The Terrible Bargain We Have Regretfully Struck

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rural - Francesca rural - Francesca's picture
The Terrible Bargain We Have Regretfully Struck

The Terrible Bargain We Have Regretfully Struck

I so could have (should have) written this (if I was that talented)...
partial quote:
"There are the occasions that men-intellectual men, clever men, engaged men-insist on playing devil's advocate, desirous of a debate on some aspect of feminist theory or reproductive rights or some other subject generally filed under the heading: Women's Issues. These intellectual, clever, engaged men want to endlessly probe my argument for weaknesses, want to wrestle over details, want to argue just for fun-and they wonder, these intellectual, clever, engaged men, why my voice keeps raising and why my face is flushed and why, after an hour of fighting my corner, hot tears burn the corners of my eyes. Why do you have to take this stuff so personally? ask the intellectual, clever, and engaged men, who have never considered that the content of the abstract exercise that's so much fun for them is the stuff of my life."


What an amazing piece. Sadly it is entirely true.


"There is the unwillingness to listen, a ferociously stubborn not getting it on so many things, so many important things. And the obdurate refusal to believe, to internalize, that my outrage is not manufactured and my injure not make-believe—an inflexible rejection of the possibility that my pain is authentic, in favor of the consolatory belief that I am angry because I'm a feminist (rather than the truth: that I'm a feminist because I'm angry).

And there is the denial about engaging in misogyny, even when it's evident, even when it's pointed out gently, softly, indulgently, carefully, with goodwill and the presumption that it was not intentional. There is the firm, fixed, unyielding denial—because it is better and easier to imply that I'm stupid or crazy, that I have imagined being insulted by someone about whom I care (just for the fun of it!), than it is to just admit a bloody mistake. Rather I am implied to be a hysteric than to say, simply, I'm sorry."


I am tired of saying "Im Sorry". For what? Ruining their parade of sexual and non-sexual stereotyping of women? Am I supposed to feel bad that they don't get it? That what they are talking about with their buddies doesn't affect me? That it isn't an indictaion of how far we have not been able to come? That it is not hurtful? Then we (I) are just supposed to suck it up, or else we are feminazis, not fun, too rigid.


Thanks for this great link Rural-Francesca.



This is so powerful - and for me, as a male, such a rough wake-up call. I wanted to quote some of it, but can't choose. Here's one that struck home:

I am used as a prop in an ongoing game of patriarchal posturing, and then I am meant to believe it is true when some of the men who enjoy this sport, in which I am their pawn, tell me, "I love you." I love you, my daughter. I love you, my niece. I love you, my friend. I am meant to trust these words.

Thanks, Francesca.

rural - Francesca rural - Francesca's picture

She managed to capture so much of what swirlls around in my head, articluating in a way that just makes so much sense.

martin dufresne

Very strong, very true, very generous of McEwan to tell this to a mixed audience. I am passing it on with absolute support while thinking of the women who gave up on me for those reasons.


remind remind's picture

Thanks RF!!!!!

"And there is the haughty dismissal of my assertion that being on the outside looking in doesn't make one more objective; it merely provides a different perspective."

Loved that part. Well all of it, but  this morning that hit home.

Maysie Maysie's picture

rural_Fransesca, thanks for posting this.

It could be re-written, almost to the letter, regarding POC.

What a brilliant writer Melissa McEwan is.


Yes, I saw myself and men I know.

When I was younger I cared but I no longer do, back then I thought that caring would make a difference but at some point I realized that no matter how deeply I loved I was still subject to their unexamined opinions in a world that celebrated their ignorance.

For me, growing older has brought relief from this dance, I look at men now and think, "how could I have hoped or expected anything from such beings?"  LOL 



Thank-you for this!!


good one Rf

"intellectual, clever and engaged men" will be the death of us all..


writer writer's picture

Somehow I missed this thread. Thank you, thank you!

I found the article through other means, and posted a link in another discussion. Catchfire let me know about this one.

Thank you.


I love it too.  Missed this thread the first time around - thanks for bumping the thread, writer!

If you look at the reprint on the Guardian website, you'll see her point illustrated over and over again by guys in the comment section who just don't get it.  Inspiring article, disheartening response.

wage zombie

Great article.