Stop having sex with misogynists.
A couple of years ago I read this dystopic short story about a world where women’s reproductive rights are extinct.
One of the characters is part of an underground ring of health care practitioners who provide safe abortions and birth control to women who need them.
People who break the “Personhood Act” are usually sentenced to death… and with the return of the gallows, the government can now make a display of them.
Underneath the story, you can feel a growing sense of anger and rebellion. You can almost see the arm brace-wearing women, signifying their celibacy, finally taking a stand.
Someone was able to locate the story for me (OMG THANK YOU!) and you can read it here.
Despite living in Canada, November 8th was a wake-up call.
Patriarchy is still strong. Misogyny still exists. Racism and homophobia and islamophobia are now free to express themselves without fear of retaliation.
If you’ve been on Twitter, you’ll probably have seen dozens of stories of people who were threatened, attacked, heckled by white men. Here are some of them:
This is not a joke. This is not even 24 hours after Trump was elected.
So, what can we do?
As a Canadian, as a woman, there are not many things I can do about this. I can share on social media. I can be angry. I can raise my voice and say NO MORE.
And just like the women in the story, I am done having relationships with misogynists.
Arden Leigh (remember her?) wrote a really good post about it on Facebook.
Our relationships are political.
Staying with men who display or simply even condone behaviour that is misogynistic, racist, or bigoted in any way, tells them that it’s okay. That there is no cost to their actions. That their beliefs are valid.
I understand that not everyone will agree. I understand that I can’t tell women who they can or can’t fuck. So if you want to keep your sexist boyfriend, go right ahead.
I’m also not saying to stop having sex with all men. Just those who don’t think you’re a full human being worthy of the same respect he is getting.
As women in relationships, we choose who gets access to our bodies and our emotional support. We choose who gets our love and our affection, and yes, our sexual attention too.
We need to be choosier. Think of it as rejecting sexism in the form of those who are sexist.
It may not make a big difference, but I refuse to provide access to my body or my emotional labour to someone who doesn’t think I’m equal to them in every way.
Misogynists and sexists believe that we owe them our bodies, our attention, our support, but that they don’t need to respect us in return. Let’s show them that we’re done, it’s over, they don’t get anything from us anymore.
And yes, not only men are sexist. My own dating experience is mostly hetero, and my experience of sexism is also mostly from men, but I’m aware that this isn’t always the case. In writing, sometimes, we have to generalize a little in order to make a point. But this is really just about not having relationships with misogynist people, no matter the misogynist’s gender.
I also understand that there are other things you can do to challenge sexism. This is one of them. But it’s an important one that often gets glossed over, I think. We can protest and write letters and articles and everything, but if we end up dating the sexists anyway, what message does it send?
In the end, my message is: be aware of how your relationship choices reflect your politics and your values.
It seems that sexists are announcing themselves these days, which makes it easier to identify them, but sometimes they can be more subtle. This post from Psychology Today covers how to spot a misogynist.
In a now-famous Facebook group I am a member of, one woman told us how, seeing her husband’s reaction to Trump winning, she grabbed her children and went to a motel. It seems that the relationship had been in dire straits for a while, but the presidential election just made it clear to her that she wasn’t safe.
Not every woman can leave an abusive/potentially abusive relationship right away. There are resources and help, once you’re ready to leave. In the US, the National Domestic Violence Hotline seems like a good place to start. In Canada, here’s a list of crisis hotlines for all the major areas of the country.
Another way you can help is taking a bystander education course. I think this is another really powerful way to show support in the street. This post from the Mary Sue explains the basics, but look to your anti-violence organization in your town or campus for actual bystander intervention training.
Stop having sex with sexist men
As of today, I commit to stop having relationships, and sex, with sexist men.
I promise to vet my partners for sexism, and to not pursue relationships with anyone who displays misogynistic, racist, homophobic or islamophobic behaviour.
I promise to be an ally. I promise to fight. I promise to stand and protest and write. I promise to evaluate myself and my actions for unconscious bias and privilege.
I promise to use my future knowledge as a psychologist to support, empower and heal people who have suffered trauma due to their gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or religion.
Most of all, I promise to be there for you, all of you who are scared for your safety and your lives. Here in Canada, or down in the US, if there is anything I can do, let me know.