The following was posted on my Facebook feed yesterday morning by one of my male Facebook “friends.”
For all you ladies getting ready to dress like slutty hoe bags for Halloween then post the pics of yourself on facebook! Remember we have to see you and your children in public, while at your kids soccer game, or at school or at any other function! Have a little respect for your children please!
Slutty hoe bags.
Slutty hoe bags.
Let me say that again, my friends.
Slutty. Hoe. Bags. (And he mis-spelled “hoe”, but I digress.)
This particular Facebook friend is one who brings delightful entertainment with his ignorant political rants as well as his formatting (he puts exclamation points after each sentence! to add excitement! because he has important things to say!). I can’t bring myself to delete him as a friend because his train wreck comments and status updates punctuates my Facebook experience with chuckles and chortles.
But this particular update didn’t bring on the chuckles. It made me fucking groan.
He had accrued a handful of responses to his update (mostly supportive) until I came to the last response by a female friend of his (who I’ll call Feminist #1) — which was this:
Umm I think YOU should “have a little respect” for women, please! What is this? 1903? “Slutty hoe bags”? Really? Just because a woman is confident enough with her body to possibly choose a costume that shows a little more skin on Halloween, doesn’t mean she is sexually promiscuous, nor does it make her a slut, a whore, or a “hoe bag”. Posts like this make a person seem like they have a very negative perception of women.
Of course as I read her response, I nodded my head and mumbled, “Right on.” I then proceeded to “like” her response. I then logged off Facebook and got my ass ready for work.
Toward the end of my work day, I checked Facebook and saw that I was tagged in a post. Please note that the following spelling errors and over-use of exclamation points are strictly those of said Facebook friend.
Male FB Friend:
[Name redacted] You obviously miss read the post or you don’t know who I am! I love and resect women! With that being said act like a woman when you have children that can see your Facebook! Or your child has friends who can see your parents Facebook! The offense you took from the post does have me wondering about your character and Sonja Essen For liking your post! I like a intelligent woman who does need to shop for a man with her boobs or ass! Rather her intelligence, demeanor, and being classy is enough to stop a man and make a stay a life time!
For realz. Dude is gonna judge my character because I like a post that voiced dissent.
Why do I care?
Well I don’t give a shit what he thinks about me, my life or my opinions. I’m just sick and mother fucking tired of this shit. You know — BLATANT SEXISM.
So I respond to male Facebook friend (MFBF):
… because somebody questions your post, doesn’t mean that they have bad character. Far from it. It’s called a difference of opinion. I believe [feminist #1] was saying that a woman should be able to dress up how she wants to on halloween without being labeled a “slutty hoe bag.” I agree that some costumes are distasteful, but that’s my opinion — far be it from me to label other women for what they wear on Halloween or any other day for that fact. But I suppose you can question my character if you want — if that’s what you need to do. Happy Halloween!
In addition — I’m curious to know where myself and Feminist #1 stated that women “need to shop for a man with her boobs and ass!”
This was also my first and last comment. I was busy and checked in occasionally to see how it played out. After a few more back and forth’s, MFBF responded again with this precious little gem.
The very fact your arguing about you doing! You didn’t clearly read my post nor did Sonja! So your type casting my post as a way of thinking and making it seem as if I am a quote on quote “male pig”! You obviously have been abused in some way and I am sorry about that! However, if a woman dresses like a slutty hoe bag and her son or daughter witnesses all of the men making lewd remarks and drooling over said mom! That kid now grows up to understand that a women is to be treated in such way and it is acceptable! My post was to be used as a instrument of how to be a good parent! I certainly will never tolerate my three boys treating women like shit!
I bolded the above statement. And let me just say that shit hit the fan after his beyond ignorant, and frankly dumb-ass comment. Feminist #1 took great issue with the judgement that she had been abused. I mean, the only reason for her disagreement is because she was “abused in some way”?
What a nice way to belittle a woman with an opinion.
In addition, he’s blaming women for their poor treatment. So he’s not holding men responsible for their lewd behavior? It’s the woman’s fault because she “dresses like a slutty hoe bag”? Alrighty then.
What will be definitely will be! I never labeled anyone or a particular group of humans! I used a terminology to educate people! Your tangent only made you look vulnerable and hurt by the comment! Your further argument is only building a case against your intelligence! Leaving you suspect to the viewers of the world! I am happy you do have a opinion! You do know what they say about opinions! They are just like assholes! Everyone has one!
Used a terminology to educate people. So wait. He’s trying to educate me by referring to women as “slutty hoe bags.” Got it. And dude. Enough with the exclamation points.
And yes. There’s more.
I prefer to education my kids a manner of respect and love! Seeing women using a holiday to dress like skanks for attention is not what I want my kids to see at their school or on facebook! People forget the entire world can see your facebook! No matter how much you have your privacy setting set!
I’ll just leave the above quote for you to absorb. Try not to chuckle too much.
So this guy’s views were not particularly shocking. These views pervade our media, our society — our lives.
But the real damaging part is what follows.
A woman responds:
Ok I will give you that but maybe it’s because I was raised to not care what other people’s opinions were of me…I work in a male dominated profession an get called every name in the book but I just don’t care. Words don’t offend me. And I truly believe that women who dress provocatively know what they are getting themselves into, NOT meaning abuse or sexual assault but the name calling…
She continues to say:
Once again, someone calls you a whore or slut…WHO CARES!!! Go shed a tear and get over it! People are so sensitive!!!!
A woman who perpetuates misogyny — who accepts it — is the worst kind of misogyny. THIS is a reason of monolithic proportions why we cannot advance feminism. Because the very people that the feminist movement is trying to help is in fact deflecting it. These women are fearful of anything but the status quo.
Why does she think it’s okay to be called a slut or a whore? These are not just words. These are weapons. And she’s tolerating a slew of misogyny grenades because she believes they’re harmless. Really? She feels perfectly fine being called a whore? I find that very difficult to believe.
Here is another example of a female response:
Oh…my word! What a thread! U are right on target [name redacted]! I enjoy using the term -” dirty ho bag” as loosely as possible. There is even a few songs about it .
Oh! Well okay then!
But MFBF continues to dig deeper. He’s really reaching this time.
Us males are subject to a variety of derogatory mannerisms! such as Douche bag, male whore, male, piece of shit, loser, dork,
You’re KILLING me, MFBF. Seriously. I can’t even BEGIN to tell you how much is wrong with this statement. And I couldn’t help but snort at the words “dork” and “loser”. As if those names are exclusive to men.
In response, another female makes a comment:
Couldn’t one argue that your interpretation of the phrase WHORE whether meant male or female is indeed YOU’RE OWN interpretation? Arguing that the term “male whore” has a less negative connection in society than “female whore” is just dumb!
Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god.
This is where Feminist #1 responds again:
All of those terms are not isolated just to this topic, save for maybe “male whore”, but even that does not have nearly as negative connotation to the masses as the female equivalent.
Okay, so this exchange went on for nearly 140 comments. Most comments were extremely frustrating. But as I was searching the internets this morning, I came across this post titled You’re Not A Feminist If You Call Halloween Costumes “Slutty”, by Chloe Angyal of Thought Catalog.
So I leave you with a quote from Angyal’s piece.
Sometimes the arguments against “sexy” costumes are blatantly regressive and puritanical: women and girls are precious flowers who ought to be protected from the roaming eyes and hands of men and boys who just can’t stop themselves from groping and raping. But even when well-intentioned people couch their arguments about sexualization in concern for girls and women, in claims about gender equality, there are some girls and women they straight up hate: “whores,” more respectfully known as sex workers. For these people, these noble defenders of trick-or-treating girls and women, the act of “dressing up like a whore” is an act of degradation. It’s so sexist, they cry, that in our culture, our good innocent (and, it’s implied, white, and middle- or upper middle- class) young ladies feel pressured to dress up as filthy prostitutes! The hypocrisy, the shortsightedness, the ability to preach gender equality while blithely casting around gendered, marginalizing slurs, is breathtaking.
Now go out and rock those fishnets!
- You’re Not A Feminist If You Call Halloween Costumes “Slutty” (thoughtcatalog.com)
- Obligatory Halloween Post On Skimpy Costumes (rawstory.com)
It’s brilliant shit. Her honesty is refreshing, if not at times blush-worthy — and well — kinda gross. But I like her for that. Jess DC of Lost Girls wrote a recent blogpost about it and made a telling statement.
It is unfortunate that so many of us grow up not in wonder and excitement about turning into women, but horrified at all the changes and taught to hide them (out of shame) as much as possible.
Jess is so right. And this is why I love Caitlin Moran. She’s honest. She’s open. And that honesty and openness makes puberty seem “doable.” Scary — but doable. And comforting in the knowledge the we ALL as women will bleed out of our vaginas and get boobies, among many other things. If only this book were appropriate for adolescent girls.
I was lucky that my mom was very open with me. When I was 8 years old, I picked up a copy of Time Magazine with a picture of a teen mom on the cover. This confused me immensely as I was taught that only married women had babies. Yes, I had it in my sweet little 8 year old brain that when you got married you magically became pregnant whenever you wanted. So my sister and I went to my mother and asked THE question. Or rather, questions.
How are babies made?
How does the baby get IN THERE?
How can she be pregnant without being MARRIED?
My mom looked at us in her motherly way and sighed.
“Well, girls,” she said. “After dinner tonight I think we need to have a lady talk.”
Oooooh. This sounded enticing. Special. Secretive.
After dinner my mom gathered us into our bedroom. She had a chalk board. And the woman launched into the story of sex. The details. How babies are really made. And she drew pictures. This was the craziest shit I’d ever heard… or seen.
We would eventually have periods. Yes. We would, in fact, bleed out of our vaginas once a month for about three or four decades of our life.
Holy shit. This was some big mother fucking news right here.
But my mom made everything okay. She reassured us. And even made it sound special. Having a parent who is matter-of-fact with the details and supportive is so essential for any girl approaching puberty.
And Moran obviously had the opposite experience.
My mother never told us about them [periods] –“I thought you’d picked it all up from Moonlighting,” she said vaguely.
Which is funny, of course. But the lack of information is what probably made the idea of menstruation all the more terrifying for Moran. But either way. Puberty sucks. It just does. And I love the following Moran quote.
Sex hormones are a bitch that have turned me from a blithe child into a bleeding, weeping, fainting washerwoman. These hormones do not make me feel feminine: every night, I lie in bed feeling wretched, and the bulge of my sanitary napkin in my knickers looks like a cock.
Yeah. Periods. They DO suck. But they’re doable. And having a period is kinda nice — especially when you don’t want to be pregnant.
I thought I would expand a little bit on my post on how to leave your husband. From the search terms that are leading people to this site, I’ve come to the conclusion that so many women are in the helpless situation of not knowing if their husband is a jerk.
I know. You’d think it would be easy to figure this out. I mean, either someone is a jerk or someone isn’t. This ain’t fucking rocket science, right?
Well, sometimes the answer is a bit more hidden than you think.
Because love is blind. And fear is debilitating. What happens in a verbal abuse situation, is that you think you love somebody — and maybe you truly do. But the love only goes as far as your fear of leaving. Only once you move past the debilitating fear of leaving, can you understand that your self-respect far surpasses your love of the man who oppresses you.
We’re not talking about wife-beaters here. This isn’t a domestic violence situation. That’s why it’s so complicated.
I’m talking words.
Saying mean things to psychologically harm and deliberately hurt someone is abuse. And it sucks to be on the receiving end.
There are ignorant people out there who ask the inevitable question of, “Well, why don’t you just leave?” I was even told once that I brought the situation on myself for marrying him. That I should’ve known. That I should’ve had abortions instead of bringing children into the marriage.
And these attitudes are precisely why women don’t leave. They’re made to feel ashamed. They end up being too embarrassed to tell family members or friends what’s really going on. These women don’t need to hear a smug, “I told you so.” They don’t need to hear a, “Well I was wondering why you married him in the first place.”
Just some simple understanding and encouragement is all that’s needed.
So here are the reasons why coming to the conclusion that your husband is a jerk can be such a confusing process:
1. You love him. Or you think you love him.
2. You’re embarrassed that you married him and you think it’s a reflection of you. So you don’t want to tell people how bad the marriage really is because you don’t want people to think that you were stupid for marrying the guy in the first place — which means you put on a show and are not really facing reality.
3. He can be really nice. Really nice. He’s not a jerk all the time. There are many times when he’ll do things for you — make you dinner, buy you flowers, clean the kitchen, give you a back rub. For example, when I was pregnant with my first child, there was a pot hole in our driveway. It was always excruciating for me when we drove over it because my baby would bounce on my bladder. My ex-husband took it upon himself to fix the pot hole so I could be more comfortable. But does that erase the times he called me worthless? Does that erase the times he came home drunk and woke me up just so he could call me names? No. And unfortunately it took me a while to figure that out.
4. FEAR. Fear is the biggest of them all. Fear of never finding love after divorce. Fear of being alone. Fear of having no money, no support, no place to live. Because once you admit that your husband is a jerk, that’s when you know you’ll have to do something — and doing something means you’ll be facing your fears.
But once you admit that your husband is jerk. You’ll be free. A free woman who can DO this shit.
So how do you know your husband is a jerk?
Your husband is a jerk if he holds you back from becoming the person you want to be. He’s a jerk if he calls you names. He’s still a jerk when he’s nice — because anybody who can treat their life partner like shit then turn around and be sweet as pie is truly fucked in the head and is not worth your time. He’s a jerk if he disregards your feelings. He’s a jerk if he deliberately hides things from you. He’s a jerk if he tries to make you look stupid in front of your children and family members.
He’s a jerk.
You are valuable.
And you are stronger than you think.
I figured it was time for me to read a book about being a woman — about feminism — about vagina-having humans.
Impressed yet? Oh, you’re not? Well you should be. Because this is a good book (so far at least.) And being a woman means I gave birth (and yes, I know there are many women who choose not to do the baby thing) to three babies, and now I support those babies by working full-time, which means I don’t have much time to do a whole lot, so it’s pretty impressive that I can actually pick up a book and read it, much less write about it.
Now are you impressed?
So How To Be a Woman is Caitlin Moran’s book about well — being a woman — and feminism. In the prologue she laments about how feminism is becoming extinct — that feminism comes in waves — so many waves, in fact, that it’s now become an irrelevant “incoming tide.” Moran is not saying that feminism is irrelevant — only that it has become irrelevant in the eyes of society.
She opens with talking about her 13th birthday. Her changing body. Her reluctance to enter into that unknown terrain of womanhood.
…there is no crueler or more inappropriate present to give a child than estrogen and a big pair of tits.
And so it began. That foray into becoming a woman.
Then there are girls who do all they can to prevent womanhood from happening. Those who fly into denial.
There are those who try to stop it, of course: the teenage girls who try to buy themselves time by aggressively regressing back to their five-year old selves and becoming obsessed with “girliness,” and pink. Filling their beds with teddies, to make it clear there’s no room for sex. Talking in baby talk, so they aren’t asked adult questions. At school, I could see some of my contemporaries were choosing not to be active women — out there, making their own fate — but to be princesses, just waiting to be “found” and married, instead.
Then there are girls who physically try to stop their body from changing.
And at the most dysfunctional end, of course, there are the kamikaze girls who wade into war with their pituitary — trying to starve it or confuse it into defeat, with anorexia, or bulimia.
My god. She explains things so well. This battle with womanhood that we all as women confront at one point or another. The tragic part is that teenage girls are so busy battling it, that they don’t see that being a woman — as challenging and frustrating as it can be — is such an amazing, lovely, crazy experience.
But the problem with battling yourself is that even if you win, you lose. At some point — scarred and exhausted — you either accept that you must become a woman — that you are a woman — or you die. This is the brutal, root truth of adolescence — that it is often a long, painful campaign of attrition. Those self-harming girls, with the latticework of razor cuts on their arms and thighs, are just reminding themselves that their body is a battlefield.
But Moran goes on to say, that even those notable women who got it right — those women who mastered the battle cry — they themselves ended up being conquered and beat down by a society who abhors strong, leading women.
Show a pioneering hero — Sylvia Plath, Dorothy Parker, Frida Kahlo, Cleopatra, Boudicca, Joan of Arc — and you also, more often than not, show a girl a woman who was eventually crushed. Your hard-won triumphs can be wholly negated if you live in a climate where your victories are seen as threatening, incorrect, distasteful, or — most crucially of all, for a teenage girl — simply uncool. Few girls would choose to be right — right, down into their clever, brilliant bones — but lonely.
It sounds so hopeless for a girl approaching teenager-dom — that cliff where you’re forced to jump full-force into that gravity pulling pit of womanhood.
This all sounds so bad. So negative. But I promise you it’s not. It’s just the prologue — the introduction. But here’s why being a woman can be so terrifying. And it’s just the tip of the iceberg:
…we live in a climate where female pubic hair is considered distasteful, or famous and powerful women are constantly pilloried for being too fat or too thin, or badly dressed, then, eventually, people start breaking into women, and lighting fires in them.
And this my friends, is the broken windows theory of feminism. One neglected broken window on a house will eventually lead to trespassers, burglars and squatters. And according to Moran, that’s precisely what’s happening to feminism.
I’m done for now, because I’ve only read the prologue and I would like to read some more. But I leave with you this Caitlin Moran quote for you to ponder.
When the subject turns to abortion, cosmetic intervention, birth, motherhood, sex, love, work, misogyny, fear, or just how you feel in your own skin, women still won’t often tell the truth to each other unless they are very, very drunk.
So we must have a zero-tolerance policy on the squatters climbing into our broken windows — “a zero tolerance policy on ‘All the Patriarchal Bullshit.'”