A few weeks ago I had a conversation about misogyny with my cousin. She had written an article about Eddie McGuire that had gone viral and we were both unpacking his words and their impact on society. Both of us have daughters and up until that time, to our knowledge, they had yet to be confronted by any sort of objectification because of their gender.
As a woman I was appalled by Eddie McGuire’s comments, but still I was a spectator looking in from the outside. However, two weeks later I found myself in the eye of the storm.
Some young men from the local boys school, Brighton Grammar, photographed my daughter in her school uniform and uploaded her photo to an Instagram account. The apparent purpose of the account was simple; to humiliate young girls as the followers of the account were encouraged to vote for “Young Slut of the Year”.
The photo was brought to our attention by a brave young girl who had become outraged that grade six students at her school had been targeted. My daughter didn’t even know what the word slut meant, let alone any of the other vulgarity that accompanied her photo. When confronted with what was posted about my daughter, my body automatically jolted into fight or flight mode, a biochemical response to an urgent need to protect her. I gained access to the site, took screen shots of the photos and those involved. I sent urgent emails to the school principals and wrote a Facebook post to my community alerting them without naming the school or those involved.
And then I waited.