I have gotten one question repeatedly from young men. These are guys who liked the book, but they are honestly confused. They ask me why Melinda was so upset about being raped.
The first dozen times I heard this, I was horrified. But I heard it over and over again. I realized that many young men are not being taught the impact that sexual assault has on a woman. They are inundated by sexual imagery in the media, and often come to the (incorrect) conclusion that having sex is not a big deal. This, no doubt, is why the number of sexual assaults is so high.
Laurie Halse Anderson, author of Speak, on the question “Have any readers ever asked questions that shocked you?”
Read that again. Read it again, and again, and again. Over and over guys have asked her why Melinda was so upset about being raped. This is a girl who went to a party with friends. She was thirteen. She had a drink, because everyone else was. And a senior held her down and raped her while she was too drunk to get away.
And guys don’t understand why she was upset.
Read that again and then come back and tell me again why I should just shut up and take a joke when a comedian blows off rape as a big deal, or women’s bodies are casually treated as commodities in media. Remind me why I shouldn’t care about the very real harm that society’s treatment of women and sexual assault does.
These days, before we talk about misogyny, women are increasingly being asked to modify our language so we don’t hurt men’s feelings. Don’t say, “Men oppress women” – that’s sexism, as bad as any sexism women ever have to handle, possibly worse. Instead, say, “Some men oppress women.” Whatever you do, don’t generalise. That’s something men do. Not all men – just some men.
This type of semantic squabbling is a very effective way of getting women to shut up. After all, most of us grew up learning that being a good girl was all about putting other people’s feelings ahead of our own. We aren’t supposed to say what we think if there’s a chance it might upset somebody else or, worse, make them angry. So we stifle our speech with apologies, caveats and soothing sounds. We reassure our friends and loved ones that “you’re not one of those men who hate women”.
What we don’t say is: of course not all men hate women. But culture hates women, so men who grow up in a sexist culture have a tendency to do and say sexist things, often without meaning to. We aren’t judging you for who you are but that doesn’t mean we’re not asking you to change your behaviour. What you feel about women in your heart is of less immediate importance than how you treat them on a daily basis.
You can be the gentlest, sweetest man in the world yet still benefit from sexism. That’s how oppression works.
•A woman in Utah gave birth to twins. When one was stillborn, she was arrested and charged with criminal homicide based on the claim that her decision to delay cesarean surgery was the cause of the stillbirth.
•After a hearing that lasted less than a day, a court issued an order requiring a critically-ill pregnant woman in Washington, D.C. to undergo cesarean surgery over her objections. Neither she nor her baby survived.
•A judge in Ohio kept a woman imprisoned to prevent her from having an abortion.
•A woman in Oregon who did not comply with a doctor’s recommendation to have additional testing for gestational diabetes was subjected to involuntary civil commitment. During her detention, the additional testing was never performed.
•A Louisiana woman was charged with murder and spent approximately a year in jail before her counsel was able to show that what was deemed a murder of a fetus or newborn was actually a miscarriage that resulted from medication given to her by a health care provider.
•In Texas, a pregnant woman who sometimes smoked marijuana to ease nausea and boost her appetite gave birth to healthy twins. She was arrested for delivery of a controlled substance to a minor.
•A doctor in Wisconsin had concerns about a woman’s plans to have her birth attended by a midwife. As a result, a civil court order of protective custody for the woman’s fetus was obtained. The order authorized the sheriff’s department to take the woman into custody, transport her to a hospital, and subject her to involuntary testing and medical treatment.
INTERSECTIONALITY CHECK OF THE DAY
It is very important to note that this sort of thing is happening not only to women, but all people capable of pregnancy.
Also, it’s very, VERY important to note WHICH women this is happening to, which I wrote about a few months ago:
When feminists decry the horrific new developments in regard to the criminalization of pregnancy, i.e. people with uteri who are prosecuted and/or sent to prison for refusing a c-section, having a miscarriage or stillbirth, having a mental illness, being perceived as “irresponsible”, et cetera.
White women: “this is happening to women!!!” News stories invariably show the pregnant bellies of white women. The stories are written by white women, and are addressed to white women. (Which is also cissexist.)
First, we describe characteristics of the women and the cases, finding that low-income women and women of color, especially African American women, are overrepresented among those who have been arrested or subjected to equivalent deprivations of liberty.
who are poor, and often living in the South, with its rich history of forced sterilizations and eugenics. South Carolina especially showed preference for sterilizing African American women.
From the report:
For example, in South Carolina thirty-four of ninety-three cases came from the contiguous counties of Charleston and Berkeley.
Regina McKnight suffered a miscarriage due to an infection. She served EIGHT YEARS of TWELVE-YEAR SENTENCE despite the fact that her counsel failed to provide adequate defense.
Martina Greywind was arrested 12 weeks into her pregnancy, and charged with reckless endangerment for being pregnant while homeless. She was able to gain release for a medical appointment. She summarily got an abortion, upon which the state offical position was “Defendant has made it known to the State that shehas terminated her pregnancy. Consequently, the controversial legal issues presented are no longer ripe for litigation.” and the prosecutor commented that it was, “no longer worth the time or expense to prosecute her.”
Michelle Marie Greenup was charged with second-degree murder after a miscarriage, and although the murder charge was eventually dropped, she was only released on the condition that she plead guilty to “improper disposal of human remains”, even though the miscarried fetus could only have been 11-15 weeks at the time.
Rachael Lowe was arrested when she went to try and receive treatment for an addiction to pain medication because she was found to be pregnant. She was forcibly committed to a mental hospital, where she received NO prenatal care and many prescription drugs like Xanax against her will. Despite the court announcing that she would be released, she nevertheless remained in custody for the remainder of her pregnancy under state supervision, and was fired from her job as a result.
Laura Pemberton was arrested at her home where she was attempting a home birth, under the pretext that she was “endangering the life” of her unborn child by refusing to have a caesarian section. A sheriff took her into custody, strapped her legs together, and took her to a hearing in progress, in which she was denied counsel AS SHE WAS BEING PREPPED FOR SURGERY. The judge compelled her to undergo surgery against her will. When she later sued for violation of her civil rights, the judge ruled that the rights of her unborn child outweighed her rights under the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments.
Out of all these women, only Laura Pemberton is white.
the more thing change the more they stay the same..thi is some dystopic shit.. .
This is the kind of world we live in today
If your suggestion as an administrator is to tell a teenage girl to go under the knife instead of telling a teenage boy to respect women, you are in the wrong damn line of work.
When a man is homophobic or effemiphobic he is reminding us, in no uncertain terms, where he places women on the spectrum of power.