I had started writing a post about the new Elizabeth & James fragrances at Sephora and other things I’m currently coveting for fall, but I had to stop myself. I’ll get there, but I just can’t with all that right now.
I’m going to take a break from my normally unbridled materialism to talk about something I’m really, truly coveting. And that’s to stop seeing headlines like this:
I made a joke earlier today that Huffington Post should really start a tab under which to file stories about “Horrible Things Happening to Women” in the world today. Sometimes, at least for me, humor is the only way to keep from descending into a really dark place. It’s a wonder that the sheer volume of these demoralizing stories hasn’t broken the internet yet. (Yeah, I’m aware that that’s not how the internet works.)
I can’t shake the feeling that over the past decade or so, the world has become an increasingly hostile place for women. I’m not even talking about a decline in feminist ideals or an inability to shatter glass ceilings, I’m talking about an upswing in literal brutality and violence. And the acceptance of that threat of violence as an inevitable part of the female experience.
The world has apparently spoken, and it says that the onus is on us as women to make the right choices and keep ourselves safe from those who could potentially harm us. If we’re negligent in those duties, it’s only natural that we’ll suffer for our mistakes. Ray Rice’s wife (then fiancee) has been chided for provoking him into knocking her unconscious. “She hit him first, didn’t she?” “What did she expect, provoking someone like him?” “No one knows the details of the situation, so how can we judge?” The list of bullshit qualifiers that people– real people with public influence, not just internet commenters– have tried to amend to this incident is endless. But none of those excuses matter.
Stories like this– and there have been so many, too many of them– have damaged us. I hope that damage is reversible. It’s a really sad thing to realize that justice for women in situations like this isn’t a given. If you choose the wrong guy. If you’re in the wrong place. If you’re too drunk. If you forget to watch your drink. If you’re dressed “immodestly.” If you get in the wrong cab. If you say the wrong thing…. And if you suffer for any of these choices, you must be prepared for the realistic possibility that no one will share the blame. You’ll be left wondering what, if anything, you could have done differently, to avoid what was done to you. Because as a woman, no one has your back but you, and you should know that by now.
Let’s talk about things heretofore undiscussed: the possibility that maybe, possibly, it might be prudent to ask men to step the fuck up. I know this would be a first, and they’re certainly not expecting it. But it might be time. History tells us that we can’t expect much (but history says a lot of bad things, I guess). Men, get it together. You are failing.