I feel a need to post a follow up post to what happened yesterday and last night here
. The specific comments from the other person were deleted by that person but many people read them as they were being posted and followed the discussion as it happened.
This is very difficult to write now, just as it was very difficult to read unfold last night. Because the person is a close friend of mine, an intelligent person and a compassionate, reasonable and understanding one. And it was for these reasons that I did exactly what I was actually originally talking about in the very post in which this happened. I shut up. I stood there and let the person continue to hurt me. I watched them twist an argument so that I wasn't sure if I had made sense in the first place, if my own logic, reasoning, understanding and experience was somehow flawed or ... you know, perhaps I had made a big deal about nothing. And I didn't say anything to defend myself or to voice that with every subsequent comment this person was further wounding me because, and here's the big one - I didn't want to be seen to be a bully, such is the talk around the net on this subject.
There seems to be accusations of crowd mentality and bullying when groups of women voice what they have been thinking and feeling in response to the same put downs and misunderstandings over what we are saying over and over and over again. Women lately are getting portrayed as angry bullies. And if it's one thing I hate, it's a bully. So I shut up. But the other thing I really hate is being belittled, or ignored or someone telling me they know better or that I don't feel or have a right to feel the way that I do. I hate feeling unheard and that the other person doesn't care to put the time in to hear me.
So what actually happened? I wrote a post in response to another blog post I read about rape and about how rape sits at one end of a spectrum of interaction between men and women. I thought it was really interesting, within my own experience, to consider that how you are expected to act in every day interactions is how you will act (or perhaps are expected to act) in extreme ones and I talked about how that had very much been true in my own life. A theme on this blog has been about how I am trying to overcome expectations, or conditioning, on how I am supposed to act and this put into context why I feel these expectations for my behaviour.
Many women commented how they related to this too. And I got some private emails about it as well. And then he came on, I think initially, to talk about how he related to what I was saying, which of course was within his own context. I don't think that I argued that feminist theory gives me some right to not act like a decent human being. I think there is a moral and social code of conduct and it's important that we all respect each others feelings and be considerate of them.
However, in the context of my post, and the post I was reacting to, I was actually saying how when you put someone else's feelings as more important than your own (which this person was still arguing is important to do), you can find yourself in sexual situations of questionable consent. This I believe was my point. And has in fact happened to me. This is what I was talking about in this post. And that for me, to avoid being in situations where, let's be explicit here shall we, I let someone fuck me because I don't want to hurt their feelings by saying no thank you, or not tonight dear or whatever, I need to NOT ALWAYS PUT OTHER PEOPLE'S FEELINGS AS MORE IMPORTANT THAN MY OWN.
I capitalised that because, I still don't want to write this post. I know my friend is hurting over what happened and that hurts me. But if I don't post this here and say that by him not reading the initial post I linked to and then framed my own post within, and then not stopping to listen to how people were explaining to him that picking one sentence out of someone else's comment which was within the context of my post, and running with that, was derailing the current discussion in this post, then I have shut up. I have let my argument be shut down and the initial point of my post is lost within the deconstruction of it, in which, somehow we were made to be arguing that other people's feelings are less important than our own. When actually, yes, sometimes they are - in extreme situations such as when I am being forced, coerced or bullied into doing something that I do not want to do. In this case, how I feel is more important. And if we never allow for the circumstance that it is ok to place your own feelings above all else, then we are perpetuating the same conditioning. If we do not clearly and explicitly discuss these exceptions, it does not follow that they go without saying. And my point was, if I do not look at my everyday behaviour with the understanding that extreme situations sit at the end point of this, then I cannot break the cycle.
It is not bullying to state your argument and ask for the other side to hear you.
And I'm very much trying not to let the other person's hurt override my own raw hurt feelings at being belittled about something exceedingly important. And about voicing this or allowing other women to voice it for me.
In response to what was going on my blog, he wrote a post about how feminism didn't have a place for him and it was within the context of my post that I replied to him over there. Other people got caught in the crossfire of that exchange without the full context and that started brushfires.
I'm not arguing all of feminist theory here. I'm not arguing that women are better than men or that individual men do not have it off worse than individual women or that men are not exposed to conditioning and societal expectations of their own. All of this though, being thrown at me from different people at the same time as I was trying to be heard for my original point, all works to derail my argument and have it be lost in a sea of noise.
And my original point was a vaulable and valid one.
I am tired now of trying to be heard and for asking people to take the time to understand me and my experiences. I am raw and hurt and feel wounded by the words of yesterday.