On international Women’s Day I woke up to a not unusual female experience. I had posted on Kristi Noem’s facebook post “Krist Noem I beg you to stand for the women of South Dakota. You have the ability to protect us – do so!” To which a man replied “well, well, well, eat a dick.” I fired back with “intelligent” and went on my Facebook way.
I thought I would leave it at that but as I was just waking up my reflection began to boil my blood. I thought to myself, No. I am not going to pass this off as a fleeting internet troll that does not impact my life because the truth is it does. This man felt that it was acceptable to attack my comment with over sexualized misogyny.
The online abuse of women has become so pervasive in women’s lives that we are used to it. I knew full well that commenting on a public post could potentially come with trolls but the sexual nature of the comment unnerved me. What in my post could possibly have prompted this man’s response?
I asked myself that question but the answer does not lie with me. The answer to that question can only be answered by our culture where the online misogyny and abuse of women and girls is tolerated. That my tiny comment could provoke this response is my reality and the reality of the world I am raising children in.
Online misogyny is a human rights catastrophe that we tolerate daily. In years past I had a Facebook friend, a young man with whom I had attended high school with make a status referring to sexual rape as a “struggle cuddle”. At the time I went on a fiery tirade in my tiny corner of the internet and declared that I would not stand for misogyny in my Facebook world. I unfriended many.
I was happy with this. I found my corner of the internet to be more enjoyable. However, hiding your head in the sand does not create world change. It does not teach my daughter how to stand in her truth and be unashamed and unafraid. I hope for a world where I would not have to caution my daughter on the danger of using her voice online as she would be sure to be attacked somehow. I should never have to strengthen her by telling her “yes honey share your story but be warned.”
This morning’s events urged me forward to say loudly that I will fight online misogyny at every chance I get and I will enlist the help of any ally. I also encourage Mr. Todd Wolf to have a conversation with me. Honestly this morning I thought of how I could personally attack Mr. Wolf but this does nothing. It would be a pointless argument leading nowhere. Instead I want to invite him to reflect on why he felt this was acceptable, challenge his thoughts and invite him to change.
I don’t for one second believe that Mr. Wolf is a bad human being. He is a human deserving of compassion and understanding just as any other human and I have faith that perhaps his bump against this particular feminist was just the catalyst for change his life may need. We can’t fight each other and expect to win.
We have to invite the tough and challenging conversations to create growth. To inspire change. Mr. Wolf surely has family and friends who know he is a good guy. I don’t doubt it. What he did was wrong and I’d love to see him remedy his wrong. Maybe we can have coffee. There is a feminist happy hour this evening I am attending. Feminist Happy Hour in honor of International Women’s Day
Would love to see you there.