So, my mental meltdown started not long after I looked up the term ‘kyriarchy’, after doing some research into ‘intersectionality’ and discovering you’re not supposed to ask people what ‘CIS’ means, because your ignorance is NOT THEIR FAULT. Radfems, UKstraightPride and TERFs, oh my.
And my brain went ‘Excuse me?’
And then, ‘What the freaking fucksticks is going on? How in the name of all the fucking demons is this supposed to help anything??’
I mean, come on guys. Do any of you actually KNOW what you’re hoping to achieve? At all?
Now, I’m a lucky person. I have a home, a partner and children. I have a job, and I’m white and educated. I’m not disabled or marginalised in any particular way by society. Check MY privileges out, bitches.
I’m also lucky in that I have good friends from all sorts of diverse backgrounds. None of them seem to hate me for being who I am, and all are happy to talk to me about their experience of the world, and seem glad that I want to understand the way that life may treat them. I was under the impression that this was how we make progress, and live in harmony and all that shit. It’s also how we learn to adjust our thinking, grow as people and develop appreciation of life outside our own personal boxes.
I was also under the impression that marginalisation was a bad thing, and acceptance and understanding and equality for everyone was what we were working towards.
Now, if it’s not what you think we should be working towards, then… well, fuck off, frankly. Sorry, but – and I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite here (see below) – but bigots of whatever nature can just fuck right off. If you have a problem with anyone purely because of whatever subset of humanity they belong to, then you need to rethink your prejudices. I don’t really want you to fuck off; I don’t hate you, but I do question your beliefs.
You see, questioning beliefs is fine. Not just fine – it is important. It is vital. And the only way you can truly maintain your beliefs is by being open to having them questioned, and by being open to hearing the beliefs of people who believe differently to you. If you can’t do this, what you have is not belief, it is dogma, and it is bigotry and it is bad.
Don’t criticise a person because they are part of a group, or criticise a group because of the actions of only a few of its members. Don’t label people just so you can mush them all together and criticise them as a group. If you take away people’s individuality, if you dehumanise them like this, you are just making them easier to criticise, easier to blame, easier to hate and easier to kill. If you talk to individuals about their lives and beliefs and problems, if they then talk to you about yours, if you find common ground – hate goes away. Change happens. Understanding happens. Acceptance and love and nice things and ponies and sweeties and roundabouts and rainbows! Less shit generally.
Haters DON’T gotta hate. Haters have to stop hating, because all hate does is breed more hate. No, you can’t even hate the haters, because hate and aggression both come from fear and insecurity and ignorance. You can’t even silence them, because freedom of speech is important, and it lets us know who the dicks are. Only by communicating with them do we have any hope of changing them.
It’s really easy, and quite satisfying to tell someone who is being a dick to fuck off (See above). But whilst I admit to having done it myself on occasion, it achieves less than nothing.
If you feel society is marginalising you, then speak out. Speak loud, and be proud, and tell people. Fight for your right to be accepted, and to live your life as you choose – so long as you are not hurting or oppressing anyone else by doing so. But choose your words. Remember that other people can’t know what you are going through until you tell them, and if they ask you questions, it’s because they want to understand. If you’re speaking out, you are also putting yourself out there as an expert on your own life experiences. People may ask you questions that seem stupid, but the best way to defeat ignorance is through knowledge. Answer them. Use short simple words. Don’t roll your eyes, even metaphorically. Try not to patronise.
Oh god, and can I go off on a tangent here? Do not accuse anyone of ‘mansplaining’. You’re devaluing what someone says because of their gender. Sexism is a Bad Thing. It applies to anyone. Prejudice is prejudice is prejudice. Hating men counts too. Yes, even if they are being dicks. Being a dick is non-gender specific, non-anything specific.
If you are being mistreated, if you encounter injustice and abuse, if no one understands what you have to deal with on a daily basis – tell people. It’s the only way to end stigma and prejudice and ignorance. But make sure you are then open to hear other people’s experiences, too, and try to show some compassion. No matter what the wrong done to you, no matter how awful the oppression you encounter, and how minor anyone else’s problems seem to be in comparison, please don’t play ‘my pain is worse than your pain’. Pain is pain. There is no prize for being the most hard done to, and there WILL always be someone suffering more than you. There are people being killed and tortured every day, all over the world. People with no one to turn to, little hope and no voice.
You have a voice. Use it well. Use it to bring understanding and defeat ignorance. There is too much hate in the world as it is, so make sure you’re not adding to it.
Whatever someone’s ‘privilege’, whatever their material wealth or fame, whatever their race, gender, religion or level of disenfranchisement – if they are suffering and brave enough to speak out about it, OFFER THEM SUPPORT AND SYMPATHY. Don’t judge them, don’t grade their pain against your chart of worthiness, and don’t belittle or criticise their experience. You are privileged to have been allowed an insight into someone else’s life. That’s the only privilege that counts here. Be damn grateful for it.
Give one other person some hope, and you may find you’ve actually given it to lots of people. The actions of one person can grow and spread, and the only person whose actions you can directly affect is you. Make sure you are doing something for the greater good, when you use the beautiful, wonderful gift of being able to speak your mind and use your voice freely.
Don’t be a dick, dearheart. Be nice.
It works – and you know what, it confuses the people who are being dicks no end. Angry people have no idea what to do with you being nice to them. It wears them down, and makes them listen to you, and makes them rational against their instincts. Shouting is all very well, but a moment of compassion changes people.
Jesus. Did I just turn into the Giving Tree? Fuck. Sorry. I did start off being really pissed off… I’m going off to find some right wing, racist, sexist, ignorant gun-toting dickheads to abuse, now.*