The Enduring Darkness of International Women’s Day

FP

Women have gotten screwed for millennia, and that’s not a legacy that can be shaken off in a few short decades.
By Rosa Brooks March 8, 2017

The Enduring Darkness of International Women’s Day

About a week before the election that swept Donald Trump into the White House, I was sitting at home with my two girls, listening with half an ear to their after-school chatter. “Michael is so mean,” declared my seventh-grader, showing her phone to her sister. “He sent my friend Hannah” — not her real name — “a text with bad words in it.”

“Is that a screenshot? May I see?” I asked. I was curious to know what counted as a “bad word” to a 12-year-old girl. Butthead? Poop brain?

I was way off. Michael had called my daughter’s friend — also 12 — a “cunt” and a “whore.” He asserted that she “wanted dick” and accused her of giving blow jobs to another boy in the class.

Whatever I’d been expecting, it wasn’t this sexualized vitriol — not from a nice middle-class boy at a nice middle-class school.

Then again, Donald Trump had recently been in the news for his lewd comments about women, caught on tape saying: “I did try and fuck her…. She’s now got the big phony tits and everything…. When you’re a star … you can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” In a world where a major party’s presidential candidate felt no need to apologize for such remarks, why wouldn’t a seventh-grade boy think it was OK to call his female classmate a cunt?

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