Hell Hath No Fury

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, according to William Congreve’s The Mourning Bride. Maybe. Hell’s real rival, though, is a woman who got enough love in her childhood.

Watch the f#&k out for her.

A woman who got enough love in her childhood knows her worth. She’s been raised on a steady diet of “You matter” and “You’re smart and good enough” and “No one is better than you.” A woman with that kind of background might as well be a warrior ninja. In a way, she is.

I got enough love in my childhood. No one owns me, and my decisions are my own.

I got enough love in my childhood. Every night when I went to sleep, do you know what hung above me? A framed, hand-crafted picture my mother cross-stitched with an evergreen and my name and its supposed meaning: “Megan, strong and able.”

I am both those things.

I got enough love in my childhood. My father used to sit on the floor with me, playing Barbies with me, listening to the dialogue and stories I invented for the dolls, indulging my imagination and investing time in me because I mattered to him.

I got enough love in my childhood, and that makes me a threat. My knowledge of my own worth threatens people who treat women as less than. Men’s fear of women and our power is an interesting thing. We don’t examine this enough. Men across centuries and cultures have put up a whole bunch of defenses. Against women. And why would they do that?

Why, indeed.

You put defenses up when you’re frightened. The things that scare us preoccupy us. If you hike in the backcountry in Yellowstone, you carry bear spray, because bears are powerful and can kill you. Bears are scary, so you take precautions.

When you white-water raft, you wear a life-jacket and maybe a helmet, because rapids are unpredictable and swift; they can turn a raft over and crush you against rocks.

When you hear about Zika, you douse yourself in mosquito repellent, because viruses terrify us, and microcephaly terrifies us more.

And when you’re terrified of women, you prevent little girls from attending school. You deny women and girls literacy. You concoct rules about dress and conduct and apply them to one gender only. You put up defenses.

When you’re terrified of women, you declare nonsense like, “Only men can vote.” You pay women less. You dismiss their ideas as silly. You tell them they’re “emotional,” as if your own emotion (see: terror) were not driving you to oppress. You pit women against one another, cultivating and encouraging “cat fights” and “drama.”

You build defenses and throw energy into holding down women and girls because you fear us.

I got enough love in my childhood, and my sisters got enough love in their childhoods, and my nieces are getting enough love in their childhoods, and we are the warrior ninjas you fear. Together with women who didn’t get enough love in their childhoods but who are making up for it now, we dismantle patriarchy. Hell hath no fury.

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