Tuesday, June 19, 2007,4:04 PM
Having a Voice
As the author of blogs, especially the Emerging Women blog, I get a lot of email. There are the notes of encouragement and those seeking advice, and then there are the hateful, the judgemental, and the creepy. I've learned to ignore the numerous Christians who insist on telling me why exactly I am not a Christian and am going to hell. Those are a dime a dozen and get old really quick. Then true to my nature of being fly-paper for freaks, I get this email. Since part of the purpose of this blog is to expose sexism and misogyny in all its forms in order to awaken those who are deluded into thinking its a non-issue I decided to post it here -
Ms. / Mrs. (not sure which to use and certainly wouldn't want to offend) Clawson,

I stumbled upon your work at onehandclapping, accidentally and somehow, I was compelled to read. And I read... and read... and read... and read... I was interested in a lot of what you were writing, simply because I found it entertaining. Yes, I said entertaining. I can detect your scorn. I can read into your frustration. You obviously feel angry because it would seem that a large portion of people in the world view your gender simply as subservient baby making machines. I suppose you would be angry at men who beat their wives, commit adultery and generally look down upon the female segment of society. I suppose that it would anger a woman such as yourself to hear people talking about how men want to know how they can have sex with their wives at least once a day. When I say "such as yourself", I mean a woman who despises sex to begin with. I suppose that a woman who is interested in "planting a church" is interested in where the bible has placed woman in the world.

Funny, doesn't Genesis lay the groundwork for all Christianity? Doesn't the creation story specify where God placed woman in the world and doesn't Genesis explain that the woman committed the original sin, which set the stage for all of mankind? And lets get to the nuts and bolts of it all. Many theologians and prominent religious figures argue that the original sin was an act of infidelity.

So, where am I going with this? Simply put, you have issues. Issues you don't seem to want to address, Issues that you keep tucked away behind the veil of religion and feminism. You sound like a very negative person to me. Maybe as a child you witnessed a violent act against a woman, or perhaps even fell victim to a violent act yourself. Perhaps this act included sexual indescretions which by virtue of witnessing or experiencing the act, you were stripped of your innocence forever.

So, instead of talking with a proffessional about your issues, you want to stand up and scream at the top of your lungs for anyone to hear, anyone to listen. And what better vehicle to do that than the Internet. (Insert appropriate title of address) Clawson; please try not to be so negative towards men. Men are wonderful, creatures who give life. Without the mans seed the plant cannot grow. Men are wonderful creatures who nurture and protect. Man bashing is surely a path towards lesbianism. Wait......... did I stumble onto something here? Ah, maybe not... At any rate, please, be kind and just have sex at least once a day with a man, any man will do.... maybe he will knock that chip of your shoulder!


A man in need of some good sex from a woman like you.

The first thing thought of after I read this letter is that famous quote by Rececca West, "I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat, or a prostitute." To stand up against violence and oppression of women or to resist sexual objectification apparently makes some men uncomfortable. As creepy as the email is, I was amused that the Victorian era modes of "dealing" with intelligent and outspoken women were still being suggested. During that period of introducing domestic roles for women, the women who were not content to mindlessly do nothing in life were assumed to have medical or psychological disorders. This disease of female hysteria the men conjured up was treated in part by forcing women to avoid any stimulation of the mind and to accept their domestic role as sexual object. Feminists - those who used their voice and called for equal rights for women were often dismissed as suffering from hysteria. This historical perspective is illustrated beautifully in the letter which explores why Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote her groundbreaking and haunting story "The Yellow Wallpaper" that challenged the practice of "diagnosing" women who wanted to use their voice and write as "hysterical" and forcing them into mindless rest cures and domestic roles. Obviously for some men, science, human rights, and equality haven't progressed much since then. They apparently would prefer all women to be silent, mindless, and readily available for their sexual pleasure.

Part of me hopes that this email was a joke instead of a perfect illustration as to why the fight for women's rights is still necessary. But I've encounter such warped attitudes far too often to pretend that this isn't a true sentiment. It is depressing that there still exist men who misunderstand women so completely and who so blatantly objectify us. Men that try to dismiss the cry for equality and justice by labeling women as the one's with medical and psychological issues. It is depressing and just a little bit creepy.


posted by Julie at 4:04 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 6/20/2007 06:12:00 AM, Blogger paul

    that is almost funny... and oppressors don't like to be laughed at.

    The other thing that puzzles me is why people go to the beginning of the story and not the end for a view on women's equality with men...

  • At 6/20/2007 07:09:00 AM, Blogger Helen

    I wish it was a joke but I'm guessing it wasn't.

    When I read things like that, instead of letting them get to me I try to remember "I'm so glad I don't think that way...that for whatever reason I have been spared those sorts of attitudes...and the need to write letters like that"

    Funny he/she thinks you have issues! ;-)

  • At 6/20/2007 06:49:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    Funny, creepy, freaky...yeah, wow, alot of strange, twisted thinking and assumptions...please let it be a joke. Didn't the guy pick up from your profile that you are MARRIED? Since when do thinking women not enjoy sex? I personally find myself far more interested in sex after an intellectually stimulating activity than after a day of being really domestic. Domestication just isn't *hot* to me.

  • At 6/20/2007 07:47:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    Jemila - how very true


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