Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz
Their crime? Womanhood.
They had the audacity to be women in university, working towards degrees, as part of plans for a career.
There murderer? A twenty-five year old man who proclaimed he was fighting feminism. He had a list of women he considered to be feminists. It was his murder list.
It is absolutely obvious that this horrible massacre was directly tied to misogyny, and the prevalence of the dehumanising of women, even now, however much others want to proclaim it the actions of a singular madman. Nothing happens in a vacuum. Things have not improved, either.
There was not a single woman in my circle who so much as raised their brows in surprise at the "incel" news that made the rounds this year. The surprise belonged wholly to the men in my life. Every woman is constantly bowed by the explicit and implicit messages that we are considered inferior, not-human, things for consumption rather than people with thoughts, feelings and dreams.
From the advertisements that tell men that their Xmas must-haves are snazzy suits, and women's must-haves are 'fancy little knickers,' or in magazines that put women in submissive positions with men standing around them, from jackasses shouting at women from their cars, or interrupting their days, and not taking no for an answer (to the point of becoming fucking violent), to devaluing language surrounding feminised behaviour.... this shit is everywhere.
As a woman, I often feel like I'm at war, and the goal is simply the right to be; to exist as myself without harassment or degradation. The constantly having to push back is exhausting. Being able to stand upright feels, at times, impossible; like I'm carrying a burden that was not mine to carry. I have to shrink myself to make room for the inflated importance of the men around me. It's cloying, claustrophobic, leaving me feeling like I can't breathe.
The restrictions placed upon me, based solely on my gender, often leave me reeling.
And this, after all the fights that have granted women freedoms unseen in the west since the Iron Age.
Oh, no. You read that right. Women in the Iron Age (I'm thinking specifically of Ireland, right now, as that is the place where we can find codified laws) fared better than women do today. Just without antibiotics. Or epidurals.
Anyway, the point is, fourteen women lost their lives. Certainly, it was one angry man behind those murders, but it was also thousands of years of the dehumanisation of women.
We're not better today than we were then. All you have to do is open your eyes and look around to see it. But we can be.
Today, take the time to honour these women, who died simply for being women. Take a stand beside the women in your life.
Now I'm going off to forget about the state of the world right now and write.