I never used to be an angry woman. I never really considered myself a feminist. I believe becoming a mother changed that. I started needing to know the truth about the world I was bringing children into.
I started exploring the world around me with focus. Not physically, but by reading more and watching more. I watched documentaries, I read articles, I engaged in conversations on Twitter and Facebook. I spoke to other women about their experiences of abuse. The more I learned, the angrier I got.
Now I'm not just an angry woman, I'm an angry mother and an angry feminist, and I have to assume that anyone who isn't angry simply doesn't know the truth, because how can anybody good, anybody who cares about other people, not be angry?
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 in our world 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 single year.
How can you not be angry when you learn that every hour in England and Wales alone, approximately eleven 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 women and girls 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.
It is all worthy of anger, and all of it is an issue that impacts women and girls more than anyone else. I am a feminist not a humanist because this abuse impacts the lives of females at such a higher rate than it impacts males. Before fighting inequality you have to recognise where that inequality lies.
Of course we can acknowledge the men who suffer too. I hear you, I get it, and it is true that men are also abused and protecting our little boys should be as important in our lives. But men are not abused 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, both against women and against other men.
I find so much comfort from seeing the voices of fury rising from women around the planet. We are marching, we are campaigning, we are petitioning. We are shouting about it. We are writing about it. We are teaching our children the truth. We are doing anything we can to make people know because dammit it is worthy of anger. It is worthy of rage.
I am angry. I am furious. I am raising my children to share that rage.
I will not let my daughters sit by in ignorance, imagining the world is not the way it is, ignoring the plight of their sisters. I will not let my step-son ignore the damage being done by his brothers. I will help raise the next generation of fighters, and I beg you to do the same.
Be angry. The world needs your anger. The world needs your children's anger. The world needs anger if it is ever going to change.
The world needs angry mothers.
You can check out all my contact info and 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 where you'll find other work from Siren Stories and extra information. My first novel, Lilly Prospero And The Magic Rabbit, is out now and available on Amazon.
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Through blogs, features and video, we'll be exploring the issues facing women specific to their age, ethnicity, social status, sexuality and gender identity. If you'd like to blog on our platform around these topics, email email@example.com