Jess's Sexism Was Called Out – It Didn't Go As Well When I Confronted My Ex
Ask any woman you know and they'll likely tell you they've experienced -- or at least witnessed -- the sort of misogynistic behaviour that was broadcast into our living rooms last week.
It was behaviour that Jess Glasgow, the Noosa councillor who left 'The Bachelorette' on Thursday night, attempted to pass off as harmless fun.
The other men in the mansion questioned him about hitting on members of the crew, calling Angie a "b*tch" and exhibiting lewd behaviour on the group date where he encouraged Angie to ride his tail, among other things.
But Angie saw Jess's behaviour for what it was -- sexist at best and potentially predatory at worst. After all, dismissing it as harmless is how this sort of behaviour from men becomes okay. It's slowly but surely normalised and before you know it, you're witnessing men upgrading their terminology to even more derogatory names and perhaps acting out what was once just a gag.
But good on Angie for calling it out for what it was and telling Jess not to mess with her sisterhood. If more of us called out this behaviour as soon as we saw it, maybe my own experience of trying to do the same wouldn't have gone so horribly.
I was standing in line at a supermarket with an ex-boyfriend when a woman cut in front of us.
"What a sl*t," he said.
It must have been loud enough for her to hear as I could see what looked like an electric shock run down her back.
I don't know what it is about that word in particular, but it seems to have more of an impact on a woman than any other -- and it left me feeling sick. I didn't apologise to that woman that day but I wish I had.
I couldn't think about anything else for the entire car trip home. And after we walked into his house in pure silence and sat on the couch, I raised it with him. It wasn't the first time I'd witnessed this type of behaviour from my ex but it was definitely the first time I called it out.
I told him I didn't like what he said and that a woman cutting the line didn't warrant being labelled a sl*t -- that the word shouldn't have been part of his vocabulary at all.
He couldn't (or wouldn't) understand and he defended his actions.
So in an attempt to make things clearer, I suggested a scenario to him. I questioned how he would he feel if another man had yelled out the same thing to his mum, or even his younger sister, both of whom who were in the next room.
And much like the electric shock that went down the woman's back at the supermarket, a rage flickered within him. It was fine to call a mere stranger a sl*t but suddenly when his own family was involved? Not so much.
This feeling about the word was exactly what I was trying to make him understand. But it didn't work. He didn't agree. He didn't apologise and say he wouldn't do it again.
Instead, he became enraged.
My ex did and said far worse things to me and other women than what unfolded on that day, which I don't need to go into here. It took me a while to build up the courage to leave what I now know to be an emotionally abusive relationship.
But unlike Angie, I didn't have the support of a room full of 17 other men -- not on that day, and not in the years leading up to it. I didn't have a camera crew standing by and recording my conversation or an audience who would eventually watch and support me.
I instead had myself, my misogynistic ex and two women standing in the next room, one in her 40s and one in her teens, both of whom had probably been witnessing this exact behaviour for far longer than myself but had said and done nothing.
In this environment laid the fear, silence and above all complacency which allowed this behaviour to thrive -- which made it okay for my ex not to feel embarrassed, but to instead feel enraged.
No one knew what happened between my ex and I in that room that day behind closed doors. But Angie has brought this conversation into our living rooms, to news stories on the Internet, to chatter on social media and conversations in the office.
The more we talk about it, the more we tell our own stories and the more we call it out in the moment that we witness it or have it happen to us, the less okay this behaviour becomes.
And maybe one day, it won't lead to excuses, rage -- or much, much worse.
Featured Image: Network 10