The gun in the room

Ladies, what are you doing about the gun in the room?

I have recently been party to a series of discussions of the social landscape in which violence occurs. In particular, violence against men, committed by women. Earlier in 2012, a number of politicians and celebrities clotted together to admonish all men that no matter what, the subset of humanity shaped by their Y chromosome, should under no circumstances raise a hand in their own defense against female initiated violence.

That is not the phrasing which was used, of course. Rather, the standard “never hit a woman” line was trotted repeatedly out, along with boringly predictable imputations of failed manhood should any mere male ever dare to imagine self defense was his right.

Or maybe, in the fantasy world of celebrity public service announcements, women are never violent, and physical aggression is a reserve of that most evil aspect of human identity, masculinity.

Despite its nearly constant reinforcement by our media, the fantasy of violence having a sex is one which falls apart at the first touch of examination, or comparison to decades of collected statistics on domestic violence. But simple fact-checking against reality isn’t even where the most egregious problem in this perpetuated myth lies.

The myth that violence has a sex is worse than simple hatred cultivated based on an aspect of biological identity of individuals. It is the maintenance and reinforcement of the falsehood of women as not real human beings. The common phrase “male violence” aside from falsely attaching a sex to something people of any sex do is the much more sinister conception of female identity as uniquely angelic, perfect, and pure.

For those new to this planet , divine creatures of pure grace do not exist. Women, contrary to so much flattering commercial messaging, are simply human beings. They fart, they pick their noses, they deal poorly with conflict, just like everybody else on the planet Earth. Food goes in one end, shit comes out the other. Women are humans, and human beings are twitchy, irascible, emotionally reactive, semi-intelligent animals.

The game of pretend, that they are somehow more innocent, pure, and special is a grotesque farce which excuses and perpetuates ongoing human carnage in the real world. That carnage, by the way, impacts women as well as men. This game of pretend, which among it’s tenants includes one truly depraved idea usually left unstated. This being the idea that woman lack agency or volition.

The idea of feminine innate innocence, goodness, and lovely specialness is just one side of a coin, the other face of which is that women are not fully realized human beings. This is the myth of woman as dolls, as inanimate objects. And sickeningly, because of the way our society socialized little girls, there’s an already huge and growing segment of the female population entirely willing to indulge and maintain this fiction; so called adults who have no apparent agency. They do, of course, but their agency is expressed through another never-to-be mentioned, although screamingly obvious reality that everybody knows anyway. Hypo-agency, or feminine agency by proxy.

Our culture regularly denies the relationship between cultivated perception of hypo-agency, and the proxy initiation of violence on behalf of those we perceive as absent of agency. In every simple interaction between a man and a woman in this culture, that brings us to the question of the gun in the room.

What gun is that?

It is the gun that in western cultures every woman brings to the conversation. It is the gun that if you are a man speaking to a woman — is pointed at you.

Now, in explaining up to this point, I am already familiar from previous conversations with some standard objections. The first being some variation of I don’t know what you’re talking about, or, you are being ridiculous and hysterical.

The fact is that a woman can, by speaking a few words, summon violence in the form of police or other chivalry-practicing men. The simplest is an accusation of rape, or sexual assault, or downgrading the scale of possible response, sexual harassment, and so on. In our culture, this is a reliable method to summon and point the gun which every woman brings to every conversation with a man. There are some consequences to frivolous use of the gun, but compared to the consequences to the man, the fallout for a woman is minor.

Steven Berkimer and Pierce Harlan maintain a website which aggregates mainstream reporting on exactly this phenomenon, and there are thousands of events reported in mainstream media of the invocation of the gun in the form of false accusations. Mr. Berkimer and Mr. Harlan add new stories, culled from mainstream reporting every week, and do so barely skimming the surface of reporting of women’s false accusations and men destroyed.

Yes, there is a gun in the room. To deny it is to admit either stupidity, or dishonesty.

The next most common objection is that most women would never do such a thing. In this, I will point again at the mainstream reporting aggregated on the website of Berkimer and Harlan. Judging from the accumulated stories, numbering in the thousands – all copied from mainstream media – and demonstrating that average women all over the world have been, and continue to be willing to invoke the gun in the room which they own by virtue of their sex, it seems obvious that many woman have no reservations about fielding false accusations. Reading through some of the stories aggregated, she was bored is a pretty popular motif.

So, to anyone suggesting – most women would never do such a thing, in that statement is an embedded admission that the gun is in the room. So I will suggest such individuals kindly shut the fuck up.

The next objection, usually from a woman to whom this is explained is : Oh my god, I would never do such a thing!

Oh, really? If that is the case, why do you have the gun? Why are you silent as the gun is placed in your grasp, loaded, and pointed at every man you may have occasion to speak to?

When public service announcements appear on television, pretending to seek a reduction in the problem of domestic violence – but portraying a false narrative that such violence is the simplistic black and white conception of evil, angry, violent and predatory men, victimizing innocent, doe-eyed and decorative feminine victims, we’re loading and pointing the gun. Were reminding everyone from cops to children and putting men on notice that the gun is pointed at them.

When we talk about rape culture – as if it is a real thing – we’re making sure the gun is pointed at men. So that any woman anywhere, just making a claim that she’s threatened, a claim that she’s frightened, a claim that she’s sexually victimized, men with uniforms and badges and guns will spring into action – informed and confident that their guns are pointed at the bad man, which is, of course, whichever man she is pointing at.

The ongoing, monotonous and repetitive narrative of female victimization and male predation – that is the aiming of the gun, and it’s in the room, in every room, in which a man and a woman may speak, or even look at each other.

And for a female, and an adult in this culture, and who has not acted against this narrative, through action or speech or advocacy – then such individuals are content for the gun to remain, and happy to own the control of that gun, and to have it pointed squarely at every man she deigns to speak to, or look at.

So the question might be asked : Do I want some kind of balancing power? Do I want, metaphorically speaking – my own gun?

No. I’ve said before, and I will no doubt have to say again, I am repulsed by violence – and have no patience for it. I don’t want to pretend to pursue a friendship, or a romance, or a conversation under the pretense that the relationship is based on affection, or love, or respect, while all the time, that pretense is belied by the fact that there is a gun in the room.

The gun in the room is why, among other things I avoid, I don’t date in any conventional sense. The pretend incomprehension, the denial, and the feigned mistake of metaphor for an actual pistol gripped by french tipped, manicured fingers – what? I don’t have a gun.

That is a killer aiming down the barrel with their finger on the trigger who, just before they shoot, whispers sweetly and softly, trust me.

So the question becomes, to every woman with the sense to understand this discussion. What are you doing to take that gun off the table, and put it away.

And the only answer that wont be a surprise is continued silence.

Traducerea și adaptarea: Lucian Vâlsan
Translation to Romanian (with very special thanks from AVfM) by Lucian Vâlsan.

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