Yeah, I think know what blind fury feels like.
It's why I can never really feel human, not to the full meaning of the word. Who could, when you know that that force, that that entity lives inside you, waiting to strike, just that one moment that you don't say no.
But I'm more human then they are. All those men. So many men. Because I can say no. I can say stop. I can keep my inhumanity inside, but they, they caused it. And they're worse than I am.
It was the kind of day I've learned to take pictures of and use them to smile. My friend, protegé, and apprentice in evil ways, Ritsu came over. That time of year again: new hair; and no one's better at DIY hair care than Ritsu. Streaks, bleach, dye, straightening, he's done it all. And now he's salvaged my fried and faded ginger. Using methods yet unknown to man, it's now doubled in volume, soft, shiny, curly, and a black so black it seems to suck the light out of every place I go.
We talked about everything, pretty much. Bellydancing. Cosplay. Teachers. Contacts. Piercings of every kind under the sun. Even touched on the subject of being the black sheep of our respective families. What it had done. The resounding, silent mantra "Hey, freak has a NAME!".
But it was a good day. The anger is for another time. Today is a day to make fun of photographers, talk about prom, possessed phone books, Masons.
Today we wanted to watch a movie before Ritsu had to go home. So we left. Walking from my home to the movie theater, not quite so far. We're pretty people with unusual tastes, what can I say? He's a beautiful bishie boy, and I'm to makeup as he is to hair, so naturally, we don't look like your average pair of friends walking to the movies.
But I wonder. Does looking different warrant dehumanization, anymore than being a woman does? Why must we be the ones to have to walk like that, folding their stares like hate notes into our pockets so we could pretend they weren't there?
I'm a woman. It's nothing new to me. Any woman can tell you of the leers and the hisses and the catcalls. Of being degraded and stripped naked and subject on a daily basis, for no reason at all. No reason but being female and in public. And I find myself using the passive voice here, not because I think it's my fault, or any woman's fault, or because I think it's excusable for men to continuously do so.
It's not. It's despicable.
But I've become used to it, to a certain level. Like all women have. Maybe the killing rage that stirs in me isn't typical, even if it should be. But even though I am the only woman I know to act, to respond to their continuous attack, I know that it's not enough. And there are times when I feel that just shouting, just gesturing, just arguing will never be enough. I feel just like the ones who lower their heads and pretend that they didn't feel the catcalls rip into them.
But I deal. I deal with it the best I can. And I never stop arguing, shouting, and refusing to take it.
But it's one thing to live with it yourself, to refuse it/resist it walking with no one but your boxcutter. But today I was dehumanized again. Directly, of course, because that is what happens when a female dares show her face in a public space, but indirectly, to the point of nearly losing control, when they dehumanized one of my own right in front of me.
I've heard a lot of feminist arguments about whether men, as the dominant class, can ever awaken to the reality of the female experience. Today I saw just how much. And today I saw, again, just how different it is when they move to attack, not just you, but the loved ones around you.
Infuriating. The swarms of men. Boys. Teenagers. Their voices sound all the same to me now. And it hits me, over and over again, the same old questions, and all the variants that might apply.
Why? What do you have to gain?
Would you say that to your sister, mother, daughter? Would you say that to your father, brother, son?
Does it hurt you, to see a girl and a boy walking along laughing at their own stupid jokes?
What is it about a short metal dyke and a skinny goth fag that you find so terrifying?
What is it in us that scares you to the point that you feel you must reassert your power through force, through intimidation, and through repeated verbal assault?
What have I done, or what has he done, that deserves this kind of response?
Isn't it enough that you control everything else?
Can't people like us even walk without fear of attack?
And maybe you know what it's like. Maybe you walk with your girlfriend, or your sister, or your niece. Or maybe you're just trying to spend an evening at the mall like everyone else does with your friend. Maybe you hear it directed at them, and feel it like it's the first time it happened to you. The powerlessness is deadening. No matter how much you retaliate, you can never stop it from starting. And like too many of us, I worry if Ritsu has learned to lower his head and pretend it isn't happening.
And it drives me nearly out of my mind that he will have to fight back. Because he shouldn't have to. Because he's a KID. A kid who's never hurt anyone, never been anything but kind to anyone, despite being dealt more bullshit than anyone should, especially at his age. And even though his merit is besides the point (no one deserves harassment and objectification, no matter who they are, how old they are, what they wear-the things everyone knows already), the fact that it is him, it is that sweet, wonderful, vibrant person who already has to handle too much- it hits a nerve. A war nerve.
Sometimes I really do lose everything. All sense of hope. All self-control. It's pretty well-documented here, I guess. But some people take it too far. And here I am using the passive voice again. And no, it isn't "some people". Some men. Homophobic, misogynistic men, which make up most of the lot, take it too far, and they do it every day.
So today I lost it. All that in my head, and some real winners decide it's a good idea to approach me when I'm alone and taunt me about him.
And why? I just don't get it. Why can't I hurt the people who violate me? Why is it forbidden to stab the stalkers, the harassers, the cat callers and the oglers?
I decided it was a good idea to hurl a cup full of ice cubes and some soda in their faces. Prudent? Most definitely not. Deserved? No. That didn't even come close.
I got away "safely", if you define safe as physically whole.
But I cannot stop thinking. That it was a huge, bright, public place, with hundreds of people, and armed security guards. And no straight woman, no queer girl or guy got out of there safely. Nor will they ever, I think. Not as long as the male gaze remains all-powerful. Male harassment the law that the world lives by.
As long as they can do that to me, to my friend, to every woman, LGBT, or anyone who is in the least bit different, we are not safe. I got out of there with my body unscathed, but the toll it took on my mind wasn't light. Those that are cowed into fear are as hurt as those who are provoked into losing control. And though I dare not presume to say it's on the same level, or that it can be simplified into some neat and tidy comparative package; I KNOW that it is real, just as real as any physical hurt. The lifelong sequels of dominance and intimidation hurt us just as badly as any battering. As any bashing.
And all at the same hands.
I really hate them all right now.
And childish though it may sound, I hate them more for spoiling my wonderful day. Because it was truly wonderful. Thanks for everything, Ritsu.
I'm off to make some voodoo dolls and whatnot.
Ed note: "Fag" and "dyke" are used, as always, in a satirical/reclamatory sense. Andrea Gibson reference is an Andrea Gibson reference. Just clearing that up.