I just want you to think about the place that you’re coming from when you shirk the idea that you could be a feminist. Think about the privilege of your life.
Where you were born. Who you were born to. The time in which you lived. The freedoms that you have.
Someone fought for those. Someone stood up and said WE…WE WILL TAKE NO MORE OF THIS! Someone stood up for you. And now here you sit…just sitting. Because you don’t want to claim the notion that women should be treated equally to all others. Because you’re afraid of the backlash. Because you don’t want to be labelled, or pigeon-holed, or put in a box. Sitting.
If during my childhood there had come a point where my education was not on par with others, say for example I couldn’t read, I would’ve stood up and said, “someone must teach me!” because I always knew that everyone deserves to be educated. Imagine living in a world where you didn’t know this? How do you ask for a thing you don’t know you should have?
(now admittedly, I didn’t learn fractions in grade six or whenever you were supposed to and I didn’t mention it, really, until high school, mostly because I was still able to coast on by with what knowledge I already had. Nonetheless, I eventually learned because I eventually knew that I was missing out, I was being given a less than education by skating by. And so I told my father and he taught me math. At night, after he’d get home from work, my Dad and I would sit around the kitchen table and he would teach me the math I hadn’t learned. My father taught me math because he couldn’t imagine a world where he wouldn’t want his daughter to have every opportunity and advantage and chance at success and happiness. My father couldn’t imagine a world where I wasn’t capable and deserving of anything and everything.)
So, what if you had been born with shitty parents, or parents’ whose religion or customs or even just their view of the world said that you were less than, that you should be docile and subservient? What if you had been born in a country where they refused to educate you? Or what if your parents wanted the very best for you but lacked the economic stability to open doors and possibilities? What if you were a woman of colour, a woman outside of heteronormativity, a woman on the edge? What if your parents were too absent, or too poor, or too judgmental, or too busy just trying to keep you and them alive? What if your parents just honestly didn’t know better?
Who would stand up for you?
Take a step back from the luxury and freedom of your life (even on the days when it doesn’t feel that way at all) and think about all the people who risked everything for you and how little you’re currently willing to risk for others. If you want to call yourself a humanist, fine…great. But at the very least consider what that really means and who exactly, are these said humans, you want to help.
And honestly, that fear, that knee jerk reaction not to claim feminism, not to say that you would do everything in your power to help other struggling women is the very reason we need feminism in the first place.
[I admit my ignorance here where I’m not entirely sure how and when to say *Trigger Warning* but I have a feeling this might be the moment…so…this is me saying it…and if I’m using it wrong send me a message and let me know, please]
And if I still haven’t convinced you that you should stand up for women around the world, women who came before and those who will come after you, please know this – in North America, that’s right, in our oh so civilized and privileged little section of the globe – there is such a thing as a viral rape video. A video of a girl(s, and this really does have to be pluralized now) being raped by, often soon to be, if not already, college educated privileged young men* is not only a thing that can happen but a thing that can go viral (*this is a statistical thing but education is obviously not a requirement…though it is terrifyingly not an across the board deterrent either).
Take just a tiny moment to think of all the steps that make that possible.
1. A girl is raped.
2. More than one person is present for the rape (unless the rapist is filming it himself which seems rare)
3. One or more of those people then uploads the video to the internet or sends it via their phone or email to someone else. Think about the thought process that this entails. Not only does this mean two disgusting horrible humans exist that would rape someone but they are the kind of garbage that believe others will take pleasure in seeing this terrible act.
4. They are right. Take a moment with that one. No, seriously. This scum of the fucking earth believes that others want to view the torture they inflict…and they are right.
5. Because after all, without number 4…there can be no viral nature to this horror.
6. Whoever they send the video to, or whoever gains access to it, feels the same as the rapists and the sharing continues and continues from person to person to person until the video can be deemed to have gone viral.
7. Beyond the absolute human garbage that is the rapists and their propagators, it’s worth noting that all this sharing goes on without any real fear of repercussions. The rapists are not afraid to be caught (or they wouldn’t share, and presumably wouldn’t rape). The people who view and share the video are not afraid to be witnessing said crime and doing nothing. There is no fear present at all (except of course for the victim whose life has not only been traumatized) and presumably every woman everywhere (since the likelihood that something similar will happen in her lifetime is DEVASTATINGLY HIGH!).
8. If the rapist(s) and his/their filmography companions are ever caught, the punishment is often surprisingly small. And more often than not it only follows after a hard fought battle which usually involves a ton of victim blaming, excuse making, and all out insanity.
Now, ask yourself again if you can really bear to stay seated when there is a world of women who need you?
The next time you are certain that women have equality, maybe just consider for a moment that we live in a country(ies) where a video of a girl being raped can become so popular that it goes viral.
It matters that you stand up. And if you’re not strong enough to stand up on your own, come stand by me, and I will help to brace you.