A group of men in a car started wolf-whistling and shouting sexual remarks at my friends and me. I asked the men if they thought it was appropriate for them to be abusing a group of 17-year-old girls. The response was furious. The men started swearing at me, called me a bitch and threw a cup coffee over me.
For those men we were just legs, breasts and pretty faces. Speaking up shattered their fantasy, and they responded violently to my voice.
Fuck the (tone) police: Why men can stop telling me to be emotional about feminist issues
September 8, 2014
Have you ever noticed how almost every debate or conversation between groups of men and women, especially those concerning the topics of rape and/or domestic violence, almost inevitably involve a man in the conversation telling one or all of the women to ‘stop being emotional’, or accusing women of arguing emotionally while asserting that he is merely arguing facts?
First, let me say – tone policing is boring. If somebody is delivering points in a way you don’t like, it doesn’t make their points invalid. It just means you do not like the delivery. Big deal. Get over it and deal with it.
Second — why the shit should women not be emotional when talking about rape/domestic violence? Let’s recap some stats:
- 1 in 3 Native American women will be raped in their lifetimes
- 1 in 5 Black women will be raped in their lifetimes
- 1 in 5 white women will be raped in their lifetimes
- 1 in 7 Latina women will be raped in their lifetimes
- 1 in 4 women will be the victims of domestic abuse
The overwhelming majority of these crimes, nearly 100%, will be performed by men. Even if the victim is a man, the perpetrator is usually also a man.
So I guess I just wanna know why some brilliant minds think it’s inappropriate for women to speak emotionally about a topic that so devastatingly affects so many of us?
And here is what I want to say to the women reading this:
It’s okay to get emotional. Cry. Scream. Be loud. Be aggressive. Talk how you feel. Feel your feelings and let it out. You do not have to be calm and cool and precise when discussing crimes against you, your demographic, your friends and family members. Men who insist upon this insist upon it for THEIR comfort. They want you to adapt your speech and tone to accommodate THEM. It is only and solely and entirely for THEM to feel comfortable in the conversation. To feel welcome. To exist in a discourse which caters to them.
WE DO NOT HAVE TO ALLOW MEN TO SET THE TONE FOR THESE CONVERSATIONS AND WE DO NOT HAVE TO NEGOTIATE TERMS! YOU DO NOT HAVE TO ACCEPT HAVING YOUR TONE POLICED BY A MAN WHO WOULD PREFER A DIFFICULT CONVERSATION BE MORE SUITED TO HIS OWN CONVERSATION STYLE!
Men commit the majority of these crimes. Women experience most of the aftermath. And then when discussing it we are also supposed to adapt our speech to make men more comfortable? Please. No. Go ahead. Subvert the existing white male dominated acceptable speech paradigm and get emotional. Get loud! Get angry! Flip the script. Why shouldn’t you? That is a lot of violence toward women. That is a lot of hurt. A lot of pain. Why on Earth would we not get emotional? You do not have to be cold, distant, calculating or use School English to discuss your pain or the pain of other women, the abuse, the violence.
Do not let men control these conversations. Stay loud. Stay angry. Stay crying. Yell if you want to. And if a dude comes around and tells you to tone it down because he can’t hear you if you don’t, kick his ass OUT of the conversation. Do not adapt to him. Have him adapt to you. Women have been adapting to the will and desire of men for far too long, and it is disgusting that even in conversations involving women and pertaining to topics that mostly affect women and include women that have been harmed in these ways, that any bro wants to just saunter in and set up the terms of what is and is not allowable in that conversation. If he cannot hear you unless you speak in a way that is agreeable to him, do not give him the power to change the tone of a conversation. Take the entitlement away. We can set the terms. We should set the terms. Let’s set the terms.
Because my cousin shared 3 rape experiences she had
And on all three occasions
She was wearing sweats and was brutally beaten
So there goes your excuse
That my tight dress was asking for it
It might have escaped your attention,
But I don’t wake up in the mornings,
And put on a skirt thinking,
Will this get me raped?
I don’t put on a tank top hoping,
Maybe this one will.
Because in school, they teach us that our bodies are offensive.
They pull us from classrooms
Demanding if we have longer shorts,
Or even a sweater,
Reminding us that the boys are distracted,
That the boys go wild for a peeking shoulder,
Or the sight of a sun burned thigh,
Because their education is more important than ours.
Because white men in pressed suits,
Expensive watches hanging from their wrists,
Red faces glinting with arrogance,
Have more say over my body than I do.
Because those same men,
Quoting the Bible and fake statistics,
Have never shed blood,
As a twisted sacrifice for being a woman.
Because those same men,
Have never walked the streets,
Fearing for their lives,
Clinging to keys between their fingers like a lifeline
With pepper spray in their bags,
Ready for someone to feel entitled to their body.
Because when a man says no to us,
It is a fault in OUR character.
It is because we are not
Thin, tan, or perky enough for HIM.
Because when WE say no to a man,
Its still a fault in OUR character,
We are the cold, ruthless bitch,
Saying no to the nice guy,
Who offered to buy us a drink,
And Who complimented our hair.
Because a UCSB entitled nine-teen year old boy,
Can record a video
Of his plans to shoot down all the
“Blond bimbos who denied him his right,”
And then do so,
Only to have his actions excused by the media,
Claiming he was depressed,
Instead of admitting that male entitlement is dangerous.
Because I am done being silenced
And I am done being polite.
I am done sitting by
As a country hypocritically cries
Equality and justice
But doesn’t have equal pay
Lets men make decisions for a woman’s body
And blames the victim for the actions of a rapist.
Because our NO won’t be enough one day.
Because I wasn’t asking for it.
Because “Boys Will Be Boys,” is still an excuse
Because “Not All Men Are Like That,” is still a defense.
Because enough blood has been spilled.
Because I am sixteen years old, and I am so afraid, when I shouldn’t have to be.