The Shitstorm That Is Toxic Fucking Masculinity

Can we just...not?

I mean. Very, very VERY angry. And I don’t have the teeth or claws to go with it. Did you see this fucking garbage?

Just a bunch of men in a classroom setting casually joking about rape, consent (“you could just find one that doesn’t talk”, he says). Here’s someone’s attempt at the transcript if you want to read all of what these dirtbags said. No big deal huh?

I can barely contain my rage. As a woman who has worked in tech for a decade and a half AND someone who has been in the work/corporate world for another decade on top of that, I’ve seen my share of some abhorrent male behavior. And every time, it makes my blood boil anew.

Why?

Because They don’t believe us when we say this shit is rampant. Everywhere. All around us. The default. And we are constantly in rooms where this happens but unless we present evidence, we’re told we’re overreacting and dramatizing and it’s just “harmless”, or asked why we don’t report it.

Then when we do provide the evidence we’re told we can’t take a joke or that it’s being taken out of context or “not all men” are like this. And if we report it? We’re “ruining lives” over “bad decisions” or face retaliation so swift and powerful that our credibility is immediately undermined simply because the Man Mob doesn’t like that we’re asking some of them to be accountable. Just read the comments on that video if you don’t believe me.

The endless impossible circle of gaslighting and circling of the misogyny wagons is complete. Again.

No. No not all men are like this. But enough men are like this that we have every reason to not be able to tell by looking which are the decent ones and which are hot fucking garbage, so THAT is why we can’t go on walks at night. Or why more women don’t pursue careers in tech. Or why we don’t say anything when we experience the casual hand on the ass in an elevator (has happened to me many times) or the drunken come-on at the company event (at least twice) or the degrading comments in a meeting with colleagues or clients (at least three times that I can remember clearly and many more I recall but can’t detail).

But, you know. Just locker room banter, am I right?

While I’m fucking at it…

I fucking hate the word “simp”.

If you’re not familiar, it’s an internet slang term that’s short for “simpering” but that now essentially characterizes someone—usually a man—who is overly nice, sympathetic, or accommodating toward someone they like (and who often doesn’t return said interest or affection). That someone is often (but not always) a woman.

It started as a possibly-justified slight against men who use niceties as a way to manipulate attention that they think they deserve, which is deeply misogynistic in its own right. But it’s unfortunately been co-opted to toss out at literally any man who doesn’t seem to swagger around like a macho dickhead.

What the actual fuck are we doing?

As if it’s not hard enough for men to grow up thinking that emotions or sentiment are fucking useless or, at the very least, that you should never show that you have them. As if it’s not enough for women to constantly be labeled as “needy” or “high maintenance” because they’d like someone (a man, if that’s their thing) to actually communicate fucking affection or emotional thought or even just basic respect toward them. As if it’s not difficult enough in the internet era to fucking demonstrate any shred of vulnerability or accountability (see above) or humanity lest the incels behind keyboards pretend that their testosterone levels aren’t artificially inflated by the size of their Wal-Mart gaming chair…we gotta add this garbage to the mix.

You can’t swing a MAGA hat around the digital sphere without running into the Great Value brand Nazi fucksticks—you know the ones I’m talking about—that call any male with an ounce of intelligence or compassion a “beta male” or a “cuck” (short for cuckold, because of course it fucking is). And so now we’re going to do their fucking jobs for them by being cute and clever and slinging “simp” around as if it’s not just adding to the pile of reasons men behave like fucking troglodytes whenever they feel like they have to prove something?

Quit fucking treating healthy masculinity this way.

Oh, I see you. You sweet little TikTok stars with your middle parts and your dip manicures, talking about how every man on Hinge is trash and then turning around flipping your fucking hair at the “simps” in your mentions or lamenting your own “simp” behavior when you dare to actually fucking appreciate another human.

Then you have the gall to get mad when dudes like this show up in tech classrooms and want to tell yourself you didn’t help create their need to preen and crow and cocksling at every opportunity no matter who it hurts.

I fucking hate it here.

The most masculine (and for that matter interesting) men that I know are strong and vulnerable. Soft and hard. Inquisitive and decisive. Accountable. Willing to put themselves out there and be the rock for others. Curious, compassionate, protective, sensitive, visceral. Would have stood up in that room full of cowards masquerading as men and called them out on their shit immediately.

Words fucking matter. Even the “haha isn’t that cute and internet funny” ones fucking matter. People are watching what you say. Internalizing it. Deciding how to behave based on how other people are going to judge them for that behavior. And you’re trotting out this emasculating refuse that sounds all too close to a slur and only serves to perpetuate the fucking toxic vein of poison that already runs through society’s definitions of what’s fucking masculine enough?

This is how we continue the cycle that gives these ambulatory garbage sacks permission to behave this way in a classroom . A workplace. A home. All in the name of being “men” demonstrating their warped definitions of power and prowess and feeling entitled to their aggression and anger and violation of women with words or actions or both.

Men, come get your boys and believe the women in your life when they tell you that this happens to them. Women, quit demanding better when it suits you and then spitting in the face of it when an evolved version of it actually shows up.

Cut it the fuck out.

Fuck Yeah Friday

I’m being a selfish bitch this week and making FYF about me. Because it’s my fucking newsletter and I can do as I please.

I got a hearing aid this week. For the first time in 40 fucking years, I can hear ALL THE THINGS. I put it off for Reasons, some legit and some not. And I mostly spent the last four decades pretending my hearing loss didn’t affect me much and glossing over all the conversations I missed or the gatherings that were hard and awkward or the meetings that were exhausting or the things I didn’t go to because I knew how hard it would be to participate.

Who knew the world was so fucking loud?

I cried. My audiologist cried. And I can’t wait to buy myself some boss-level headphones and listen to my beloved music in an entirely new way for the first time in forever. I’ll probably cry again. I’m okay with that.

I’m bionic now, bitches. My teenager is mad that I can now hear through the walls. I’m overjoyed that I can hear the birds hanging out on the feeder while I have my coffee. I can’t wait to go out to dinner with friends and be part of the conversation instead of a spectator to it.

Take out the toxic trash this week for me, okay? I’m going to be outside listening to, well, everything.

With love and angst,

Amber