(trigger warnings: VAW, abuse, general discussion of misogyny) An Open Letter

Dear reader, whoever you are, I want you to know this: women aren't stupid.

If you know me, you might be slightly confused because I'm constantly ranting about how stupid humanity is, so I might as well amend that statement: women are not some special kind of magical, sparkly, feminine stupid that somehow manages to make other genders look cleverer by comparison. We are just as intelligent (or as stupid) as you are.

At this point, if you're going to trot out men having bigger brains than women or having higher IQs than women, I have this to say to you: firstly, men are physically bigger than women. This is why their brains are bigger. Relative body size has to be factored in when talking about relative brain size. As to men having higher IQs than women? Laying aside the debate about whether IQ is a decent measure of intelligence (because there is a debate, and because once you get past a couple of standard deviations it does break down quite spectacularly when it comes to quantifying just how clever someone is), this is quite a fantastic bit of biased reporting as it leaves aside the fact that men also have lower IQs than women. This is because men tend slightly more towards extremes of IQ than do women. That's literally all that underpins this.

Right, now that that's over...I'm sick of being portrayed as stupid because I label myself as a woman. I am also rather sick of being stereotyped as an impressionable piece of fluff who falls for the first douchebag with rippling muscles, a shitty haircut and a modicum of what I could perhaps deem musical talent were I incredibly drunk, temporarily tone-deaf, or both, and who insists on wearing terrible shoes because I think that they make me look pretty.

Guess what? Women's tastes in men (if they even like men at all) are diverse. If you are over 14, you should know this, and if you don't I'm wondering why your mental age is still stuck at 14. That said, generally we tend to like guys who don't whine and assume we owe them sex (but that just might be my personal preference due to veiled misogyny being a huge turn-off for me...). As for wearing terrible shoes and suchlike? I personally think most women wouldn't choose to wear shoes that deform their feet were they not seen as making the woman attractive. I don't agree with this social pressure, but it's pretty damn powerful and I can understand why women would want to wear heels. We're not stupid; in fact, we know about the risks and they're kind of slapped in our face. We wear them anyway because if we didn't, you'd likely be complaining about how frumpy we were. (At this point I must mention that I do in fact know a couple of men who are actually consistent about this and don't mind or even actively like women wearing sensible shoes. I doff my hat to you particular gentlemen, but I think you may be in the minority.)

I'd like to add this in: I don't need to follow your shitty rules for girls and women, because we don't need rules - especially not rules designed to keep us in our place. I don't need rules for how to dress or act to catch and keep Mr. Right (or even Mr. Good Enough, or Mr. I'm Only With You Out Of Desperation - I don't like the idea of settling for a man because I want to get married and have babies that badly that I don't care about my husband and the father of my children, and I don't like that not caring is sometimes presented as quite acceptable because obviously marriage and motherhood are such important goals that everything else comes second). Hell, I don't need to find Mr. Right, or Ms. Right, or Mx. Right. And I definitely don't need my gender to be defined by what's between my legs. Stop assuming that genitals make gender.

And one last thing. Stop assuming that all women like being beaten up non-consensually because some of them buy shitty books like Fifty Shades of Grey. It's a fantasy - yes - a fucking fantasy - and I'd like to hope grown adults can tell the difference between reality and fiction. If they can't, and if a large number of them can't do it, that indicates the problem is with society as a whole.

Leaving aside my core argument for now, I've seen people (particularly men) argue that women are stupid because they buy romantic and erotic fiction that glorifies abusive relationships. Quite apart from making me foam at the mouth with its sheer misogyny (something I'll go onto later), it's also flatly illogical.

Firstly, simply quoting the number of sales of these books, even if it's the number of sales to women (and even then you might have problems with numbers - for example if it's bought as a gift), is problematic as it doesn't reflect the proportion of women who read these books relative to the proportion who could read them (literate, access to this fiction in their language, etc.) but choose not to. I'll refrain from reading anything other than lack of thought into the relative proportions not usually being provided, from what I've seen.

Secondly, you may berate women for reading books that glorify abusive relationships, but you shouldn't pretend that it's a recent trend; idealising dysfunctional or damaging relationships, or passing them off as okay, is probably older than dirt. From ancient times onwards to today, we've presented love martyrdom to wife husbandry to abuse being okay because the abuser in question is hot and rich in our media. When messed-up attitudes to relationships are that widespread, it doesn't mean that people inherently like abuse - it means that our society is very, very sick and that it passes on damaging attitudes to its members.

Lastly, I'll go onto something that really is worrying me - and that's disguising misogyny as misanthropy. To tell you the truth, the trigger for this rant was seeing someone say that women just want to be beaten up because they like fiction glorifying abusive relationships.

I can say now that I am very lucky in that I have never been abused, but I have a couple of burns all the same; thanks to some past experiences even unwanted touching can freak me out. Physical violence would probably snap me. Saying that being socked in the face non-consensually turns me and all other women on because some women bought into the deeply problematic and disturbing glorification of abuse is a misogynistic, violent insult towards every girl and woman.

You could try to claim that that's misanthropy if you insulted other genders as well - but you'd be speaking to a confirmed misanthrope, and you'd be wrong. It's not news that I hold humanity in low regard, but I've never claimed that all men are abusing pigs who deserve to be castrated; not only is that flatly untrue, but I'm not interested in being prejudiced against an entire gender.

I am sick of bigots who cloak their bigotry in misanthropy and world-weariness. It's not working. I can feel the oppression weighing down on my chest from a mile off.

Women aren't stupid. We aren't pieces of fluff, we don't need to be controlled and we definitely don't deserve to have our bodies and minds messed with because of society's sickness.


  1. Heard...I kind of feel like being published is 10000 times harder if you use your female name, like I would be so much more successful if I used a male pen name.

    1. No way would I ever try to be a published writer (I'm not very good at writing), but I hear ya. Aside from a very few women writers most of the time writing by women is categorised as girly fluff, as is writing for women.


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