Mirror, mirror on the wall...

OK. I have had enough.

No, not of parenting or motherhood or the never ending to-do lists that exist in my head and on my fancy new iPhone 5. Although that is a lot and it has been a full moon week.

I have kind of had it with women.

Not all women, mind you, just the ones who say they are all about empowering women and then go and do the exact opposite of that. It hurts my feminist heart to no end when it looks like the thing that undermine's the status of women and our ability to actually ever be equals, is not men, it is other WOMEN!

Feminism.

The other F-word.

At least that is how a lot of the world sees it.

If you call yourself a feminist, there is an automatic assumption that you are an opinionated, man-hating, bitch with an agenda. And you like to wear flannel...

Let me clarify a few things for you then.

I am VERY OPINIONATED.

I LOVE men, one in particular quite a bit actually.

On more than one occasion, I have indeed been called a BITCH. I am OK with that.

I HAVE an agenda. A BIG ONE!

And I live in Alberta, flannel is just not an option some days!

This week in my own fair {OK, fine, completely snow-covered!} city, feminists young and old (I am one of the old ones, in case you were wondering) are up in arms over being silenced by OTHER WOMEN. And by silenced, I mean deleted. The complete and utter removal of a whole Facebook conversation that happened in response to the marketing of an event that in an of itself was so incredibly patriarchal that at first most of us thought it was a joke.

I really want you to understand the context here and so I would like you to head over to Brittany's blog and read about this particular public relations fiasco (click the links within her post for the transcript of the erased Facebook posts). And I would like to say that it was Brittany who alerted me to this event in the first place and put the bug in a lot of ears about it's validity and intentions.

At first, I thought this might be a prank. What I understood the event to be was an all-male panel, moderated by a male host, discussing gender politics in the workplace (“the old boys network”) and providing career advice (“nuances of climbing the corporate ladder”) to a audience of women. Oh, and with an opportunity to donate to a men’s cancer charity.

Again,  please CLICK HERE and take a moment to go and read her post, she makes some very excellent points about what the "default perspective" is in most anything in this world, which I thought was most insightful.

Here is the thing.

Gender issues are hot button issues. If you don't believe that, than you have not been paying attention to the US Presidential race lately and/or you many be living under a rock. Whenever there is a blatant line in the sand drawn regarding gender, things get heated. The conversation that happened the other night on this particular Facebook event page was no exception. I was kind of riveted to the page because I was amazed by the quality of the arguments and discussion points being made both about the event itself and about feminism in general. I am happy to also say that I made a few new friends that night!

I went to bed that night with lots of thoughts in my head. What I came to realize was that I was not completely opposed to the event. Quite a few of the men on the panel are ones that I have a lot of respect for and I think having a conversation with them about gender issues would make for an interesting lunch hour. I was sorely disappointed by the marketing of the event, as were many others and while I appreciate that words where changed, I did not believe for one minute that intent was. As one of the organizers so eloquently pointed out, she "hopes that anyone with gender issues can see past the penises on the panel and take away some valuable information..."

Hmmm....

Fast forward to the next morning and I awoke to another Facebook message informing me that all of that awesome conversation was completely deleted and that no one was able to post anything to the event wall anymore.

Say what?

The irony of this action was not lost on anyone, of this I can assure you.

The marketing company in charge of an event, being put on by the Edmonton chapter of Canadian Women in Communications, targeted to women, with the intent of talking about the glass ceiling and succeeding in the corporate world, DELETED all comments from women communicating their opinions about said event.

It was too much for my feminist brain to handle!

Silenced.

Being told, explicitly or implicitly, that what we had to say had NO VALUE.

Two steps back people. Two VERY BIG steps back!

And then today, this happened.

A blog post. Written by Tamara Plant of YouAreFierce.com (she is also on the Board of Directors for CWC in Edmonton and part of the committee behind the aforementioned event).

A post in which she is concerned with the toxic energy on the Internet this week and goes on to quote Jenny McCarthy on her rather simplistic view of "projected identification". Coles notes version, everyone is a mirror of you, if you hate yourself, you are going to hate others and vice versa, love yourself and then you will love others. The problem is that not 10 lines later, Tamara says that "All of this catty malicious bullshit needs to stop now. It is a reflection on you..."

But you just said that negative feelings are a mirror of myself? You calling people catty and malicious and full of BS  is kind of toxic and negative. I am confused.

Maybe I just don't get how this mirror stuff works...? And while I realize that the Internet is  a big place, in Edmonton this week, it really is not.

And then THIS happened.

Another blog post. Written by Zita Dube-Lockhart, one of the silenced.

Zita is probably one of the smartest women I know. Like UBER-smart people and she writes with all her bad-ass smartness backing her up. Seriously, go read her blog!

You SILENCED us. You CENSORED us. You TOLD US that our voices are irrelevant and that WE ARE MEAN PEOPLE for thinking differently from you.
So yeah...we're pretty freaking pissed. And understandably so.
There’s no “projection” here. There are only facts. You are accountable to your own damn actions- stop trying to blame us for your mistakes.
I’ve said it before, in this discussion and in others, and I will say it again:
The greatest trick patriarchy ever pulled was convincing women that we are each other’s enemies.
And now I’ll add to that by saying, the greatest lie we’ve ever told ourselves is that we are not accountable for our own decisions and our own actions.

I get very confused and tongue-bite-y every time someone has a differing opinion than another person, or dares to call someone out for making a mistake (be it on social media or in real life) and then in the next breath is called a bully (or cyber-bully) for doing so. It has happened before on this very blog, simple because I said that NO, I do not actually have to BE NICE to or like everyone around me. I got called a lot of names and was maligned on social media as a bully. And I did not DELETE a single one of those comments! (See how that works around here, everyone gets an opinion, a voice.)

But up to about an hour ago, I was still not sure why this whole ongoing two day debacle had me so enraged.

And then THIS happened.

A note was published on Facebook by one of the few men who waded into the original discussion. I don't know this man personally, but he just explained to me why I am so upset about this. Thank you Reece.

In my view, what Zita is speaking to is, to put it bluntly, antifeminism in action.  As Andrea Dworkin put it so eloquently: “The breaking down of women into the insults used to describe women, the use of these insults to describe or intimidate or discredit, granting validity to these critiques of a female’s posture, pose, stance, attitude, or act, are all expressions of both antifeminism and woman hating.”  We need look no further than the description of a woman as being “catty” to see an implicit act of dehumanization, suggesting that their activities are somehow animal-like and uncivilized, versus well-reasoned and intelligently argued.

Anti-feminism. The other A-word.

By women towards women.

Wow!

To anyone who has witnessed these exchanges over the last few days on Facebook and on Twitter, and who thinks that this is just a bunch of chicks getting our panties in a knot over nothing...

TAKE A LOOK IN YOUR MAGIC MIRROR!

Look at your daughter, your sister, your best friend, your co-worker, your mother. What would you do if someone silenced them for having an opinion? For speaking their mind? For not being afraid to stand up and say to someone, "HEY, what you are doing is wrong?"

What would you tell them if they had made a mistake? Don't worry honey, we'll just erase that or shove it under the rug, no one is going to look under there anyway? 'Cause, I hate to break it to you, but that is not how the internet works people!

And it is not how REAL LIFE works either.

I said in my previous post that I wanted to be an example to the younger generation. That I wanted to be a voice for women in my community and yes, on the interwebs too!

Tonight I am being that voice. I am speaking up and adding my thoughts and my words to the many who are stepping up to say that we won't stand for this kind of behaviour from anyone and that NO, you can not simply delete us with the press of a button.

My name is Natasha Chiam and I will not be SILENCED!

Will you?

**I will not erase any comments posted here, but I do reserve the right to edit any profanity or straight up hateful ones. Peace out y'all!**