The World’s Oldest Prejudice
June 21, 2012 in Rant
A couple of messages I got sent on YT last night:
I can’t speak for every woman on the internet, of course – some of us may have more favourable experiences than others, some of us worse. But this is what I get, almost daily. I don’t flaunt the fact that I’m a woman – YouTube just has a picture of me as my profile pic, and my gender ticked as ‘female’. I have, in the past, been told by women that obviously the reason I’m getting messages like this is because I go out of my way to make sure people know I’m a woman. So – when a website offers me a ‘male/female’ checkbox and I tick female, I shouldn’t? Is that what you’re telling me? What should I do instead – check male? Leave it blank? Deny my gender? You do realise that this is running away from the root of the problem – avoidance instead of confrontation?
It’s not wrong of me to tell people I’m a woman. It’s not wrong of me to upload a profile picture of myself to use as my avatar picture, because it’s what I am. I am a woman. I was born a woman. The demographic split of men/women is around 50/50 – half of the people on Earth are women. If you’re going to tell me I shouldn’t be singling myself out by slotting myself into the female category, I’m going to tell you to stop being a coward. What’s actually wrong here is not me telling people I’m a woman, but the response to that. Labeling myself ‘female’ isn’t wrong – the sexual objectification, hatred, discrimination and denigration of women is what’s wrong. By telling me that I shouldn’t make it obvious that I’m a woman you’re telling me I should hide or else the big bad scary monsters will get me. Well, fuck that. Monsters by their very definition (“An imaginary creature that is typically large, ugly, and frightening”) are bad things and should be confronted.
It is not cool by any moral standards to objectify ANYONE for ANY reason. I only see one corner of hatred because I belong to that one group of targeted people – but attacking anyone for what or who they are is inherently wrong. Laughing at a man for liking Fluttershy is just as bad as telling a woman to get to the kitchen. I shouldn’t need to point that out. It just shouldn’t be an issue. When people are the target of racial intolerance do you tell them it’s their fault for letting people know they’re [insert race here]? I doubt it – and telling me that I’m bringing this on myself is just as wrong as the misogyny itself.
I shouldn’t need to not-tick-that-check-box. What should actually happen is that I tick that checkbox and nobody looks at it or nobody cares. I have brown hair – I don’t get targeted for that. Heck, I wear glasses and have undoubtedly geeky and nerdy pursuits but I don’t get targeted for those either. I get targeted for belonging to 50% of the population. Tell me that isn’t fucked up.
I don’t have any wondrous solution to offer to solve the problem. I can’t wave a magic wand and give everyone more empathy, compassion and remorse, remind people of the weight of their spirit and soul. I can’t single-handedly teach the importance and significance of morals, manners and acceptance to the whole world (though I do get to influence at least a tiny fraction of the population with the communities I run). I don’t have a purpose here other than going ‘Hey, look, this is a real thing and it happens and it’s happening to me’, and to stress that misogyny is not any woman’s fault and it’s not something that needs to be countered with avoidance.