By J.E. McCollough Entering the private sector after military service is rarely...
Confessions of a Juvenile Misogynist by Kelly
After thirteen months in print, my first book finally got a piece of hate mail yesterday. Contrary to popular belief, I was actually thrilled to learn that my words sparked enough emotion in someone that they took the time to hunt me down and fire off a message. Of course, I have to defend myself or you savvy Rhino Den-arians wouldn’t respect me. I turn to you for an opinion.
On page 61 I described what happened when a ring girl with disproportionately large breasts positioned herself right next to me during a fight. Someone yelled and when I looked to see who it was all I see was this young lady’s mammary glands mere inches from my nose. I described it as, “an eclipse of silicone, a blackout of boobs, and an obscuration of juggs” to give the reader the full effect of what the moment was like. One professional stripper (should I use exotic dancer?) and avowed feminist didn’t take too kindly to it.
She said I’d oversimplified her profession by focusing on one body part instead of looking at it holistically. But isn’t every occupation oversimplified? Instead of calling someone a trucker, should I describe him as “a man or woman who is hired to transport goods across great distances using a large vehicle, commonly an eighteen wheeled semi-trailer” so he or she is not offended? I consider myself much more than a soldier, but don’t take offense when someone oversimplifies my profession by calling me a “Troop” or even “Joe.” Baby killer is over the top, but those days are mostly gone.
I think what really offended her was this passage on page 78:
“The strange thing is,” Julie said, “I actually don’t like violence and I cringe from guns and gore. I don’t like to hurt people either.”
“Why do you do this then?” I asked.
“Because it pushes you to your limits. It tests you to be more.”, I thought, But even strippers aspire to be more or they wouldn’t get implants. “Couldn’t you get that out of soccer or basketball?” I asked.
Her response was this:
“The ONLY reason she buys huge breasts is to make more money because she feels forced to, because that unnatural look is somehow what men have come to consider “better.” No sane, clear-thinking woman believes bigger breasts will make her “better” and yes, it really is offensive that men actually believe that’s the thought process behind expensive surgery – cutting ourselves open and implanting huge foreign objects that are just plain uncomfortable, unsafe and pretty useless other than to get in the freaking way in yoga class.”
Forced to? So all strippers are forced to have augmentation surgery now? Is that covered under the Obama health care plan or the public option? Is it not true that exotic dancers augment their breasts in order to generate more income? Wouldn’t that be considered an investment? I say yes, and further contend that I was making an analogy to show how everyone strives for self-improvement, even if it’s only superficial enhancement for financial reasons. I’m betting if the sentence had read, “Even strippers try to better themselves through yoga,” I would not have gotten an email even though the message is the same and still oversimplifies the job.
I can live with these criticisms since they come with being a writer, but this comment struck a nerve:
“Misogyny is so pervasive, so ingrained in our society, that it’s common for even the most intelligent men to simply not see it around them, in our culture or even in themselves, their behaviors and communications. And yet it’s stupefying really, that you would make such crude jokes about strippers on the same page where you introduce the topic of these amazingly courageous and inspiring female fighters. And that you would further demean my entire gender after 80 straight pages of uplifting prose about your own marginalized brothers in the MMA. Am I alone in seeing the irony here?”
I’ll leave that to the readers here to decide, but let’s break down this attack a little bit. Misogyny is defined as the hatred or contempt of women. As a champion of women’s right to fight in MMA, a fan of The American Women’s Veterans Organization on Facebook (thanks Genevieve), and a wholehearted supporter of Soldier’s Angels, I can hardly be described as someone who holds women in contempt. That’s a stretch.
Demeaning the entire female gender? How? By using the word boobs? Boobs boobs boobs. Is it offensive to say I like boobs? I can’t imagine why. The word can be found in Webster’s dictionary and is commonplace in English terminology. Should I refer to them as mammary glands? Maybe the more politically correct term is breasts, but if I was politically correct, would you even want to read my book? What about the restaurant chain, Hooters? They’ve come under fire for their name and theme, but stood steadfast in their ways and continued to be successful.
I’ll go out on a limb and say I like fake boobs too, despite so many men disdaining them as unnatural. After witnessing the devastating effects childbirth and breastfeeding have on a woman’s body, it’s not my right to criticize self-enhancement. If a gal wants to alter her appearance to boost her self-confidence or just to give her a better shape so dresses fit better, then I fully support it. I don’t hear any women complaining about the endless male enhancement or erotic dysfunction product ads pervading the internet and TV. Hell I’ve admitted to farting in public stairwells and not a single person objected to it. What does this say about our priorities people?
Out of an 80,000-word book, this reader decided to let two sentences stand out as offensive and hone in on that. That seems like someone who only hears what they want to hear. It’s biased and reflects this pervasive attitude that everything we read should be safe, soft, non-thought provoking dribble that furthers the “I love you and you love me” liberal gonorrhea. What happened to the good old days of feminism when higher wages were the demand and bra burning was all the rage?
“Trust me when I say I know breasts are beautiful and sexy and that men rightfully love them. But to equate bigger with better, while simultaneously diminishing the hard work that really does make a stripper “better” is offensive, even to non-angry, non-feminists.”
I don’t have a point to sharing that part. I just thought it was cool to hear a stripper say breast are beautiful and sexy. Maybe I am juvenile.
A note to those of you who want to express your opinion to a writer; there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it. I think we’ve all just learned the wrong way. The right way is to say “Hey, dude. This sentence on page XX would be better if it read, “blah blah blah.” I would have welcomed that and maybe even changed my ways. But to call me a misogynist, crude, and a juvenile? I’ll just take it as a compliment and move on.