There is an article making the rounds on Facebook by Mary Ramirez, called “Dear Daughter: Here’s Why I Didn’t March For You”. Upon reading said article, our main podcast talent, BNev, became incensed and sent it to me in a fury and I decided it required a response. So here we go, a classic “angry feminist killjoy” post for you. I know you have missed them. But take note, I’m not just going to call her names and tell her she sucks (too much), I actually use things like facts and knowledge and true statements to explain why she’s wrong. (I suppose true statements is just another way of saying facts, but in this world of “alternative facts” I’m just trying to be crystal clear.) Ready? Here we go.
First of all, calm down about the literal one single person I have seen photographed from the march dressed up like female genitalia (scroll down, it’s like the third picture).
They were very loud. Some screamed; others gave speeches. Many carried big signs; others locked arms together. Some even wore “funny” outfits.
On the one hand, I feel I need to point out to you that there were literally millions of women (and men) marching all around the world, and this is the photo we keep seeing. So it’s hardly the standard regalia of everyone who participated. On the other hand, what is the big deal anyway? Are you so scared of your own body parts that this freaks you out this much? It kind of makes me want to sew my own costume and then just wear it around for random errands. Maybe I’ll make a special photo series “Jenn doing stuff dressed as a pussy” [that’s OK to say now, because POTUS did]. Imagine me buying lettuce, commuting on the train, having a cup of tea at a cafe. It could be amazing. And by the way, the vagina is the birth canal, you are looking at the labia and clitoris. You’re welcome for the free lesson about your own body. (By the way, it’s not just you, so don’t feel too bad. Everyone is referring to that woman as “a woman dressed like a vagina.”)
Baby bird, I didn’t march for you because I didn’t need to. I didn’t march for you because you were blessed enough to have been born into a country and an era where you already enjoy all the freedoms and rights (that yes, other guys and gals fought for years ago) that men do; you live in a country where you can vote; in a country where you can fly to outer space, run major companies, run for president, and even run the first successful female-led presidential campaign in history; in a country where you can live a full life as a mom and a professional—or whatever you choose.
Your claim that there is no sexism because Hillary Clinton was the Democratic Party’s nominee for president is laughably ridiculous. In fact, misogyny and sexism are the reasons she didn’t win, if you ask me or anybody else who’s paying attention. Because how dare a woman be powerful.
How dare a woman laugh at a sad man with fake tan and tiny hands and a neck waddle. How dare a woman have the gall to think this country thinks she can lead it. You sure showed her, Mary! You showed her good!
Look, I’m going to try to help you understand misogyny now. First, here is the definition:
Dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women.
Now let me give you some examples, because that seems simple enough, but as we already know, you don’t think it exists (just like I assume you also don’t think racism or homophobia exist, but I only have so much time to write this article, so I’ll stick to one real issue you don’t believe in, instead of all of them). Now you mention that you used to get catcalled in Mexico on your way to work. Is that misogyny? Yes, it is. I assume you realize that happens in the United States too. Now I don’t want to negate this experience, even though you apparently have – catcalling is pervasive and exhausting and I’m personally sick as hell of it. But how lucky for you that this seems to be the only instance of misogyny you can conjure up in your mind as an example in your entire life, and you’re an adult. How great for you. Everyone else is not so lucky. Please tell me that you at least understand that your experience is not everyone’s experience. Please tell me, Mary, that you understand that most women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes. One in six will be raped or suffer through an attempted rape. This includes your daughter, unfortunately. This is utterly unacceptable. But more on this later.
It’s a lie that because of sexism, women don’t make as much money as men.
The pay gap is real. And it’s not about women taking lower paying jobs. We’re not comparing a teacher’s salary to a lawyer’s salary. Don’t worry, we all know what this society values. Yay capitalism. Yes, I read the Pew Research article you linked to as well – did you read the entire thing? Or just the parts you wanted to read? Because it also mentions that women are more likely to take time away from work to care for children, which has an adverse effect on their careers. If you really think that’s unrelated to societal expectations of who should care for children, what a woman is expected to do, and the inherent sexism and misogyny that goes along with that, well sweetheart, you’re just fooling yourself. Bless your heart. (Yes, I mean that the southern way.) You also mention that men are more likely to ask for raises and work longer hours. Again, if you think men could work longer hours without their wives taking the time to care for their households and families, you’re missing a very important part of the equation. I don’t know what’s hard about this, honestly.
If you want to tell me “Well, that’s your choice, if you choose to take time away from work to care for your children, nobody is making you,” then I have some choice words for you. Sure, it’s possible to choose not to do those things. I have personally chosen not to get married or have children. I have not wanted to do either of these things since I was a teenager. But if you think I don’t get pressure from society about this, you’re wrong again. If you think I didn’t spend most of my 20s and early 30s assuring people that I was well aware when the ideal time was to have kids and I didn’t want any, if you don’t think everyone from my parents (not very often, to their credit) to people I barely knew at work were expressing their concern about when I might have children and what I’d be missing out on if I didn’t, and telling me what a great mom I’d be (I guess because I technically have a uterus? because I don’t think I’d be a very good mom, thanks), then you’re too busy listening to your own life to understand mine. It is an absolute fact that women are treated differently in the working world than men, and that affects earning and advancement potential. Period. The end. It’s not up for debate.
Here is a more fully fleshed article about the issue, if you can wrap your brain around it.
It’s a lie that because of sexism, we don’t have full rights over our bodies. You are technically (we’ll chat about what you’re allowed to do later) able to do whatever you please with your body. No one’s stopping you, or any other woman.
Technically, since you used that word, your comments about whether women can do “whatever we want” with our bodies are patently false since in many states women can’t get the reproductive care they need, from family planning to pre-natal care to yes, abortions. And let me help you with that concept because you seem to be having trouble – there is something called bodily autonomy, and everyone has a right to it. Your argument that an embryo in my uterus has more rights than I do is inarguably wrong even from what I assume is your own chosen source, the Bible. Let me allow my favorite Tumblr post about this subject fully explain to you how very wrong you are that I shouldn’t have control over whether there is a fetus in my body or not.
It’s a lie because of sexism, women have to pay a special tax for products that we biologically must use.
The link you provided about men paying taxes on items used exclusively by them won’t open so…. I’m just going to assume it’s false. There is a “luxury tax” applied to women’s sanitary products. Again, that’s not up for debate. I don’t think necessary items should be taxed as a luxury. I don’t understand why you’d even present an argument here. It’s ridiculous.
It’s a lie that because of sexism, we women are the only ones who have to worry about harassment and abuse. Yes, some women do get harassed. (Someday I’ll tell you about how Mommy walked to work every day in Mexico to cat-calls of “ayyyyy güerita.”)
You rightfully point out that women are not the only people who are sexually assaulted or abused here or anywhere else. Yes, that’s true. However, women are disproportionately more likely to be assaulted than men. And let me explain to you a concept that many people seem to have a problem with when it comes to oppression and inequality in a society.
Individual cases are different from overwhelming trends. Any individual victim of assault is no better or worse or more or less affected by it than anybody else is. But when an entire class of people (women, people of color, LGBTQ people, etc.) are disproportionately targeted and face an overwhelmingly larger possibility of assault, discrimination, or other harmful actions, then it has a different effect on that group. I don’t know a single man who feels the need on a day to day basis to be concerned for his physical safety just going about his regular business. Every woman I know does. That’s just a fact. If you have somehow escaped this feeling then I suppose, good for you? It’s not the reality for anybody I know anywhere. Here is what happened on Twitter when an author asked women to share their stories of abuse and assault. You’re not allowed to disregard this, Mary. It’s the truth.
It’s a lie that because of sexism, people don’t care about our smarts. In fact, for the past 50 years, women have led the pack in education.
You quote statistics about women and education as proof that nobody limits us or thinks we’re less smart than men. Well, given that getting an education is much more under our individual control than, say, getting any particular job, or succeeding in a particular field or career path, that part makes sense. Explain to me then, again, in this completely equal society where every woman is treated fairly and in precisely the same way as every man, why when we’re so smart and educated and capable we are so under represented in business, technology, and government. I’ll wait. (The answer is misogyny.)
It’s a lie that because of sexism, we don’t all get paid maternity leave. It’s simple economics, honey. Maternity leave is expensive.
Now your comments on maternity leave are perhaps the most egregious in your entire article, and that’s really saying something. Stating that it’s “simply a matter of economics” is foolish and ignorant. Most other countries in this world offer phenomenally better maternity (and in many cases paternity as well) leave than this country does. Explain that to me, Mary, if you can. (You can’t.) Your attempt at making a point here is truly laughable, I won’t even dignify it with further discussion. Instead, here is a chart about how crappy our policies in this country are compared to other nations.
Finally, it’s a lie that any of our human rights as women are going away just because someone whose politics these ladies don’t agree with suddenly became president.
As for dismissing everyone’s concerns as silly “just because” of who this country elected as President, well… we literally elected a man who thinks it’s OK to sexually assault women (who joked about it – yes, “grabbing them by the pussy” is assault), who jokes about his daughter’s body, cheated on his wives, raped at least one of his wives, and has shown clearly that he has no concern for women’s rights, opinions, lives, or value. So you’re GD right my rights are in danger and I’m concerned about them. If you don’t think the President sets a tone or affects the reality of day to day life in our country then I think you need to stop living in your alternate world and come join us here in actual life.
I’ll teach you about amazing women like Marie Curie or Madame C.J. Walker and the incredible lives they led—and I’ll also teach you about bad women, like Margaret Sanger, who told women the lie that they can kill their own babies, and who believed that not all races are equal.
You mention Margaret Sanger and declare her evil because once again, she thought women should have control over their own bodies (we should). You also say she’s racist. Now honestly at the moment I don’t have time to look into that so I’ll just believe you. She probably was. And no it’s not OK to excuse it as a product of the times, there are always people, in every time and place who are on the right side of things; there were always people who thought slavery was evil, there were always people who thought women should have the same rights as men, there were always people who thought gay folks should be treated equally, etc. I’m not excusing her. But that doesn’t negate the fact that women should be able to use birth control and decide whether to carry pregnancies to term or not. The two are separate issues. I don’t have room here to teach you about a term called intersectionality but it’s something that maybe you can spend a few years researching and then come back and talk to me again. I’ll wait. The women’s movement has traditionally ignored women of color and/or told them to be quiet about race issues and just focus on women’s issues. But that’s not what I’m doing, and that’s not what this march was doing. If you need help understanding what the march was about, here you go.
Now we get to one of my favorite pet issues. You apparently have some thoughts about how women dress and what it means about their value.
I’ll teach you to respect your body. It’s a beautiful creation—and I’ll teach you not to cheapen it by dressing like it means nothing.
Well, sweetheart, I have some important information to give you. Women can dress however we want and do whatever we want with our bodies. We have inherent value which is not lessened no matter how we dress or who we have sex with, how many people we have sex with, or what kind of sex we have. My body is not something that has a cash value which lowers with the more people that touch it or look at it. Welcome to 2017.
Listen, Mary, we weren’t exclusively marching for women’s rights, we were also marching for everyone who feels their rights are under attack. In fact, there is a very clearly explained goal and mission statement published by the organizers of the march. Again, if you’d like to read it, it’s right here.
Finally I want to close by saying – the reason I’m certain that I’m right and you’re wrong is that nothing about what I believe is me telling you what to do with your life or body, and everything about what you believe is you telling me what I should do with my life or body. Look, here’s a chart I made for you:
Mary, it must be nice to either live such a privileged life that you have never encountered difficulty SIMPLY BASED ON YOUR GENDER. Or, more likely, it’s actually quite sad that you have internalized misogyny to such a degree that you whole-heartedly believe it. In which case guess what? It’s OK, because I marched for your daughter. I did. Well all did, in fact. You’re GD welcome.