All worked up on adrenaline

Rebecca Solnit shared a discouraging story of random misogynist aggression from Mary Diaz:

Driving through the back roads this morning I was enjoying the energy of this pack of road bikers in front of me taking up 2/3 of the lane. Until one of them yelled into my open window “You fucking stupid cunt!” I was driving slow as I passed on the left and there were at least 30 men in this group – wasn’t sure how to navigate around them so I’d slowed down as I passed. A mile or so later I pulled over when I realized his comment had left me shaking. Then there they were pulled up across the street stopping for a break…

So she went over to talk to the leader about the random misogynist aggression.

The pack leader interjected “aww come on hon…don’t get emotional…didn’t mean anything by it… just a bunch of guys…all worked up on adrenaline….wasn’t personal…” And there it was my anger and it was clear and sharp. I pointed at him and said “YOU do not call me ‘hon.’ YOU do not tell me not to be emotional. You think you’re allowed to get emotional and verbally assault a stranger and then deny them the right to react?” He stammered dumbly but I kept going not quite as shaky “Whoever said that…you hurt me. I want you to know that your words had an impact.” I felt completely ridiculous right then but he tried once again muttering about guys and their egos and getting caught up in the intensity (of the ride)…competition and anyway it was just a joke…

Nope, calling a woman “You fucking stupid cunt!” out of the blue is not a joke. Between friends it could be, but between total strangers passing on a road it could not. She told him that and some more and went back to her car.

As I pulled out one of the men peddled up grabbing my open window and looked me all the way in the eyes. “It was me…who said it. I’m sorry. Thank you for slowing down…I get worked up sometimes. I’m sorry I hurt your feelings.” And he was. So I said thank you awkwardly and drove away.

What I find so discouraging about that is the utter randomness and lack of motivation. People on my wall are saying he was angry, but that’s not in the story – they’re reading it in. In the story he simply shouted it at her for no reason. Maybe he was tired and hitting a wall, so he called a random passing woman a fucking stupid cunt. Or maybe it was something else in his head, but whatever it was is not in the story. All we have in the story is a man exploding with misogynist loathing at a total stranger for no reason. That kind of thing makes me think we’re all doomed. Melting glaciers, and misogyny that will never die.

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