Thursday, 24 May 2012

Feminism: an outdated idea?

I've been a feminist for as long as I can remember, "feminist" here meaning a person who believes men are dominant and powerful in society, whilst women are oppressed and controlled.
However, looking at some feminist blogs, I can see why some people attach negative connotations to the word "feminist," because of statements like these:

1. "As long as women’s natural body hair is called disgusting and inappropriate while men’s isn't, I am a feminist."
Whilst I agree that nobody's natural state should be called "disgusting," as that's a full-on insult and more than anything else, rather rude, I can't bring myself to look at a hairy woman and think its attractive. Women have been removing their body hair for hundreds of years, and men don't - that's the way it is. Men and women don't have the same description of attractive; women that look like men aren't attractive, and men that look like women aren't attractive - there's no inequality in that. Men that remove their body hair (I'm talking leg or armpit hair here, as not all men grown hair on their chest) get just as much abuse for it as a hairy woman, trust me - I've been inside a footballer's changing room.

2. "As long as misogyny exists in any country in this world, I am a feminist."
This is so much bigger than inequality in gender. This is about religion, poverty and general cultural differences. You cannot profess to going to a foreign country, "teaching" the ways of feminism to the women there and changing their culture without doing more harm than good. By asking these women to put their head above the parapet and rebel, you are, in some cases, asking them to put themselves in a very great danger. The ideas concerning gender roles should be modernised thoroughly, through all aspects of a society, and this sort of change is going to take time. Reblogging a stupid phrase on tumblr isn't going to make that happen.

3. "As long as there are places where women have to pay more for health insurance than men, I am a feminist."
Of course women are going to have to pay more for health insurance. WOMEN HAVE BABIES. It's not a nice thought, but it's true! Just console yourself in the knowledge that in most countries, women are going to live longer.

4. "Oh, you're a feminist? So you're a dyke then?"
It's not just some men who think this! Radical feminists believe that in order to move towards an gender-equal society, women should dominate relationships... and the only way to make sure of this, is to isolate them form men. This is all well and good, and I have no problem with lesbian feminists, but I do think it would be refreshing to find a man, or a radical feminist, who doesn't expect "feminist" to be synonymous with "lesbian."

5. "I'm a feminist, therefore I love football, rugby, Guinness/pink, sparkles, bunnies and loadsa fucking hairslides."
It seems to me most feminists presents themselves as either butch, or super-girly (the super-girly ones are usually the one's just waiting to scream "WHY DID YOU GIVE ME A BARBIE?! GENDER-ROLL TOYS ARE DISGUSTING!!") Think outside the box, for fucks' sake.

However, the following things keep remind me that feminism is actually a good cause:

1. When you scroll through Twitter/Facebook, and see comments like these:
 boys fuck things up, girls are fucked up.
 if they int lesbians they swing both ways haha ;P
What is it will all the girls turning into lesbians!!
Girls and football just no! No no no no no. They should just advertise teams with there thong and tiny tight top on
Girls moan at football but you would all love to be married to a footballer so please give it a rest.
Could use a girlfriend asap ... Any offers?
"All the boys around here are knobend's" No love, just nobody wants to shag a girl who's had more cock than they've had hot dinners.
...which actually makes me feel a bit sicky. I once saw a boy tweet "girls wonder why lads knock them about, its because they're all slags, you make us this way!" and I had to say something, I don't care if he thought I was a twat. It's that sort of attitude that can make me lose my temper in a second.

2. When even the most liberal lad says things like this...
"You like cars and rock music... you'd be quite a good butch lesbian, right?"
"I know marriage is outdated, but I'd like to do it, it would just make me feel like you were mine, there was no getting out of it."
"Girls can't play football."
...and laughed when you told them about your childhood ambition to be a builder.

"Why are you wearing that rugby shirt when its not a game? You look like a lesbian."
"Let's talk about sexism or racism, she gets to wound up!" < Dad.

3. When you ask the careers advisor about how to go about getting into Journalism, and they tell you it's a man's game... go for something like secretary jobs instead, if you like typing.

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