It has already been said by Elizabeth Child et al but sadly, to argue that ‘victimhood’ resides in women’s heads is to deny the realities of inequality and the inequalities of reality. So long as a 5ft tall woman can be overpowered and raped by a 6ft tall man that inequality is real. But the reality is also that whilst women may bully other women, even rape other women and men may bully other man and even rape other men, daily the cases that illustrate inequality are those in which a woman is assaulted or molested through a combination of guile and underhand invisible tricks which can be disguised and ignored by colleagues, friends or passers by.
The argument that to defy and overcome men women must effectively ‘fake it til we make it’ and LOOK confident and FEEL confident to outsmart the patriarchy, demonstrates that mind-games and manipulation ARE the tools which many men use to abuse women.
To speak of feminism being about ‘self reliance’ is not only to imply a need for such defences (mental and physical) but also to deny that even amongst women not all women are created equal.
Can a physically disabled or facially scarred or cognitively vulnerable woman necessarily project the same confidence as a woman born looking ‘confident’ by which our culture often means if not tall and beautiful, then at least well-turned out and steady on her feet?
Does a 94 year old arthritic woman with Parkinsons and failing sight project an image of great confidence to our minds eye, let alone to her own.
Perhaps we although we “owe it to ourselves” to act “as though” (???) we are important there are a million reasons for millions world-wide (not all related to gender) which mean that not everyone gets all they want.
Say rather that first the unworthy in spirit treat some folk as unworthy, then that folk who should by birthright as human beings be equal and feel equal in the world believe themselves to be worthless and are then further ill-treated by ill-disposed men and women. It is no credit to the powerful if they choose to dis-empower others.
Those who preach the doctrine of “No one can take away what you are not willing to give” have never BEGUN with nothing or have never tried to fight off a stronger opponent and lost.
I am glad to see both men and women here standing for whatever equality may need to mean for us to move into a future side by side, men and women who can recognise more than one ‘issue’ at once so that we may tackle ALL inequalities without simply the laziness of a mantra of ‘self-reliance’ or ‘safety in confidence’. People who deal with what _is_ reality may bring us at last to what reality SHOULD BE.