Her neck was stiff from working all night. She’d stared at the computer screen for twelve hours straight, barely blinking. Fingers flew across the keyboard as if they had a mind of their own. Sandy was desperate. She had an article due by nine A.M. the next morning, but she always worked her best under pressure. And under pressure, she was. Being a freelance writer meant she could write with integrity and pride. She refused to peddle her words for money without giving actual substance to her pieces. From one company, she’d been expected to write about their luxurious accommodations across the globe, including details about local nightlife and tourist attractions. Having never been to these places, she felt it would be dishonest to write the piece and suggested they have a prior guest in the writing industry fulfill their request.
That job, alone, would have paid her rent for the next four months. Many jobs for freelancers were like that, it seemed, as she continued to cycle through them in her daily searches. She’d found a few who were impressed with her work ethic… yet, they still took their business somewhere else. Some said sticking to your morals is hard, especially when it comes to money. But she couldn’t do it. It just made her feel wrong in every way. A few times, she’d taken a job in that vein, ensuring she worded the article ‘just-so’, so she wasn’t technically lying. Still, even that left a sour taste in her mouth, so she filtered her job searches even further.
Sandy had been grateful to see the listing for her current article: ‘Raising Powerful Women’. Being a mother of two girls, this was perfect for her. She also had two boys, though, and all were homeschooled, so finding the time to write the article was tough. Hence, the deadline time-crunch. Getting the kids to bed early had been planned since the night before. All went down easy after a long day of playing a silly game outside, and Sandy had headed into her office where she now sat, wrapping up her article in the wee hours of the morning.
“In conclusion,” she wrote, typing madly between bites of the tittynopes from an hour-old snack, “the best and most efficient way to raise a powerful woman is by being a powerful woman. We have to re-train ourselves as females in this society. We have to re-learn our own worth and undo centuries of oppressive misogyny. It starts with us – the mothers cultivating the next generation. Lead by example, and show your daughter how to be a powerful woman. We’ll make missteps. We’ll doubt ourselves. We’ll be told we’re asking for too much. Don’t stop. There is no justice in this world until all men, all women, and everyone in-between are respected equally. Don’t stop.”
With that, Sandy let out a contented sigh. She wasn’t a raging feminist, but she certainly had faced a lot of uncomfortable truths in her life. She’d studied a variety of subjects, including psychology and history of all ages and eras. It was obvious to her there was a system created at some point, by men, whether it was intentional or more of a social quirk, at some point women were treated as less than a man, rather than revered and respected for their life-giving abilities.
Her writer’s mind had imagined before the founder of these ‘traditions’. Surely, he was some sour old man who’d been deeply emasculated by some woman in his life, thus rendering him a bitter, vengeful old git – yet a powerful one, with many friends and a heavy influence over the populace. If one looks back through history, they might be able to point out quite a few contenders for this role. Alas, he is but an idea – a concept Sandy uses to dump her feminist rage on, rather than verbally attacking unsuspecting, and probably well-meaning men in the real world. They were merely a product of their environment, after all.
As Sandy typed out an email to her client and attached the article, she kept thinking of the imaginary misogynist. In another time, writing like this might have gotten her arrested, or even killed. ‘I’m so glad,’ she thought, even though there’s still a lot of work to be done, I was born when I was and not back then. They’d have burned me at the stake for this!’ Beaming with self-pride, Sandy enthusiastically clicked the ‘send’ button. Flicking the computer off, she readied for bed, excited to see what others thought of her article. She only hoped it wouldn’t backfire.
The next morning was a whirlwind. She awoke at 9:13 A.M., seventeen minutes before her alarm was due to go off. It usually took at least that long for the views to start rolling in. Today, however, her phone made such a racket on the bedside table, she’d woken up to the din. Temporarily forgetting the previous night’s excitement at sending in her piece, Sandy prepared for the worst. Maybe her mother had gotten ill. Maybe her sister was missing. Maybe… Maybe… She couldn’t bear it for another second. She swiped the black screen. Dropping the phone on her lap, tears filled her eyes and she let out a long, squeaky squeal, throwing her hands in the air. She’d gone viral! Sandy’s article was #1 trending on all the social media sites, and her phone was still vibrating like a rattlesnake tail.
With shaking hands, she called the client who’s been blowing up her phone non-stop since the article went live. “H-hello?” Sandy’s voice quivered with uncertainty. She knew the article had gotten a lot of attention, but… were they positive or negative reactions?
“Sandy! Oh, thank God. I’ve been trying to reach you for an hour,” he was clearly exaggerating, “Did you see? Have you been watching? You’re hit, kid!”
‘Whew!’ she thought with relief, “Oh, yeah! Yeah, I saw. They really like it, huh?” Trying to clamp down on her excitement a red-faced, twinkly-eyed Sandy paced the house.
“Like it? They love it! They want more… which brings me to a question. How do you feel about doing a whole series on this?” He let the idea hang there. So did Sandy.
“S-sandy?” he chuckled nervously, “Did I lose ya, there?”
“No, I’m here,” Sandy replied, trying to formulate her thoughts, “It’s just – and please, don’t take offense to this – writing this particular series of articles for a man who, through no fault of his own, benefits greatly from a system which is simultaneously designed to oppress and control women… I think I have to repudiate your offer. It just doesn’t seem… ethical.”
There was a long pause. Sandy looked at her screen. The timer was still counting, so he hadn’t hung up. Finally, he spoke, “Sandy, I have to say, I’m incredibly disappointed. Together, we could achieve incredible heights. That being said, I also completely understand, and actually agree. A writer with integrity,” Sandy could almost hear the incredulous smile on his face, “who woulda thought?”
They said their goodbyes and hung up. Sandy was eager to see the replies on the article, but she also braced herself, knowing full well the vitriol she would most likely encounter, too. Thankfully, she’d always been fairly tough and never let the hateful words get to her. Knowing how well-received her article was, and there was interest in taking it further, Sandy came to a decision. Her personal blog was a random collection of poetry, quotes, and re-blogs of recipes and homeschool hacks and the like. Working a feminazi-type series in there, would probably detract from the message.
Flicking open a new tab, she went with the flow of her thoughts. Sandy quickly had a fresh, new blogspace created, titled it ‘Modus Operandi – Misogyny’ and began to once again type away madly at the keyboard.
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