Why I Feminist the way I do

May 12, 2016
Cara Rage, Feminism, My Advice, My Life, Rants

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I haven’t ever really suffered from feminist fatigue before, but this week I definitely felt it. I actually love getting into online arguments with people about sexism, whether it’s convincing someone their way of thinking is harmful or just smashing misogynists with my witty insults (because proper debate with those kinds of turds just ain’t gonna happen). Sometimes I feel frustrated with all of the crap news I read about how shit the world is to women, whether it’s about another woman being killed by a man in Australia or a new statistic proving how broad the wage gap is or whatever… but usually my frustration feeds my passion to continue to help sort the world out.

But dang, when you have a bunch of arguments with people you actually know and who you think are on your side, it becomes a lot harder to turn that frustration into empowerment because it seems like everything you’ve tried to do has fallen on deaf ears or has made others resent you. I’ve recently been told I’m too aggressive, that I’m just a keyboard warrior who does nothing in the real world, that it’s pointless and besides we have it’s good enough now, don’t we? Not just by randoms, this came from family members and people I thought were friends. One person who was kind of a friend and an occasional client of mine had a big rant on facebook about how the new wave of feminism is about hating men, being too aggressive, turning people off and has actually pushed feminism back decades. I couldn’t help but feel like I was one of her targets in this post (maybe I wasn’t, but I’d be shocked if that were the case). So I told her I absolutely disagreed and that being calm and pandering to male ego’s by quietly explaining why feminism matters and how it benefits men too isn’t working any more and being loud, assertive and sometimes aggressive, is the new way forward. She was an arsehole about it, told me I was embarrassing myself so I deleted her as a friend and am quite OK without her in my life.

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But it still bummed me out. How many other friends think this way about me but just don’t say anything? Why do people react so badly to women standing up for themselves and yet don’t seem to mind the abuse women face every damn day, particularly online? How the hell are we meant to be polite and calm in the face of dudebro’s telling us that feminism is ruining the world, that we have the right to vote and own property now, what else do we need? That we literally exist for their pleasure and that it’d be better if we just shut up, spread our legs and make them dinner afterwards? That we provoked our own rapes for wearing the wrong outfit, for being out late at night, for enjoying a few drinks? That domestic violence is either deserved or affects men more or is just a myth perpetuated my angry lesbian feminists? Or just having everything undermined from some privileged manchild who loves playing devil’s advocate, insists you’re overreacting, that men experience the same thing or acts like your lived experience isn’t actually real because he’s never experienced it himself.

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Look, I know the sort of feminism I’m into can be confrontational to those who’ve not seen it before. I fully acknowledge and accept that it’s not for everyone. In fact I started off thinking kindly explaining it to people, being patient and kind in my discussions was the best course of action in my pursuit of women’s right. After all, you get more flies with honey than vinegar, right? But it’s been proven time and time again that this isn’t working for me. Being polite and considerate of men’s feelings can so often be taken as weakness. So one of these “discussions” would go on forever with me not making any progress and ol’ mate thinking he won because he out-debated me. And if ever I snapped and yelled at them my entire argument would be thrown out because I suddenly became irrational, too emotional and swore which GOD FORBID women ever do!

So now I start off angry when I encounter this misogynistic trolls. We live in an age where Google exists, the internet is literally everywhere around us. Men who ask pedantic questions about why feminism is still needed are being wilfully ignorant, they just want to piss you off with their ceaseless questioning, so that we’ll get bored or annoyed and give up. Men who deny such things about the epidemic of male violence against women, the wage gap, workplace sexism and harassment, cat calling, death/rape threats online and everything else that feminists are fighting against are purposely ignoring actual evidence from women and proven research (y’know, science) because acknowledging it means they have to admit world kinda sucks for women and they need to give up some of their privileges in order to help make things better. If anyone is able to argue with these kinds of people without getting angry and becoming aggressive and swearing, then you rock! Keep it up! This movement needs all different types of fighters involved and that absolutely includes those who keep calm and measured in their discussions. But that no longer works for me and I refuse to be silenced or feel shame because I am a loud, shouty woman who wants to rid the world of harmful sexism!

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I’ve been called a Social Justice Warrior times than I care to recall, and I love it. Damn straight I am! I will never, ever stop fighting against social injustices. Not just against women either. I am passionate about injustices against people of colour, LGBTI+ people, the poor, people with disabilities and the poor souls stuck in detention centres around Australia. I admit, a lot of my activism happens online, but that’s where I find myself a lot. If and when opportunities arise where my activism is needs out in the “real” world, well I’ll be there too! I will not stop being a passionate, angry person. It’s who I am and I know my message is being received by some people. Just this morning I got the most wonderful text from a friend who said she’d been listening to what I’ve been saying (both online and in face-to-face conversations) and confronted a man for being a rude pig to her while at work. If she didn’t know me, she probably would have just ignored him and felt awful about it later, but I helped her stand up for herself and give her a shot of confidence against entitled men who think they’re allowed to say whatever they like to women. It may be a small drop in the ocean in the grand scheme, but it meant the world to me and I know I’ve helped other people too. So no, I will not stop being the kind of feminist I am. It may not be for you, and that’s fine, but I don’t want to hear your opinions about it. If it pisses you off so much you’re free to stop engaging with me, to delete me off facebook, avoid spending time with me or whatever makes your life easier. But if you like/love me and want to be in my life, then you have to accept this part of me. And I’m not sorry about it.

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  • I’ve had this feeling so often. Like people are tired of you pointing out injustices etc because then they have to acknowledge and maybe even act on them. Feminism can be exhausting in so many levels.

  • Kassy

    I peronsally don’t handle confrontation well so I’m that one in the corner quietly discussing these topics but heck yes if you can be the voice I can’t be.
    but I will always stand for women’s rights and recently it got me in a heated debate with a co-worker who said had a Facebook status
    ‘Fuck the extreme feminists agenda, they don’t want equality they want to rule. Go away you silly bitches, hi five to the feminists doing it right’
    I was flabbergasted and this was the first time I’d ever spoken up on social media about something because this disgusted me to my core because I interacted with this personal daily.
    I responded ‘how do you know what the extreme feminist agenda is? do you know anyone who identifies as such?’
    I got a reply
    ‘Go away’
    I replied ‘it’s nonchalant ‘joke’ statuses like this that send the wrong message about feminism, that put back said ‘agenda’ by miles’
    the final reply
    ‘I said hi five to the feminists doing it properly, go away, you don’t sound smart, you sound dumb’
    I couldn’t believe what I just read
    I believed if you were willing to make such a statement you would be open to discussion but I was brushed to the side and ‘dumb’
    Now I really knew how this person felt about women and I never spoke to them unless it was absolutely necessary again.
    I was hurt, I thought this person respected me, they clearly didn’t and then I wondered how many other people I considered peers thought the same thing.
    So I started openly discussing ‘cat calling / tatt calling’ with my team
    What it’s like when I walk down the street in a skirt vs pants
    When my tattoos are visable / when they aren’t
    And I had two young men working with me one day and one responded ‘well my friend (male) works in a cafe and he had this mother and daughter customer and the mother just kept pestering him for his number to give to the daughter it got so bad he had to get someone else to serve them, it’s so bad!’
    My response ‘OK, I see how that would be annoying, by try that on a daily basis, multiple times a day’
    But they couldn’t grasp it, I don’t know how else to explain it. Maybe you there getting fired up would work
    I’m not sure if I was getting to a point haha but I also find I don’t have a voice to share these stories probably because of my fear of confrontation
    So thanks for sticking up for us when not all of us can do so, so loudly.

  • The problem is, when you challenge people like this, they’re rarely open to listening and learning. They react badly and they lash out, get mean and become stubborn and refuse to engage. So I absolutely understand why most people don’t have the means or ability to fire back. It’s confronting, hurtful and sometimes scary! But that’s why I do it, because I like being a voice for those who can’t find theirs, or if it’s being drowned out by the shouting of ignorant people. It’s a weird skill I have where I can verbally fight really well and can easily ignore all of the nasty stuff people throw at me, but it’s taken years of practice and experience!

    You did really good sticking up to that guy, it would have been a miracle if he’d reacted well but at least you challenged him! Hopefully he’s had a think about it, or at the very least someone else saw your conversation and changed their mind about this topic. That’s super important. Fighting with ignorant arses doesn’t usually change them but it can impact other people who witness it for the better!