Re: The Case Against Female Self-Esteem

The Case for Female Empowerment

Dear Mr. Forney,

I took a break from the romance novel currently occupying my mind – it was making me tremble anyway, so a break was warranted – to pen a response to your poignant article “The Case Against Female Self-Esteem”. Luckily, my male neighbor returned home from his manly job early enough to turn on my computer for me and also type out this letter. Otherwise, I may have never been able to respond! My dainty hands can’t use a keyboard for too long as they are exhausted from washing dishes, embroidering cushions, and completing the other female tasks my days mandate.

I didn’t understand a lot of the words you used in your article because, unfortunately, my college degree is in etiquette with a minor in matching my belt to my purse, but my other male neighbor – a doctor – was able to simplify your vocabulary choices for my feeble mind. That being said, please allow me to present a response to your article – as I’d never dream of providing one without your express permission. I’m only a woman, after all, and no one wants my opinions clouding society.

If you have decided to read beyond this point, I thank you, as even the momentary attention of a man as strong, intelligent, and wonderful as yourself is something that my lady friends and I can only sigh and dream over. In fact, it was only after recovering from a fainting spell that I was able to finish this message at all!

Allow me to introduce my points with a blanket statement: Women do not like men who are assholes.

Yes, some women are attracted to the bad boy archetype because they think that they can change him. This is not, as some suggest, because women enjoy abuse. This is because women possess the capacity of both looking for and often seeing the good in people. We are optimistic enough to believe that not all people are lost causes. I, for one, did believe that until reading your post. You, Mr. Forney, may actually be a lost cause. Nothing is more unattractive to me (and I do not believe this is a female trait) – than a person with a complete and utter lack of respect for a fellow human being. You submit that my vagina does – or at least should – render me less than you and that, sir, is so utterly absurd that it barely deserves a response.

Women are brought up in a world where they are told to think for themselves, work hard, and find independence. They are sometimes bombarded by inaccurate portrayals of the female form in the media. They are frequently blamed for their own rape because they have the audacity to wear clothes that make them feel beautiful while simultaneously being female. From Genesis to Cruel Intentions, women have been told that they are the downfall of men with their tempestuous behavior and irresistible curves. However, these stereotypes are perpetuated by individuals like you. We are presented with these falsehoods because individuals like you allow these stereotypes to continue and you, bafflingly, hold enough power over societal opinion to color it’s representation in day to day life.

Here are my reasons why you should be ignored as any kind of expert on female needs and desires.

  1. You are a man. Therefore, you have no idea what it’s like to be a woman.

Until you spontaneously grow breasts, spend decades living with them, and then find yourself too-frequently objectified by a man like you, you have no idea what it’s like to be a woman. You have no idea what it’s like to be told from birth that unless you are beautiful, you are nothing. And, if you aren’t beautiful, than you better be smart because you are certainly worth nothing else. You have no idea what it’s like to fear that someone will rape, invade, or abuse you in order to assert their own power. You have no idea what it’s like to be told by your government and your family and complete strangers what you should do with your body, your mind, and your future.

Women do want equal rights expressly to find themselves free of men like you who feel the need to tell them they are nothing unless they feel like nothing. No one would have the audacity to claim that your intelligence is for naught and your existence is superfluous beyond the necessities of breeding and keeping men aroused.

My college degree may not be in neuroscience, but my college experience certainly broadened my social awareness enough to provide me with the knowledge that differences make us beautiful and make the world flourish. Perhaps this is a lesson you may come to learn some day.

2. You, as far as I can tell, are not an expert on human beings and certainly are not an expert on women.

While I find it astounding that you have ever found a woman to date you at all, you categorically misunderstand them at every turn. The girl you wrote of who lost an impressive amount of weight just before meeting you most likely did see the world through “fat girl eyes”, but she also spent years being criticized, ridiculed, and insecure because you made her that way. Your insistence that your dick can only get hard for the thinest, most beautiful of women forced her to feel inadequate walking down the street. Your assertion that beneath the external appearance so displeasing to you couldn’t possibly be a person of value and worth – and your need to aggressively scream this on street corners and the internet – is the very reason that she stopped being able to see the value and worth in herself.

If a woman chooses to make a person the center of her universe, she will not do so because she needs you, she will do so because she loves you. She will love you for being kind, open, respectful and, yes, strong enough to acknowledge and examine your own short comings. She will be faithful to you because you have earned it and she will respect you because you respect her as well. She will enjoy your company because you make her laugh. She will be drawn to you because you make her feel protected from the people who will tell her daily that she is nothing because she has an extra X chromosome.

There are two different kinds of strength, Mr. Forney: The physical strength proven through arm wrestling, football, or other athletic pursuits most definitely near and dear to your ice cold heart. But there is also emotional and mental strength. The kind of strength that grew within me and the women in my life upon realizing the unfortunate truth that men like you often times are responsible for making decisions for women like me. The unfortunate truth that when I walk down the street, enter a room, or begin a new job, men like you are in the vicinity to undermine me at every turn. I have to work twice as hard for the good opinion of men like you – often fruitlessly – so that I can have the security given to you as freely as your penis was.

3. You clearly think very highly of yourself and I sincerely doubt that your world view and self-esteem allows room for anyone else.

Upon first discovering your post, I believed it was satire. No one as eloquent as you, I believed, could also be so insanely mistaken. Can you honestly not see that your idea of the “perfect woman” exists because individuals like you believe and say that it is the truth? I should be terrified and trembling, because people like you exist to tell me I am wrong and nothing and pointless. I should be afraid that, despite a mother who most likely raised you, women who most likely surrounded you, and the apparent education you received, you still believe that women need to be weak in order to be vital. Thankfully, I am not afraid for me, but I am disgusted and outraged for every woman I have ever met or loved. I am devestated for the amazing men I know who would never dream of thinking the things you have the audacity to say. It is heart-breaking to me that they should have to share your gender and the stereotypes incurred and perpetuated by you. They don’t deserve the blight of you and men like you on their good name.

If women ceased to exist tomorrow, the world would descend into madness. Women are more likely to nurture. They are more likely to show compassion. And they are more likely to fight for the rights and freedoms of ignoramuses like you. Women know what it’s like to be less than and women don’t want anyone else to ever know what it is like to feel that way – even you, Mr. Forney.

Women do have things to fear: rape, domestic violence, people demeaning them every day. All of those things are about power. What your post accomplishes, in my eyes, beyond most likely allowing you to free yourself of the bitterness left behind from rejection by these “strong, independent women” you profess to despise, is pointing out another kind of man: the man who feels so threatened by a woman who doesn’t need him that he fears being rendered irrelevant by her existence. If the only way you can be powerful and good is to believe that I am weak and bad, have at it. I know that I am powerful and I am good. I also know that, were we to meet on an intellectual field of battle, I could intellect shame you into the next decade. Also, I could out compassion you with two emotions tied behind my back and that, to me, is worth infinitely more in some respects.

You seem like a relatively intelligent and aware individual, Mr. Forney, in some instances (save this one). I encourage you to turn your “keen eye” for the human condition on yourself. Before giving women a play book for how to become more attractive to you, consider finding a way to become more attractive to them. Some modesty would be a good first step, because you currently reek of narcissism and contempt.

Until that day comes, should it ever, I and every other strong, intelligent, and, yes, independent woman in the world will give you what you want: We’ll stay far, far away.