Unique New York

Just like a regular woman, only crankier.

Friday, May 11, 2007


When I was in high school, I organized a Women’s Issues Forum. The idea behind it was to explore topics in feminism and relating them to current events. Overall, it was designed to offer a round table discussion group for both young men and women. Being ever-entrepreneurial, I brought pizza to lure my peers.
In compiling ideas for discussion groups, I spoke with a friend of mine regarding the acceptance of violence against women. We spoke about the subject historically, in that violence against women was rationalized because men feared the libidinal desires and impulses of women; violence was used as a way to control them because they were seen as less able to control themselves. We also spoke about the fetishism of violence against women, vis-à-vis scary movies that have women screaming and terrorized at every turn. This violence carries an erotic quality to it, which draws a male audience to see the fright reaction of the helpless women as she is carried up a building by a lumbering beast, haunted by an obscene ghost, terrorized by a mass murderer, or drowned by a radioactive sea-creature. As my friend and I were having this heated conversation at a restaurant (Mind you, this is 10 years ago), a young man walked past our table wearing a shirt that hand the symbols for male and female commonly used in restrooms, except the male had a gun to the female’s head, and the only word on the shirt was “Bitch”.
Being socially awkward and embarrassing feminists, we approached the table and asked him about the shirt. He was red-faced and apologetic, and had clearly put no thought into his attire (few teenage men do). We were not aggressive, but we were not passive either. We sweetly asked where one could purchase such fine, offensive clothing, and went on our way to initiate a letter-writing campaign to the assholes who designed the shirt. Needless to say, the two of us had little impact. But that situation clearly illustrated a social ill of which I had heretofore been unaware.
Fast forward to now. I am still a feminist, although I try to be aware of my personal politics and how they might encroach on the personal space of others. Then there are times when I don’t give a bald rat’s ass what my politics do to other people. This is usually when I am plenty pissed. That would be today.
I realize that Opie and Anthony are radio staples. I am aware of their status as deity. Frankly, I have heard them a couple of times, and I don’t think they’re that funny. (I know, what does a feminist know about humor). However, this latest nonsense about raping Condoleeza Rice and Laura Bush has me freakin’ pissed. Whether you like this current administration or not, this incident highlighted the ill of violence against women. It was not just that some idiot thought it might be funny, it was that no one thought how offensive it might be. This kind of passive acceptance of violence against women makes me want to be violent in general.
The catch for the modern day feminist is to politely state through gritted teeth your position on why you might not want a radio DJ to rape you while not losing any ground politically or threatening to set off the castration anxiety from woefully ill-equipped comedians. (I am talking about their intellectual skills in this instance. Get your minds out of the gutter.)
I am not saying that women do not aggress. We do. We giggle in our morning meetings over cappuccinos about our idiot male counterparts. I urge all women, if you want to be taken seriously, stop aggressing in these ways. These arguments have been used against us in recent years, and only serve to fuel the violent males who rationalize beating us verbally or physically. Don’t join or beat them. Simply state that if your peers can’t grow up and stop bad-mouthing men, that you will take your toys and go home.
Lastly, I just want to point out that verbal violence is deplorable, and physical violence is still a real threat to women. If you are a woman living in the U.S. and you are murdered, it is likely that the perpetrator was your husband or boyfriend. Not a stranger, not a mugger, a LOVED ONE. This morning on the news, I heard about a woman who was trying to break up with her boyfriend at dinner in a restaurant. He didn’t want to hear that she was leaving him, so he shot her. He was a police officer.
That seems to make insidious verbal comments a hell of a lot less funny.


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