There's this old Faces song called Ooh La La that I'd always kind of casually liked. You know it - the hook goes "I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was a younger/I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was stronger." When I joined the Spotify family (that's how we all talk now, right? I'm a literal actual member of the Spotify family, right? It counts. I'm in the will), they put it on my Discover Weekly and I added it to a playlist and was one day all plugged into my iPhone, just walking down the street, chilling to my tunes, all "Ooh la la... wish that I knew what I know now..." like this:
When I started paying attention to the lyrics. Like these:
Poor old Grandad, I laughed at all his words
I thought he was a bitter man
He spoke of women's ways
They'll trap you, then they use you before you even know
For love is blind and you're far too kind.
And I was all, hmmmm:
The song continued:
They come on strong and it ain't too long
For they make you feel a man
But love is blind and you soon will find
You're just a boy again
When you want her lips, you get her cheek
Makes you wonder where you are
If you want some more than she's fast asleep
You're just twinkling with the stars
At which point I was convinced and annoyed and all:
I'm not here to litigate some song that is almost as old as I am. Rather, I'm here to talk about my reaction to it, because I've noticed that I just have no patience for any of it anymore. When I encounter misogynist bullshit, I'm not interested in tolerating it or making the man behind it comfortable anymore. I don't care anymore if he's old or if he's simple or if he's otherwise a sterling individual because I'm just capital-D Done with smiling through it to make things more pleasant. Rather, I am inclined to:
And why am I so done? I'll give you one guess. I bet you know....
The duly elected (?) president* of the United States said that and almost half the country didn't care; shoot, a bunch of them thought it made him seem like a real man (... it ain't too long before they make you feel a man again).
The slap history of humankind is replete with weak men requiring and being granted female humiliation just because they're men. But I'm done. No more obliging smiles when some man on the street orders me to it. No more cool-girl chuckles at the hacky sexist jokes from the guy on the subway or in line at the Walgreens. No more conciliatory smirks with the "you know how the ladies are" cracks during business meeting. I'm no longer even able to bop along in a "well, it was a different time but I dig the tune anyway" to the MRA Theme Song (which is 45 fucking years old - those bastards have been around forever, they just recently got an internet). I'm done. And I'm done because being obliging, going along to get along, being pleasant because it's accepted truth that pleasantry is women's work is what led to President Pussygrabber.
And, look, I don't want to be a killjoy feminist. I really don't. No one does. Well, that's not true. Some people live for it... but I promise I'm not one. I'd much rather live without ever hearing any of it again, without being among men who think it's no big deal. But I don't live in that world. I live in the world where you either live with it and pretend to like it like a cool girl or you're a feminist killjoy.
And y'all, I promise you:
I have this daughter who doesn't seem to privilege pretty and doesn't seem to feel beholden to male approval. Sometimes I worry about how she thinks the idea of makeup is bizarre and prefers her hair short and her clothes capacious and comfortable, because what will people think?! And then I realize that she'd never let some guy get away with casually insulting her gender and expecting a smile in response. And then I think a lot of this will suck less for her.