The first rule of fight club.

Limit #12: women can’t fight.

Don’t worry, there won’t be any photos of me punching someone in the face. It’s at least 11 years since I last did that. Far fewer since I was sorely tempted, but I would get in a lot more trouble for it now so I try not to assault people.

But I could. I was capable of flooring someone older and bigger than me when I was a child (thanks, Gramps!) and now I lift weights. Physically, I think you’ll find I can.

You just know this is not about being able to throw a punch though. This is about the patriarchy saying that women must be meek and mild, quiet, gentle, and obedient.

It’s the perfect strategy. Decide that a chunk of the population is worth less than the rest, and then tell them they are incapable of fighting back, tell them repeatedly, generation after generation until they really believe it and begin to tell others, so you don’t even have to. And there you have it; a self-perpetuating system of oppression.

That is, until someone takes a look at the system and realises it’s unjustifiable, dangerous to both sexes, and economically stupid. They start to question and then, you guessed it, to fight.

There’s Sonya Renee Taylor, Jes Baker, The F Word, Bitch Media, Hollaback, and so many more.

And now me. I’ve been the girl who turned ditzy in the presence of a man, I’ve silently endured mansplaining countless times, I’ve let people comment on or stare at my body without calling them out, but I will not be that person any more.

I will comment on or delete sexist social media posts, I will interrupt the mansplainers (yeah interrupting is rude, but so is assuming I know nothing just because I’m female), I will contact websites who have gendered links ‘I am a man’ and ‘I am a girl’ to tell them it’s not okay, I will question people who see my body as a thing to be looked at or property to be owned.

I will not be quiet, I will not be gentle, and I will most certainly not be obedient. I will fight because it’s the right thing to do, and because I absolutely can.

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