So, that was 2018, in all its MeeToo, Brexity, Trumpy glory. And now we have 2019, which feels weird to type. 2019 seems such a futuristic year, so in the future. If you’d asked me about this year back in the eighties I’m pretty certain I’d have said that we’d all have jetpacks by now.
Instead we’re seeing a real-time production of A Handmaid’s Tale being played out, homelessness is on the increase and more people are having to turn to food banks. Happy New Year indeed. But hey, we can order food from our beds while flicking between 150 different shows on Netflix, we even get to choose the ending of some of them, (I think the confusion and inability to choose caused by Bandersnatch is a pretty good indication of why we should never have been allowed to vote for Brexity McBrexit Face) and when things get really bad, they just post a video of Theresa May dancing and we forget all about it, like distracting a cat with a laser light.
But it’s not all doom and gloom; we celebrated one hundred years since women got the vote, in Ireland they voted to repeal the eighth amendment of the Constitution of Ireland, (which had more or less banned abortion), and we have a female Doctor Who. Yes, an actual woman has been allowed to drive the Tardis. (And for all the men who are currently jumping out of their seats ready to explain that you don’t ‘drive’ a Tardis, sod off, it’s a fictional vehicle, I’ll use whatever word I like). This, of course, caused uproar. The fact that we’ve spent the last fifty odd years watching a programme about an alien with two hearts is beside the point, there’s a vagina in the tardis?! Anarchy.
We can’t talk about 2018 without mentioning the #metoo movement. As I type this I can sense men (but hey, not all men) rolling their eyes. I’m sorry, are we boring you with our inability to take this shit any more?
(I know you don’t know how to talk to women anymore, but it really is very simple. Just don’t grope her or offer her sex while you do it. Sorted. Next!)
So while it’s sad that we’re going into 2019 still questioning women who speak out, and still wondering why they didn’t say anything at the time, and still warning our daughters about walking home in the dark while walking home ourselves holding our keys in our hands in a certain way that has just become instinct after the millionth time some bloke in the street asked to see our tits, it also means that it is still being dealt with and eventually women will learn that this is not just how things are, or how men are, but that it is wrong and there is another way.
Plenty of men manage to be around women without molesting them or making them feel uncomfortable at all. And we need to stop this indignation when it turns out that a well-known celebrity has been accused of sexual harassment. But we always liked them, we say, they always seemed so nice. Well yeah, that’s the point, this doesn’t happen because all victims are a bad judge of character, it happens because these people are very good at what they do, which makes it so much harder to make a fuss about, makes it much harder to be believed.
So yes, we still need to be talking about this because things aren’t that different for our daughters and if we can’t change the men who do it, we can change how we react to those men. Our daughters are going through all the nonsense we did, the groping, the name calling, it just happens in a different form now, thanks to technology.
Chances are your teenage daughter has seen more scrotums than you have. Think about that for a second. I know, it’s New Years Eve, nobody wants to think about scrotums while they’re tucking into their party snacks, but sending unsolicited dick pics is the new cat-calling. Something like 46% of young women have been sent one before the age of 18. And we laugh about it, we brush it off and delete and block and joke about how funny-looking scrotums are, but this is not harmless fun, not some poor young man being misguided in his innocent flirting, this is about power and reinforces the idea that women are there for your pleasure and are ready at all times to receive your sexual attention. And the boys doing it probably aren’t even aware of it, they’re just playing out the roles they’ve been shown on TV, and in computer games, and films, in their own families even.
While we’re talking about this, here are a few pointers for any men out there unsure of how to get a girlfriend. I shall call this: Things That Are Never Going To Make Us Go Out With You. Ever.
- Sending us a photograph of your penis, out of the blue
- Loudly complimenting us on our boobs/arse as we walk past you in the street
- Whistling at us from across the street like we’re a puppy
- Telling us to smile
So I’ll go into 2019 still banging on about all this, still getting cross about the pay gap and the health gap and the fact that our daughters can’t walk along in their school uniforms without being harassed, still only smiling when I damn well feel like it.
I will also continue to play Woman-on-the-Internet Bingo. Want to know the rules?
It’s simple really, you just need to have a drink every time one of these things happens:
- Someone calls you a feminazi (a gateway name on the way to you being called a c*nt, like being a seconder in Brownies, or wing attack in netball)
- Someone mansplains your own blog post to you (if they use the words ‘well actually’ you get to take two shots)
- Someone tells you that they can tell from your Instagram photos that you are ‘filthy’. (In case you were wondering, most of mine are either of my feet or a beach. No, I don’t know either.)
- Someone tells you that you’d be much prettier if you smiled (No, YOU get over it)
- Someone tells you that you can’t even take a joke (I can, I’m well funny, I still laugh when someone, i.e.me, burps)
- Someone asks why you’re so angry and tells you to calm down (two words guaranteed to result in a swift blow to the aforementioned scrotum)
- Someone asks why you hate men (I know loads of brilliant men)
- Someone posts an analogy that basically explains a situation a woman may find herself in, but it involves men and is devised by men, so that men can understand it, it’s so men can be sympathetic (because it’s a little know fact that the male genitals are positioned in such a way that it renders them incapable of hearing a woman’s soft, feminine voice. Or something, either that or we are conditioned to think of men’s voices as more important, but that would be ridiculous)
It’s not a game for the faint-hearted, and you’d do well to line your stomach with some party snacks before you start.
So there you go, that’s it for 2019. As it’s New Year’s Eve you might like to play a game of Scrotum Bingo while reading this, again, line your stomachs.
And on that note (scrote? See? I’m hilarious!) I’ll wish you a Happy New Year! X