Well, then. I already shared my opinion on feminism with you, my hesitation to call myself a feminist because of the negative connotations, and that if feminism is all about equality, I guess I do consider myself a feminist. Actually, just now, while I was preparing to write this entry, I asked myself if there is such a thing as masculism, and if there is such a thing, what shapes it would take.
The issue, to start this off more generally, with every social rights movement, political tendency or belief is that there are people who take it too literally, who go too far to promote it, who try suffocating everything that goes against their belief. I am not quite sure why that is. I guess humans are just bound to execute intolerance and destruction. Those people, the ones who take it too far, are called extremists. I already told you what I think about femen, but compared to other extremist groups, they are harmless, because writing stuff on your boobs does not have much of an effect, neither positive nor negative. Extremism can take much more dangerous forms, as we all know; the most prominent examples are al-Qaeda and the Aryan Brotherhood. People who terrorize and kill other people because of extremist believes. The backgrounds of extremism are normal things, painless things, that are unfortunately open to interpretation, like the Bible and the things people understand it as, a shocking example being the white supremacists who interpret the “creation” story in the Genesis book in the way that non-white people have no souls because they were made of mud.
Why am I telling you all of this? Well, about a month ago, Jasmin sent me the link to Emma Watson’s #HeforShe speech, and, hesitant about the label “feminist” as I was, I posted the speech on twitter with nothing but the tag “Something to think about”. A short time after I had posted it, I received an answering tweet, and I thought, nice, I got a response! So I read the tweet and it had been sent by someone calling themselves @rapebombing. (A name that admittedly made me suspicious.) They had sent me a link, with the tag “Something else to think about”, and I thought, alright, give it a try, and what they had sent me was a site called realsexism.com, and for those of you whose attention was just grabbed, I think I will disappoint you in a minute, because none of the contents on this site were what anyone in their right mind could have called real.
What the Real Sexism Project appears to be about is that allegedly, men are the real victims of sexism. Now, I am not sure who ever claimed that men are never victim to sexism, but whoever concocted this site obviously believes sexism only sees females as the victims and men as the aggressors. Out of that mislead belief, the originator of realsexism.com collected a myriad of statistics and facts, some of whom are completely unconnected to the issue of sexism (e.g. “89 % of men will be the victim of at least one violent crime”), some of whom are enunciated a little too vaguely to be taken seriously (e.g. “40 – 70 % of domestic violence is against men”), and some of whom just plainly sound fictitious (e.g. “Court bias against men is at least 6 times bigger than racial bias”). What the originator has done, as is common with extremists, is that they took studies and surveys from universities and other academic facilities and interpreted these in the way that they wanted to interpret them. This is how extremism works, how it always has worked and always will work – extremists will go to you and say, what I am saying is not wrong, and then they will show you their evidence, the evidence they apprehended by twisting and turning things, looking for loopholes and leeway.
“What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know. It’s what we know for sure that ain’t so.” Mark Twain
What depressed me for the rest of the day after I had received that tweet was that this person, whoever they might be, has a hundred and fifty-eight followers on twitter. A hundred and fifty-eight. This means that a hundred and fifty-eight people either believe in what this person says or even support it. A hundred and fifty-eight people does not sound like a scandalizing amount, but the issue is that this person, this extremist (or maybe it even is a group of extremists, who knows) is able to spread their extremist views on the internet just like other people are spreading cute cat gifs on 9gag and everybody in the entire world has unlimited access to it. The realization that people’s minds are weak enough to fall for it is depressing enough, but the internet has made it infinitely easy to spread your believes. Hell, I am feeding you my believes and thoughts right here, in the moment that you are reading this, as well as every time I post something on facebook or share something on twitter or write a story and publish it on fanfiction.net or archiveofourown.
What this boils down to is that extremists have always existed and will always exist, but the internet has changed the world, it has changed how people interact and how they gain knowledge, and on that day in September, when this person responded to my tweet for #HeforShe, I understood that nowadays it is ridiculously easy for extremists to gain followers, and it scares me. This person has a hundred and fifty-eight followers on twitter, and they will gain a lot more over time because humans are pliable and have to believe in something, and sometimes all it takes is one wrong turn.
What appealed to me about #HeforShe is that it is in no way extreme. Emma Watson’s speech was directed at women and men, and she accorded both sexes the right to equality and the ability to fight against discrimination, because #HeforShe is aware that both sexes are victim of discrimination, in all its different forms.
All I wish for today is that you, the readers, consider your believes and consider them carefully. There is no right way of thinking, but we all must be aware of the intrinsic truth that says that all humans are created equal and deserve equal rights and equal treatment, and should you ever come across anything that violates that truth, obviously or insidiously, you should think twice about believing it.
Don’t give extremists a chance.
“We came equals into this world, and equals shall we go out of it.” George Mason
Follow Miri on her personal Twitter account: OriginalSGreenD