Being a feminist is hard. Being the kind of feminist who is unafraid of calling out bullshit wherever they see it is harder still. Admittedly, as an educated able-bodied white woman living in Australia it’s not nearly as hard for me as it is for almost anybody else. But I digress, being a feminist killjoy is fucking exhausting. It can feel like a full time job. On top of your day job. That you’re paid less than men for. In fact, you’re probably juggling multiple jobs as increased casualisation of the workforce is impacting women more.
As you can see it hard to type a simple sentence as a feminist killjoy. Pesky facts on gendered discrimination keep sneaking in. There is no respite either. You can’t come home from a long day smashing the patriarchy and unwind in front of the television; mainstream media assaults you with sexist stereotypes and patriarchal expectations in everything from the ABC’s QandA to the yogurt commercial between segments of The Bachelor.
In response to the sometimes overwhelming weight of being a feminist killjoy I’ve created and compiled five ways to turn around everyday sexism and ensure life is always more amusing and sassy than painfully patriarchal. Take these into your own life to ensure you’ve always got the energy to smash the patriarchy.
ONE: SIT NEXT TO MANSPREADERS
This is an easy way to start off your day with sass – by filling your morning commute with feminist acts of rebellion. When you enter a tram/train/public space scout out the man taking up more space than necessary. Hint: It’ll probably be all of them, so pick the one taking up the most space. Sit your butt right now next to him. Nice and close. Don’t cross your legs. Don’t shrink yourself. Take up the whole damn seat.
Scoring: You score a point for every seat you force him to rescind his domain over. Double multiplier if you manage to impede on two or more men taking up multiple seats each.
Bonus points if they roll their eyes at being forced to sit on a single seat. By golly, it is hard to be a man.
TWO: COUNT POLICEMEN
No, that isn’t a slip of my gender neutral tongue. Count all the male police officers you encounter. The tally resets when you see a non-male police officer.
Scoring: One point for each male officer you see. Double multiplier for three or more male police officers together.
Bonus points if you see old white policeMEN racially profiling and harassing teenagers.
Nobody wins in this game, except the established order. I’ve found counting out loud helps to raise awareness though. And since you are getting bonus points it is really the least you can do to call out - and record - inappropriate police behaviour whenever you see it.
THREE: WALK IN A STRAIGHT LINE
There isn’t much to say about this one. Stop moving out of the way of entitled men on the footpath. Stop making way for entitled men everywhere, ever.
Scoring: You score one bruise - I meant point - for each dude that runs straight into you. Double multiplier if they are wearing a suit and look at you like trash for not moving around them or laying out a fucking red carpet for their precious leather soles.
Bonus points for learning to walk in a harm-minimising manner, say with your pointy elbows out as a protective barrier.
FOUR: SMILE, SWEETIE. TELL MORE JOKES
Any time a man starts a sentence with ‘well actually’, ‘see the thing is’ or ‘what you have to understand is’ interrupt him to tell him this hilarious joke:
“How did the mansplainer die?
He fell down a well, actually.”
I suggest you use the moment it takes him to comprehend what you’ve said as a chance to walk away from the conversation. It isn’t your job to educate men. Nor is it your job to listen to an unwanted monologue.
Scoring: You don’t need points for this one, avoiding a condescending lecture is prize enough.
FIVE: ASK MEN TO EXPLAIN
Contrary to above, sometimes it is useful to ask men to explain. Unfortunately (for men) I’m never asking them to patronisingly explain why I’m wrong on any number of topics they know next to nothing about. However I have infinite time for explanations when someone makes a sexist/racist/otherwise offensive joke. Feign ignorance and ask them to explain. Continue asking them to explain until they are forced to be explicit in their offensive attitude.
Scoring: You score a point for each time you ask them to explain before they understand your aim.
Bonus points if they attempt to justify it with any of the following phrases: ‘political correctness gone mad’, ‘freedom of speech’ or ‘it was just a joke’.
Alright, so none of these games are particularly fun-filled but neither is being a feminist killjoy. I get my kicks out of being a sassy as fuck woman who enjoys stomping down the train carriage and taking up as much space as the man next to me with equally unshaven legs. I’m also competitive as fuck so if I can turn shitty things men do into a game where I score points I am guaranteed to continue calling them out on their shit forever.
Stay tuned for next week’s cynical as fuck feminist click bait ‘OMG 15 Totally Unbelievable Ways to Get a Bikini Bod This Summer. #7 Will Shock You!’
(Sneak peak: It’s running home from the train station with keys and fingers intertwined because as much as you want to be fearless and unapologetically sassy sometimes you are fucking scared.)