The problem is subtlety. The problem is “how far we’ve come.” The problem is enlightenment. The problem is a society that congratulates itself on the freedom and equality all face when compared to how it was, when compared to how it is elsewhere. This is the problem.
The problem is that, simmering right under the surface of this “you got what you wanted,” is a literal army of activists ready to kill for their rights. But not because they don’t have them. Because someone else also being treated like a human being somehow lessens their status.
The problem is that while women die, while women go into hiding, some (NOT ALL) men say things like “let me just play devil’s advocate” or “the pendulum has now swung too far the other way” or “women have all the power.”
The problem is that even while we try to carve a feminist message into the abyss, men try to co-opt it, with their hashtags, with their publications, with their signs of supposed alliance. The problem is those being spoken over acquiesce, say things like, “but the gist of the message is good. I’m happy to have allies,” and get so caught up in defending the men, they forget the conversation is about women.
The problem is using the advancements we have made as a culture (as in, allowing rape victims to remain anonymous, or at least paying lip service to protecting women in a situation of violence) to facilitate a step backward in the name of ease. The problem is when a girl is raped, CNN focuses on the line “these poor boys’ lives are ruined” as the boys break down into tears, completely ignoring that it was a girl’s life that sustained trauma at the hands of said boys.
The problem is not being able to talk about these kinds of things when we need to.
The problem is when a young man writes an entire book stating that his lethal actions begin with the hatred of women, society focuses on mental illness, gun control and the men who have died. We prefer to make the misogyny something to fight over. The problem is we feel the need to rank these issues in order of importance.
The problem is gaslighting. The problem is that when we try to speak of these things, we end up having to comfort men that we know they are not like the other ones about which we were previously trying to have a discussion.
The problem is subtlety.
Until the problem is no longer subtlety. The problem is we laugh off copy-cat groups and Elliot Rodgers followers as crazy or harmless or nerds or anything other than very dangerous people.
In a society which congratulates itself on how far it has come, on how much obvious recognition we (spoken, if not in action) give these problems, the problem is that these problems still exist when we as a society think they no longer do.
The problem is that our resting point as a society still doesn’t question innate assumptions about rape victims, oppressed peoples and women. It doesn’t question them because it thinks we’ve overcome them. And if you’re above something, you don’t have to think about it anymore. It’s not you. It’s not what you are doing or what you think. Only it is.
The problem is we think we’ve solved a problem when we haven’t.