he said/she said

The point of all this is that “he said, she said” accounts aren’t the empty contradictions we often dismiss them as; they can tell us quite a bit about the different realities in which men and women get to live. We think of these testimonies as being equally valid, even if they’re at odds. (Kidding: We usually assume that the woman has somehow exaggerated or misremembered or misread the context or lied: “I think she’s mistaking something, but I don’t know, I mean, I don’t know her,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch of Ford.) We don’t question the particulars of someone’s account of their mugging, but rape inspires people to start panning the story for possible “misunderstandings.” But given all of the above, there is, actually, a decent explanation for this: The painful experiences claimed by women make no impression at all on a certain kind of man’s sense of reality. Her perspective is as unreal as it is inconsequential to him. Result: His and her story can be, in a limited and horrifying sense, equally true. 

Lili Loofbourow, "Men are More Afraid Than Ever." Slate, 9/18/2018.

Women are believed when they go on the record, potentially sacrificing their own career goals; they are believed when their words are dissected and fact-checked and tentatively quoted. Men are believed when they render an argument with the trappings of a heartfelt confession.

Nausicaa Renner, "On the confessions of fallen men." The Columbia Journalism Review, 9/18/2018.

In all of the cases that I heard about, it seemed to me essential, as a bare first step, for the man in question to understand that his experience is not inherently more important than the experiences of women, to acknowledge what he did, and that it was wrong. This is the minimum precondition for the better world we’re struggling toward. It is amazing, if not surprising, how many of the men in question are incapable of it.

Jia Tolentino, "Jian Ghomeshi, John Hockenberry, and the Laws of Patriarchal Physics." The New Yorker, 9/17/2018.


All three of these pieces are enraging and brilliant, well worth reading in full, as is this incredible excerpt from Rebecca Traister's new book, Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger.

It feels hopeless to keep calling my Republican senator, who has publicly lauded Brett Kavanaugh as a friend and a "good man," but I keep calling anyway. I'm too angry not to. As Traister points out:
This work of perfecting our union is often circular, always daunting; these efforts take time; they require our resilience and determination. Rage helps drive them forward, through the bleakest periods.