Social justice advocate and political analyst Zerlina Maxwell has been the focus of the past couple of weeks’ round of woman-hating, with a lavish extra helping of racism, for much of the USA. On the Fox network’s talk show Hannity, Maxwell was asked for her response to the suggestion that women should carry guns to protect themselves from rapists. This is what she said:
“I think that the entire conversation is wrong. I don’t want anybody to be telling women anything. I?don’t want men to be telling me what to wear and how to act, not to drink. And I don’t, honestly, want you to tell me that I needed a gun in order to prevent my rape. In my case, don’tt tell me if I’d only had a gun, I wouldn’t have been raped. Don’t put it on me to prevent the rape.”
When Boganette brought down the wrath of the net upon her head, she could not possibly have known that would be the result of her simple tweet asking Stephen Fry to clarify what he had just said. When Anita Sarkeesian set up her Kickstarter to get her videos on gaming made, her previous experiences with pop culture analysis probably gave her a sense of what might happen, though its breadth and intensity surprised her. When Zerlina made her statements on a popular television show, with a wide audience, she must have known that she would be hit, in response, with stuff that no person should have to deal with, but she said it anyway, because it needed to be said. Because it was the right thing to do.
Mega-tons of abuse, threats and general bile have since been dumped on her in the hope of forcing her to fall silent, and Maxwell’s response is to assure us all that she intends to keep making noise:
“I’m certainly taking steps to protect my emotional health, but I will not be quiet. Because I refuse to be bullied into silence. The whole entire point of why I went on Fox to talk about this issue that I am so passionate about is because so many women are afraid to talk about it. That’s because they are blamed and shamed into silence, and I refuse – I refuse – to be silenced.” (From her subsequent article in Ebony)
In doing this she is working from the playbook of history’s greatest agents of civil rights activism. She also tweets like Evel Knievel jumps cars.
This post is a huge thank you to her, and a declaration of unreserved support.