If you are female, the 6000+ year existence of patriarchy is a long war of terror upon you and every one of your sisters with untold millions of female casualties.
If you are female, even if you are not being beaten and sold this very minute, you are a slave to the male gaze, to male expectations of "woman." If you think that the hours you spend on your appearance are "for myself" the terror has colonized your mind.
Every catcall, every denied job, every assumption that male is normal and female is "other" is an act of war. every education denied, every FGM, every time men interrupt, dismiss, deny, minimize, patronize or in any way fail to allow women a seat at the table of power —because power is what we are really talking about, not constrained "choices."—a skirmish has occurred. Except it is so normal that we do not call it an act of war any more.
Every abortion denied, every attempt to make contraception difficult to obtain, every attempt to shame women for taking power over their own lives is an act of aggression.
Every female selectively aborted, abused, violated, assaulted, attacked with acid, married off against her will, shamed, raped, prostituted and/or murdered is a casualty in this long, long war on women.
We have turned the other cheek. We have coddled, ignored, placated, and done exactly what you've asked. We have given you 6000+ years of unpaid labor and submission. Your misogyny increased. You gun us down us for the crime of being female.
This is not about "guns" or "mental illness," this is about the hatred of women: misogyny. As painful as it is, women need to see that #yesallmen benefit from patriarchy. Your son, your husband, your boyfriend, you father, you brothers, uncles, cousins. Every man benefits from patriarchy. And misogyny is growing. In those same men. Women, you cannot shirk from this reality.
Men steal our time, our accomplishments, our emotional succor, our energy and our lives. The little flashes of time that we call "war" (where men go maim and kill each other while raping and killing women as "collateral damage") are intentional distractions so that the everyday crimes that men commit against women all day, every day with patriarchal blessing are not looked at.
I have had enough. Do not expect me to see misogyny as anything less than an act of war. Because I won't. Because seeing the enemy clearly is the first step in defending ourselves. It is time to wake up. Yes, it is all men.
And, no, I will not plead with, bargain with, beg or in any way negotiate with men for better treatment. Men can well deal with their own loss of humanity themselves. I will continue to help women see that patriarchal misogyny is the very air that we breathe every day. Because when women see that, we enter the war with eyes open and are fully prepared to engage battle.
Patriarchy is war on women and men are war criminals by their own definition.
For women, the war is every moment of her life. There is no bunker to return to, no trench to dodge the bullets. Men are everywhere, taking up space and dominating our lives.
Start with saying that being born female is to be born into a lifelong war. Start with that. And see the misogyny everywhere. And pray to goddess that you do not get shot today for simply being female.
By Terre Spencer, shared with permission.