Every practicing feminist will tell you that the amount of disrespect they encounter from men who know what they identify as significantly reduced when they begun to identify with this radicalism. On the Internet, it is less unsolicited, “Hi dia” s in the direct message. In public spaces, misogynists will see you here and walk the other way. Other men have announced that they watch what they say around you lest you “come for them.” Now this may have been largely painted as a bad thing. If you’re “not a feminist,” which I gotta say in this 2018 as a womyn is questionable especially with regards to whether you value your humanity at all, you’re probably thinking; I don’t want to be hated, what happens if men stop noticing me, feminists are evil and husband-less, etc. But that is barely the story.
Feminism as reechoed a thousand times before – is a radical notion that womyn are human beings. It does not get simpler than that. The movement also does not make it hard for anyone to ally as there are only two things one needs to be an ally: common sense and empathy. The rest is just how different people practice. Maybe your method is dialogue and not militancy, great. You’re patient and kind ‘unlike the feminist junta.’ Good too. Although as you remain moderate about your oppression, try to not start selling that to the oppressor for points over the militant ones as there are not any. Aside from the fact that is is unreasonable to ask the oppressed to be kind and considerate to their oppressor, it is harmful.
By portraying the idea that you would rather remain agreeable even at the expense of your humanity, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to direct toxic masculinity action. Forget the trolling and the verbal abuse directed to the radicals; you have made it clear that you can negotiate with misogyny. They can still disrespect you, even harm you intentionally without accountability. Because unlike the junta, you won’t call them out on the Timeline or call them trash. In fact, you’re likely to be silent about any pain because you have already sidelined the movement militants who are over being nice – those who will unapologetically come and expose abusers. Your other friends with whom you troll feminists with are still struggling with likability too so maybe the best they can do is sub-tweet on your behalf. And the cycle continues.
We have not the luxury to keep coddling toxicity. Not when we are literally dying at the hands of our fellow human beings. Yes we should acknowledge that men are human beings, but that has never been the issue. Men have never in history had any reason to believe that womyn were undermining their very existence. Womyn on the other hand, I don’t have to retell the statistics from every part of the world. So #MenAreTrash can’t be “the biggest problem with feminists,” with you. For men, perhaps. Afterall, even the President still thinks he is the best leader this country could have. It is a thing of oppressors, I guess. But not for you, a womyn. You could not refute the claim if you tried. Ok, so your father is great. (For a few whose fathers stayed and became dads to us) Perfect. What about those who were/are abusive to them and their mothers? What about the many runaways who only showed up in your adulthood to claim you when you were well into adulthood? So your boyfriend is great (as great as one can be really), how about the hundreds who push feminist causes online by day and batters his girlfriend by night?
When the country coined the word, MPigs, we were very aware of the Adekes and Kyagulanyis of the August House who try. That did not stop us from realizing that the majority were letting us down and invoking our justified anger. We then don’t expect Adeke’s family and some of our fellow citizens to issue a statement saying she is being unfairly characterized because it is not about her. It is about how fast this country is sinking with the help of majority of her colleagues. To therefore keep insisting on oppressor tidying the image of the oppressor at our expense is the most self-defeating move of all. In a world where womyn in the Middle East were just recently allowed to drive; and while we are still begging not to be sexually abused every day, we must realize that our priority as should have been since time immemorial, should be us.
A minute spent attempting talk nicely is 2 huge steps backwards in attaining liberation. We cannot continue to stroke egos of ‘good’ men (the onlookers) who in turn stroke those of the bad men (the abusers). Sure, it is important that we challenge each other even within the movement. It is crucial too that we call out toxic behavior and bigotry by other womyn too. But crucifying Besigye for taking the streets instead of writing beautiful arguments like Muntu cannot bring about about a change of government. After all, the former got Police to expose their rot and invoke the anger of more youth straight to polling stations. If radicalism gets sleeping dogs to start speaking about the cause; even if it is in their supposed defense, then I suggest we all get to it. That or we can sit back and dialogue as we await our turn to be kidnapped, raped and strangled next and while at that; muse about how NGOs still have to roll out campaigns to appeal to public to stop bothering womyn as they feed their babies in public.