International Women’s Day was yesterday, and reading all the thoughtful, inspiring posts about how cool women are has made me want to be a better woman. So this year, I’ve compiled a list of IWD resolutions to help me on that path:
1 – Stop saying “I love men”
I’m done with prefacing any feminist point I want to make with “I love men though”. It’s not something I do all the time, but there are occasions, even in conversations with other feminists, where I feel the need to justify my comments with some variation of #notallmen.
For example, the topic of DV. I can say something like “men are much more likely to perpetrate domestic violence against their partners”, and I’m so used to the argument that “not all men are violent” that I’ll preface it with “There are some really great men out there”, or end with “although I know there are a lot of men out there who would never think about hurting a partner.”
Seriously, fuck that. It’s not a secret that I have male friends, or that I have sex with men. I already demonstrate respect for men in my day to day life without having to bang on about it, and I’ve never argued that all men act in a certain way. If I can’t talk about a feminist issue without someone responding “but not all men…” or something of that ilk, I’m not going to agree. I’m not going to engage in conversations where I have to verbally convince people of my demonstrated actions.
2 – Hold men to a higher standard
On IWD, my feed was full of articles about Married at First Sight, in which two guys stood back while a group of men said horrible things about a woman. Later, the two guys discussed with their “wives” about how disgusted they were by the men and the comments they had made. The mere act of these guys not partaking in bullying was met with “OH MY GOD THESE GUYS ARE HEROES!” by internet feminists.
No. Doing the bare minimum (ie not being a fuckwit) isn’t enough for me to congratulate you. I understand that men who say things in defence of women are considered pussy-whipped wusses – that there are reasons why men don’t stand up to other men in a group. But I also know what it’s like to be the one girl that a group of men ridicule, and the men who stand back and say fuck all in response to that mean nothing to me. They may not actually contribute to the problem, but they don’t help women.
This is only one example. There are many ways that we congratulate guys for not being a fuckwit, rather than for actually helping us. And I’m done with all of them.
3 – Don’t put up with men who talk over me
Something that I have a major issue with is when I’m talking to a man, or there’s a group of men, and they either cut you off or ignore you when you try to argue with them. This not only happens when men talk about feminism – sometimes I’ll be in a conversation about a subject that I have a degree in OR I’ve read extensively about, and men will have very little regard for it. Sometimes I end up losing self confidence over it, even though all I’ve done is try to express an opinion.
So, I’ve come up with a step-by-step process in dealing with these people, which I believe will help me curb these feelings:
- If in a situation where someone OR a group of someones disregards my opinion, leave.
- If placed back in that situation (i.e. I leave the conversation and Dude follows me like “hey I still have a 3000 word essay of opinions you haven’t heard yet”), say “No. I don’t care about your opinion because you don’t care about mine. Please leave me alone.”
- If Dude refuses to take “No” as an answer, start screeching. Or start singing Cher’s Believe. Do anything loud and obnoxious enough to get them to leave you alone and gives 0 fucks about what anyone thinks of you. Which leads me to…
4 – Accept rational feelings as valid
If someone says or does something fucked up, and I get upset or angry about it, there’s a part of me that feels shame for those feelings. Sometimes I wish I could be more chill, and always meet misogynistic comments with snarky wit, but the truth is I do get hurt from time to time by other’s comments or actions that range from ignorant to outright cruel.
Now I’m older, I realise that it’s a totally natural response to feel upset if someone hurts your feelings. The patriarchy uses women’s emotional responses against them – to make them seem hysterical or irrational – for any display of negative emotion. But having an emotional response is part of being human! Feeling fear can keep us alive. Feeling hurt can help steer us away from hurtful people. Feeling angry can motivate us not to tolerate the bullshit of others. Emotional responses often help us be rational people who make rational decisions, so why do I feel ashamed for having feelings that are helpful in weeding out the fuckwits from the fabulous? WELL NO MORE!
Do you have any IWD resolutions? Why don’t you send me a message, or post a comment? I know there’s probably a lot more that i could improve upon (I have other resolutions, but basically I have the bloods and my stamina is waning from me putting any more effort into this post), and I want to hear your thoughts about what you think would make you a better woman.