Obligatory International Women’s Day post: let the bridges you burn light the way

Today is International Women’s Day, once again. It’s also the fifth birthday of this blog, and I like to think I’ve improved my opinions a lot over the last five years. Honestly, I’m not even linking to that first post, and I’ll instead link to the disclaimer which applies to any old content on this blog.

Five years ago, I was confident there was something winnable, that we were on the cusp of a great tipping point and that if we women all banded together, and surely that’d be easy.

I was naive, and in my defence, it was 2011, when revolution was in the air.

I had yet to see how broken everything is.

I’ve burned a lot of bridges since then.

Everything is broken. Literally fucking everything. There are no causes for optimism. It’s nice to believe there can be, because that way if feels a lot more like there’s something to be won. It’s nice to celebrate small victories, but when these small victories are defeats for the vast majority of women, there’s nothing to cheer about.


When I logged into Facebook this morning, it gave me a chirpy message wishing for equality for all. I wish I could have told it to go fuck itself with a wonky church spire, because equality is a crock of pigshit in this broken world. Equality is desirable in an unequal system. Equality is palatable for those in power, because it doesn’t actually make anything any different. If half of the positions on parliaments, boards, armed forces and on and on were occupied by women, that wouldn’t help because these structures are themselves oppressive. Women shouldn’t be fighting to be the oppressor, these systems should be razed to the ground.

As a cis white woman, I now understand myself to be part of the problem. I try not to be part of the problem, and that’s burned a fair few bridges–and I know I still am part of the problem. All I can do is be willing to be held accountable for when my being part of the problem becomes me being a big problem.

I think what I’m trying to say, clumsily and inarticulately, is I’ve realised there are no solutions to the fucking massive structural problems. I have a better understanding of what’s wrong now, but not what to do to put it right. I know what’s broken and I know how it’s broken, but I have no idea to put it right. There’s harm reduction measures put forward by marginalised groups that I support wholeheartedly, but ultimately everything is fucked.

And maybe that’s OK. Maybe a negative feminism is part of what we need. People like to be given a solution and to feel that something is winnable, and don’t like to hear the cold hard truths. I say “no” a lot, and so do many other women. “No” is treated as a dirty word, but is it really? Is it only a dirty word to keep this whole system in place?

I have no answers, and I’ve decided that’s all right. Maybe I’ll feel differently in five years, dropping the shards of a teacup and have them reassemble into the complete object. Maybe solutions and opportunities will present themselves.

In the meantime, I look to the bridges I’ve burned, and feel that they are narrowing a path, and I hope this path leads somewhere useful.

5 thoughts on “Obligatory International Women’s Day post: let the bridges you burn light the way”

  1. You may think that you are part of the problem, but I think that you are part of the solution. I find your posts educational.
    It may be that inequalities between those in power and those who aren’t are the greater problem, but it is a fact that those in power use other inequalities to divide and rule the rest of humanity.
    I think it would make a real difference if women made up fifty percent (or more to the point, slightly over fifty percent to reflect the sex ratios in society at large) of members of parliaments, boards, military leaders and so on.
    It would not achieve all your or my aims over night, but it would make those parliaments and boards and so on better informed and would give girls and women concrete examples of their opinions mattering and being acted upon.

  2. I’ve been a socialist all my adult life and quite frankly it often feels that we are going further and further backwards. It’s easy in one way to see why. Capital and religion survive and grow stronger by using the tried and tested ‘divide and conquer’ rule. It’s not in their interest to grant equality. They’ve established a hierarchy built on favours for the educated and ‘drugs’ to pacify the stupid. Unfortunately there aren’t always answers. If equality is ever to be achieved it has to be by educating the masses. And when I say educating that has nothing whatsoever to do with schooling. It’s going to be a long slog. And I’m resigned to that fact that it’ll probably not happen in my lifetime. But that’s no reason not to try and change minds.

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