Writing these 345 words has taken me ages. See, I’m a feminist and writing about women’s issues and equality is a minefield. I could take the easy way out, angrily ranting in all caps or writing meaningless, sugar-coated fluff that everyone has read before. I could also carefully word my thoughts, trying not to aggravate anyone while still getting a point across. And that’s hard.
Putting my feminist views out into the world makes me nervous because I know there will be people who disagree, want me to voice my opinion differently, or don’t believe me. Like when I talked about having been sexually harassed and was told the guy had probably just misunderstood something. Or when I talked about being emotionally abused and stalked by an ex and was told jokingly to “be less cute”.
All the times my experiences have been doubted, derailed and written off have put me on guard, and I can feel myself closing off when I start to notice those kind of reactions. Many men even falsely assume that I’m attacking them specifically, which only makes them close off too. The point is, a lot of people get defensive at the mere mention of feminism and I get defensive when people defy feminism.
It should go without saying but I don’t blame all men for anything. Really, my problem is with the society that is raising us all to maintain this broken system we live in, that enforces toxic stereotypes for men and women. It’s a mutual issue that we should be working together to fix. Unfortunately, by the time I get to that bit, the argument has already gone south and both sides have stopped listening.
I hope I’m not being optimistically utopian when I ask for a world where people use their privilege for the greater good, starting with something as simple as believing women and minorities when they express their feelings, experiences and annoyances at this patriarchal system that is ruining it for all of us.
Now please, no one get mad at me.
Elín is an artist and illustrator. Find her hilarious comics in our archives here.