If there is one thing I’d like people to take away from 2015, it’s this:
Violence against women is not funny.
Over and over and over this year (and in all the years prior), we’ve heard the same excuses and remarks:
“It was just a joke.”
“Can’t you take a joke?”
“Oh, he didn’t mean it.”
“He’s just socially awkward.”
“You’re ruining his life.”
“You’re blowing it out of proportion.”
“Time to get over it, don’t you think?”
“Well he DID apologise. OK, he called you a ‘dumb cunt’ at the same time. But he SAID sorry.”
“That’s just his way.”
“Oh, yes, he’s always like that. You get used to it.”
There’s a reason I made “Can’t you take a joke?” the centre square in Antifeminist Bingo.
If you’re the sort of person to make resolutions, I suggest to you that you consider not making a resolution to exercise more or take up less space or give up carbs or work harder or quit smoking or get organised. Or, whatever. You can resolve those things, go ahead. It’s your life.
But consider adding this:
I resolve to stop making excuses. I resolve to make an effort to see rape culture (if I need to), and, where safe for me, to refuse to tolerate it. I resolve to listen to people when they say that someone targeted them. I resolve to remember that it was difficult for them to tell me that. And I resolve to stop making excuses.
And while you’re at it, read this Kate Harding essay again. The one with this in it:
“‘Cause the thing is, you and the guys you hang out with may not really mean anything by it when you talk about crazy bitches and dumb sluts and heh-heh-I’d-hit-that and you just can’t reason with them and you can’t live with ’em can’t shoot ’em and she’s obviously only dressed like that because she wants to get laid and if they can’t stand the heat they should get out of the kitchen and if they can’t play by the rules they don’t belong here and if they can’t take a little teasing they should quit and heh heh they’re only good for fucking and cleaning and they’re not fit to be leaders and they’re too emotional to run a business and they just want to get their hands on our money and if they’d just stop overreacting and telling themselves they’re victims they’d realize they actually have all the power in this society and white men aren’t even allowed to do anything anymore and and and…
I get that you don’t really mean that shit. I get that you’re just talking out your ass.
But please listen, and please trust me on this one: you have probably, at some point in your life, engaged in that kind of talk with a man who really, truly hates women—to the extent of having beaten and/or raped at least one. And you probably didn’t know which one he was.
And that guy? Thought you were on his side.”
That’s all. Happy winter or summer Festivus/Solstice/whatever else you celebrate. I hope you’re safe and happy.