There’s no time quite like International Women’s Day to discuss what would happen if feminism went rogue. The cause gets enough bad press as it is, so what if we just ran with it? What if feminism highlighted how mellow it currently is, by showing the world just how much WORSE it could be? The already ‘radical’ actually becoming radical. I’m talking about action. Proper, hardcore action. Not activism. Not protest. But taking the law into our own hands. Becoming the justice system, that so often fails women. Think the militant behaviour of the suffragettes and turn up the heat. We watch and read stories of vigilante justice all the time, so why not make it a reality? What goes around comes around after all. If you’re going to rape; sexually assault; domestically abuse; exploit your power; groom young girls; then surely, you’re ASKING to feel the wrath of a feminist terrorist. It’s the simple rules of karma, just side-stepping our actual failing justice system. All I’m saying is, would the world really fall apart if feminist terror groups emerged and threw perpetrators off buildings? Or,even, worse? I mean, alfresco dining would certainly become less appealing, but what would it do to society?
Last month I binge-watched Dietland (based on the book of the same name by Sarai Walker), an Amazon series that originally aired in 2018. I remember reading a review of the book in Cosmopolitan magazine when it was originally published and thinking that it was right up my street. But of course, I never actually got around to reading it. So, when I saw the series on Amazon I thought, BINGO. In 10 episodes, they tell the story of Plum Kettle, an ‘over-weight’ woman working in the cut-throat, fat-phobic magazine industry. During the series, she encounters two *equally* radical feminist groups, Calliope House and Jennifer. Both groups have seemingly different routes to the same end goal – the societal freedom of women. Calliope House, a cult-like group, takes its members on a body image journey, helping them reinvent how they see and feel about themselves – first by completely breaking down their self-esteem, before then, forcing them to rebuild it themselves. Sounds drastic but it worked for Plum. The most powerful scene in Calliope House came when Plum was beginning to accept the fact that her self-worth didn’t directly correlate with her weight and she decided to visit a room in the house that was inciting her curiosity. The room had projections on all four walls of a livestream displaying all the ‘rape’ category porn that was being uploaded to the internet in real time, signifying rape [simulations] as the fastest-growing genre of porn. This acted as her ‘enough is enough/fuck this shit’ turning point, where she decided to seek out Jennifer. Jennifer, in short, are a terrorist group. They kidnap, torture and kill people who have done *serious* wrongs to women. Throughout the series they graced the news for throwing rapists off buildings and throwing sexual predators into rivers. Just generally murdering wrong-doers. They also released a list of Fortune 500 companies who are led by power abusers, threatening not only the perpetrators, but their wives too, telling them that if they continued to support their husbands, choosing to ignore how they were treating women, they’d kill them as well. Plum eventually joins Jennifer, after she herself was raped.
When I first started watching, both groups and their methods seemed more than extremist and of course, massively problematic. Most of us are brought up to believe that two wrongs don’t make a right and that authority is there to protect us. You should avoid, at all costs, taking justice into your own hands. However, when you realise the sad fact of the matter is that women simply do not have the same freedoms that men do; you find yourself evaluating justifications for radical feminist terror groups - or I did, at least. I’m talking about everyday freedoms here like; the fact women are always told to stay in groups; that of an evening you shouldn’t go out by yourself; if you must, make sure you walk straight home with your keys between your fingers just in case you need a weapon; don’t leave by yourself after a night out; be ultra-aware of your surroundings always; be vigilant driving by yourself at night, don’t stop for anyone; don’t accept drinks from strangers; always meet people for dates in public places; if you’re in a taxi by yourself, send someone the taxi information….. the list is endless. As a woman, you grow up learning all the important tips and tricks to use if, god forbid, you end up in a vulnerable situation because we live in a world when young women are more at risk of rape and sexual violence, than they are of cancer and traffic accidents. Instead of teaching predators not to rape, we teach women how to try and protect themselves. It’s the same story when it comes to other topics too. Women aren’t allowed to age and must prevent wrinkles and grey hair at all costs; the ‘dad bod’ is now idolised and widely accepted as the norm, but bigger women get endlessly trolled; men are allowed more sexual freedom while women are negatively labelled for the same behaviour – there are just so many instances where you stop and think, hold on a second…this isn't right.
So, is the idea of women having enough of this shit really so shocking? Are you actually surprised at the suggestion? Women do not feel safe, and understandably. In Dietland, you find out the back story of the leader of Jennifer. She is an ex-military officer who, while serving, was raped by one of her comrades. She then got back home to find out that, in her absence, her teenage daughter had also been raped. Regardless of her efforts to try and help her report the crime and get through this disgustingly, difficult part of her life, her daughter ended up throwing herself in front of a train because she physically couldn’t deal with the trauma. Now I wonder how many parents reading this have ever told their child, “if anyone hurts you or touches you, ever, it’ll be the last thing they do”? Probably lots, and that’s exactly what the leader of Jennifer did. She killed her daughter’s rapist. And then found other women seeking similar justice and helped them get it too. You might be thinking to yourself “oh it’s just a story, it’s not that deep” – but it’s not just a story. This kind of thing happens to many, many women, all over the world every single day.
In the UK alone, a 2017 report found that 1 in 5 women, had experienced some kind of sexual assault since the age of 16. They also found that just over a quarter of all women had experienced some form of domestic violence since the age of 16, with half of all female homicides being at the hands of a partner or ex-partner. In 2017/18, rape convictions dropped by 23% even though there was a massive increase in reports, with prosecutors being told to abandon ‘weak’ cases in order to increase the conviction rate. It is also estimated that when taking the entire world into account, 1 in 5 women will be the victim of rape or attempted rape in their lifetime. And what are the powers that be doing about it? The best part of fuck all.
No wonder I ended up empathising with the women of Jennifer, although they are fictional characters, they were telling real life stories of the grim reality that millions of women are faced with. Desperate women who just want to feel safe on their own streets and in their own homes. How does vigilante justice sound now? I suppose on the other side of the coin, the main argument is that men would feel it was a witch hunt and they’d have to watch every single thing they ever did. Hmmm. I'm not being funny but, hello, if you don’t know how to consciously act like a normal, law-abiding citizen anyway and not sexually assault women, you are most definitely the problem. It would only imprison men, as much as current society imprisons women, people just care more when it’s suddenly the men who are at risk. This is the exact point of this piece. Not to promote feminist terrorism, not to condone it but to highlight the fact that it would quite literally just be reversing the current societal narrative. Where [some] men are terrorising and imprisoning women right now in our society, if a feminist terror group were to take justice into their own hands, men would become the victims. And just like in Dietland, there would be far more outrage and far more preventative barriers put in place to protect these men, than there is right now in a society that is, on so many levels, failing women.
So, what would happen if we threw rapists off buildings? Public outrage; arrests; convictions. But what happens when rapists rape women? Public silence; weak evidence; cases dropped.