They made it clear from the start that the slightest deviation from the norm would be punished. They turned everything into prisons, even our own bodies.
Wear pink. Play with dolls. Look in the mirror. Go to school. Learn to smile when they abuse you. Diet, wax, apply make-up, and swallow your medication. Follow fashion. Work. Consume. Be silent. Give him a porn star experience. Get married. Shop, cook, wash, iron, dust, vacuum, scrub and polish. Work a 15-hour shift (but don’t call housework ‘work’). Get into debt. Have children. Stay married (or they’ll destroy you and your children). Watch TV. Wear stilettos. Obey their laws. Save for your old age. Now repeat after me: ‘I am free’.
Just to make sure I knew who my masters were they spat on me, groped me, pinched me, grabbed me and shoved me at school, in the street, in homes, on buses, in parks, pubs, clubs, everywhere. They shouted at me from cars, building sites, pub windows and doors, everywhere that I was a slut, an ugly bitch, a fat slag, a stupid cow, a skinny cow, a sexy dog, that they would fuck me, hit me, damage me, and destroy me. They made grunting noises and flapped their tongues. They raped me, beat me, pulled the hair out of my head, and kicked me. They threatened to kill me and told me to kill myself. They always wanted to know my weight, size, age and height as though this information was useful for their plans. They harassed me when I studied or worked, they just wouldn’t leave me alone. Then they told me I lacked a sense of humour.
They told me to practise positive thinking and to cleanse myself of toxic emotions. They told me to live in the ‘Now’ like a toddler, or a goldfish with a five-second memory. They treated me like a child, demanded that I behave like a child and look like a 15-year-old, and then they told me I was immature and childish.
They said, “Consider yourself lucky, this is a democracy and we’ve given women the freedom to choose their own lives and be what they want to be.”
When I mentioned the word ‘misogyny’ they called me a man-hater. When I spoke up against fascist pornography they told me I needed a good fuck. “The answer to your problems,” they said, “is between our legs.” When I spoke about the rise of rape culture they told me I definitely needed a good fuck. But by then I had stopped taking it personally.
“Listen,” I said, “what we really need is a vigorous, earth-shaking, relentless, uninhibited, wild, passionate, intoxicating, angry, unapologetic, long-overdue, exciting, luscious revolution.”
Because this was never personal, this was always political.
Abigail Bray, “The fascism that has no name” in Misogyny Re-Loaded