I’ve been thinking about the hashtag and its responses all day, and about my experiences as an individual woman in light of it all, and about my present.
I began this blog a few months ago and decided to combine two of my favorite things, feminism and speculative fiction. Because of the subject material, some random waste of carbon will occasionally stop by to leave a misogynistic comment, which I promptly delete. (My favorite of these: “It’d be nice if women would stop complaining and do something constructive for once.” Um, hello, I’ve got this little blog here which you are visiting and in which there is lots of evidence of me doing constructive things, like reviewing books and stuff, while you apparently have nothing better to do than troll for women to harass. Douchetruffle.)
But my profile is pretty low and the signal to noise ratio here is really high, so it’s easy to ignore.
And that made me think of a couple of women I follow on twitter whose profile is quite high, the ones who talk about feminism the most — they’re getting rape and death threats on a daily basis.
The kind of strength that it takes to endure that and keep going with one’s head held high — I hope to know it one day. I do not possess it yet. I admire those women greatly for their courage.
And as I said, my profile is quite low. But I’ve had some successes, what I think is a respectable number for how new my blog is. A couple of examples: a guest post I wrote for GeekFeminism had a very positive response. A book review I wrote was linked and quoted on ALL THE SITES, including the publisher’s website, when there are much more prominent places elseweb that also gave the book positive reviews. (Like I am a real, respected book reviewer or something! Dudes, I have written a dozen of these things. But I have noticed that they’ve improved greatly in quality since I started.)
And every time something like this happens, some small success, I get a validation boost and dopamine spike. And the very next moment, I get a stab of anxiety in my belly.
Because I wonder if this will be the day.
You see, as a woman (as a man too I imagine, but especially as a woman and even more especially as a vocal feminist), certain people can’t stand to see your success. Sometimes those people are men, and sometimes it’s women who have internalized sexism. And there will come a day, at a certain arbitrary level of success, that those people will viciously try to tear you down. Get too bright and shiny, too big for your breeches, and the cockroaches will swarm and attempt to destroy you.
Now, is that day likely to come for me in the context of my wee little book blog? Highly doubtful. If I ever manage to realize that whole aspiring author dream? Maybe. If my attempts to maneuver my day career, one dominated by men in the “writing about it” department, into one more writing-oriented succeed? Probably.
So that’s my personal response to the #YesAllWomen hashtag trending on Twitter right now. I like most women fear sexual assault and male violence.
But what I’m most afraid of is That Day.