Posts Tagged ‘anger’

I’ve had a gloomy and complicated August. And if I had written this post yesterday, it would have been all about how angry I am. Angry at politicians, angry at the public with knee-jerk reactions. Angry at the American election campaign and the ridiculous comments that have been “misspoken” as part of that, angry at the use of the word “misspoken” which really means either “I lied” or “I am stupid.” Yes, I’ve been angry.

I’ve been angry that here in 2012, women are still not seen or respected as equals – not in business, not in making decisions about their own body, not in a myriad of ways that are usually unspoken but yet still blatant.  I’ve been so angry at that that I can’t watch Madmen.  I’ve been angry at the lack of professionalism of an organisation I’ve been associated with for many years, at deceit and churlishness.  I’ve been angry at arrogant and haughty people, who think they seem more important if they treat others badly and without respect.  I’ve been angry at  being taken for granted, for a lack of appreciation.  I’ve been angry at the loss of what has previously been a very safe place, and a big part of my life.   I’ve been angry at disrespectful and self-centred people.  I’ve been angry at seeing the harsh results of aging, in those I love, and (in a so far much lesser way) in the mirror. I’ve been angry at my bank account, and angry (but unrepentant) about my extravagances. I’ve been angry at everyone, and angry at myself.  I’ve been angry.

But oh, what a difference a day makes. How can I continue to be so angry when the day dawns bright and sparkling, when the harbour is calm and shiny, when the yachts are reflected on the water, and the colourful boat-houses look positively joyous on this the last day of winter? How can I be angry when the bay is full of kayakers, the footpath is full of people, of all ages and all mobilities, out enjoying the sun? How can I be angry when I can sit in the sunshine without worrying about sunburn, when I can discard my winter coat, when the coffee tastes so good? How can I feel angry when I feel fatigued but strong (and virtuous) after a tough workout, when I can see the improvement of a solid few months working out without breaks for illness or general malaise, when my haircut looks good? How can I feel angry when I hear the tui chirping in the trees welcoming me home, when it is Friday afternoon, and when tomorrow it is officially spring?

I guess I’m not angry anymore.

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I’m angry

I haven’t felt this for a long time. But I remember noting a while ago that Afghan men can starve their wives, and noted it down as a potential blog topic. I was stunned, but didn’t feel able to put my emotions into words. But more recently I’ve learned of the Canadian police officer who said that women should avoid dressing like “sluts” to avoid being raped or victimised, and the world-wide protests that are being planned by women in response. And today I shed tears as I watched the 60 Minutes interview of Lara Logan, who was attacked and raped by a mob in Cairo.

And now I hear that a Hasidic newspaper edits two women – including Hilary Clinton, the US Secretary of State – out of a photograph of the White House Situation Room. I’m listening to a radio interview as I write this, and a male commentator said “what’s the point of getting upset about this?” He sees the absurdity of it. But he can’t understand what it feels like to be one of the erased. To know that there are people in this word who consider I count for nothing, simply because I am a woman. I hear men saying “but there is no glass ceiling” or that “feminism has achieved its goals.” I guess when you’re not exposed to something personally, you don’t feel it.

I am shaking my head in wonder. I feel as if I’m back in the 1970s, when these things were more prevalent – when it was common to hear people say “she asked for it” if a woman was raped, when it was legal for a husband to rape his wife. I remember the debate. Men claiming that it wasn’t rape, that it was their wife’s duty, or simply the sanitised language used, describing it as “forcing themselves on their wives.” It’s rape. I heard someone say Lara Logan wasn’t raped, they “just used their fingers.” That’s rape. She felt raped. I see women still being blamed for being the victims: it is apparently their fault that they are sexually attacked if they are so presumptuous as to want to work in foreign environments, or want to wear particular clothes. Seriously? Poor men, their willpower is so weak that they can’t be blamed if they rip the clothes off a blonde reporter, or rape or victimise a women showing legs and cleavage. Poor men, who are so threatened by women in power that they have to pretend they don’t exist. Misogyny seems alive and well, wherever we are. Is this really 2011? Yes, some of these things happen in, how shall I describe them, less enlightened societies, or amongst fundamentalist religious groups. But some of these things are happening in western societies, and here in New Zealand, men don’t always get it.

I know that I can’t make sweeping judgements about men, or about women’s positions in societies based on these incidents. I know that most of the men I know are staunch supporters of women. But still. I see these things and I battle against being treated in my business environment simply because I’m a woman, and I can’t help wonder if every man sees us this way, deep down. It makes me feel unsafe, insecure, and just plain damn angry.

As a teenager I became aware of feminism and why it was so important. It’s been some time since I felt that I could be seen as nothing but an object for men’s pleasure, or as a servant to a man under the guise of the word “wife,” or as, simply … well … nothing. Lara Logan said she felt like nothing more than dirt, just dirt, after her attack. And I wonder at the young women today who don’t think feminism is important.

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