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I am puzzled by any "'ism" and it's continuing presence in the range of human behaviours. Whilst I can absolutely get why it's a selected for behaviour when we stood nervously at the mouth of our cave suspiciously watching the strange people who didn't look like a member of our clan in case they wanted to slaughter us and steal our children for slaves, it doesn't really have any relevance in our globally connected modern world. And yet it persists.
Sexism though, well, that's a real puzzle. How can you justify hating 50% of the human race? Surely that's going to spell disaster for the continuance of the species? Do some bulls hate cows? Stallions shake their manes over the behaviour of the mares?
I am the daughter and step daughter of women haters. My father was the absolute product of a 1950s backwater where a wife with a black eye demonstrated that domestic life was under control. My mother remarried a more complex, intelligent man who also feared and hated that which he didn't understand. As a burgeoning adolescent, any outward signs of girliness or frippery was met with derision, threat and sometimes childish cruelty - hairdryers and rollers were banned, teenage posters ripped off the wall and the pretty bangles I had saved up for stamped into tiny shards of brightly coloured plastic.
As I developed, the pettiness evolved into an underlying sexual threat, present as soon as we were alone. Unnecessary touching coupled with violent bullying made me hate being at home. Boyfriends were ofcourse absolutely banned. The poor guy with the temerity to date me in college must have been so keen to keep seeing a girl whose house he was never allowed to enter and he was never, ever allowed to call. Hormones being hormones naturally meant that I spent most of college time making out instead of studying and I left home with rubbish qualifications to make my way in the word. My parting gift to my 6ft, 19 stone step father was a quite amazing haymaker that knocked him off his feet, busting his nose and leaving a spray of nasal blood all up the dining wall.
Having stood up to and bested the man I feared most in the world at a tender age meant that any bully since found me an impossible target - but it didn't mean they didn't try. Being a tall woman with an athletic physique always meant that men who bully by trying to physically corner (we've all seen them leaning possessively over some poor girl) were at a loss with how to cow me and my offensive confidence. In fact, shorter women haters are often the most vitriolic and I suspect my height brings it out in the little Napoleons. The urge to "take her down a peg or two", "calm her smart mouth" or just the ridiculous "you women are all the same" comments <yes, we are all intolerant of arseholes> show these shining knights for what they are and the older I get, the quicker I spot the behaviours even in the most convincing of sociopaths. I think the pinnacle of this is the practice of negging. This is where guys pay a woman a back handed compliment which is designed to shake her confidence very subtley, making her vulnerable, accessible to the man's advances. How horrific is that?!
That's not to say that "man haters" aren't equally as noxious and once had the label thrown at me. I was completely nonplussed by this until I realised as I got older how projection works. Personally, I love men. I think everyone woman should have a man around- even if it's just in chains in the basement...