I post a lot of ‘controversial’ things on Facebook.
(Controversial in quotation marks because they are very reasonable and logical arguments about very important issues, it’s just that mainstream society can’t handle the truth about oppression).
As a result, I get many messages and comments from people wishing to give their two cents on the topic. Great. I post these things to get people thinking, to incite discussion, to arouse interest. I lie. I post these things to indoctrinate everyone into feminist activism and queer & trans* allyship, but the others will suffice for now.
Most of the messages I receive are commendations on my ‘commitment to the cause’, a call for my input on a particular feminist/queer topic or advice on which Women’s Studies class to take or which Adiche book to read. I take these messages with open arms and a huge smile. It’s working. People seem to see me as some sort of feminist oracle; I can roll with that.
But then there are the messages from white boys. Trust me, I hate as much as you do that I am singling out one group of people but it is the irrefutable reality. Every. Single. One. is a heterosexual, cisgendered white boy on a mission to prove that feminism is moot and that ‘men have problems too wah wah wah’.
I am not saying that they don’t have the right to comment on what I have publicly shared and I am certainly not saying that men don’t have issues. I am saying that most of these articles, pictures, posts and status updates serve the purpose of creating a space for the voices of those who are oppressed by the patriarchal society we inhabit. Our society does not make space for women, for people of colour, for people with different abilities, for trans* or gender variant people.
Both physically and verbally, (white, cis, hetero) men take up too much space. They get to say anything, anywhere, without being questioned or confronted (except by feminists who they, or at least someone, will proceed to insult with childish slut-shaming remarks). They get to turn on the TV and see perfect representation of themselves behind every news desk. There are not laws restricting their bodies or their sexuality. They are not racially profiled. They are not misgendered. They do not fear using public bathrooms.
They are, to generalise, perfectly and wonderfully catered for by this society.
So, it’s not that you are not welcome to comment on my posts, white boys. It’s that I already know what you are going to say because it is said everywhere. The newspapers say it, the TV says it, our teachers and supervisors and superiors say it, our politicians say it. It is blazoned in big capital letters across the glass ceiling.
We already know that you think misgendering someone is ‘no big deal’ or a woman in underwear is ‘asking for it’ because society does it all the time. Society makes it very clear whose problems are important and whose are not by locking up black people to protect white people, by policing homosexuals to protect straight people, by holding back women to protect men (and their egos). So, I am trying to create a space. A small, probably insignificant space where queer people, people of colour, trans* people, differently abled people and their allies can offer their two cents, heck they can offer a whole loonie, if they please.
We acknowledge that you have opinions, but so do we. Tons of them, and now, it is our turn to speak. White boys commenting on posts that try to bring to light the issues of the oppressed only perpetuate the silencing of marginalised communities. Just for a second, please,