First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Feminists, and I did not speak out—
Because I didn’t want to rock the boat or get laughed at.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
— courtesy of Martin Niemöller
The question is, when does one speak out? Or comment on a blog post? Is it just best to let it go? Why is it even important?
My last post referred to two blog posts which I considered to be sexist.
With the first one, I didn’t comment because a number of other people were disagreeing with the rampant rhetoric of the original poster. Could I have added value? Doubtful.
The second one was a different barrel of fish. This is a busier blog, with a fair amount of
sycophants followers, who applaud his every word.
On a blatantly sexist post, that accused anyone who objected to it of lacking a sense of humour, most commenters reinforced the blogger’s perspective.
I have no quarrel with that. We normally gravitate towards people who reflect our own image. Why regularly read blogs we disagree with?
My dilemma was whether or not to wade in and comment. It’s not a blogger I’m on familiar terms with, although I’ve seen his level-headed and reasoned comments elsewhere. Maybe that’s why I was surprised at his post.
I decided not to comment. If he thought it was witty to poke fun at a woman’s appearance, his choice. I’d just end up sounding like a grumpy feminist.
The trouble is, others did think like me. And didn’t point out the sexism, probably for the same mish-mash of reasons.
How about this comment on my blog?
Oh yes, and I enjoyed (and agreed) with your words on Doobster’s horrible piece of late.
Because, in the end, I went back and commented. And received exactly the defensive/aggressive response I expected.
We all blog for a variety of reasons. Fun, money, publicity for whatever, to create a record, to engage. And when we touch on serious topics, we can expect criticism as well as agreement. Our blogs move out of the knitting, cooking, gardening, photography arena into the politically charged one.
Seriously, do not say ‘I believe in equal pay, equal ops and pro-choice so therefore I’m one of the good guys.’ Want a Blue Peter badge for that? Am I and the other 3.6 billion women in the world supposed to be grateful? That should be the norm.
But I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about the unacknowledged sexism that is ever present in daily life. And quite simply this is what most people don’t get, or refuse to accept. It’s also a nightmare to even try and explain. We live in a patriarchal world and we live within those norms. To be more blunt, it is what we learn, or, how we are indoctrinated.
Anyone who visits religious/atheist blogs will know that neither the twain shall ever meet. In some cases, atheists who were previously Christian understand the perspective of the religious person. They can quote chapter and verse (unlike me). But, the two are never going to agree because they are coming from totally different viewpoints. Religious people, in many cases, are indoctrinated.
To look at a simpler parallel, it’s like someone telling me what being vegetarian/vegan involves. And getting it wrong. Or conversely, me telling someone who isn’t white about racism. Men telling me what constitutes sexism doesn’t cut it. But, wait, it does, because Men. Know. Best. Even about sexism.
Minority groups have a hard time. They are, by and large, ridiculed and put down. It doesn’t matter whether you are Homeless in Seattle (or rather LA in recent days) or an atheist being threatened with hell fire and regarded on a par with a rapist in terms of trustworthiness. Disagreeing with the majority viewpoint is no walk in the park.
But let me end with the final put down:
I suppose I could have just let what you wrote in your original comment go, but you made some incorrect statement in your comment and I felt compelled to respond.
Patronising? Just a little? So my opinions are incorrect? Or my view of feminism and women’s rights is trumped by some white American male? Oh yes.
So rather than taking this any further, I think we should call it a day. I’m sorry that you took exception to this post, but, as I said before, I am not a foe of feminism and there is nothing I do in my everyday life that would lead one to believe I am anything but a supporter of women’s rights.
‘Nuff said, I believe.
Sure. Silencing. Put down. Restatement of own beliefs and denial of what the minority person says.
THIS is why it is hard for people to speak out. And why I tend to write on here rather than get involved in unproductive stand offs.
But let me end with a thoughtful blog post by Maurice. A world of difference.