This is a disappointing response. I’m saddened to see you fall into the same pattern of dismissal and denial as the abusers use. I’m sorry to be disabused of thinking better of you.
Full disclosure: Hamid is my husband. His response was unsolicited, but demonstrates one of the many reasons I am devoted to him.
Questions for you, Allan: If someone showed you an error in your math calculations, or in spelling and grammar, would your response be to insult and dismiss them? When it comes down to it, why, when shown you may have hurt someone, is your defensive response to dismiss and demean. Why does a gifted writer, such as yourself, who could be using your voice to speak for the oppressed, instead fall back on a defensive reaction that denies growth and compassion, and reinforces the hurtful things pointed out to you? Is it because it’s women and your tribe is men? If a man raised in Iran recognizes women’s marginalization is equal to ethnic marginalization and understands how making light of our ongoing marginalization and oppression does not help change things and in fact hurts us, why can’t you? Why can’t you understand that making light of it only adds to the oppressor’s continuing efforts to diminish our pain, to dismiss our rights, and to continue to oppress women and push a patriarchal perspective that women are less just by virtue of NOT being men. That’s how your humor made me feel.
And, no… you do NOT get to tell me how your sexist qualifications of abuse masked as humor makes me feel as a survivor of sexual harassment, gender discrimination, sexual assault, AND violent attempted rape. Men have been “explaining” how we “took it wrong” or “he didn’t mean it that way” forever. Your satire continues that tradition and makes a joke of the pain of every girl and every woman who has or will experience the toxic sexism you dismiss so easily as a joke… as “satire.”
JSYK: Yes, statistics show that as many as half of all men will be victims, usually before the age of eighteen (and that their abusers are overwhelmingly men too). However, the statistics also show that not only will every woman you know — or ever will know — will be victims of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual assault at some point in their lives — those same statistics show that the overwhelming majority of girls and women will be victims of MULTIPLE COMBINATIONS of those things!
This is not a joke. Do you make jokes diminishing, dismissing, or demeaning suffers of ethnic or racial oppression? There are terms for what you did with your satire: “closet sexism” and “micro-aggressions.” Men laugh at your humor because it’s the age-old tropes men have subjected girls and women to for time immemorial. Women’s abuse is not a tool for use to “grow a brand” or promote yourself. Our oppression is not an entertainment. Due process has been denied us at every turn by men who hold the power to protect men. If you cannot help us, do not add to our marginalization, do not help our oppressors diminish, demean, and dismiss our suffering. Do not help our oppressors deny us the equal rights to justice, opportunity, and freedom of self-determination by giving them the arguments to prove that our “female brains are overheated” and that women are overreacting on this issue.
In full social awareness, I think it’s time and past time to be “moralizing” on this issue and to stop the micro-aggressions that continue to empower the more egregious abusers. It’s time that all men look at themselves and wonder, “How many times did I see something and ignore it? How many sexist jokes have I laughed at? How many times have I casually joked about or repeated those hurtful sexist tropes? How many times was I titillated by ‘locker room talk?’” Allan, how many times did you believe a woman was a bad driver by virtue of being a woman? Or that a woman couldn’t do something you can do because she’s a woman? How many times have you thought of a task as “a woman’s job,” like cleaning the house or doing the grocery shopping or scrubbing toilets? Why was it that when almost exclusively women did the job, we were “secretaries;” but when men began doing the job as step on the ladder to the executive rung, the job title became “personal assistant” or “administrative assistant” or “executive assistant?” Allan, how many times did you make the a joke or hear someone make the joke about women drivers directly to a woman, when you would never make the same joke about Asian drivers to an Asian American? How many times did you say or hear someone say something like, “you throw like a girl?”
All men have done or been a party to those casual little sexist digs – you’ve been programmed to them from the cradle; that’s what “ingrained sexism” is. Every man, and quite a few women, are going to have to stop the blame and distraction used to defend their own ingrained sexism. If this #MeToo movement is NOT the tipping point to a social evolution of self-awareness and personal evolution, then we really will be nothing more than a patriarchy enabling and ruled by pedophiles and sexual predators. Frankly, Allan, I believe you are too good a writer to let yourself fall into the defensive trap of blame and distraction, rather than embracing self-awareness and personal evolution.