Nadia Elkharadly: A Case of Modern Misogyny

NadiaAt the beginning of the year I joined a cult.  It was the cult of Netflix, and I’ve been a happy convert ever since I made the switch.  My television watching habits aren’t like the average user; generally when I’m watching something I’m working, either writing for Addicted, editing photos, editing other peoples articles, the usual.  Netflix suits my habits perfectly; I can mainline entire seasons of shows over the span of the many hours I spend typing/reading/clicking away with very little effort.  It’s allowed me to catch up on some series that I watched sporadically years ago, one of which, along with some seriously depressing current events, will meanderingly lead to the actual topic of my column.

I don’t know if I would call myself a feminist, generally because the only labels I like are the ones on my clothes, but I admire power in women, and any examples of powerful women, true Veronica Marschunlior fictional.  In my book there’s nothing better than a badass chick.  It’s why I always picked Chun-Li when I played Street Fighter with my brothers, it’s why I devoured Nancy Drew books as a bookwormy preteen, and it’s why as I got older, I embraced TV shows like Veronica Mars and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I actually tried to watch Buffy week to week when it aired back in the late nineties and early 2000s, but between graduating highschool and going to university (coincidentally in the same year as Buffy and her gang – Class of ’99 baby!) and a rampant case of ADD, I lost track of the show, until Netflix brought it back to my life.  And what a fucking awesome show it is.  It’s got everything; humour, both in the sense of providing funny content, and also clearly not taking itself all that seriously, action, in that Buffy and co. (mostly Buffy) are constantly kicking various hellion ass; and romance, since Buffy and co. are just as constantly sucking various hellion (and occasionally human) face.

buffyAlong with the various and sundry demon types that Buffy must defeat in every episode, there’s also an epic enemy aka the BIG BAD that she must face in every season.  And this is where Joss Whedon’s masterpiece (one of many) decided to make with the social commentary, and it was awesome.  I have to give credit to my younger brother Omar for giving me the heads up on one of the upcoming big bad’s in the show, and sadly it’s one that’s is not only timely given recent current events, but even more sadly remains a constant undercurrent in our society.  In the end, Buffy’s big bad, indeed her biggest bad, turned out to be misogyny.  It came in a few different forms over misogyny_hard_to_spellthe course of a couple of seasons; namely a group of socially challenged nerds, led by a sex/fembot building super angry nerd, and a potty mouthed preacher with a serious hate on for the fairer sex.  Of course SPOILER ALERT Buffy defeats them all but not before a lot of serious hate speech and several instances of supernatural violence against women took place.  And with the most recent instances of male aggression against women for some seriously bullshit reasons, rewatching these episodes felt all the more jarring to me.

The California shooting of a group of women by an angry and disenfranchised young man was not nor, sadly will it be, a sole occurrence. Incidents of violence against women run rampant Pick Up Artistaround the world, and sadly always have, even as women’s rights come more and more in line with men’s, and sadly perhaps even more so.  The perceived threat of feminism is pervasive among the weaker minded of the male sex, and mob mentality exacerbates the situation.  The result? Movements like men’s rights activism, the vile den of objectification based on a hunter’s philosophy that calls itself the Pick Up Artist Community, and of course the guys who can’t even get in good with those foul fools, but still objectify women all the same but with a double dose of hate for both, the PUA-hate community.  If you want more information on the shooting, or these communities, Google is your friend, I won’t contribute to any hits to help either the fame PUA Trainingor infamy to any of these assholes, but information is readily available if you’re willing to look.  The further result is the boiling point reached by certain individuals that may or may not be a part of any of these communities, but regardless have felt themselves to be marginalized, discriminated against, and most of all denied something they see themselves as having a right to; women (either sex, affection, or attention from).  Bring together that misguided attitude of entitlement, a penchant or susceptibility to violence and access to weapons to carry out these twisted ideas, and you have Elliot Rogers and his innumerable predecessors, and his inevitable successors.

As evidenced by my Buffy link, the Montreal university shootings in the nineties/eighties, gang rapes in India, mass sexual assaults during protests in Egypt, and the vast amount of cases of Egypt Misogyny Women Freedomviolence against women that don’t make the news, these things happen all the time.  Every single day, every hour, probably every minute a women is the victim of violence simply due to her gender.  That’s the reality of our world.  Even in the safest countries and cities, women are less safe than men simply by way of their gender.  In schools, colleges and university, it’s young girls and women who are the victims of sexual violence each and every day.  The statistics prove it.  Women can’t even go to a concert without worrying about their personal and physical space being violated  http://bullettmedia.com/article/stop-molesting-women-concerts/)  The difference now is that we have social media campaigns that help fuel the fire of this gender cold war.  Has there ever been a more infuriating hashtag than #Notallmen?  Probably not since #ChAvril or anything related to Drake and his fucking lint roller.  I don’t actually think we’re in the middle yesallwomenof a gender war, but the geniuses behind #notallmen either think we are, or think that we should be and are looking to start this war between the sexes.  The #notallmen hashtag necessitated the creation of #yesallwomen hashtag, to which both the support and the backlash were very intense.  My opinion?  Neither of these hashtags needed to ever exist, but the creation of one forced the creation of the other.  OF COURSE women know that not all men perpetrate violence against women.  But what those men, and many others don’t seem to understand that YES ALL WOMEN have actually been the victim of violence, or at least have feared (with very good reason) that they will become the victim of violence.  The benefit of the 2nd hashtag that I saw at least was that many men did learn, many to their surprise, of the ubiquity of misogyny and the subsequent violence it inevitably brings.

When I talk about violence, I’m not just talking about physical violence.  Verbal and emotional abuse is hurled at women just as often as fists, dicks and other non-body part related weapons.  Dick HeelsHave you ever been on the receiving end of a “bitch” or “whore” or other term derogatory only to women?  Filled with the power of the vitriol and pure hate of the user, these words strike hurt, fear and disgust into the heart of the person it’s being said to.  Hell, I even found my skin crawling hearing the actors spewing it on Buffy.  And it’s not just cursewords that carry that kind of power.  Being catcalled in the street, having a strange man yell at you, make comments about your appearance, and even follow you can be absolutely terrifying.  And sadly, I can guarantee that it’s happened to just about every woman out there, no matter who she is, how she looks, or where she lives.  And yes, it’s happened to me. And it fucking sucks.

To make all of this even worse, society (read: male patriarchal society and everyone under its thrall) tells women that it’s all our fault.  And that’s the great part about the Buffy archetype, Wonder Womanand every other strong, ass kicking character out here.  She does everything that women aren’t “supposed” to do, and kicks ass while doing it.  Don’t go out late at night by yourself, you’ll get attacked: she does, and she attacks right back.  Don’t dress provocatively; she does and beats up anyone who messes with her and her friends. Sit down and let the men do the work; well fuck that, she’s the one in charge.  It saddens me that there isn’t currently a show with a powerful (read: actual ass kicking) young female lead out there right now.  Buffy set a great example to young girls about being fearless, while being smart, and overcoming adversity.  She even overturns the status quo of the patriarchal society that created her slayer lineage, and literally saves the world while doing this.  In a time where women are bombarded with conflicting messages, news stories from around the world of other women being oppressed, raped, tortured and killed, all transmitted at lightning fast speed thanks to the internet, a positive beacon of strength, even just in entertainment form, could do at least a bit of good.  Thank God for Netflix.

Bitch 2Like I said, I’m not sure I’d call myself a feminist, but I will continue to exercise my right to be a badass bitch, and I encourage you all to do the same, either the women reading this, or the cool men out there who have women in their lives they can support and encourage in turn.  I’d like to start with taking the word BITCH BACK from the women hating shit for brains out there.  I’m a bitch because I want to be, not because someone with some outtie genitals wants to call me that.  Now that that’s over with, here’s my wishlist to everyone out there, male or female, to move our world away from one where women are afraid to walk alone at night, to one where we all live in harmony,and kick serious ass at whatever we put our minds to:

BE powerful. Define what power means to you.  Is it a career? Is it through fitness?  Is it being the best you that you can be?  No matter what it is, embrace it, feed it, love it, and Bitch 4support it in others around you.

I won’t say don’t be afraid; fear is natural, and it can be a powerful driver. Just don’t let your fear, whether it be of men, walking alone at night, taking risks, whatever, paralyse you.  Understand it, learn from it then conquer it.  Walk tall, walk proud.

DON’T BE part of the problem.  Don’t slut or victim shame. Put a stop to it around you and educate those who are doing it. They may not stop or even understand that they’re wrong, but don’t stand idly by.

Love yourself, and be happy and proud of who you are, what you’ve accomplished and what you want out of your future.

So go off, love yourselves and each other, and let’s take our world and our words back from the entitled, misguided and insane assholes who want to take it away from us.  If you guys need a crash course in feminism, and being cool with it, watch this amazing video of Laci Green shared by Warren Cosford about why she’s a feminist, and why, labels or not, we all have to be at least a little bit feminist to make the world a better place.

(Editor’s Note: Elayne makes a comment here just after the 1 minute mark that most men STILL don’t understand. Like it or not, women face problems that can both hurt and/or make them stronger. Show some respect, and Ladies…respect yourselves.)

Elayne Boosler

Until next time

Xo

N

=NE=

Nadia’s column appears every Wednesday

Contact us at: dbawis@rogers.com

DBAWIS ButtonNadia Elkharadly is a Toronto based writer with a serious addiction to music. Corporate drone by day, renegade rocker by night, writing is her creative outlet.  Nadia writes for the Examiner (.com) on live music in Toronto and Indie Music in Canada.  She has never been in a band but plays an awesome air guitar and also the tambourine.  Check in every Tuesday for musings about music, love, life and whatever else that comes to mind.

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One Response to “Nadia Elkharadly: A Case of Modern Misogyny”

  1. M. Elkharadly Says:

    Still would been a great article without the F word
    your father!

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