**Trigger warning on account of my potty mouth.
Dear ‘Man’ (because I can speak to ALL MEN just like that!),
This is just about the creepiest apology I have ever heard. Though it reminds me, in an uber-triggering kind-of-way, of men in my past who have desperately wanted to pretend to be my ally by telling me over and over again how magical and mystical and miraculous women are and then talking over me when I try to explain that that ain’t it.
Ok menz (and let me clarify, this video, in no way, speaks for all men, but rather for Gay Hendricks and Arjuna Ardagh [credit to Zosia Bielsk at The Globe and Mail for doing this research for me]. In fact, I believe that most men I know may or may not die of laughter interspersed with vomiting were they to watch this video) – because it’s just too easy to stop at simply making fun of this crinkled brow + fuzzy hat = goodguy! video on accounts of creepiness (though this is a very valid reaction), I would like to explain to you why Dear Woman is offensive and why I do not accept ‘your’ fauxpology.
1) Patriarchal oppression is not about ‘energy’. If you think any man ‘unconsciously’ raped or abused a woman because of some kind of innate ‘masculine energy’, your apology don’t mean shit to me. Patriarchal oppression; pornography, prostitution, abuse, exploitation – all those things you have claimed to apologize for? Those things were done with intention. They are actual actions that can be stopped. Many men choose not to beat their wives or buy women. And it has nothing to do with their energy. I’m going to go right ahead here and credit their brains.
2) I do not, nor have I ever, had anything resembling a ‘gift of the feminine’. If did I would probably poo on it. Or give it to my dog to poo on.
3) You feel deep sorrow? You want to apologize? How’s about you start using words that mean things and point to real actions (both actions that have been done and actions which can be done in order to make change). You have, essentially, in this video, apologized for something you have no control over. Apologizing for ‘the unconscious masculine’ is like apologizing for punching me in your sleep. Whoops! No more omelettes before bed! Sexism. It was all a bad dream.
4) If you reeeeeally, truuuuuuly, wanted to apologize for gender inequity, you would start by destroying those bullshit essentialist stereotypes you keep coming back to throughout this video. And telling me what the eff my energy looks like. I am not a goddess, I do not wish to be honoured. Not by you, oh Creepy McWhitey, nor by any other man. I certainly do not wish to ‘make a miracle’ with you.
5) Your sorrow, your apology is, as far as I can tell, a way to excuse yourself from action. I don’t want your guilt. Take it back. I don’t accept your apology because you’ve said nothing of substance. You have apologized for and excused men who ‘cannot apologize because they remain shackled in a prism of anger, fear, and shame’. You then forgive yourselves. For your unconscious actions. Because, you know, anger is a totally valid excuse for oppressing one half of the population (and more if you want to count everyone else you have abused and exploited, oh privileged white dude – oh wait! One black man! We be inclusive in our fauxpology!). I am a pretty angry lady sometimes, I don’t see me going out and raping anyone. Oh wait, but that was just your ‘unconscious energy’. Double-oops!
6) I AM NOT MOTHER NATURE. I have no deep connection to the earth. Watch me try to grow something. I dare you to let me water your plants. Enjoy your black and bug-covered cactus! Would you like a strawberry au slug? You can wash it down with this brown succulent…No no don’t touch it! Dead plants are delicate. This earth mother dichotomy you are perpetuating doesn’t help create equality. It is a stereotype that benefits you. It romanticizes femininity and aligns us with the ‘nurturer’ archetype, which, in turn, justifies our long-held ‘natural’ female position of barefoot and pregnant, in the kitchen, doing the unpaid labour of child-rearing and cooking, because it just comes natural to us. Some women are indeed fine and talented gardeners who are nurturing and feel connected to the nature things. This is not on account of ‘feminine energy’. If it were, I would probably have more babies, generally be a more relaxed person and would probably spend less time on Facebook.
7) I HAVE NO INTUITIVE SENSE. I cannot ‘heal this planet’ any better than you because I am a woman. I have some ideas, that’s for sure, but let me tell ya, I learned them from books and people, and from, again, this old using my brain thing I suggested earlier. You can do it too!
8 ) ‘My profound capacity for feeling’? Yeah, that’s there because of patriarchy. Because women are allowed to be emotional in ways that men are not. Let me introduce you to a little word you may have missed while your brain was all plugged up with incense and crystals – it’s called socialization. Check it out! It totally works.
9) You are excusing rape on account of lust. On account of you not being able to control your ‘lust’ for our ‘beauty’. Fuck you. That is all.
10) Have you met me? I am not peaceful. But please, please do go ahead and tell everyone who knows me that I have a natural capacity for resolving conflict and watch as they pee themselves.
9) No fresh start. We are not walking on solid enough ground here to simply forgive and forget. IT IS STILL HAPPENING. The sexism and such. So no fresh start. No. Not until you unplug your ears, masculine energy! We want action, not apologies. Not excuses. Not new agey excuses for centuries of abuse. We want you to take out your white-boy dreads and make change. Understand inequity and systems of power. Understand the actual actions that people do which act to create and maintain hierarchy and oppression. And take apart those essentializing gender binaries and stop trying to force us into some magical ‘feminine’ box.
Some of the most sexist, abusive men I have ever met claimed to value ‘feminine energy’ and to feel just so so sad and sorry about all THOSE OTHER MEN out there who are abusive. Sometimes these men even apologize, themselves, for *oops* accidentally smacking me across the face. They will feel really, really, guilty about it. But then when I refuse to forgive them, refuse to acknowledge that, REALLY, it was just an accident, they get pretty darn mad. These kinds of apologies, I’m afraid, are not to be taken seriously. These are the apologies of men who are deeply committed to changing nothing.
OH OH, but you forgive yourself do you? SUPER. Well I’m glad we all feel so much better now.