The negative sentiments hurled around both before and in response to this hashtag were so vitriolic, so hateful and ugly, so archaic. The most sickening thing was they were from women as well as men. I couldn’t stomach it. Like many others, I typed at least ten tweets. Not one of them made it into the Twittershere. I couldn’t wrap my brain around all of the implications.
My feminism goes back to being raised by a single mother after my parents divorced when it was still frowned upon. My mother was already a professional when women were mostly still secretaries. Our landlord threatened to evict us because my mom let a man she wasn’t married to stay the night. We moved when the lease was up. She was five feet tall, was never seen without heels, wore a leopard print bra under her corporate clothes. She was feminine and respected and no one dared cross her.
That’s what I grew up with, how I learned to behave. It wasn’t overt, it just was.
I’m aware my experience isn’t universal. I’m aware that too many people think women have a “place” and should stay in it. I’m fully aware that misogyny exists, no less than racism or any anti-gay sentiments or rafts of other exclusionary bullshit. I raised my sons, hopefully, to be respectful of and loving toward all other humans. I know they’re not always, but I hope, by my example, they know women aren’t objects.
But in the sphere of social media, the spewing of things like “this is what you get for treating guys like shit” and “stop being so stuck up and give that kid some pussy”…How does that even exist in this day and age? Why does it feel to me like we’ve gone so far backward? The age of instant communication means every misogynist can share his or her unfiltered thoughts and there are a fucking lot of unfiltered thoughts.
I’m certain I should feel grateful that we can see it so plainly, force it out of the dark corners where it thrives, expose those black hearts. Shine a light on it, increase awareness, make people THINK. I should be reveling in the smart tweets, the insightful tweets, the awful, truthful tweets. I should be thankful for the supportive tweets of enlightened men.
But in all honesty, all it did was make me sick that those tweets are even needed.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll have more heart.