I’ve been noticing a lot of content creators leading towards a triggering strategy. It’s worrying because it’s bringing back the idea that angering people is fine as long as you follow it up with – ‘it’s just a joke – chill’.
The definition of triggering:
(especially of something read, seen, or heard) causing someone emotional distress, typically as a result of arousing feelings or memories associated with a particular traumatic experience.
“this could be very triggering for victims of sexual assault”
This is the first thing that comes up if you Google triggering. I don’t understand how people who understand the use of the word use it so freely for humour?
Why I have a problem with ‘triggering’ people
Let’s talk about the main one that pops up in my life; people trying to trigger me over being a feminist. You see the reason I am a feminist is not a happy story. It does not make me feel warm inside; in fact, it’s the root cause of my anxiety. Something I still struggle with and has hindered my life. People are choosing to trigger others over very serious issues and it’s coming from a place of complete ignorance. I choose to believe its ignorance because the alternative is just too horrible to imagine.
Ask them why they are feminists
I’ve noticed that at social events and on Social Media people like to poke fun at feminists. There’s this unattractive notion that feminists must be belittled because they have some resemblance of a backbone. Do people understand how much work it took to build that backbone? I say build because us women are not often born with one. We’re told it’s impolite to be strong – people will think you’re a bitch if you speak your mind. Men can – but you can’t. So, we’ve literally found our own voice and have created this freedom of living as a feminist. It’s not easy fighting for equal rights.
If a feminist is angry, it’s because we have a right to be. They’ve more than likely been subjected to some form of sexual violence and workplace inequalities. ASK HER. You sit behind your ignorance and yet you never ask the question:
Why are you a feminist?
I’m a vegetarian and people ALWAYS ask me for the ‘why’ almost immediately. However, when it comes to feminism, people are silent. They don’t ask – but they’ll happily poke fun at you. They’ll look for ways to trigger you.
Why people aren’t asking, “Why are you a feminist?”
A few years ago I learned about my racist conditioning. I learned how I used terms that were horrifically racist and were downright insulting. Growing up in a predominantly racist country, you learn that mocking people’s accents in a disrespectful tone is… funny. It’s not. It’s racist. Telling someone they ‘sound white’ isn’t a compliment – it’s disgraceful. Learning the error of my ways was so fucking difficult. I’m woman enough to say that I cried over my stupidity and was ashamed at my past actions. I had to take a long hard look in the mirror and ask myself: “Am I racist?”
I’m not and have since educated myself on my incredibly privileged existence. Learning the error of my ways took a lot of education and I committed to it. I made sure that I knew what I could say and what I shouldn’t say. There was this constant blush of embarrassment during this time of my life. I couldn’t believe how ignorant I was on the topic and the feeling of shame was almost too much to handle. I came out the other side knowing myself more and moving toward realizing the agonizing journey of rising above social stigmas against people of colour.
To make myself crystal clear – I said I started realizing and learning the journey for people of colour – not understanding it. Being a white female, I can never understand the kind of oppression people of colour face. Never. I cannot assume to know what people of colour go through on a daily basis because I haven’t lived it. That is important to distinguish. When you belittle feminists for their views and you yourself have not experienced what it’s like to be a female… You’re not coming from a place of understanding. How could you possibly understand?
It’s not too late to learn from our past mistakes. What we could’ve said in the past won’t be accepted today. That doesn’t mean it didn’t insult people before, people have just found their voices and are now EDUCATING you on what insults them. Adapt and be a respectful human.
Understanding why people are feminists
There is a horrific example of the difference between the fears of a man and a woman on the first date that was an actual conversation:
Man: “Oh my gosh, the worst thing that could happen is my card being declined when I’m paying the bill.”
Woman: “Oh really? The worst that can happen to me is date rape.”
One in three women is raped within their lifetime in South Africa. One hundred and sixteen per day. One every twenty-six seconds. Feminists are fighting for these statistics to be improved. They’re fighting for the world to wake up and register the injustice that we, as women, face on a daily basis. Feminism is not only serious; it’s necessary. Feminists have lived through horrific injustices and their stories are heartbreaking. But how would you know this if you were too busy belittling her to ask WHY?
Let’s learn to be better together
The world needs to learn about feminism without writing it off to ‘man-hating crap’ or similar. I feel the ‘man-hating’ title is a scapegoat to stop men from listening further. Their egos are dented so thou shalt not listen further. We don’t hate men, we hate the systems that oppress us. Feminism is real and it’s serious.
- Our struggle for equality is nothing to be laughed at.
- The number of rapes that happen versus how little is actually reported is nothing to be laughed at.
- The number of rape convictions versus the huge number that is reported is nothing to be laughed at.
- The number of sexual assault cases in the workplace versus incidences that go unreported because of shame is nothing to be laughed at.
- The belittling comments about our struggle and the effect they have on a woman’s self-esteem are nothing to be laughed at.
Take the time to learn about the struggle women face on a daily basis. Understand what might’ve happened to a woman to make her outspoken. Stop trying to trigger a woman over her feminist ideals; it might put a dampener on your dinner party when she admits to being raped by her boss when justifying her stance. Wouldn’t want to ruin the vibe now, would we?
Educate yourself. We’re not children but we can still learn and grow.