by Amanda Ghosh
Hello blog world. I have a story for you. I posted this on facebook
A brilliant friend of mine summed up the experience of this post beautifully in her comment: “Daily subtle patriarchy bullshit in the picture. Daily, overt, annoying, in-your-fucking-face patriarchy bullshit in the comments.”
Here are some things that men told women in the post’s comments.
I am not making this up. This is for real.
BOOM. HIT BY A TRUCK OF FOOLS.
The post was on fire.
Immediately condescending, ignorant and even aggressive comments started pouring in.
This comment really pissed me off:
“Amanda. You probably won't listen to me but you need to balance your feminist ideals. Anything to extreme in one direction isn't bound to end well” – A white straight guy
The patriarchal bathroom issue manifests in many ways; in older buildings women's restrooms tend to be physically harder to get to (on the second floor or down the hall.) This is either by deliberate design, or occurred when the “extra” bathrooms were assigned to women as the previously male-dominated space transitioned to coed. This indicates that within building architecture, women were literally a second thought.
Usually women’s restrooms have baby-changing stations, while men’s do not. Plus, there is the massive discussion of gender-neutral bathrooms especially for queer and transgender people. In the words of Urinetown the Musical (which is brilliant btw), it genuinely is “a privilege to pee.” All of this is wrapped into patriarchal norms like parent responsibilities, gender roles, and societal expectations.
There is, in almost every case, a longer line for the women’s bathroom. This may be because of the logistical reality that it takes women longer to enter stall, undress, sit, pee, navigate menstruation, stand, redress, exit stall, and then sometimes spend another 45 minutes trying to make themselves look as close to Barbie as possible. #ImpossibleBeautyStandards
So I posted on facebook and yes, blamed the patriarchy.
What is interesting though, is that within the avalanche of ignorance that ensued, a few of the people making the very comments I referred to above claimed to be feminists.
That’s fucking scary.
After Trump was elected president, I had the gut wrenching realization that some of us were to blame for creating this environment in which people voted for him. High and mighty educated liberals decided they couldn’t deal with the ignorant idiots anymore and deleted them from Facebook, moved away from their hometowns, and stopped visiting them over the holidays. We told them they were stupid and wrong. We told them their ideas aren’t taken seriously.
I’ve seen the pride of those people who pushed back against “us”. They were so proud to vote for Brexit and Trump. While protesting in front of the Trump Tower, I spoke with a man who wore a button that read: “BREXIT TRUMP 2016: YEAR OF THE PEOPLE.”
At the risk of breaking Godwin’s Law, I’d like to point out that My Struggle was the title of Hitler’s first book. Germany was shut out and shamed; Hitler felt angry and oppressed. I am not drawing inflated parallels between Nazi Germany and this point in Trump’s America. But, the anger, the discontent and the boiling blood that was felt by their supporters between these two moments in history share a pulse. We should call out sexist, racist, xenophobic people at every crossroads, but it is wrong to say that their feelings are not valid.
What I choose to learn from this is that sometimes, believe it or not, simply saying, “shut up, you prehistoric, corrosive waste of oxygen, how are you still not getting this, It’s 2017, go die in a black hole” doesn’t help.
I know, right?
I firmly believe that we must engage in these tough conversations with as much patience and compassion as possible otherwise our society will never move forward.
But those conversations are real hard to undertake.
Especially on facebook.
People misinterpreted my post and then claimed everyone else missed the point. Although clarified many times, people still mistook blaming the patriarchy as blaming men. The debate went from penis envy to population facts to whether or not the wage gap is real. (It is.) New buzzwords claimed the thread like “equity” “democracy” and “poop.”
The experience has been shocking, infuriating, strangely numbing and, above all, has reinforced how feminism is needed.
This is dead ass mother fucking serious.
I don’t want the rise of feminism to spark a rise of men’s rights activists. Feminism benefits men and women. We need to connect, educate and make progress together.
Overall, the facebook post illuminated examples of women speaking out about what matters to them, and men telling them that they are wrong. Men telling women that what women say, need, and experience are not valid. This is not okay. #StandpointTheory
Men should listen to women because we are women.
We are people. We deserve respect.
This is a big fucking deal to my pissed off pussy.
If you’re interested, take a minute to check it out.
If you’re feeling strong enough to peruse, it might take you an hour or two.
Eventually, I declared the post was no longer open for discussion, and if anyone spent 5 minutes reading it, they had to donate at least five dollars to Planned Parenthood.
Amanda Ghosh is a yoga teacher, theater maker and passionate activist.
"Work is love made visible." -Khalil Gibran
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