particularly when you consider that some women say that they are not feminists simply because they want to dissociate themselves from the hysterical attention seekers who have more or less monopolised the title 'feminist', replaced gender equality ideals with bitter misandry, corrupted the very essence of the feminist philosophy which your quote so elegantly captures, and alienated a sizeable chunk of the population whose rights they claim to advocate.
that does not make them any less of a human being.
in that case i'm one happy, proud doormat
Ok, Iâ€™ll bite. There may have been some irony in that last statement, but I suspect not nearly enough. Have we really come to a point where a clearly intelligent young woman is happier to call herself a doormat than a feminist? I am truly Depressed Beyond Tablets.
I will proudly identify as a feminist, but I think there is a serious problem with the word â€œfeminismâ€�, which has perhaps served to discourage many people over the years â€“ men and women â€“ from looking into the movement in any depth. Because it refers to one gender, it could understandably be seen to be pro-female and anti-male. But the most lazy examination of the bulk of feminist literature (yes, Iâ€™m aware there are exceptions, though many of the most famous â€œfeminaziâ€� quotes from Dworkin and the like have not only been taken out of context but literally rephrased) reveals a desire to achieve various definitions of equality â€“ not to assert some kind of superiority. I am not saying there are no people like that on the planet
who shelter under the umbrella of feminism... but that is just the thing, it is a massive umbrella.
These man-haters you and sultan talk about... I must say, Iâ€™m wondering where they are all hiding as well. I am friends with a number of feminist activists (male and female), and far from being anti-male, I donâ€™t know any people who are more tolerant of every conceivable manifestation of gender that the human race can throw up. Feminists generally try to look beyond the gender binary â€“ which kind of makes it impossible to hate a group of people that they define in far more fluid terms than most. The women who groan that â€œmen are all pigsâ€� are usually a million miles from being feminists. On the contrary, I would argue that they have internalized the discourses of inequality which paint socially constructed injustices as entirely biologically predestined... â€œnaturalâ€� and inevitable. â€œMen are s**t€� is the flipside of the â€œBoys will be Boysâ€� coin. All the feminists I know like to give men a little bit more credit â€“ believing that much of the piggishness that some display is the product of nurture rather than nature. We recognise a common, human
The word â€œmisandryâ€� has become rather too fashionable to throw around (along with â€œfeminazisâ€�
), to silence and discredit any woman who suggests that there is still much progress to be made, or who dares to be angry about anything â€“ no matter how valid that anger may be. While a manâ€™s anger or indignation can be righteous and noble, there is a rich history of female rage being written off as â€œhystericalâ€� hyperventilation, belittled, dismissed and even pathologized
. And itâ€™s not a male conspiracy â€“ like most of the prejudices women face, it requires us to maintain it just as much as it requires unreconstructed chauvinist dudes.
I think itâ€™s important to point out that feminism is not just for women â€“ it is about improving the relationship between the genders, not just making life better for women at menâ€™s expense. Donâ€™t fall for the illusion that this is a zero sum game. Cartoonish gender roles restrict and damage men as well.
To caricature feminists as rabid man-haters (or even closet ones) is like lumping the entire Civil Rights movement and all modern racial equality organizations and campaigners with the most radical members of the Nation Of Islam and the Black Panthers. Wanting equality and respect is not â€œmisandryâ€�, and being angry about not having it... still isnâ€™t. There is a lot to be angry about â€“ hate is another thing entirely. It is true that Bidisha, Germaine Greer and other prominent meedja feminists do sometimes go for polemic punch over intellectual rigour, but show me a journalist who doesnâ€™t! There is a difference between genuine inverse prejudice and human beings allowing the clarity of their arguments to be occasionally clouded by emotion when they speak about issues that have affected them deeply and personally. Unfortunately, a lot of people seem to see an angry woman saying something about gender and immedately brush her argument aside.
I used to think in a similar way to you until my early 20â€™s â€“ not to the same extent, but I had serious misgivings about feminism. I was not aware of experiencing any problems that were gender-specific... I did not feel I had suffered for being female. But I have since had a couple of rude awakenings. I was threatened with sexual violence and also developed a health problem, just one of the upshots of which was that I may not be able to have children (though Iâ€™m not sure I ever had any genuine desire to). Things like this bring home the reality of issues which can seem abstract, overplayed, redundant. You become painfully aware of what is expected of you as a female of the species. Itâ€™s not a problem if you can fulfil the roles assigned to you. As in many other areas of life, it is easy to remain blissfully unaware of the inequalities inherent in the status quo, of injustices which are more subtle than the brutal murder of prostitutes and things of that magnitude, until you are forced into a position where you have no choice but to consider your place in the world. Some are born feminist, some become feminist, some have feminism thrust upon them.
Post-feminsm is a dangerous kind of complacency, based on the story that in the Sixties and Seventies we got the Pill and the Equal Pay Act (yet to be fully enforced, but itâ€™s the thought that counts eh?), now all is well. A thin veneer of equality has convinced a generation (mine, unfortunately), that weâ€™ve made all the advances we need to, and to continue to question things is just being pernickety. I beg to differ.