Sunday, January 10, 2016
"He looked at your blood bag!"
"He turned his head! He looked me straight in the eye!"
"He was scanning the horizon!"
"No, I am awaited! I am awaited in Valhalla!"
Nux is just a warboy at the end of his half life. He wants only to go to Valhalla, where he will ride eternal, shiny and chrome. To do so, he needs to be witnessed. The idea of which seems to be that when you die historic on the fury road, your brother warboys witness your sacrifice of awesomeness and you will go to Valhalla.
What's really going on here? A bunch of people whom are chronically living in an abusive society where people are currency are seeking to be validated by each other and someone they idolize. They need to be witnessed. They need someone there to say "I see you. You are not invisible. Your suffering does not go unnoticed."
I have spent the last nine days, today is day ten, recording every bit of sexism that happened to grace my life. By day five I was exhausted, and yesterday, I know I skipped things. I mean, I'm not repeating things. This means the same issues I've seen all week coming up, like Rey from Star Wars, or Cosby, or a few other repeat customers aren't getting posted daily. So there are more each day, I'm just not recording them. There are other things that are different but the same so I haven't noted them. I noticed yesterday I was getting lazy. Maybe because I would normally glance over these things. Maybe because I'm tired. Or because I was sick yesterday.
But none of that really matters. I'm here to talk about the thing I've noticed most this week. Originally I was going to do this post on Mary Sue's and the Star Wars legacy of the Force Awakens. I'd talk about Kylo Ren, MRAs, Rey, Mary Sues, and the stunning fact that the biggest movies this year shun their MRA origins and became modern pieces of female revolution.
Then I was going to talk about how many men had approached me about their personal instances of sexual and physical abuse at the hands of women. This week alone six or seven men have messaged me or talked to me in private about how my posts on rape and abuse have made them feel less alone. They opened up to me about it. I was touched. Deeply.
And then I was going to talk about the need for a safe space for discussion. Women were messaging me constantly throughout the day to rant about their daily sexist experiences. Some of which I posted, and some of which I didn't, depending on what was said and how our discussion went down. These conversations sometimes included harsh truths about our partners, our families, and incidences that happened with children, mothers, family.
Finally I decided I would talk about witnessing. Because right now, my role is witness. My role as the one putting myself out there and speaking to sexism hour by hour, day by day, has become one of witness. I am holding space. I am carving out a small place where people can speak to me without fear of judgement or hurt, for what has happened to them or is happening to them because of the sexist society we live in.
I am here to say your story will not go unheard. Your truths will not be ignored. Your experiences will not go unnoticed. You will be witnessed. I will witness you.
Why is this new space revolutionary? Why is it strange and delightful and intriguing? I don't know. As a person who experiences sexism like it's going out of style, I've always had a friend or two I could reach out to and commiserate with. But now? Now I'm being reached to. It's beautiful and heart warming and heart breaking. I am just the place holder for this space. Anyone could be here. I am not the thing that is special. The space is. The room to share experiences, to let the world know, but not feel the repercussions of being the one to post it, to face the possibility of trouble.
Anonymity is part of what makes this function. We talk about our experiences carefully and selectfully to each other. We don't tell the world because the world will call us whores, weaklings, pathetic, pussies, bitches. The world will tell us we deserved it. We had it coming. That's the way it is. We must have done something wrong. It will tell men the same thing who talk about feeling the noose of patriarchy. It will tell us all that we failed.
But we haven't. Even if we only make a difference to each other as we come together with our own proof of a life lived that sexism is very rampant, that it is subtle and small and pervasive, that it is big and full of pain and violence, we have done something. We have said no. We have drawn a line in the sand and proclaimed ourselves willing to do something to change it.
We will be witnessed.