This morning I am somewhat morose over an experience that I had this week.
I am struggling to deal with the ways that people tend to gravitate to ideas and appealing causes, tend to be drawn to words that are spoken with passion and purpose…
…but when the Incarnation time comes, they turtle…back into the shell of comfort, or familiarity, or least resistance, or something that they falsely call peace when it is actually the mere absence of conflict.
You did realise that, didn’t you? Your destiny? To become an Incarnate word? To take that core passion, meaning, burning intention, determination, whatever it is, and actually become a living, breathing, triumphing, failing, enduring persevering example of it!
But oh the cost…and pain…confusion and sorrow (But One has gone before and blazed the trail).
There is a paradigm in our culture (that stems from a greater problem, but that is another post another time) and it holds us ALL captive…except some of us are captive in barbwire bonds, and some are just captive by walls inescapable…and can move about, partake of comforts that make it more bearable being a prisoner.
That latter quality is called privilege. When you have it, words that wound and destroy are seen as not such a bad thing and meant only as jokes or slang.
When you don’t have it and protest words that wound and destroy, you become the object of the privileged speaker’s ire and irritation at being called out…and finding yourself alone in this sort of battle is sobering and difficult.
When you have privilege a raid on your personhood is like going to the beach and taking a bucketful of sand…when you don’t have it, a raid on your personhood is like a flood that washes away precious topsoil and leaves a devastating wasteland in its place.
This week I encountered a man on social media who used diminishing and objectifying vocabulary to describe how he became aroused as a teen-ager regardless of what the women were wearing. He purported to be a supporter of women, an opponent of Rape Culture and an advocate for women as subjects and not just objects of the lusts of men. He seemed to value being somewhat flip and “hep”, because he used this term to describe lusting after a woman: “Bone Out”.
Constance, if you are reading this as a human being who has spent time in male spaces where they believe themselves to be alone with themselves and no female people present, you will recognize this term as slang for masturbation accompanied by fantasizing over whatever poor unfortunate woman has the burden of being his fantasy object, and in this fantasy she will do, be, say, or act out whatever it is he wants (or thinks he does). You will also know that after you are finished “boning out”, you will have unconsciously internalized (in varying degrees) some of this fantasy as “how women really are” and “what women really want”.
Constance, if you are female…how do you feel inside when someone who purports to be an advocate advocates for you while talking about “Boning Out” and blatantly says that it doesn’t matter what you wear, it is going to happen?
Well, I called him out on it…first with a somewhat rhetorical “Wait, whaaaa? What did I just read?” (or words to that effect, I cannot quote them because I blocked this person after our next exchanges).
Aaaannnnddd, what do you think this advocate did? Check himself, and say “Oh wow, sorry ladies, I apologize for my slang, and I really do see how in trying to make a point that dress codes are irrelevant I inadvertently revealed that I was gonna lust after you whenever I wanted to”…hmm? Seems a gracious response, yes? Or do you think he got huffy, aggrieved and touchy, blame shifting any objection to what he said over to the objector?
DING DING DING!!! And you got it! The latter!
Now keep in mind that this thread was vitally active with intelligent women who were making informed and insightful thoughtful comments and expressing their hearts over how these dress codes are designed to oppress and other women and keep them in places of exclusion in the paradigm.
So I commented further and sought to point out that his vocabulary was coarse at best and lowered the level of discourse and destructive at worst because of the way it objectified and sexualized women. I tried to point out that he had obviated his support of abolishing dress codes by flat out stating that he would lust after a woman regardless of what she is wearing!
Let that sink in.
He then went on to defend his position that school attire should be like work attire: “business appropriate”…and that is not a bad idea, by the way (the fact that many people do not want to go into business not withstanding)…and yet still couldn’t see that the problem was not the dress code!
The problem is in the attitude of males who believe it their right OR their inescapable biological destiny to lust after women for the sake of their own satiation sexually. So we know that this person would “bone out” over a woman in business attire, or snowsuits, or bikinis, or the latest chic shade of grey.
Scattered throughout his man-splainin’ were jabs at me, turning it back on me and basically claiming to be intention-wise such a champion of women…and he doubled down on his slang with scatological vocabulary and a tone of anger in his words that I took as his clear intention to intimidate me into silence…
and he also doubled down on his blindness and tone-deafness, by making comments about his propensity to get aroused over whatever women were around. He did not own this as his own issue! He said that women give him a chubby!
So Constance, you women out there…be it known that you now have a new role: to be a Giver! YAAAYYY…um no yay, because you are now a giver of chubbies.
Oh, and “chubbie” is a cute word which is used to cutify the male erection…I suppose calling it a chubbie was supposed to make me coo like it was his mischievous unruly puppy that makes messes here and there but will be oh so loveable if I just pet it and feed it.
I know these things. I lived amongst them.
No matter what you are doing, whether you realize it or not, you are a giver of chubbies to men. And what are these poor fellows to do, being such a downtrodden oppressed group, except to take this gift and…yeah.
Well, I appealed to my sisters who had been speaking so lively and true…was I wrong? Was I out of line? Was everyone just so impressed with his wit, his scatological riffs more reminiscent of Richard Pryor than Dice Clay? Would they let me know? Or, if I was right, would they come to my side and help me try to educate this man?
I also decided to draw the interaction to a conclusion so far as my end was concerned because in social media an artificial connection exists that does not lend itself well to “Iron sharpening Iron”…you have all been there I am sure…emotions rise up and swamp intellect and good will is washed away and insult and invective become the implements of war in Sarcasm’s hand, until blood and entrails are the media for the pictograms that death carves into the scene. And all that carnage between two Image Bearers who have never met, never knew each other even existed 10 minutes before, and have no idea who and what the other person is…
…the wrong that is inside us just gushes out like a geyser…
…why does it almost never happen otherwise when there is a sharp difference of opinion or misunderstanding? No, better to just end it, after all the beginning of a quarrel is soo much like starting to relieve one’s self: once it is going, it is nearly impossible to stop until you have voided your bladder, and then it’s too late, you have defiled everything in the stream of your waste.
And also, I blocked this person, because I have stepped in it before with men just like this guy who then become relentless in hunting me down and virtually assaulting me online, and rest assured they make sure that I know that I am transgender and what they think of it…as if I had not ever known or heard. And when you are told that you will be ambushed and killed by people that others think is a great guy, well it messes with your heart.
And no, this guy did not say that to me…at least not that I know. Because I blocked him preemptively.
This all happened on someone else’s domain, and I did not feel the freedom to deconstruct his arguments and address them one by one…and I truly believe that he was so angry and defensive it would have made it worse. I also did not think to copy them all before I blocked him so that I had a record, and I do not want to unblock him in order to do that…
…so these are my recollections…but really…these are the things I felt and experienced…
and they left me feeling bruised and insulted…
No one else said anything…what was so obvi to me was either not true, wasn’t visible, or was so scary that no one else would step forward and stand with me. And that is what was the most deeply discouraging, because then I wonder if I had been a cis female would someone have spoken up for me? Was everyone silent because I am transgender, and openly so? Is my courage like trying to put out a volcano by carrying teacups of water to the violence one by one?
If I am silent, it continues. If I speak, it attacks, and continues.
Well, I am speaking. Here…on Grace Notes…and I am saying it is not okay for men to hide behind the notion that their arousal from being around women is something they cannot control…I know about this first hand, and it is indeed possible to not do this! I am saying it is not okay to talk both sides against the middle.
And that way? At least I can live with myself.
In sorrow and tears,