The Writings of Samantha Peters

Fictional short stories, poetry, and short essays written by Albuquerque-based writer, Samantha Peters. All opinions are exclusively hers alone.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Homophobia and Misogyny: An Essay

  Lately, I have found myself thinking about the issue of gay marriage and anti-homosexual ideals in our country. I find this issue to be one of the most baffling ones of our time, which is probably what has made me dwell on it so long. I have thought in length about the Biblical angle, of people claiming they're against homosexuality because the Bible says its wrong. Although it's tempting to cite other Biblical viewpoints that are conveniently ignored as an argument against this stance, I've decided to dig deeper than that. Why do people choose to latch on to this particular Biblical belief and ignore others? If it is an act of convenience, what makes this convenience so much more desirable than that of the other ideals? More specifically, why is there so much hate towards homosexuals?

I don't think there's a single answer to this. If you could open up the brain of a homophobe and pull out the answers, they would vary from person to person. However, if you could dig deeper, into their other thoughts and opinions, a more fluent, connected answer may appear. I didn't come upon this theory lightly. I've chatted with people on both sides of the spectrum rather thoroughly. And even though they range in age, occupation, sex, race, and other factors, there seems to be one common thread among all of them, and it's not Christianity. No, it's misogyny.

I feel like most misogynists have absolutely no idea they are this way and would be reflective, if not offended, if called out on their stance. Society has created this image of the Abusive Man, the domineering, jeering, unrelenting annilator of anything soft and perceived as weak, namely the closest woman within their grasp. Unfortunately these men do exist, and even more unfortunately, get away with their brutal antics on a daily basis as the rest of us ignorantly move on. But they are just the tip of the iceberg of misogyny. They are, in a way, the "face" of it, the model in other words. So all a person has to do is compare themselves to this model, realize they have nothing in common, and sigh a big sigh of relief knowing they are not misogynists. Basically, a person can say "oh, I don't brutally beat women into a bloody pulp, so therefor, I love them!" and this the fallacy in which I have delved into.

You don't have to be an angry, spiteful, abusive person to be a misogynist. To me, anyone who has misogynistic tendencies is anyone who simply thinks women are inferior... not necessarily as "second-class citizens" per se, but just not capable of the same judgement-making level as men. I know a misogynist firsthand who has no problems at all with women striking out and making their lives their own in the world. He encourages them to do so, if anything. But he's still a misogynist in the way he speaks to and about women. He's not degrading them into objects, he just views them as "not up to par". He'll make comments such as "Well, you know, she's a woman" or "I know this woman, pretty smart". The second comment is very interesting because it implies that the listener would not automatically think of the subject as smart unless he expressly said she was. Think of the sentence without the comment. "I know this woman". Sounds quite a lot different, doesn't it? Hard to say which one sounds worse. What he should be saying is "I know someone" and then continue with his statement. "I know someone" is drastically different than "I know this woman, pretty smart".

What kinds of people do I find making these comments the most? If you suggested the homophobic ones, you'd be correct. You don't need a Stanford study to know there's a correlation between misogyny and homophobia. Ignorance causes misconceptions which causes distrust which causes fear which causes hate which causes violence. Almost any violent act can be retraced this way, whether it's against a woman or against a homosexual or any subject. But I believe there's more than just a correlation between misogyny and homophobia. I am beginning to believe misogyny is the actual cause of homophobia. Not the Bible, not revoltion at anal sex, not a lack of fashion sense. But misogyny, pure and simple.

Why do I believe this? Well, let's break down why misogyny exists in the first place. Most misogynists would probably "turn back time" and bring back the yesteryears of gender division. Women in the kitchen, men in the workplace. Women with fewer rights (for their own protection, of course) and men with all the decisions on their shoulders. Women with the babies, men with the money, and so on and so forth. These ideals of yesteryear were created to control women, as any educated person knows. Some men of ancient history were ignorant of a woman's true powers in comparison with that of a man's. They saw their mothers as having this huge gift, rearing the young and thus directly influencing the survival of the species, and they realized there wasn't anything they could do about it. Instead of thinking, "oh wait, they can't have these babies without us, and we should work together to create and raise them" they thought "oh crap, if they realize they have all this power, we will be their slaves". So they started to surpress them. They made women believe their only purpose was to be a vessel to infants. They had no rights, no say so, hardly anything at all to call their own. Through history different cultures molded and adapted this basic traditional way of thinking, but for the most part, it wasn't until recent history that it changed in any significant way. The misogynists of today have changed as well, like I said. A lot of them have no problem with the changes themselves, but they still need to "put women in their place" in any way they can, whether they realize it or not.

How did women's rights really come to be? Well most of the work was done by brave women. But men helped too. Just because a lot of men were misogynists doesn't mean all of them were. Today, many more men join the group of anti-misogyny. But if you really view straight men, really listen to how they speak of women, you'll still find traces of anti-female vernacular and opinion. Even some of the sweetest, most lovable men I know make me cringe with their off-handed comments about women that they simply don't see as offensive. These are men that love and cherish me, and want nothing but the best for me, and would never dream of taking my rights away from me, but yet... they still can't completely relinquish control of my life to me, even if all they can do is make a simple comment.

However, this is not true about the gays.

The gays love women. Why? Why do gay men not say things like "I know a woman, pretty smart"? Or "Well, she's a woman" and really actually mean something by it? They don't say these things because they feel no threat from a woman. Women are not vessels to perpetuate the species to them. It's not that gay men are not interested in the survival of the species (despite what Bible Thumpers may think), it's just they fundamentally realize that women will continue to have babies perfectly fine without them having to interfere and control it. In other words, they trust women. They trust them with the future of the species without a second thought, and then they go on with their lives. This drives misogynists crazy.

Then there are the lesbians.

These are women living without much influence, if any at all, of men. Misogynists cannot wrap their minds around this. How can women possibly live good, wholesome lives without the guidance of a man? How do they not crave the assertive, firm, overbearing presence of a male in their lives? Don't they want to be mothers, and therefor need a father to create their dream scenario? Discovering a lesbian couple with a baby is like poison to a misogynist. Here is a family without men. Survival of the species, without men. Again, they forget that it did take part of a man once upon a time to create that child and that they should not feel threatened. They only see what's right in front of them and that is the destruction of all they have worked for for thousands of years in one fell swoop.

But can they say this? When they go about their homophobic ways, can they say "oh we're doing this because we hate women"? No, stones thrown abound. In our society it is still acceptable to be homophobic, but if you actually admit you want women back in the kitchen, your voice will quickly be silenced. They have to find another route, and because so many of them happen to be Christian, they use that. When it doubt, throw the Bible around and quote Jesus. Who can argue with Jesus anyway? Even those of us not scared of the sky bully will often refrain from arguing with a Christian. It's not out of fear, it's out of sanity. Arguing about religion is like arguing whether or not Goldilocks really did break and enter into the Three Bear's House, or if their door being open assuaged her of any guilt. It doesn't actually have any merit because it's complete fiction.

And so they continue on, because there's no real debate. They're just blowing smoke. Those of us with half a brain know eventually gay rights will go the way of civil rights which went the way of women's rights and so forth. In the not-to-distant future, homosexuals will be allowed full marriage rights, and one day homophobics will be forced into the corner where the only stone they can throw is, "I know this homo, he's pretty smart."

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

"The Crow" a poem

This is one of my favorite poems I've ever written. I just wrote it one day, and didn't edit it or anything, just left it as it was. Sometimes it can be very refreshing to leave pieces in their first draft, original form. They might be rough, or could use improvement, but their organic energy is impossible to duplicate. 

"The Crow"

 I laid down flat on the calm cool grass
  and my eyes drifted open and closed,
  but through the blur I could see a crow
  perched up on the branch above me
  His neck darted back and forth and all around
  Making shapes out of the sand
  I thought its funny how we look up
  And those above us look down,
  We make shapes of the clouds and the trees
  And they make the shapes that form you and me. 
  I wonder, do I only exist because this crow
  Fancied me from twigs and dirt,
  And a broken straw and a ring of string
  and maybe a cloth pulled from a shirt?
  And as I lay here in this grass, a sculpture made
  Do all his crow friends gather round 
  To nod or judge or just hold punch?
  And is there one crow who shakes her head
  And another who beams with pride,
  Is there a crow who dances around
  A little pony by her side?
  And what happens when the artist crow 
  Spreads his wings and decides to fly?
  I hope he plucks me up with his beak and
  Pushes me into the sky
  And away we can go, away we can go,
  Until I've been in the sky so long
  And he's carried me so far,
  That at last my wings will start to form
  and I too, have become a crow.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Quiet Like the Fire

"Quiet Like the Fire"

My pulse-
It's quiet like the fire
Ripping through seeping through
The thrill that I admire
And you-
Sitting there like a sire
All alone, we're never alone
When we're dancing on the wire.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

"For Taylor"

"For Taylor"

Unlike the lamb frolicking in the fallen snow,

I fear not the wolf's claw nor his gaze's glow.

All night's warriors gather at my feet

But I do not slip under that lustful stampede

Perhaps my soul is akin to the cunning crow

Still to the night, bleak to the cold-

Or else I'm the shadow of the anglerfish

Thirsting for the blood of your heart's abyss

Regardless, in strength I hold a steathly plan

Which makes me immune to the EveryMan.

Friday, August 22, 2014

"One Fell Swoop"

"One Fell Swoop"

A ghost of the river I cannot drown

He sits and waits without a sound

When time's a tramp you cannot coax

Anticipation always seethes the most

Down on my knees I silently plead

A slip of a lover just out of reach

Strokes of a glance across my face

As the darkness trembles with my disgrace

Beyond my opalescent eyes strikes

A shudder so swift it strips me dry

The bluff of silence you held up fierce

My spade slayed so brisk it seered.

A victor obscured amongst the midst

Yearning not for the crave of the boundless glimpse

Rat-a-tat scuttle, night's gathered cry,

One fell swoop yields wrists untied.

Monday, April 28, 2014

"A Spring Force"

"A Spring Force"

Ah, intoxicating freedom
Laced into my oxygen, coursing through my lungs
and into my blood, my pumping blood
Flooding out my veins
I smell taste touch hear everything but most of all
I see-
I see the portal through the world that connects you to me.

Decades of surpression surmount to
the ultimate revolution of soul
A spring force tucked down, bellowing, waiting,
hibernating through the fall
Where was the trigger, searched like a remote control
And finally released, the ultimate release,
An explosion of orgasmic energy that screams
I am free, I am free, I am free!

And now lay two specimens of delectable delight
Formed only by the craftiest of thieves,
And presented to me.
I now bathe in your honor, in your endless withering
I am your master, but I will bow to you.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

The Trophy

"The Trophy"

When people say nice things to me it always makes me feel good. There's this overall consensus that compliments should be nice. That's what makes them compliments, right? For a long time I believed in this without really thinking about it, until one day, very recently, I received the best compliment of my life up to this point. But here's the kicker: it wasn't nice at all.

To say it was brutal is an understatement. It was more like being fed into a wood chipper. Or having a karate black belt put on steel-toed boots and kick you for twenty-four hours straight. Or being tied up in the desert with honey smeared all over you and an army of ants coming your way. It was like being raped with words.

So how could this be the best compliment of my life? Well obviously I didn't have this opinion when it happened initially. I didn't even have this opinion afterwards for days. At first I thought, I just need time. I need space and time to heal from this. But now that I've had space and time, I realize I am not healed. But I also realized I'm not still hurt either. And that's when it hit me, that I wasn't hurt to start with.

How can you be fed into a wood chipper and not be hurt? This seems completely mad. I still can't make complete sense of it, at least not enough sense to really explain it to someone else. So maybe it'd just be best to explain the facts.

I'm sitting there with my boyfriend Rob of  two months. It's been a nice two months. In that time we have spent a lot of quality time together, getting to know each other, letting our relationship unfold as most do in those early moments. There were many things about Rob I really liked: he was smart and funny, cute in a dorky way, and was very laid-back. He was also really romantic and told me all the time how amazing I was, how I made his heart leap, how he thought about me all day, etc. etc. The boy was a walking Hallmark card and I loved it. Which is why the day I realized we had to break up was incredibly hard for me.

I thought about it all day. I was supposed to see him that night and I kept mulling over the pros and cons of everything. We had something good, that was obvious. He was crazy about me, also obvious. But something wasn't right and I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Was it that we wanted different things? Was it that we were too different? Was there just not enough passion? I wasn't sure. And maybe that was it, I wasn't sure. And when you're not sure you shouldn't do anything until you are.

So I called him up and said we needed to talk, and he agreed. I went over to his house and told him how I was feeling, and he listened attentively. I was relieved at how well it was all going, and thought we might actually get out of this relatively unscathed. That was, until, this exchange:

Me: So anyway, I figured it was probably best to end things now, and part ways amicably.

Rob: Yeah, I agree. It's not like we are super in love.

This comment surprised me because of how gushy he had been about his feelings and thoughts of me. I didn't necessarily think he was in love with me (in truth there was significant evidence to support that he was) but it was just an odd thing to say. I almost dismissed his comment, but then thought wait a minute, that just doesn't make sense. Why would he say that? So I decided to challenge it.

Me: Really? We're not?

Rob: No, not really. I mean, like when we're together, it's nice. But when you're not around, I just feel... its weird. It's like I know you're out there, patiently waiting for me, being so good... like you're just, so good. And I feel so guilty because it's like, you're so good and I'm just... here. Like, sometimes I even feel kind of indifferent towards it all.

What. The. Fuck. I had no idea what to say to this. The day before, I mean literally, the day before, we had spent the whole morning in bed together. We had made love twice in the space of three hours. And now he's telling me he was indifferent towards it all? That's way worse than saying he doesn't like me. Not liking me I can handle. But fucking indifference??

Me: Um, when were you planning on telling me all this?

Rob: Yeah, well, I don't know. I think I was just trying to like, see what would develop. Because like I said, when we were together it was nice, so I just thought I could like, make it work, you know? I mean you are so amazing-

So now I'm amazing, even though he's indifferent towards me. Wow.

-and we just have all this chemistry, but like... I hate myself for saying this, because it really shouldn't matter. (at this point, he starts crying) But it does matter, and it totally sucks, and I just hate that it matters, you have to know that... but like, I want a trophy. I hate hate hate that I want one, but I do. It sucks. It really really sucks.

I'm totally stunned by this and really, all function between my brain and my mouth has stopped working, so I can't even formulate words at all, yet alone the right words to express how I feel about all this. I just kind of sit there catatonic for a few seconds, as he rambles on a bit longer. And yes, he's still crying. I don't care if a man cries in front of me, but I do hate it when they cry to manipulate us. They really think we're that easy, that a few tears will turn us into their mothers. All is forgiven, my little boy. Why don't you go play with your legos while I make you a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with the crusts cut off, and we'll forget this whole silly business of how you completely disrespected me? There's a good boy.

Finally, my brain and mouth start communicating.

Me: Well, I don't really care that you want a trophy. If that's your thing, it's your thing. You want to put sex above intimacy and conversation and companionship for life, be my guest. If you don't care that you'll never know if the woman who is with you is with you for you or for your money, then good for you. If you're cool with having to change partners every five to ten years because your trophies lose their shine, go nuts. It's a free country.

Rob: Well that's what I'm saying, like I do want those things, I want true love, I just don't know if it's out there. It just doesn't seem real.

Me: Oh it's real all right. But you're never going to experience it. That's what's really sad in all this.

After that I left. I kept thinking about what he said though, about me not being a trophy. It really bothered me. I thought it bothered me because he was saying I wasn't valuable or beautiful or whatever, but now that some time has passed I realize that's not it at all. I'm not upset that he doesn't see me as a trophy. He's actually right, I'm not one. Being a trophy goes against everything that I am as a woman, as a person. I am not a prize. I will not sit on a shelf and collect dust. I will not be thrown away after a few years because the initial excitement of winning me has faded. And best of all, I will never end up with losers like Rob who only want me to look good and do absolutely nothing of worth. That clueless, selfish idiot gave me the best compliment of my life.

"The Stream"

"The Stream"

Trickle down,
little stream
rolling through the hills
Trickle down,
so tenderly
like a tear on a windowsill
Trickle down
throughout the rocks
Smoothing the scabrous stone
Trickle down
over the brush
and heal them grizzly bones.

Ignore the frost
nipping at your toes
And cleanse the parched lips
of the doe;
Soak through the roots
of the might oak
and all the earth has turned to sow.

Trickle down,
little stream
around the bramble's bend
Embrace the heart of your true love
My old and cherished friend.