Calling yourself a feminist can be hard. Everyone gives to this word a different meaning, sometimes it has a positive connotation but most of the time to call yourself a feminist is just bad. It might mean that you take things too seriously, that you should just roll with whatever happens to women and move on. You will probably have to explain yourself, God forbid you’re associated with crazy lunatic women who hate men and the world in general.
Another expression that seems to be very popular is “angry feminist” and then again you will find yourself trying to explain that you just want one simple and yet complicated thing: equality. I hated that expression as well, but the truth is I am mad. For example, I got really mad today when my friend told me a frightening story. She went to a party with a group of friends, a guy started offering drinks to all the girls, a lot of drinks and then he just left with one of them. Next thing you know is that your friend, who you thought had just left without telling you, is in the bathroom having sex with this guy. The problem is that she’s barely conscious. The word I would use to define this situation is rape. Yet, no one had the courage to say it. That girl will not call it rape even though she doesn’t remember anything. She doesn’t want to be labeled as the girl who got raped, no one does. The same has happened to other friends, but the idea of being a victim is not easy to handle. And it’s scary and maddening that a guy is just waiting for a girl to be black-out drunk to take advantage of her. My friend eventually said “I guess we just have to be careful, because that could’ve been me. As girls we need to be always on alert”.
This definitely makes me mad. It makes me mad that if I get drunk instead of a headache, I should expect to get raped. It makes me mad as a human being and also on behalf of my male friends that society paints men as animals who are not able to control themselves and make rational decisions. It makes me mad that it’s easier to be the oppressor rather than the victim. Blaming the victim is easy. She was drunk, she should’ve been more careful, maybe she sent him mixed signals. And we all know that men have certain urges, right? Wrong.
After getting mad, I got deeply sad because that is not the only story I know. I could tell so many, it would make you scream. Being catcalled in the streets, having someone following you, almost getting raped while you were sleeping during a group trip with alleged “friends” who did nothing to help you or make you feel safe, having your opinion disregarding by classmates because you’re a girl and many more because sexism is a spectrum and the consequences go from being overlooked to losing your life in yet another case of femicide. Situations that are so despicable you would not believe it. Because until it’s not you or your friend or your sister or someone you know personally, it’s like it didn’t even happen. It’s so abstract and far from your life that you try to give it a meaning that makes sense to you. Especially if you’re a man, you will read this and think “that’s not me, that will never be me”. You might be afraid of people thinking that of you. But I will also tell you something, maybe that’s not you but the other side is me. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about it. I’m scared constantly for my friends, myself and every woman I know. The truth is we expect bad people to be easy to spot, to be sketchy. Some old man waiting for a careless girl to be alone. A nice guy studying at University couldn’t possibly be a rapist, because rapists don’t look like that. Or do they? Brock Turner was a wealthy white guy on the swimming team at Stanford University. Yet, he’s a rapist. Lorenzo Costanzo and Ferdinando Orlando are two educated young men that come from respectable families. Yet, they raped a girl, left her to bleed out in a pool of her own blood and high fived each other afterwards. Public figures such as Justin Bieber have admitted to having been abusive towards women often in their life, yet he’s admired for his courage and the victims left behind are labeled as people just “looking for attention”.
Truly, a large portion of the general public still considers the #MeToo movement a witch hunt, especially when the alleged criminal is a white wealthy man. The victims start being scrutinizing, making a tragic experience, which leaves a deep scar on your body and soul, much more horrifying. The situation worsens when the victim is part of a minority, LGBT+ community or trans. Then, you really brought it on yourself, no matter what was happening you were just showing off too much. But, especially in Italy, cards flip when the alleged criminal is black, Albanian, Romanian or any other minority present in Italy. Then, suddenly there is a need of protecting women from the crimes brought by the frightening thing we call immigration, and even in those cases the focus is not really on the victim but on how to pin what happened on an entire race and not really on the perpetrator.
So I am mad, I’m infuriated but let me ask you something: wouldn’t you be?
Instead of teaching girls to let it go and move on, why don’t we teach boys consent? It doesn’t take that much to change the world, but as a very famous quote says: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men and women to do nothing.”