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‘Men’s Anger, Women’s Fear — How Do We Change These Scripts?’

WBUR
May 29th, 2014 by 

A regular contributor to WBUR’s Cognoscenti, Leah Hager Cohen, W.H. Jenks Chair in Contemporary American Letters at the College of the Holy Cross, and acclaimed nonfiction writer and novelist, offers her thoughts on what we do and do not say when it comes to issues of gender inequality in response to the recent murders at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Recalling her emotions as a 16 year old not wanting to kiss a boy in a school play, Cohen explains the lengths she went to in order to avoid doing so, saying she remembers thinking she “was responsible for not letting him feel bad.”

“We live in an era some people blithely call post-feminist. Even the language we attach to certain types of male behavior (‘caveman,’ ‘Neanderthal’) suggests that sexism is, quite literally, a thing of the past,” writes Cohen. “I think my silence around this subject, then and now, is linked to a confused sense that acknowledging any fear regarding what men are capable of would be regressive, shameful. That it might set us back as women. That it might hurt the men we are close to. But of course, I realize as I write this: speaking truth never really sets us back, no more than covering up truth can ever really protect us.”

This is a “Holy Cross in the News” item by Evangelia Stefanakos.

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