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  • sophiegilpin

Response to Caitlin Moran's 'What men need to know about women'

It's been a while since I wrote about this kind of thing, I think partly because I know exactly who from my friends list will read, like and comment on it. I'm not enlightening these people because you and I already agree; moaning about the casual, everyday sexism on my facebook wall is like preaching to the converted.

But maybe this one is different. Maybe.

I highly doubt that I have any friends who need persuading that sexism is, well, bad. But I think what many of my male friends can't fully appreciate - and perhaps what many of my female friends have never been able to admit and/or articulate - is why it really matters.

Why a cat-call is not flattery, why 'hilarious' comments about my appearance from acquaintances are not always 'banter', why I walk with my keys in my hands if I'm alone at night, why I check number plates of cars that slow down next to me when I'm walking alone in the vain hope that committing them to memory might help IF..., why rape jokes are never ever funny, why being vigilant all. the. time has become the norm, why this isn't paranoia, why it doesn't make me weak or pathetic or over-sensitive or a man-hating feminist (trust me, I promise I don't hate men). And why this is everybody's battle - men and women.

I hate that this article rings true. And I hate the idea that women are frightened of men. And if were a man I would feel sick at the thought that my gender has the potential to frighten someone regardless of who I was as a person. And that there is no instant cure for that. No, it's not fair. It's not fair on men and it's not fair on women.

What can we do? We can talk about it, we can educate, we can try to understand what it's like on the other side, we can bring up our children to continue to the conversation, and we can stop pretending that because women can vote, there's nothing left to fight for. But let's not fight each other, let's fight together for a common goal - I certainly don't want anyone's skin under my fingernails.




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