Last weekend, I attended 'All About Women' festival at the Sydney Opera House, with a highlight for me being the Nasty Women panel with Yassmin Abdel-Mageid, Van Badham & Lindy West. These three women all have highly public personas and thus have attracted a lot of hate for being a 'nasty' woman.
But why is it if a woman has a voice, speaks up for what she believes in, or has a lot of power, she is considered a nasty woman. But really this isn't a bad thing is it?
Women are called nasty or hysterical or irrational and emotional so they can be silenced by the patriarchy, so they are discouraged from sharing their ideas, views and opinions, so they stop advocating for some much needed social change. I know that if I was called these sort of names, and have been in the past (often by women too) when I am vocal about issues that matter. With the little confidence that I have and the huge amount of courage it takes me to personally stand up for what I believe in, I can pretty easily be shut down.
But what if we wear the 'nasty' or the 'bossy' woman label with honour. These three remarkable women, really emphasised to me that this definitely isn't a bad thing, being called these sorts of names show that you're advocating for change, that you're saying something important that challenge the norms of our societies. These things matter and need to be said, so if we are silenced by name calling, that is exactly what they want to happen.
Instead, wear the 'nasty woman' name like a badge of honour. If this means that I'm vocal and passionate, I can handle being called nasty from now on. These women are, and they are remarkable and advocating for change and thats something we all need to try.
We all need to #beboldforchange and stand in solidarity and make our voices heard for women throughout the world. I also have a responsibility to use my privileged position as an educated white woman to elevate the voices of women who are often not heard around the world. To stand in solidarity with them, so that women of colour and of religious and ethnic minorities can have their voices heard too.
Artwork by Hannah Holmes @ hholmesart.tumblr.com