Laurie Penny says we’re winning. Who? Who’s we? Social Justice Warriors.
She’s been thinking about the reaction – the revenge – from the anti-Social Justice Warriors, and what it means.
The routine, the arguments, have become far too familiar. A woman or a handful of women are selected for destruction; our ‘credibility’ and ‘professionalism’ are attacked in the same breath as we are called ugly, slut-shamed for dismissed either as stupid little girls or bitter old women or, in some cases, both.
The medium is modern, but the logic is Victorian, and make no mistake, the problem is not what we do and say and build and create.
The problem is that women are doing it. That’s why the naked selfies, the slut-shaming, is not just incidental to the argument—it is the argument. Underneath it all, you’re just a woman, just a body. You can be reduced to flesh. You are less. You are an object. You are other. LOL, boobs.
It’s sort of as if we were dogs. Imagine if dogs suddenly started trying to participate in human affairs as equals. What would we do? We would exclaim that dogs smell bad, and they crap right out in public where everyone can see, and then they just walk away and leave it. Underneath it all, they’re just dogs – they’re here to be our buddies and companions, to play and cuddle and bark at raccoons. They’re not like us; they can’t run things and write books and create games and talk at conferences and be critical of bad ideas. LOL, farts.
This is a culture war. The right side is winning, at great cost. At great personal costs to people like Anita Sarkeesian, Leigh Alexander, Zoe Quinn and even Jennifer Lawrence, and countless others who are on the frontlines of creating new worlds for women, for girls, for everyone who believes that stories matter and there are too many still untold. We are winning. We are winning because we are more resourceful, more compassionate, more culturally aware. We’re winning because we know what it’s like to fight through adversity, through shame and pain and constant reminders of our own worthlessness, and come up punching. We know we’re winning because the terrified rage of a million mouthbreathing manchild misogynists is thick as nerve gas in the air right now.
And we are winning because we’re not dogs, or comparable to dogs. Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs (and cats – don’t ask me to choose one), but I don’t want to read books by dogs or get on planes flown by dogs. If we were comparable to dogs, the misogynists would have a point. But we’re not, so they don’t.