@everydaysexism GUEST BLOG POST
I asked my friend Sophie her opinion about @Everydaysexism, a twitter account, and hashtag.
The reason i asked Sophie is because she does lots of work for the Feminist Library in London, and generally has excellent opinions. She’s said i could blog her reply, wahey! This was written in great haste, but there’s tons of interesting things in three paragraphs.
Do you follow @everydaysexism?
I do not follow it or ever pay much attention to it, but I think it’s an important space. Makes me think of 70s ‘consciousness raising’ sessions, which were all about turning the personal into the political - women had a safe space to discuss experiences they might have felt were isolated or peculiar to their own lives, and began to understand these experiences in the context of sexism. The obvious difference is that it’s much harder to carve out a ‘safe space’ online. On the other hand, it makes the whole thing much more accessible.
Personally, I tend to feel quite oppressed reading this sort of thing, but I think that has a lot to do with the fact I feel my consciousness has been ‘raised’ enough and I’ve figured out my own ways of being in the world as a (relatively privileged) woman. I’ve figured out my strategies and I don’t necessarily want to sit around dwelling on being wolf-whistled because I would never get anything done. I almost definitely overstate the level of my consciousness (!?), and like everyone I sometimes find myself missing instances of sexism (and racism, and ableism, and classism….) that I really should have noticed. But generally, I think sites like this exist more for people who haven’t necessarily thought about their daily experiences in terms of gender politics. I think it would have been important to me as a teenager.
That said, I am endlessly frustrated by this increasingly visible, totalising strand of feminism that defines itself against abstract, ill-defined concepts like ‘objectification’ and ‘pornification’ and removes those concepts from their material/social/historical context. Pointing out ‘everyday sexism’ is important, but it can result in too myopic a worldview if it removes itself from history and theory.
—Follow Sophie @rookiefiles blog here— she has just come back from America where she was doing (doing?) a 5-month fellowship at the Library of Congress for work on a PhD on the relationship between choice, private space and reproductive politics in post-1945 American lit, film and art.