#notyourshield, a users’ guide,
“Public relations” is the biggest “fuck you” that real feminism ever endured.
The art of public relations appoints men and women into positions of power, where their genders will be the most effective at deflecting criticism. Perpetuating and forcing adherence to gender roles is the only thing that keeps them employed. They stockpile maleness and femaleness, and spend it as currency to win over a public who catches them and their friends pulling some heinous shit.
It’s usually maleness that gets things done; people listen to men, and they ignore women, in many topics of conversation. Femaleness is great for getting sympathy, or when it’s time to talk about gender. People rarely care what a woman has to say, but they hate it if a woman gets hurt. Women—after all—are children, and it’s the patriarchs’ jobs to protect them.
If you’re a feminist like me, you know that “misogyny” is one of the most effective words that the PR patriarchs every co-opted. If you think the patriarchy doesn’t exist and I’m full of shit, you likely still believe that being called a “misogynist” without proof or reason is a real problem.
The reason #notyourshield is important to me is because it harkens back to the era of real feminism again. Women do not need to be leveraged by “white knights” and public relations firms, as a means to avoiding criticism. They do not need to wield femaleness as a tool, to silence critics. In so doing, they create a trauma-addicted, shame-addicted culture that harps on people’s differences and monetizes those differences instead of celebrating them. When people worry about their “shield”, they focus on privilege and oppression and gender instead of humanity. An abuser is not humane; to discuss an abuser’s gender or privilege is derailment.
#notyourshield is for minorities who no longer want to be gambled for the sake of public relations. If Zoe and Anita were real feminists, they wouldn’t want to be anyone’s shield either. They would be huge proponents of this hashtag and this movement. As it stands, however, they welcome the glancing blows of the public, if it satisfies others in their industry. Their niche in the patriarch is comfortable.
#notyourshield is for our white male allies too, of which we have plenty. Consider carefully what you say and how you say it, though. After all, you’ve not been used as a shield by these people. They think you’re under heel. Sure, you’re sick and tired of seeing your friends exploited as social currency, but your friends’ voices will speak volumes to “SJW” paternalist scumbags. Your white male voice cannot do that—and that’s nobody’s fault but theirs.
It’s shit—but if we beat them at their own game, by their own sexist rules, our victory becomes all the sweeter.