“A Bit Much”

This past week, I attended a party where a man I don’t know very well turned to me and said, “Look, Nina. We get it. You’re a feminist. But don’t you think it’s all just a bit much?” Undoubtedly he was referring to a) my day-to-day actions and words and b) my Facebook/Twitter/Instagram social media feeds which are unmistakably feminist. He was slightly tipsy and having a laugh surrounded by his males friends, probably completely unaware that he had deeply offended me.

To be honest, I was shocked and couldn’t think of anything to say in response. Nothing I could think of off the top of my head could properly encompass my rage, sadness, sarcasm, lack of surprise, total surprise, hurt, frustration, and quite frankly- amusement. In French, there’s a lesser known phrase for the words you wish you had said in a situation: l’esprit d’escalier. The following is what I wish I had said:

My feminism is a bit much for you?

Please, go ahead and mansplain how my feminism threatens you.

 

My feminism is a bit much for you?

Apologies, I’ll work on being a bit more docile and agreeable. Heaven forbid there are women in this world with thoughts, feelings, emotions, and opinions.

 

My feminism is a bit much for you?

Then why are half your peers women but still feel the need to defer to you and act like silly pig-tailed schoolgirls in order to fit your norm? Why must they manipulate you and your friends in order to be taken seriously?

 

My feminism is a bit much for you?

Perhaps you haven’t heard, the gender wage gap is still a thing. In some countries, I can be fired for falling pregnant, or worse– be asked in an interview when I plan to “start my family” which will in turn jeapordise my chances of employment. Many companies say they have great family leave plans for when I do want to start a family… that’s great, until my partner realises he gets less time off than I do.

 

My feminism is a bit much for you?

I guess you’ve never felt the presence of a man behind you late at night and clutched your keys, knuckles turning white, ready to sprint away for your life. You’ve never carried pepper spray or been to a self-defence class because why the hell would you need to?

 

My feminism is a bit much for you?

I guess nobody ever called you a slut, whore, “loose” for sleeping around or just having control over your own body.

 

My feminism is a bit much for you?

I suppose nobody has ever catcalled you and made you feel uncomfortable in your own skin starting at the tender age of 13. You’ve never been told that because you menstruate, you are dirty and impure.

 

My feminism is a bit much for you?

I imagine you’ve never turned your wardrobe inside out looking for the right outfit that looks friendly and professional but also not too sexy like you’re asking for it.

 

My feminism is a bit much for you?

Then you’re part of the problem.

 

My feminism is a bit much for you?

Men like you are the reason I need feminism.

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