8.7 Editor's Pick
June 20, 2019

To the Men who Try to Diminish Us, from the Women who Can’t be Denied.


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“The history of men’s opposition to women’s emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself.” ~ Virginia Woolf


You harass us and catcall us.

Sweet-talk us, romance us, and promise us.

Cheat on us. Tell us we are weak. Put us in the backseat.

You try and try to make us smaller. Diminish us.

Impregnate us.

In and out of the locker room, you destroy our reputation. 

You have sex with us, make love to us, and touch us.

And, you compare us.

Tell jokes about us. You snicker. Call us dumb and ditzy and dingbat. Call us scatter-brained. 

Wacky, ugly, fat, crazy, horse face, butter face, emotional.

Hot. Sexy. Wouldn’t kick us out of bed.

When we cry you moan, “Oh boy, here come the waterworks.”

You say things about us under your breath.

You ghost and gaslight us. You bench and love-bomb us.

Sell us products so that we won’t smell or sweat or have hair in natural places.

You want us smooth and firm, unwrinkled and polished.

You want us perfect.

You call us mom, and sister, and aunt, and daughter, and grandmother, and friend.

Then you deny us license. You propagate our cycle of poverty. You keep us from freedom.

When we demand, you call us loud, and bossy, and bitch. You call us nasty.

You eat the food we prepare for you. You bring us home. You call us “keepers,” and then you keep us. 

But then.

Then, you demean us. You hit us. Rape us. Strong-arm us.

You deny us a vote. You pay us less. You hold us back. You chase us around your desk. 

You tell us that the menstrual pain we are feeling is all in our heads.

You tell us that our first-hand experience is simply wrong and could not possibly be right.

You question our motives and ask us for proof. You do not believe us unless there is proof.

You ask us why we never told anyone about it. You perpetrate, and then you blame.

You are disgusted by our blood, yet ours is the very blood you bathed in, the blood that nourished you, that covered you.

It is our blood that gave you life.

And you relentlessly seek to govern our bodies, these bodies that carried you. For centuries we have carried you. 

You emerged from the very womb you wish to regulate, and it’s our blood that runs through your veins.

Our womb, it would seem, houses our power, which is perhaps the thing you fear the most?

You do whatever you want, because you are privileged.

You have never been denied.

For years upon years upon years, you have not been denied. 

Oh, hey, bro.

You can seemingly muffle and muzzle us, choke us and stroke us, but you will never, ever silence us.

We are rising again, and you can’t stop the swell.

You’ve never been able to do that, and no, you never will.


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