Thursday, May 12, 2016

The 1%

Last night I had the pleasure of attending a talk by Clementine Ford, columnist, journalist, feminist, several other -ists I'm sure, but you get the idea.

The topic of discussion, or at least the presentation itself, was largely focussed on the appalling messages sent to her by men, supposedly in reaction to articles she has written or views she has expressed about, well, I'm sure pretty much anything.

Clementine's talk was entitled 'Hate Male'.

Oh, Tobey!
Those of you familiar with Clementine's Twitter or Facebook (and instagram, but I rarely use that) would know exactly the kind of hate-filled, vile messages sent to her, and I assure you, hearing her read them out in person actually makes it worse. There are an awful lot of extremely offensive males out there who seemingly think it is quite okay to verbally abuse women, as well as wishing for them to be raped and even killed...and to think it's all okay!

I won't attempt to give examples, you really need to see/hear them for yourself to get a proper grasp on just how terrible they are, and couple this with the manner in which Clementine has managed to regain the control over these people, both in her responses and her non-responses, nothing I say here will come close to representing it sufficiently.

So what about my place in the room?

The screen was bright actually, I may have looked like this
I was certainly in the 1%, it was a female audience, although I saw another guy at the end.
The presentation was no doubt aimed to help empower women, the show Clementine's approach to dealing with the shit thrown her way, however, that doesn't mean it was for women.

I am a follower of Clementine, I know what her messages are and the ways she presents them, and I quite like it. It cuts through the crap and tells it how it is, but to assume it is just a message for women is incorrect.

When our group (five women and me) sat around at dinner after the talk to discuss it, one of them commented on how it was good that I was there, quickly followed by others explaining why their husbands weren't there. Despite it not being a competition, it made me a little uncomfortable that it had briefly become a "oh, my husband would have come, but he's looking after the kids" situation. Nobody thinks less of males for not attending such a presentation. We all have other things on, responsibilities, useful and considered things to focus on instead. These other men are part of the 1% of males who treat women with respect, who actually are good and decent people.

At one stage in the presentation Clementine noted that there were a few men in the crowd and pointed out that, and yes she was making the statistic up but you get the idea, that she was talking to 99% of men and that if you were in the room, you probably weren't actually the problem.

But I was there, and I am part of the problem. Sure, not a huge part, not a terrible and appalling person, not the sort of person you would leave off a guest list (well, not for that reason anyway), but I am part of the problem.

I have many habits that some take personally as a woman, despite them being actually personally about ME. I talk over people, I interrupt, I just talk in general too much, but despite my constant attempts to assure people that it's just cos I'm rude and loud, not sexist and belittling, I don't think that really matters.

I didn't feel intimidated last night being in such a position, I did feel a little conspicuous, but I sat on the end of my row, three from the front and was in an excellent position to watch and learn.

And I did.

I am part of the 1%.

But the 1% is still part of the 100%.

I know the majority of my friends don't believe I am the problem, But much like the zombie hordes from World War Z, in order for someone to get to the top of the sexist or misogynistic tower, they have to be able to climb on the backs of others.

If you don't already follow Clementine, here are some links.
Clementine on Twitter
Clementine on Facebook

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