Last night, between drinking wine, watching Supernatural and exchanging waves with a stranger in the opposite apartment block (which greatly amused his mates) my roommate decided to drop a bombshell that actually left me incoherent for a moment.
I don’t remember what brought it up, or why she thought it, but she just said quite proudly.
“Look, I don’t really agree with feminism as a concept.”
Ummm…what the fuck are you talking about? To be honest, I don’t think my response was the strong, righteous one I later mapped out in my head, because I was honestly just too speechless. I don’t understand how anyone (male, female, trans or otherwise) can possibly not agree with the idea of feminism.
She went on to tell me she would never talk to a feminist because they don’t “shave their legs or wear deodorant”.
But seriously, what the fuck are you thinking?
Can we all take a collective step back and really think about this (completely unreasonable) stereotype that has somehow popped up? I’d like to talk about feminism.
Firstly, let’s be real about this. The face of feminism isn’t solely about women who refuse to shave their armpits. That’s not the point of the movement.
Feminism is not a fashion choice. It’s not refusing to wear high heels or have sex or buy push up bras or suddenly deciding on throwing your razors and wax out.
Feminism is about the right to do those things without being ostracised, bullied, harassed or judged. You can still wear a bikini at the beach and get fake tans (don’t believe me? Look at Emma Watson). You can conversely also refuse to ever take your sweat pants off and eat cheese sticks all day.
Feminism is not about how you live your life. It’s about making sure you get the chance to do it fairly, safely and without double standards.
Feminism is a push for equality across genders, not just for women, but for all gender identities. It’s not anti-male.
it’s about how society reacts to and thinks about women, in it’s most basic form, and that’s what most of this post will be about.
But feminism is so, so much more than that too.
The problem we face is that most people don’t even understand what feminism is, and if they do, they think it’s not a problem.
But let’s be real here for a moment. If you can think of a woman who chooses not to shave her legs, and you judge her and scorn her and wonder What the fuck is wrong with her? aren’t you at least a little bit worried about the state of society?
But it’s worse that that too.
One in thee women will be sexually harassed in their life. One in three. Doesn’t that worry you? These women are your mothers, your daughters, your wives and girlfriends and sisters and coworkers, and one in three of them will have their right to bodily autonomy taken away from them. And if they speak out about it, we label them sluts and whores and why do we do that?
When a group of women started a peaceful protest walk against this idea what “clothes are the reason women are raped” (which is a bullshit statement because people rape people), society didn’t react how you might expect them to.
This is a group of women and, statistically speaking, one third of them had been sexually assualted.
A man thought it was a great idea to drop his pants and show them his penis.
For those of you still doubting whether what he did was wrong (and I do wonder if there’s something wrong with you, if you have doubts), let me give you an analogous situation. Imagine a gathering of black civil rights activists. Imagine Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, and all their colleagues gathered together to demonstrate that being black did not make them lesser people. That being black and living in the South did not mean they were “asking” to be the target of hate crimes.
And at this gathering, a white man decides he should teach them a lesson by pointedly hanging a noose from the nearest tree and laughing at their anger. And other white men, laughing along with him, commend him for taking these activists down a peg.
So let’s review. You have a street full of women (including underage girls) who have been raped, groped, assaulted and have all attended the same meeting in order to remember that pain and fight against it happening to other women.
Who thinks the most appropriate response is to flash them all?
This idiot seems to. Here’s a whole forum of people who think this guy was a hero. These people aren’t that bothered. Never mind, apparently, the fact that he broke the law by exposing himself in public.
Whether you agree with the concept of the SlutWalk and it’s success, you’ve got to admit that a world where this happens, both the event and the aftermath, is a world that needs feminism.
How can you not agree with the idea of feminism?
But hey. You still have issues with feminism?
Let’s look at popular literature then.
50 Shades of Grey.
This is a book that I’ve hated for a long time.
This is a book about a girl who actually emails her lover and tells him outright that she does not want to be in a relationship with him, and although she means it as a joke, there is NO WAY that he could possible known that.
Instead he responds by coming over to her house.
I get so incoherent with rage about this book that I’ll leave that argument to my peers. And there’s people out there who wish their husbands were like Christian Grey.
*I’m sorry, but how do you not agree with the idea of feminism?*
The real reason why Twilight should appall you?
But let’s see, the media and literature aren’t enought to convince you this world needs feminism?
I’ll let Julia Gillard do the talking for me.
For all that is holy, HOW DO YOU NOT AGREE WITH THE IDEA OF FEMINISM?
So is this issue is that it’s in your face? Are we feminists making too much noise for you?
Maybe it’s because you’re not listening.
I refuse to apologise for telling my co-workers that I will not accept them making rape jokes in my presence.
It’s not funny.
I refuse to listen my roommate tell me I should “prove myself” to my male colleagues.
I refuse to believe that feminism has no place in society.
The only thing I apologise for is not being louder, for not speaking about this more often.
If you’re not pissed off by people who think feminism is some foreign concept with no place in this world, then you’re just not paying attention.