Our Obsession With Microaggressions Covers Up Much Bigger Threats To Women

By Gwen Farrell··  6 min read
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Our Obsession With Microaggressions Covers Up Much Bigger Threats To Women

Why is it that now more than ever our communities and workplaces, in particular, seem overly preoccupied with the construct of language and how it communicates meaning? Self-proclaimed feminists especially have an obsession with "microaggressions," which incidentally, manage to cover up and distract from the much bigger threats facing women in our society.

Microaggressions, if you’re unaware, are “subtle, often unintentional, forms of prejudice.” (And we’re all racist because we’re all guilty of microaggressions, whether you like it or not, or so goes the logic.) Feminists are eager to describe how these microaggressions are affecting women of color and women in general in the workplace, but overall are pretty comfortable with ignoring real instances of harassment and transgressive crime, and what’s more, intent on characterizing every “offensive” or awkward, uncomfortable incident as an assault on them. 

#MeToo Has Gone Too Far

In its infancy, the #MeToo movement was lauded as the historic moment millions of women had been waiting for, the long-awaited chance and opportunity to shout their abuses, rapes, assaults, harassments, and yes, microaggressions, from the collective rooftop. 

#MeToo prompted countless women and survivors of abuse to come forward and open up about the worst things women can experience. The movement was responsible for toppling powerful, horrible men, like Harvey Weinstein. And Bill Cosby

But the scale of justice tipped perhaps too far, way too far, and only now are we realizing that the scales have been off for some time – and more than that, the movement is doomed to fail. First, the central thesis of #MeToo was about justice for the disadvantaged. Now, the focus seems to be that it’s proverbially better for innocent men to be locked up while the real perpetrators at fault go free.

The focus of #MeToo now seems to be that it’s proverbially better for innocent men to suffer while the real perpetrators go free.

Take Aziz Ansari, who became the target of the #MeToo mob and its vitriol when a woman came forward to accuse Ansari of sexually assaulting her. She was following the #MeToo process at this point, and had the actual, inconvenient facts never surfaced, she would’ve been lauded as a hero, while Ansari would’ve been dropped from productions, appearances, and his publicist, considered damaged goods by Hollywood.

Except Ansari isn’t a rapist, as far as we know, and he never assaulted this woman. In fact, the couple engaged in sex acts with each other on their first date. The woman said she felt “pressured” into the encounter, especially because Ansari clearly wanted things to progress. Though she noted, after the fact, that she was uncomfortable with the whole situation, Ansari did stop when she asked him to (repeatedly), and didn’t force himself on her. 

Unfortunately, the alleged assault amounted to nothing more than an uncomfortable sexual encounter, which could have been prevented had she voiced her expectations and concerns and told Ansari she wasn’t comfortable with the foreplay and didn’t want to engage in intercourse. As one writer summarized on Twitter, “If that Aziz Ansari story is rape then everyone who has been on the modern dating scene has been both victim and perpetrator.”

Worrying about Language Instead of Realities

#MeToo has resulted in the downfall of powerful, influential people, while its inevitable radicalization has resulted in more questionable forms of so-called justice. Perhaps it was only a matter of time before #MeToo became tied to the now-prevalent cancel culture, but the inherent caveat to the transgressors is the same: don’t question the narrative, or else.

The mob had no problem coming for acclaimed writer (and billionaire) J.K. Rowling after she outed herself on Twitter as a TERF, or trans exclusionary radical feminist. To decode that message for the rest of us: Rowling voiced concerns over the ongoing “debate” on biological sex, especially when that debate results in policies which threaten the safety and security of women.

The kickback was fierce. Millions denounced Rowling as a bigot, even those who had their careers jumpstarted by her brilliance. The trans rights crowd, in opposition to Rowling’s inquiries, have declared that trans women deserve the same rights and considerations as biological women.

The CA prison system is so acclimated to sexual assault reports that birth control is given to inmates.

Even if it costs them their health and wellbeing, it would seem. The Women’s Liberation Front, a women’s rights group, recently accused the Democratic policies of California under Gov. Gavin Newsome of violating the Constitutional rights of incarcerated females, by allowing prisoners, under new legislation, to “pick the gendered prison of their choice.”

For trans advocates and supporters, this is a victory. For countless incarcerated women, this has meant sexual assault and physical abuse. The prison system in California by now has become so acclimated to these reports that birth control and abortion pills are doled out to inmates, with the Women’s Liberation Front reporting that “the new resources are a tacit admission by officials that women should expect to be raped when housed in prison with men, where all sex is considered non-consensual by default within the system.”

Since this new legislation was enacted, the number of inmates self-identifying as trans or non-binary jumped from 1,088 to 1,237. A 2009 study from UC Irvine found that 50% of self-identifying trans inmates have committed serious crimes against other persons, and 20% are sex offenders.

Feminism Isn’t about Empowerment, It’s about Appearances

It’s sacrosanct to question the narrative, but it’s about time we did. Feminism isn’t about empowerment or actual change anymore. It’s about ensuring that things look a certain way and keeping up appearances, even if they harm or destroy other women in the process. 

Feminism is supposedly all about choice, but it’s clear: choose incorrectly, and you’re out of luck. 

It’s for this reason we hear little to nothing about helping women who de-transition, or resources for women who regret their abortions. It’s for this reason domestic violence victims suffer in silence, and actual rapists and criminals are given laughably short sentences for their crimes.

Feminism is supposedly all about choice, but the line of demarcation is clear: choose incorrectly, and you’re out of luck. They’d rather be concerned with language and how it offends others, than take concrete action for change for the actual vulnerable populations of our society.

Closing Thoughts

Feminists claim they are for the marginalized and disadvantaged in our culture. So, who cares if an innocent man or a vulnerable woman might suffer for the sake of the narrative? They’re sacrifices on the altar of progress.

But how can we ignore the people who’ve had their lives ruined with a thoughtless word or a careless accusation, and how do we ignore incarcerated women who are told to take birth control as a remedy to being assaulted regularly? What kind of twisted perversion of progress does that serve, and how do we even begin to justify it?

If the ends justify the means, and these are the means we’re confronted with, we need to steer clear of whatever conclusion we’re arriving at, as fast as possible.

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