Feminism is a Dirty Word

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My Social Media feed is FULL of feminism. It’s wonderful that such an empowering movement is gathering traction in the mainstream media (MSM). I’m not sure that everyone outside of the movement, however, actually knows quite what feminism is and how it should function.

Let me help. For me, feminism is about equality of opportunity. Men and women are not equal, they are different. That shouldn’t mean that they don’t have the same access to fundamental rights but calling it ‘equality’ allows for easy criticisms to be made about why men are more suited to this physically and women to that emotionally and blah blah blah. Using the term equality allows the justification of the status quo.  Worryingly, the most damning critiques of feminism I have seen in the last few days have been from women themselves. Women who are perpetuating the myth that feminism=men hating. That feminism exists to put men down. Sadly, these commentators are fuelling anti women sentiments with their ill informed commentaries.

Feminism is about equality of opportunity for EVERYONE but from a female perspective ‘cos, you know – we’re (mostly but not all) girls. I am just as concerned about fathers lack of parental rights and access as I am about women’s access to reproductive control. I hope that trans women feel accepted as feminists too, irrespective of their birth gender. You can use the same toilet as me any day of the week, well, when I say the same, I mean the next cubicle obviously. It’s not a white movement either because arguably white women are more privileged than women of colour and that needs addressing along with everything else.

I’ve read blogs from well educated but ill-informed ladies who state that there isn’t a problem with employment, that we’re smashing the glass ceiling so stop moaning. Completely missing the point that the fricken ceiling has no right to be there in the first place. You only have to look at the panel CNN assembled to discuss the recent women’s marches to see patriarchy in force. Gender balance – eh no! 8 white men and 1 white woman? How’s that for completely missing the point! There is a substantial gender pay gap. Interestingly the gap gets wider if calculated upon mean incomes across men and women but the standard measure is the median. Guess which statistic is most frequently used? You got it – the one with the narrower gap. You can get your statistic geek on here.

Now criticising the gender balance of the CNN panel doesn’t mean that those people have no right to comment, it just highlights how narrow the viewpoint is likely to be and how unlikely it is to be supportive or understanding of the key issues at stake. There’s no real balance. There’s so much misinformation out there and feminism is really a dirty word to many, a fair and representative platform to discuss it would have been a sensible start…

Why is this on my blog? Because size, weight and body image are all social constructs. They are all dictated to and commented upon by the world and I could argue that women’s bodies are under as much threat as ever before. In such an enlightened society why do we have boobs for sale on top shelf magazines but not always permitted socially for nursing? Who made that rule up? Why is it ok to comment on a woman’s appearance before her abilities? I’m no fan of Theresa May but for the love of God, I never heard much about DC’s suits – gie it a rest eh? When women are in newspapers, for example, they are typically objectified in some way. Take this example of images cut from The Sun newspaper over a period of 6 months…sun picturesThen tell me again that there isn’t a representation issue…

I defend anyone’s right to bare their body as they choose but in a system where those images are bought and traded and the people are portrayed as objects – then I have a problem. It’s increasingly popular I note to have bare torsoed men for women to drool over – that’s not ok either. That’s the most appalling double standard. I see many women my age posting such images and doubtless they intend it in a harmless manner BUT if their partners were to do the same with scantily clad women? There would be an outcry and possibly a public stoning! This is where feminism stands. Right at the point where there is an unfairness, a lack of representation, a lack of access, control or power. And not just for women but about women and those they care about; their partners, children and friends. Of all sexes and genders (and yes – there are more than two…).

Don’t we all want a better, more just future for our families? Next time you see some anti-feminist bile remember this. It serves those in power to reject alternative ideas, to disempower those who seek to share power, to those who deserve position. Those men in suits are not about to move over and share their toys with the rest of us, just make sure you’re not helping them by decrying the very movement that wants the best of opportunity for all those who seek a fairer, more just world.

 

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2 thoughts on “Feminism is a Dirty Word

  • 4th February 2017 at 8:19 pm
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    If I may, I’d like to air a slightly differing opinion. In the academic liberal circles in which I live and work, I think feminism is the dominant discourse. [‘Feminism’ in universities is increasingly 3rd wave, intersectional.] Plenty of people disagree with or would like to discuss some of its principles or claims, but few are prepared to put their head above the parapet because of fear of censure. Particularly online, and particularly for men. So I see a lot of questionable material on facebook or elsewhere (the vacuous study reported in the THES this week being an egregious example). And I keep my mouth shut. So do a lot of other people, and certainly most men (unless to virtue signal by agreeing with the party line). So feminism will prevail in those circles, but I worry it will be an extreme misandrist form that many disagree with or resent, but silently. I don’t see this as the best way forward.

    I considered deleted this, but I respect your opinion and intellect, and I’m sure the response will be interesting.

    Reply
    • 23rd February 2017 at 1:11 pm
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      Of course you may comment!! 😀 I think your point is indeed relevant and I agree entirely that feeling unable to debate is as oppressing as many of the issues feminism seeks to rectify. I guess the pendulum swings too far on occasion en route to settling at a central, more consensual point. I do think that much of the material purporting to be feminism is as oppressive as any patriarchy and I guess I hope for mutual respect for all. Utopian I know but I’m a liberal airhead 🙂 It can be hard for men to experience silencing or subjugation of their opinions, it’s not ideal but isn’t it perhaps part of the pendulum swing? This has been the experience of many women for a long time and while I don’t agree that it’s ok to do to others as you would prefer not to be done to yourself, I can see how and why it occurs. For what it’s worth – I’d call it out if you see it? Certainly call it out on my account should you disagree. That’s how we learn to understand and appreciate the perspective of others isn’t it? And thank you for your kind words. I try to be considered and fair but I don’t always succeed. That’s when I rely on people like you to challenge me 🙂

      Reply

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