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Deflection and Respectability politics

Facebook debates never cease to amaze me. So let me tell you why I’m angry and why the tone of this post is going to be angry and why you’re going to have to deal with it.

I woke up in a relatively good mood. I’m on vacation, I got to sleep till 3 p.m. without anyone bothering me. I ate. I look fabulous. No one is cheating on me. Things were looking good in the hood.

Then I get on Facebook and really, who sent me. I should have come here to finish editing My Web Novel which you can read by clicking that link. Instead, I decided to go to the devil’s playground.

This woman attended an event, and apparently she had a run in with men of the territory that displeased her. Naturally, she vented about it and wrote “On a serious note…VI men have no respect for women.”

Now, I’m not here for generalizations. I never will be. Still, automatically, as woman I understood immediately what she was trying to convey. She was disrespected, no doubt numerous times, and the words “some,” “most,” “many,” did not cross her mind.

Naturally, this didn’t go over well for some VI men. They felt slighted. To hell with asking her what led to her reaction, or for any clarification, they are just mad that they “feel” they respect women and thus her generalization has hurt them.

So why am I angry? I’m angry because I relate to her. I shared the photo and of course in my caption I changed it to “A lot,” because I know a lot of very respectful men. I even saw some in the comments of the post that shared her status. I applaud those men, especially the ones who understood what she was talking about. But this is what makes me angry; For every one man that put themselves in the shoes of women, there was another seven who deflected her point and made it the woman’s fault, took to bashing women, and of course respectability politics rears its ugly head.

RESPECTABILITY POLITICS DOES NOT WORK.

If you don’t know what that means, it is defined as what happens when minority and/or marginalized groups are told (or teach themselves) that in order to receive better treatment from the group in power, they must behave better.

I’d like to note that the Virgin Islands is a predominantly black territory, so yes the majority of thee very misogynistic comments came from black men.

Black men, who I’m suppose to stand up for when the police shoot him for not behaving/dressing well (because that’s wrong and profiling is racist as fuck) are also telling me that I must behave and dress well in order to get respect from them.

That’s why I’m angry. I’m angry because rather than understand her point, men made it about themselves. They chose to toss logic aside and focus on trivial points that add nothing to the conversation. My favorites are:

  • I’m not like that, so her statement must be false
  • I’m not like that, so I’m going to comment to say I’m not like that, but I have nothing else to say.
  • The 20 people I know (Out of thousands in the territory) are not like that so it must be false.
  • Pick Better men (because obviously you can pick the men who approach you)
  • Well women (generalization -_-) don’t carry themselves with respect so….
  • American men (Virgin Islanders are American) disrespect women way more

What the hell do any of these responses have to do about VI men disrespecting women? As a woman, and as a woman who has been disrespected for just breathing, the responses ticked me off.

As a woman, who while covered from head to toe was called a slut near a prominent government building while working because I would not heed a man’s advances, this pissed me off.

As a woman, like many, who was called a bitch for disagreeing with a man, this pissed me off.

As a woman who has to time her visits to gas stations and supermarkets in order to avoid meeting groups of men and specific men who do not understand “no” this pissed me off.

As a woman who can’t go to a certain establishment because a man who frequents there makes it his business to approach, touch and follow me, this pissed me off.

As a woman, who tried to tell a man no I’m not interested in a relationship, only to then have him barter having a SEXUAL relationship with me instead, and then proceed to enter the passenger side of my car without my permission–among many other similar and worse experiences that I’m not sharing with yall–this bothers me.

And NONE of this happened in Continental United States. This was all in the Virgin Islands. Imagine these are just some of my personal experiences, but I’m sure may women have had similar experiences. There are also a few (about 55) who can’t share their experiences because they are dead (check woman’s coalition for your stats).

So yes, I do believe that a lot of Virgin Island men are disrespectful. A lot of Virgin Island men are misogynistic. A lot of Virgin Island men are abusive and disgusting. Not all, but a lot. And the fact that you’re able to miss an entire point because the lack of one word tells me plenty. The fact that you want to make yourself some savior rather than check the others who are making slights at the situation, tells me all I need to know about you.

This is especially true online. Where some men who have been slighted by women disrespect all women. They don’t care about generalizations. Generalizations matter when it’s about “men” because he is a man. When it’s about women, he laughs and entertains the degradation.

Do some women do this as well? Yes.

Am I saying that it’s okay to take your personal experiences and generalize all men/women? HELL NO. That’s never okay.

But what you’re not going to do is erase my experiences, THAT YOU AREN’T PART OF, and make it about you and your six “pick me” ass friends.

In fact, I’m directing this essay to that specific group of men. That specific group that only pop up when it relates to them and nothing more. A specific group that mocked the woman’s march, and call women “skets” and other colloquial terms for “slut” for no reason except it’s 3 p.m. on a Tues.

A specific group that whenever there is a rape or assault charge they question what the woman was wearing, what she was doing, where was she, why was she there, all to deflect from the point that the MAN who assaulted her might be trash. Oh, and it’s wrong to call him trash, according to them, because we don’t “know the whole story,” but it’s okay for them to pick up for him even though they don’t know the whole fucking story.

This very specific group of men don’t even think it’s possible for women to be disrespected while doing nothing. According to them, our anger is merely a reflection of the men we chose to be around and to deal with this, we must simply choose better men.

So when I’m walking down the street, and a man cat calls me,then calls me a bitch for not responding to him, evidently I must have had a sign on me that called him towards me, and I should have just known better.

Essentially, to these men, it’s always the woman’s fault. The ain’t shit men be damned, it’s never about them. They aren’t accountable for their behavior because I must have antagonized them in some way.

So don’t tell me to not to be angry. Don’t police my tone because it makes you uncomfortable. Police your boys. Talk to the men you hang around when you hear them doing and saying ain’t shit things rather than joke about it and enable them.

Then I’m told I must not get angry, I must teach.

TEACH.

YOU WANT ME TO TEACH?

I read through the comments and for every person wasting their time “teaching” is someone countering the point as to why it’s okay for women to be disrespected because–see bullet points above.

The fact that I have to explain to grown ass men to not disrespect someone, not even women, but someone in general is ridiculous. The notion that you must EARN respect is bullshit. I must allow you to disrespect me until I PROVE to you that I am worthy of being treated like a human being?

Miss me with that bullshit man. Miss me with it.

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About Local Lady Media (75 Articles)
Local Lady Media is an entertainment and humor blog covering everything from local and pop culture, from TV, and movies, to life's random adventures through the eyes of local Virgin Islands eccentric Judgey Johannes--self-crowned Miss Media 2016 to life--who has an appetite for providing commentary on shenanigans because there is no shortage of foolishness/interesting things in the world.

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