Friday, March 18, 2016

Every. Single. Day.

The Guerrilla Girls recently did a "Takeover the Twin Cities" campaign here in Minneapolis. I was fortunate to attend a talk two of them gave at the State Theatre. Given the current climate for women in America, I took it as a sign that they were here and jumped at the opportunity to hear them speak. I'm so glad I did.

In addition to my drawing/fine art I am also a fiber artist and quilter as many of you know. A few months back, I wrote a piece about the inequality between male and female quilters for my IndieQuilter blog, which you can read here if you're so inclined. (There was one commentor who I finally had to block all comments from as they were over the line - he's the one that told me to kill myself. I did not censor anyone else.) I knew ahead of time that there was a chance I'd receive some negative remarks. I didn't fully anticipate the level a few of them would take it to however, including telling me I should just kill myself. (Spoiler alert, I didn't do it.)

I was told that feminists are just too angry. That feminism is vitriolic. That feminism isn't needed, women just need to work harder. It's women's fault because we use our "wiles". I was told that pay inequality is bullshit and isn't real. I was told that rape culture isn't real. I was even "informed" that I have it totally wrong and that in fact, it's MEN who are at the disadvantage these days. (Also, believe me, it wasn't just men saying these things to me.)

I also received many private emails from women that told me they agree with me, but can't publicly support me, because they are afraid of backlash.

Then there were the people that never spoke up, or to me at all that really surprised me. People that I'm pretty sure agree with me and didn't have the ladyballs to say something publicly OR privately. People that you think are supportive friends until shit gets real I suppose.

Much to the chagrin of many of the angry and yes hateful commenters the entire experience has actually served to strengthen my resolve to be MORE vocal and active about the issue. So when you see that every single day, I post at least once about women's issues and you get annoyed and/or ask why I have to bring it up all the time, here is why:

Because as women, we have no choice but to deal with the issues every single day. Every. Single. Day. We face it sometimes at home, at work, online, watching TV, listening to music, reading magazines, etc. We face it when we walk on a public sidewalk, and are catcalled and have to quickly assess the risk we are at and what our reaction should be.

We face it when we are out with friends dancing, and have to guard our drinks at all times for fear of being drugged and taken advantage of.

We face it when we go to college as young girls and face a statistic that says 1 in 4 of us will be raped during four years of college. 90% of those raped on a college campus won't report it. The 10% that do report it will likely be questioned whether or not they somehow did something to cause the rape, and most likely won't see their rapist serve any time and likely will still have to see them on campus.

So the next time you ask a women, why she's always posting about or concerned about women's rights and rape, why she has to remind you and talk about it every day, maybe you should realize that it's because it is something we have to think about and worry about every single day. Perhaps if EVERYONE thought about these things, and spoke up in support of women every single day things would get better and help up to move from needing to bring it to your attention.

Speaking up does change things. It can change attitudes. Men speaking up against other men saying misogynistic comments often times shuts that jerk down. When society as a whole starts to reject and call people on their sexist bullshit, we will start to see less and less of it.

So be part of the difference. Be part of making the lives of your moms, sisters, daughters, aunts, coworkers, etc. safer. Men, make YOUR voices heard. Reshare feminist posts calling attention to women's issues. Show other men in your life the example of being a real man. We need you!

1 comment:

Sue Rutford said...

You go! I was kind of worried for a while that younger women had given up on feminism but you give me hope!