a raging sexist, you shouldn’t worry about being offended. Besides, if you find me offensive, you don’t have to read my writing, which is, as far as I know, not mandatory reading for any classes.
Still, I wanted to address people who use the words “misandry” and “feminazi” seriously, people who think Rush Limbaugh makes good points sometimes and people who think we live in a post- feminist, post- sexist society. And so, friends, here is a letter just for you:
Dear Anti-misandrists and anti-feminazis,
It has come to my attention that my fondness for male tears has been the cause of great distress for many of you, and may even have resulted in the spilling of additional male tears. Because this is a vicious cycle, and I care deeply about all of you, your fragile masculine egos, and of course, your charming little members you-know-where, I wanted to take this moment and apologize for my callousness and apparent lack of sensitivity.
As someone raised in contemporary American society, I have always been taught the myth of the Invincible Phallus. I am not just talking about the very nice dangly bits in the boxers or briefs of individual men; I am talking about this idea that penises are sacred, that they are powerful and they cannot and will not be controlled. It is, for instance, my fault if I am raped, because it was my clothing that triggered some internal penile mechanism, which, once set into motion, could not be resisted. The man is a helpless, innocent marionette, and it is the atavistic phallus that pulls the strings. Even the government tacitly understands the importance of healthy, functioning erectile tissue, and so your Viagra is covered by insurance but my birth control is, well, you know what they say about people who want affordable birth control. And, of course, there are all those idiomatic phrases like “grow a pair” or “get some balls” that suggest that, not only are penises invincible, but those silly lumps next to them are actually synonymous with strength and willpower.
We live in a culture where female bodies are commodities, where casual nudity and sexuality is inescapable (only women’s bodies, of course. When was the last time you saw a flesh ferret on “Game of Thrones”?) We are taught that breasts must be displayed for the purpose of male enjoyment or else they are vulgar and disgusting. (Nursing? Do you really think anyone wants to see that?) Just this summer, a woman was banned from the Michigan Senate floor for saying “vagina,” because, presumably, “Tunnel of Love” or “Jezebel’s Cave” would’ve been more appropriate euphemisms, according to a government that is regulating your body. In any case, excuse me for thinking of you men and your penises as sort of a bully and its sidekick (I won’t say who is who). And so, like I did in grade school, when people made fun of me, I went ahead and made fun of them right back. My motivation was self-preservation and coping, not malice. I assumed that, if these bullies were really as powerful as they said they were, they wouldn’t mind me poking a little fun.
Sadly, I was mistaken. It seems that you men and the chickens you choke are more delicate than you appear, and things like romantic rejection and GIFs of male tears were more painful than I intended them to be. I never really wanted anyone to cry, especially not your one-eyed monster. So here I am, sincerely begging your forgiveness. This is a public apology to all of you whose finer sensitivities I have offended. Consider this a metaphorical shaking of metaphorical hands, and let us go back to men oppressing women in peace.
Danica Liu is a Trinity sophomore. Her column runs every other Monday.