This morning, while at Walmart, I encountered a ridiculous display of sexism and misogyny. And in that experience, I found my voice. What follows is my open letter to him. I encourage you to click over to the original Facebook post here to share your thoughts and comments. I want to spark a conversation! This is why we need feminism.
An Open Letter to the Walmart Misogynist
I want to sincerely thank you for your verbal tirade against me this morning. Truly, it was eye opening. This morning, you called me baby and I politely corrected you that I am, in fact, not your baby. Maybe you were confusing me with another woman, but one who likes the pet names.
See, here’s the problem: names like baby, sweetheart, and doll are perfectly fine when used with a girlfriend or a female friend you are close with. But when you use these names with a woman you’ve never met, the connotation becomes demeaning. It says to that woman that all women are interchangeable, that we are just your playthings and we exist solely to be the sexual objects for a man’s enjoyment.
When I corrected you, politely I might add, you immediately got an attitude. I guess you don’t like inferior women telling you that you’re wrong. I wasn’t trying to embarrass you, but you certainly managed to embarrass yourself. It wasn’t necessary to shout “fuck you” or call me a bitch repeatedly. Oh, and remember the demeaning nature of pet names we just discussed? Let’s take a moment to understand the meanings of being a bitch. When women express their opinions that are the opposite of a man’s, they are called a bitch. You invalidate our feelings and opinions because they aren’t yours. You belittle us if we don’t agree.
Our little encounter left me a bit shaken up. I have one of the very lucky women that has encountered little sexism and misogyny throughout my life. Certainly never as blatantly as with you this morning. But despite me feeling apprehensive about walking to my car alone, wondering if you would approach me to continue our chat, it’s you who I feel sorry for. You don’t even know that you’re a misogynist! You see nothing wrong with your actions. And even worse than that, the women in your group defended you. I feel so bad for them, that they’re so beaten and brainwashed into blindly accepting this sort of demeaning behavior. I hope some day they find their voice and their strength.
As I said in the beginning of this letter, I am glad for our little encounter. You have helped turn sexism and misogyny from an abstract concept into a concrete cause. I have never felt that deeply personal connection to feminism like my sisters around the world, who are persecuted daily for their gender. So thank you for strengthening my voice, for showing me what some women deal with day in and out. Today, I stand in solidarity with womankind, refusing to apologize to you, and hoping to educate men about male privilege. I hope this morning left you as enlightened as it left me.
An Empowered Woman