I've been sitting on this set of messages for a few days. I haven't had the emotional wherewithal to address the multitude of problems with the interaction that neatly encapsulates an alarming number of issues women face today. I feel like I say this too often, but of the scores of awful messages I've gotten, I really think this one is the worst — and as much as I hate to admit it, it really got to me.
99% of the time, I'm able to shrug off the offense. I can laugh, even if with a bit of melancholia, at the absurdity of the situation. I sigh, frustrated, I groan, annoyed, I sometimes shriek, horrified. But I rarely feel defeated. Something about this one though, really struck a nerve.
It is a sad truth that I (and I imagine, many of my female compatriots) have become relatively desensitized to the abuse we face with such frequency. It is the perpetuity of the obscenity, the objectification, the shameless commodification that has created a bizarre suit of armor that deadens the blow. But we still feel its hollowness every time. I promise you, we feel it.
And this time, I felt it more acutely than normal.
I think it was the ease with which he was able to continue the stream of insult. It was so impersonal, so flippant — it was all such a joke to him. I was a joke to him. This blog, whose very purpose is to highlight such behavior, was a joke to him. Over the course of a few messages, I have to admit that he managed to invalidate the emotional baggage that comes with being a woman, an Asian woman, in 21st century America. I felt strangely dehumanized, and I was made all the angrier by the recognition that an absolute stranger managed to elicit such an intense reaction.
But thank God I can feel.
Here's my main problem with the exchange: there's a complete denial of any agency on my part. His continued insistence, his confidence in his gameplan, are as disgusting as they are alarming. Time and time again, women are told their anger is misplaced, overdone, dramatized. We are not allowed to say no. It's a refrain I've heard too often — laugh off the woman's indignation, she'll get over it. That's literally what we're told — get over it, this shit happens all the time. But it's not supposed to. We're not supposed to stand for this.
And I won't. And this blog, in some small way, is my way of fighting back. So thank you, to the thousands of people who have now visited, for helping me prove this asshole wrong.