I've got a younger half sister, who is of adult age, and she goes on the internet. Especially because I was a teenager when she was born, and I've watched her grow up and develop interests and explore the world in her own way, I'm somewhat protective of her. I'm fiercely protective of her. I am rabidly and perhaps not completely rationally protective of her.
I was raised by a single mom, and as I grew up and began to see that her challenges were different than mine would ever be, I grew to feel protective of her as well. My mom also goes on the internet.
Both of these women are strong people. I've seen them come through difficult times, I've seen them stand up to others for themselves and for those weaker than they are. They are tough, and I'm learning about what it means to be strong in part by watching them go through life.
So when I hear someone call someone a "cunt" or "bitch", when I hear a dude "joke" about how someone "deserves a good raping", or a woman is judged by her attractiveness and sex appeal, or when a guy calls another guy a woman in some way in order to shame him....I think about my sister and my mom and the other women in my life, and I know that somewhere, sometime, some asshole is saying the exact same thiong about them.
When my gay friends joke about bitches and women being crazy or disgusting, I think of my sister and my mom.
When my straight rugby mates talk about women only being good for one thing, I think about my sister and my mom.
I know that what I hear is only a fraction of what women must put up with, and yet I'm already fed up. I am male, but I have serious issues trusting other guys, because the first second that they're in a room by themselves, the second all the women leave, the room fucking changes, and it gets ugly. Not all the time, but it's enough.
My friends are starting to realize that I dislike "gendered insults". I'm speaking up about it, because the right to call someone a bitch does not trump someone's right to live free of harrassment. Call someone an asshole, a fuckwad, a jerk, a loser. Or better yet, argue against their actions instead of the person (because what makes you think they're any more responsible for their failings than you are for yours?). Think about our own mother, your sister, your wife or girlfriend, your daughters, your friends.
It's not a joke if it's hurting the ones you love.