A while back, a high school friend shared a post that said, “Can we bring back men taking women on REAL dates, opening the car door for them, and bringing flowers for no reason…”
I’ll paraphrase his status with it but it essentially said, “Women just have to be less picky to get this, but they’d rather sleep around.” I’m cutting out several slurs by paraphrasing.
One of his friends commented in support: “Can we bring back respectable women and ones that clean and cook and actually cares bout your day haha (sic).”
Being the loudmouth feminist I am, I stepped in. I pointed out that, perhaps, they weren’t finding their “ideal” women because of the way they talked about them: dismissing them all with sexual slurs while also hoping to find someone tolerant of this and als wait on them hand and foot.
I’ll spare you the details, but as you can imagine it didn’t go well. I never expected it would. At first, three guys seemed to get where I was coming from. It was civil. Then a fourth man chimed in, personally attacking me, and the tides turned.
Emboldened by their friend’s irrational insecurity, they all began attacking me. I was called slurs and names; I was told I was only offended because my husband treats me poorly and I myself sleep around.
Trust me when I say none of their comments bothered me. As a journalist you grow thick skin and strangers’ opinions on the internet stop mattering. I simply stopped commenting and let them rail against me, hopefully proving the point I was trying to make.
The post itself did bother me though. These men actually believe women should be talked about like that, talked to like that and treated like that. Women out there actually believe it as well.
That bothers me.
So, after seeing them call me nearly every name in the book, which I can only hope satisfied them since they seemed completely dissatisfied with nearly every other aspect of their lives, I started to wonder if it was all worth it.
My comments aren’t going to make them think any more, that much had become obvious. They probably wouldn’t start treating women better, or start to look at a woman’s personal sexual choices as just that, rather than something to comment on and degrade socially.
My comments are not going to change anything, more than likely. So what’s the point?
The point is, where do we draw the line?
Do we as a society turn a blind eye to sexist, stupid comments on Facebook because we know intervening won’t change anything? What happens if someone makes the same comments out in public; do we intervene then? What about when a girl is drunk at a party?
What about when comments like this turn into emotional abuse when a girlfriend of ours is in a relationship with men like them? What about when it turns physical?
I don’t think we should stop fighting the little fights because they seem insignificant. I don’t think we should turn a blind eye when a friend on Facebook is making sexist, degrading statements about women. To be clear, I don’t think we should turn a blind eye when that happens to any gender, I’m just going with this particular example.
I know fighting on Facebook is stupid, and my mutual friends on Facebook probably read the whole exchange and rolled their eyes, and maybe it made absolutely no difference whatsoever.
But I don’t know where we should draw the line. To be honest, I don’t want to draw a line at all. I don’t want to ever get to a point where I quietly and complacently see sexism occur.
I’m going to keep fighting the little fights on Facebook. Screw drawing lines when it comes to inequality.