A few months ago I threw kind of a fit when people started standing up for me on social media. I realized then as I do now, that it was because I didn’t want to cause a stir. I didn’t want people standing up for me because I couldn’t handle the drama of what comes with social media disagreements.
Today I have changed my tune. There was a person in my mentions calling me a disgrace and saying shit like “I’ve been fighting for women’s rights for decades, kiddo.” The thing that I have learned about misogyny is that it has no bounds.
Misogynists will do whatever they can to demean you and make you feel like shit, and what started this you ask? I had the nerve to stand up for those of my friends who are feminists by saying that I respect their struggle.
I may not be a feminist myself, but I recognize that these women are putting in work that will eventually have a positive effect on my daughters.
I am watching this man type person grasp at straws and I am starting to realize that the more that I put myself out there, the more I am going to have to deal with white presenting men trying to demand and challenge me.
I am not looking forward to it, but I am prepared for the onslaught of men who will tell me that I am not good enough, or strong enough to fight for the rights of their daughters.
Part of me feels sorry for these men who have nothing better to do than harras women online, but another part of me wonders how far they will take that harassment.
It’s a proven fact that men who harass women online will probably harass them in real life too, and that’s where things get frightening.
Earlier this past week I was talking to my doctor about a threat I received over Facebook, a threat that I am pretty sure the person will act upon at the earliest opportunity. Instead of asking how I feel about it, my doctor had the nerve to ask me what I did to provoke the threat.
For some men that is enough. In this particular case, the man who threatened me is angry that I accused him of rape when I first started this website. To be completely fair I was in the middle of a nervous breakdown….and you know…he raped me.
I expected some blow back, but what I didn’t expect was that when I was confronted by him in public, I was also ready to stand up for myself.
I didn’t know that, and I didn’t recognize it until recently. Yes, I was absolutely fucking terrified, but I had no problem calling him a rapist to his face, even as I was walking away from him.
This man is still in my mentions as I write this, calling people morally repugnant because they decided to stand up for me against his attacks. I am learning a lot about the male psyche, namely how fucking fragile it is.
It occurs to me that men have suffered at the hands of the patriarchy. They have been taught how to act and walk and breath like a man for so long that they don’t understand so many of them, that being a man also means being vulnerable sometimes too.
That it’s actually encouraged in this day and age to be vulnerable. In fact, they understand the art of being vulnerable so little, that when called to be, they consider the very notion a fucking attack. It’s astounding to me. I am just realizing now as I write this that men need to know it’s okay to be wrong.
Men need to understand that the life and times of women have changed and that in that change they also must shift their realities in order to fit into this new world.
Women are no longer defining themselves by the man who stands beside them. Women are no longer defining themselves based on age-old ideas that the only thing that we are good for is staying home all day and playing wife.
Women today are proud Wives, Doctors, Mothers, Lawyers, Teachers, Psychiatrists, Teachers.
Yes dealing with Twitter trolls is bolstering my confidence, but it shouldn’t have to. I shouldn’t have to deal with Twitter trolls, no one should. Unfortunately, the digital world mirrors the physical one in many twisted ways and abuse is just one of them.
Standing up for yourself is a skill that is learned over time, it’s a “the more you practice it the better you get” sort of scenario. Once you start standing up for yourself, you start recognizing that the best part of standing up for yourself against social media trolls, is knowing that you can and should block them at the earliest opportunity.
I don’t need to waste my time, and I mean this genuinely. We choose what we carry in this world. We can carry guilt, shame, fear, anxiety, and depression, or we can honestly decide that even though it’s hard we can fight our way through it to at least attempt to make it to the other side.
I recently blocked someone because of the way that they would argue with the same Twitter troll for hours on end, nonstop. It was getting to the point where this person was stressing me out and I was starting to understand why they were being trolled.
When I start identifying with verifiable trolls, it is time you either make the changes you need to make so you stop getting trolled, or you need to get the hell out of my life.
I choose what I carry.
I choose not to carry misogynistic men along my journey, which means standing up to it when I see it. That doesn’t make me a feminist, it makes me a woman who’s tired of putting up with men’s bullshit.
I deserve and demand that I, and my sisterhood of women around the world be treated better in all spaces for all eternity. If that makes me a disgrace, so fucking be it.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall