Thursday, 8 March 2012

The (Wo)men of Twitter

So today is International Women's Day. I hate this. I truly, truly hate it.* I hate that we still need to have an International Women's Day. That we need to have a day for any gender pisses me off. Why can't every day just be "International Accepting That All People of All Gender's Are Ace" Day? Why haven't we yet reached a point where exclusion is no longer acceptable, where discrimination isn't allowed to pass by with an "if we ignore it maybe it'll go away" attitude?

Why is it that women do 66% of the world's work, earn 10% of the world's income and own 1% of the world's property? Why is it 1 in 4 women are victims of domestic violence and yet the Government are removing funding from Refuge and domestic violence shelters are going to shut down? Why is it that there are so few women in positions of power and influence? I mean hell, even the Independent's Top 100 Twitter list only listed 1 woman in the top 25 and around a fifth overall, which sparked this article on whether or not women support one another on Twitter.

If you know me well, you'll know that Twitter is my true love. I tweet to excess about the general stuff and nonsense of life, about the beautiful things I see, about the things that make me angry, the things that inspire me. I also have a policy of sharing whatever's going on in my life with the Twittering world (you poor, poor things). If I'm happy, I'll let you know. If I'm sad, I'll let you know. And do you know what? I've never seen or experience a support network and community like it.

It's rare you'll see me talk exclusively about one gender group in a certain way, but today I'm making the exception to talk about the women of Twitter and their support and love for one another. That's not to say men (or people with a variety of other gender identifications) are complete and utter bastards and offer no support at all - they most definitely do - but I've been lucky enough to have been supported by some of the most wonderful women I've ever known on Twitter. I've been helped through some of the most difficult times of my life by a support network of women who, despite the fact they're from disperate parts of the world, band together around one another. Many of them are bloggers - be it health or beauty or politics or relationships. Networks of women, communities of women, willing to offer near complete strangers a shoulder to cry on and an email address to rant to.

Through Twitter, I've seen women supported through the potential fear of breast cancer. I've seen women supported as their lives are turned upside down, facing homelessness and dealing with shitty people making their lives terrible. I've seen women cheering on other women to turn their lives around, to discover that they're able to do things they never thought possible, giving each other helping hands to start new businesses, new projects, new ways of living their lives. When we're told that women are not supporting one another, it saddens my heart. It makes me want to run out into the streets and show the beautiful community I'm lucky enough to be exposed to. Women who find each other lawyers, who give each other pep talks, who help each other move through the shit of life.

I'm fully aware this is a bit of a soppy love letter to the women of Twitter. I'm fully aware that it's not just the women that do this. But I think there's something wonderful about day after day after day being exposed to groups of people supporting each other just because they can and I sort of want to share that. To be honest, their gender is irrelevant, and I'm slightly hijacking IWD as an excuse to wax lyrical about the love and support that can come from small communities of people with varying connections, but it just hit home for me today, as I shared some confidence wobbles, that the women of twitter most definitely do support one another, contrary to what Laura Davis thinks. Although the statistics may not show it, although women may not be high ranking, that doesn't mean that the love and support isn't still there. The flurry of tweets of received this morning looking after me prove that indefinitely.

*Just to clarify, I don't actually hate International Women's Day itself... I hate the fact that we still have to have it.


  1. Indeed, I wish the world would understand more about how gender and even sex is constructed and stop focussing on the so-called differences. I wish we lived in a world when it didn't matter if someone was male, female or whatever. Still, we're still so far from that - if we'll ever get there at all.

    1. Apparently there's an International Men's Day as well. It's on 19 November.

      I'm not offended either way. But I do wonder (as a woman) - do men get as offended as some women do about the way that gender is constructed? It doesn't seem so. Does that mean men are more enslaved to the construct of masculinity than women are to femininity? If women are so eager to challenge the boundaries, why aren't men? Maybe because, for women, challenging boundaries means they gain access to the power that men have traditionally held, whereas for men, challenging boundaries is understod as relinquishing a degree of power. And who wants to let go of power...?


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