Excerpt: The Woman In the Mirror

What I did might horrify quite a few people. Murder is the worst crime of all, a crime against life itself, taking the ultimate something that doesn’t belong to you. There’s taking a parking space and taking cuts in line and taking two bucks someone left in the women’s restroom without bothering to find out who it belongs to. Then there’s taking nail polish or hair dye from a discount store, lingerie or a bathing suit from a department store. Stealing someone’s lover. Mugging and armed robbery. Kidnapping. And finally, murder. How many people have stolen a parking space when another car was clearly waiting? How many have dashed to the newly opened checkout line, leapfrogging over others who had been waiting longer? Taking something that’s not yours is a sliding scale.

The world is better off without some people. No one denied that the world was rid of a heinously evil scourge when Hitler died, when Osama bin Laden was taken out. Unfortunately, those men, and so many others like them, resembled those seemingly innocuous but horrifying wolf spiders — when the female is smacked, a hundred spiders burst out, spilling into every corner of the room. There’s no hope of finding and killing them all.

So yes, the world is better off without criminally misogynistic men.

Women have been shackled and shoved in corners and treated like shit by too many men for too many centuries. Words have been invented for the sole purpose of shaming women for wanting and having sex. Whore. Slut. Hussy. Strumpet. Floozy. Hooker. Tart. Trollop. Harlot. Where are the mirror images of those words for men? Gigolo? Toy boy? Even then, it’s implied the woman is the one pierced by the slur, an object of pity — she can’t get a man without paying him to accompany her. Besides, how often is the word gigolo bandied about? It doesn’t show up in the Twitter stream. Pimp? He’s considered a businessman, an entrepreneur, in some circles.

It’s not like men have a super special sex drive that deserves honor while a woman is ambivalent or supposed to keep hers under wraps. And she’d better not wear a top that’s cut too low or a skirt too short or she’ll face blame and shame if she’s raped. She can wear jeans and a sweatshirt and she’ll still be blamed for going somewhere she shouldn’t have.

Women are mocked and ridiculed for fussing over makeup and getting their hair and nails done, and sneered at if they let their hair grow as it will and leave their faces naked. They’re covered head to toe in heavy fabric so they don’t tempt men. They’re chastised for not smiling at a man’s whim and criticized if they’re too friendly at the wrong time in the wrong place.

When their hormones affect their mood, women are categorized, dismissed, and told they’re incapable. When a man’s hormones drive him to punch a guy in a bar or launch a bombing strike on the other side of the world…well, they’re strong and defending what’s right.

Fuck that.

The Woman In the Mirror Cathryn Grant

Excerpt from The Woman In the Mirror

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