Three years ago, I probably would have just let any talk about feminism and misogyny pass me by without much notice. When I was a kid, “feminist” was an insult – it meant you hated men, or at least, that’s all that I ever got out of it. What I’ve come to learn, however, is that feminism isn’t about hating men. It’s about wanting equality. You don’t have to put someone else down to build yourself up, something a lot of people (both men and women) haven’t learned.
If you haven’t heard of Tumblr, it’s a blogging (I use the term loosely) platform in which users post and reblog anything from photos, art, text, videos, music, gifs, and whatever they can put on there. In my experience, there are three sides to tumblr – 1) The Fandom side. In the fandom side, you’ll find everyone who loves a fandom (tv show, movie, book, etc). They reblog anything having to do with their chosen works and are often both wildly hilarious and incredibly infuriating at the same time. The second side is “Artistic” aka The Hipster side who reblog cups of coffee and filtered instagram pictures with obscure love/life quotes on them. And thirdly, there’s the socially-justice-minded side of tumblr (this often crosses over into other blogs as well). This can be anything from feminism to correcting people’s scientifically wrong facts and eviscerating the uninformed. Tumblr isn’t always nice.
Tumblr has opened me up to what feminism really is, and because of tumblr, I’ve come to see the world in a different light. As we grow up, there is so much that we internalize. We come to accept the world as it is and don’t question the things that come out of our mouths. In school, we learn about racism and classism, but we hardly learn how it applies to our lives in the present day. We learn about slavery and equal rights movements, but that was fifty years ago. It didn’t just stop in the ‘60s. Even now, parliament argues about equal pay for women.
One thing tumblr has done for me is ruin a lot of the things I once enjoyed. They say that ignorance is bliss and sometimes, it is. Before all this, I wouldn’t watch a movie or commercial and think, “There are no women. There are no people of color.” Now, it’s the first thing that runs through my head. The reason I say ruined is not that it ruined things – the show/movie was already ruined by whoever wrote out fully-rounded female characters – it’s that I now recognize all the problems there are and that takes away my ability to laugh along with the misogynistic jokes. Would I prefer to be in the dark? No. I’d rather recognize that there are problems so that someday, perhaps, I’ll be able to fix them.
Just the other day, there was an article about a girl kicked out of prom because men didn’t like how she was dressed. Some people will say it’s the girl’s fault (victim-blaming?) for wearing a dress, but who are the ones having “impure thoughts”? Victim-blaming runs rampant in our society – it was the girl’s fault she was raped for not being more careful, but who did the raping? Who had the ability to control the situation? It wasn’t the girl. She didn’t make the choice to get raped. Someone else chose to do it.
In some respects, tumblr has taught me a lot about feminism and it’s opened my eyes to what’s really going on out there. Of course, everything needs to be taken with a grain of salt, and sources can’t always be trusted. Do your own research and make your own decisions. I’m definitely not the same person I was a few years ago. I suppose the most frustrating thing about becoming an “angry feminist” is trying to explain to other people why the thing they just said is so insulting/incorrect/internalized misogyny and having them brush you off with a “don’t be so sensitive.” Being insulted for being sensitive is like someone telling you that your emotions just aren’t important to them. Finding the balance between constantly angry and never surprised at the state of the world and leading a blissfully ignorant life is something I doubt anyone can ever achieve. You either know and it bothers you or you don’t and it doesn’t. Which would you rather be?