Around ten months ago I started writing about Feminism on my livejournal. I didn’t call it writing about Feminism - I was just getting frustrated at trying to talk to some of the men in my life about how much I hated the overly-sexualised images of women in advertising, and talking a bit about how the covers of novels in the UK would show lots of sexualised images of women, but the only ones with sexualised images of men were erotica or romance novels. I just wanted to present out what I thought someplace without being interrupted.
Veterans of writing about “Women’s Issues” can probably predict what happened at that point.
Outrage that I would post about it, “what about the men”, “this isn’t important”… One person left a bunch of comments that were “Men get it much harder than women - look at how reproductive freedom is all about women” and got pounced on by various of my female friends for that. His response was to take his ball and go home - he deleted every comment on my LJ and banned me from posting on his.
Good times, those.
I kept dipping my toes into the water - afraid to say I was writing anything about Feminism while actually continuing to do so. I can’t quite remember at which point I decided it was okay to say I was a Feminist and to refuse to not say I was a Feminist, but I did, and things went along as they do.
To be perfectly blunt, this has not been met with much support from my friends.
There’s been nasty little posts about how all Feminists are sexist and hate men and hate SAHM and want women to be put ahead of men, followed by friends all agreeing that this is true, even after I’ve said I’m a Feminist. (In their defense, they continue to read, to question, to listen, but I still can’t get over that sting.) There’s been long comments that basically say “I’m not listening to anything you have to say or even waiting for you to clarify the point. I know exactly what you’re saying, and it’s wrong - so I’m not going to even read anything else you write in response to this comment” where the commentator had taken a perfectly reasonable suggestion (”let’s not judge our female politicians on who they’re sleeping with”) and inflated it into something else (”we should only vote for women and never judge them on their platforms”). I’ve had the concern trolls, the person who took me by the hand and said “I’m worried about how much anger you’re expressing - you can’t change the world, you know. You need to let it go, for your health”, the incredibly bitter discussion where I had to spell out to my partner that “women’s issues” aren’t exactly a special-interest when they discuss 51% of the population (as opposed to higher education issues, which discuss about 12% when last I checked the stats). I’ve had the shunning, and the attempts to trip me up, and the “you don’t care about men at all, you’re ruining valentine’s day by writing about Violence against Women, and you’re just one step short of advocating intolerance against men.”
I started FDBB because I wanted a place where I could write and not get attacked by the people who have known me for five or ten years for, it feels, daring to step out of line. This isn’t really what’s going on with all of the attacks on me, but the ones that attack me personally, that tell me I’m a bad person, that say things like “I thought you were nice“… those ones feel like a slap in the face because these are my friends.
I didn’t think anyone would read me here, but it was a nice thought.
What’s happened here is that there has been this (to me) huge outpouring of support. There have been links to individual posts and to this blog in particular, with “read this, it’s good” attached. There’s been thoughtful comments that say “I understand, I know what you mean, I’ve been here too”. There’s been emails that say “you are one of us”, “you are welcome here”, “you are good enough”.
I’ve been feeling so alone, like I’ve been rolling a rock uphill and every day the rock gets heavier and the hill gets higher. I’ve been feeling like it would be so much easier to just stop caring and stop fighting and stop trying and just let it go and make life easier. I’ve been feeling so damned tired. To quote someone else who got so damned tired, I just wanted to put down the damned teaspoon and stop trying to empty the ocean. I just wanted to walk away.
To have started this blog and gotten such support, from people I’ve been reading for months, from people I thought would think I was writing such simple and easy concepts, from people who I thought would tell me to go away and come back when I was a grown-up Feminist… I can’t even tell you how it feels. I just can’t. It’s so much support, so much solidarity.
So much Sisterhood.
I’ve never understood what that meant before.
I don’t intend to make a lot of personal posts - I have a livejournal to dither in, after all, but this one, I felt, needed to be made.
I think I can pick up the teaspoon again. I don’t know how long I’ll be here, but I won’t give up hope yet.