Warning – Some of you may find this post triggering.
There is a Twitter account called Everyday Sexism, which I’ve been following for the last couple of months. Until today that is.
Various friends had been retweeting their stuff and it looked interesting. A chance to call out people/companies for lazy stereotyping, rubbish ad campaigns and so on. I duly got following and found it thought provoking. In the last few weeks, they’ve been encouraging their followers to report tales of sexual harassment/assault and tales of workplace sexism using various hashtags. It has been shocking, shocking stuff. The most awful stories of abuse, of victim blaming and of absolute rank sexism. It has been non-stop and I have reached the point where I can’t take any more of it, for a few different reasons.
It’s profoundly depressing stuff. At its worse there are tales of men publically masturbating over women, sexual assault, groping and an overuse of the word rape (it’s a joke word now, apparently) that I find repugnant. I applaud the bravery of the women who are sharing these stories and I share their anger at our criminal justice system which seems unable to deal with the perpetrators. I don’t want to read about it with the frequency I have been. For me, Twitter is a fun place, where I keep in touch with friends and occasionally learn some new things.
I have been lucky enough to never find myself in the position some of these women have found themselves in. Sure, I’ve come across my fair share of drunken arseholes, but generally they’ve been ignored and that has been that. A number of the stories have related to abuse doled out to women while they’ve been walking alone or out for a run. I run solo a fair bit of the time and I cannot tell you the number of times I have walked home, alone, at night. In Glasgow , in Dundee, in Aberdeen . Previously, I haven’t given it a thought, but in the last few weeks, the experiences I have been reading about have been lurking in the back of my mind and I won’t have it. These are my streets; I have every right to be there. I don’t feel scared, I won’t feel scared and I will not have that taken away from me.
I’m probably most nervous about this next bit. I find myself rolling my eyes at some of the stories – ticket collector called the two males passengers ‘sir’ and called me ‘darling’, for example. Honestly? In the grand scheme of things, that is the fight you are picking? I call people darling, pet, honey, sweetheart, m’dear, quine, hen, whatever, all the time. Maybe it bugs the life out of them (speak now or forever hold your peace) maybe it doesn’t. Does this make me a bad feminist? Am I not showing the requisite solidarity with my sisters? Should I be birching myself while reading aloud from The Female Eunuch? I don’t know. What I do know is – as far as I am concerned – there are bigger fights to be fought and focusing on things like this just fuels the misogynist view that we’re all a bunch of complaining wimmin who should just learn to take a compliment/be at home with the kids anyway.
Maybe this all makes you think less of me, maybe you think more of me. The end result is the same – I am no longer following this Twitter account. However, if you think it would be of interest to you, you can check them out @EverydaySexism or www.everydaysexism.com