Phewwww, what an absolutely appalling rollercoaster ride for us women this week.
Did we really savagely and swiftly move from commemoration to criticism, validation to violence, and misogyny to Mother’s Day in just seven shocking days.
To be fair, society did try to start stridently with International Women’s Day on Monday. All those clarion calls, with matching Memes, to empower each other, to be who and what you want, and to take on the world.
I so love the sentiment but struggle with the practicality of being completely confident when I can’t walk worry-free after dark, stress about my daughter’s safety in the Big Smoke, and get cat-called by burly builders regularly – yes, still!
And, of course, that’s without even delving deeper into the structural and systemic sexism that thrives in our institutions. Give me a months break with a steady supply of caffeine, and I’d write a big, booming, book on that.
Tuesday then brought us the former Duke and Duchess’s dive into ‘Tell All Telly’ delivered Oprah-stylee from the States with many a sting in the tail.
Accusations of Royal Family racism, claims of courtiers uncaring about Meghan’s mental health, tales of Princesses pitted against each other, and Harry made solvent by his Mum, dumped by his Dad.
Boom, what a backlash that brought – mainly from men and middle England of course. Miss Markle was once again destroyed and dissected by the tabloid press, keyboard warriors, and any other armchair critic who felt like having a pop.
So incensed were some that she’d dare to speak her truth, they even took troll time out from mansplaining to get involved.
Now, before my backlash begins, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, no need to love, or even like Meghan – I’m certainly no adoring fan.
But even the harshest critic, or cruellest commentator, must accept that almost all criticism of her is made from a standpoint of sexism, and, of course, racism. A double whammy for the Duchess to deal with daily.
As the Megxit row raged on, Wednesday saw the sobering news that the remains of Sarah Everard, the 33 year-old Marketing Executive, who went missing in London on March 3rd, had been found.
Cue cries of what was she doing out alone at Clapham Common from mostly men, and calls for a curfew, from mostly women.
I’ll tell you exactly what she was doing. Just walking home, in standard gear, at a reasonable time, in a large city. The misogynistic blame game should fall firmly on the male attacker, not on the female victim.
For the record that alleged male assailant, and shockingly a serving Police Firearms Officer, has been charged with her murder and is awaiting trial.
Jeeesus, I was emotionally drained already, and it was only Friday. Time then to remember Sarah with candles lit all over the country, a peaceful vigil at Clapham Common, and the shooting buds start of a Reclaim These Streets movement.
That sounds like a Saturday plan Stan we all said…until the Police plodded in, banning the Vigil whilst sanctimoniously citing, as always, those draconian and dreary Coronavirus regulations.
Women, and men, of the world, ignored them, and we all lit our lights whilst watching thousands come with their candles to Clapham.
Equilibrium almost restored….until the Metropolitan Police maliciously moved in.
Brandishing batons, breaking up the Band Stand tributes, and pinning protestors to the ground, they went completely Tonto in my view.
Who the Hell sent the memo that saw the Met’s mess up beamed around the country, as politicians pontificated, and anyone with an ounce of civility condemned.
Oh the absolute irony of a vigil for a woman allegedly murdered violently by a male Metropolitan Police Officer ending in women being allegedly treated violently by male Metropolitan Police Officers.
You couldn’t make it up!
So with the taint of last night’s shocking scenes, we women, finally, made it to Mother’s Day on Sunday with everyone telling us females with families how wonderful we were.
In fact, amongst the flowers, chocolates, and compliments, it was hard not to fall off that precarious Madonna-like pedestal.
The religious one of course not the pop star, who paradoxically is probably one of the most misogynistic targets of my generation – poor Madge may as well have a Venus symbol target on her back.
So, where’s it all going to end Sisters?
A meaningful Reclaim the Streets movement, powerful protests as we #KillTheBill, more safety measures on the streets, a government galvanised by a consultation that has seen thousands respond.
And a society that is finally going look long and hard at itself, listen to women’s lived experience, and start smashing the patriarchy.
For me, it’s time for us all to unite in solidarity against male violence, misogyny, and the many unfair structures and systems we females face.
We’ve been waiting long enough.
UPDATE: This was to be the last of my exclusive Sue’s Views for Style in the City magazine as my six-month stint comes to a close. I wish the publication luck with their new direction and will be watching their future content closely
I live to write another day, of course – check out my legendary Sue’s Views back catalogue here.
Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.
Sue’s Views, the reboot of her much-loved infamous B&D opinion column from back in the day, is where Sue gives her take on the hot topics we are all talking about in our beautiful Barry, and beyond – the good, the bad…and the ugly.