This afternoon, after a lunch break spent in this gorgeous September sunshine, a colleague called me over to her desk. “We’ve had a message sent to the business Facebook page,” she said, and I immediately knew what it was going to be about.
The day before, I’d been arguing with a guy about tampon tax on the Facebook comments of an article. His comments were derogatory, dismissive, and just generally misogynistic. I called him out, as did many others, and called him a “fucking wankstain”. Not my most intelligent moment, I admit, but it is an altogether true statement.
The guy’s response to the numerous women calling him out? To contact our places of work and study, in an attempt to get us “into trouble” for daring to speak against him. I had allowed my current place of work to be private on my profile, foolishly believing that nobody would be so disgusting as to attempt to ruin my career for my stance on feminism, for fighting for equality.
That has now been rectified. I am known as the resident feminist here, and, thankfully, my employers saw it for what it was, and the colleague who discovered the posts is discreet. But others might not be so lucky. This approach to silencing women is harmful and toxic. How dare someone think they can attempt to ruin aspects of a woman’s life simply for speaking out?
Militant: favouring confrontational or violent methods in support of a political or social cause.
I don’t favour violence, but I do have a confrontational approach to calling out sexism. Just as Holly Bourne wrote about in What’s A Girl Gotta Do?, women are becoming more vocal, more aggressive, less intimidated. I will confront sexism. I will face it head-on and scream in its face. I will continue to stand up in the face of derision, aggression, sighs and threats. They threw the Suffragettes in prison, tortured them, force-fed them, took away their dignity, all because they dared to demand equal voting rights. Throughout history, men have humiliated and hurt women for “stepping out of line.” And Queen Victoria had nothing positive to say about feminism:
“I am most anxious to enlist everyone who can speak or write to join in checking this mad, wicked folly of ‘Women’s Rights’, with all its attendant horrors, on which her poor feeble sex is bent, forgetting every sense of womanly feelings and propriety. Feminists ought to get a good whipping. Were woman to ‘unsex’ themselves by claiming equality with men, they would become the most hateful, heathen and disgusting of beings and would surely perish without male protection.”
I am hateful. I am full of hate towards those who practice sexism. I gladly “unsex” myself in the name of the cause. And I assure you, that I have not perished without male protection. I feel sorry for women like Queen Victoria, whose internal sexism stopped her from achieving what we have already achieved, what we still seek to achieve – equality. She may have been a queen, but she was certainly not in power.
And to the men (and women) who seek to hurt and humiliate feminists, I say, nice try. Do you really think that I will give up on fighting against sexism if you get me disciplined or even fired for speaking out? Do you really think you can bully and harass women into shutting up? Being a vocal woman and feminist in this age of social media is dangerous, but no more so than it was for the Suffragettes, or any other feminist movement. Women are raped, killed, beaten, discriminated against, and face sexism every single day. And it is for this reason that I will never give up the fight.