“One thing I know is that none of us truly knows the mind or heart of another. We can fool ourselves, let ourselves believe that we know better. The truth of the matter is that none … knows what is in another’s heart.” - Colleen Vanderlinden, Nether
I’VE SPENT THE BETTER part of the last two weeks marinating on how to say how I feel about the recent mid-term elections, Rose McGowan’s statements about misogyny and gay men and the grand jury decisions across the country without appropriating anyone’s righteous anger or discounting any other viewpoints just because they differ from mine. My head has been really busy.
There is so much that goes into all of these things, each with its own intricacies and nuances and points of view that I can’t possibly hope to understand all of them. My initial goal was to write about the mid-term elections and what that means for women’s equality. The legislation that has been passed in recent months shutting down family planning clinics, requiring waiting periods for women who have decided to terminate their pregnancies and requiring invasive trans-vaginal ultrasounds as an unnecessary but mandatory test prior to ending a pregnancy, coupled with liberal losses and significant conservative gains in many elected positions, has made it a frustrating _ and for some, scary _ time to be a woman.
Within days of the mid-term elections, Rose McGowan, American actress and director, caused an uproar by saying, “Gay men are as misogynistic as straight men, if not more so.” At first I was pretty upset. Many gay men hold very important places in my life, and I was angry that she would lump all of them under the Misogynist Banner.
Then I sat back and watched the responses on social media and other online media and was appalled at what I saw. When the object of someone’s argument is to point out how they are not a misogynist, slut shaming and victim blaming should probably not be a cornerstone of their argument.
When one of my friends told me he wanted to “c*nt punch” Taylor Swift for all the reasons that I have new found respect for her, I decided that this was something I needed to talk about.
Finally, with the most trepidation, because I don’t want to appropriate anyone’s anger or pain, I have to talk about Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Right or wrong, these men are dead and countless other lives have been ruined or altered as a result. I have black friends, and I have cop friends, and it’s tough to be caught in the middle of some of the necessary conversations that have ensued around me because I have never been black in America or stood in front of another human being in true fear for my life. Without these experiences, I have no authority to speak on the current ones.
In this world of digital communication, it is easy to put our thoughts out to the world without thinking or caring. Many people have said many things that they will probably regret for a very long time because technology makes it so easy to do so. What it comes down to is this: in the words of Ian Maclaren, “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.”