An Open Letter To Every Man Who Has Ever Told Me How To Do My Job Here

Caitlin Johnstone
5 min readJan 4, 2018

I wrote the word “man” in the title for a reason. It is only ever men who demonstrate the behavior I’ll be discussing here, without a single solitary exception.

I have never had a woman tell me that I’m a smart girl, but I need to use less profanity because it’s off-putting. I have never had a woman tell me that I’ve got a lot of potential but I really need to change my approach to journalism. I have never had a woman tell me that she likes how I write but I need to stop talking about Russiagate/politics/Democrats/feminism/conspiracy/whatever so much. Women will disagree with me vehemently on an ideological or issue-by-issue basis, call me every name in the book, accuse me of being a Nazi or a Kremlin propagandist, but only men have ever demonstrated a sense of entitlement to my actual career and overall creative output.

I’m sure the potential exists in women to exhibit this kind of entitlement over another woman’s writing career; surely it’s possible. I’ve just never met one who has yet. Rarely a day goes by where I don’t see a man in my notifications doing this, though.

Not all men do this, but the only people who ever do this are men.

And I’d like to use my platform here to bring some consciousness to this dynamic.

As we’ve discussed previously, a woman’s sexuality is intimately tied to her creativity. It’s her spark and her spunk, her courage to shine big and bright and beautiful, which is why rape has a “dimming” effect on the lives of its victims. Our sexuality was attacked, and our creativity retreats inward like a sea anemone.

There is not a doubt in my mind that this is inseparable from the vastly disproportionate amount of entitlement that men clearly feel over a woman’s creative output. It feels rapey. A man trying to insert himself into a position of control over my creativity scares the same parts of me as the men who’ve felt entitled to my body did.

There’s a man in leftist circles with a relatively high profile who as soon as I showed up on the scene began closely monitoring and commenting on every little thing I said and did online. I blocked him nearly a year ago without knowing who he was, because his uninvited authoritative micromanaging of my writing gave me the creeps. To this day he makes attempts to contact me and I get messages and notifications from people alerting me that he still monitors my career and routinely smears me publicly for things I’ve written.

This man shall for now remain nameless since drama is an energy drain, but I’ve never experienced anything remotely like this from a woman. There are women who hate everything about me, who are still angry with me about things I wrote months ago, but there are none who have ever tried to dominate me and control the direction in which I take my career.

I’m going to start pushing back on this more going forward, fellas. I don’t know if it’s something anyone’s written about before or if the dynamic has been given a name I’ve not yet heard of, but it’s clearly profoundly unhealthy and needs consciousness to be brought to it.

I don’t have access to any kind of exclusive platform. I have a Medium account, a Twitter account, a Facebook account, and a website I started a few weeks ago. If you want something written, you have just as many tools as I have for writing it. The only thing you don’t have is my creativity, and that doesn’t belong to you. Hands off.

Female sexuality needs to be given space in our society so it can find its voice. For millennia women were held as functional property with no influence over the construction and spread of human civilization, and now we find ourselves thrust into pseudo-equality in a world we had no hand in building that is already on the brink of destruction. Still reeling from hundreds of generations of sexual slavery, we are trying to get in touch with our authentic sexuality to get our creative legs underneath us enough to help rescue our species from extinction, and if our creativity remains stifled by the unhealthy habits of male sexuality our voices will remain muffled.

By all means feel free to disagree with us as ferociously as you like, but please don’t try to exert control over the kinds of things we talk about and the direction of our creative interests, my brothers. It’s rapey and unwholesome, and it’s throwing a stumbling block in the path toward our finding ourselves.

As I said, I’m unaware of any writings on this subject in feminist thought, so if anyone’s seen any please pass them my way so I can get a better read on this creativity-controlling dynamic thing. I also welcome any thoughts or experiences women care to share on the matter, especially writers and artists. Thank you.


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