Caroline Criado-Perez

A Pox on the Patriarchy

How To Attack A Feminist

It’s come to my attention that yet another overworked, underpaid, under-appreciated wonderful woman who is fighting her guts out, day after day, on behalf of all of us, has come under attack from the keepers of Perfect Feminism (TM). You know that feminism, it’s the one you do – or in fact, don’t do. The keepers of Perfect Feminism (TM) don’t tend to actually do things, because doing things is messy and liable to not be perfect. It’s feminist fistmuch safer to reside in the realms of Perfect Feminism where theoretically, everything is perfect, but practically, nothing gets done.

Anyway, the latest victim to the gaping, ever-hungry maw of Perfect Feminism is EverydaySexism, that account run by ONE woman, superhuman though she may be, and all because, I think I’ve got this straight, after about two years of recounting how generally shit men are to women, she has spent about 2 hours saying, you know what, some men are actually OK. Some men don’t want things to stay the same. Some men actually fight alongside us. Radical, I know. Too radical, it seems, for the Perfect Feminists.

Just a little note before I move on to the main point of this piece: if we want change, we need men to change. I know, shit, right? We should be able to do this revolution thing all by ourselves. The thing is, it’s just not good enough only one side of a binary changing. For example, we want women to be freed up from doing the majority of the housework. But women still do the vast majority – the only time it’s even split 50:50 is when women are the main earners in a household  (yes even then men aren’t doing the majority; no I don’t know what they’re doing instead). So if we want this to change, then we kind of need men to step into the breach – after all, women have already completed their part of the bargain by going out into paid work. This, wait for it, requires a CHANGE from men. A change in attitude, a change in priorities, a change in actions. Or, the housework doesn’t get done…which tends to mean women end up doing it. Which may explain why women are still doing the majority of the domestic work, even when they are doing as much outside work as their male partner. So, that’s just one little example, but hopefully illustrates the sad, nasty, dastardly fact that men are going to have to change if we’re going to achieve this women liberation thing, that I take it we all still want? Or have I missed a memo?

Second, I’m ok with saying thanks to, for example, my boyfriend for not being a sexist misogynistic prick (most of the time). Yeah yeah ok, it’s about meeting the bare standard of what it means to be a decent human being, but you know what?  There’s this little tiny thing called social conditioning, which, as feminists, we kind of have to accept is a thing. Otherwise we might as well pack up and go home because men are innately misogynistic, beer-swilling rapists and women are innately pink fluffy-loving domesticated dullards who can’t add up. But hooray! That’s not the case, because social conditioning means things can be changed. But just because something is socially created, it doesn’t make it any less real. That thing called imposter syndrome that so many women suffer from, that sense of inadequacy, that we don’t belong, that we should probably not put up our hands and just keep quiet, because what we have to say is stupid? That’s something like a counterpart to the way men think their point is The Best Point Ever, which must be heard, even if it means dominating a debate, continually interrupting you, talking over you, explaining your academic speciality to you when they once read an article on it. Both these things are down to years and years, centuries, millennia, of social conditioning, and most men aren’t even aware they’re doing it, let alone trying to stop it. So is it really so awful to stop once in a while (two hours per two years maybe) and say hooray! some men are giving it a shot, the revolution is having something of an impact on the other side of the binary! After all, even feminists need to look on the bright side once in a while. 

These are of course just two examples of the way women are oppressed as a class by men as a class. You can choose your own. These just popped into my head and probably say something very silly and frivolous about me – I await the criticisms from the Perfect Feminists below. But anyway. I accept that irrespective of all this, there will still be feminists who disagree with EverydaySexism’s deviation from highlighting the shitness of the male of the species. But it’s OK, because I’m here to help. Rather than being a sarcastic prick who spends all day clever-clever trashing a hashtag set up by, again, ONE WOMAN who spends her whole life trying to make yours better, here are some cut out and keep ways of disagreeing without being a dick.

“I don’t want to join in with everydaysexism’s #everydayallies activism, but I respect her right to fight in this way”

OK, so just the one. But you only need to tweet once. After that you can shut up and get on with your own brilliant idea that’s going to kill off patriarchy once and for all.

Speak up, I can’t hear you.

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3 comments on “How To Attack A Feminist

  1. janekenyon
    March 14, 2014

    i love love love you for saying this – I get stick for speaking up on my blog many times too – in the early days I was upset now I don’t give a shit, the cause is more important – your writing is inspired!

  2. Kerry
    March 13, 2014

    Good post. What is the point of trying to change a system but then refuse to recognise when some people (men) actually get it and try to change.
    Also agree with Abby Boids post – I have seen feminist forums where women want to learn more but get told other so called feminists “its not my job to educate you”. Such a shame.

  3. Abby Boid
    March 13, 2014

    Thank you for writing this. I would love to write the odd post about feminism and what I would like to teach my three boys about it, but I am terrified to. I am afraid of somehow letting the feminist side down by saying the right thing in the wrong way, or saying the ‘wrong’ thing altogether because I have missed one of the ‘rules’. I am also quite frankly scared off by some of the online confrontations I see between feminists. I consider myself to be reasonably thick skinned. I wonder who else is avoiding the debate because of this?

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