She looked up to her. She studied how she reacted, moved how she moved. She listened how she talked, echoing opinions to her friends. She/her/them, her idol, a thirst for a model of comfort.
She said: he’s gone, it’s us, everything is okay.
So, at school, when a friend went through their first breakup, she said, he’s gone, you have friends, everything is okay.
Her friends said things in class, like, they shouldn’t be reelected in my opinion because of their storied history of corruption, clearly above their level of English, repeated from their own kitchen table.
When someone said something about women, how it was unnatural for them to work, she remembered what her mother said, and embarrassed them in front of everyone they believed socially important, as a ten year old.
There was that: the parrots who echoed sexist ideas lost the social capital and received the embarrassment, even if simply repeating lines from their kitchen table.
And the origin of the lines, parents eating at dinner, may well have been echoes of an echo- a radio broadcaster, politician, parent of their own- and so their social ostracism, because of their echoed statements, may also have been displaced, and should have landed on the radio announcer.
In either case, she called them out, as what they said justified violence against women, and these words would bring all students to interact with women from that base of ignorance, should they be left unchecked.
It’s difficult for a person of any age to acknowledge ignorance as a borrowed idea, an echo, because a human being is there, in front of you, saying things that could seem invented by them, with conviction, as though stemming from a creatuve place of their innate beliefs, until you do the research. She would learn that, however original the idea, ignorance unquestioned is a requirement for sexism to stay alive: a war needs foot soldiers, who pay a huge price – still considerably less than those they kill.
word by Liam Lachance
colour by el Decertor
From the author: “If you don’t call out sexism, you support it. Neutrality is not an option. The character of this story calls out sexism when she sees it.
Respected, she calls out sexism and those students pay the price for the sexist ideas- although simply repeating their parents ideas.
The goal of alleviating patriarchal violence is never to call out men or women as malicious or evil because they did not invent patriachy or ignorance or sexism.
The goal is to stop the violence.
The fact that our system of education and popular media trains most to be sexist means that sexist people are simply acting as expected. These ideas must change to stop normalizing and inspiring violence. They must also change to stop taking advantage of people to spew ignorance because those people will be laughed at and pay the social consequences for their words, or ruin their lives with actions that aren’t theirs. Patriarchy benefits nobody. By actions I mean violence against women.”