Mutually Programming Harmony
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By Calamity Cole
March 9th, 2013
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Sexism is alive and well in the world. Don’t believe me? Visit any comments thread on the internet. It’s enough to make me unplug my computer and let cyber world die a silent death on the highest shelf of my bookcase. Let’s talk about the “F” word. Feminism. Feminazi; those hairy legged liberal women’s study junkies of lore. Those man-hating, oversexed hippie leftovers of yesteryear. Or are they? I question whether I am among the last of a dying breed. Gloria Steinem and some of my other heroes such as those great ladies at Feministing.com and Jezebel.com give me hope as I meander through the internet stew, reaffirming that feminism lives in my generation. That women still care, that we are all still ready to fight.
What disturbs me is the blatant sexism I witness in cyberspace as I go about my internet routines. I am overwhelmed and disheartened that we can ever truly change, that hearts and minds will ever be completely swayed. We have come so far and yet we are still fighting for the some of the same rights that the suffragists did before us. Will women ever really be equal? Not a political kind of equal where words and sentiment are filtered between mind and tongue but the type of equal that is kept sacred and holy in the collective unconscious.
We have been stuck here too long in this struggle between fear and the sovereign rights of half our nation’s citizens. For society’s laws are just as great as our governments and we are restricted to them much more strictly. There is no judge and jury in the courtroom of opinion. If I speak my mind and behave “unwomanly” I am ostracized from family and friends. I am free game for ridicule. My job is at stake, therefore my life and well being is too.
Rarely have I had the misfortune to be in the presence of a true unchained chauvinist but have had to endure and redirect a lot of ignorance and misguided souls. The internet, however, is a whole other circus. Perhaps it is because I live in California, the hippie love child of these United States but I have never had to process this magnitude of sexism. Here’s a news clip… sexist comment. Here’s a video of a puppy… sexist comment. If this internet world was the real world that I were forced to inhabit, were I to endure that level of shame and disparity in the day to day, I don’t think I could bare it.
Women, I dream of a world where equality trumps fear and hate and we can rise up as one voice and demand our right to truly be free. I see women lifting up other women, supporting each other to simply be without the weight of history’s broken promises. For women are as guilty as men for letting sexism permeate this new frontier we call the internet. Social barriers disappear when you take away the ability to look the person in the eye you are disparaging. I understand the feeling of safety this provides. The cyber forum is a snipers bullet rather than hand to hand combat.
As the assault of my sex continues to trickle from the fingertips of the ignorant out into the far reaches of the internets I wonder if this is a chance to teach and heal or if hate will snowball out of control. It’s a brave new faceless world; can’t we try to live in mutually programming harmony? But for now I say; get out from behind your cyber veil and say it to my face!