women do not have to
  • be thin
  • cook for you
  • have long hair
  • wear makeup
  • be feminine 
  • be graceful
  • have sex with you
  • shave
  • diet
  • be fashionable
  • wear pink
  • love men
  • listen to your bullshit
Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.
Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl. For a long time Cool Girl offended me. I used to see men – friends, coworkers, strangers – giddy over these awful pretender women, and I’d want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them. I’d want to grab the poor guy by his lapels or messenger bag and say: The bitch doesn’t really love chili dogs that much – no one loves chili dogs that much! And the Cool Girls are even more pathetic: They’re not even pretending to be the woman they want to be, they’re pretending to be the woman a man wants them to be. Oh, and if you’re not a Cool Girl, I beg you not to believe that your man doesn’t want the Cool Girl. It may be a slightly different version – maybe he’s a vegetarian, so Cool Girl loves seitan and is great with dogs; or maybe he’s a hipster artist, so Cool Girl is a tattooed, bespectacled nerd who loves comics. There are variations to the window dressing, but believe me, he wants Cool Girl, who is basically the girl who likes every fucking thing he likes and doesn’t ever complain. (How do you know you’re not Cool Girl? Because he says things like: “I like strong women.” If he says that to you, he will at some point fuck someone else. Because “I like strong women” is code for “I hate strong women.”)
—  Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

the girls you read about, the girls you admire and long to be like, the girls that inspire you - they break down. i promise you. hermione granger, malala yousafzai, elizabeth bennet, jo march, katherine johnson - they all have broken down. they have had moments, days, even weeks, where they wanted to give up, to let go, to settle. even if it’s not written in the pages, i promise you that it happened.
there is no shame in falling on your knees before you pick up the sword.

you are not weak for breaking down. that is where strength comes from.

5

A woman came forward and pointed out her assaulter because she believed that it was her civic duty.

A woman came forward with her allegations after years of getting therapy for the trauma she had experienced as a child.

A woman came forward despite how scared she was to face her assaulter in front of a nation.

A woman came forward and made a testament in front of a committee as the whole world watch, despite the hate and death threats she was getting.

A woman came forward and spoke up about her assault, about what her accuser had done in detail, and had thousands upon thousands of people standing by her. Supporting her. Believing her.

And yet,

many people still did not listen.

many people still called her a liar.

many people still threatened her.

many people still supported her abuser.

many people still believed the word of a man over the word of a woman. Of a victim.

Next time you think men are the victims and women have everything to gain by speaking up about their assault, please explain to me when you have ever seen that to be the case.

All I see is that a women spoke up about her sexual assault, and yet she was pushed aside and ignored as her abuser was granted a lifetime position in the highest court in the country.

All I see is an abuser has been appointed to a position in which he would be able to further control women and their rights to their own bodies.

All I see is another reason why women are so frightened to and believe that they shouldn’t speak up about their assault.

Because it wouldn’t matter.

Because nothing would happened.

Because you failed her.