If you haven’t heard the recently trending tik tok yet, it’s time you go watch it. Although this saying was launched on social media in a humorous light, the idea of supporting both women’s rights and women’s wrongs is an important discussion that needs to be talked about more often. Supporting women’s rights and wrongs can be a difficult concept for many, and may not know what is required to do so.
For example, supporting women’s rights does not mean simply supporting the women of your life, nor only supporting individuals you regard as women. Supporting women’s rights means supporting ALL women; this includes transgender women, queer women, racialized women, disabled women, fat women, and so on. Remember that you don’t have to understand another person in order to respect and support them. While you are at it, banish the age old rhetoric of “I support women’s rights for my daughter, wife, friend, etc.” Support women having rights and equity because you respect women and recognize that they deserve equity, not just because you are in proximity to some.
More complexly, there is also a lot of confusion surrounding the concept of supporting women’s wrongs. Although this can be interpreted numerous ways, my understanding of the phrase means to allow women to make mistakes, and continue to respect women despite the mistakes they have made. Women are often judged to a degree far more severe for their mistakes than men. Sometimes in male-dominated environments and spheres it even feels as though people are just waiting for women to fail or slip up so they can be given an excuse to ridicule them.
This saying is often misunderstood, particularly by misogynists who point out that there are women who do completely disrespectful and/or unforgivable things. Obviously, these cases exist and are not what people mean when they say they support women’s wrongs. In these cases, I think we can at least apply this concept to mean that we should not attack their identity as a women when they do something unforgivable, instead of blindly forgiving based off of their identity as a woman. If a woman, for example, uses a racial slur, don’t forgive her! Feel free to attack what they did or said; hell, even cyberbully and cancel them if they deserve it. However, don’t use transphobic, homophobic, sexist (and so on) slurs against them or disrespect their identity as retaliation for the wrongs they have committed. That would be a form of aggression towards their community or others with similar identities instead of the individual.
Overall, support women’s rights and women’s wrongs. Let them be free. Let them be wrong. If men can be, why can’t we?