by Marjorie Liu
What can I add that hasn’t already been said? Not much, I suppose. There’s been an amazing symphony of voices on the internet, keeping alive the reality, the truth, that so many would prefer to ignore: that misogyny continues to thrive in every corner of the world. It is reflected back on us women every day, in a million different ways, and while it’s easy to point the finger at other countries and say, “Look at the way they treat women!” we all must know, deep down, that here in America we put into practice the same patterns of hate and ownership, and entitlement.
A pregnant woman was just stoned to death in Pakistan for marrying a man against her family’s wishes — but that happens here in America, all the time, with just slightly different players. Google “boyfriend kills pregnant girlfriend” and you’ll see a list of unending deaths. We read in horror about how rapists in other countries are let off easy by “corrupt authorities,” but what about our legal system? It’s just as monstrous towards victims of sexual assault. Check out this imagined, but very real, conversation — what if mugging were treated like rape is in the eyes of the law — found at the @femusingsteam twitter feed:
I’ve made this point before, but I’ll say it again: there is no line, no law, no border, no culture or religion that separates the women of this world from the horrors of misogyny and patriarchal ideologies. That guy in Santa Barbara who posted his manifesto about revenge against women? I’m sorry, but his voice, his message, his internalized belief of entitlement — it is everywhere.
I know, deep down, a very simple truth: that it would be easy for women to lose all their rights in this country, no matter how enlightened we tell ourselves that we are. I’m sure there are plenty of people who will tell me I’m wrong, that it could never happen, but in this I’d rather be the sharp-eyed pragmatist. Women only have the right to vote in this country because we fought like hell for it. We only have what gender equality we have because we fought, and still fight for it.
We still need to fight. That’s why #YesAllWomen matters. That’s why we can’t stop talking about this, why we can’t stop bearing witness, no matter how many would prefer that we don’t. Because here, too, our silence equals our deaths.
That’s a hellish thing to say. But what #YesAllWomen reveals is what we women confront every day. Our bodies, like our rights, are constantly in jeopardy. And we cannot ignore that. We just can’t. Feminism is not something we should run from or make excuses for. Feminism is our only tool for saving ourselves and our societies. Feminism is our superpower. And we must use that superpower every day and every way we can. We must always speak out, bearing witness, and in the process build solidarity, build courage, build community, build change — and yes, build hope.
Women are still going to treated like second-class citizens. We’re still going to be attacked, harassed, violated, raped — but fuck it all, sisters. I’m going to keep fighting it, and fighting it some more. I’m going to use my invincible superpower. Please feel free to do the same.
Marjorie Liu is a New York Times bestselling author of novels about women warriors covered in demonic tattoos and men who can shape-shift into tigers. Since 2008, she has written several X-Men series for Marvel Comics. This fall, she will be guest lecturing a workshop on comic book writing at MIT.