I never used to be an angry woman. I was calm and quiet, I was intimidated by angry women who shouted about the patriarchy. I considered myself a humanist not a feminist.
How times have changed.
I started exploring the world more. Not physically, but by reading an watching. I watched documentaries, I read articles, I engaged in conversations on Twitter and Facebook. Something, perhaps age or motherhood, pushed me to want to know more. To want to learn about the world.
It started around the time of my daughter’s birth four years ago. It grew after the breakdown of my marriage. It developed in my time as a single mother. The more I learned, researched, the angrier I got. The angrier I got the more I wrote.
I wrote because the world needs women to write. Because the world needs female voices. The world needs angry female voices because without anger nothing will change. Without anger nobody will fight.
And there is so much to fight.
I don’t count myself as a humanist anymore. I count myself as a feminist. I believed being a humanist made me more focused on equality, but if you don’t recognise where the inequality lies, how can you properly address it? Internationally it is women who primarily are being oppressed, not men. I am a feminist. I recognise this imbalance and that needs correcting before anything else.
And I am angry. And I assume that anyone who isn’t angry simply doesn’t know the truth.
How can you not be angry when you learn that every single year between 600,000 and 800,00 people are trafficked (Stop The Traffik). That is an active slave trade happening right now. They are trafficked primarily into the sex trade, forced into prostitution in brothels, forced into pornography and raped repeatedly on camera, forced into arranged marriages and raped repeatedly by their husbands. How can that not make you angry? And when you learn that approximately 80% of those trafficking victims are women and girls, how can that not make you a feminist? Hundreds of thousands of women and girls being raped for money every fucking year.
How can you not be angry when you learn that every hour in England and Wales alone, approximately 11 adults will be raped (that doesn’t include all the children) (Rape Crisis). Eleven people being forcibly penetrated without their consent. The lasting psychological damage of rape is huge and it is happening to eleven people every damn hour. That is outrageous. It is horrific. And when you learn that 88% of these rapes are female victims, how can you not be a feminist?
How can you not be angry when you learn that there are at least 200 million females alive today who have been subjected to female genital mutilation? (Unicef). That is girls who have had their vulva cut, labia sliced off, clitoris removed, and sometimes have their wounded body sewn shut. How does that not make you furious? And do you know why they do it? Why they would mutilate young girls so badly, cause them so much pain and damage? For men. To ensure virginity for marriage. And because a cut vulva is apparently more sexually satisfying for a man to put his penis in. How can you not be a feminist when you know that this is what is happening to girls every damn day?
Then there’s the differences in pay forcing women to do the same work for less money, the rates of domestic violence, the pressures of the beauty industry causing a huge rise in anorexia and plastic surgery and depression, the representation of women in the media and ageism. These are all genuine issues that people dismiss because “other people have it worse”. But they’re still issues. They still exist. They still demonstrate the inequality the world gives to women.
This is all worthy of anger. And all of it is an issue for women and girls primarily.
You can talk about the men who are victims too. Men who suffer too. I hear you, I get it. But men are not crushed every damn day based purely on their biology in the same way as women. They are not cut, raped, sold, abused as routinely as women. And not only are men not as regularly victims of the evils of the world, they’re the ones primarily perpetrating the crimes in the first place.
Be angry. Be furious! I find so much comfort from seeing the voices of fury rising from women around the world. I know I am not alone, I know we are doing something. We are marching, we are campaigning, we are petitioning. We are shouting about it. Writing about it. We are doing anything we can to make people know because dammit it is worthy of anger. It is worthy of rage.
And if you refuse to acknowledge that women need the focus, if you refuse to acknowledge that inequality cannot be changed if you don’t recognise where that inequality lies, you are part of the problem. If you refuse to accept that it is women and girls who are being treated so badly because “men suffer too” you are part of the problem. You are part of the problem.
I am angry, and I love the angry women around me. The more of us putting our voices out there, the more of us telling the truth to the world, the more people will know and learn. The more people know and learn, the more people will get angry. The more people get angry, the more they will shout about it. The more of us shout, the more change can happen.
Be angry. Be fucking furious. The world needs your rage.
You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.
Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!