If you call another woman an “attention-seeker”, I’m going to question your right to the label feminist.

I have been breaking my own rule on “not telling another woman whether or not they can call themselves a feminist” lately. I hate doing this because it is a silencing tactic. Telling women what they are and what labels they are allowed to use is a Patriarchal tool. It prevents questioning and a fundamental part of feminism MUST be the right to question everything. If we cannot challenge other feminists, we cannot grow as a movement. 

That said, I am absolutely disgusted at the “feminists” who are calling Caroline Criado-Perez an attention-seeker for demanding that Twitter and the legal system take responsibility for their perpetuation of MVAW. This is a silencing tactic and it is manifestly NOT feminism.

The feminist response to the serious threats of violence and abusive language directed at Caroline Criado-Perez is to analyse the political, social and cultural constructs which have made Caroline both a victim and a powerful spokeswoman. Then, feminism would seek to ensure that all women who experience MVAW online are taking seriously and the men [and women] who are harassing and threatening them are prosecuted. Feminist do NOT judge how a woman chooses to respond to the MVAW they are subjected to. Ever.

Do I think the fact that Caroline is white is a big reason the media is reporting this story? Absolutely. 

Do I think Caroline’s gift for publicity is a big reason the media reporting this story? Absolutely.

Do I question the feminist credentials of the women calling Caroline an attention-seeker? Most definitely.

Feminism is a political movement which seeks to liberate all women. We do NOT blame women for the MVAW they experience, nor do we blame women for how they respond to that violence. If you self-define as a feminist and are calling Caroline an “attention-seeker”, you need to review your definition of feminism. If your “feminist activism” consists solely of judging and insulting other women online, you need to review your definition of feminism.

I will not name names but this anti-feminist behaviour needs to stop. We need to support women who are victims of MVAW. 

I don’t expect much self-reflection from the men who are minimising and erasing the MVAW experienced by Caroline. I do expect better of women who call themselves feminists. 

Glosswitch has written an absolutely brilliant piece for the Everyday Victim Blaming project on this the victim-blaming of Caroline Criado-Perez. It is a must read.

4 thoughts on “If you call another woman an “attention-seeker”, I’m going to question your right to the label feminist.”

  1. Was in an argument/discussion yesterday on about a woman being told she was “overreacting”. The person who said that really didn’t get that they were being dismissive and silencing. It all comes from the same place. Misogyny. Women STFU.

  2. I have been online for 27 years, many of them spent anonymously and furtively because I was cyberstalked and attacked. I really hope this changes things. I fear it won’t.

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