A rant.

There is a kind of impotent, directionless rage with which I get struck every now and then, and I never know how to cope.

It's a rage that men cannot ever truly understand or empathize, regardless of how they may try.

I hate playing the gender card, because I don't believe it in; I do not believe that one gender is more aggressive, more nurturing, more sexual or more sensual. I believe both genders begin equally and are socialized to one direction or another.

So that's why I hate saying to my male friends, "You don't understand/you can't understand/you're not treated this way... because you're a man."

I can't say, "Well, you're not discriminated against because you're anything but white," and be told "You can't see it because you are white," I can say the same to my male compatriots.

Perhaps you don't discriminate against women, or you don't see it happen, or you don't feel the burning, helpless rage that women do when they look at an advertisement that features yet another woman being portrayed as a sexualized pre-teen or show silent, or abused, or helpless... but we do, and it makes us angry!

To have our anger laughed at or mocked or dismissed is sometimes the cruelest move of all, because you are merely showing your lack of true sympathy to our plight. You are downplaying the honest feelings we have in regards to these injustices, and losing our respect. Would you tell a black man who was just asked to sit at another counter that the discrimination he had just experienced was all in his head? What about an advertisement showing him chained and gagged, or with his beaten, bloodied body being used to sell shoes, or cosmetics? Is that still okay? No? Then why is it acceptable to show women in this light?

While a few of these images here and there would be easily dismissed or would at least lead to discussion, debate and consequences, the overwhelming presence of these advertisements builds an image or ideology and reinforces it. It's painful to look at and feel when you are targeted.

All of this anger gets built up, and sometimes it takes a conscious effort to set it aside. Many times have my friends and I left classes shaking, emotionally wound up, or drained and utterly spent.

It's through talking and reading and arguing about it that we feel better, or at least sometimes. In debates with my friends, I can never seem to muster the same arguments and points that I can in class, and that leaves me frustrated and upset, particularly when I'm being mocked or talked over and interrupted (huge pet peeves). It's in my Women and Media class, for example, that debate and discussion is encouraged. It is a place where no one is asking you if it's "that time of the month" if you get angry about something, and your ideas or opinions are never, or at least very rarely, summarily dismissed. This applies to the males in the class, as well.

I look forward to a day when a bad mood isn't speculatively blamed on hormones, when the madonna/whore stereotypes are eliminated, and when men and women listen to women's opinions and explanations on everything from finances to technology, not just cooking or needlework.

But, for now, I'll settle with not being told, "Oh, that doesn't happen." Until you're in my thong, bra and shoes for a week or so, "You can't know, 'cause you're a guy."

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