From the Team
Something has really disturbed us.
If anyone of you reading this right now has been near the internet lately, you all know about the autumn-aged bus monitor who cried after being teased by hateful teenagers at work.
This truly upsetting and uncomfortable display – Karen being taunted, being called a “poor” and “fat-ass”) as she’s filmed secretly with tears rolling down her cheeks, has taken the internet by storm. These kids are classist, mean, hateful and horrible, and no one makes enough money to monitor those spoiled bullies but their mother and God. And worst of all, by sending Karen barrels-full of cash, it makes it seem as though their disgusting behaviour was a good thing – if it weren’t for them, she wouldn’t have half a million would she?
Yet as awful as all that is… That’s not what disturbs us.
A cause was created by a man in Canada using IndieGoGo for Karen. And in a matter of days, over $578,000 (£345,000) has been donated so she can go on vacation. Yes, vacation. People around the world have donated money for a woman’s vacation because she cried at work.
Now let’s think about this for a moment.
If Karen had asked for donations to open a flower shop. Had expressed her interest at age 68 in returning to university in order to realise a dream. Had she wanted to learn to sail or fly a plane. Had she just wanted to sit, contemplate a sunrise and enjoy being 68 with a suitable retirement… had she put that online.
She wouldn’t have gotten one red cent.
You know it. I know it. Even though the bullying she endured is in no way unheard of or
And you know why? Because no one gives a flying fig unless there’s a nice, juicy and acceptable villain involved.
Yes that’s right folks! Terrorists. Earthquates. Drugs. And now Teenagers!
Women and children in the Sudan have been hunted and killed for years – but a youtube video with the words Kony – and bang! People are buying armbands and donating to stuff. I met someone recently who thought “Kony” was a place – but still wanted to know where he could give.
All the while, there are women, millions of them, much like Karen, who have dreams and aspirations – yet are ignored, dying, because they didn’t give you whatever it is you need to give a damn. They didn’t give you a villain, or a tearful display, or an inspiring sincerity – “You is kind, you is smart, you is important”.
Seems to me the only trick to loosen up some change from some people’s pockets is a nice juicy villain that would make you feel good about yourself.
Women’s small business ventures ain’t got a prayer – only 27% can nab financing from financial institutions – and 60% won’t grow.
Perhaps Karen wanted to do something different besides monitoring children between the short journey from school to home or maybe she loved children and couldn’t imagine anything different. But I can guarantee she had no intention of being in such a powerless position, leaving her vulnerable to being humiliated and maligned. And I doubt the verbal battering by those insensitive children was the only factor that caused her tears to flow. It was a reaction to society’s culture of cruelty to their neighbours, being drilled home by those kids regurgitating the awful sentiments of their parents and society at large.
Femficatio gets almost a thousand views a week. Not a bad start. We built the site ourselves. We labour and obsess over every word written, without a decent computer and unreliable internet connection. Some of our posts are done from internet cafes. We aim for thoughtful content – we publish articles, poetry – even aspiring women film-makers – you know, the different voices people are always lamenting that don’t get heard.
We litter our site with “donate” tabs. Hint, hint – we couldn’t beg more unless we went door to door like Oxfam. Not one click. Not one red cent.
Who do we cry to? The rent man, Tesco’s and credit card companies remain unimpressed. I guess everyone has them as villains, eh?
If we disbanded tomorrow citing poverty, and the url lays disabled we may (actually we can bet on it) get a lone email saying “what a shame, Femficatio had such lovely pictures”. And it would take everything for us not to chuck the computer with that email out the window.
Karen shouldn’t have had to be publicly humiliated for us to understand the plight of millions of bus monitors, cooks, teaching assistants, cleaners, secretaries, factory workers, migrants workers, home healthcare workers, cashiers, the unemployed and families depending on government subsistence. Women living these realities are humiliated each and every time their shift begins or the news decides to run a story about people on the dole. How do they receive justice? Not all of them will be filmed crying. They will work silent and soundless – knowing their plight is just one of many without the excitement and luck of a viral vid.
Hey and by the way – tell us who to hate, we’ll hate them for you.
Since first publication of this, Karen is up to $605,000. The boys involved – three 13 year old boys – are under police protection:
“They’ve received death threats,”
Greece police Capt. Steve Chatterton said Thursday. “Their families have been threatened. We have custody of one of their cellphones, and he had over 1,000 missed calls and 1,000 text
messages threatening him. And
he’s 13 years old. That must stop.”
Two of the boys have since come forward to apologise.
Karen has declined pressing charges against the children.