Dear Men: Fuck You

Dear men:

Fuck you. All of you. I have had enough of your gender. Yes, your entire gender. Yes, even the men in my life that I love. If you identify as a man, I just want you to go away to a place where I don’t have to interact with you for a very long time. Or at least until tomorrow when I’ve caught my breath and no longer feel so much fury at all the terrible things that you do.

Up here in Canada, it recently came out that a very popular radio show host, Jian Ghomeshi, sexually abused women for years. The news broke when Ghomeshi penned an open letter on Facebook after being fired from the CBC, framing the situation as one of being discriminated against for the consensual sexual activities he liked to partake in. However, what followed was a media storm revealing that there were many women claiming to have been abused by him, going back decades.

The media conversations about this event have been mostly positive in terms of promoting gender equality and combatting sexism. The newspapers are filled with stories about rape myths, the problems women encounter when reporting their assaults, and the methods men use to diminish their crimes. However, despite all of the amazing reporting that is going on, I have been witness to so many terrible debates and arguments that I am ready to explode, and that is why I am done with men.

The Ghomeshi debate has been a popular topic on Facebook, and this is where my patience started to wear thin. For every repost of a great article, there are dozens of ignorant and hurtful comments that tried to reframe the entire Ghomeshi situation to be about men. After reading abhorrent comment number 659,432, I decided I was done. I just couldn’t take another iteration of any of the following complaints. (If this was a drinking game, my liver would have been declared dead by now.) Thus, dearest men, if you say any of these things, please stop. Please go away.

  1. Declare that men are raped too! Argue that feminists don’t care about this, and until they do, they are evil and worthless and everyone should hate them.
    1. If the subject of men advocating for themselves is brought up, state that feminists should do it or are preventing it from happening or men just can’t emasculate themselves in public this way.
    2. If someone mentions that feminists do work on male sexual assault, deny or ignore this claim. Or blame feminists again. (Because logical arguments aren’t winning arguments!)
  2. Emphasise the need to be OBJECTIVE (as defined by not believing them crazy women folk).
    1. Objectivity means finding the one sentence uttered by a victim that can be spun into supporting the idea that the rapist is actually an okay dude. And if someone doesn’t pay attention to that one sentence (that in context actually doesn’t support the idea that the rapist was an okay dude), then tell them they are using “Fox News” tactics, and are contributing to a biased and discriminatory conversation.
    2. Do not realise that your definition of objectivity means that the voice of one man must be weighed more heavily than the voices of ten victims because they have reasons to lie while he is just defending himself.
  3. Claim that this whole situation isn’t about rape. Rape requires penetration/force/maybe sometimes a hand/something else fundamentally incorrect.
    1. NOTE: Sexual assault in Canada is any unwanted sexual touching. No penetration is needed. Hell, there are times when genital contact is not needed. Sexual assault is a broad term encompassing a lot of terrible behaviour. The details about Ghomeshi’s behaviour fall squarely into sexual assault territory. Cite: Myself, a legal academic who specialises in sexual assault and finds herself repeating these words far too often lately.
  4. Ignore the women involved in any Ghomeshi conversation. Assure fellow male commentators that you respect their opinions even if they differ.
  5. Begin your comment by claiming that you are willing to be labelled a misogynist just so you can make sure that the conversation doesn’t become biased. You’ll totally take one for the team and withstand the feminist abuse.
  6. Make any mention of a “feminist-dominated” society. (As proven by the fact that the media is talking about a man who sexually assaulted and physically and emotionally abused the women in his life for over two decades without repercussions despite his behaviour being common knowledge).
  7. Blame women for not reporting their assaults as to not do so must mean that they are liars.
  8. Be enraged that all the articles you read are blaming all men for rape. #notallmen!!!
    1. Further argue that rape culture is ridiculous, and all men hate rape. Rape culture victimises men, and it’s all the fault of feminists!
  9. Contend that this whole situation was about people into alternative sexual practices who just didn’t talk things through enough. It wasn’t rape or abuse. It was just a mistake!
    1. Add to your argument by stating that “the government shouldn’t be involved in the bedrooms of the nation”, and pat yourself on the back for quoting someone famous. Even if the government isn’t involved in the conversation at all.
  10. Assert that everyone has the right to be presumed innocent, and fight against the unfair court of public opinion!
    1. Watch as all criminal law people in the vicinity start twitching uncontrollably, explaining once again that no one has a right to a presumption of innocence outside the criminal justice system, and how does that even make any sense, and besides, there is no standard of innocence, it’s only “not guilty”, and then distressed keening.

The above is not an exhaustive list of all the exhausting arguments I have seen/heard put forth in the past week regarding sexual assault and feminism. Neither are the comments exaggerated. Every single one of them was pulled from a conversation that I witnessed.

Now, before anyone says that I should just calm down and ignore all the douchebags, I want to assert that I can’t. I am not seeking out these comments. They are all over my Facebook feed. On Twitter. In real life conversations. I hear them on buses, in cafes, and really anywhere where at least two people can be talking about current events. The only way I can protect my ears, eyes, and heart from these odious comments would be to cut men out of my existence. Thus, this is why I am asking everyone who is male identifying to just disappear for a bit. For those men who do not suck, for all the male feminists and allies, consider this part of your responsibility to the cause. Sometimes being an activist sucks, but c’est la vie. You can use your time to teach feminism 101 to the others.

So, fuck men. Fuck you and your collective inability to be decent human beings. Sure, there are women who suck, and there are people on other, far flung parts of the gender spectrum who suck, but right now, there’s a plethora of male-identifying assholes who need to go away as they are taking up the most space and saying the worst things. There are plenty of unoccupied islands on this planet, go hang out on one of them for a bit until you’re ready to be something other than abjectly terrible. Or more likely, until my rage dies down and I can respond to your endless discrimination and cruelty with something other than a great desire to sob.

Fuck you, men of the world.

Sincerely,

Maggie Gordon

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3 thoughts on “Dear Men: Fuck You

  1. Men’s Rights Activists are going to have a field day screen-shotting this post and throwing back in my face when I’m arguing with them on behalf of gender equality. You’re providing ammunition to the very people who infuriate you and making things more difficult for the people who support you. You could do without the title and the opening and closing paragraphs, as all the good stuff in the middle gets lost because of it.

    • If my point had been only to talk about the Ghomeshi arguments that were infuriating, I would have used much different language. But that was only part of this post. The rest was about anger, frustration, and weariness. It was about having to respond to the same offensive debates time and time again, and reaching a point where I was fed up. It was about being in a place where I couldn’t be the good activist anymore, and about needing to acknowledge that this happens to feminists on a regular basis. That we get mad and infuriated, and those emotions are rational responses to what we are going through, and we don’t have to constantly apologise or mediate these feelings just because they are uncomfortable.

      MRAs would use a post about me liking kittens as proof of my hatred of men, so I stopped worrying about their likelihood of using me as an evil feminist example a long time ago. For the more moderates? I certainly hope they have the reading comprehension abilities to read the entire post and realise that in my provocative language, I am expressing how exhausting it is to face these conversations every single day. I am privileging the fact that these examples of gender inequality suck most for women, and there are consequences to the continual pressure we are under. I am saying that sometimes women get angry because men say atrocious things, and these reactions shouldn’t be ignored or hidden.

      To the men who argue for gender equality, I addressed them directly. Sometimes you have to weather rage and upset from those with different struggles that you, and the way you defend these expressions to folks such as MRAs is just to acknowledge that anger is a valid response to oppression. No one can put up with so much hate and cruelty without having a moment where they can’t take it any longer. That was why I wrote this post, and even though today I am back to calmly debating and correcting people, I stand by my anger. Most of the time I am pragmatic and diplomatic. I educate and inform. I can be gentle and patient. But sometimes I can’t do any of this. Sometimes I step away from being a public feminist to heal and recover on my own. But sometimes that anger should be expressed publicly because it was caused by the behaviour of people in our society who should have to see what their choices have done to other people.

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