Okay. I know the title of this post is provocative – but hear me out. I have logic here. I saw a thing on Facebook today that said:
‘It doesn’t matter what she did, it’s never okay to hit a woman. Ever.’
Now. This is a very common opinion to hold, and it’s one I myself held, very strongly, until maybe an hour ago. But today something just clicked in my mind. I read this and I thought, wait why just women? Because we are weaker? I’m not weaker. I wouldn’t consider myself weaker. It would depend on the man. It’s about proportionality. If the man was like Hulk Hogan then sure, if they hit me that would be out of order. But if the man was pretty tiny and I said something completely out of order, then snapped and pushed him into a wall, and he was to retaliate and push back, then maybe that would be okay. It’s proportional.
People should say ‘No one should hit someone more vulnerable than them, ever.’ That would be fairer. It’s like I had this realisation that this gender-biased way of thinking comes from an age-old assumption that women are helpless, therefore men shouldn’t hit them. And I just realised I don’t like it.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a gentleman. A guy who would open doors and walk on the road side of the pavement, and all those such things. And I would like a guy who respected me enough not to lose his temper and wack me for no reason. And I know that part of this ethos is centred around equality, because it reiterates the fact that a woman is no longer the possession of her husband – to be hit when he fancies it. I know that is important.
But I also want an equality of a different sort in this hypothetical relationship. Shouldn’t there be a return right for me to give my partner respect if he deserved it? Or is it assumed that I wouldn’t lose my temper and hurt him because I’m a woman and not capable? Beacuse I definitely have a temper and while I don’t think it would be right for me to just lose it and hit my partner, I definitely feel capable of doing so. Also – I don’t think it makes me less of a woman to have a temper. I wouldn’t suppress it just to be more of a ‘real woman’.
It’s not like I’m a physically violent person, and I’ve never gone so far as to hurt anyone with anything but words. Mostly. So I’m a not a great example of what I mean, because I don’t think I would ever actually harm a partner anyway. But still. I want a caveat that says I have try and control the limits of my temper without getting rid of the fire that makes me who I am. I think that caveat would say that, yes your a woman, and yes you might have the ability to defend yourself. But no, you shouldn’t let yourself lose your temper because you would be just as much in the wrong as your partner.
And I think this is relevant to the point, beacuse the fact that I am capable of retaliating is important. If a man hit me because I egged him on, and then I hit him back, then why is that any worse than him hitting his mate in the pub because he called him a twat and the mate then hitting him back? Someone might say, that wasn’t necessary, he didn’t have to hit him. But they wouldn’t say, he shouldn’t have hit him because he’s a man, regardless of what the guy said before or the fact that he hit him back afterwards. Women shouldn’t be let off the hook just because we are women. That’s bullshit. That says don’t hit me I’m vulnerable, when I’m not actually vulnerable.
And it ignores the fact that domestic violence on men is actually quite common. The NHS website says:
Men were victims of just over a quarter of incidents of domestic violence in 2010, according to the British Crime Survey. Find out about the signs of domestic violence, and where to get support if it’s happening to you.
Isn’t the true lesson one of right and wrong, not gender? Don’t violently abuse your partner or loved one if, firstly you’re not having a mutual argument, and secondly if they are not capable of defending themselves. That’s what this comes down to, the fact that hitting someone for no reason is wrong. Whatever gender they are. Treat them as your equal. Not as your possession, and not as someone weaker than you.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand the fact that most domestic abuse is male on female. It’s because violent tendencies are more common in men, and because men are naturally stronger than women. And under no circumstances is it okay for a man to think he has a right to hit his wife because he thinks she’s his. But it’s the principle of just saying ‘don’t hit a woman because she’s a woman’ that annoyed me all of a sudden … Don’t hit a woman because it’s not a nice thing to do as a human being. Especially if she isn’t capable of retaliating. If she is capable of retaliating? If you were arguing and both lost your tempers, both becoming violent? Well then that’s different. Then that depends on your relationship and how happy you are being violent people because the actions of both are reprehensible. Not just those of the man.
Because that would be unfair.
And feminism isn’t about unfairness. It’s about equality.