Monday, 22 April 2013

Guest Blog- Alex Prestage's Statement on Sexism at the Womens Ambassador's Solidarity Address


I hate that I have to address this, however I feel I cannot leave it unsaid:

This afternoon [20th April] I witnessed the derailing of the Women’s Ambassador’s Solidarity address. This derailing came in the way of foregrounding “men’s issues” in a space specifically designated for those who do not define as women to hear about issues pertaining to the Women’s Campaign. The address by was an opportunity for allies to present themselves and to show our solidarity with women’s liberation. In the ensuing aftermath of the address there was little solidarity to be seen.

Jo Johnson gave us, those that do not define as women, a chance to co-operate and reach a greater level of understanding of the oppression that Women face; in day to day life, and apparently at conference. Instead patriarchy struck again.

After presumably listening to the address, covering the basics of feminist principles, and the floor was opened to questions the men in the room continued to side-line women’s liberation. Rather than discuss key issues of Rape Culture and slut shaming we heard about men’s struggle with HIV and the Blood Ban – each already discussed on conference floor that very day, and each not specific to men. It was the silencing of women’s issues that, as a feminist – ally or not – infuriated me, the persistent whining about “Men’s Caucus” despite being given a position on the matter, the aggressive nature and tone of some of the questions, the gang-like mentality a few of the audience adopted truly fucking sickened me.

The knowing, or unknowing sabotage of the address demeaned and undermined Women’s continuing struggle to fight sexism and oppression by the hands of a Patriarchal society. The attendance of the address was disappointing in itself – it should not be left to a few Feminist Allies to aide and support Women in their liberation, and conference I assure you there were Allies present. However, their efforts were drowned in a sea of misbegotten “oppression”. I would like to thank the allies present; as I am sure the women’s campaign would also, it would be wrong to not recognise their efforts.

I will leave you with one final message:

Gentlemen, check your fucking privilege.

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