I was rewatching A Handmaid’s Tale and after Serena is beat, with a leather belt, by her husband, Commander Waterford, their handmaid Offred says… “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” It’s actually a quote by the author of the book the series is based on, Margaret Atwood. I heard it and I had to go back to listen again, it struck me.
Men are socialized to be void of emotion and aggressive, it’s an age old fact. It is the topic of many a book, article, dissertation, and op ed. Likewise, women are socialized not to make men angry. From a young age girls are oogled, touched, commented upon by men in inappropriate ways and with undertones of violence. As young women we are taught to fear strange men, never be alone in certain places, at certain times, and certainly with men we don’t know very well. We are socialized to expect strange men to be verbally aggressive, and sexually interested in us. It seems like men aren’t taught to be the antithesis of this, but we are made responsible for our own victimization. Even as young girls. When your aunt asks you “Why were you smiling and being friendly with Mr. James?” after he touches you in your private body parts, we live much the rest of our lives trying to avoid grown men’s inability to control themselves.
And as times have changed and women have become more independent, fought for equity, exposed the victimization they have suffered at the hands of men, and taken control of their voice… that fear hasn’t disappeared but doesn’t necessarily stop us from expressing ourselves, our wants, needs, disappointments, expectations, feelings, and boundaries. But again the fear doesn’t dissipate. I’d like to think of it as living deeper down in our consciousness, as opposed to at the front of our minds.
It’s not as “simple” as a fear of being killed. It really manifests in more ways than just physical. In light of the aggressive tendencies boy children are inundated with, that results in some men being uninterested and unable to treat women well across the board. When you add to that boys lacking fathers, father figures, and positive male representations and being raised by bitter, angry, mistreated, misinformed, women who might cope with those feels with alcohol, drugs, sex in front of their boys… feelings of being valueless and devaluing women just heighten bad behavior. Women those men encounter often have to endure betrayal, control, emotional void, being hit, beat, raped, and maybe even killed. We see examples of it constantly. We all know a woman who has endured abuse. Most of us know a woman who has been raped.
Just yesterday, comedian Aries Spears, a sorry excuse for a man, who described himself as handsome (insert laugh track), went on a tirade about Lizzo, unprovoked. He went in about her health and body when he is diabetic and has bags under his eyes big enough to pack your luggage for a two week European tour and the antithesis of in shape. It was a very sad display of woman hatred. Kevin Samuels level fuckery. And this fool keeps talking. Who hurt you my guy?!?
And he’s just one of many displaying these types of aggressive and hate filled behaviors toward a woman. In 2019, 406K women were raped or sexually assaulted. In 2020, 7,320 women were killed by intimate partners or male family members, and over 50% of those women were 12-34 and 75% of those women are Native American. 4.8 million physical assaults happen to women by intimate partners per year. Those numbers should upset you. They are staggering.
The number of women who suffer coercive control; psychological and/or emotional abuse; physical abuse; sexual abuse; financial abuse; harassment; stalking; and/or online abuse is often not reported but is typically the predicate of sexual and physical abuse. Aries is an abuser… and he hates women. Frankly, he should be scared women will laugh at him and not because if his bad jokes… but because he’s a certified clown. Aren’t you supposed to laugh at clowns… or are they to be feared?
Note: There are never two sides of the story when you prey on women. Just one fucked up side.