Purely a figment of your imagination

What amuses, annoys, concerns or otherwise interests me – Noodlemaz

The words that never came to mind


I read this post in a group I’m a member of and it’s pretty much what I’ve wanted to say in the past when trying to have this conversation with men who don’t accept or are ignorant of why sometimes just *being* female can present specific challenges even in this country at this time. And indeed, why it’s depressing that so many decent and/or intelligent men can’t understand why that is – instead being met with ‘lighten up’ or some stupid joke about getting back in the kitchen. It doesn’t matter if you don’t mean it, you’re just not even trying to think from the other perspective.

I have changed it a little to reflect more my personal feelings, but the comments that followed were very interesting.

“... what you see and what a woman sees are two very different things. No matter how enlightened and sensitive you are, you don’t worry about getting alone into a lift/elevator with a man, you don’t have to watch your date buying the drinks in case something is slipped into one of them, you don’t have to put your thumb over the top of the bottle just in case. Hell, how I envy you in that way.

As a woman, I don’t see any difference between physical and non-physical abuse – they’re the same thing – they’re based on the same hatred of women and the same need to control women. They’re both sick and twisted.

As a man you’ll never have to avoid leaving the house, never be blamed for being attacked simply because you exist. You’ll never know what it’s like to be told that you were ‘asking for it’ because you had the temerity to be outside, in the world, with a vagina and breasts – you little tease, how dare you?!

Woman hatred is so prevalent most of us don’t even notice it. In the UK it’s on every news stand, on a heck of a lot of billboards, in far too many ads, in magazines that are aimed at women as well as those aimed at men. It’s insidious, a disease, it says that women are meant purely for sex, that every man has the right to take what he wants, that women are to blame for every terrible thing that happens to them. Basically if you’re a woman and wearing anything less than a full body burkha you’re ‘asking for’ any abuse that happens to you.

It hurts. It hurts that men and the male ‘liberated’ culture can oppress us so much. It hurts the soul to have to think always about our safety and our bodily integrity in a way no man does. It hurts having to be on the alert when we leave the house, when we’re in a bar, when we’re alone, when we’re in a car park, when we’re walking down our own streets, when it’s late, when it’s dark, when it’s daylight but quiet, when we’re just going about our normal business. And it especially hurts, not just when ignorant men talk about abusing us as though we’re nothing more than rag dolls or inanimate toys, but when intelligent, aware men can’t even see that this is wrong.”

– Sue Henderson (Manchester)

Following comments:

1. Time of the month..??!! lol! 😀

2.  “stand by for annihilation”

1. lol! I’m waiting… 😀

3. well, there’s quite a lot I’d like to respond to here, but I don’t think it would fit into this little box…

Me. Yeah thanks for that, a perfect example you have given (despite being a joke!). Feel free to write a note of your own.

1. hehehee! Well, I always aim to please ;o) Sorry, I will read the article in due course….

4. Commenting with a joke, without having read the article? Yes, Marianne’s point proved!

Excellent article, Marianne. Another aspect of this is that men often don’t realize that when they come up behind you in a secluded area, and pass you VERY close by, it gives you an adrenaline shock. One night a young man leaped at me on a secluded street, but he was only leaping a puddle, landing directly in my path, making me stop. I stood there catching my breath, and he walked on. Men, if there is plenty of room all around, and no other people around, give a little space, please. And yet another phenomenon: men who think it is funny to scare you. While walking home once, again on a secluded street in a suburb at night, my brother’s friend saw me and started chasing me. I didn’t recognize him and ran into the house. He entered the house, laughing at how he had scared me. No one in my family took it seriously.
5. Men are brutally mutilated on their genitals just for being male. Let’s fight abuse together instead of trying to figure out who’s more abused.

6. in one article you claim how circumcision is wrong, then the next how men don’t get abused. setting aside the potential for rape, abuse (non physical) can come just as easily from women as men. this is such a one sided article that ignores everything women have the potential to do and in fact propagates the concept that women can’t stick up forthemselves. yes, men are generally bigger and stronger, but that does not mean every man is planning to rape every woman he walks past.

the article implies women have to fear rape every waking second…generally not so. whilst people should take care when out alone, men can just as easily be the victim of assault/robbery and in many cases, young men are more often attacked than young women. “men don’t have to fear going out” – the chance of being stabbed is much higher than rape, and men get stabbed more than women.i’m sure now i’ll be labelled as an “intelligent, aware man that cant see this as wrong”,but i think its totally out of proportion

Me. Where do I say men don’t get abused?
I’m talking about the reality of being female and the dangers you have to take into account every day, which men very rarely consider.
For me the worst thing has always been the fact that less than a century ago, I could not be doing what I do now. Only the previous generation, girls were not taught the same subjects as boys because their lives were mapped out for them as homemakers and baby-producers.

I’m not trying to make a case for ‘which sex has it worse’ but to simply highlight that misogyny is alive and well, sexism is far more tolerated than it should be (generally against women but no, not exclusively) and it’d be nice if more men were like those in the group from which this post comes – understanding issues women face and working to be part of the solution, not ignoring the problem or at worst, being part of it themselves.

In reply to 5. I’m talking about the UK – MGM and FGM are thankfully rare here (except in cases where religion, as often happens, becomes a magic trump card and probably most frequently, when families immigrate from GM-performing cultures).

To 6. domestic violence is perpetrated mostly (about 80% of the time) by men against women- the opposite is no less wrong but a woman is simply more likely to suffer such abuse, physical or otherwise. Gender-based discrimination at work is also predominantly a problem for women. http://www.dewar4research.org/DOCS/dvg-v3.pdf

From a young age, men and women alike are bombarded with the idea that women are sexual objects, that sex is the ultimate goal of encounters, and more and more often I find myself talking to people who are scared of being accused of rape; scared for their own safety and not simply making sure they are not a rapist. Rape is more often committed by someone known to the victim; not strangers hiding in bushes.

5. I guess we all fight the abuse we were most affected by. I think there’s a lack of focus on the abuse that children experience. It’s not just abuse by gender, but by age, and every other category you can think of, I suppose, e.g. economic. But if I say children children children, you might think, what about women? We’ve all been there. And 100 years ago? Let’s not even start! I go with Ghandi, if you want real peace, start with the children.

Me. As I say to everyone who comes on to the MGM boards saying ‘omg FGM is so much worse, what’s wrong with you, get a life’ – simply ignoring one form of abuse because there is another out there which is worse won’t ever get us anywhere.

Being gang-raped is probably worse than rape on its own (as a friend uses as an example) but that doesn’t mean women attacked by ‘just’ one man deserve any less help etc.I agree with you to an extent I think, probably not for the reasons you mean though. If children were raised differently, I don’t think we’d have such distorted attitudes to women – and I suppose general violent crime. The Dove adverts are the only ones I can watch and nod nowadays: these particularly good

7. *Applause*

I do, however, have something to say about mental and physical abuse – it does happen (pretty frequently) the other way around. There are plenty of men who’ve been in abusive relationships, but this just doesn’t seem to get talked about. Obviously this isn’t a criticism of this post, just thought I’d bring it up ^_^

To me it always seemed that feminism (if that’s the correct term, some people seem to disagree about that) made so much progress then fell at the last hurdle. I guess there is a certain amount of freedom people can get before they get complacent. I’m sure the same will be seen with homosexuals, once they are legally equal many will stop there even if there is a long way to go.

With the whole male/female thing though it seems to be ingrained in our culture. Again, this works both ways – although I’m not arguing that women don’t come out worse in general. Either way, there are things expected of people based on their sex.

I went to my brothers graduation the other day and almost everybody in his Computer Science course was male. Similarly, almost everybody in the Social Science department was female. There is nothing inherently male about Computer Science and there is nothing inherently female about Social Science – so why the big divide? People love to talk about the differences between men and women but they don’t seem to realise how huge the overlap is. It’s quite disheartening.
Me. Medicine is now a (only slightly but still) female-dominated subject.
I expect/hope in time it will return to 50/50.
There are both men and women with personalities matched to traditionally male or female jobs and careers. It is sad that such roles are still so rigidly upheld by so many. In the same group are now discussions of electricians’ companies which are refusing to employ women – so people are looking into doing something about that.When men are derided for being nurses, midwives and nannies, women for being plumbers, electricians, etc. I despair.Girls are discouraged from being into maths and science (except biology) whilst boys are pushed for it.
Pigeon-holed from a very early age, even, with parents opting for all-blue/pink lives, no ballet for you, son, and no toy cars for you, daughter.I’m not saying parents should start calling girls ‘bob’ and boys ‘nancy’ but the gender assignment that’s currently accepted is still too extreme for comfort.

8. “Being gang-raped is probably worse than rape on its own (as a friend uses as an example) but that doesn’t mean women attacked by ‘just’ one man deserve any less help etc.”Not to distract from the fears of women but whenever I mention( as a man) I was drugged and date raped, everyone: men and women trivialize it. They laugh and say, “If a man is raped, he should be lucky he’s getting some.” When I mentioned this on a date rape board, women`s comments were disappointing, “obviously this woman was exerting power over you because it was done to her”, they would say. What a quick presumption, they didn’t know anything about her, other then to label her a victim of men. Had they known this woman, they would have known that she was hitting on me all the time and yet I continually refused her, so one night when she really wanted some, she drugged me with GHB and raped me. I was a teenager and she was 36. Would this be considered rape if I were a woman?
If a man were to blame his raping of a woman on himself being a victim, people would be outraged and rightfully so.
Me. I am indeed disgusted that people would say things like that to you, Dave.
Thank you for adding a practically unique male perspective. I’m amazed people trivialise what happened to you. However, I have heard the ‘you should feel lucky’ line used for women, too. Whether it’s rape or a simple wolf-whistle, it’s been used as a justification for a long time. ‘Be grateful!’ Pathetic.Can I ask if you got any justice for your experience?
8. Thanks Marianne,Did I get justice? no. Most of society doesn’t believe that a woman can rape a man.


The thing all women do that you don’t know about


Author: noodlemaz

I prefer to think of myself as a realist rather than a pessimist, but perhaps that's just optimistic. Honest, atheist, scientist, feminist.

2 thoughts on “The words that never came to mind

  1. Pingback: Victim blaming | Purely a figment of your imagination

  2. And how telling is it, that in a post about what it’s like to be a woman, the last word still has to be “man”?

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