For the past few weeks, I and my party have been receiving complaints regarding a comment I made at NUS Women’s Conference: after voting to remove the word “men” from a motion regarding VAT-free products and the tampon tax – as all razors are VAT-free – I made a joke from the podium that we should remove men from society.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll also know that delegates to the Conference were subject to a massive amount of harassment, primarily from men. It is in this context that the joke was made.
Clearly, the reaction to the joke shows how the egregious double standard that is often engaged in. Some people will spend ages engaging in misogynist reaction when their patriarchal status quo is being challenged, yet these insecure sexists cannot take a joke that’s aimed at them.
Knowing what women go through every day, especially LBT and/or BAME women, it is frankly insulting that jokes about men are apparently as bad as the institutionalised rape, assault, and murder of our sisters, mothers, and daughters across the world. Real fights against sexism should be focused on making a world worth living in for women, not chasing misogynist flights of fancy.
Young activists are the lifeblood of any political moment and their radicalism should not be constrained, but instead welcomed. It is through radical ideas that any meaningful change can be effected.
Of course, I understand that the comments, whilst understandable given the weight of misogyny that every woman must shoulder, are possibly unwise to say on a public forum dominated by misogyny. The harassment I have received over the past few weeks are proof of this.
Ultimately, I apologise if you were offended by those comments. However, the harassment I have received can not possibly be condoned, and I shall be examining my options at a later point. I would like to give my thanks to those in the party who have conducted their investigation into this issue both fairly and promptly.