Let me get this straight: I am a feminist. Well I am of sorts. I believe in a gender-equal society and so I must, I suppose be one. At the least I’m an equalist.
I don’t like the word “feminism”; it’s not because I’m oblivious to the development of my gender’s campaign, but because I fear that the image the word portrays to the general population creates an ignorantly archaic depiction of the whole idea. Nonetheless I believe in the doctrine as a worthy, no necessary, cause. I hate that I have to label myself as one of a cause rather than live my life in peace and harmony, however the progression of global civilisation hasn’t reached Utopia yet, so yes, I am a feminist.
There is one thing, however, that I dislike more than the word “feminism”, and (yes I’m serious) the idea that we should accept our patriarchal model of society. That one thing is a trend in female attitude I’ve noticed recently, which seeks to exploit any interaction between men and women as some malicious act of misogyny. For example: a male boss telling a female employee that she is dressed inappropriately at work. This is no longer acceptable as (what I call) “hyper feminists” forget professionalism in the work place, and accuse the boss’s motives being the protection of their business by keeping the sexual predators (aka their male colleagues/clients) from being distracted. Little do they notice that their pink bra showing through their white shirt makes them look like they’ve come straight out of a Britney Spears music video, and not exactly ready to make a good impression. They are equally deaf to the idea that a man without a tie on or with tracksuit bottoms replacing his suit trousers would gain an equal reprimand. Firstly it’s ironic that feminists rant against sexualisation of the female body and yet some do just that by looking to sexualise any innocent situation. Of course not every situation is innocent, and men who leer should not get away with it. however the illogical nature of this unnecessarily pugnacious attitude is in my mind as detrimental to the efforts towards a gender-equal society as accepting the current system as the status quo. It’s like getting cross at Russia for eating all the food at peace talks during which we’re trying to stop them from nuking us. Furthermore it is my belief that such brazen campaigning for women’s rights entrenches the views that women are hysterical specimens fuelled by drama; thus this feminism business is none more than an act, and one to be ignored.
This entrenchment of belief also naturally spurs on the idea of “them and us”. While I don’t believe we should all embrace the hermaphrodite lifestyle, anyone who has kept up with the times know that the idea of feminism has reached a point where men are asked to hop on board as much as women. This is: partly a sign of progress; partly a new approach lead by feminist leaders such as Emma Watson; and partly due to a change in perspective as to what is causing this persistent inequality. It is no longer the visible rules or the actual power hungry men that are directly blamed. Instead it is seen that the foundations on which our society rests propels these mindsets and allows for such piggish behaviour. That is another problem I have with the doctrine’s name: it is now about both genders, about the two working together in harmony. We don’t want to go from a patriarchy to a matriarchy, but instead we want an egalitarian set up. The acts of the “hypersensitive feminist” exclude men from the club with their churlish accusations and are starting to break up the vital unity between women.
We have come so far since the burning bra days; we no longer need to be pyromaniacs to get attention. It is indeed my belief that this lack of such hostile and ugly seeking of attention is the reason we have been able to gain so much ground recently. The last time feminism was at the heart of society’s evolution was back when we were seeking the vote. There are countless arguments for both the vehement tactics of the suffragettes and the peaceful attempts by the suffragists. What is easy to agree on however, is that, no matter how big a part it played in the grand scheme of things, the women of the time’s invaluable contribution to the war effort was the straw that broke the camel’s (or ruling patriarchs’) back and sealed the deal. Thus we must work with men to alter the way society works, rather than throwing a tantrum.
I get what these women (I presume they are women, rather than anti feminism propaganda started by men or genuine feminist men who have got it wrong) are saying. And I truly agree with their core beliefs: it is absurd that men usually get the top jobs in the country; that once a woman has made it to the top a man of equal position in the company is often paid more; that even once the first two are overcome a woman is still under a much greater strain to choose between career and children, and when she chooses both she will never be seen as good at either. Even the slightest gross signs of male dominance, for example that the builders around me in London can wolf whistle without guilt or consequence, riles me beyond belief. I am as eager a proponent as any of the abolishment of gender inequality. As a chef I experienced first hand how unfair the working world can be for a woman, after all. I just would prefer we used our intelligence and rationality as our weapon rather than our ability to manipulate and bitch.
To add to my sympathies, the fact that social media can be freely flooded with the female voice is empowering and a fabulous sign of that ground we’ve gained. However it is easily abused and many are doing exactly that. That is what makes me so angry. How can these people be ruining our credibility as a movement with the use of hyperbole, conflation, straw man or any other such flaws to create victims left right and centre? Moreover why do we want to play the victim? In what way does playing the underdog get us anywhere? We’re no longer at the age where pretending to be picked on by Sam at the kiddies’ birthday party gets us extra cake and a cuddle. It is childish manipulation of the truth and those who behave in such a way must be forgetting that what we are dealing with is much more serious than kidsplay. I find it hard to think that they have true comprehension in the doctrine at all, but either way I would appreciate they don’t help to further muddy the name by which we are associated. We cannot have our cake and eat it. Such a hypersensitive approach to our currently flawed society is doing nothing but undermining the progress made thus far and crushing our dreams of pivotal change.