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“I Don’t Fucking Care If You Like It”

riri DEF don't care if u like itRebecca Traister goes nuclear at the New Republic, beginning with her qualified gratitude that Tom Junod’s Esquire piece wasn’t anything close to reasonable; that way, she “didn’t have to consider thinking Yay, thanks for some crumbs of enlightened thinking, for some slightly nuanced improvements in the daily, punishing business of publicly evaluating and then reevaluating women’s worth.”

She goes down through all the latest bullshit: Hillary Clinton’s facial arrangements, the “you don’t know you’re beautiful” scourge in music, the casual horror inflicted on Jada and other teenage girls, the Hobart and William Smith rape case among cases, the Tennessee mom in jail for drug use while pregnant, the imprisonment of Debra Harrell. “It’s such a comfortable pose,” she writes, “gathering around women and deciding what we think of themhot or not, alluring or tragic, moral or immoral, responsible or irresponsible, capable of consent or incapable of consent, maternal or neglectful.”

But what all these issues, no matter how gigantically separated an Esquire puff piece and a Tennessee mother’s jailing for meth may seem, reflect back at us: How, in this country, every barometer by which female worth is measuredfrom the superficial to the life-altering, the appreciative to the punitivehas long been calibrated to “dude,” whether or not those measurements are actually being taken by dudes. Men still run, or at bare minimum have shaped and codified the attitudes of, the churches, the courts, the universities, the police departments, the corporations that so freely determine women’s worth. 

“I wish we could all tell them how little it matters what they think,” writes Traister. But of course it does matter, legally and economically and politically; life being life, we must engage with the bigotry of cloistered idiots.

I wish it were different. I wish that every woman whose actions and worth are parsed and restricted, congratulated and condemned in this country might just once get to wheel aroundon the committee that doesn’t believe their medically corroborated story of assault, or on the protesters who tell them that termination is a sin they will regret, or on the boss who tells them he doesn’t believe in their sexual choices, or on the mid-fifties man who congratulates them, or himself, on finding them appealing deep into their dotageand go black in the eyes and say, “I don’t fucking care if you like it.”

Read Traister’s whole piece here.

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