Fuck the (tone) police: Why men can stop telling me to be emotional about feminist issues
September 8, 2014
Have you ever noticed how almost every debate or conversation between groups of men and women, especially those concerning the topics of rape and/or domestic violence, almost inevitably involve a man in the conversation telling one or all of the women to ‘stop being emotional’, or accusing women of arguing emotionally while asserting that he is merely arguing facts?
First, let me say – tone policing is boring. If somebody is delivering points in a way you don’t like, it doesn’t make their points invalid. It just means you do not like the delivery. Big deal. Get over it and deal with it.
Second — why the shit should women not be emotional when talking about rape/domestic violence? Let’s recap some stats:
- 1 in 3 Native American women will be raped in their lifetimes
- 1 in 5 Black women will be raped in their lifetimes
- 1 in 5 white women will be raped in their lifetimes
- 1 in 7 Latina women will be raped in their lifetimes
- 1 in 4 women will be the victims of domestic abuse
The overwhelming majority of these crimes, nearly 100%, will be performed by men. Even if the victim is a man, the perpetrator is usually also a man.
So I guess I just wanna know why some brilliant minds think it’s inappropriate for women to speak emotionally about a topic that so devastatingly affects so many of us?
And here is what I want to say to the women reading this:
It’s okay to get emotional. Cry. Scream. Be loud. Be aggressive. Talk how you feel. Feel your feelings and let it out. You do not have to be calm and cool and precise when discussing crimes against you, your demographic, your friends and family members. Men who insist upon this insist upon it for THEIR comfort. They want you to adapt your speech and tone to accommodate THEM. It is only and solely and entirely for THEM to feel comfortable in the conversation. To feel welcome. To exist in a discourse which caters to them.
WE DO NOT HAVE TO ALLOW MEN TO SET THE TONE FOR THESE CONVERSATIONS AND WE DO NOT HAVE TO NEGOTIATE TERMS! YOU DO NOT HAVE TO ACCEPT HAVING YOUR TONE POLICED BY A MAN WHO WOULD PREFER A DIFFICULT CONVERSATION BE MORE SUITED TO HIS OWN CONVERSATION STYLE!
Men commit the majority of these crimes. Women experience most of the aftermath. And then when discussing it we are also supposed to adapt our speech to make men more comfortable? Please. No. Go ahead. Subvert the existing white male dominated acceptable speech paradigm and get emotional. Get loud! Get angry! Flip the script. Why shouldn’t you? That is a lot of violence toward women. That is a lot of hurt. A lot of pain. Why on Earth would we not get emotional? You do not have to be cold, distant, calculating or use School English to discuss your pain or the pain of other women, the abuse, the violence.
Do not let men control these conversations. Stay loud. Stay angry. Stay crying. Yell if you want to. And if a dude comes around and tells you to tone it down because he can’t hear you if you don’t, kick his ass OUT of the conversation. Do not adapt to him. Have him adapt to you. Women have been adapting to the will and desire of men for far too long, and it is disgusting that even in conversations involving women and pertaining to topics that mostly affect women and include women that have been harmed in these ways, that any bro wants to just saunter in and set up the terms of what is and is not allowable in that conversation. If he cannot hear you unless you speak in a way that is agreeable to him, do not give him the power to change the tone of a conversation. Take the entitlement away. We can set the terms. We should set the terms. Let’s set the terms.
Suddenly her mom’s silence matched Jackie’s own. “Oh, my God,” she murmured in disbelief. “Are you gay?”
"Yeah," Jackie forced herself to say.
After what felt like an eternity, her mom finally responded. “I don’t know what we could have done for God to have given us a fag as a child,” she said before hanging up.
She got a call from her older brother. “He said, ‘Mom and Dad don’t want to talk to you, but I’m supposed to tell you what’s going to happen,’” Jackie recalls. “And he’s like, ‘All your cards are going to be shut off, and Mom and Dad want you to take the car and drop it off at this specific location. Your phone’s going to last for this much longer. They don’t want you coming to the house, and you’re not to contact them. You’re not going to get any money from them. Nothing. And if you don’t return the car, they’re going to report it stolen.’ And I’m just bawling. I hung up on him because I couldn’t handle it.” Her brother was so firm, so matter-of-fact, it was as if they already weren’t family.”
This is utterly heartless.
HEY YO! ATTENTION ALL MY SHORT-SHORTS LOVING, THICK-THIGHED, CURVY KIN WHO HATE CHUB RUB
so you see that picture up there? its the best LUSH product ever, and I got that as a gift from a lovely friend for Hanukkah
and I usually use it on my clean sheets to make my bed feel silky and smell like jasmine, its great okay
ANYWAY today I had the brilliant idea to dust some of it between my thighs where they touch and YESSSSS GAAAAAAWWWWWWWD my thighs have been silky literally all day, and have not even began to chub rub
thats right: no chub rub
so whats its deal? well its some lovely coco butter-jasmine scented dusting powder that absorbs into your skin and leaves you all nice and silky and basically even though today was like 88 and humid my thighs did not stick to one another, it was heaven
so everyone who hates that GOD AWFUL rash you get from when your thighs chafe, GO BUY IT, REALLY. ITS A MIRACLE. AND I SMELL SO NICE.
and for those of you who don’t think this is completely amazing, forget you, my thighs are silky and smell like jasmine
I’m so pleased this is going around because its getting fucking hot out and this is important
I get asked about chub rub remedies a lot, so hopefully this is helpful for some of you :)
I HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO WEAR A DRESS OR SKIRT ABOVE MY KNEES IN YEARS BECAUSE I ALWAYS HAVE TO WEAR SHORTS THANK YOU SO MUCH
BLESS! I have the worst welts from chub rub
I will admit it. I have read all three books in the Fifty Shades of Grey series.
I am not admitting this because I am ashamed of my sexual desires or even because I feel the need to rant and rave about the poor writing quality of these books. (And it is extremely poor. I set my Kindle to count how many times the word “gasp” is used in the third book and the total was more than 70). I am admitting this because I feel the need to share my opinions about what I consider to be the incredibly — and dangerously — abusive relationship portrayed in the books.
When I first heard about Fifty Shades of Grey and learned they began as Twilight fanfiction, I swore I would not read them. I have read all of the Twilight books and I did not enjoy them. I found the relationships between Edward and Bella and Bella and Jacob to be patronizing and emotionally abusive, and I also thought the writing was pedestrian at best and boring to read. Why would I devote the limited amount of time I have for reading for pleasure to a series like this?
But as the dialogue about Fifty Shades of Grey increased, both in the media and amongst my friends, my curiosity was piqued. I attended a talk titled “Fifty Shades of Grey - Bad for Women, Bad for Sex” and decided that I should see what all the fuss was about.
To quote the book, I gasped. I rolled my eyes. I even bit my lip a few times. But not for the reasons Anastasia, the protagonist, did. I did out of exasperation, boredom and disgust, but also out of fear. After reading this book series, I am deeply afraid that this type of relationship will be viewed as the romantic ideal for women. And I consider that to be extremely dangerous — much more so than anything that takes place between Christian and Anastasia in the Red Room of Pain.
Could the character of Anastasia Steele be any more of a stereotype? She is an introvert, has low self-esteem, has abandonment issues from her father, apparently has only one close friend who bullies her and even though she works in a hardware store, she doesn’t seem to possess any self-sufficiency aside from cooking for her roommate and herself. She seems to have no sexual identity until Christian Grey enters her life and requests that she become his Submissive in a sexual relationship.
In order to be Christian’s submissive, Anastasia is expected to sign a lengthy and detailed contract that, amongst other requirements, requires that she exercise four days a week with a trainer that Christian provides (and who will report to Christian on her progress), eat only from a list of foods Christian supplies her with, get eight hours of sleep a night and begin taking a form of birth control so Christian will not have to wear condoms. Anastasia negotiates a few terms of the contract with Christian (she only wants to work out three days a week, not four), but all of her negotiations are only within his framework — none of the terms are hers independently. Nothing in their relationship is hers as an independent.
The character of Christian Grey is a rich, superpowered businessman who was abused as a child. He is in therapy, and Anastasia frequently references his therapist, but based on how he treats Anastasia, he doesn’t seem to be making much progress. As Anastasia’s relationship with Christian progresses, his controlling tendencies affect her life more and more. When her friend takes portraits of her for his photography exhibit, Christian buys all of them, because he does not want anyone else looking at Anastasia. (They weren’t even in a relationship when he did this.) When she is hired as an assistant at a publishing company, he buys the company — to make sure she’s “safe” working there. When she goes out to a bar with her one friend, against his wishes, he flies from New York to Washington State that same night, just to express his anger — and exercise his control over her. When she does not immediately change her name at her office (in hopes of maintaining some professional autonomy, given that he bought the company she works at), he shows up, unannounced, at her office, in the middle of her workday, to pick a fight with her. When she asks why it is so important to him that she change her name, he says he wants everyone to know she is his.
Christian’s possession of Anastasia is the cause of much of my disgust and fear of the book’s influence on people and how they view romantic relationships. After they exchange their wedding vows, the first words he says to her are, “Finally, you’re mine.” The control he exercises over her does not reflect his love for her; it reflects his objectifying of her. Christian never views Anastasia as a person, let alone an independent woman. He wants her to obey him, and even though she refuses to include that in her wedding vows, it is exactly what she does. When her mother questions her choice to keep her wedding dress on rather than change before traveling for her honeymoon, she says, “Christian likes this dress, and I want to please him.” Her desire to try some of the “kinky fuckery” in his Red Room of Pain comes from wanting to demonstrate her love for him, not her own sexual desires.
Wanting to please Christian apparently includes subjecting herself to verbal and emotional abuse from him ‘til death do them part, because any time she tries to stand up to him — which isn’t often — he berates her, guilt trips her and beats her down verbally until she apologizes and submits to him. After she uses the “safe word” in the Red Room of Pain so he will stop, he bemoans his sad state of mind later, mentioning that his “wife fucking safe worded him.” He is not concerned with her well-being or why she felt the need to use the safe word. He only cares about how it affects him.
The question that I kept asking myself as I read the books was why Anastasia stayed with Christian, and the answer I found was that she has absolutely no sense of self worth. She only feels sexy when he says she is, and when he insults or patronizes her, she accepts what he says as the truth. One of the passages that disgusted me the most was when Anastasia was at a club with Christian, dancing and thinking to herself that she never felt sexy before she met him and that he had given her confidence in her body. Yes, being with a partner who frequently compliments you can increase your confidence, but Anastasia went from zero to one hundred thanks to Christian. None of that came from within herself. Because of his influence on her, nothing in her life came from herself — her job, her home, her way of life, or even her self-esteem.
The co-dependency between Anastasia and Christian is alarming to read and even more to contemplate. When she breaks up with him at the end of the first book, the second book finds her starving herself and wasting away to nothing until he contacts her again. When she thinks his helicopter has crashed in the second book, she thinks to herself that she can’t live without him. Their marriage only comes about because he is scared she will leave him, and when she asks what she can do to prove to him she isn’t going anywhere, he says she can marry him. Yes, origins of insecurity and desperation are a great start to a healthy marriage.
When Anastasia finds herself unexpectedly pregnant and shares the news with Christian, he rages at her, asking if she did it on purpose and storming out of the house, disappearing for hours. Even though Anastasia thinks to herself that the pregnancy happened too soon in their marriage, she never considers terminating it.
The themes of the novel — that love alone can make someone change, that abuse from a spouse is acceptable as long as he’s great in bed, that pregnancies should always be carried to term even if the parents are not ready to be parents, and the ridiculously antiquated, Victorian idea that the love of a pure virgin can save a wayward man from himself — are irrational, unbelievable and dangerous.
Our culture has seen a radical shift of ideals moving towards traditional gender roles and Fifty Shades of Grey is a shining example of that. Early marriage to one’s first sexual partner, having a baby even when saying neither of the partners is ready to be a parent, and submission to one’s husband as the head of the household are all aspects of life that feminists and progressive thinkers have worked to move beyond. Anastasia and Christian’s relationship is not romantic. It is abusive. The ways he tries to “keep her safe” are not masculine or sexy. They are stalking. Fearing one’s husband’s reaction to an unexpected pregnancy is not normal, because “boys will be boys.” It is sad and dangerous and should not happen in a healthy relationship.
Fifty Shades of Grey was one of the best-selling books of the year. Sex toy classes have been inspired by it, as have new types of cocktails. The film adaptation is already in the works. I sincerely hope that honest discussion will be had about the book and that the Christian Grey ideal of romance is not one that will be perpetuated throughout our culture. The best way that can happen is through open, honest dialogue that leads to healthy relationships of two equal partners. That, in my opinion, is sexier than anything that can happen in the Red Room of Pain.”
Spread this like wildfire on all media!
THIS IS A CAT IN A HALLOWEEN COSTUME PLAYING WITH A TINY PUMPKIN THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT
All different shapes and sizes… Every single one of these athletes is a certified bad-ass.