Saturday, 7 February 2015
Outing yourself as a feminist on social media often erupts a tsunami or eye-rolling from Facebook friends who hit the unfollow button faster than a speeding bullet. Coming into your own, politically speaking, can be a real eye-opening experience.
Facebook is a beast of its own and is quite unique in that, for some, there is a real sense of obligation to have people you can barely stand on your friends list, lest you look like some sort of mean bitch; the loathsome, boring co-worker, the cringe worthy family member, the old schoolmate who you barely spoke to back then and for some bizarre reason wants to add you some 10 years later. Luckily Facebook has a wonderful tool whereby you can hide these people from your feed and for some time you forget they actually exist until one fateful day they pop up on a status touting their less than desirable opinion on a controversial topic you have decided to share.
I’ve reached a point now, after a few online skirmishes and the words “man-hating feminazi” being thrown at me from former acquaintances that I’ve made a decision to cultivate my online spaces to incorporate only people I can actually be bothered to speak to. It’s not so much a question of people agreeing with me, far from it. I am always open to changing my opinion and I appreciate anyone who can present their argument in a thought-out way that gives me a new perspective. But I am loathed to deal with people who argue just for the sake of arguing.
So it’s always particularly jarring when I engage with friends on Facebook and their friends turn on you. It’s difficult because you want to tell them to go jump but you have to be respectful to your friend who, for some reason, keeps these people around.
I suppose the reason for this post is more for a show of solidarity to those who, for their own reasons, aren’t as ruthless as me when navigating their social media spaces. (I have dramatically culled family members when they have been less than thoughtful, no one is safe.) It’s difficult to be taken seriously when you are politically minded, and a strong minded woman at that. It’s difficult to express yourself politically without someone trying to undermine YOU, not your argument, because half the time they don’t actually get what you’re saying just that you have the audacity to say it. It’s difficult to not apologise for speaking out because we tend to start out sentences with “sorry but..”
The best thing I ever did was decided that I wasn’t going to let anybody undermine me. I wasn’t going to let anyone mock me. Bully me. Silence me.
I want you to challenge me. Support me. Inspire me. Enlighten me.
But you will never bring me down.