Project X: We haz a rant.
We realize that Project X is about finding constructive conversations. About trying to have difficult dialogue while being civil.
However. This week, we’d like to talk about anger. Mainly because… we have some woman anger right now. So that got us thinking about it.
There is a lot of discomfort in our society around anger, particularly minority & women anger. We don’t want to blame Booker T. Washington (cuz he did great things! annnddd that would be hugely ironic) but… that whole cooperation-with-the -system-slash-non-confrontational-cuz-otherwise-the-majority-will-lash-out-at-you thing.
Look. Despite our discomfort with it, anger does not always have to derail conversations. Might be tough to keep it from doing so, but figuring out how is actually really important because the reality is, when discussing things that we’ve been focusing on in Project X, people are going to come in with some anger. Maybe a lot of anger.
The critical point is that anger is valid. They have a right to that anger. Period. Full stop. That right means their anger is not a reason to negate further conversation. Period. Full stop. Moreover, allowing some one’s anger to end a discussion is, well, once again kinda about privilege. That is, your privilege means you haven’t experienced whatever harmful, horrible, shitballs thing that made them rightfully angry. To tell someone “hey, you need to go calm down, yer all angry n’ stuff” as a reason you can’t engage them? Well. That’s pretty much belittling their experience – and illustrating how your privilege allowed you to not be harmed and therefore are not angry. And just because you’re not angry, they don’t have a right to be either. Yeah, no.
In addition, it’s more than just not wanting to deal with someone who is upset. We’ve actually got all kinds of narratives to help you avoid dealing with them, too. Narratives around the anger of marginalized groups: Bitchy PMS-ing women who just need to get laid, fear of/laughter at the Angry Black Man/Women, the Drama Queen Gay.
These narratives marginalize appropriate and legitimate reaction of anger, frustration, and pain. So, you know, we won’t have to deal with it. Because it’s that group just acting all bitchy/angry/crazy/drama again. Couldn’t poooooosibly be something legit. So feel free to ignore them or tell them they’re just being an Angry Black Dude again.
But anger is a legitimate response to complete shit that is allowed to happen due to social constructs and privilege. And, like we mentioned, right now Katie* and I have some woman anger.
Don’t really want to pick n choose between any of the ridic bullshit crap regarding women’s health/rights these days. Komen’s bullshit, ultrasound bullshit, birth control vs. religion bullshit. It’s all shit. And it’s made us very very angry.
We don’t really want to argue over these specific instances. We already do that elsewhere. Here? We’re using them to make a point about the legitimacy of anger (check) and to ask some questions/ponder some things that these various (various! Augh!) “controversies” have to say about our society collectively.
Oh, say, for instance… how the fuck can we deny the existence of male privilege? Of patriarchy? They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so how’s this for exhibit A?
It is literally unfathomable to think this could happen to men. That we would be this invasive. That we would allow the government to have these conversations about men’s health and rights and bodies. That it would be ok for even an instant.
That we would have a Committee hearing of only women. That a woman would deny men entry to a discussion of men’s health at the government level. Not to say women are incapable of such shit (I am sure some of them would be), but to say… that. would. not. happen.
It would not happen.
No. There is no argument here. Really.
And this from the very people who believe the government should have little to no say about their lives. That want to reduce government.
The ones who say they don’t trust the government.
Again, we don’t want to get into specific here. Yes, we are mad as hell about all that, but the point is: THIS SHIT WOULD NOT HAPPEN TO MEN.
And that, dear readers IS patriarchy. It IS male privilege.
The FUCKING privilege not to have to deal with this shiz. The privilege to not have someone feel they have a right to your body or your choices. To define for you what your health care is. Your privilege means you will never know this kind of invasion simply because you were born with a penis. Not (heavens to betsy) the ladybits.
Moreover, how can we deny the existence of racism and classism here? Again, this picture was viral on the internet – anything but white in that room? In addition, rich people, who are mostly white in this country, are always going to have access to birth control and abortions. Even if you make them illegal. Always going to happen. But make them difficult to get? You automatically harm the poor – and it is undeniable that “the poor” in this country is inherently linked to race. The vast majority of low-income socioeconomic persons are minorities. Period. Full stop. And don’t think for a second the people in that room and making these decisions don’t know this full fucking well.
Moreover – which religions were chosen to give testimony? Which ones were told their views were valid in the “religious” debate? Which were not?
Who made these choices? What are their thought on who is legitimate in this country? Guess what allows them choose which voices are allowed in the conversation? Their white, Christian, socioeconomic, male privilege.
But, hell. These men are also quite happy to police the bedrooms and private lives and personal fucking pursuit of happiness of those that aren’t hetero like they are. Again “No big government for me, thanks – but lawdy would you start government-ing the hell out of those people??” Thanks straight privilege!
OK. Now. We need to emphatically stress that this rant is not aimed at men. We actually understand that you didn’t go out and get your privilege. The fact that you have it isn’t intrinsically your fault. So please – we’re not man-bashing you here. Really really really. That’s been part of our point in these posts – it’s not about you personally – it’s about the narratives and the societal constructs and the privilege provided to one group over another.
In fact, you menfolk ought to be as pissed off as we are. You understand the importance of affordable health care that includes sexual health (ahem it’s not just the vaginas and boobies that need looking after). You plan your families. You have lady friends, and Moms, and sisters, and nieces, and aunts. You like the sexing with the ladybits that are all nice and healthy without the babies – oh, and without les condoms. Don’t you?
But. You never have to go through this shit. You never have to know what this feels like. The fact that, even though these things totally involve you, men are somehow being left out of the equation. It’s not religion vs. all those people out there gettin’ down with they bad selves. It’s not that horrible woman who worked at Komen vs. all people who use Planned Parenthood. In reality, these issues do not involve gender lines – yet the arguments over them DO.
Nope. It’s about the ladiez. Menz – you get the penis pass.
But see, a key point is we don’t want you to know, either. Our anger is not so you have to go through it too – heavens! where would that get us? what would be the point! This is, actually, one of those privilege-things that actually (weirdly) good – as in, we ALL want to be treated as you, my fellow menfolk, are treated.
We do, however, expect you to take responsibility for your privilege. We do expect you to acknowledge this, to actually think about the fact that this will never happen to you. To think about how it does affect your friends/Moms/sisters/cousins/nieces/aunts/lady friends AND THE SAFE SEXING and the NO CONDOMS and the FAMILY PLANNING and to, you know, DO something. SAY something.
But, for the LOVE, not: What are you complaining about???
Of course, we are a lil specifically angrypants at all those old white dudes who are happy to exercise their privilege the way they are apparently deciding to do so. They are taking it a step further, and using their privilege to do wrong. Another point – we know most men would not do such things with their privilege.
Fuck you, those dudes. Fuck you.
Nikki & Katie*
*PS Simone recently came out of the blogging closet. Her real name is Katie.