Whilst checking my Twitter feed today I saw something intriguing, #TwitterSilence. I decided to check it out and found it was started by Caitlin Moran (@caitlinmoran) – a British broadcaster and writer – to end abuse online and as a feminist campaign for equality. As I scrolled through the endless tweets both supportive and discouraging, I couldn’t help myself feeling a strong sense of annoyance. I never normally comment on issues that trend on Twitter as most are insignificant but this campaign I couldn’t help but comment on.
Throughout history and whilst growing old we have been taught by various influential people to ‘Stand up and speak out’. This applies to issues surrounding bullying, abuse and even inequality. Martin Luther King did not stay silent when faced with racial segregation; he gave peaceful protests where he gave the most powerful and influential speeches of his time. He inevitably changed the way society saw people who were deemed to be socially inferior and societies around the world became more equal when considering race. So why now in this day and age when we have such a powerful device such as the internet are we staying silent?
Silence undermines the victims of cases such as rape, domestic violence or sexism. If these victims were to stay silent how do we as a society change? Staying silent gives the abusers want they want; freedom. There will be no just ending to these scenarios; the abuser will always walk away. When did silence change anything?
As a teenage girl growing up in a society where women are treated as mere objects I can not join in such a demoralising campaign even if it does have good intentions behind it. I have heard too many stories of young girls like myself being treated like objects when walking down the street or relaxing with friends. I have also had first hand experience of this; men old enough to be my father wolf-whistling and looking at my chest other than my face. This has been passed on through generations as when texting a boy my age at night I was asked ‘Are you naked?’ with his excuse being ‘I’m allowed to ask as I’m a man’. Fair to say I ended the conversation and the friendship. There is no excuse for such behaviour.
A girl who goes to a school near to me wrote this article on sexism which again struck anger in me:
Recently when one of my friends visited Oxford she was welcomed with the exact sexism apart from this time she didn’t have coffee thrown over her. Women are now socially inferior and we need to stand up and shout about this until are lungs are out of breath and throats sore.
We will not be silent as those who are silenced become oppressed.