Rights, responsibilities and the thing about privilege

“As a cis white hetereosexual woman, you seriously need to check your privilege. As a queer, I have it far worse than you and live in constant fear because of sexist jokes.”

If you raised an eyebrow or your jaw dropped as you read that sentence, then let us be utterly flabbergasted together. No, this is not some troll. This is the reply I got for not recoiling in horror when a video called ‘Dear Feminists’ was posted in a group I was in on Facebook.

It has gotten to the stage now where I feel as though the movement I love and believe in has been taken over by the very thing it is not. I cannot help but think that if the feminists of the past could see what was happening today they would bow their heads in shame. What I see on social media every day saddens me, it saddens me because it is twisted and counterproductive. Over sensitivity is killing feminism.

Two years ago I would never have called myself a feminist because I was disturbed by what I was seeing online and reading about in magazines. Man-hating, skinny-bashing, anti-shaving women who victimized themselves and blamed the patriarchy for everything that was wrong with the world. I believed that this was feminism and I wanted no part in it, until my older sister came to visit and she, my mom and I sat down and discussed it.

The type of feminism my mother and sister described to me sounded incredible, nothing like the feminism I was seeing and reading about. We talked about the objectification of women in media and film, we talked about the issues women face in their place of work and we talked about the roles the women of the past had no choice but to carry out.

I believe that feminism is not about shaming anyone, I believe that it is a driving force for every woman and girl, yes a man can do that job, but so can you.  A man can speak out about injustices or express an opinion and so can you. Some women are mothers and love being mothers but your anatomy doesn’t mean you have to be a mother if you don’t want to be. Feminism is about opening your eyes to the endless possibilities as to what you can do with your life and why your gender should never be the thing to hold you back.

Looking at this issue as a whole, both men and women have some pretty bad habits which have kept us more or less divided on a lot of things socially and politically. Politics is a dirty, dirty game that will never be fair so you just have to toughen up and get on with it. If women want to have an impact, if we want to be taken seriously then some of us need to stop playing the victim. Do you think Countess Markievicz would have been remembered if she played the victim all the time and whined about men instead of getting up and fighting like she did? Hell no! She was one tough cookie and she got shit done, the kind of shit you don’t get done if you wallow in self pity. I understand that life is tough, it is, but you have a responsibility to make your life as simple as you can, blaming everyone else is not simplifying anything, it’s creating more problems for yourself.

Over sensitivity stunts growth, makes freedom of speech impossible and makes socialising an even bigger pain in the hole than it already is in this day and age. Between the whinging going on and the “triggering” topics affecting third level education in the States, I am finding myself on the brink of pulling a Van Gogh.

I think I speak for a lot of people when I say we need to do something about political correctness and how we choose to get messages across. If anyone is to be educated or simply to be heard, then we need to simplify things a little and understand that not everything is a personal attack. In CSPE (Civil, Social, Political Education), a subject taught in Irish secondary schools, I remember learning about rights and responsibilities, a responsibility accompanies each right you have. In this instance, you have a right to be offended, you have a right to express an opinion but you are also responsible for dealing with what comes with exercising both of those rights. Be a victim, that’s your right, but someone else has the right to call you out and for your own sake, I hope you’re prepared and self pity is not your weapon of choice.



2 thoughts on “Rights, responsibilities and the thing about privilege

  1. Yaaaaaaas queen. Much better editing, and your passion is strong in this! I love love love hearing your opinion and seeing you grow, as a writer and in your ‘mechanics’, as it was known for the LC. Fantastic job. Keep it up!


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