It can feel like there isn’t a day when the island isn’t debating sexist issues: from a questionable milk advert, misogynistic jokes about that Egyptian captain and that time people sexualised a computer-generated picture of an ancient Maltese woman.
Amid a seemingly endless stream of sexist spats online, a new feminist group has emerged – and they’re tired and fed up of the status quo.
In fact, the group is called Għajjejt u Xbajt.
Għajjejt u Xbajt is the brainchild of two outspoken 28-year-old Maltese friends: Sofia Rooney and Emma Portelli Bonnici.
Rooney is a freelance videographer, photographer and writer, now based in Virginia, US while Portelli Bonnici is a lawyer and activist. Although an ocean divides the pair, together they’re working to provide a safe space for open dialogue and feminist ideas.
Any fiery subject is on the table here, whether it’s politics, sex, religion or anything else making the rounds in current affairs. The only rules are that members use inclusive and respectful language.
“With Għajjejt u Xbajt I really hope to be able to bridge the gaps in conversations happening on the internet and in everyday life. I want people to ask questions and become more comfortable with seeking out answers. I feel like knowledge is power, and we could all do with more discourse, more empathy, and stripping away our ego in order to learn from each other,” Rooney explained.
The group, open to anyone “except cis-gendered men for the time being” is a little under two months old and hasn’t reached even 100 members yet. However, discussions are frequent, lively and constructive.
Meanwhile on Instagram, the pair focus on engaging the wider public on issues like homophobia, sexual assault, racism and stereotypes.
View this post on Instagram
“I feel that we have created a safe space where people are comfortable to communicate openly, to understand that conversations are important, to remove themselves from harmful discourse, to find solace in the fact that other people won’t judge their questions, to be respectful towards people who they might not agree with and to really shake things up in so far as discourse over the internet,” Portelli Bonnici added.
“I want Għajjejt u Xbajt to be a community of people who can truly understand the definition of ‘feminism’ and how it can truly benefit every single person in society.”
What do you make of the group?