Georgina Guedes

Why you can't put a feminist in her place

2013-08-02 07:37

Georgina Guedes

Earlier this week, Charlie Brooker, columnist, humourist and broadcaster, wrote a column for the Guardian explaining why he wouldn't be writing a column for the Guardian anymore for a while.

There were lots of reasons, one of which is that he feels that there is "too much talk for one planet", and consequently, he's "reducing his word emissions".

But another of his points resonated with me. He said, "When it comes to comments, despite not being as funny as I never was in the first place, I get an incredibly easy ride from passing wellwishers compared with any woman who dares write anything on the internet anywhere about anything at all, the ugly bitch, boo, go home bitch go home."

It made me extremely happy to read this, not because I'm pleased that that is the case, but because I'm so glad that someone representing the male of the species said it.

Engaging with the comments pages of online media is like being in a relationship with an abusive, jealous and extremely unreasonable partner. The kind of guy who will throw his dinner on the floor and then deliver one or two smacks to his wife because it wasn't salty enough.

A case in point was my column of last week. I wrote about how a study had shown that it was difficult for people to distinguish between comments made by men's magazines and those made by convicted rapists.

My point, which I made quite clearly in the article, was that men's magazines had no business distancing themselves from the distasteful comments made by their staff, when they were making the same kinds of comments themselves.

The number of people who jumped in and commented that I was branding all men as rapists was surprising to me. I have developed a thick skin in my years as a News24 columnist, but I'm still astonished by the people who allow their blood pressure to skyrocket in response to something they only imagine I've written, without taking the time to read the column properly.

The responses are particularly heated if the writer has had the audacity to indicate any kind of feminist leaning, or, you know, independent thought. It seems that if a woman is a columnist, there is a certain set who feel that it should be her duty to keep her peers in the kitchen, speaking gently so as not to appear threatening to their men folk.

What they don't realise is that their vitriol, their haranguing, their tempers and their mansplaining do nothing to put the writer in her place, but rather serve to cement her conviction that strident and outspoken feminism is desperately needed to push back against a frightening number of men (and women) who still think like that.

So bring it on...

- Georgina Guedes is a freelance writer. You can follow @georginaguedes on Twitter.

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