This Misogynist Moment (So Different and So New): A Collection of Moments When I Realized Men in My Life Are Misogynist
I was at my friend’s house hanging out with a mixed-gender group of friends. Another friend was on their way over to join our rowdy game of cards and drinking, and my (cis male) friend said, “She’s a cool girl. No offense, but she’s a really cool girl.”
How did I know he was a misogynist? He obviously held the assumption that men and boys are by default superior to women close to his heart, and believed it enough to say it out loud in front of young women. That hit me like a sheet of glass crashing down around me. That silence you heard when you said, “No offense, but she’s a really cool girl” was the sound of me realizing I could never trust you. It was the sound of me realizing I was not around friends, but enemies. At the time I didn’t have the words to articulate why what he said was so messed up, and why it made me feel so deeply shitty, but I did have the good sense to know he wouldn’t listen to anything I had to say. After all, I wasn’t a cool girl, so what did I matter?
Don’t trust anyone who says “she’s cool for a girl.” Don’t take “you’re cool, for a girl” as a compliment. It is misogyny. All girls are cool girls. And we don’t need you to reassure us of that.
Later on that weekend (or possibly the same night) the same rowdy crew was headed out to find the shortest line to get into a bar and out of the blustery cold autumn night. We watched crowds of other young people surge by, stumbling and laughing, some girls wearing short dresses, bare legs, and high heels despite the chilly air. The same friend turned to his (then) girlfriend and said, “I’m so happy you’re not any one of those girls.”
How did I know he was misogynist? There he was, judging and criticizing the young women who were simply obeying the rules of femininity and trying to enjoy a night out. Short skirts, dresses, heels, and bare legs is what makes women women, right? It’s what makes us sexy, right? It’s what keeps us from getting called “dyke” on the street, right? Even if it means we get called “slut” instead. Even if it means we get blamed for our own harassment and assault. But wait, who made up these rules of femininity? Who calls us a dyke or a slut? Who harasses us and assaults us? Right.
Don’t think for one second that this has nothing to do with you. Don’t forget for one second that you benefit everyday from sexism. But go ahead, blame women when the shitty world you made doesn’t make you happy anymore.