One of my greatest joys in life is having male friends. As a general rule I find I mesh better with humans of the dude-ly variety than about 90% of my fellow females (but oh, that 10%, couldn’t live without them). I assume this was because I was born without the scented candle gene, but it may also be because I could never afford to buy any large flags with seasonally themed pictures of Winnie The Pooh on them.
When I get to writing about men and women, some of my male friends often scratch their heads and say “but atomic, I thought you were cool”. Some of them even get mad at me, I think, which is unfortunate, but I didn’t start this writing journey to win friends, I did it to influence people.
I started this blog because there is shit in this world that needs to be said and no one is saying it, whether that is talking about Woke Fascism, or whether it’s talking about the day to day issues that real women face. Not feminist harpies who only care about “womyn” to advance their Woke Fascist political agenda of putting a penis in every bathroom that presently lacks them, and not crazed-with-entitlement Karens smashing dishes and shrieking at their underlings up to and including their husbands. I’m speaking to and for the rest of us, the majority of us, the gals just going about their day wiping snotty noses and Swiffering the floor, just doing the best we can.
At times this task that has been thrust upon me requires me to be somewhat of a bitch. You may be surprised to learn this, but I actually don’t like being a bitch. It doesn’t come at all naturally to me, and I would very much prefer it if I could sugar coat the stuff I write and still have everyone get the jist. Like, maybe I could just drop a few subtle hints, and then have people search their hearts and do a little research and come around to my way of thinking in their own time.
Sadly, that doesn’t appear to be how it works; people seem to pay a lot more attention to things that piss them off than gentle suggestions. So piss, I shall.
There’s a reason why they say “the truth hurts,” it’s because sometimes recording unpopular facts for the consumption of your fellow human stings and the more it stings, the closer it is to the mark.
And I don’t much care if that surly guy over there doesn’t like it. I wasted ⅘ of my life learning this stuff that I’m trying to express to my fellow women, and I don’t want anyone else (especially not my daughter) to have to waste the best years of their lives relearning the same goddamn lessons that nearly broke me to learn. Nor do I want other women to remain unwarned, unarmed, and completely vulnerable to the copious amounts of lies and bullshit that men and the so-called “feminist” movement spew on a daily basis.
Here is the point where I am required by law to interject “some men, not all men” which is, of course, what this piece is about.
Because even though culture has deemed it perfectly ok to say or at least imply that feminists are universally evil ball-busting harpies who want to emasculate men and then tack on the notion that all women are incompetent nagging manipulating users who can do nothing but whine for a man to squash spiders for them without issuing even the slightest disclaimer, it is decidedly NOT ok to ever generalize about men, no, nu-uh, no way. Not even when it’s something that is inarguable, such as that men commit sexual assault more than women or that women have more chronic health problems than men do or that women have periods and menopause and babies and not “people with uteruses”. Or even just basic, obvious, day to day stuff such as me writing that women are far more likely to crochet than men are. It’s fucking amazing the incredible stretches men are constantly making to be sure they’re injected into every facet of female existence all the time.
Please notice how that standalone two word sentence does absolutely nothing to improve the flow and readability of this piece.
A few months back I was followed on Twitter by a seemingly nice fellow who posted a lot of animal pictures of interesting European animals like hedgehogs and stuff, and knew some obscure historical factoids. I like animals, and I’m am absolute sucker for obscure historical factoids, so we struck up a bit of a friendship and had a couple interesting discussions. Now, I should have gotten a little heads up about this guy when I wrote something about women’s health* and he played the “but men tho” card, the catalyst for my previous piece on this subject, but men tho.
But for some reason, probably because I am nice and I truly believe most people mean well, I understand I’m fighting an uphill battle with my weird atomic brain that doesn’t work the same way other people’s do and makes me have all these unusual thoughts and shit. So I forgave that minor irritation and kept him around. After all if I got rid of everyone who irritated me that would be an awful lot of people, starting with myself.
The past couple months have been super busy for me. I have a lot of real life stuff going on and so I was forced to really cut back on the amount of stuff I was writing (which was supremely profoundly infuriating considering there was an election approaching) and the amount of time I spent on social media (which was probably for the best). During this time, I stumbled onto an article about the singer Don McLean, and set it aside to share it on Twitter eventually.
This article encapsulated a lot of attitudes I tend to hate – incessant navel gazing on the experience of being a Baby Boomer, a nonsensical celebration of a dude who wrote precisely two good songs a million years ago yet he’s still in the media for some reason (the most famous of which, American Pie, is a total celebration of being a Baby Boomer), not to mention a comfortably rich person eschewing property like a Buddhist hippie when the truth is he’s giving an interview from a mansion he has in rural Maine whilst discussing the dispensation of his countless possessions (by his admission, including a collection of both guns and hunting knives. This will be important later on).
Then, to top it all off, when asked about a domestic incident committed against his wife of 30 years, Patrisha (this is spelled correctly. Don McLean constantly spells her name ‘Patricia’; I’ll let you read into that what you will) in 2016, McLean replied that he had only pled guilty to “provide closure for his family” (a term so laden with hippy dippy psychobabble BS I can’t EVEN with that). I don’t know about you, but I always plead guilty to crimes to selflessly provide closure for others, don’t you? Surely that statement was entirely true and not at all deceptive.
McLean apparently felt NO responsibility for his actions whatsoever; in his mind he was waylaid by some lying crazed harpy spinning fables who managed to trick him into being married to her for three decades before launching her master plan to ruin his life at that point for no apparent reason whatsoever. He went on to say “Patricia (sic) wrote me a love letter every month for 30 years and they immediately turned to salt” and “I can truly say that my ex-wife is the worst person I ever knew.”
This, to me, told me everything I needed to know about one Mr. Don McLean. It’s narcissistic gaslighting and abusive, controlling behavior. On the one hand, he was married for 30 years, evidently happily enough, since he’d continued the relationship even tho he’d been divorced once before. And who was he married to? A woman who wrote him love letters on a monthly basis for three decades. The sole criticism that popped into his head when asked is that when she left him was that the love letters that she had written no longer had any appeal for him. It was all about how HE was affected by no longer being the center of her universe. (I’m fairly happily married, also for 30 years, and I’m quite sure my husband could come up with worse than that about me even on a good day).
And then after HE abused HER and she left him (in her words, only after being away from him long enough after his arrest that she could see reality…again, classic gaslighting) he saw nothing wrong with using his bully pulpit in the media – a position of significantly more power than his wife had – to run her down and make himself look like the victim. The dude is a piece of shit, ok? People who aren’t pieces of shit walk away from even pretty bad relationships and wish their partner well, or at the least don’t take every opportunity to publicly humiliate them.
But because I wanted to be fair-minded, I tracked down and read the police report (which was filed against Patrisha McLean’s will at the insistence of police) and more about her story, which included Mr. McLean’s lawyers tricking her into signing a non-disclosure agreement so she couldn’t fully tell her side of the story without legal repercussions, and then him trying to sue her for taking part in a “woman’s voices” project.
A powerful man using that power to silence a woman regarding his abuse.
I also read more about Don McLean and found out he’d left a long string of bizarre, narcissistic behavior and thinly veiled threats of violence in his wake – which certainly put those guns and knives he was talking about in a different light.
Satisfied that the spousal abuse in question had actually occurred, I posted the article on Twitter with a tweet in which I used obvious hyperbole and exaggeration in the form of humor to make my point about Don McLean being a real piece of work. I post articles all the time about a variety of issues; this one didn’t stand out to me as any different from the rest.
Why did I do this? Why did I even care? Well, because a lot of women are in this position, and seeing men in the media saying things like “once I was arrested for terrifying my wife with a fit of rage for several hours, threatening to strangle my her, chasing her through the house till she had to lock herself in the bathroom to get away from me, attempting to smash down the door to get her and only then did she call 911 and still didn’t want to press charges against me, I realized she was actually the worst person on earth and her precious love letters had no more meaning for me, wahhh!” with absolutely no one calling them out on their fucking bullshit, I can imagine would be mighty discouraging.
One of the hardest elements of spousal abuse to overcome is that women feel like no one will believe them. In many cases, women don’t even believe themselves, having been gaslighted for so many years they don’t even know truth from fiction any more. I can imagine reading an article in which a narcissistic abuser WHO WAS ARRESTED AND PLED GUILTY was praised, enabled, and given a public forum to say that his victim was “the worst person on earth”? In 2020 I find that just about infuriating.
Ladies, I believe you. Patrisha, I believe you.
The words and acts of Don McLean seemed so egregious that I didn’t even find my tweet even the slightest bit controversial. I am actually SHOCKED that anyone found it controversial. Even if I was being completely unfair and hadn’t done my due diligence investigating before posting, I would have hoped my readers (friends!?!) understand that perhaps I have some deep seated and personal reasons for sharing said article. I would have hoped that in a world in which women’s needs garnered a fraction of respect that men’s most fleeting wants do, the need for women to call out to each other in solidarity and support outweighs the want of some wronged dude to tell me “not all men tho” on behalf of a millionaire wife beater who had a raging case of the sadz that his precious love letters didn’t carry the romantic punch they used to.
Well, along comes Wronged Dude, taking me to task for “not investigating fully” and “rushing to judgement” and “perhaps the woman was the real abuser here”. I don’t recall the exact words. I didn’t screenshot it because truly, I just couldn’t wrap my head around anyone taking issue with what was clearly half-joke, half-vent on my part that I had expected everyone to ignore as atomic being atomic or maybe even to view with a smidge of sympathy for the women who have to put up with constant public badmouthing by their abusive exes from here to eternity. I certainly couldn’t wrap my head around anyone taking the side of a man who was arrested and pled guilty to spousal abuse badmouthing his victim in an internationally published article (especially after tricking her into signing an NDA and then suing HER for talking about it.)
How is that even OK? How can anyone even think that’s ok?
Regardless, I gave the benefit of the doubt and I clarified that I had actually read the police report, and I thought surely that would ameliorate the situation. Though FFS, why is it that ~I~ should have to prove I did my homework, when Wronged Dude clearly hadn’t bothered! Why is HE the authority figure who gets to lecture, and I am the uninformed ninny who deserves a stern talking to? I suspect it’s because I have a vagina.
I really did go out of my way to be fair to Don McLean before sharing the article, because hey, I’m a fucking journalist even if I’m only an amateur, and I’m sorry, but I completely believe he was an abuser. I simply do not feel that the world is in any way diminished by me being ever-so-slightly unfair to a famous millionaire who threatened to kill his wife.
But no, apparently that wasn’t enough to satisfy Wronged Dude. He came back at me again asking me how I knew that the police report was even accurate. Then he went into the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard situation, claiming that Amber Heard was “proven to be the real abuser”.
Let’s just take a moment to recall that Johnny Depp called Amber Heard a “mushy, pointless, dangling, overused flappy fish market” and said “Let’s burn Amber!! Let’s drown her before we burn her. I will fuck her burnt corpse afterwards to make sure she’s dead!”
Yes, clearly, that was a little hyperbole Mr. Depp was engaging in, but please recall that I was engaging in hyperbole about Don McLean too.
Are men allowed to use hyperbole but not women?? Is that how this works? Men can tell jokes about murdering a woman and raping her corpse and society explains it away as just frustrated venting, but a woman telling a joke about a man she doesn’t even know being a wife beater (after he pled guilty to spousal abuse, no less) well, that cannot be allowed, because the sanctity of the male sex must never be diminished even for a moment?
Even setting all that aside, a British court just agreed that the evidence supports Depp WAS a ‘wife-beater’ – their term, not mine. Thus appeals regarding the probable innocence of one Mr. Johnny Depp really don’t carry a lot of weight for me.
Dammit, I am just SO FRICKING TIRED of the automatic assumption of “the woman probably drove him into beating her.” I am SO FRICKING SICK of apologists for abusive men. Women are NOT TO BLAME for abuse. Even if they’re bitchy, shrieky, demanding, disobedient, or Amber Heard, women do not deserve to live in a situation where they are bullied, threatened, called names, humiliated, demeaned, gaslighted, pushed around, have their hair pulled, things thrown at them, and a hand placed around their throat, let alone the more egregious, obvious forms of physical abuse.
In fact, anyone who entertains the notion that “the woman drove him into beating her” surely, in the interest of fairness, must acknowledge that it’s ENTIRELY possible that a man being abusive could indeed drive a woman to respond in kind. But women are expected to either be inert passionless lumps and take endless amounts of abuse with gentle good humor, or else be told they had it coming if they fight back (in many cases even if they simply have a tart tongue.)
She drove him to it? Well, maybe he drove her to driving him to it in the first place!
Two can play at this game. Yet society as a whole circles the wagons time after time to stick up for men and immediately blame women. Why is that? 1.5 million people have signed a petition to get Amber Heard fired from her job for reporting Johnny Depp’s abuse. 1.5 MILLION PEOPLE. Yet I can’t even write a tweet about a dude who was actually arrested and plead guilty to spousal abuse?
There are, indeed, terrible and even abusive women in the world. (WHY DO I NEED TO ISSUE THIS DISCLAIMER??? WHY DOES DISCUSSING THE FACT THAT MEN ABUSE WOMEN REQUIRE A DISCUSSION OF WOMEN WHO ABUSE MEN??? FFS!!!!!) but there is already a cottage industry of men’s rights activists and apparently major media organizations like the Irish Times, standing ready to ride to the aid of Don McLean, Johnny Depp, and the men like them.
Who stands up for women? Surely not the feminist movement, whose sole solution for male violence appears to be Marxist politics and lesbianism, which is a fine solution if you’re a Marxist lesbian but most women aren’t. I am not. I love men, for all the good it does me. I just want men to give women some room to fucking exist without having to constantly, constantly, I mean literally every second of every day, take into account men’s delicate egos, putting them first, making sure we women can’t ever discuss anything, even our own health and own abuse, without being sure to put men front and center in the conversation.
These requests for the “not all men tho” disclaimers sometimes read a lot to me like having to ASK PERMISSION from men to have a conversation with other women. Like some big silverback gorilla stalking through the tribe eavesdropping on the female gorillas talking to each other about their female gorilla concerns, and standing over them threateningly till they meekly say “not all men tho” and then he’s like “ok, I’ll allow this conversation.”
Guess what, fuckers? I don’t kneel for Marxists and I don’t mouth meaningless mottos like “not all men tho” in order to earn the right to speak. Certainly not for a person on the Internet who I barely know, who is defending a man who pled guilty to spousal abuse, by invoking the name of another man who was found by a court of law to be a “wife beater”.
(Reminder, this is not a longtime male friend with whom I have had many interesting conversations and respectful differences of opinion with. There ARE several guys out there who have the standing to have this discussion with me because they’ve earned the right through respectful discussions in the past, and I welcome them to always, always open the lines of communication and I promise I won’t write a scathing essay about you).
This person was basically a stranger, and rather than a discussion, he was lecturing me about how I should be kinder to men when they are not only accused of, but pled guilty to, abuse. And without any knowledge of my life or backstory whatsoever. Without even any knowledge of the case itself!
There is one man on Planet Earth whose balls I happily butter and that man is my husband, who I have lived with for 30 years, who has been by my side through a hell of a lot of shit over the years, both good and bad, on both of our parts, and has earned the right to request, even demand my emotional support.
The rest of you must look elsewhere for your affirmations, I’m afraid.
So anyway, I found myself unfollowed (even though I think I was relatively polite, all things considered) and then this doozy was posted:
Yes, it is bye, Wronged Dude. Because this is a perfect example of the attitude I’m talking about here. An attitude in which men are the arbiters of everything women do and say, and women must take men’s very delicate feelings into consideration in every encounter. Indeed, a woman must put the wishes of a total stranger who happens to be male ahead of her own wants (because hey, I wanted to post this article, or else I wouldn’t have done it) and ahead of the needs (NEEDS) of her own sex to come together in support and solidarity when their lives are literally in danger.
I posted, on my own private Twitterfeed, an area of the Internet I am meant to have control over, an article about spousal abuse that rubbed me the wrong way. I did this for the benefit of other women who may occasionally need to see some semblance of a world in which giving abusers a public media platform to continue harassing their victims is not ok. And also for the benefit of myself, for a variety of reasons I won’t go into.
Nary a soul was hurt by this, as Don McLean does not follow me on Twitter (yet).
Wronged Dude picked a fight over it (Not a discussion, but a fight, and I know this because another male friend started a respectful discussion over the same subject in which they also disagreed with me. Trust me, I do know the difference.) in an intellectually insulting, mansplainy way where I was assumed not to have done my research into this issue, without doing any research into it himself.
Then he refused to be satisfied with my explanation that I had indeed done my research, refused to believe a police report and a guilty plea, refused to see anything wrong with a powerful man badmouthing his ex-wife in a newspaper, acted like all men accused of abuse should be assumed innocent even when proven guilty because “she provoked him”, invoked the name of a man the British court system has just deemed “wife beater”, in defense of a man the American legal system ruled was an abuser, and then claims “no one gets to tell someone else they should put up with abuse” and “dancing on my nerves at length to make it all about them”.
WTAF? Who is telling who they should put up with abuse? Who is the one really trying to make it all about them? Who came onto whose Twitterfeed to lecture and berate? Who was really the aggressor, here?
NOT ALL MEN THO!! You better say it or I’ll hold my breath till I turn blue!! You better say NOT ALL MEN THO or else!! You better do what I say or there will be consequences! You better say NOT ALL MEN THO or I won’t LIKE YOU ANY MORE!! I will withdraw my friendship and my affection unless you do what I want you to do!! SAY NOT ALL MEN THO!!!! SAY IT, YOU FUCKING CUNT!!!!!
Oh oh, was that hyperbole again?? Well I figured since it was ok for Johnny Depp I could get away with it too.
*Yes, men have health issues, but that doesn’t preclude the need to discuss women’s health needs, and doing so doesn’t detract from the massive amount of time and energy and scientific research that is focused on men.