Monday, 5 August 2013

Silence isn't always golden

My daughter came second in her 400m final a couple of weeks ago. A terrifyingly competitive child she had decided to target bronze and so, after running a rather fabulous final if her ridiculously proud mum says so herself, she flung her breathless self on me then turned, raised her arms triumphantly and said (loudly) 'I owned you boys'.
To which her now slightly shocked but still ridiculously proud mother said 'sshhh. Show some graciousness.'
'But,' she protested, completely unrepentant. 'They said I couldn't do it, that no girl was going to beat the boys in the 400m'.
Oh. 'In that case, ' I said. 'Carry on.'
She did.
This was at the back of my mind on Saturday as I skimmed through my timeline. Men and women, but mostly women, agonizing whether to silence themselves for a day to show the vile, misogynistic trolls who think that women shouldn't identify as feminists,  shouldn't have opinions,  shouldn't speak out, should conform physically to their idea of attractiveness,  should get their tits out for the lads, should get on their knees, should get back in the kitchen, should Shut Up, that they didn't own Twitter.
I don't understand why people think trolling is okay, I don't know why an intelligent woman, an opinionated woman, a visible woman can get someone so angry that threats and abuse seems like a reasoned response. But I can't help thinking that shouting back, that naming and shaming, that refusing to allow the nasty, tiny majority to silence you is more effective than silence. Surely?
Tweet if you want. Blog if you fancy it. Sing, dance, laugh, talk, argue, discuss, giggle, converse,  pontificate,  WRITE. Let your voice be heard.
The 9yo gets on very well with the boys in her class. Sometimes she gets bored with sitting in the bench chatting and leaves the girls, runs off to play football, superheroes (she's the Black Widow, natch). She doesn't think girls are better than boys or vice versa, she thinks both genders are equal. But no one tells her she's not good enough, if they do she'll prove them wrong.
And that is why I made sure I tweeted on Sunday. Shouting back not shutting up.

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