My husband of 50 years did not have to stifle a laugh. He took it dead seriously. He did not defend his remark, he did not defend men. He sat, hunched and hurt, and he listened. For a moment, it occurred to me to be grateful that I’m married to a man who will listen to a woman. The winds calmed ever so slightly in that moment. And then the storm surge welled up in me as I realized the pathetic impotence of nice men’s plan to rebuild the wreckage by listening to women. As my rage rushed through the streets of my mind, toppling every memory of every good thing my husband has ever done (and there are scores of memories), I said the meanest thing I’ve ever said to him: Don’t you dare sit there and sympathetically promise to change. Don’t say you will stop yourself before you blurt out some impatient, annoyed, controlling remark. No, I said, you can’t change. You are unable to change. You don’t have the skills and you won’t do it. You, I said, are one of the good men. You respect women, you believe in women, you like women, you don’t hit women or rape women or in any way abuse women. You have applauded and funded feminism for a half-century. You are one of the good men. And you cannot change. You can listen all you want, but that will not create one iota of change.
In the centuries of feminist movements that have washed up and away, good men have not once organized their own mass movement to change themselves and their sons or to attack the mean-spirited, teasing, punching thing that passes for male culture. Not once. Bastards. Don’t listen to me. Listen to each other. Talk to each other. Earn your power for once.
I have to post some of the comments from the WaPo in response to this article. I love the metaphor that some commenters arrisved at. Feel free to share with the clueless.
(Edited)“Imagine if one day you got kicked in the nuts, really hard, on purpose. You doubled over. Felt the pain. Nearly passed out. Nearly puked. Then you got kicked again. And again. Imagine it happened to you when you were 12. Imagine it was an 38 year old woman who did it. Imagine it was your mother’s friend and business partner. Imagine you told your parents and they didn’t believe you. Imagine they never mentioned it again. You learned to keep quiet about it. You learned to be scared. Imagine that later your father explained that women just wanted to kick men in the nuts, so as a boy you had to be careful. Imagine he had very detailed practical advice on this. Imagine you started spending your life planning on avoiding being kicked in the nuts. Imagine you became aware that women, including much older women—even elderly women—were always looking at your nuts. Women on the street would follow you. They’d tell you what a nice package you have. They’d tell you you’d be hot if you just showed off your nuts a little more. Imagine you started wearing clothes to hide them. You bought uncomfortable protective gear. All the posters and advertisements in all the magazines featured men’s crotches, though frequently not their heads. Women’s feet were frequently featured in prominent juxtaposition. Imagine most of your friends all told you about getting kicked in the nuts. Imagine none of them had ever told anybody else. “
2020 Republican Primary
“Imagine all the older girls at school would make jokes about kicking you in the nuts. Imagine all the laughter. The jokes are all so funny. Jokes. Imagine you went to church and were told that God made girls to want your body, so you should protect your nuts at all costs. Imagine the minister said it was your responsibility as a maturing boy not to do anything that would make girls think about kicking you in the nuts. Imagine you found a girlfriend, and you loved each other. One night, you were fooling around and she kicked you as hard as she could in the nuts, and it all came rushing back. Imagine she acted like obviously you wanted to be kicked in the nuts,mocked you for getting emotional. Imagine you told the police, and they asked you what you’d been wearing before she kicked you in the nuts. Asked if you’d had a drink. Asked what you might have been doing before. Had you been naked? Kissing? You had. You left. Imagine there were laws that said that if a wife kicked her husband in the nuts it wasn’t assault. Imagine you heard about men with ruptured testicles who had to pay for their own forensic reports Imagine you saw statistics showing only 1% of kickings resulted in conviction. Imagine a girl was caught kicking a boy repeatedly in the nuts while he was passed out drunk. Imagine the judge let her off, because she was worried about the damage to the girl’s future prospects. She was a star swimmer with a scholarship. Imagine this happened all the time. Imagine if one day men all started talking about how almost all of them had, at one point or another, been kicked in the nuts. “
2020 Republican Primary
“ Imagine if women’s main concern was what false accusation might do to their reputations, and whether this new honesty might ruin the mystery of sex. Imagine a woman ran for President. Imagine audio came out of her bragging about making it a regular practice to kick men in the nuts without even introducing herself. Imagine she lost no support for this. Imagine she claimed the men accusing her were lying. Imagine she said they were too ugly to kick. Imagine there had never been a male president. Imagine she ran against the first major-party male candidate. Imagine he had experience, and she had none. Imagine she won anyway. Imagine she supported a Senate candidate known for kicking young boys in the testicles. Imagine she nominated a judge. Imagine the judge was accused of kicking a boy in the nuts. Imagine the accuser had to hide from all the death threats as a result. Imagine the man who had been kicked testified, providing sworn testimony. Imagine the judge gave an vindictive rant in response. Imagine he was derided for providing no evidence. Imagine if they looked for no evidence. Imagine the judge was given an op-ed to explain herself. Imagine the President mocked the accuser in front of a crowd, and the crowd laughed and clapped. Imagine the judge was confirmed. Imagine the deciding vote was a man. Can you imagine? Now imagine that being kicked in the nuts might result in you having to create, in your body, a genetic replication of the person who kicked you. And imagine that the judge intended to make sure you’d have to carry it. Imagine that was the *reason* she was chosen. I can’t imagine women’s rage today, but this exercise, while abstract, helped me get nearer to it than I’d been. Be kind to women, guys. Today and every day. If you see somebody being cruel to women, or abusive, or violent? Kick ‘em in the nuts. By the way it’s 100% insane that this issue seems to require an analogy”
(Edited)Imagine if the political party that claimed to care about boys was the same party that was determined to import millions of women migrants from countries where kicking boys in the nuts was entrenched in the legal and social fabric of the entire culture and boys who had been kicked were punished and sometimes killed. Imagine if the political party that claimed to care about boys was the same party that said any girl could share the boys’ shower room and stare at their nuts simply by saying “I feel like a boy”. Imagine if the political party that claimed to care about boys was the same party that wanted to take away the only weapon a boy could carry that could give him a chance to avoid being kicked by people he could not fight off physically. Just imagine.