But these stories keep coming, and I don’t understand it; there are these mobs of people constantly telling me that feminism is a sham, that True Skeptics™ would apply their critical faculties to it and see that sexism is not a real problem, and that it’s all just a bunch of hypersensitive weepy ladies with a victimhood mentality. So how do we explain what happened when a student created a feminist society at Altringham Girls Grammar School?
I decided to set up a feminist society at my school, which has previously been named one of "the best schools in the country", to try to tackle these issues. However, this was more difficult than I imagined as my all-girls school was hesitant to allow the society. After a year-long struggle, the feminist society was finally ratified.
What I hadn’t anticipated on setting up the feminist society was a massive backlash from the boys in my wider peer circle. They took to Twitter and started a campaign of abuse against me. I was called a "feminist bitch", accused of "feeding [girls] bullshit", and in a particularly racist comment was told "all this feminism bull won’t stop uncle Sanjit from marrying you when you leave school".
Our feminist society was derided with retorts such as, "FemSoc, is that for real? #DPMO" [don’t piss me off] and every attempt we made to start a serious debate was met with responses such as "feminism and rape are both ridiculously tiring".
If it’s so tiring, why is the sap behind that comment making the effort to respond?
OK, that’s just dumb people being mocking and dismissive. But then it took the usual turn, and the boys started judging everything on the young women’s sexual potential.
The situation recently reached a crescendo when our feminist society decided to take part in a national project called Who Needs Feminism. We took photos of girls standing with a whiteboard on which they completed the sentence “I need feminism because…”, often delving into painful personal experiences to articulate why feminism was important to them.
When we posted these pictures online we were subject to a torrent of degrading and explicitly sexual comments.
We were told that our “militant vaginas” were “as dry as the Sahara desert”, girls who complained of sexual objectification in their photos were given ratings out of 10, details of the sex lives of some of the girls were posted beside their photos, and others were sent threatening messages warning them that things would soon “get personal”.
Boys will be boys, right? And adults will be contemptible enablers of vicious behavior. Look how the administrators of the school responded:
We, a group of 16-, 17- and 18-year-old girls, have made ourselves vulnerable by talking about our experiences of sexual and gender oppression only to elicit the wrath of our male peer group. Instead of our school taking action against such intimidating behaviour, it insisted that we remove the pictures. Without the support from our school, girls who had participated in the campaign were isolated, facing a great deal of verbal abuse with the full knowledge that there would be no repercussions for the perpetrators.
Gosh. I guess we can’t sit back and relax, misogyny beheaded and mounted as a trophy on our wall, just yet.
Maybe next week, you think?