©2001 Marion Pennell

©2001 Marion Pennell

I do know why I read the comments on all the news stories.  It’s the same reason I watch ‘Jack Van Impe Presents’ every Sunday.  I want to know the “arguments” from the other side.

So far (summary of Ray Rice, Jian Ghomeshi, Bill Cosby, et al. defenders, that’s just this news cycle, there will be more, with similar “arguments”, pick any time, any place):

Women are evil and want money.  (So if a women is abused by a rich man, and she has access to his money, there is apparently no crime. As if wives are essentially prostitutes leeching off men, and if he paid for it, he owns it.)

Feminists want to prevent men from receiving college degrees. (That is “apparently” why there is an uproar about rape culture on campuses).

Women deserve what they get when they “go after” a powerful man, after all they had nefarious reasons in the first place. (Women are apparently predators, when they are not prey.)

If you didn’t go to the police, there was no crime.  If you have no physical proof then there was no crime.   (He knows where to hit to not leave bruises…  Doesn’t this start to resemble the Taliban – need male witnesses to the rape – style of evidence?)

Women are chomping at the bit to conspire to bring down men with false accusations. (Apparently there is some pay-off I am unaware of).

Women are always using false rape accusations after regrettable sex. (Because they are still 1950’s style afraid for their reputation or something?)

I have a friend who knew him/dated him and it didn’t happen to me. (So if a murderer didn’t murder you, he is not a murderer?)

Anonymous sources are not trustworthy. (Deep Throat, Watergate?  Anyone, Bueller?  Bueller?)

Witch hunt. (Rhymes with?)

What women would do (any of the behaviours) she did?  (What man would do what he did?)

She was drunk/did drugs so she was complicit.   (But he was drunk/did drugs so he was not complicit?)

He could get any woman he wanted.  She was lucky to have him/She was mad she couldn’t have him. (Only ugly men are abusers?)

This (text/flirtatious behaviour) implies consent to me. (Do you think a small consent equals a huge and ongoing consent?  Do you think consent ends when one person is unconscious?)

She did it before and accepted it, so therefore she always accepts it.  (Women have no choices?  She doesn’t get to decide what she does or when?  Like the virgin argument: once a vagina has been used, it doesn’t matter who uses it next. These people obviously do not have vaginas.)

He is powerful, and therefore an obvious potential victim. (I can’t, I can’t even… )

It keeps coming down to needing an insane amount of proof (video is better than bruises, bruises are better than words) because there is a strange desire for these women to be “outed” as evil gold-digging nasty bitter man-hating feminists (or something).

I don’t know about you.  I’ve met some crazy women, some mean women.  They don’t typically attract a lot of other women to their cause. But, every violent or violating thing that has ever happened to me has been at the hands of a man.  Every person who tried to rip me off financially (bosses, landlords) has been a man.  Every time I have felt unsafe is because of a man more powerful than I am.  Is my life experience or my word not enough?

Facebook and Twitter are doing us a favour.  Meet a man?  Google him.  Facebook him. See who he “likes”.  With the court of public opinion, it will be easy to see whose side he is on in any ongoing public “argument”.

Back in the olden’ days when feminism was still called women’s liberation, my mother gave a pronouncement: “They (the men) won’t like this.  They will push back.  They won’t want to give it (their social/legal positions as above) up.”

There was Mom being a downer again, my teenaged-self thought.  Of course women had equal rights, all we had to do was demand them. How naïve.  It’s still a man’s world.  But I can choose how I live in it. As a feminist.

The best part of the internet is the comments.  We declare who we are.  We expose ourselves.  We can see you too.  We know why you hate us.

And as far as the phrase “women’s liberation” goes, when I hear it, I remind the person that we weren’t in cages.  We aren’t asking your permission to get out.  We are speaking out, and you can’t stop us.

©2001 Marion Pennell

©2001 Marion Pennell

(thank you Helen Reddy)

I. Am. Woman.

Hear me roar in numbers too big to ignore.

And, I know too much to go back and pretend.

But, I have heard it all before.

I. Have. Been. Down there on the floor.

And. NO-ONE’s gonna keep me down again.

Yes, I am wise, but it’s wisdom born of pain.

Yes, I’ve paid the price, but look how much I’ve gained.

Now I have to stop, because, the price was high.  And why, did I pay the price?  Because I was a woman.  It was specifically gendered violence.  That’s a terrible price to pay for being a woman.  But…  Now.  At, first I thought I had only gained back what I had lost.  And only, now, I realized how much I’ve gained. I am part of a community.  I am compassionate and empathetic.  I don’t only care about women, although I care about women passionately, I also care about Jewish people, and black people, and gay people, and all the people that someone puts down and hurts just because they can.

It was a high price, but now, only now, but thankfully now, I know that

If I had to

I. Could. Do. ANYTHING.

I. Am. Strong.

I. Am. Invincible.

I. Am. Woman.


One thought on “I.Am.Woman.

  1. Virgin or whore. Naive or depraved. Why do we have to be one or the other? Thanks to a council of holy men in the 4th century, the great Goddess was declared “ever virgin”. I don’t know if my argument makes sense, but, if the tables were turned, wouldn’t that be like declaring that the God is “ever castrated”?
    “Once a vagina has been used…” Well said.


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