Fiona the feminist was angry. Her trip to the supermarket had become the usual minefield of misogynist oppression. She had very politely asked the man in front of her in the checkout queue if she could skip the line, explaining that she was in a hurry. He had refused. The faint smirk on his face had said it all. Of course he would have allowed a man to skip the queue, but women, as always, were second class citizens. Fiona was putting on a brave face. After all women in Ireland had to suffer this constant barrage of misogyny every day. Fiona was just glad that her gender studies classes had given her the skills to survive in a patriarchal society.
Fiona was hot. It was now officially the hottest July ever recorded in this usually mild country and Fiona’s latest piercing was still swollen and sore. As she walked past a building site a workman whistled at her. She was outraged. She began to walk more quickly. She was well aware of the fact that wolf-whistles often lead to gang-rape. She knew that whistles were used by men to demonstrate their hatred of women everywhere. She felt under attack, but that was just normal for a woman living in a patriarchal society.
She only noticed the blonde girl in the little red convertible as the construction worker called out again – “looking gooooooooood”. As the traffic lights turned to green, the blonde girl pouted, smiled and waved in his direction before driving off. On realizing that the man had been whistling at the blonde girl in the car, Fiona the Feminist was even more disturbed. Fiona could take it. Fiona was protected by the armor of her feminist education. The girl in the car was an innocent. She didn’t know that she was being verbally assaulted. She didn’t realize how deeply she was being hurt. She didn’t know that that man was the product of a culture designed to crush the spirits of women. Some women called it flirting, but Fiona had read Steinem and Greer, and Fiona knew better.
But Fiona was angry at the girl in the sports-car too? How could she participate in this barbaric behaviour? Didn’t she realize that she was allowing herself to be used as a tool of the patriarchy? Didn’t she realize that that construction worker was a rapist and would have raped her given the chance? Didn’t she realize that he would probably go out after work and rape another woman?
Fiona the Feminist was in a hurry now because she was bursting for a pee. Had she been male, she could have ducked into the woods at the end of the town and relieved herself behind a tree. Of course under the patriarchy, a woman couldn’t do that and anyway, everybody knew that the woods were full of rapists just waiting for their next victim. As she was walking past the park, she noticed a tall brutish looking man walking along with a little girl in a pink dress. A pink dress!!! Fiona shuddered at the sight. Fiona knew that pink clothes for girls constituted the first step in the process of oppressive gender construction. The child had noticed an ice-cream vendor and cried out – “daddy can we get some ice-cream?” Fiona’s heart sank. What price would the little girl have to pay for that ice-cream? She wondered. Fiona knew there was no point in calling the police. They would do nothing as usual.
As Fiona the Feminist walked past the bus-stop she cringed in disgust at the advertising billboard depicting a clearly sexualized woman extolling the virtues of a new eye-liner. She felt the burden of a millennium of oppression crushing down on her. She had considered taking the bus but everyone knew that buses sometimes contained men who rode the buses to objectify and lear at women. Anyway she could be sure that there would be even more offensive advertisements displayed inside the bus. Buses, Fiona understood were simply tools of patriarchal oppression and to add insult to injury, women were also forced to pay to use them.
Fiona had no choice but to walk past the entrance to the rugby club on the way home. A group of teenage boys emerged just as she approached. It was almost as if they were lying in wait for her. She shuddered to think what evil was lurking in the foul minds of these little future rapists. The boys jostled and punched each other playfully, laughing as they made their way up the street. Fiona knew that their sinister masculine behaviour was no laughing matter though. She knew that their imitation violence was training for the day when they would inflict real violence upon women. They moved aside to let Fiona pass, but Fiona did not mistake this for courtesy. Fiona, armed with the wisdom of feminist doctrine knew that they were just checking her out, objectifying her, deciding if she was to be their victim.
Fiona the Feminist closed the door behind her with a sigh of relief. She was finally safe from the oppression of the patriarchy. Her friend, Fanny the Feminist would be arriving later to share a meal. They would sip wine together and discuss the great works of literature like “The Beauty Myth” and the “The Female Eunuch”. Fanny herself was writing a book called “I’m Oppressed”.
She looked forward to Fanny’s company. Fanny understood. Fiona had just been for a short walk into town to do some shopping and she had been intimidated, verbally abused and confronted with blatant misogyny where ever she had looked. How women could survive such oppression every day was a great credit to the strength and perseverance of women everywhere, Fiona thought. Men would never survive such harsh and hostile conditions. Fiona felt a strange glow of pride. “I survived today” she whispered to herself. “I am a survivor” – “I am a woman, hear me roar.”
No feminists were harmed during the writing of this story.