I’ve spent the last couple of days watching my social media explode. Watching my friends and the women I love and women I look up to express their anger, their fury. For Sarah Everard. For the hellfire systems we live in. For the constant injustices we’re forced to swallow. But also for each other. For solidarity. For sisterhood. To make sure everyone knows they are seen. And heard. They’ve all written so eloquently and openly, it’s been a balm to my own fury. But I haven’t shared any of my own words yet. I’ve been wondering what else do I have to add to the conversation? Everything I’ve read, I’ve resonated with. I’ve felt it, deeply. But I can’t do it any more articulately. Would my voice just be more repetitive noise to an already very loud situation? Did I have anything new to say?
And then I realised it.
That’s the fucking point. You don’t need a new angle, you just need to show up. With your truth and your anger and your experience. Because we’ve all experienced this bullshit. On a daily basis. Our whole goddamn lives. This is not an isolated incident. This particular case was the worst kinds of extreme and horrifically insidious. But it stems from somewhere. It all weaves up from an unshakeable belief that men feel superior in this world. Because this world was built by you and for you. And I don’t need to hear any of this shit about ‘not all men’. Give me a fucking break. Because if it’s not you, that’s fantastic. Now what are you doing everyday to be a feminist and stand up for women and call out bullshit? You’re not off the hook, far from it. You saying it’s ‘shocking’ or ‘appalling’ just isn’t going to cut it anymore. It’s not shocking, it’s our reality. You should not be shocked by this. Because it isn’t surprising. And women are being brainwashed into feeling numb to it because it’s easier, it’s a quieter life. Stay in your place. They’re not even being allowed their fucking fury. What you’ve seen the last couple of days is the women you know taking their power back. So fucking sit up and listen. Every tiny story or memory adds together to create the whole. It’s the seemingly insignificant cases that we actually need to begin with. Because it’s inherent belief systems and mentalities that we need to challenge and alter. Women are not being dramatic. They are giving you the fucking roadmap on how to change the world. But we can’t do it alone.
When I was fifteen, my mum would tell me to text her when I got to my friends house. Let me know you’re safe. I’d inevitably meet my friends, become an excited adolescent and the text would completely slip my mind. I was a kid. She was being too overprotective. I’m fine. Twenty minutes after my scheduled arrival my mum would call or text me and I’d instantly feel guilty. I’m sorry, I’m safe, I forgot, I’ll see you later. But the actual problem there is that mothers don’t feel safe letting their daughters do a ten minute walk in a quiet suburb to their friends house in broad fucking daylight. And that’s just day one of being a woman. Grab a pen, kid, here’s your crash course:
Don’t drink too much it’s sloppy. Don’t drink too little you’ll be a prude. Don’t wear that short skirt, slut. Don’t wear boys clothes, lesbian whore. Don’t talk to strangers it leads them on. Don’t ignore people you look stuck up. Don’t walk home in the dark. Don’t walk home in the day. Don’t walk home through parks. Don’t run through parks. Oh but don’t get in a taxi. Don’t get a late bus alone. Don’t be alone. Don’t be in heels. Don’t be in trainers. Don’t smile. Don’t speak. Don’t think. Don’t breathe.
It’s a goddamn minefield.
Your shock is not welcome here. And neither is your intentional ignorance. These experiences that women are telling you about are not shocking. They’re the tip of the fucking iceberg. And your shock won’t help the Everard family. But your actions will help women everywhere.
And I’m just furious. This was a stream of consciousness post and I’m not wanting to make it pretty. This is how I feel. I’m sorry if it alienates you or you find it harsh but idgaf. I’m sick and tired of feeling exhausted. I’m tired of explaining things to people. I’m bored of you not understanding the lived experience of women when we tell you about it all goddamn day. And this is me speaking as a privileged cishet white woman. I can’t even imagine the added struggles and fears of my trans sisters, my sisters of colour, my sisters with disabilities. But I can put in the work to listen and change my behaviour. And so can you. We shouldn’t need to be your daughters, sisters, mothers, girlfriends for you to care. You need to call out your male friends every day. Whenever they say anything problematic. Because it’s all insidiously linked together. Oh what, you don’t want to be seen as a killjoy? Can’t take a joke? Too sensitive? Well, quite honestly, get over yourself. You would never make it as a woman with skin that thin. Realise that this is not about you, but it is up to you to change sexism in any tiny way you can. If you can post an IWD picture of your mum and sister the other day but you can’t call yourself a feminist then think about why. What are you fucking scared of? Cos unfortunately we can’t do it without you. Why do you think nothing changes? Because we police girls instead of educating boys. So let’s do some fucking educating.
Pussy Whipped – Bikini Kill (Yes, I’m putting an entire album today. Go listen to this excellent, angry riot grrrl shouting if you need to blow off some steam. And women, please take care of yourselves. If you feel helpless or hopeless, I get it. I feel it too. But we don’t give up. That’s not who we are. You are magic.)
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