It's literally killing us via mass murderers and excessively violent cops. There are already laws in the books that are designed to prevent domestic violence abusers from getting guns. However, over and over those laws are ignored, de-fanged, and/or made procedurally impossible to employ. All because domestic violence isn't considered a "real" problem like terrorism. It's certainly not real enough to impinge on an abuser's right to own fifty-seven military grade weapons because "The Constitution." This, and yet domestic violence affects an overwhelming number of women. So much so that domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. There is a proven and clear connection to misogyny and all those "mysterious lone wolf white dude" mass shootings, but no one seems to want to talk about it.
And this is the very reason why I roll my eyes whenever someone goes on about how awful some foreign country is to women. It's why I have to restrain myself from screaming. Pot. Kettle. Black.
While at WFC last weekend, I had a conversation with an established white male author. He said that he agreed with 95% of Martha Wells's speech. I didn't ask what the 5% issue was, but I almost did. He moved on of his own accord and implied that allowing the one exceptional (white) female and the one exceptional POC male author was enough representation. I was flabbergasted. He simply didn't see the connection between patriarchy and exceptionalism. I told him that "There can be only one" isn't just for Highlanders. Patriarchy uses that system to both pass itself off as "open-minded and generous" while pitting minorities against one another. We end up cutting one another's heads off. Thus, preventing us from uniting--because united we outnumber those in power--and toppling the establishment. It's part of maintaining the status quo.
Oppression is a virus, and we're all infected. Nothing changes if we don't face that fact.
Toxic masculinity is also warping the political scene--in truth, it always has, but now, because of Trump, the GOP has soundly embraced the idea that rich, white, CIS, het, Christian (a loosely used term in this context mind you but it's there) men are the be all, end all, and can do no wrong even when they do wrong. There are, in fact, days when I think Trump could be caught on film placing babies on spikes and the GOP would be perfectly okay with it--especially if the babies in question were female and brown. Toxic masculinity is far more widespread in American society than Americans care to admit. Sadly like many white women, it took last year's election for me to fully comprehend how bad the situation is in the US. I'm still reminded every day whenever anyone dares bring up Hillary Clinton in a positive way. And don't give me that bullshit about how any other woman would be more welcome. That's so disingenuous it makes me sick. Hillary was never perfect. I'll never claim that, but her main crime was being far more qualified than any of her male competitors. Well...that and not being drop dead gorgeous. Because what the fuck is up with the GOP trying to push Ivanka Trump as a contender for 2020? They seem to have a thing for beauty pageant queens. [cough] Sarah Palin [cough] She has no political skills at all, let alone business skills--not that her father does either, but I really don't relish the idea of being ruled by an empty-headed Russian-sponsored version of evil Galadriel dressed in Gucci.
The fact that we're seeing allegation after allegation of sexual misconduct among powerful men isn't a shocker. (See Harvey Weinstein, Louis CK, Kevin Spacey, Ben Affleck, George H.W. Bush, Mark Halperin for a start, and now we've Roy Moore. But hey, that's okay because he's an Evangelical Christian and was grooming a fourteen year old girl for her appropriate role as a wife and mother. [puke]) What is a shocker is that we're seeing them being outed at all. Women have been quietly talking about this shit forever--who to avoid, which workspaces weren't safe, how to not be a victim because we've always known we weren't the one who was going to be protected. Women are always blamed when they come forward. I see all the brave women doing so, and I'm proud of them. Still, as many men that are met with actual consequences for their actions there are thousands more who aren't. ([cough] Trump [cough])
Toxic masculinity is costing our nation the productivity and creative contributions of women of all backgrounds (with and without vaginas) as well as non-binary individuals. It's forcing children into poverty when men abandon their children or don't make their child support payments. (Women are paid far less than men--particularly women of color.) We have to stop pretending that it isn't a problem. It's long past time for men to change. Because at a certain point all the pushback in the world isn't going to do a damned thing if you go right back to the same old behavior. This shit isn't on us. This one is all yours, dudes.
Because, yes, all men. Every one of you who has laughed nervously when a friend has told a rape joke or witnessed a sexist comment or tolerated that buddy who is an asshole is contributing to this mess. Every one of you who has said, "It isn't that bad.", "Rape stories are made up by women trying to get money from powerful men." or "Is she really telling the truth?" These are the reasons why you get side-eye when you claim Feminist ally-hood. Too many abusers loudly make that claim, and you need to be aware of it. Sure, you may not be directly at fault.
Except when you don't make a stand, you are.
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.