A Quick Note to our ‘Male Allies’
July 20, 2016 § 2 Comments
This statement has been released by Aurat Raj, a radical left feminist group.
We see you, tripping all over yourselves trying to make the next viral facebook status/tweet/thinkpiece/comment on Qandeel Baloch, gleeful at the opportunity to be the next best feminist since Justin Trudeau, to lecture us on our oppression and theorise on our condition. A few quick points for you:
1) PASS THE MIC. Pass the mic to the women in your lives, on your timelines and newsfeeds, the ones who taught you this feminist vocabulary you drop, the ones who fought it out with you when you were (and are) arrogant and resistant, the ones you never cite, the ones whose intellectual labours are systematically erased and whose intellectual labours you appropriate. Share their posts. Retweet their tweets. Take up less space. The world does not need any more of your mental masturbations. When you feel so obligated to type something out – ask yourself, has a Pakistani woman already said this? Why don’t I just quote her? And while I’m at it why dont I just go on over to her wall and show her some appreciation and support? When a journalist approaches you for a quote – redirect them to a woman. Redistribute your space. Pass the mic.
2) We know you are all brilliant snowflakes and have a lot to say and we know exactly where you could be of use. We are being harassed, abused, threatened, attacked and silenced by men on a regular basis and in escalating levels all over social media and IRL. Intervene in these spaces. Walk the talk buddies. Do this not-so-sexy work that drains and destroys and kills us every day. Take the risks we take every day. Make your way on over to public pakistani feminist pages on social media and look at the comments. You can have a very real role here by responding and talking back to the men who constantly, aggressively try to drown out our voices and our message. But that’s a waste of time because where are YOUR pay-offs, right? Doesn’t matter if these men are MORE LIKELY to listen to and seriously engage with other cis-men – if it’s not visible, it doesn’t do much for your popularity, not enough chances of being quoted, re-tweeted and published. But here’s the deal – this is where you can actually leverage your male privilege and create legit push-back. Get your hands dirty – we want to be able to count on you, where it matters.
3) Stop lecturing us on how to understand or address our own oppression. For eg: We’re quite sick of men pointing out that women are women’s worst enemies. They’re not – patriarchy is structured to pit women against each other. Stop perpetuating this trope to evade responsibility. Don’t engage us in pedantic debates or issue arrogant correctives or subject us to your theorisations on what our resistance should look like. All this mansplaining is a waste of everyone’s energies. We are afraid and exhausted, and debating with you is very low on our list of priorities. Listen to us. And again, if you have so much to say – say it to those who are harassing, abusing, threatening, silencing, lecturing us. Say it to your family members, your colleagues, your drinking buddies, the guy sitting next to you on the metro. Say it to those who are threatening and abusing us on social media.