Friday, June 3, 2011

The Privilege of Not Being Angry

[TW for social and political misogyny and denial of bodily autonomy]

My brother asked me a few weeks ago why I'm so angry all the time. In the moment, I had a difficult time figuring out a decent explanation, but now that I've had the chance to sit down and really think about it, I think I have a basic idea.

I'm angry all the time because I don't have the privilege of not being angry.

First of all, I should define what privilege is; my personal definition of privilege is when you face a social and/or political issue and you don't have to think about the consequences as they pertain to you. It doesn't even cross your mind because you will never have to worry about the consequences for a single day in your life. For example, when a woman gets paid 77 cents for every dollar that a man earns, it is highly likely that the man will not think about the fact that there is a gendered pay discrepancy. Why? Because he doesn't have to: it doesn't affect him. The same thing goes for all of the other issues facing women today; most, if not all, men will not have to deal with the consequences of the social and political warfare that has been declared on women in recent years. It simply does not affect them, and therefore, they don't have to be angry about these injustices every second of every day.

I do not have that privilege. Neither does any other woman living today.

There is so much injustice and outright hatred facing women, both on the social and political spectrum. I don't have the privilege of being able to be complacent and brush it off when a presumably cisgendered male politician tells me that I'm not allowed to do what I wish with my body, that I'm not allowed to obtain birth control, that I'm not allowed to have an abortion if I get pregnant and I don't want to be.  I don't have the privilege of being able to smile and laugh it off when that same politician is allowed to cover his Viagra with his Medicare insurance, because there is a deep double standard there that begs not only questioning, but outright protest. If a man can insure a penis pump with his medical insurance (and this is absolutely true), then I should be able to insure my fucking birth control pills.

I don't have the privilege of not being angry because I want to be able to obtain birth control if I so desire, because I want to be paid the same amount of money for the same amount of work as a man; because I want to be able to walk the streets at night without worrying about the possibility of being raped; because I want to be able to do what I please with my sex life without worrying about being labeled a slut; because all it takes is one angry feminist to rouse up an entire crowd of angry feminists eager to keep women from falling back into the Dark Ages.

I don't have the privilege of not being angry because angry women make the difference between whether or not we keep our rights.

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