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I can't unsee what I've seen or unread what I've read and I just feel angry

(68 Posts)
TentativeFeminist Sat 25-Oct-14 23:49:33

I've only just starting really learning about feminism and all the stuff in life that is influenced by being a woman. I am glad I'm not blind to it anymore but at the same time I feel sort of like it's ruined certain parts of my life and also I feel so angry at everything. Does anyone else feel like this? I don't know how to deal with these feelings really.

For example, I can't sit and enjoy a film anymore because all I can see are the stereotypes or the ways women are just props for the male characters. I can't listen to a lot of music I used to enjoy because of the lyrics. I feel angry at myself for some of the TV shows I previously enjoyed (like "The Simple Life" with Paris Hilton) and I feel sad for younger me for buying into all that stuff even though I know it wasn't particularly my fault.

It's making me feel sort of sad about being a woman too. I'm annoyed that having a vagina automatically makes me second class in lots of ways. It frustrates me that something I can't control or hide on a day to day basic has been influencing my life from day dot and will for the rest of it. It makes me angry that my daughter may have all this to come.

Sorry if this sounds weird. It's just all so new to me and I don't know how to stop feeling so mad and to control this rage so it doesn't damage my life. Already I feel like it's changing my perspective of men and making me think "how could I ever be with a man again?".

My head feels like mush sad

YonicScrewdriver Sat 25-Oct-14 23:50:50

You aren't the first poster to make this kind of post flowers

HappyHalloweenMotherFucker Sat 25-Oct-14 23:52:21

Welcome to the club thanks

YonicScrewdriver Sat 25-Oct-14 23:52:37

(That was a "you are not alone" post, not a snippy one!)

SevenZarkSeven Sat 25-Oct-14 23:56:39

smile chin up

Don't be angry with yourself for things you did before - they weren't evil or illegal or anything - so that's a really pointless exercise in self flagellation!

As for the anger- there are loads of real life or online activism things you can get involved with! And plenty of places where you can meet like-minded people for a rant (I tend to come here grin)

It's not weird at all, honest.

And yes it is tiring noticing all this stuff all the time that pisses you off and is so obviously wrong, with most people around you oblivious to it and baffled if you try to explain...

Still hello, and welcome to feminism grin

BlameItOnTheBogey Sat 25-Oct-14 23:59:18

OP I feel the same in so many ways. I sometimes wonder if I would be better off not having woken up to this. Would it be better to go through life wondering why that brilliant point I made in a meeting didn't hit home, or why one of my male colleagues reacted so oddly to being challenged on something, or why I feel such pressure to tend to my appearance? Or is it better to realise that all of these things stem from a deeply unequal society which realistically won't change in my lifetime. I feel quite bitter about some of it...

gincamparidryvermouth Sun 26-Oct-14 00:00:15

You'll get over this phase. It is deeply unpleasant though.

HappyHalloweenMotherFucker Sun 26-Oct-14 00:07:40

I find myself these days in a fairly level state of "bollocks to it", with the regular flash of "what the fuck" interspersed with the occasional white hot anger

it evens out

eventually

ch1a Sun 26-Oct-14 00:08:26

I feel the same at the moment. Like I have a bitter taste in my mouth but hardly anyone understands.

grimbletart Sun 26-Oct-14 00:08:46

What I find amazing is how it is possible for a women to have reached adulthood before realising these things.

Sorry OP, that is absolutely not a personal dig at you at all. I've genuinely always found it hard to believe that something so blindingly obvious is not apparent to every little girl from early childhood. sad

froootbat Sun 26-Oct-14 00:10:26

It passes! It turns into quiet resentment rather than outright anger soo enough!

TentativeFeminist Sun 26-Oct-14 00:24:20

Thank you for all the replies and hellos (and flowers smile )! I'm half glad I'm not alone in feeling so angry and then equally not glad for obvious reasons!

Tiring is the right word for it. I feel drained. I've been reading a lot online about experiences women have had just day to day and then thinking about the lives of women I know too and it's all so shit. Your work experiences, for example, Bogey .

It's okay, grimble, I'm just as surprised too at myself! I don't think I'd ever thought about it properly before because I'd not experienced really obvious sexism myself (quite sheltered I think!) until recently so just blindly accepted that sexism happened somewhere out there in the big bad world. But then that experience happened and got me reading about it and then I realised so many many things that I've not thought about before are affected by being a woman and it was like I'm looking at my whole life as a girl and woman with fresh eyes.

I hope the rage does even out because I just feel so so so angry. I feel like I have to reprogramme my brain too because it's just so ingrained to accept some of these things!

Hazchem Sun 26-Oct-14 00:27:50

It can be totally overwhelming and the more you know the more outrage there is. Well that is how i find it.
I like this article from the onion Woman takes half hour break form being a feminist

ZombiePuffinsAreREAL Sun 26-Oct-14 00:30:00

I totally get where you're coming from OP.

grimble we've been told that feminism had won, that we had equality, and, if you don't look too hard, it does sort of look like that, just a simple matter of the glass ceiling and all is well. Third wave feminism didn't help either, being the cool girl who loves porn etc Admittedly, you have to squint a bit and put your head on one side not to notice it.

BertieBotts Sun 26-Oct-14 00:41:10

It gets easier. And then you have rage moments again and then it levels out.

I have found it extremely curtails what I can enjoy watching or reading, which can be annoying or it can be a blessing in some ways - not so much choice! Music, I find it doesn't affect my enjoyment. I can recognise if something is problematic but I was never particularly into artists like Nicki Menaj etc anyway so I don't listen to that and I just enjoy Taylor Swift/Adele while thinking "You girls need the MN relationship board grin" or "there's my attitude right there from the past" and some male artists while thinking "Wow, insight into the mind of an abuser, much?" although Bruno Mars in particular makes me feel stabby.

The thing that gets me down is that my DH doesn't see it. At all. And sometimes I just feel tired with it and want him to get it and he doesn't. I cried when he tried to show me Scrubs because I wanted to and expected to like it but it was a pile of sexist dross. I used to work in a second hand DVD shop and sometimes restocking/tidying the shelves, I'd do a little mental inventory of the ratio of men on DVD covers compared to women, or films where the main characters didn't need to be male necessarily but overwhelmingly were anyway (The Bucket List, A Beautiful Mind. Can you tell I had this thought process in the B section? grin) or films where the main female character wasn't either a mother, girlfriend, or daughter to some important man or highly sexualised. Grim and depressing. But we don't see it.

And yes to realising that it's not going to change in my lifetime. That's annoying. Knowing as well that the only way it's likely to change in my great-granddaughter's lifetime is by more people (women, realistically) engaging in radical activism, but that jarring with my selfish desire to have a somewhat "normal" life, which wins out.

DH called me sexist the other day. I was spitting feathers until I realised that it was because I call out sexism that he doesn't see. Then I just felt a combination of boiling rage and sadness and unenthusiastic acceptance. It's shit. I'd love for him to see a little bit of it, but I'm worried that I turn him off it all the time. He used to tell me with surprise every time he noticed some overt sexism, he hasn't in ages.

Zazzles007 Sun 26-Oct-14 00:53:09

Ah OP, we have all been there in one way or another. You eventually come to some sort of acceptance about how the world and society is, and then it is up to you to decide whether you are going to take part in it, and influence it in ways in which you will get a 'win'.

In the 'pub' there was a discussion about accepting the status quo or looking for the situations which you (personally and uniquely) can influence to get the outcome that you want - ie choosing to take on a fight were you can get the result you are looking for, and not those where you cannot get a good outcome.

An example - I posted elsewhere on FWR about a cat food ad, which featured a beautiful, voluptuous woman, and the camera pans upwards, seductively over her curves during the ad. Well, being in the marketing world, and knowing that 1 complaint = 9 others who felt the same way, but did nothing, I emailed the company and complained about the sexist ad. Last night I noticed that they have completely recut the ad to take out the offensive bits. You still see a bit of the seductive woman's cleavage at the end of the ad, but the ad is mostly about the cat in the ad now. I am happy with that.

Violetcloud Sun 26-Oct-14 01:04:42

Thank you for putting this into words. I've been feeling angry for a while now and have gotten worried that I'll never calm down.

It's ridiculous isn't it? One day you can be walking around vaguely knowing sexism happens, then you open your eyes and see it everywhere. One of the most frustrating things is being made to feel like you're overreacting, or looking to be offended, when really it's just that sexism is constant! Really, really fucking constant.

Also, Zazzles - that cat food advert had me shouting 'It's fucking cat food, what are you doing?!?' every time it was on. Well done for complaining.

Italiangreyhound Sun 26-Oct-14 01:06:02

TentativeFeminist I know how you feel. I remember how clearly I felt when I realised the world was not a nice place. I just write my protest emails and letters and try and make the world a better place if I can by my actions and words. It is very crap and you have my sympathy but there is lots you can do.

Zazzles007 Sun 26-Oct-14 01:33:43

'It's fucking cat food, what are you doing?!?'

Me too grin. Complaints to companies about their advertising do go a long way, if your argument has merit.

KeatsiePie Sun 26-Oct-14 01:02:46

Hi. Agree with PPs that the rage does even out. In a way I miss when it was really new and bright and I was just furious so often. (I have found that I like adulthood in general, but one thing I don't like much is how a lot of things have evened out.)

But as the anger evens out, it becomes better fuel for long-term, sustainable feminism, I think: I don't go stomping around all furious anymore, the day is too long and busy and I don't have the energy, but then again I just automatically know all the time what is really going on. Does that makes sense? Once you've seen what you've seen, you're right, you'll never unsee it, but that also means that later you'll be able to clock it and dissect it and file it and choose how to respond without it taking up all your time and wearing you out. You become a little bit professional, skilled, at owning and using your feminism. And that is nice, b/c I care very much about feminism, but feminism is not my paying career or my primary passion -- so it matters a lot that b/c my anger has evened out, has become the basis for reliable knowledge and sustainable action.

And thanks welcome.

messyisthenewtidy Sun 26-Oct-14 03:01:17

Sarcasm and lots of eye rolling is what gets me through. grin

But there are still days when I just want to smash things!

I sometimes feel like I do when I'm giving DS the old "do you think I actually LIKE nagging you to do xyz...? Do you think I WANT to sound like this?!" routine.

But like you said, once you see things you can't unsee them. The truth is for me I always saw those things and felt unhappy. Feminism just gave me a voice and a language to express that unhappiness. And the knowledge that I wasn't alone.

Welcome to the club flowers

AlwaysOneMissing Sun 26-Oct-14 09:02:12

I can identify so much with this too OP. I felt exactly the same when I first had my eyes opened to feminism (by this board). I was so angry - I felt like I had been duped all those years into believing I was accepted and important. Then the sudden realisation that it was smoke screen, and that actually when life got a bit tougher (having children) I was suddenly way down in the ranks, made me angry. (And I mean way down below all the men I know, not below my children).

I suddenly felt like I couldn't trust the world, it was a massive light bulb moment.

That anger does calm down, and I feel I am mostly resigned to being treated like a second class citizen now (sadly), although I do have moments of anger, and try to spot and combat sexism when I see it.

I too, like Bertie, have a DH who is totally against the idea of feminism. He sees equality for women, and thinks I am just finding things to whinge about when I point out sexism, or ways my life is now different, that he will never experience for himself. He refused to even consider that male privilege might exist. That is depressing, and has actually made me see our relationship in a different way.
However - I do now hear him correcting some things he hears eg if my DC say something very gender biased, he will correct them, which makes me feel like it's a tiny breakthrough every time.

It shocks me still though how many female friends I have who totally perpetuate the trend for sexism and gender stereotyping. That's why I feel resigned to it. We are in a definite minority.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BriarRainbowshimmer Sun 26-Oct-14 10:13:06

But like you said, once you see things you can't unsee them. The truth is for me I always saw those things and felt unhappy. Feminism just gave me a voice and a language to express that unhappiness. And the knowledge that I wasn't alone.

Same here, except now that my eyes are fully open and I have names for things...they're really open...I see it all, and it's horrible and exhausting. Sexism really is everywhere. Want to relax with some music/film etc? Good luck!

Like a previous poster I've started to really notice song lyrics about relationships. Yes some ladies I just want to show the relationship board. Some, way too many, sound like it's from the mind of an abuser. And probably is. Scary.

Also it's depressing how others just don't see or want to see. I think many are protecting themselves from truly seeing.

PoopMaster Sun 26-Oct-14 14:55:56

Thank you OP, I'm glad I came across this thread. I've been feeling like this for a while now and it feels really unnerving...just glad there are quite a few of us!

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