This post was inspired by a rather heated (40 or so comments) discussion on Facebook about whether misogyny within the ranks is holding back the Occupy movement. Make no mistake: it is. If you chart the flamewars on FB alone, the male individuals against female individuals flamewars are running about double the rate of the male on male flamewars, and this is AFTER the most sensitive women left the group altogether. This came as a huge, and saddening, surprise to me; I was raised in the era of Equality, when fighting for the rights of women was as accepted as fighting for the rights of black people or the handicapped. Apparently, when we were resting on our laurels and telling ourselves we’d come a long way, baby, things slipped backwards.
But silence is a form of collusion, as this image from AnonCircle points out, and it’s time to speak out.
One of the most telling signs of the backsliding: despite that thread being prominently featured in my friends’ news feeds and in various Occupy Vancouver Facebook groups and pages, I was the only woman who commented on it publicly. In a depressing version of “the lurkers are with me” I received many private messages of hearty support from women.
I, naturally, challenged them.
“If you think that, why do you not post it? Why are you telling ME that women deserve equal respect? I already know this.”
“Because I wanted you to know I support you.”
“Then support me. Take my left flank. POST.”
Result: one comment. One is an infinite times greater than zero, so I’m counting this as progress. Courage and support are not courage or support if they melt away like a vampire in daylight.