i had made a list - a list of the unearnt, undeserved privileges that i have as a well-to-do brahmin woman. i hoped - almost prayed - that some men at least, after reading that, would make a list of the gender-bestowed privileges that they have.

because this is what happens when a man abuses his male privilege and uses it to hurt a woman.

every time some guy says "but i'm a nice guy!" and expects to be trusted implicitly, i want to bury him in the mound of "nice guys" who do hurtful, vicious, unthinkingly dumb things.

no man has ever introduced himself to me, or any woman of my acquaintance, saying "you know what? i'm not a nice guy, i do bad things. so please don't trust me - treat me an aberration in the world of nice men". pretty much most men consider themselves nice people. "nice men" who happen watch porn, leer at women, "eve tease", or exploit vulnerable women and children sexually.

more than dealing with god, i find that dealing with men is a daily act of faith, with more immediate repercussions if i misjudge. each time i let myself be seen in the company of a man, i know its a risk. i know if anything happens to me, that fact that i was With A Man will be the first excuse to humiliate me and pain me further.

men know this almost better than women. the man who abused me was a father of a nice little girl. every single father and husband i know has taught his daughter and wife to never trust other men. my own father says every single man is guilty until proven innocent. im sure my husband will, with the same concern for my safety, say the same thing.

women are taught, as a policy decision, to mistrust men, but are expected to make a "personal" exception for every single male who chooses to enter their lives. questioning any man provokes "righteous" anger. a woman is expected to automatically wipe her mental slate clean and start from ignorance all over again.

she is confronted by two choices : to compliance or refusal. either way is a hard way.

in compliance, the more she walks away from her lived experience, from all the knowledge that she has developed from first principles, the more the rift between her resolutely rose-tinted world and reality. and reality has a way of catching up and giving you a nasty jar if you try to leave it behind. a woman conscious of the rift rails against the social order that expects her to be such a hypocrite to herself and others. a woman who doesnt perceive the rift eventually falls into a dark painful abyss.

so there is the other option. to refuse to wipe one's mind blank. to face the blaze of anger that will surface each time a man's code is studied. this is a choice that especially most women who have undergone abuse make. to always warn oneself of the danger of trusting blindly. of unquestioningly accepting someone's word about their morality. (often times, not even an open, explicit claim, but an implied one which is much harder to disprove or analyse because of its chimeral nature.)

it is both hurtful and infuriating to repeatedly have to make this tradeoff. and to be judged after being put in a situation that doesnt offer healthy choices in the first place.

were i a man, i guess i would want to crucify each one of my kind who sustained and reaffirmed such a screwed up social system. collective responsibility, while distinct from personal responsibility, has a way of hitting home.

I am not an angry girl
but it seems like I've got everyone fooled
every time I say something they find hard to hear
they chalk it up to my anger
and never to their own fear
and imagine you're a girl
just trying to finally come clean
knowing full well they'd prefer you
were dirty and smiling

- Ani DiFranco & Tracy Chapman