I’m sorry to be posting another blog about the ridiculous comments and messages I receive through social media!
I used to think that sexism was something that I didn’t have to deal with in life. I went to see Amanda Palmer at the Roundhouse years ago, and she played a song – an open letter to the Daily Mail, who printed pictures of her “bra malfunction” at Glastonbury earlier that year. You can read the lyrics here (on The Guardian) if you’re curious about what she had to say. The same singer left her record company after she was told her belly was too big in the video for Leeds United. Sexism wasn’t something I was dealing with during those years of my life. It was something external that I was aware of, but hadn’t really faced in person.
I worked in retail at the time – in a well known stationers in Lewisham. Yes, I got treated badly by some customers, but they were indiscriminate with their rudeness and unkindness. My kick-ass manager Emily and the deputy manager Debbie were always there to set people straight. It was a work-place of equality and compassion – at least within the team. I always felt like we had each other’s backs. Things were not too dissimilar when I started working at a chocolate shop in Brighton. A strong team, with a strong female manager who never took sh*t from anyone who gave her staff grief.
But now that it’s just me, it’s hard to know how to deal with it.
I’m just about at the end of my tether. The joy of doing what I love keeps being sucked away by a handful of sexist men who believe that my face/body and my creations are there for their satisfaction.
I don’t know how to tackle this. I’m thinking about shutting down my Instagram and setting up a new private one exclusively for trustworthy customers and fans of my creations. But I won’t allow the behaviour of a small proportion of my following dictate how I conduct my business.
Feminism is about giving women choice… It’s about freedom. It’s about liberation. It’s about equality – Emma Watson
I was talking to my mum about things (my dad was there too – yes, I’m a human being, I am my mother and father’s daughter, I am a sister, I am an auntie, I am a niece, etc.). I told her that I feel like I have to cover myself up head to toe, and that I should stop taking pride in my appearance, just to get people to stop commenting on my looks.
Last time I felt like this was 4 years ago. Long story short, I was tired of people thinking I was a certain type of girl because of the way I looked and dressed. Even the way I speak my mind. I was more of a rock chick then, always out clubbing in fishnets and glitter, enjoying life. But I shut down and stopped making any effort. I covered up my body all the time. It was me letting toxic people dictate how and what a 25 year old girl should be.
It’s not my fault I’m so damn “beautiful”…
Rather than shutting off and letting my gender hinder my success and creativity, I’m going to put 2 middle fingers up to those men who think it’s ok to post comments about how “hot” I am on my social media. I’m not going to stop putting my lippy on in the morning or carefully choosing my outfits just to put the focus on my work. A good friend of mine once said “You are your business”. And he was right. I am the heart and soul of Biscuit Couture. I deserve credit and recognition for my work. In the beginning, things were all very personal. I was a self-starter. A small business owner. I built this brand from the ground up with nothing but my mother’s sewing machine and a head full of ideas, and I didn’t feel afraid to be myself on social media.
So what I’m going to do…
… is to be me. Be myself. Be fearless.
And stop letting all this negative energy weigh me down. Instant blocking. Instant banning. I don’t care if I’m losing potential customers. I don’t want those kinds of customers. The right ones – the ones I want wearing my products – are the ones who treat me right, treat my business with respect, and adore my craft – not my face (or at least keep it to themselves if they like my face too!).
And just for the record…
A little known fact about me and my life currently – I am more or less asexual. You literally have no chance. A few men have their own special place in my heart, but they’re real life men who know me well as a friend and have done for years. I am not dating, and not looking to date. I like the idea of meeting someone one day, but commenting on my pictures telling me that I’m “hot” or posting heart-eyes is just going to make me think you’re completely disregarding my wishes, and I will block/ban you. I like being single. I love having the freedom it gives me. I have zero time for pandering to the needs and desires of sleazy men who are desperately hoping to gain interest from women over Instagram.
Would you do this if I was any gender other than female?
Would you do this if I was married?
Would you do this if I was a mother?
Would you do this if your wife was looking over your shoulder?
Would you want someone to do this to your daughter?
Thanks for reading if you got this far! x