World book week is always awesome. This year I started the week by maniacally creating 2 costume options for Flint from Sky Song as requested by Tiny Satan – you can see his chosen one on Twitter and Instagram (where Abi Elphinstone gave it the thumbs up).
The end of the week was International Women’s Day. I celebrated by attending a wonderful event at Waterstones Piccadilly featuring Laura Coryton, Laura Bates, Holly Bourne, and Laura Steven, hosted by Katherine Webber.
I got to hear about the way Laura Coryton started a campaign to stop the tampon tax. We learnt about the motivation for Laura Bates new YA book The Burning which came from seeing how slut shaming is the new “burn the witch”. Holly Bourne told us how she was called into a social media meeting to talk about revenge porn and the solution they wanted was how to get ‘girls’ to stop sending pics in the first place rather than stop it being put up. The patriarchal construct of the “friend zone” was discussed when Laura Steven told us about the guy who felt so entitled to her that after 3 months of knowing her, he trawled through her friends and photos, mining for stories and information, culminating in an insane gesture that would be used in a rom com to win the girl, which in real life is terrifying, invasive, boundary stomping, and disrespectful.
A lot of what was discussed showed that society repeatedly gives women, young, old, and children, the responsibility for actions done to them. What were you wearing? Had you been drinking? How were you acting? Maybe you led him on? You show too much skin. That for most women sex and your sexuality feel like a lose lose situation, you’re a frigid bitch, an ice queen, or you’re a slut, a whore. At the same time that men can walk the streets in shorts, with no shirt, drunk, alone, women plan what they wear, how much they drink, the time they leave, the route they walk, eyes down, don’t engage – but don’t be ‘rude’ either, headphones on – but music off so you can still hear, travel in groups – safety in numbers.
That’s not to say the society isn’t hard on men or judging them. I know there is pressure for them too. However if a man has multiple partners its a badge of honour. A man who lives alone, doesn’t want children, and is career focused will never be seen as an anomaly the way women who do the same are.
Even the very word feminism sparks such fury and debate. It becomes ‘feminazi’ and “you want women to be better than/have more than men?” in itself this last one acknowledges the very inequality that they are denying exists, vilifying equality by calling it misandry.
Inequality shows itself every day. When a father is parenting his children it’s ‘baby sitting’, or how they are condescendingly praised for completing household chores. Or in the preference of an inexperienced, racist, misogynst, self confessed sexual predator, male for president over a female lawyer and politician. Every time a woman is told by a doctor that she is exaggerating her pain or reproductive issues, when she is told that a procedure that could resolve her constant pain should wait because a non existent future husband might want children.