Knowledge and wisdom passed through woman to woman from generation to generation is an armour we may be unaware of — but it’s there. Waiting. For the right encounter. To straighten our backs and fill our hair with fire and our words with strength.
It no longer surprises me when I have a discussion with a man, and he turns to personal insults because I’ve dared to prove him wrong. When a fragile ego gets exposed, it often lashes out to inflict the same wounds it feels it has suffered. I’m certain we all experience a little pang of negativity when we’re corrected about something we believe we know a lot about, but the ability to absorb something new without it crumpling our existence shouldn’t be unusual.
This poem was inspired by a brief social media interaction where I highlighted that Sir Tim Berners-Lee was the inventor of the World Wide Web; a provable fact that one man decided was wrong because he knew better. When he scrutinized his own assumptions and found himself to be mistaken; he decided to flood my timeline with personal insults about my body, my looks, my hair and my age; he decided I was a millennial — I’m not. A simple, enthusiastic, cordial discussion about an English computer scientist was hijacked by a man who went nuclear just because he was incorrect.
The only reason I can determine as to why he waged an insult war against me was to detract from his own embarrassment about the rejection of his perceived superiority. He could have said, “Hey, I never realized this. I’ll have to read up about it.” I also believe that as he devoted the best part of an evening calling me a slut, fat, ugly, stupid, useless, unloved; he was particularly perturbed by a woman knowing more than he did on this subject.
He hoped I would be hurt and silenced by his sexist, misogynistic, enraged bullying — I wasn’t. I answered every hate-filled comment he uttered (I had time that day) by pointing out that turning to insults showed he possessed no factual leg to stand on. He eventually gave up — and I went on with my night; sleeping soundly.
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