Is Aggression Really the Only Way to Fight For Equality and Justice?
Does aggression really help when it becomes the only way we address these issues?
Every day I open my social media and see people being canceled and threatened for everything under the sun.
Of course, I’m not here to defend offenders. But when I see people sending death threats and insults to women for the simple crime of wearing dreadlocks or burning sage in their apartments, I start to wonder if maybe we’ve gone a bit too far?
Today, Twitter became something I avoid opening, mainly because it feels like 80% of the content I see there is centered around fights and hate speech about everything you can and can’t imagine.
I remember creating images for my Russian friends and followers, explaining what was happening in the States, and why it was so important for the rest of the world to pay attention to social injustices, even when there were so many cultural barriers that made it difficult for people from different cultures to truly understand the underlying issues. Back then, everybody united in order to educate, help, and bring awareness.
Since then, a lot has changed. I don’t see people trying to help as much as take their anger out on one another. The other day I saw a black person making a TikTok simply saying, “Imagine not being black.” Then, a few hours later someone dueted her with the same video saying, “Imagine not being white.” I might be missing something, but what kind of change and what kind of examples are we trying to set by simply tearing each other apart?
Someone’s making a simple mistake coming from a place of ignorance, not hate, and they receive death threats and insults in their comments. No one is trying to explain to a person from another cultural background why something could be hateful and why they’re receiving backlash. For instance, let’s consider a Russian girl who burned sage in her apartment and got a lot of hate at the point she removed her account.
People say it’s our responsibility to educate ourselves and not rely on others to receive our knowledge while forgetting that not everyone comes from the same country and culture. We have different backgrounds and upbringings. You can’t demand one person to know everything about the culture of others while not being able to even point to their country on the map, or name that other country’s leaders, or while not knowing anything about their own culture other than popular stereotypes.
When it comes to social media, it’s hard not to speak about feminism and its current state.
Just a year ago, I was one of those people who would treat men like trash without hiding all the hate and aggression I was filled with.
But looking back, I admit I was wrong.
Like many of us, I was hurt and confused. Men hurt and failed me one after another. A guy tried to rape me in the middle of the day in a park full of people while I was walking to a coffee shop. Men would get spring fever and would often stop me, try to touch, or even chase me. It got to the point where I had to get pepper spray. Anytime I posted anything on Twitter, I’d get nasty messages from male followers who clearly stepped over the line.
I dealt and still deal with sexism on an everyday basis, whether it’s for my line of work or the number of people I’ve slept with.
From being a formerly open person, I was quickly scared straight, becoming a suppressed little girl who was filled with anger towards men. I wasn’t shy with my words because, back then, aggression seemed like the only defense mechanism. It was simple as believing that if I’m angry, and show my anger outwardly, they can’t get me and hurt me again.
I discovered that if I treated men like trash, they’d gladly respond in kind and fill the role by retaliating. Then I could say I was right. Then I could drive them away before they could get to me. I felt like I was making a change.
Meanwhile, nothing was changing. People kept raping, assaulting, and killing other people. The injustice was still proceeding. As it turns out, hate speech and anger towards men couldn’t actually stop truly violent people. What about the people who might not even have access to the internet? What about the people who just didn’t care? Meanwhile, worthy and respectful men around me were clearly being hurt and mistreated.
After a while, I began reading more books on feminism and its history, and I started to wonder if the strategy a lot of us adopted online was really helping in the fight for justice and our safety or we were just creating more of a gap between the sexes?
Just when women made so much progress in feminism, we get surprised by the sudden backlash from men and their reaction to feminists. And the simple reason for this, I believe, is not those women who fight for their rights and ask for respect, but those who use feminism to actively promote hate and get encouragement in their comments. The screenshot from the video below shows 80% of the feminism-related content these days that I stumble across on TikTok and Twitter and the following comments to that, “Normalize misandry,” “I am a proud misandrist,” “If they don’t hate men they aren’t doing the right thing.”
So what exactly is the mission of this kind of feminism and how does it actually help us move any further? Do we want respect, equal rights, and understanding men or do we just want a free pass to hate them and start another war between the sexes?
I even saw a woman outright insulting a man for asking what he could do to help the women around him and where he should start. For her, it was insulting he even thought she should spend her time explaining to him anything. For her, it was sexist he thought a woman owes a man an explanation.
It’s not a secret that women are being mistreated every day. Men try to control the way we look, the way we work, and how we express ourselves. We are constantly being shamed for every little thing. If you don’t like sex, you’re a prude. If you do, you’re a slut. And frankly, it can be hard to be surrounded by men because of this.
As someone who is mostly friends with men, I often talk to them about the various issues and struggles I have as a woman. I’ve written multiple articles about feminism and sexism, and about the problems I faced with men. And to my surprise, many men from my real life were very happy to read them and get back to me with their support and questions.
But it wasn’t always like that and there were times I received a decent amount of unintentional sexism even from my closest friends.
But I’ve chosen to fight on equal terms rather than hold onto the internalized anger I had. I chose to fight for equality instead of spending so many hours of my life trading in hate. Without a doubt, it’s not always easy since people can be very triggering, especially when it comes to your traumas. And of course, not every man is going to listen to you and do anything to become better or more respectful which is an unfortunate reality of life. We can’t convince anyone. And we can’t make everyone better.
But would we really achieve justice for everyone who deserves it if we just kept putting down all men around us? What if instead, we had conversations with our boyfriends, friends, and children and set them a good example by treating each other with respect?
These days, I want to tell men honestly how their actions made me feel or how they affected my friends or loved ones. I want to encourage them to be better and hear my side of the story. I want them to be on my side and I want to help them understand.
Isn’t it the most productive way to turn our pain and hate into a learning experience?
There are great feminists I follow who create educational articles and threads for everyone without any judgment, who genuinely try to change this world by bringing awareness. Men often thank them for being respectful and helpful. I then see those men reposting their stuff and discussing it with their followers. They, like us, see the problem and want to help women. But at the same time, I see these men constantly being attacked on Twitter in comment threads.
We have so much to fight for and I’m truly grateful for everyone who is out there spreading awareness, speaking facts, and helping others learn and be better.
I know that some people will disagree with me, saying that doubting women employing anger and hate is akin to silencing her. But I’m not here to doubt anyone’s intentions and pain. Everyone has the right to be angry and hurt. Everyone has their reason to hate or despise someone who hurt them. In fact, it’s okay to express your emotions and pain to speak up and show your side of the story.
Every problem should be discussed equally whether it’s racism, sexism, assault, or cultural appropriation. But does aggression really help when it becomes the only way we address these issues?
How Can We Talk About Gender Equality if We Still Shame Women for Having Sex?
How come there’s still such a bold line between men and women when it comes to something as simple as sex?