Sunday Small Talk #6: A Heavy Week For Women

14 Mar 2021

A Heavy Week For Women

 Let’s recap shall we? What have we learned this week? Should a woman speak out on her experiences of racism, misogyny or mental health, she will not be believed. White, middle-aged men in particular will ensure they make it clear that they do not believe her. Loudly. Because of course, the world is really lacking in opinions of white, middle-aged men. A woman can do all the ‘right’ things whilst walking home alone and still not make it back to her loved ones. But it will be her fault. Not the fault of the man who murdered her. 97% of women have been sexually harassed in the UK (which came as a surprise to exactly 0% of women) but – just so we’re clear gals – it’s not all men.  

It has been a heavy week to be a woman. And no, this is not small talk. This is really Big Talk.  


I, like so many other women, have found this week difficult. The fact that the society we live in is blatantly misogynistic and a dangerous place for a woman is not new information but it is one thing for this to be something that lingers in the back of your mind and quite another for it to be reinforced across every newspaper, every damn news channel, every tweet sent with the hashtag #NotAllMen.  


Dealing with this on top of dealing with lockdown and living through a global pandemic separated from loved ones felt rather like the straw that broke the camel’s back. And I know I’m not alone in this feeling. I reached whole new levels of anxiety this week and come Friday, I realised I needed to remove myself from the news for a short period. Because that I do have control over. I can’t control this shit show of a week or the anxiety it has created but I can put a halt on the endless doom-scrolling and absorption of bad news, just for a moment. My mental health improved, but my anger remains. 


Why is it, in 2021, women are still not believed when they say they have experienced poor mental health, racism, abuse? Why is it, in 2021, that women can’t walk home alone without the risk of being raped, abducted or murdered? Why is it, in 2021, we still experience harassment on a daily basis? Why is it, in 2021, the murder of a white woman still gets more sympathy and attention than that of a woman of colour? Why is it, in 2021, when we lose yet another woman to the hands of a man and we publicly express our terror – men still take up the space, telling us how we should feel, behave, that it’s not all of them?  


(Side note – we are painfully aware it is not all men. What do you want, a medal for not having murdered someone? Congratulations on having achieved the bare minimum. Forgive me if I have slightly higher expectations from you. Please consider that maybe, just maybe, your offence and first instinct to protect your own reputation over protecting the women being harassed is part of the problem.)


Every woman I know doesn’t just have ‘a story’, she has several. We all do. It’s not all men, but it’s certainly all women. We are already doing everything we possibly can, and it’s not enough. The problems lie at the feet of men and so many of them are still using it to kick us rather than help us, from the ones taking our lives to the ones not calling out the sexist ‘jokes’. Following the death of George Floyd last year, asking ourselves the difficult questions came to the forefront of our minds. It was not a comfortable process but it bloody well shouldn’t be. So men, do the same now. Question your past behaviours. Are you aware of how you could be perceived? Have you checked your own ingrained attitudes? Do you call out your friends? Have you asked the women in your life about what they have to live with day in and day out? It’s time to do the work. Because if you don’t, we will continue to pay with our lives.  

Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, it has been a though week for all of us to get through, lets hope there is better understanding from this all :)

    Nic | Nic's Adventures & Bakes

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