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The meaning of the F-word: Addressing loathing

Bidisha, author of <em>Beyond the Wall: Writing a Path Through Palestine</em>

I would change an emotion in the guts of the perpetrators who have created a world in which women are universally abused, exploited, violated, debased, belittled, isolated and excluded from all forms and networks of power. I would change perpetrators' loathing.

It is loathing that makes it easy to call a woman names, to mock and objectify her, to harass and follow her, to violate her space and body, to beat her, to exploit her, to make her work for free or for a pittance. It is loathing that makes it easy to misrepresent, laugh at, talk down at, belittle, marginalise and ignore women in culture, politics and the workplace. It is loathing that makes it easy to betray, use and play women in the arena of sex and "love".

The hatred/abuse of women (and the excusal of their abusers and the blaming of victims) is obvious and universal. It spans age, colour, class, culture, country and language. I would change this hate, from which all else springs.

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This article first appeared in the 12 March 2012 issue of the New Statesman, The weaker sex