In writing about feminism, there are so many points to be made and twice as many shutdowns from the power structure. You’ll often hear, well it happens to men too. Or, I can’t get a job or financial aid to better my position because I’m a white male and that’s sexist and racist. The statements ignore the privilege of being white and male, at best. My favorite shutdown lately is: We gave you the right to vote, what more do you want? Because, you know, being able to vote clears up all that inequality nonsense, except when you’re forbidden to do so by a controlling partner or family member, when the media conditions you to think against your own interests, and you’re afraid of speaking your mind because you might not fit in and all the hardships that come with that.
The anti-woman conditioning of our culture is really sinister if you’ve a mind to take a look down that rabbit hole. From objectification and stereotyping to female sales pitching, we’re saturated with what it means to be an acceptable hetero-female. She’s blond, busty, white and a virginal whore who will cave to the man who sets eyes on her first. She’s to care more about raising a family than cultivating a career and wearing pants is not feminine – it’s bras and panties or tight sweaters and short skirts, my dear. But, remember, what you wear is admissible at your rape trial. Yes, I exaggerate a bit, but when you boil it down that’s the meat and potatoes of it, and I have but a page to write this on.
So, what? So, this affects men just as grievously. I mean, we’re working with a culture who sees man as a raping bully. A go getter who will crush opposition and to whom all women will submit themselves. Boys are being raised to believe they’re these ‘heroic’ characters in video games and movies, standards which cannot and should not be met. I mean, really, can you imagine hanging out with that guy? Hyper-masculinity is — annoying, as much as hyper-femininity. It’s too much to either side of this made up spectrum. None of us fit these stereotypes.
What’s worse than that? When children are committing suicide because they’re being bullied at school for not conforming to these ideals. CHILDREN. That parents are allowing their children to abuse other children in horrendous ways, to the point of death, and turning a blind eye – because they think this is how things should be, and it is nightmare worthy. Barbaric. Are we not a civilized nation? I can hardly tell anymore what with all the bullying and police brutality, the men beating their chest for the right to scare some girl on the street with an off-handed compliment because he has the right to notice her and make her jump to his orders.
I was bullied growing up. A LOT. For example I laughed heartily when I saw a write up a few years ago from some online news site that spoke about bullying where the person said bullying happens an average of 1 to 2 times per month, and that was an outrage and high frequency. Try daily. I see the damages of that treatment echoing through my behaviors to this day. I grew up to experience abuse as a young adult. How did I survive? How did I cope? I was lucky for some reason. I can’t even begin to tell you. Something somewhere at sometime bolstered me — those tiny moments of sunshine or clarity; focus on a greater goal. That said, we’re not all equipped the same, we don’t always have the sight to see past the present, the capacity to endure. I have always been one to look to the future, and maybe that was the difference for me. I imagined a future where I showed them all and was free from their taunts. Now I can I wrestle the trolls like a pro and they resort to nanny-nanny-poo-poo tactics because I’ve cut their legs from under them with a few words and left them babbling infants. They taught me well. I run in to defend those being bullied with such force, the tables are now turned.
Not everyone gets to the point I have. Many are lost. Ronin Shimizu is one we’ve lost to the bullies. The parents of the children who tormented him should be ashamed, because it is their voices that are being echoed through their children and it lead to this. (I wish I was present because I would have destroyed these homophobes in 2.1 seconds and kept going like a hurricane until they never dare speak like that again.) Will they regret it? Doubtful. Most are probably satisfied with the outcome. Those who remained silent, were complicit, accepting of the actions against Shimizu. But from what does this type of behavior rise?
The type of bullying Shimizu experienced is gender based conformity bullying. He participated in a sport that has been deemed a girls only club, despite national and collegiate teams boasting many men, straight or gay, on their team. The men’s sexuality is no one’s business and assumptions about it are based on the gendering of the sport. That’s right. The sport is gendered. Why? Because men like to fantasize about cheerleaders and when you have male cheerleaders on deck, then you have homophobic panic. That leads insecure hetero males to lash out lest they question their own sexuality, and reassure others of what they want portrayed, not what they’re hiding from view. The proof is there. Look at the professional teams who have a squad. Look at how they’re dressed, what they’re expected to groom like, and on and on. They’re fantasy decor. It’s too bad too, because cheering is hard work. They put in long hours coming up with their routines and keeping fit. Fit, not to have hot bodies for the viewers pleasure, but be able to do the work they love.
Furthermore, gendering the sport in such a manner demeans woman, and I’m not saying that wanting to be attractive or being attractive is a bad thing. It means woman is an object of titillation for the male spectator (no ladies, you’re not considered in this spectating thing), and that is her ONLY value. This also means that a man who wishes to take part in this sport is broken or somehow wrong. That he needs to be punished to be put right. And, that is what happened to Shimizu, that sweet adorable kid, who never had a chance against a culture that doesn’t prize his enthusiasms — a culture that treats women as sex fantasies when they fit the ideal or non-existent when they don’t.
All of this tells girls they’re worth less than men – we shouldn’t aspire to being doctors, lawyers and scientists, or even writing – because our value is the sex we can give men who want us. But the truth is, women are human beings, not objects for some man’s fantasy *&%$ team. Thank you very much. And if seeing a boy, or a man for that matter, on a cheerleading team leaves that viewer with that much anger and discomfort, then that is that viewers problem, not the team and not the man on that team.
Outrage against those who would squash children due to perceived sexualities is in the right. We should be disgusted by what happened to Shimizu. I mean, how perverse that these people viewed this child’s sexuality! Frankly, it’s perverse that people go around demanding conformity of sexuality and gender roles anyway. Citing the bible to do so–that’s even worse.
All I know for certain is that Ronin won’t be home to celebrate Christmas, or his next birthday, or get to college or find the love of his life. He was 12 years old. He loved being a cheerleader, and that was all that the monsters needed to know to destroy him.
Read more about Ronin Shimizu here: 12-year-old commits suicide, family cites bullying for being a cheerleader | USA Today.