On Despair, Hopelessness, and Resistance
I’m tired of biting my tongue until it bleeds as I sit on the sidelines and watch as women’s hard-won rights are eroded.
I’ve been seeing a lot of despair on some feminist forums lately, women voicing their anxiety and fear over the steady rollback of our rights, the blatant disregard for our safety and our humanity, and the complete and total takeover of gender ideology in our governments, media institutions, and society as a whole. I’ve seen our current situation likened to Gilead from The Handmaid’s Tale or, at the very least, a precursor to it. And many agree that we seem to be living in the pages of a dystopian novel right now.
And I get it. I’ve had my own periods of despair, hopelessness, my own periods of what the actual fuck is going on?! How the fuck is this happening?!
We took so much for granted. We thought we had secured a good number of rights for women and were on our way to securing even more in the future. We thought we had it so much better in our generation than our female ancestors and, for a time, it was true. And it’s still true, in some ways. But over the last few years, we’ve watched in horror as our rights have been swept out from under us, all in the name of affording a small group of fetishistic deluded men the privilege to basically do whatever the fuck they want. Wear us as a costume, proclaim that we are nothing more than a thought in their head, decimate women’s sports and spaces.
Never could I have imagined such insanity taking place in my lifetime.
The insanity shows no signs of abating anytime soon and it looks like things are only going to get worse. And it’s scary and devastating and it makes me want to fucking scream. I feel like a lot of women feel the same way, only now we have been harassed and bullied into silence. Just seeing a woman being banned from a public forum like Facebook or Twitter for saying perfectly reasonable things like “men aren’t women” and “there’s no such thing as a trans child” is enough to make one hold one’s tongue.
“I’m tired of biting my tongue until it bleeds as I sit on the sidelines and watch as women’s hard-won rights are eroded.”
I’ve been one of the silent ones. Saying nothing as women’s online spaces were banned and denounced as hateful. Keeping my questions to myself when I went to a theatre and couldn’t find a women’s restroom, only a “gender neutral” toilet where men were allowed to go. Watching in quiet devastation as one of my most beloved authors was slandered and deluged with death and rape threats, all for the crime of speaking up in defence of women’s rights.
I live in one of the wokest countries in the world right now, a virtual TRA paradise where gender identity ideology has seemingly been designated as the nation’s official religion. I fear harassment and violence if I were to speak out, threats to my family. I fear losing close friends, women whom I know to be funny, compassionate, and intelligent. I also know that these women would cast me out as a hateful bigot if I dared to ask even the most timid of questions.
But you know something? I’m tired of being silent. I’m tired of biting my tongue until it bleeds as I sit on the sidelines and watch as women’s hard-won rights are eroded. I’m tired of pretending that gender identity and everything that goes along with it is progressive and moral and that it all totally makes sense. Like Galileo pointing out that the earth is not in fact the centre of the universe, I am also tired of being afraid of stating obvious, objective facts. And I bet you are too.
It would be easy to give up. It would be easy to throw our hands up and say, as I see it expressed in radical feminist online forums from time to time: “It’s over. They’ve won. They’ve got too much money, too much institutional power, too much sway over public opinion. We don’t stand a chance.” Okay, maybe that’s true. And maybe it’ll be true for years, or even decades, to come.
“But they kept going, because they weren’t fighting for universal popularity, they were fighting for their rights.”
But what if the women who had come before us had thought the same thing?
What if the suffragettes fighting for the right to vote had shrugged their shoulders in defeat and said, “It’s hopeless. Politics is a man’s domain and looks like it’s going to stay that way. They’re not going to give us our right to vote and they never will. Let’s just go home.”
Or what if the women fighting for their bodily autonomy and their right for equal pay in the workforce had sighed and said, “Pack it in, ladies, we’re on a fool’s errand. Men are never going to let us be independent or in control of our own bodies. Let’s just toss our placards in the trash and call it a day. There’s no point.”
But they didn’t give up. They fought, tooth and nail, to be recognized as human beings, to have the same right as men to be in control of their own destinies. They chanted and they marched and they faced scorn and hatred and anger from all corners. From men and women. But they kept going, because they weren’t fighting for universal popularity, they were fighting for their rights, for the right of every woman to be more than just chattel, more than a domestic slave, more than just a fucking incubator.
There are many places throughout the world where women still do not have these basic rights. But here in the West, we’ve been granted the rights that the women who came before us secured for us. And now we’re watching as these hard-won rights are stripped away, the legacy of those women erased.
“Resist. Resist, resist, resist.”
Okay. So be it. We can get them back.
It’ll take time. It’ll take hard work and sacrifice and a whole lot of other shit that no woman should have to deal with. But when has the world ever been fair to women and when have we ever let that stop us from fighting?
Things may get worse in our lifetime. We may fight and march and protest and have it all lead to nothing. We may be beaten, thrown in jail, fired from our workplaces, canceled on Twitter. We may never even catch a glimpse of the future we’re striving for.
Again, so be it. At least we’ll have laid the foundations for the next generation to keep fighting. And to keep fighting and to keep fighting and to keep fighting. And they won’t give up because they’ll look back and see that we didn’t either.
Things are looking pretty bleak right now, I know that. But we have truth on our side and we are the ones capable of seeing through the mountain of absolute bullshit that is looming over us and calling it for what it is - men seeking to control and dominate us just like they always have. Same shit, different day.
Whenever I feel despair creeping in, I remember one of my favorite Andrea Dworkin quotes. “Remember: Resist. Do not comply.”
So resist. Resist, resist, resist in any way you can. Resist in a hundred small acts of rebellion whether that’s with stickers, blog posts, or Twitter threads. Resist with your wallet and support radfem and GC authors, artists, and YouTubers. Resist by sending strongly-worded letters to your political representatives and make your voice heard, your views known.
Resist. Resist, resist, resist.
Do not comply.
The generous support of our readers allows 4W to pay our all-female staff and over 50 writers across the globe for original articles and reporting you can’t find anywhere else. Like our work? Become a monthly donor!
Enter your email below to sign in or become a 4W member and join the conversation.
(Already did this? Try refreshing the page!)