Going Dark

Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings – Cheris Kramarae

For a few days, I heard about two events, and thought them separate: Jane Austen is now on the £10 note, and many people are taking August 4th off Twitter.  Then this morning, through the newsgraph that is twitter, I find out they are connected.  The woman who had petitioned Austen (in fact just a woman) indeed be on the note has been receiving threats, up to 50 an hour. The threats she is receiving for something as simple as this are horrific.  They’re misogynistic, suggesting this woman (Caroline Criado-Perez) would be better tied to someone’s stove.  They get worse than that.  It’s absolutely sickening that when women fight to have other women recognized, they are threatened with rape.

We like to think we’re immune.  I wouldn’t say I’m as vocal as other women are about their roles in society, and how far behind the growth of society these roles are, but I know what it’s like to be beaten down and pushed into men (and sometimes women’s) view of who would should be.  A day didn’t go by when my [male] roommate called me “cunty”.  Like as a nickname.  Like it was okay to say that because it was “funny”.  Every. Day.  Or, “you’re having trouble with this because you’re a woman”.  A year and a half of this.

Or, I suggest society still has a way to go before they’re okay with women (and couples) saying “no” to the idea of children.  All of a sudden, I have family issues, and that there’s a deep-seeded *something* I need to talk to someone about because I’m always talking about it.  You betcha I’m always talking about it.  Because people still don’t understand the choices, or why people like me are making them.  And the fact it’s suggested I go to therapy about it means YOU STILL DON’T UNDERSTAND.  You’re creating the drama within my choice.  My choice is logical, well-reasoned, and perfectly fine.

Or, I post something about domestic abuse, something I’ve posted about before.  Something that is still a large issue in Alberta.  And all of a sudden, I’m saying it’s okay that women hit men?  Hell no!  If you knew me at all –  AT ALL!! You would know I am constantly discussing the double standard.  Just because I believe women are human beings does not mean I think they are perfect.  I mourn that men feel they can’t come forward when they are assaulted – sexually or physically by a female partner or stranger.  I strongly believe things need to change in that area.  But I am still allowed to say women should not be beaten up without my motives being questioned.

Readers probably know I was brought up in a Christian environment.  Guess where a lot of these gender roles are enforced?  No women pastors.  Not even just for women.  Even the public school system let us down. A girl I went to public school with wanted to play the drums.  She couldn’t, because she was a girl.  The band was very gender specific.  Girls played instruments such as the flute, or the clarinet.  I lucked out and was able to play the trumpet for a year.  I think one girl got to play the tuba.

For all these reasons and many more, I’m joining those who are going black on August 4th.  Perhaps you’ll say that in the grand scheme of things, Twitter won’t even notice those of us who are not online for that time.  Maybe you’re right.  I’m going to do it anyway.  Doing the right thing even when people don’t notice is still doing the right thing.  And before you get mad thinking I’m saying that if you stay on Twitter for that day means you’re doing the wrong thing, You need to make your own choice.  If you want to, do it.  If you don’t, that’s fine too.  There are other ways to stand in solidarity, but for August 4th, this is how I’m standing up.


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