It's International Woman's Day – maybe it's time I acted more like a gross guy.
All photos Bekky Lonsdale
It's International Women's Day today – a day declared by the UN to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women.
Some people will do this by listening to women who are still struggling in those spheres, finding out how they can help them. But instead of thinking as a woman, perhaps I should just join the winning team instead? Misogynists seem to have it pretty well off, don’t they? Yes, all men have a higher social standing, more money and better political representation than all women, but misogynists carry none of the guilt of living the good life! What a fantastic way to live, just striding through your days oblivious to the ways we all miss out when women miss out. How fantastic to simply not care that, say, two women a week are killed by a partner or ex-partner, and that women are paid, on average, 20 percent less than men, for the exact same work!
Inspired by the give-no-shits attitude of the modern day misogynist, I decided to do a bunch of things misogynists do, except to men, instead of women (who kind of have it hard enough as it is).
First, I went on Tinder. I uploaded a few two-year-old photos of me looking smarmy, then swiped right until my "Like" allowance ran out, without ever stopping to look at who I was right-swiping.
I matched with a few young men.
Because I was thinking like a misogynist would, I responded with the most illicit things my delicate lady brain could concoct:
Either my Tinder profile photos display my erstwhile beauty to such a flattering effect that my words are no deal-breaker, or these guys are just happy to be relieved of the burden of having to be gross first. Perhaps I’ve gone even further, re-affirming that Tinder is merely a to-do list.
But Tinder isn’t the only sphere in which misogynists treat women like a different species – oh no.
Next, I headed to Twitter to correct some men who are far smarter than me.
Why weren't they engaging? Why weren't they crying? I must have been doing something wrong.
If I couldn't convince people I was a misogynist with my words, maybe I could do it with my looks?
Something was missing in my quest to look like the sort of guy who worships Julian Assange, pre-ordered that Jordan B Peterson book and likes to bitch about Hillary Clinton nearly 18 months since she lost the US election.
Now I truly looked the part of a proud misogynist, a guy who only ever cares about FGM when he can weaponise it in attempts to derail feminists when they talk about other silly stuff that's nothing to DO with Actual Feminism, like equal pay for equal work.
Misogynists like to wolf-whistle at women, right? So I wolf-whistled… at men!
Out of breath from all that empty attention-seeking, I looked for a man doing some work so I could tell him he was doing it wrong, this time IRL.
"Mate, you’ve missed a spot."
"Yes. Men aren’t very good at painting?"
"Because you missed a spot."
Onwards, and I discovered a man who wasn't smiling, and it made me sad because this is a public street and he was on show, so he should have put on a show. Plus, who wouldn’t be ecstatic in my presence? I'm a complete stranger in a fedora, waistcoat, stone-washed jeans and sheux!
"Cheer up, love, it might never happen."
"Okay, I’m smiling."
And what’s this? A man parked on the road! That must be bad parking, because he is a man.
"Hi, darling, do you want to hop out so I can park this thing for you?"
"It’s just you’ve gone a bit wonky – I know your brains can’t always work these things out!"
"What?? I’m parked fine."
Soon, I arrived at Brewdog, where I could finally get my hands on one of these much-discussed Pink IPAs, which is "not for girls", but actually says on the label it "is for girls".
"Darling, can I get a Pink IPA please?"
"Sure, it’s just in the fridge."
"Can you get it please, sweetheart"
"No worries… just going to put this through…"
"And I get a discount, right, love?"
"Yes, you get 20 percent off… let me just see how to…"
"Okay, let me just grab my colleague, I don’t know how to put the 20 percent discount through."
"I’m here all afternoon, babe."
Finally, I got my lips around that cool, crisp beer. But if I was in a bar and no one noticed I was there, was I really in the bar? Time for some peacocking…
One guy succumbed to my charms (I knew this because I walked over to him and told him that he'd succumbed to my charms. He was reading a book, but I didn't care, because Im charming).
"I’m very charming and have a massively capacious vagina."
"Mate, that’s really weird."
"Sorry, I can’t hear you, you’ll have to come closer, bitch"
And then he came closer and I got some human contact. Maybe that’s all I needed all along.
That’s not to say the sexualised conversations, wolf-whistling, mansplaining and negging aren’t troublesome and uncalled for – it's just that they tend to be the symptoms as much as they are problems of gender inequality. None of the guys reacted with anything other than confusion and surprise to my behaviour, and that’s not because men are stronger than women when it comes to deflecting oppressive behaviours; it’s not because women are delicate snowflakes, giant tear-stained crybaby victims of our own inability to stand up for themselves. It’s because this stuff isn’t surprising when it happens every day, in a hundred different little ways. Because we’re still, after all these years of oppression, hemmed in by the set of constantly reinforced arbitrary codes and conventions of society – no matter how big or small – which collude to tell women that, in 2018, we’re mostly here for men’s entertainment and pleasure.
Well, no longer, you fuckers. I’ve got the fedora now.