Short Take: The Doctor Is Not In

Just maybe, the problem isn’t men and the New York Times isn’t the right place to go to fix what ails you?

Dear Sugars,

How do I deal with my anger toward men? I go to therapy, I’m on anti-depressants and I’m trying to practice self-care. But I’m still angry. I don’t think it’s unwarranted. I’ve been sexually assaulted at least twice. We live in a time where women have more rights than ever, but our president is an alleged sexual predator. Men are socialized to be condescending toward women, and even the few who check themselves often fail.

The only way to tell if a man is a sexual assaulter is to say no, and once you’re in that position, it’s too late. I have male friends who care about me — some who’ve even been sexually assaulted themselves — but they still don’t understand my pain. In my observation, there are elements of sexism in even the healthiest relationships, and that makes me angry.

I don’t want to be emotionally unavailable to the entire sex that I am attracted to. How am I supposed to find a life partner if I can’t even find many men who treat women like equals?

Justifiably Angry Feminist

How is it even possible that men you are attracted to aren’t beating down your door? Trust the New York Times to provide the answer.

Cheryl Strayed: Your rage is justified, Angry Feminist. I won’t list all the reasons why because you already did that quite well. We both know the list of injustices goes on. It stretches around the globe and dates back through all time. Strangely, it helps me to remember that. Perhaps remembering that will be solace for you too. Here’s why: there’s no way to make an accounting of that infuriating list without seeing also that progress has been made. I know your most immediate fury is rooted in the specific problem you have in your own life — the question of how you can love (or even find) a man when so many have wronged or disappointed you. But sometimes our most particular sorrows are eased ever so slightly when we take a broader view. The fact that your anger can even be expressed in the terms that you’ve expressed it is evidence, to me, that change is afoot. The reasons you cite for your anger — the high incidence of sexual assault, the misogyny of our president and the nation that elected him, the sexism that even enlightened men (and women) enact — aren’t topics being discussed on the margins anymore. They’re being addressed far and wide, loud and clear. And many of our most powerful institutions and assumptions about men and woman are being rocked, if not yet toppled, by that discussion. Take heart in that.

Well, there ya go. I would have suggested adjusting the medication instead. Hope you like cats.

35 thoughts on “Short Take: The Doctor Is Not In

      1. Ross

        If you choose to post the Roxane Gay picture as an example of what JAF might look like, please include a trigger warning, so those of us who are eating, or even awake, can avoid the potential mess that is likely to ensue. Thank you.

  1. Skink

    Dear Justifiably Angry Feminist:

    I feel your pain. Men are pigs. All are godawful, raping monsters. You are 100% justified in your feelings, pain and sorrow. Be patient: the world is changing, and you will be a major part of that change. They will be made to atone for their evil transgressions!

    But if you want to get laid, I suggest you at least make yourself likable.

    Good Luck,

  2. DaveL

    Isn’t this an old joke? A man goes to his doctor and complains he has a hard time making friends with any of the rat fink bastards around him?

  3. David

    “I’ve been sexually assaulted at least twice.”

    Does she not know what has happened to her, or can she just not count past 2?

      1. PseudonymousKid

        Dear Papa,

        What the fuck does it mean that JAF thinks “the only way to tell if a man is a sexual assaulter is to say no, and once you’re in that position, it’s too late?” She isn’t a helpless victim; she has agency! What happened to agency? It’s all so confusing.


        1. SHG Post author

          There’s a secret hidden behind the point, which is that the only way to say no is to have someone ask. But to admit no one asked is kinda humiliating, and doesn’t she already suffer enough from stigma?

    1. the other rob

      It turns out that such uncertainty is actually a thing, at least in the minds of those who experience it (the uncertainty, that is).

      There’s a chapter in Jordan Peterson’s new book where he discusses his reaction to a patient saying “I think I might have been raped” and then, while you’re processing that, she continues “Five times.”

      The anecdote is, in some ways, tangential to the point that he’s making but I don’t think that my attempting to summarize it would do justice to the text.

      1. SHG Post author

        I, for one, appreciate a truly banal observation from Peterson’s book that has only been noted a few thousand times here.

        1. the other rob

          Fair point. It’s an excellent book, though, despite the banality of my observation.

          1. SHG Post author

            As I’ve said before, it’s not that I think Peterson is necessarily wrong, but I’ve never been a particular admirer either. He says nothing that hasn’t been said before, and better, and says a few things that are fairly shallow, occasionally dubious. But this isn’t about Peterson, except that you pushed him into the comments.

            1. the other rob

              “He says nothing that hasn’t been said before, and better…”

              Isn’t that his thesis, though? That thousands of years of biological and societal evolution have resulted in scripture, folk tales, societal norms and the like that say what needs to be said better than we could. Why should he be an exception to his own thesis?

              “…and says a few things that are fairly shallow, occasionally dubious. ”

              Not to mention that he gets a whole bunch of stuff dead wrong when it comes to guns.

              “But this isn’t about Peterson, except that you pushed him into the comments.”

              That wasn’t my intention, with my first comment. I was merely citing my source. But I will confess that, with this comment, I have dived right down the rabbit hole and shall shut up about it.

  4. AH

    The irony of decrying sexism in a letter that vilifies an entire sex appears to be entirely lost on her.

    1. SHG Post author

      I saw on the twitters yesterday that while women can be sexist toward women, they can’t be sexist toward men. I suspect it has to do with the medication.

  5. KP

    We are men, this is how men behave.

    Get used to it, its all you’ll get from us.

    Because our mothers bought us up.

    1. SHG Post author

      Who is this “we” of which you speak? And some of us do not blame or credit our mothers for our own free will.

  6. Rxc

    If she wants a man who acts like a woman, why doesn’t she just look for another woman? Why do they insist that we act like women?

    1. LocoYokel

      Because they can’t stand the thought of men being happy? Haven’t you ever known a miserable person who can’t stand the idea of anyone around them not being miserable as well?

  7. B. McLeod

    She can always get one of those life-size “Rocky” models from that place that makes the sex dolls.

    1. PseudonymousKid

      But, but what if she can’t be emotionally available to the doll? And what if the doll doesn’t acknowledge all of her lived experiences? You aren’t thinking intersectionally.

  8. Kay

    It seems to me it’s the unattractive women who complain about not being “equal” with men. Attractive women know where the true power lies–both ways.

  9. Casual Lurker

    “I would have suggested adjusting the medication instead”.

    Leave the diagnosing to professionals. The meds may need adjusting, but this troubled individual may be better served by a vacation at one of our finer institutional… eh… rest spas. If nothing else, it certainly takes one’s focus off their first-world problems.

    Frankly, as I read JAF’s ‘letter’, I had the distinct feeling that JAF was a straw-woman for the column’s authors. But that could just be this jaded old man’s cynicism showing (and/or I may need *my* meds adjusted — heck, that photo of Ms. Dworkin, by itself, made my hands shake and had me jonesing for a Xanax).

    1. SHG Post author

      I don’t know whether the kidz will know what jonesing means today. But I appreciate your using it.

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