Social media is fantastic in many ways. It’s also a great vehicle for bullying and attacking folk who truly did nothing wrong.
Okay, for those who don’t live in the Scottish Twitter bubble, let me fill you in. Last week a YES group held a meeting. On a cold night, midweek in late November, you would think turnout would be low, but I understand there wasn’t an empty seat in the house. I watched the video of the speakers and was very impressed with their different styles, but yet their shared passion. It was great to see the independence movement still had so much energy.
Now I understand it was an all male panel. Or as I was to later discover, a manel. Yes, that’s apparently what they’re now called. I myself questioned why this was, beforehand and I was told, that several women (17 to be exact) were asked but none were available. Okay, I thought. That seems fair enough. I truly thought that was the end of it.
But then the day after the event, I noticed women from all political backgrounds becoming really irrate about the fact that a YES group had the audacity to exclude women from the panel. Their anger was generally focused on one individual who spoke publicly for the first time and was genuinely chuffed with his accomplishment.
At first I ignored it. I mean, Twitter is full of spats, most of them resolved within a day. But then I noticed it wasn’t dying down, and more and more people seemed to be piling on. I dipped my foot back into the debate, and found the level of vitriol a bit shocking.
Before I am accused of being some sort of male apologist, let me say nothing could be further from the truth. I happen to believe we live in a very unequal society. Women are not even paid the same in many professions. But I don’t think singling out one independence event, which did publicly attempt to find female speakers, is in any way beneficial to further the cause for feminists.
I mean what is feminism anyway? We have female politicians like Ruth Davidson and Theresa May who belong to a party which has instigated a policy where women are penalised for having a third child unless that child was a result of a rape. How feminist is that as a policy? Does it make it somehow more acceptable because the leader of the party who implemented this cruel law has a vagina?
Then there’s an area where I have personal experience with. Being a single parent. Single mother to be exact. My ex husband resides outside of the UK, living and traveling all over the world. He sends money for our son, when and if it’s convenient for him. I have relentlessly attempted to pursue him for regular support, but the system largely just shrugs and says, ‘Well we can’t do much, if he’s outside of the UK.’ ‘Yeah, but he is back here periodically. Can’t you do anything then?’ ‘Well, do you have an address for him?’ ‘No.’ ‘Sorry, we can’t help you.’ So I go back to wondering how I am going to pay my rent and keep the heat on next month. This has been my life for the last few years now.
And not once, have I had a barrage of women come to my defence. Sure, I’ve had words of support and encouragement. Calling my ex ugly names, etc. But damn it, I wish just one person had said, you know what this system is really crap. We should collectively fight for single mothers being screwed over by their children’s dead beat fathers. Let’s all attack the system which continues to allow this.
No. It’s easier to attack a group of men who did nothing more than take time out to speak for Scottish independence.
I realise that this piece may anger people who I hold in high esteem. But I am tired of these battles in the name of feminism, which seem largely to not actually address the areas in which women truly are treated unfairly.
Walk a mile in my shoes, ladies. Let’s fight the real battles for feminism.