Friday, October 30, 2009

Crying in the face of opposition

This post about emotions during arguments really struck a chord with me because I very rarely let my emotions show to people - something I've decided comes from a misogynistic culture that equates emotions with women and weakness.

However, I burst into tears over a discussion with my dad where he didn't believe rape could be used as a tool of war, especially in places like the Congo, and he thought it was stupid to talk about how materials use in cell phones and digital cameras contributes to the ongoing civil war there.

It could have been the fact that he was in town for my grad school graduation, I was moving away from all my friends and facing unemployment and the unknown, but honestly, he just came off as an asshole. He lacked in caring about my emotional investment in the issue to the point where I had to go into the bathroom and burst into tears. Twice. I infrequently display unhappy emotions to other people, much less cry more than two or three tears.

Anyway. That's just my story about facing an argument and coming off as emotional. Anybody else want to share?


Madeleine said...

This is the worst. I feel bad for you. I got in a fight a few months ago with my dad about Hillary Clinton. We were talking about her yelling at a student in the Congo. I read him something from Shakesville in defense of her, and he started to get really angry and launch personal attacks. It was insane, and I burst out in tears. We had a similar fight about Robert Gates, but I held it together there. I got really angry at him because he's supposed to be such a liberal, but I think that he leads a life of unexamined privilege. And when I tried to point that out he got really defensive and mean.

Jenn said...

I think that kind of stuff always happens when I try to seriously discuss feminism with anyone. I mean, my life's work is trying to get people to take seriously international human rights violations. So you talk about something that you've bleed for, you've cried for, and you've toiled for, and someone just brushes it off. Without even thinking about it. Like all your efforts are meaningless and you're just stupid to spend all that time. And then you get upset. Understandability, because you comprehend how dire the work you do is, and how much it hurts to see the people you care about brush off the things you care about. It hurts that you could care about someone so callous about something so important. And then they laugh at your anger. And you feel empty and hollow inside. You want to hurt someone. But you're a good person, deep down, so you just cry instead. You learn to shut up and stay silent.

Yeah, I get it. I think that almost any feminist who tried to share that part of themselves with someone else gets it. I don't think it makes us weak, the crying that is. I just think that it makes us all the more fabulous that we get up, even when our family is against us, and do it every day anyways.

Tasha said...

Man it's always discussions with dads. I'm pretty close with my dad and I like to think that we share a lot of the same ideas. A few months back we had a pretty heated discussion about rape and consent and I guess I just thought that he would have exactly the same views on it as I do, and when he started talking about how you can't always believe someone when they say they've been raped I just kind of lost it - had to say "I don't want to talk about this anymore" and went to have a bit of the cry in the bathroom. Probably my worst memory of trying to have a discussion and emotions coming into it.