It’s been a hell of a week hasn’t it? First page 3 was gone and then it was back, but unfortunately one thing remained consistent, trolling. I’ve been called a fascist, bigot and bitter in my attempts to support the No More Page 3 campaign. Aside from the usual frustrating comments about feminists being jealous and ugly, and I’ve had pictures of topless women posted on my facebook wall. I assume to taunt me? Apart from the slightly embarrassing questions from family members, it seems a bit weird to send porn to someone. I think the assumption is that if you call yourself a feminist you’re somehow afraid of bodies and sex. Well I’m not. I like them, a lot.
But who the hell am I? I’m not the leader of the No More Page 3 campaign or a famous feminist, I’m just some women who does a blog and has a few twitter followers. I dread to think the level of abuse high profile feminists have got. But then that’s the thing isn’t it; feminists, or rather women, are the most trollable people out there. Just look at the rape threats Caroline Criado-Perez received during her ‘Women on Bank Notes’ campaign or the vile tweets Mary Beard received when she appeared on Question Time. And that is to name a small few, if you are a feminist of note (or a woman who speaks their mind for that matter), you’re likely to have received personal threats and vile language on social networks. It’s almost become a terrifying bench mark of whether you’ve made it because in a twisted way it means the wider public is listening to you.
Some of my friends thought it was funny that the Sun hadn’t got rid of page 3, phrases like ‘master troll’ and ‘first class trolling’ started popping up on my timelines praising this publicity stunt. I don’t get this at all; surely being a troll isn’t a good thing? People say the Sun did it for money, so they can boost their sales, but why would people want to pat Rupert Murdoch on the back for making more money? It has been heralded an attempt to upset the feminist community, well then congratulations you’ve upset someone and made some cash. Moral standards? Nah doesn’t matter we’re a master troll aren’t we! Later a model tweeted that feminist are “comfy shoe wearers”, how is that an insult? As opposed to the super cool uncomfortable shoe wearers?
Jodie Marsh and Paul Nuttel of UKIP have come out in support of continuing page 3, reasoning that we should focus on issues like FGM and domestic abuse. To think that anyone in their right mind would think that ending page 3 is more important than ending FGM is just preposterous and insulting. So so many people campaigned for both, no one ever says to a political party when they talk about their policies “oh but that must mean you don’t give a shit about child poverty?” Nothing exists in a vacuum and the only reason this campaign has been so high profile is because the Sun has made it so. This isn’t ‘censoring’ anyone or preventing anyone from being a glamour model, these jobs will still exist – I just don’t feel it should be in a newspaper where the news is meant to happen. Boobs are bloody lovely, it’s just that they aren’t news are they? We wouldn’t stop the 6 o’clock news bulletin to show a 30 second still of a naked women would we?
But this is just one week and one campaign. There will be more. I told a friend this week that British feminism is like hovering under the bed, from the surface it seems clean but when you look underneath you can see where the dirt is. But what I’m trying to say really is that feminism is tough, I don’t like being the person with divisive politics, it isn’t sport for me. I hate it that people think I’m a bit bonkers for caring about this stuff but I do genuinely care. I want to change some of this stuff because I think it’s important. So this media game of ‘who won’ is bullshit, all we can do is keep talking about the things we think are important. And basically feminism isn’t easy.
It isn’t easy to say you don’t feel like people at work take you seriously because you’re a woman, that when you speak up you annoy them
It isn’t easy to say you’re afraid of having children because you don’t want to be treated differently at work
It isn’t easy to say, maybe I don’t want to have children?
It isn’t easy to say that the man on the train did touch you and you did feel frightened
It isn’t easy to feel like as you grow older you’re scared you’ll disappear
It isn’t easy to not feel bad when someone calls you ugly because you’re trained to think that’s important
It isn’t easy to admit that when you were sexually assaulted you thought it was your fault because you’d had a drink or you’d worn that dress
It isn’t easy to see that a majority of people in power aren’t the same sex as you
It isn’t easy seeing our screens filled with images of women who are sexualized before being given the chance to have a personality
It isn’t easy when the films we watch are overwhelmingly made and played by men
It’s isn’t easy to see how far we’ve come and understand that we need to keep on going
It isn’t easy to explain to people that this does benefit men too and the equality we talk about is exactly that
It isn’t about being a man or a woman because no one fits neatly into those boxes, they never did
It isn’t easy saying you’re a feminist, but then if it was we wouldn’t need it would we?