The notion that feminism is a dying movement and that those who are left are simply picking inane fights is a pervasive one. As I said in my first blog, the revolution is still strong, and the fight is far from simple. But with every move the feminist make, an equal movement creates a backlash of hate. Fear and disrespect swarm around the revolution, and with the capability to remain anonymous on the internet, the backlash is even more prevalent.
The real power behind feminism is the group as a whole. We know that there are others out there like us who believe the same things and will back us in nearly any endeavor toward that goal. But even with the group standing there with its arms open, it can be hard to take that first step toward them. To me, telling people I was feminist was like taking out my heart and letting them decide if they wanted to spit on it.
I’ve watched from the sidelines for months, and have seen the hate spew forth in disgusting ways. Feminist expressing discontent are constantly hit with words of violence, threats, and insults that would make anyone cringe. I know, welcome to the internet and everything, but this unbridled freedom to say things that you would never even think to say in public causes more anger from both sides. The disturbing truth of the matter is that violence is constantly thrust toward anyone expressing opinions, but especially toward feminists.
These kinds of personal attacks have a negative impact on the movement, causing people to fear being a feminist or expressing any sort of negative feeling toward patriarchy. It takes a lot to break past the fear, and once a person is marked, they can never say anything without being judged in a gross way. In a world where “feminist” has always been a bad world, we are left to fend off those who disagree with us, most often through ignoring the person. However, without strong confidence in the beginning, no one can express who they are on the internet.
Of course, this is not just an internet problem. The media will devour anyone who is against their political beliefs if they can get away with it, and the world will follow. I disagreed with Komen about their decision, but I was also shocked by the way that an entire company could be destroyed in just a few days. People left their careers and lost their purpose in a corporation that they thought was doing the right thing. It was frightening and made me really question how I represented myself. If I crossed a line in the future, I could be the target of rage that can only be culminated through mass. Again, this could make any would-be feminist waver in their confidence. Who wants to be the single target in any endeavor? Feminists, just like any other group, have to tread carefully in every movement and expression. If the side against us is illogical, mean, or does not have facts, they are forgiven and at worst ignored. But when we’re wrong or show irrational anger, we lose what little credibility we have. It’s tricky, but we have to stay calm despite the people against us.