Saturday, September 3, 2016

To the Man Who Called Me Stupid

Hello, James. Remember me? I'm the woman on Facebook you recently called out as being stupid when I refused to continue responding to your childish, ignorant, sexist bullshit. But you probably still can't place me because I'm willing to bet good money I'm not the only woman you've insulted in your life.

I know your kind, James. You are, unfortunately, not a unique breed. You feel threatened by women, thwarted by them, maligned by them. You feel inferior, and your inferiority complex manifests itself into what I'm sure you believe is scathing social commentary on Facebook and (probably) a vast number of other sites. You spread your thinly-veiled sexism with the disclaimer that, “Hey, I used to counsel rape victims! I can't be sexist! You're just a man hater!”

I've seen your kind before, James. Small, petty men who believe the world owes them something because they deigned to give something of themselves to women and, gods above, women took something away from them. “They're not allowed to do that!” says James. “I've given so much, it's my turn!

Here's the thing, James; we don't take turns. No one is given a turn. No one hands out turns. Life is random happenstance that is influenced by your attitude and your choices. If you choose to be a prick, it's safe to say what happens to you will be befitting of that choice.

I know you're a sexist, James. I know it because you showed it. And no, I don't normally go around calling people sexist. Believe me or don't, those who know me know I'm pretty easygoing about that kind of thing. I don't enjoy slapping negative labels on people. And I haven't gotten into a full-blown angry debate with someone online in a good, long while. Mostly because I think it's pointless. And it usually is. The person you're debating with is usually ignorant, stubborn, and just as self-righteous as they claim you're being, and they're not going to get your point, much less concede to it, so why bother?

But you, James, you flipped my bitch switch. Was it because you wandered onto a thread about the ridiculously lenient sentence of a convicted rapist and started tossing your dick about, decrying the rampant misandry in family law? Yes, that was part of it. Was it because you claimed “liberal men like you” are turning away from women's issues because women obviously don't care about men? That was another part. Was it because you claimed that women are to blame for the fact that you don't get to see your kids more than you do? Oh, yes, believe me, that was a big part of it.

But you know what the biggest irritant was? The fact that you could so flippantly toss that shit out there like a hand grenade in church, then claim you're not sexist. The fact that you believe your own bullshit, James, is what concerns me. Because conviction is the heaviest ingredient in zealotry. You actually believe you're not sexist, James, and that is what pissed me off.

Even more troubling is the fact that you don't seem very knowledgeable about the world outside of your own sphere. Which isn't surprising, but you did an awful lot of generalizing (and admitted to it, so don't be shy about it now) for a man who's only experienced the court procedures in one district. Now, I'm not claiming to have a lot of experience with family court, but I have been the spectator for three separate family court cases, each one in a different state, each one with different outcomes. The first involved my husband (boyfriend at the time). There was no custody to hash out, just child support, and that happened with very little input on my husband's part. The only thing about that case that irks me to this day is that my husband was required to pay the entire Medicaid bill as if he were the only one responsible for the pregnancy. That is certainly sexist, James, so on that, you and I can agree.

The second instance involved a man I knew in Florida who fought tooth and nail for years against his ex-wife for custody of their two sons. Granted, I only saw his side of it, but he's a decent guy and a great father, and eventually, he was able to maintain primary custody. But not before going to considerable expense (and being brought damn near to the brink of insanity) before it was over.

The third instance involved a female relative of mine who'd left her physically and emotionally abusive husband only to lose custody of all three of her kids to him because she was planning to move to another state. The judge didn't want to “uproot the children”. Giving them to a man who was a rapist with boderline personality disorder was apparently better than removing them from Kentucky. This left them to be raised by a man who frequently used them as pawns against their mother. A man who called their mother a slut and a whore. A man who'd hit their mother in front of them. A man who had a history of sexually abusing others, one that was admitted to by his own mother in court.

The results? The oldest boy, now 23, has a strained relationship with his mother because of the years he was indoctrinated with lies about his mother's promiscuity and her unwillingness to get custody back when she returned to Kentucky. This was false, of course, as she tried at regular intervals to regain custody to no avail. Even when one of the boys was struck by his father's second wife and told his guidance counselor of the incident, nothing was done.

The second oldest, another boy, is now 22. While his relationship with his mother seems a little less strained, he's still in the awkward position of being pitted between one parent and another. His father still regularly maligns their mother, and what do you say to a parent who acts less mature than you?

The youngest child, a girl, is 18 now. We'll call her “R”, to avoid confusion. “R” finally got away from her father last year when her mother (whom we'll call “A” for this story) decided to move back to Michigan to be closer to family, and since the father only had about five more months to use “R” to control “A”, he conceded to “R's” request to move with her mother. “R” hates her father. Not just dislikes or disrespects, actively hates, with a loathing I'm not sure even I can comprehend. And while I don't often subscribe to hatred because I feel it's a wasted emotion, I can't even slightly blame her for it. Her father used her her entire life to hurt her mother. He never cared about his daughter, as evidenced by the fact that he never spent time with her and frequently called her names. He only cared about the damage he could do to “A”, and the control he exercised over them both.

If you want an idea of what this man is like, consider this: after moving to Michigan, “R's” father was still supposed to pay child support until “R” graduated from high school, that deadline being set at May of this year. In September or October of last year, however, “A” received a letter from the father's lawyer stating that the father refused to pay the final few thousand he would owe up to that deadline, and his reason for doing so was that “A” had removed “R” from the state without the father's knowledge or approval. This was a blatant lie, however, and “A” had documented proof that she'd been in contact with “R's” father about the move, and had provided him with their address before they'd even set foot in the state. When “A” sent this proof back to the father's lawyer, the matter was quickly dropped and a check for the remaining child support balance arrived.

A week or so ago, “R” received word from one of her brothers that their father had told him he'd taken pity on “A” and not dragged her to court over it. This is just one of many (far, far too many) insane stories from the man who was given custody by a court that didn't seem to give a single, solitary fuck about the welfare of the children involved.

That's what one district of the Kentucky family court did for a family I'm close to, James. The emotional scars on the kids and their mother are still raw in places, even after nearly twenty years. It doesn't help that, up until recently, their ties to the man who loved making everyone's lives a living hell couldn't be cut.

So can you maybe see where I was coming from, James? Why your blatant attempts to blame all the womenses for your problems set me on edge a little bit? Could you maybe try and see things from another person's perspective, not the perspective of the entitled white male who feels like if he's not getting everything he wants, he's somehow being cheated by the weaker sex?

I understand it's difficult to not spend time with your kids. I get what a hardship that must be as I have a child of my own, and if at any point someone had tried keeping him from me, things would not have gone well for them. I see that fathers are sometimes tossed aside and that mothers are occasionally given too much credit simply because they're viewed as the defacto nurturers when there are some women who don't have a nurturing bone in their bodies.

But I also remember that when my grandfather left my grandmother in the late 1950s, he took all three of their children with him, and there wasn't a damn thing my grandmother could do about it. I remember that she spent time in a mental institution because of it.

And then I take a look at whiny little piss-ants like yourself and I wonder about your claims. I wonder about your wife's reasons for not offering you more time with your kids. Because I've gotta tell ya, James, your attitude does not recommend you as someone I'd want my son emulating. I know there are women out there who gleefully announce they won't let their baby daddies have any access to their kids while happily cashing those support checks every month. But I also know there are ignorant men out there who beat their chests and claim to be something they're not. In your case, James, it's you claiming you're not something that you so clearly are. A sexist and an entitled prick. You happily and zealously tossed out generalizing comments about women, how we feel, what we think, how we behave. You accused every single one of us of not caring about the rights of fathers. Do you want to know where I stand on that issue, James?

Fuck it, I don't care what you want, I'm going to tell you, anyway. I despise family court for general, innocuous family drama bullshit. As far as I'm concerned, when two people divorce, they should be able to behave like adults, set aside their petty grievances, and do what's right for their children. Of course, there are always going to be people like the father I mentioned above, or the mother of the boys in Florida (who by all accounts was an irresponsible, neglectful parent), and those are the people family court should be reserved for.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where adults don't often behave like rational, mature beings (you're proof of that if ever it was needed, James), so family court is a necessary evil. Does family court sometimes get it wrong? Yes, undoubtedly. Does someone occasionally get hurt? Yes. I'll let you in on a little secret, though, James: when it comes down to a fight in family court, the outcome is always wrong and always right. It just depends on which table you're sitting at. When parents fight over their children like scraps at a table during famine, forcing the court to choose between them, one of those parents is going to walk away feeling like they've been cheated. And guess what else, James? Family court legislation wasn't written by evil femmebots from the planet ManHater. It was drafted by men and women, those with families and without, and it is interpreted and administered by both, as well.

Yes, really.

I have to say, though, your bravado is pretty impressive. You strolled onto a thread about leniency in a sexual assault case, looked around, maybe chuckled to yourself a little, then took a big, fat shit on the subject. Did you think you'd get a warm reception, James? Did you think anyone in that particular comment thread would agree with you? When you implied that you'd care more about a rapist's lenient sentence if the evil FemiNazis hadn't taken your kids from you, did you really think that would garner sympathy?

I can't imagine having such confidence; that my wildly off-topic and inflammatory comment would garner respect and validation seems absurd. So I can only assume that you did what you did expressly with the intent of pissing people off. And you succeeded! 

Bravo, James, you succeeded at something. Does it feel good? Does it feel good to know that you got a few women to go all “PMS” on you? That we became “difficult” and “combative” to try and educate your dumb ass on the meaning of sexism? Was your ego stroked calling us ignorant and crazy and hypocritical? Did you bolster your own views by pointing at us and shouting, “See?! See??? You all hate me because I have a penis!”? Did mansplaining the feminist movement to me get your manly juices flowing? When one of us pointed out that you were perhaps not a good choice to raise children given your attitude toward women and sexual assault, you claimed she was advocating for the complete removal of your children from your life, asserting a view that hadn't been expressed by anyone. You then went on to say that she was tossing hatred at men.

She wasn't tossing hatred at men, James. She was tossing hatred at you. You specifically. Because you are not all men, James, and thank Christ for that. You're a fair-sized portion of men, sure, but you're not all. It might surprise you to know that a fair amount of men you might want to consider broskis would be appalled at your attitude and your statements. I know quite a few of them. You said, "Keep labeling and dismissing men like me and see how far you get". 

You're damn right I'll keep labeling and dismissing men like you, James. You're a self-righteous, condescending, entitled, sexist prick, and I've been dismissing those like you all my life. So far, things have been great. I have a husband who isn't a self-righteous, condescending, entitled, sexist prick, and we've successfully raised a son who isn't a self-righteous, condescending, entitled, sexist prick. So your rather bumbling attempt at a threat vaguely promising dire repercussions if I refuse to bow to the manliest of the manly is rather laughable.

You said women lose allies like you when you're thwarted. You're under the assumption that we want allies like you, James. An ally whose loyalty is conditional on whether or not we bend over backwards for him? No, thank you.

At one point, you said “women don't care” about the plight of fathers in family court. I corrected you and asserted that I, for one, do care. What was your response, James? Do you remember? I do. You had the bloody cheek to ask me, "If you care so much, why hasn't anything changed?"

Really, James? Here, just let me get out my “Fix This Bullshit” wand and wave it in your general direction.


Do you know who has the power to fix things in your backyard, James? You fucking do. If you care so much about your plight and the plight of other wronged fathers the world-over, why don't you stop making sexist comments on Facebook and fucking do something about it?

But that's not your style, is it, James? After all, if you decided to take this shit seriously instead of just being an irritating social media troll, you might have to climb down off that cross of yours and put in some actual effort. And while your kids might mean a lot to you, taking time out of your busy martyrdom just isn't in the cards right now, is it?

Our final exchange will always hold a special place in my heart, James. When you went on your final tirade about how all the family court laws in your province were obvs written by women, and how your FEMALE lawyer (yes, you had to CAPS "lawyer" because everyone knows you can't be a sexist pig if you've got a female lawyer) told you that the laws were sexist and you were going to get screwed...

At that point, I'd just had it, James. I'd had enough of your bullshit. So I just commented back, "Okay, James."

After which you politely told me to piss off and said that clearly, I am "not the brightest crayon in the box". Yes. Clearly I am the dumbest of the dumbs because I don't understand your exceptional brilliance. A man whose reading comprehension topped out somewhere in middle school, who doesn't grasp the subtleties of the English language but asserts that anyone who opposes him has "no idea", who tries to hide behind decent men, and believes his entire province is run like the Amazonian planet in Futurama. Clearly, you are my intellectual superior.

But what the hell do I know, James? I'm just a dumb broad.

Oh, and P.S.

No comments:

Post a Comment