Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Saturday 1 October 2016

Why We All Need Feminism

The last blog I wrote was entitled ‘The Cost of Being Female’.  It was about a young woman who got a parking fine for being a few minutes late back to her car. She’d done everything right: parked close to the venue in a well-lit, safe, town-centre facility, paid the maximum for the time-limited space, and organised someone to walk her back to her car at the end of the evening. Unfortunately, she had to wait for her friend, making her a few minutes late back to the car. She followed this up by doing the right thing and asking for the fine to be waived for mitigating circumstances. Obviously, that didn’t happen.

There are all kinds of costs associated with being a woman in a man’s world. One of those costs is to be bullied on the internet.

Honestly, I don't get trolled very much, despite being a fairly vocal feminist.

I was trolled for this post, first on Twitter, and then in the comments section of the blog.

I chose not to engage. There is very little point trying to talk to someone who has chosen a path through life. It felt like a waste of my time and energy.

I mentioned the trolling on my FaceBook page, and got a lot of responses, more than half of them from men, who were horrified by the troll. One of my friends posted a long reply to the troll, but he did it on my FB page because, for some reason, he was unable to comment on my blog. I re-posted his comment there on his behalf, and with his agreement.

It didn’t help… I guess it was never going to. It was quite interesting watching the whole d├ębacle unfold, though.

I had stepped away.

Men don’t do that.

I’m ambivalent about that.

I stepped away because I felt sure that there was nothing I could do to moderate the thinking of the troll. I didn’t feel as if it made me less of a feminist, but I was able to shrug off my anger, because this is what we’ve all become very used to.

I didn’t need defending. I could very easily have defended myself if I’d felt the need… But, defended myself against what? What is the point of engaging with this kind of person? He is entrenched, just as I am, I suppose.

But do we simply go back to our respective corners and ignore the fact that this man is a bully, a coward, and, potentially, a threat?

A man… more than one, in fact, came to my defence… Or, perhaps, he was simply standing up for what he believed in. And there’s certainly part of me that admires that.

The end result was ugly, though. Was it uglier than the troll? I don’t know… probably not… It was ugly, nevertheless. Did the troll capitulate and was his thinking changed? Absolutely not. If anything he became even more abusive and more entrenched.

The troll is not only a misogynist, he also appears to be racist and homophobic… The holy triumvirate of the far right, particularly in his home nation.

The men who weighed in on him and called him out, did what feminists have been saying that good men should do. I admire that. It’s wonderful to have such staunch allies.

They weren’t effective, though, and some of the things they said, while possibly true, were pretty unpleasant.

So, in the end, I’m ambivalent about all of this.

On the one hand, I’m very proud to have male friends who embrace equality for all of us… On the other hand, they are men, and men are pugnacious; they attack and defend, and hostilities escalate.

Perhaps, this is the real reason we need feminism. These were good men, doing the right thing, and it all still looks ugly to women like me.

I have the great good fortune of associating with some wonderful men
Here are some of my favourites.

1 comment:

  1. It's a struggle. I'm not sure if it's ever pleasant.

    I've had a conversation with some of my workmates this week. They're good guys. We work in tech, a field which is horribly skewed in gender representation, and I'd like to address our hiring practices somehow to improve the balance (I don't think the practices actually are biased, I just want to raise awareness of the possibility and make sure). It's obviously only a little part of the solution - there have to be female candidates to consider hiring in the first place - but so much of sexism is little things reinforcing each other, and just getting them to accept that they could be unintentionally contributing to that reinforcement, without actually criticising anything they were actually doing, still got them defensive.

    I hope this is progress...