If anyone is wondering why I all of a sudden have this new interest in feminism, it’s not sudden and it’s not new. If you’ve been to my tumblr, you’ve seen numerous posts of a feminist nature (as well as anti-racist, pro-gay rights, and other idealistic politics) to go with the beauty and the nerdery.
If I had to pinpoint a particular moment when I became a feminist ally, I’d have to say it was my first year in college, at the Take Back The Night rally. Before that, I liked and respected women. (Yes, even in my periods of resentment and bitterness. The liking and respect eventually won out, that’s all.) I considered them equals and friends (or equals and hateful pieces of shit, depending on the woman). And for that reason, I didn’t understand feminism. I didn’t see the need for it. Hadn’t sexism ended in the Seventies?
When I attended that first rally – and I never missed a one in those four years at college – I found out how wrong I was.
The stories there were very much like those you see on the amazing twitter thread #yesallwomen. I learned what women have to go through every day, things that I never even saw because I was a middle-class white male.
Seriously. I recommend that you check out #yesallwomen. The stories will inspire you, like the stories at that long-ago rally inspired me. And if you don’t have time to read a twitter thread hundreds of thousands of posts long (many of them from men showing up to shout the posters down), check out this post at Daily Kos, where some of the best are collected.
I wasn’t necessarily a good ally. Not right away. For some years, my first reaction when something challenged me or hurt my feelings was – as some people on feminist blogs who’ve heard it too many damn times before would say – “What about the menz?”
The internet helped. I kept reading the stories, the reminders that misogyny and oppression of women had somehow managed to continue into the new millennium.
I also learned how to be an ally without making it all about me. If you want some advice on that topic, check this out.
So why have I kept it relatively quiet for so long over here? Part of it is because a lot of the time, I don’t have anything original or useful to say. And that is still going to be an issue going forward. There are a lot of people out there, in the thick of the fight, people who’ve studied up on these issues and watch the politics like hawks. What do I have to offer that compares to that?
Well, I could reblog at least, there is that.
But a big part of it, honestly, has been selfishness. I’m trying to build an audience for my literary work over here, and I don’t want to drive them away with my political rantings. Nor do I want to attract a hoard of New Misogynist trolls to crap all over my comment threads, as they do.
(If you’ve ever seen them descend on a blog post about them, you’d swear that the entire Manosphere has algorithms set up to search out any mention of them online, though I suppose plain old word of mouth can explain it just as well.)
But if this week has shown us anything, it’s that silence is not an acceptable option.