Outside the Whale: Women as Quarry


The plethora of men being accused of pushing their hands down where they don’t belong has got conservatives and liberals arguing over who is telling the truth, who is lying, and which party has the most gropers. Over who belongs in counseling — as if culture can be counseled away — and who deserves to be ejected from his powerful position. And who has crossed that line into rape.

tanya-willow1What we refuse to come to terms with is who is doing the violating: Men.

For young, adolescent boys, girls are reduced to quarry. College fraternity parties, a hunting ground. That he should grope and grab in adult life seems inevitable. And that we women should have sovereignty over our own bodies remains controversial.

The Twitter hashtag #MeToo has brought a sudden awareness to men of the assaults nearly every woman has experienced. Men now know their mothers had this happen to them. (Unless she hasn’t told you.) And that their daughters, if it hasn’t already, will have it happen to them. Predatory cultures result in mass casualties. And men who think women invite it become shocked when the women in their lives have also been victims of this ubiquitous act.

In the past we women just took it. Expected it. Accepted it. Thought we better be more careful next time. Mom said men are dangerous. (Where would she have learned that?) We should have known better than to put ourselves in a vulnerable place. We often blamed ourselves for being seduced by the spell of civility, thinking you saw us as a person and not as a tool.

So men, why are you so dangerous? And from where did you get the idea that says our bodies are not ours but yours to do with as you please? That if you have a sudden urge, you can act on it. Why do you show more restraint in a department store? When you want a pretty watch you don’t suddenly grab it and shove it down your pants but might well shove your hands down a woman’s pants.

But we never have that conversation.

Instead we debate things like abortion. What medications like birth control a woman gets to have under her insurance plan. But the abortion debate has never been about babies. If it were, Republicans would be at the forefront for programs for children and demand health insurance for families.

Abortion and birth control restriction is about constraining a woman’s free movement. And the restraint of a person’s physical body is the greatest power one human being can exert over another.

And the pleasure and joy of sex is the ultimate expression of a free body.

And freely felt joy of the body without the owner’s permission is dangerous. Because the owner must always have the power to impose pain on the body owned.

From groping a woman he knows to hunting down a jogger who he does not, men use their power to restrict our physical freedom. We invented the term “black on black crime” as an implicating code that conveniently ignores that crimes happen within neighborhoods. But male on female violence, though it is ubiquitous and happens in every community, regardless of income or demographic, has no term.

So, despite the popping of this particular pus, women will continue to jog down a one-way street to avoid your circling van. Smile nicely and then move awkwardly behind the desk in binding heels so it stands as a barrier between us. Navigate and restrict our bodies daily, button up a shirt on a hot day, turn a particular angle on the subway, hold our skirts against our legs as we climb the stairs.

We will continue to take out useless restraining orders against you. Get pregnant when it could have been avoided by a pill you refused us. Have babies we can’t afford because you made a law. Then you made services to that baby vanish. We will continue to abort and die in unsafe places as your punishment for our having sex. Because you are well practiced at mobilizing your individual and institutional power to restrain us.

And so the most qualified candidate since the end of World War II will continue to lose to you, the most famous panty grabber of all time. Not least because he is the most famous panty grabber of all. The carrier of the tiki torch for the right to take her if you covet her. Protecting your God-given right to restrict and own her.

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avatar Posted by on Dec 23 2017. Filed under Featured Content, Opinion, Outside the Whale. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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