Just a very quick note as I seriously need to catch up on some sleep. After living for one week according to US American time, i.e. staying up until the morning and then getting a couple of hours sleep before work I am beginning to feel like a zombie. I don’t think Twitter is something that I would like to take part in on a regular basis. It is is really difficult to make a solid argument in 160 characters. It all tends to just end in people arguing, as people only reinterate very basic points while they do not have enough space to reason their points. Most exchanges end after a couple of angry tweets. The one good thing that happened is that I have a met a few like minded people, who have confirmed my suspicion that the media repoorting we receive in Europe about Pakistan and India does not reflect reality. I hope to stay in touch with these people and learn more from them about the different challenges that men and women, girls and boys face in India and Pakistan.
In the meantime I just want to send a virtual hug to the woman who started the tumbl blog http://womenagainstfeminism.tumblr.com/ and facebook group https://www.facebook.com/WomenAgainstFeminism?fref=ts and the people who started the hahstag on Twitter. I am actually not sure who that was but it seems to have made all the difference as within days we have gotten a real movement together. So many women who used to sit in their homes and think they were the only ones who thought that something was very wrong with the established narrative about men and women. So many women who tried to point out these issues in discussions on social media and were confronted with nasty insults, accusations of being a fake female profile of a frustrated men and worst of all blockings. It is not without reason that on my ‘about’ page I have a picture of myself as a six year old peeking through the just demolished Berlin wall. Free speech is sacred to me. Take away my voice and you will have my wrath. Well, you won’t be able to hear my wrath obviously as you have blocked me from communicating with you and thus blocked yourself from hearing my words. I had heard Karen Straughan say before that the world of Feminism is a giant echo chamber. People who voice any dissenting opinion are first harassed and then blocked entirely. At first I wanted to go on commenting on the facebook page of the Guardian (a formerly intellectual newspaper, last summer I would still carry a copy proudly around with me to show how educated I am 😉 ) to show that I am not afraid of the people who come on, don’t comment on the article and instead just write slurs about me. But then I began to realise that there was not much point in commenting anymore as there were too many holes in the comment thread. I could see people refer to other comments and noticed that I could not see these comments. The good things was that at this point I decided to use my blog again which had lain idle for almost a year, as I had created it with the intention of creating a positive image about Pakistan because what the media in Europe and the rest of the world presents is so utterly negative. But then it tuened out that I am not a Feminist 😉 It’s used as a metaphor and I am glad I can use it here as everywhere else I would now have hate rain down on me. I could simply not exchange a one sided negative view of Pakistan with a one sided positive one. The metaphor is not completely correct as it suggests that there was ever a very negative view of women out there which I would vehemently disagree with. In the past it was socially not accepted for women to do certain things and the same was true for men in regard to other things. Personally I have always felt that as a woman and former girl I have more freedom to cross societal boundaries than men do. I would think the same was true throughout history. Today it’s completely normal for women to work in Europe while stay at home fathers still get funny looks. And even in times in history when it wasn’t common for women to work there were woman working but men staying home with their children while the woman was the breadwinner? Not really.
I have this idea that people labelled me a man because that made it easier for them to insult me. Insulting a man is accepted but with a woman you are supposed to be courteous. When it happened for the first time I felt very hurt. But when I heard from Karen Straughan that the reason why she started videoblogging is that people were constantly accusing her of being a man, I was not so worried anymore. I adore her and so … 😀 I have also larned to take the accusations with a pinch of salt.
This was on Friday last week. While this Linda woman has been searching me out on every article that I commented on on the fb page of the Guardian I came back to this article on Saturday – where she had left some Feminist talking points in the comments again – but had left my comments alone. It’s too early to say whether her constant harassment is over but I would generally say from my experience over the weekend (where I decided to miss two glorious German summer days in order to support #womenagainstfeminism) I would say that social media has become a much safer space, where people can share opinions without having to fear harassment and blocking. I am endlessly grateful for that to the poeple who got this movement going! When Feminists argue nowadays that I should be thankful to Feminists because without them I would not have a voice, I would not be allowed to have an own opinion, I can only say that very much the opposite of this is true! Without #womenagainstfeminism I did not have a voice. Not on social media and I was increasingly worried that I might have ruined my career by voicing my opinions as Feminism is so ingrained in our society, especially in the areas of life where people should know better than to blindly follow ideologies (I am seriously not sure if my work experience / placement with a German political foundation in Pakistan is still in).
On Friday morning I saw this post about peace and wanted to comment that sharing divisive memes with misinformation was no way of achieving peace. I had liked this fb page a few years ago because I support women’s rights. I support women’s rights and men’s rights! But they had recently shared some things that were obviusly not factual and I had done my duty and corrected them. But it apparently they are not looking for dialogue but are only a way one way channel, where they spread their message and if you don’t accept it you get blocked. That is Feminism – accept our message or stay silent!
Blimey, Feminists are still doing their thing on July 29th: accusing me of being a man and want to block me