The Phantom Highway
Here is a photo of the Prospect Expressway. I want you to be absolutely certain, before continuing, that it actually exists…
Because years ago, as a young adult at a family gathering, I suggested the route to a male relative asking for directions.
“I never heard of that.” He replied.
“Well,” I said, “Check the map I believe you can take it from…”
“No. That doesn’t exist!” Then louder, to make sure everybody heard him, “You’re making it up!”
Now, in the age of the whole world in our hands thanks to mobile technology, this would not fly (unless we let it, as too many people sadly do, to be “nice”), but at the time it was a 2-pronged attack -- on my sanity and social standing. His first statement was intended to back me into a corner where I had to make myself wrong and back down from an obvious truth, or appear disagreeable by defending my statement. The second was to convey to everyone in earshot, in an authoritative tone, that I was a person who “made things up” and therefore unreliable.
Sexism is a form of societal psychopathy, often expressed as toxic “mansplaining” like this. I can at least provide you with a photograph to illustrate the ridiculousness and meanness of his position, but we all have equally valid points to make that can’t be captured in a digital camera, or proven in a millisecond. A more subtle but equally despicable type of discount is when someone re-interprets a clear statement you made and requires you to address and accept their version, usually uncomplimentary to you, to continue the conversation -- just don’t! Take charge of your own Identity! We all need to access less tangible information to make good decisions - and that is exactly the capacity this kind of gaslighting attacks. “Don”t think, I’m going to do that for you.”
Guys, I know that (a) real men do not behave like this, and (b) there are female sociopaths, but given the prevalence and acceptance of this and collateral offences I am taking the liberty to address this mostly as a gender issue this time, and thank you for understanding. And we all article need to remember to stand and speak up for any person we witness as a target of this kind of trolling!
While mansplaining and gaslighting are a ways along this continuum of chronic abuse, the attitude has roots in an entire system that values the happiness of males over females. This article about advertising some people don’t want us to see opened my eyes to the way corporate gatekeepers this it’s okay to plaster the world with ads about erections, or the need for them, but would rather not have us see content impacting women’s sensual wellness.
The words of the prophets are indeed written on the subway walls, warning us not to become accustomed to inequality! It’s inspirational to see racism being outed and going viral via citizen journalists with mobile phones... it’s time to expose the war on women at this level as well!
Think about it, we are all stuck on this planet being driven to its doom by a governance structure gone mad. It’s requires those of us who can to trust our own insights -- provable or not -- and speak and act accordingly, with power and purpose, and own our own impact. We cannot afford to have creepy losers, of any stripe or social position, without real strength of their own, to manipulate the rest of us in order to subvert our power into the service of their hopelessly broken egos. No one should be allowed to undermine the wonderful potential of any human being.