Dropping the F Bomb on Women's Day
Since it's Woman's Day, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share some thoughts about feminism. Ah yes, the ‘f word’. A word so powerful that I bet quite a few have already clicked out of this.
That’s fine, thank you for staying.
For me, feminism is as basic a belief as, say, racial equality. I'll admit that I've haven't always had such a strong opinion about it, but I've come to realise how essential it is.
I think a lot of people misunderstand feminism in a way that gives way to a negative understanding of it, where a lot of unattractive stereotypes that are still perpetuated by the media.
In the early 20th century, it was the mannish politically left suffragist. In the second half, it was the aggressive hippie who didn't shave her pits and was completely detached from reality. Today, it's all about girl power, the successful #girlboss that 'rule the world', all the female CEOs who don't need a man.
I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with these characterisations, but it’s more understandable that people are turned off or don't take the movement as seriously because of them. But feminism isn’t all about its popular expression. In ways, there’s more to it but it’s also I think very simple.
So much so that I think everyone should be a feminist! Why?
1. Feminism is sometimes misunderstood.
Opponents have argued that feminists falsely portray themselves as victims and use sexism as an excuse for their own failures. This is clearly misguided. Feminism, at its core, is merely the practice of approaching an issue from a female's perspective. Be it social, foreign, and corporate policy, or writing history from a female point-of-view.
Essentially, it’s giving a female voice to issues as a way to provide a well-rounded perspective. It’s never been about working against the interests of men or even creating a divide in any way. If anything, it's wanting to create a more cohesive discursive space.
The purpose is to facilitate a discussion that counters the dominance of a male discourse. There's no denying that throughout history, men played the more significant role in it. The movements that have resulted from this, e.g. woman's suffrage, sexual liberation, etc. is an effect of countering this practice. Inevitable, it often manifests in two sides because gender shifts creates divides through its profound impacts. That's just the side effect, it's not what feminism is.
2. Feminism is not obsolete.
Yes, a lot of progressive has been made with regard to women's rights in the developed world. But opponents aren’t giving enough attention to the fact that violent female oppression is widespread in countries throughout he developed world.
Infanticide, female genital mutilation, and sex trafficking are among just some of these issues. In these societies, women are more vulnerable to blatant violence, whether physical or structural, making female empowerment absolutely essential. Sexism is hidden in some societies at best, and flagrant and intention at its worst.
3. What does "too extreme" even mean?
Opponents argue that feminism is too extreme because it's inconvenient for them. But just because it's not convenient from one person's point of view, does that make the cause unjustified? They either feel threatened by it or are afraid of it because they don't understand it. Perhaps they fear the effected shifts in gender roles. Maybe they're apprehensive of feminism because of historically perpetuated stereotypes, so that goes back to the first point.
There are extremist movements that are violent and commit crimes against humanity, but that’s a different issue altogether. Feminism is a movement that’s attempting to reduce marginalisation by giving one group more social capital, so not unlike civil rights. Hand-in-hand, even?
I think we often take for granted the movements that effectively erased dogmas. We accept it as he norm now, but people actually had to take a stance and piss of other people, so that we have the rights that we have. Should those still be considered too extreme?
4. It's not just sociopolitical, it's interpersonal.
I think any person who cares about a woman, or women, should be a feminist. Some conservatives have questioned Obama's recent feminist stance. Politics aside, why would he want his daughters to be at a disadvantage? That just goes against all human reason.
Okay, I think I've rambled on for long enough. I'm not claiming this to be a rundown of feminism, just some of my imperfect thoughts. Please please share any and all input!