I’m Not “Brave”; You’re just a Pussy

This is a new essay by the brave Dr. Naomi Wolf, someone who I do not agree with on many political issues, but someone who at this time in our history is saying many, many important and brave things. She did not spell out “pussy” she used “P—y”, but since I am The Inmate and do not have the class or intelligence of Dr. Wolf I will risk being crass and uncouth. The subtitle of her essay is:

On courage. And on the DMs that I am sent that seek to justify cowardice, at a time when some bravery is needed from us all.

The essay is essentially about the direct messages that she has been receiving from people she knows telling her how brave she is to be doing what she’s doing and explaining to her why they can’t, for various reasons, be brave like she is. It usually revolves around their bosses not agreeing with them saying such things or receiving blowback from their colleagues. Wolf is surprised that it usually doesn’t even involve having to pay bills. Wolf is a feminist but defends her use of the word pussy:

Don’t get me wrong. I know the gender politics around ever using the epithet above. Everyone who has read my work knows that, being a woman, I have great respect for women, and for their bodies, and I understand that one does not throw around this epithet lightly or ignorantly or in a misogynist way.

But truly in such a moment of historic-level cowardice among some privileged and influential people, no other epithet will do. [emphasis mine]

I agree. Now is the time to step up. If not now, when? Wolf asked some others why she was getting these messages from people, mostly men, by the way. She said they laughed and said:

They want you to tell them it is ok.

It’s not okay. Think of how many people who know what is going on who are saying nothing. I think in particular of doctors who are too afraid of losing their jobs or their reputations, which, ironically, the latter has already been thoroughly lost these last couple of years. Think of the police in Canada who arrested and threatened their own citizens because they were just doing their jobs. It is sickening. Wolf explains who these people are who praise her for her bravery:

It casts the people who do take risks for the wellbeing of others, as being somehow naturally better-fitted for this difficult job than is the speaker. It’s a form of offloading one’s own responsibility guiltlessly onto a subgroup which is assigned the status of somehow liking the battle, or somehow fitted better for combat, by nature, than is the speaker himself.

It’s like all those guys I knew in college who never did the dishes after dinner, because they said they were really bad at it.

I don’t know anyone truly heroic who likes the current battle. But I think that most could not live with themselves if they walked away from doing what they know they can do to help — in a moment in which obvious right and wrong have not been clearer since 1941.

This is such a good essay. I pray that it motivates many who have been silent to speak up. It is necessary that a lot of people speak up. We need massive civil disobedience. Wolf writes:

The problem is that we are now in a time when it really matters if a lot of people resist all at once. This decision whether or not to speak up makes the difference, when it scales, between freedom or servitude forever. [emphasis mine]

Tyrannies only fall when there is mass resistance.

This is an excellent, excellent essay. Please read the whole thing, you will not regret it.

Read Dr. Naomi Wolf’s Full Essay »

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