If you’ve been getting discouraged lately by all the horrible bullshit, and by all the people who want to cover their eyes and pretend the bullshit isn’t real, and by all the people who would rather blame the victims of the bullshit rather than consider the possibility that it might be real… I bring you this comment, recently made by SheerDistaste at The Atheist Experience.
Don’t stop at the first two sentences. Keep reading.
You know what? This whole feminism crap that all of FtB has been going on about ever since that elevator thing pisses me off.
Do you know why it pisses me off?
Because it’s rubbing off on me.
Back when it started here, pretty much all of the articles talking about feminism, harassment at conferences, rape culture, whatever I found to be ridiculous overreactions to inconsequential bullshit.
Then after reading these articles for about a month, eventually 1 in 10 I would say “that’s actually a good point”. Then it was 2 in 10, then 3. As of now it’s about 8/10.
And furthermore, often when I am reading something, or talking to someone, or watching something, etc. completely away from FtB, I’ll find myself thinking “that’s sexist” or “that’s really offensive and degrading to women, I don’t support that at all” – when before I wouldn’t ever have these thoughts. And whenever I get these thoughts I get annoyed because I’m starting to sound like PZ Myers or whoever or one of his flunkies here… yet these things keep popping into my head, more and more frequently!
You guys (and girls) are slowly turning me into a feminist, and that pisses me off a lot.
First of all — thank you. A whole lot of us really needed to hear that right about now.
Second — yeah, I’m pissed off too. Swallowing the red pill can really, truly suck. It’s hard to see how shitty the world is sometimes. It’s hard to see how deeply sexism has burrowed into all of our brains. It’s hard to see people denying even the possibility of unconscious sexism, because they don’t want to admit that they or the people they care about are perpetuating it, and don’t want to do the hard, never-ending work of uprooting it. It’s hard to see rape culture in action, perpetuated by otherwise decent people who would no doubt be outraged that you think of them as perpetuating rape culture. It’s hard having your eyes opened to sexism… and then, as a direct result, having your eyes opened to racism, and classism, and ableism, and xenophobia, and homophobia, and transphobia, and all the other isms and phobias that permeate our brains and our culture. And it’s really, really hard to see how often the bad guys win.
On the other hand…
You get to have authentic relationships and connections with people of all genders. You get to live your life without constantly worrying about “Am I a real man?” or “Am I a real woman?” You get to not live in a constant state of cognitive dissonance. You get to expand the kinds of people you can have friendships and relationships with, and not live your life in a bubble of people who are almost exactly like you. You get to know that you matter, that you’re one of the people who’s making the world better. And you get to have some incredibly smart, funny, courageous, compassionate, dedicated, insightful, freaking awesome people in your life.
I’m giving myself a pep talk here, as much as I’m giving you one. This has been a shitty, shitty couple of weeks, and a shitty, shitty couple of years, and right now I’m feeling very discouraged and demoralized. So mostly, I want to say “Thank you.” Thank you for being willing to change your mind about something difficult. And thank you for saying this. A whole lot of us really needed to hear it.
And I’m putting out a call for comments. If you became a feminist, or became more of a feminist, because of all the writing and speaking and video-making and podcasting and other work that so many of us have been doing about it? Please say so here. If you’ve been emboldened to speak out more about feminism by other people speaking out? Please say so here. And if you can think of other reasons why you’re happy to know and understand about feminism, despite it often being painful and angry-fying? Please say so here. I think a lot of us could stand to hear it right now. I know I could.