First off, let’s establish whether I’m talking to you.
How do you know whether you’re a chill girl? Simple. Is your reaction to complaints from other women of harassment and discrimination based on gender to turn to the guys and say, “Nah, I’m fine. It’s all cool”? Then you’re a chill girl.
How do you know whether you’re a queen bee? Simple. Did you struggle your way up to a position of power or influence in what was decidedly a man’s world, only to then turn around and tell other women that unless they can do what you did, they have to stay in their subservient positions? Then you’re a queen bee.
So, if you are a queen bee or a chill girl, pay attention. Start with this post by Colleen Doran. Doran has been through some rather nasty misogynistic crap, just for being a woman in comics. She has her own message for you.
But I like to think that things like stalking and harassment should be addressed and dealt with whenever we can, and to the best of our individual ability. I know that everyone has their limits, and not everyone can deal with directly addressing this problem. You should definitely pick your battles. But you’ll never win the war unless you fight sometime. Always keeping your head down, sticking to “the work” as if it will go away if you ever get the guts to look up, is not only harmful to you, it’s nothing like respect, and it enables the cycle of emotional violence to continue.
I’m going to disagree slightly with Doran here. If you want or need to keep your head down in order to survive or to do other important work (and you might be surprised at how much work I consider important), you get to do that. Not letting the bastards get you down a fight of its own. Its one worth winning, if that’s the fight you decide you can handle.
But that? That isn’t what you’re doing, you chill girls and queen bees. You’re not keeping your heads down and focusing on the work. You’re getting into the fight.
That isn’t surprising. It’s a compelling fight. The outcome affects you.
What is surprising is the side you’re choosing to fight on. You’re supporting the people who hurt you against the people trying to make the world a little easier for you.
And yes, I know that we’re fighting on your behalf as well as our own. I’ve heard you complain. In fact, your complaints about your own treatment frequently form the foundation for your claimed moral authority on these issues. “I’ve been groped/been constantly pestered/had someone’s tongue shoved down my throat/been raped/been ignored in favor of men/been discriminated against/been retaliated against/been called names/been harassed/been stalked/been threatened/been attacked and you don’t hear me complaining.”
Actually, that’s exactly what you’re doing. You’re telling me things happened to you that shouldn’t happen to anyone. Then you’re telling me I should put up with it just because you did.
Then you’re telling other people they should fight against me just because you didn’t choose the same fight I did.
Then you’re telling me there’s some kind of moral superiority in your choosing not to take on the harassment and additional pain of this fight.
You don’t have to fight this fight. You can put your head back down and work. That’s a perfectly respectable choice. Sticking your head up from your work in order to fight to keep the world a lousy place? There’s nothing respectable in that. Or as Doran put it so well:
I like to think younger generations of women will not have to grow up armored assholes to deal with assholes, tossing off a crusty “Get over it!” every time a young girl gets groped at a con, or gets a barrage of rape threats on twitter. I prefer a world where men and women stand up and say, “This is not acceptable,” to a world where men and women chastise others to develop crocodile hides as if ugly words and ugly actions bounce off it.
It doesn’t. It just makes you ugly, too.