I love your content so much, if I’m feeling a bit crappy, I just go on your profile, watch a couple of your videos and I’m back to feeling like my favourite self.
Recently I’ve been catcalled quite a few times and a few weeks ago a man touched my bum with a disgusting look on his face in a train station.
I shut down, walked on and teared up. Since then, I have had this anger in me that I don’t know what to do with. I don’t want to end up hating men just because of the couple of bad experiences I’ve had with them but this anger is so powerful.
Do you have any advice on how to move forward and be ok with men/what the best reaction would’ve been in that situation in the train station?
I’m tired of men taking away power over my own body.
Lots of love”
My Dearest Bad Biddie,
First, I want to say thank you for your message, not only because you took the time to write it, but also because in sending it, you have helped me process the last few days. Earlier this week, an account with a large following catering to the type of audience that finds the word “feminism” offensive reposted one of my videos on his channel where I described a situation where a woman wasn’t permitted into an establishment for being too “Type A.” His only commentary was the fact that I was the “angriest feminist ever.” While I’m sure you can imagine what the ensuing comments sounded like, I did have one individual email me the following message to help illustrate:
I have largely come to grips with the fact that being trolled on a daily basis is a part of my job description, and truthfully, a small price to pay for this life of mine that I am so utterly in love with, and yet, it was jarring to see this type of trolling on a larger scale with a man who has nothing more to offer his audience of keyboard warriors than his contrarian opinion.
Let me be clear, what happened to you was a physical violation of your boundaries, and what happened to me was definitely not. But in sharing your story, you helped me realize something that I hope you can one day come to realize as well: that having an adverse reaction to an adverse situation is a normal reaction. There is so much pressure, especially as a woman or individual of a marginalized group, to “shake it off” or not let it get to you. I’d like to offer another perspective: Let it get to you and then use it to fuel you. You are allowed to feel angry at the man who assaulted you in a train station, you are allowed to feel angry at the men who catcall you on a regular basis, and you are also allowed to feel angry and move on in the same, swift breath. Your ability to move on is not mutually exclusive from your ability to be angry at the men who chose to violate your boundaries because it was the only way they could feel a tinge of self-worth.
There was nothing you could have done better in that situation. I have always advocated for walking away from crazy, because any man who is crazy enough to feel entitled to touch you without consent is not a man who can be reasoned with. You will never understand him, and that’s okay, because you don’t want to. The minute you understand crazy is the minute you become crazy, and from where I’m sitting, you may be angry, you may be hurt, but you are anything but crazy.
Women, historically, have been discouraged from being angry, because ultimately, anger can be a productive emotion – it’s an energizing feeling, and one that has spurred so much change for the better. The systems in place that want women to be less angry also know that women who are angry are women who can’t be controlled and who know they deserve better. Be angry, let it change you, but let it change you for the better. You are not angry at all men, you are angry at the men whose narrow definition of masculinity and power involves trampling the rights of others.
Harper Lee wrote, in To Kill A Mockingbird:
“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”
I’ve struggled, for the past few days, as to whether I wanted to address what happened to me across my channels, knowing that speaking out will likely incite further vitriol from the same audience, but then I remembered Harper Lee’s definition of courage, and I realized that everything good in my life has come from my willingness to be a loud, angry feminist, perhaps the angriest of them all, if I should be so honored. I am angry because there are men who feel like they can touch you without your consent, I am angry there are country clubs who reject “Type A” women for not always being agreeable in unagreeable situations, and I am angry that there are people who think that sending me hate mail will make them hate themselves less.
I am angry, just like you, but I hope you realize that your anger is your power. The men who violated you haven’t taken away your power over your own body, they’ve just helped you realize how powerful you really are, that you can feel so deeply and still move on. maybe both was started as an homage to the notion that women, and really, all people, can be more than just one thing. You are angry and you are powerful, and I might go as far to say, that it is because you are angry, that you are powerful. Now go use that power for good.
Your internet hype woman