Why are women so angry?

The other day I heard about a man who beat the hell out of his pregnant girlfriend. When she escaped out into the street, he chased her with his car, slammed into a light pole, found a piece of bent metal, and started beating her with that. She somehow survived, but the child in her belly died from the trauma.

They did arrest the man. Later, in court, she gave her testimony. She hadn’t yet birthed her dead baby. Then it was time for her boyfriend’s lawyer to make his case. He asked for leniency, for his client to be released on personal recognizance rather than held in jail. “Your honor,” he argued, “My client is a young man with a bright future ahead of him. He has a fiancee, and the young lady is expecting their first child. . . ”

Happily, the judge wasn’t buying it. But imagine that lawyer’s thought process as he prepared his argument: Hey, maybe that bitch can come in handy one last time. 

My husband calls our society “Titanic in reverse.” Women and children are sacrificed first, tossed into the waves as men scramble to warmth and safety. He has been a reporter for decade and a half, and he’s been at crime scenes, seen evidence, interviewed victims and victims’ families, heard court testimony, and seen the sentencing process, and this is what he knows: Women and children are expendable. Their suffering, their torture, their rape, their murder is acceptable to society. 

I asked him if he thought it had ever been any other way, and he said no. 

We’ll convulse with horror when a man throws a dog out of a window. Precious little pupper! People who hurt animals should be executed in public! But if in that same night he also throws his wife down a flight of stairs, guess which victim makes the headlines?

Well, domestic disturbances are private things. Two sides to every story. 

Sometimes it’s not a matter of turning our heads when women are abused. Sometimes we’re right behind her, shoving her toward danger. Remember last time the country was so very tired of hearing about priests molesting kids? The thinking public came up with an easy solution to the problem: Just throw women at it. Just let priests marry, and never again will we deal with widespread clerical abuse.

It sounded so simple and obvious: Single men are doing pervy things, so let’s make them not be single anymore. Of course the mechanism of it was a little uglier. It meant that we know there are countless men willing to subjugate, humiliate, and abuse people who are weaker then they are. We hate it when they do this to children. So instead, let’s let them do it to women. Because that’s what women are for. 

Don’t let yourself believe that this is a Catholic problem, that only Catholics see women as the universal solution to male complaint. Last time an incel shot up a crowd, the progressive edgelords of social media instantly put up a cry for publicly-funded prostitutes. That’s all these dudes need! When they don’t get enough sexytime, they get mad and they kill people! So let’s make sure they can do it to women; and then real people won’t get hurt. 

Women are the corks for every leak, the excess ballast to be chucked off every sinking ship, the red meat to distract every wild dog, the kindling to brighten up every smoldering fire, the universal salve to spread on any festering wound. You have a problem, any problem at all? Try using women. You can always use women. That’s what women are for

We see this sense of entitlement everywhere, and not only in obvious examples like abduction and rape, murder and abuse. It’s more pervasive and more accepted than you may realize. Most men would never say, “Women only exist for my consumption.” They would never even think it in so many words. And yet when they walk down the street and see an unattractive women, their response is not simply a lack of interest, but irritation, even anger. Anger, as if the woman who doesn’t appeal to him has personally wounded him, or refused to give him something he deserves. 

Why should this be? Why should they feel, in any part of themselves, that they can expect to be pleased by women?

I don’t know why. I do know the one recorded statement we have from Adam is Adam using Eve as an excuse to get out of trouble with God. And ever since then, many, many men have assumed that, since a woman is there, she’s there for him to use.

Most men don’t act out when they feel this way. Only a noisy minority of men would allow themselves to shout something nasty at a passing fat jogger, or take the trouble tell some random lesbian he doesn’t approve of her haircut. Only a noisy minority sends hate mail to an actress who goes out in public with a dreaded “fupa” after giving birth. 

But when you’re a lone women being jeered at by a handful of strange men, or even by one man, it doesn’t feel like minority. It feels heavy and scary and big. It feels dangerous, and it is dangerous. It’s easier, in many ways, to simply agree: Yes, I am here for men to use. I must try as hard as I can to be pleasing to as many of them as possible, so I will be valued and safe. This is what many women do, without even realizing it. Mousy trad women do it by submitting and obeying and never making their own needs known, and raunchy progressive feminists do it by thrusting themselves headlong into porn culture.

And women in the middle of these two extremes do it by constantly accusing themselves, gently or harshly, of being unworthy. We tell ourselves we are unworthy to take up space, to put on weight, to get old, to slow down, to be tired, to be ugly, to be unavailable, to be loud, to be unproductive, to be charmless, to be sick, to be alone. To be angry. We feel that we are endlessly on trial, that our lives are one long audition, and we’re constantly in danger of being rejected and replaced by someone who knows how to do her job better. So many women have spent their whole lives floundering in a bottomless pool of fear that, if we aren’t pleasing men, we’re nothing.

I used to think that all that feminist talk about “the male gaze” was liberal garbage, and women simply didn’t understand how pleasant it could be to be desired by men. But now I am older and I can see that all my life, I have lived with this terrible fear of not being pleasing enough. Even women who know better know this fear. And that’s why there’s so much anger out there: Because it’s not right that we should live that way. 

I said as much on Facebook yesterday.

Yes, I was angry. I have eight daughters, and I see them growing up in this world that still hasn’t changed. And so I cursed at men who feel entitled to an aesthetically pleasing experience from every woman they meet. I felt the weight of that entitlement, and I was angry. 

And what do you think happened? My post was reported and removed. Men told me I was being strident and offensive, and that maybe they would listen if I watched my language and spoke more gently. Maybe if I changed myself just a little bit, so I was more to their liking, then they would listen to what I had to say. 

And there it is. Maybe I just need to be more pleasing to men, and then I’ll be allowed to talk. 

I don’t want to be angry all the time. I certainly don’t want to respond in kind, and become permanently enraged at a whole populace just because of the sins of some. But every once in a while, I feel the whole weight of that crushing, grinding, everlasting entitlement to be pleased, and I feel it even more heavily when I realize how I’ve been complicit in it.

I am asking men to be better. I am asking women not to be complicit. And I am asking men to hold each other accountable when they behave as if they are entitled to be pleased by women. I am tired of feeling inadequate, so instead I am angry. I have a right to be angry. 

 

***
Image: Bathsheba with King David’s Letter, by Rembrandt. Public Domain (Wikimedia Commons)

 

Liked it? Take a second to support simchajfisher on Patreon!

54 thoughts on “Why are women so angry?”

  1. I certainly understand why women are angry at men generally. But they turn right around and demand -yes, demand- that men date and marry them. They will use the basest insults they can come up with in their attempts to shame men into “doing the right thing” if they don’t get their way.

    This turns men off. No man wants nor needs an angry and demanding woman in his life. Until men get turned off of the idea entirely, they may approach a woman and actually succeed in dating for a while. But as the anger and the demands creep out from under the dating camouflage, the attraction fades. The woman he thought he as dating becomes someone he doesn’t know at all. Nor does he want to know her since the cost far exceeds the benefit. A few cycles around this circle, and a man will take the first available off ramp and head for the sidelines. It’s the only solution.

  2. My mother called it the “Curse of Eve” : Genesis 3:16: And your desire will be for your husband, and he will role over you.

    It’s not right; it wasn’t a ‘punishment’; it was a natural consequence of bad behavior.

    Same is true today. Unlike the childbearing one, we can do a little more about how we think and feel when combating sin nature with the holy human nature offered to us through Christ.

  3. I agree with what you say and you have every reason to feel enraged at this kink of injustice. Honestly.

    But –

    “F*** you. F**** you until you’re a rotten copse.”

    It’s not offensive because you failed to conform to a gender specific code of conduct but because Christians are supposed to be merciful and that statement seems to definitively exclude any kind of mercy. What many men do to women is horrible and absolutely inexcusable but the reality is that there are countless men that do struggle with impulsive thoughts and they are really ashamed of it. Being ashamed doesn’t excuse the thoughts and especially doesn’t excuse behaviors that those thoughts lead to. But there are probably many men that read your post and realized that they struggle with those impulsive thoughts and instead of owning up to them and opening up to God’s help they turned inward because not only was mercy not showed to them but it was denied.

    Please don’t take this as a criticism of the body of your post. It was very well said. I just don’t think that cursing at people who may be ashamedly struggling with involuntary thoughts is very conducive to getting the ones who are not ashamed to first admit it then to change.

  4. I am not sure if I agree with the central claim here. I think domestic violence (rightly) gets a lot of publicity in our society. Constant PSAs etc. about it. Particularly if it were to take such a violent form as pushing someone down the stairs – who are these alleged people who would call that a “private matter?”

    1. It’s a private matter in that people do turn a blind eye from abuse victims. We constantly hear of nfl players who abuse their partners, but they’re still allowed to play/what are their ramifications from the public? People will say well relationships are complicated, i can’t judge or get in the middle of that. It’s messy to get involved-the woman may deny she needs help. Abusers won’t advertise themselves-they’re usually the nicest person in the room. 1 in 4 women are victims of abuse or assault. Almost double the amount of women died at the hands of male partners than the number of troops killed in the Afghanistan & Iraq conflicts. Those PSAs are very much needed because we actually don’t hear about all the violent incidents. It’s like rape on college campuses-it’s getting more publicity these days but it’s still a widespread problem. Trust me it’s scary to be a woman.

      1. I guess I partly agree – public demand made the NFL increase penalties for domestic violence, but once the suspension is over, the incident tends to be forgotten. It might linger a bit as long as the player is in the same city, but if he is traded or goes elsewhere as a free agent, forget it. (But animal abuse is also forgotten – Michael Vick made a highly successful comeback.)

        Isn’t the 1 in 4 statistic consider dubious?

  5. The bottom line is: Men are physically stronger than women and always will be. Bad men will always take advantage of this fact just like bad parents will always take advantage of the weakness and dependency of children. Unless people are willing to accept and make societal and moral rules (and enforce them) about that basic biological fact, nothing will change.

    Do you think you are speaking for all women? I’m not angry at men. I’m angry that people are being sent to fight useless wars. I’m angry that bombs are dropped on real people. I’m angry that the rich manipulate governments and economies. I’m angry at the drug companies that push opioids. I’m angry at those who think healthcare is a privilege and not a right. I’m angry that Americans can be bankrupt by serious illness. I’m angry that the U.S. education system turns out functional illiterates. I’m angry that people drive wedges between the sexes and races so that focusing on real change becomes impossible. Stop swearing at men on facebook and read more Dorothy Day.

    1. Trying to police women’s anger isn’t the solution.

      Women have a right to be angry. And we don’t have an obligation to minimize our trauma. Injustices against women have been happening for millennia. Expressing rightful anger doesn’t make real change impossible. Policing people for having feelings and expressing them healthily does.

  6. Okay I’m gonna have to stop you there because I know absolutely zero real Catholics who actually believe in the teachings of the Church who suggested letting priests marry as a way to stop the sex abuse going on. If someone suggested it then they’re not really Catholic and their opinion is the same as any Protestant or non-Catholic who has no idea what they’re talking about when it comes to the Church.

  7. I need your posts to be in Spanish! Please??? I want to share them so much but many of my folks won’t understand a word.

  8. I have noticed a little of this and I think what you are seeing is coming from men who are addicted to pornography. Yes, they just view women as objects to be viewed for their pleasure. And since addiction to pornography has reached epidemic proportions, you can’t go out in public without sensing it.
    I wouldn’t curse men in general. Yes, Adam blamed Eve. But Eve was equally guilty and she wouldn’t take responsibility either. Men in general do put up with a lot of abuse from other men and also from women, though that takes a different form. If you’ve ever worked with a room full of men, just men, you will know that you can cut the male aggression with a knife some days. They deal with it so women don’t have to. Female aggression takes a completely different form. Perhaps we don’t even realize we are using it.

    1. What Adam said was “the woman you put here with me” so I think he was ultimately trying to pin the blame on God. One way I’ve heard the Fall explained was that Adam saw full well what would happen if he ate the fruit Eve offered him and he ate the fruit so they would not be separated, but deal with the consequences together. “Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh.”

    2. It’s kind of funny because I would consider the end of your post to be an example of female aggression. We belittle other women’s stories and truths-why? So we don’t seem as extreme as that one woman? Men do have to deal with abuse, but this post isn’t talking about that so why bring up a separate argument. Again to show that you’re different from this angry woman-proving her point. No ill will toward you-just challenging your thoughts.

  9. Simcha,

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen you this mad. It’s completely understandable when the words that you used come from the desire to protect loved ones, but rage is a symptom of hatred, and hatred is counterproductive. It just poisons our own souls when we go there.

    You are right about the way women have historically been treated. I’m sick to death of it too.
    –Yes, much of what we do to enable subtle abuse is done without realizing it. Toxic forms of catholicism freak me out the most though. Nothing short of heresy can be called out in those claiming to have the “one true faith”, when they bully others.

    On that note. Yes, this is a ******footnote — I’d like to call out the kind of toxic catholicism that tells women that they are virtuous if they act like some mousy character out of the Handmaiden’s Tale. (Aunt Lydia!)Yes. It’s been happening with the uber catholics forever. I’m just as sick of it as I’m sick of the Harvey Weinsteins of the world. I expect better from Catholics. Many women have been bullied by versions of Aunt Lydia, and *tortured* by their passive aggressive superiority complexes. There is absolutely *nothing* wrong with instilling a desire in our daughters to look attractive, feminine, shapely–*whatever*– so long as her worth as a human being is not bundled up with the cultivation/attainment of those attributes. Because this is easier said than done in society, it’s a mother’s job to be a loving guide. That said, there’s absolutely *nothing* wrong with a girl or a woman who prefers to dress or look like a guy. There is plenty of room in God’s garden for every type. I don’t think anyone should exist as a *reaction* to some other force though. If a young girl was molested, experts say she might speak like a little girl, or become overweight as a subliminal method of self defense. Dressing like a boy for those reasons, or because of abusive boyfriends or because of catholic shame is a deformation of the truth. It’s a terrible shame, and a burden imposed upon the girl by outside forces.

    I purposely used a small “c” for my description of catholics that deform girls and women in any way, shape, or form. They are phonies and abusers in the same way that worldly, toxic males are phonies and abusers. The only redeeming quality when it comes to female hate is that it is usually non violent.

    1. “The only redeeming quality when it comes to female hate is that it is usually non violent.” Not all that usually. The real difference between male and female abuse and violence is that women in general simply cannot hit as hard as men can. Women physically (i.e. not sexually) abuse their children somewhat more than men do.

      Women are guilty of much physical abuse and neglect of their children even when those terms are defined narrowly. Of course, women tend to be more frequently involved in child care and are more likely to have sole custody of their children than men are, so this is not as surprising as some people might think. But for those who think that the source of trouble is always the father or the man in the house, it is important to remember. “Nearly 83 percent (82.4%) of victims were abused by a parent acting alone or with another person. Approximately, 40 percent (39.9%) of child victims were maltreated by their mothers acting alone; another 17.6 percent were maltreated by their fathers acting alone; and 17.8 percent were abused by both parents.19 Victims abused by nonparental perpetrators accounted for 10.0 percent (figure 3–5). A nonparental perpetrator is defined as a caregiver who is not a parent and can include foster parent, child daycare staff, unmarried partner of parent, legal guardian, and residential facility staff.” See https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/cm06.pdf#page=43 (Actually look for p 48 in the pdf.)

      Sexual abuse of young children is much rarer among women than men, but women have been known to participate in it, and it is often women who bring a sexual abuser into the house they share with their children. Also, it is women who often refuse to believe those children when they say that the man is doing nasty things to them.

    1. And the irony thing about these so-called “honour” killings is the lack of honour the brother has by killing his sister. He is scum and dishonours his role as her brother. He is anything but honourable.

  10. I think this is a lot more complicated than just F— you, stupid men who think this way. Obviously there are men who commit horrific crimes against women and should rightly be condemned. The roots of such crimes often stem from an abusive, traumatic childhood and are difficult to address in extreme situations. But, I think blaming men for our own faulty views is wrong. If I am at peace with myself, it doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks of me. As a woman who was very worldly at one time, I was very caught up in the sin of abusing my power as an attractive woman to use men. It was a game for me in college to see how many men I could catch or attract. Somehow, whether from my mother or other women, I learned that I was worthy because I could attract these men and hold power over them. I hurt a lot of them, too. Once I knew I could “get them”, I didn’t want them anymore. Many women who have this mindset, even those not as extreme as mine was, become dismayed when they grow older, wrinklier, and we don’t get the smiles and glances we used to from every man we encounter. We are then forced to confront our own sense of self worth. Where was our treasure? Are we going to blame men for making us feel unworthy now that we are no longer attractive? Sure, maybe they’re complicit in their own way; it’s a complicated dance. But, F— them for making me feel this way? No way, never. It lacks mercy, it’s completely wrong, and it will only bury us deeper into a hole of self-loathing of our own making. That’s a hole you can never dig yourself out of because you’re convinced someone else put you there .

    1. So men who beat and rape women are excused because they had bad childhoods yet women who enjoyed being attractive deserve punishment?

        1. I’m having a hard time figuring out what you’re saying here. You do state that men who commit violence against women usually had traumatic childhoods, and then you say a bunch of stuff about women using attractiveness to gain power over men. Can you clarify your points?

          1. Sure, I’ll clarify. Violence is obviously wrong in any form. I don’t think there are many people, in our culture, who justify beating, raping, and murdering women. I think it’s rooted in past trauma that’s not really related to men thinking women need to please them. People that engage in this form of violence need to be encarcerated and may never change. On the subject of women feeling inadequate because some men may want them to look/act differently. This is an issue that has two sides. Is it wrong of men to act/say entitled things like that? Yes. But from personal experience, women are just as entitled when they demand that every man be attracted to them. I would become angry if If every man I engaged wasn’t into me. It’s narcisism and both sexes are capable of it. It was easy for me to feel entitled to male attention, to use males to bolster my self worth and then become angry with them when I didn’t get it. This morphed into being tempted to blame men’s desires for an attractive woman as the problem, especially as I got older and saggier and fatter. Like it’s their fault I feel bad and old and fat now. They’re supposed to tell me I’m still good enough. The problem is really my self worth was wrapped up in attracting men. Even after I was married. Even after I had kids. I needed all of the attention on me. Just as an entitled male feels he needs all the ladies’ efforts focused on him.

    2. There’s a point I see here, and that I felt when reading this article that we have to be careful not to make ourselves into victims. The world isn’t (or shouldn’t be) men against women. Because we live in a culture that so glorified victim hood status I usually check myself a lot to make sure I’m not playing the victim in my own life. I think if I didn’t do that, I might read this article and even though I am not a victim of sexual abuse or abuse or any kind, I might come away from it saying “hey. I’m the victim here. And men in general are really screwed up.” Don’t get me wrong I agree with so many of the points of the article but I do think it’s a slippery slope once you start feeding into that victim hood culture. And just FYI I’m saying this again as someone who is not a true victim of any kind of assault. Those who really have been victims of that, obviously that’s an entirely different situation.

  11. Personal experience here- I was told over the weekend if I had voiced my concerns in a more palatable manner that my husband wouldn’t have gone through with the vasectomy…

    Funny how how this comes into play on even a gut level in a marriage.

    1. I’m willing to bet a lot of money that your husband expects you to consider only the substance of his opinions regardless of the manner in which they are expressed. That is, he can yell at you all he wants but you can’t even speak in a less than groveling voice.

      My husband is like that. His anger has chipped away at my feelings for him over our 32 year marriage and has poisoned his relationship with his sons and with so many former friends. He’s retired, which means I can’t even look forward to business trips. Luckily I have a demanding job that keeps me away during the day. My father was the same way. He flew into a rage at the smallest provocation, and all the men I have known well did exactly the same thing.

      I still want him to fix things, but the hope that he’s going to do anything about it. He’s convinced he’s correct to be such an asshole. His father was an alcoholic, so in my husband’s mind, anything above abusive drunk deserves a medal.

      I’m so tired of all of this. I can’t join with my mother in missing my father, because honestly I don’t miss him. My life is immeasurably better without him. So is hers. Don’t men see this? Don’t they ever think about the fact that women are happier without them?

      1. You’re calling the man you’ve vowed to love, honor, and cherish for as long as you live an asshole. Clearly, the man, in his present state, is not good for your soul. It’s time to separate, at least for the time being. Hearing only your version, he sounds like a real jerk but it also sounds like you’ve come from an abusive background. In any case, it sounds like you should go to therapy if you have any hope of saving your marriage (and even if you don’t). God bless. I’ll say some prayers for you and your family.

        1. I agree with you. It’s better to bring things to a boil with the hope of improving what is toxic. Most men (women) are a mix of many things. To roll over and play dead to what is intolerable is to *enable* what is intolerable.

          Unfortunately sometimes the word “asshole” needs to be used, but hopefully not as a habit. Words such as this lose their power when not used sparingly!

      2. My husband doesn’t fly off the handle- that used to be me until I got my temper under control. He is prone to long spells of turning inward and shutting down. Which, while not as immediately bad as the yelling and screaming you’ve endured, tends to wear on one over the years.

        My husband is always right, because the core of his personality is doing the right thing for the right reasons. He’s a good man, but boy there’s some pride there.

      3. “Don’t they [men] ever think about the fact that women are happier without them?”

        Are you stupid or something? It’s the exact opposite. Women would have nothing without men. Literally nothing. Men made virtually every product you use including the system that makes it possible for you to make the government into your husband and extort money from men an including the computer you used to write the above slander, the car you drive, the AC that cools you, and the roof over your head. Get over yourself.

        The term “ball and chain” refers to a woman. You come off as deluded, unaccountable and bitter, just like the author of this post. The Bible constantly warms men about evil women, not the other way around. I guarantee your husband feels the same way about you or worse. Poor fella got stuck with and entitled, selfish victim. You sound like decay in his bones.

        Proverbs 12:4
        A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.

        Proverbs 14:1
        The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

  12. Teach your young sons NEVER to lift their hand to their sisters- even as a joke. I think women are angry because too much is expected of them. And it somehow is never good enough- in our minds anyway. I feel like anger is the default emotion and every other emotion takes effort- like being happy, calm, accepting. Its almost like anger is used as a defensive mechanism so we are ready for when something bad happens. I blame it on over stimulation- this bombardment of images and messages whereby we put an unspoken expectation on ourselves to protect ourselves because we no longer feel protected. Aspects of feminism are to blame. It’s not just the fault of bad men or silent good men. Women put other women down passively and savagely. I’ve experienced it in the workforce as a working mum. And it’s all around us- Mothers are harder on their daughters, friends are hard on their friends, female bosses are hard on their female employees. And boy it starts the moment girls start interacting in kindergarten. Women need to lift each other up and stop competing for male AND female approval. And we need to bring affection back into the world and make it ok to be caring and warm- something I find women do so uniquely and wonderfully and it has the power to transform the world.

    1. What aspects of feminism cause men to beat and shout at us? Please elaborate on this, because I have no idea how a philosophy that says that women should have the same rights and responsibilities men do could cause any reasonable woman to be angry?

      (And FWIW, our anger absolutely is caused by men and we are correct to be so angry.)

      1. Because although feminism gives us the same rights as men, with these rights come extra responsibilities and expectations. Add the fact that women have their own responsibilities which men can not biologically fulfil such as childbirth, motherhood (which in my opinion are the most important), and it puts extraordinary pressures on us to do it all. Without any expectations from men. It’s tiring to be honest. Sometimes women just want to be looked after by men. But you know if we say this aloud somehow we are “betraying” our sex. We are expected to be strong when actually sometimes we just want to be the ones who are looked after and protected.

          1. No rights should be denied. Why would you ask that? Feminism wasn’t and isn’t just about rights. If you read my first comment I said aspects of feminism. The “women don’t need men” aspect. The “women need to put on their pants” to compete in the workforce aspect. The “mandatory quotas in jobs and degrees because we are women” aspect. The suck it up aspect. The hard nut approach women have to other women to be the best aspect. These are all toxic. I despise these. The fact that women now work, child-rear and “do it all” is darn exhausting and depressing. The fact we are the glue in the nuclear family ontop of everything is hard. I’m putting it out there. Men don’t do it all nor do they claim to do it all. I don’t expect you to agree with me. I’m just talking from my POV. Because the way I see it is if everyone wasn’t so stressed and worked off their feet most of the time maybe we wouldn’t be so angry all the time. Women because of men and women because of women.

      2. Speaking for myself, I would have said that aspects of feminism were *partly* to blame. The commercialized version of feminism does not make men beat and shout at us (this behaviour has after all been going on for some time), but it does encourage women to be even nastier to each other than nature might encourage us to be. The version of feminism that tells us that women should all be well-educated, successful, creative, beautiful, fit, great mothers, sexy partners, and with all that, charitable servants of the community. It is rather a lot to expect to find in the person of one woman, wouldn’t you say? That is where some elements of female self-hatred come from, and the odd thing is that – in half a lifetime of studying women’s history and women’s writings about their experience – I do not recall finding it in earlier Western cultures. Nineteenth-century women – in the Anglosphere at least- were more self-confident and less self-critical than women today. Something about post-modern life is toxic to the ego (in the ‘public self’ sense of the word) for women, although it seems that men are starting to experience this too.

        p.s. Also, the rare nineteenth-century women who do show serious crises in self-confidence in the course of their lives were the ones who lived the ‘edgiest’ lives, who were expected to be public figures (Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire), or who like Mary Shelley moved in artistic and Bohemian circles, which have never been much good for women.

    2. Wouldn’t it be more helpful to raise up children not to be victims? If you’re telling your sons NEVER to hit girls doesn’t it subconsciously teach your daughters (who are surely nearby listening) that they’re helpless to respond to a boy hitting them? And doesn’t it teach your sons that girls have no means of defending themselves? Wouldn’t it be more helpful to teach all our kids not to take a punch sitting down? Of course we teach our kids never to hit anyone, but we’ve also taught our kids that they won’t get in trouble with mom and dad if they *hit back* if and when they’re punched. And at some point with our sons (usually early teen years when the testosterone starts flowing and wrestling and roughhousing becomes a thing again) we teach them that it’s never ok to hit someone smaller, weaker, and more vulnerable than themselves. (Our daughter is 5’3 and 100 pounds so it wasn’t a message we ever felt we needed to give her but we never purposely excluded her from it). And at some point along the way we taught all our kids how to kick where it hurts and run like hell, screaming all the way if they feel threatened. Isn’t teaching all our kids that it’s ok to fight back how they learn not to be victims? And isn’t teaching all our kids that it’s never ok to hit those who are more vulnerable how our children learn not to be predators? I’m sincerely asking because I don’t have the answers, but I can’t see any other way to do it.

      Once I was with my daughter and her friends and their moms on a trip to NYC and we were buying subway fare with whatever the token machine is today. And we ran into brief problems, but before we figured it out, one mother announced, “No worries girls! We’re strong women! We can do this!” And I thought to myself that her words were counterproductive – it had never occurred to me that we wouldn’t figure it out or that we were in any sort of danger (It was daytime in the busy theatre district and I had grown up in NYC. I certainly wasn’t worried and neither was my daughter). But this mom apparently was and she had just signaled her insecurities to the whole lot of us. And so the unintentional message that my daughter and I received with her “Girl Power” cheer was that somehow we were potential victims. No thank you. We’ll try it. We’ll figure it out. If we need help, we’ll ask for it. In any case, we’ll deal with the situation in front of us. Don’t ever doubt that you can do it. In my mind, THAT’S how you make strong women.

  13. Thank you for bringing these crimes amongst the “enlightened” to the real light…

    I lived this in secret, until one day, nearly two decades later, I realized I didn’t have to anymore. That started a whole new genre of abuse and control through civil courts — and (no surprise) church tribunals.

    To the good men of the world, my thanks, and my wishing I’d had the fortune to have made a life with one of you…. to all the men who are wolves in sheep’s clothing, your day *really is* coming.

    I wish the good men would hold the bad ones accountable.

    1. I’m sorry for you feeling so angry. And no doubt you do have a right to feel angry about lots of things, I know I do, lots of people do. A question that came up for me many years ago is what should I do with that anger? Lots of things are wrong in the world, lots of things are legitimately unjust, but what are you going to do with that anger? God put you here. In the midst. What does he want you to do with that anger?

  14. Fucking them may backfire.

    In all seriousness though, good points. And I love that realization about Adam in the Adam and Eve story… The whole thing makes a lot more sense.

    1. I was thinking the same thing as I read this piece. Abusive men won’t change unless we change how we see ourselves and our fellow women. I have been practicing the discipline of acknowledging each person I see as made in the Image of God”. It’s hard! I forget more often than I remember! But when I do remember to see the human in front of me in that light, boy does it change the narrative in my head. And it makes me want to love THAT person, right there, right now. My current Mom project is teaching my sons and daughters this habit. Hoping to change the cycle.

Leave a Reply to JCL Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *