You feel it too, don’t you? Is it the same for you as it is for me? A hot, acrid flame flickering raggedly somewhere beneath your solar plexus. Uncomfortable and constant. Rage borne of being raped, beaten, sold, forced to bear children, underpaid, unrepresented and unacknowledged for centuries. The rage of being a woman.
It feels like it’s coming to a head this week. Today, in fact. This morning, Dr Christine Blasey Ford will testify against Brett Kavanaugh in a bid to keep him off the US Supreme Court. And, as always, women wait with uncertainty to see just how much value white men put on our lives.
If you are a woman and you’re not enraged about what’s playing out across the Atlantic, I’m going to need you to have a think. Ask yourself how privileged you are to be able to disassociate yourself from Kavanaugh’s actions. Ask yourself why your instinct is to uphold the white, male supremacy. Ask yourself whether you truly believe that the colour of your skin or your socio-economic standing will stop them coming for you. The patriarchy leaves no white, cis, middle-class man behind; but the rest of us can rot.
Most of us are operating on a constant spectrum of fury, which flares wildly during the day. Women of colour have been living in this state longest. What, for many white women, is a newfound drain on our energy, woc have marched with for hundreds of years. In your fight against the patriarchy, ensure you are doing equal work to dismantle white feminism – they go hand-in-hand to control anyone who isn’t white, cis and middle-class. Spokes in the wheel of white supremacy.
Because this is our chance. Women, fueled by such overt injustices as we’ve been seeing, have the opportunity to set the match to the patriarchy. But we cannot effectively do that unless we achieve a significant, intersectional feminist movement.
Racist, sexist, wealthy white men are on the rocks, that much is very clear. True colours are being shown. The more accusers who come forward against Kavanaugh, the wilder the statements get from the GOP. They spit vitirol, they cling to ridiculous arguments, they wave high-school wall calendars as if it carries weight. They will do what they can to bury Dr Ford and see this rapist sit on the Supreme Court. It’s their last vestige of hope that they can cling to their birth-given power a while longer. They are losing control. They are terrified.
And they should be.
Between Weinstein and Nia Wilson and ‘grab em by the pussy’ and disappeared Indigenous women and fanatics trying to dictate our rights to our bodies, women are done. We call bullshit on the centuries of male oppression. Cause has overcome fear. We have nothing left to lose.
Things are about to get very uncomfortable for every man who does not check his privilege before interacting with us. As the patriarchy tries to silence us and our experience on a global stage, women are taking their rage to their daily lives. No more are we scared to call you our for groping us as we pass you in a pub. No more will we sit quietly as you mansplain and interrupt. And you better believe your comments and opinions on our bodies will not be met with smiles. We don’t owe men a thing. Men don’t have ownership over us. We are here to fight any who think they do.
The war is nowhere near over. It will continue to leave wounds and drain energy. For those who’ve been battling the longest, allyship can carry some of the weight. Men need to speak for us when there are no women in the room. White women need be allies to women of colour in a room full of white people. Whatever privilege you have, it needs to be put to work – cis-, white-, male-, hetero-, financial-, able-bodied or middle class privilege. Do the work. Lessen the load for others. Figure out what women with less advantages need to you do. Strain to level the playing field as a small part of reparation owed.
Use the fury you’ve collected over your lifetime. Use it as a call to arms. Channel it into everything your do. Do not let it be dampened by feeble words and vacant promises from those trying to placate you. Let it propel you and women around you. Start at home, with your friends and family. Educate them, call them in, share what you know. Wake them up. Give them the gift of their own anger.
Now is the time. We cannot wait any longer. We have to put an end to women being dragged through the coal simply for telling their experiences. Our rage is glorious. It’s power waiting to be taken. It’s time.