This is not a post that I am looking forward to sharing. However, my mind has been racing over the last couple of days and I think this is the only way I can get some peace and quiet in my brain.
In the last month or so I have been making an effort to not just scroll past or sit back when I see sexist remarks being made. The reason for this is simply that I want things to change and last time I checked, sitting back, being silent and sometimes even laughing along doesn’t have much of an impact. I know; I’ve tried it for 24 years.
I am not here to argue with anyone about feminism as being valid and necessary. That argument is stale and even worse it gets in the way of actually making progress and thinking about how we can be more accepting and inclusive people. If you don’t believe that women and men get discriminated against based on their gender then this is not the post for you. There are tonnes of really well researched articles out there about the forms in which sexism can take and statistics that can demonstrate the pervasiveness of it. Google it.
What I want to know is why people still insist on derailing any efforts made to bring awareness to issues surrounding feminism and sexism in general. As a man, if you haven’t personally been involved in the act or behaviour being discussed, does that mean it never happens? As a woman, you may not have personally experienced it either, but that does that mean lots of other women haven’t?
I hate to break it to you, but feminism is not a conspiracy theory. A bunch of people didn’t get together and plan what we should all say so we get sympathy, support or a headstart. Or at least if that’s how it began, then it definitely back-fired because that virtually never happens.
The reason that many women band together over these issues is because so many of us have experienced sexist behaviour that make us feel unsafe and dehumanized on a startlingly regular basis. If you ask your female friends when was the last time they were approached by a stranger or made to feel uncomfortable, you’ll probably be astounded at the number of instances they can rattle off.
How many times have you been groped without permission? And how did that make you feel? How many times have you felt incapable of doing something because of your sex and how frustrating was that? Have you ever felt like what you wear or look like is more important than who you are as a person? Everyone should have the right to express themselves, feel safe and not be judged based on something they have no control over.
That’s all I want. Oh and also to not spend the next 20 years of my life being asked what I plan to do with my womb or why I am not doing anything with said womb.
It’s not about women being better than men or vice versa. Feminism doesn’t even exist to make men into villains. The criticism is of the system and structures that have allowed the oppressive and discriminatory behaviour to be normalized. Unfortunately that involves calling out the actions when they occurr.
The difficulty with a movement that potentially involves 50% of the population, is that you are going to get some bad eggs in there and it goes both ways. There are people who have misconstrued ideas about what feminism really means or who it includes. But please don’t decide that that’s a good enough reason to not listen to people’s stories and be someone who stands up for others rather than knocking them down a peg just because you can.
If you really, really don’t believe me (and this is not for the fainthearted) have a read of the comments of any video involving a female talk about women’s rights. It’s down-right scary. Imagine being on the receiving end of violent threats because you are advocating against a lot of that violence. It’s messed up, and it will stay that way as long as we are still fighting to be believed rather than listened to.
There is so much more I could say on this topic. I already feel pretty vulnerable for having said this much but I am 100% open to discussion if it is coming from a place of real interest and engagement,
Peace and love badasses