The truth is – I was never really surprised by the fucked up things men did to me. Confused, disgusted, horrified, annoyed – yes – but never surprised. I think I read the instruction booklet they come with at a very early age and committed it to memory – and so when I played with them – it was my own fault for opening the box that wasn’t meant for girls over the age of 13 anyway. I’m not saying I forgive men for their sometimes dastardly deeds – I’m saying I was raised at a time when you were taught that they suck and are dangerous and are not meant to be trusted with your heart and emotions. Sorry dudes – but when I was born in 1960 – girls were raised to believe we were the lesser creatures and taught how to deal with it. I chose to be loud and fight. Others chose to marry them – have their children – divorce them – and are now struggling for their independence without them. The problem is – I never got those global warnings about my relationships with women – and these are the people who have hurt me the most. The surprise i feel has been reserved for the women who have fucked me over and over and over again – and almost always in the name of men.
Watch two young women meet each other on the street or in a bar or anywhere actually and follow their eye lines. They immediately look each other up and down from head to toe. They are literally sizing up their competition – because somehow it’s been ingrained in our brains that we are competing with each other – for jobs, for men, for anything and everything. They immediately start talking to each other about how they respectively look and it’s all done through a series of lies they will then take back to another female friend and gossip about horrifically. You know you do it. And it’s not just how we look – it’s how we live our lives that can spark an intense jealousy.
In the workplace I have had male bosses who grabbed me, pinched me, showed me pics of their dicks, and generally made me feel like I wasn’t worthy to be a part of the big picture of whatever show I was working on. I got louder, prouder, and eventually became a part of the conversation – shoving myself where I wasn’t supposed to be. But its the female bosses who have left their indelible marks on me. The one who told me I was stupid. The one who told me I was a terrible writer. The one who tried to steal my boyfriend. The one who physically threatened me. The one who tried to sue me. I could go on but I won’t. I’ve even done it myself. I once told a female writer in my room to start acting like a dude because all of her female empowerment speeches were shutting the men down and they weren’t pitching. I should have told them to sack up and act like women. Over the years I realized that I seem to bring out the worst in women bosses – and so I stayed away. I’m not so much of a threat anymore and so its becoming easier – but when i walk into a meeting with a new woman – they still size me up and down. They stare at my tattoos and to see if they can find some deep inner meaning to them. It’s easier with men now because I”m sexually invisible. But its the women I crave to know and understand because I know we speak the same language. We have the same history.
Ladies – we never have each others backs. We are the first to slut shame, fat shame, or just plain shame shame each other. I do it all the time. I’m not proud of it. It’s like when you see a celebrity and her boyfriend breakup and you’re filled with joy – like he’s actually available now and he’s actually going to date you next. He’s not. We say – well she’s probably crazy so he dumped her. We never think it’s him. It probably is.
I never got married or had kids. It just didn’t happen for me. I have many reasons I believe why but it doesn’t matter. I now crave the company of good women. Part of it is that I’m now fifty seven and as I’ve said I’ve become completely invisible to the opposite sex. But its a shame its taken male abandonment to realize just how much I need women. It’s a shame we don’t realize that we are on the same team and while I know its not us versus them – it fucking is.
I’m sure someone smart has written a ton of books on this subject but who has time for that. I do have time for some lady hugs – so lets do that. Lets not wait until we hit our fifties to realize that we truly need each other. That we are all sisters in this family called life.
I hope the #metoo movement continues to bring women together because if we don’t have each others backs – we’re doomed.