Feminism is an extremely diverse, complex and (potentially) extremely contradictory position to hold, argues Reece Warren.
Before attending university, I somewhat pondered what feminism was actually about. Was it about liberation? Was it about equality? Was it about persecuting men? The truth is, it’s about all of those things and none of them at the same time. Feminism is, truly, a vast and almost all-encompassing ideology.
A few days ago, I saw something regarding an article being ridiculed because it was written by a white man, which gender-ethnicity combination, supposedly, fueled his ignorance. What I truly struggle to grasp is why a significant portion of feminists decide to demonise an individual opinion based on things like the ethnicity of their origin: because, to me, that’s nothing more than covert quasi-racism. I completely empathise that men are often oblivious to the struggles of women, even to this day, but is it not possible to mock a person’s opinion purely on the basis of the content of what the person says, contrary to bringing a person’s race or gender into the equation?
Take, for example, the instance of a black woman writing an article containing ignorant views on feminism: do you think it’s likely her race would be brought up as an attack on her position, or would her position just be attacked for its ignorance alone? On the basis of the previous paragraph, I fear the former would be the case.
In addition to this, can an ideology really work with so many internal disputes?
An example of this is something like calls for The Sun newspaper to be banned, usually because of Page 3. Some feminists see this as a necessity, whereas others see Page 3 as an expression of sexuality by the woman appearing in it (arguably a similar case to Miley Cyrus). So anyone who declares themselves a feminist seems to have to persuade a whole selection of people.
I would personally declare myself a feminist: but if I were to do so, wouldn’t a whole host of individuals take issue with that because of my support of not banning the song ‘Blurred Lines’ in universities? It is seen as a contradiction: it appears there’s an unwritten criteria, depending on the ‘type’ of feminists you’re dealing with, as to whether or not you’re accepted as a feminist at all.
Furthermore, I remain somewhat baffled by recent events surrounding the issue of gender-segregation during particular events featuring Islamic speakers. I seem to recall some/most feminists on the Left being extremely divided on the issue as to whether or not to accept it: but it appears as if the Left remained awfully quiet with regards to this, yet can accuse others of being, what was it? “Islamaphobic”? If being ‘scared’ of Islam constitutes “Islamaphobia”, then I would suggest that if the shoe fits…
My whole point is that feminism appears to be cycling off into an ideology based on hatred of certain individuals who exhibit a particular ethnicity, religion, gender and, arguably, even sexuality. This is somewhat ironic based on the fact most feminists also claim to be ‘proud socialists’ who profess to believe in total equality regardless of those exact same things. I agree with some prominent feminist writers when they argue that, if feminism is to succeed, men need liberation as well. Not all men are the enemy, as some more radical feminists suggest.
So what are my alternatives/solutions?
Surprisingly, I tend to believe that, in this current day and age, society should, if anything, be female-dominated. This somewhat throws a spanner in the works, I’m sure, but my reasons for this are the following.
Education has been comprehensively dominated by women for decades. I’ve written previous articles highlighting the difference between female and male academic achievement and it is without a doubt undeniable. Yet, for some rather odd reason, the most powerful (best paid, legislative etc.) positions within society are occupied by men.
However, to avoid sounding like a typical radical/bonkers feminist, I have to stress that if more emphasis isn’t placed on achieving the best you can at a young age, then what’s the point in education? What’s the point in women getting amazing grades at all levels, only to be outshone by men with regard to better jobs? The incentive simply isn’t there, for either men or for women.
I’m not suggesting men shouldn’t be in positions of power: just that women have a significant head start, yet tend to just disappear at the final hurdle before reaching the most powerful positions. Although men may well catch-up through working up the ranks etc, I still fail to believe that so many women conveniently just stop achieving at (largely the same) critical times.
Nobody can deny the downright societal dismantling of womens’ rights over previous thousands of years. However, feminism needs to focus significantly less on, from what appears to be the case, hatred for straight white men. It makes the cause significantly more intimidating, not only for men, but also for women, to get involved as well.
Feminism has built an appearance. rightly or wrongly, as an aggressive, hate-fuelled movement with intolerance of differing opinion. I appreciate that effort is being made to reduce that, but there are still significant strides to be made, due to certain/collective individuals carrying on that trend.
To summarise, I have never met any man, either of my generation or the preceding one, who has viewed women as inferior to them. Of course there are misogynistic pigs who pride themselves on being ‘lads’, but rather than harbour a hatred of them, can we not just pity their poor excuse for existence and let them live their own lives? We all know full well such people folks are, in all likelihood, destined for mediocrity, but unfortunately, if some feminists take their opinion as generically representative, so as to justify a hatred of all men, then they will be in the same position as such inadequates.
I suggest that you don’t have to be part of a cult/society to be a feminist; or procure approval from anyone else on whether you’re “doing it right”. All you need to do is continue advancing with society and continue the growing trend of liberalism in this country, and realise that, although men and women are significantly different, that doesn’t mean they aren’t equal.
I don’t believe in total equality, but I sure as hell believe in equality before the law/society in respect to gender, race, sexuality etc. What’s the difference? Maybe I’ll save that one for next time.