Imagine a world where terrible things are happening to women every day.
I know, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination does it, you only have to look at the news to see reports or oppression and erosion of rights around the world, but not only that there are stories on national and local news of rapes and murders and assaults of all varieties being reported. Not only cis-gender women either, trans-women get just as hard a time (harder actually because of all the extra oppression that goes along with being trans).
Every time something horrendous happens to a woman, there is an outpouring of social media activity that tells us what sort of daughter they were of what sort of wife or mother, now I know this is the media attempting to humanise the victim but tend to be humanised in these situations through a lens of who they are in relation to other people and particularly men.
The social media outcry for an atrocity committed against a woman or girl is full of men posting about how awful it is because the victim is someone’s mum or sister or daughter. Or they are imploring you to imagine what this would be like if it was your daughter / niece / grandma etc.
It seems like that even when defending women, men only see them as important because of how they relate to them. There are far fewer male voices defending women because they were amazing people.
It harks back to the days when women were considered property of their fathers until they were given away and became property of their husbands. Believe it or not, women are people in their own right, we no longer have to be defined by whose daughter or whose wife we are.
I know people out there will say “but we know women are not property” and “of course I think my wife is my equal” but if that is really the case, stop introducing them in terms of who they are in relation to you. I have a relatively recently married friend who insists on referring to his wife as “my wife” in all conversations about her. Things like “my wife can’t come to dinner because…” Or My wife thinks…” you get the idea. Now I can understand this if you are talking about people in a work situation where you don’t know anyone well, but amongst friends who are well aware of your wife’s name, then use it. Give here the autonomy to be herself rather than who she is in relation to you.
It shouldn’t need saying really in 2022 but it seems to. The language you use is important, even on the internet!