I’m thinking about violence.
I’m thinking about violence against women+.
I’m thinking about physical violence. Emotional violence. Mental violence.
I’m thinking about the daily assault on women+ from men, from other women+, from institutions, from our government, from media, from religion and the religious.
I’m thinking about the countries where women+ can’t vote, can’t drive, can’t go to school, can’t leave their houses alone, can’t be the owner of their own bodies.
I’m thinking about America.
I’m thinking about how America believes itself to be progressive and free.
I’m thinking about how “things are so much better here” for women+.
I’m thinking about how things are no better here, or anywhere.
I’m thinking about how dangerous it is to be seen as a woman+. To be heard. To exist.
I’m thinking about the statistics for domestic violence, for sexual violence, for mental health.
I’m thinking about how I know hundreds of women+, and at least two-thirds of them have shared with me or with social media their stories of abuse, assault, harassment, rape, and fear of death.
I’m thinking about how commonplace it is to be a woman+ and to be afraid.
I’m thinking about how numb we have to be in order to keep walking through time and space.
I’m thinking about the man who commented on a Facebook post about AOC receiving death threats, discounting her reports because not only did he think she was likely exaggerating (because women+ are deceptive), but that her words were ineffective because she was making an emotional appeal.
I’m thinking about my response, how I calmly used my background in English to parse her words and illustrate how she had carefully constructed an un-emotional text, one that stuck to facts and the barest minimum of descriptive, qualitative words.
I’m thinking about his quick retaliation, how he—emotionally, I might add—reiterated that by simply mentioning the death threats she possibly received, she was appealing to womens+’ emotional responses and reactions, and the very fact that I disagreed with him and was defending her was somehow proof that my emotions were triggered and therefore AOC’s tweet was an emotional argument.
I’m thinking about what that exchange really meant – I’m thinking about how he was allowed to be emotional and impulsive and voice his opinions, but when a woman+ suggested an alternative, or rebutted his opinions with facts, he dug in deeper into his insistence that I was wrong, that AOC was wrong, and that emotions are somehow problematic.
He wanted me to be unemotional. He wanted AOC to be unemotional. He wanted women+ to be unemotional when faced with the spectre of violence against women+.
Dear man, I am already so numb.
I am already so inured to the common, everyday occurrence of female+ death, of female+ persecution, of female+ slavery, of inequity and terror.
Dear fragile white cis man who had so much to say on the internet to an unknown woman+, you said in one of your responses that you love women+, and I am so sad and sorry to tell you that you do not love women+.
You love your idea of women+.
You love women+ who reinforce your idea of women+.
You do not love women+.