To be honest, I wanted to write about anything other than Waking Life Espresso today. But, my mind is racked with thoughts of them and I can’t seem to shake all of the nuances of the way I’m feeling. So, that brings me here.
(For those unfamiliar with the Waking Life debacle, a pair of local coffee shop owners have been running a horrible podcast, blog and twitter account that is degrading to women, people of different races, sexual orientation and more. You can read about it here or here.)
Jared and Jacob were people that I considered my friends. At least acquaintances that I valued as human beings and carried what I believed was mutual respect for. I certainly knew that there were differences in the way we viewed dating and to be quite honest with you, I just deemed them unattractive as potential partners and moved on from that. However, as I dove into their podcast and their twitter feed yesterday and discovered more and more of their viewpoints I am overwhelmed with thoughts on the matter. My hope is that this will provide me some relief.
When I first found out and began to read into it, I can’t say that I was surprised. But, I will say that I was shocked. It makes complete sense in some ways for this to be attached to them. In other ways I am amazed that this sort of thinking exists. I’ve surrounded myself with people who are kind and open and non-judgemental so, seeing such disgusting behavior displayed felt unreal to me. Surely, this was a joke.
Then, I heard the podcasts. I listened as people that I knew and have supported financially and promoted via social media berated women in our community, some of which I care for deeply. I listened as they described people with my body type. I listened them call us undisciplined, which was pretty hard to hear as I worked on what was one of my 5 sources of income, on a day where I’d woken up at the crack of dawn to make sure I had time to get everything done that I needed to do. I listened as they said they wished people with bodies like mine would just go ahead and die.
I listened as they minimized women down to a set of numbers that determined how attractive they were on a scale of 1-10. I listened to them describe, in gross detail the way in which they evaluate a woman’s worth. Which, to my surprise, has very little to do with the value they bring to the table mentally. They described how they like to control women and the methods that they use to manipulate them into sleeping with them.
I felt angry.
I wanted to burn their building down. I wanted to put them out of business. I wanted to look them in the eyes and tell them everything they said that hurt me personally.
I did what I knew I could do and I shared and I thought.
On their twitter account, they talk of women leading with their emotions. how weak that is and how frustrating. I didn’t want to give them the gratification of letting this make me feel anything. I pride myself on being a logical being. But, it would be a direct lie if I ignored the feelings involved. A balance of emotion and logic is the ideal in my mind and it’s about time I gave my emotions some space to talk about this.
Here’s what I know:
I’ve spent most of my life coming to grips with my body and allowing myself to feel at ease with my appearance. My self-esteem is not easily shaken. But, as I read through their archives and listened to their voices I was reminded of every time I’ve ever felt less than desirable. Of every time I’ve felt like a worthless human being because I don’t have the body that these men describe as ideal.
I was reminded of all of the times that I’ve felt silenced by the men in my life. All of the times that the football/basketball/baseball wasn’t passed my way simply because I’m a girl. I was reminded of every time I felt like I had to play dumb to make a man attracted to me.
I was reminded that I’m hurt.
That I’ve been hurt this whole time, but that I’m fucking (sorry granny & papaw) strong.
Women, we are so powerful that men have spent their entire adult lives trying to figure out how to manipulate us enough to be close to us.
While my wounds feel raw and my heart is certainly aching and I’ve probably had a steady set of moist eyes for the last couple of days, I’m reminded of the way I view other people. The way each person holds something special and it’s all about getting to know them enough to see their unique version of beauty. These men may be a very loud subset.
Their insecurities may have manifested in harmful ways. But, that doesn’t affect the value that each of you possess.
In case you’ve forgotten, let me remind you…
You are deeply valuable. Your existence on this Earth is meaningful and I’m glad that you were born. Allowing yourself to live a life that is suited to your dreams can only benefit society.
You are perfect.
We all make mistakes, we all have flaws, but you are exactly as you should be and will be exactly what you need to be.
You are beautiful. You are worthy of love and you are deeply deeply appreciated.