I went in search of opinions pertaining to Feminism. I wondered if it is dead – this powerful movement that aspires to allow women the freedom to exist without discrimination. I was surprised at what I found.
Clergyman Pat Robertson said, “Feminism is a socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.” Wow. I didn’t know that. Thanks Pat Robertson for clearing that up for us.
Rush Limbaugh said, “Feminism was established to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream.”
In my online travels, in addition to these moronic comments, I found words like ‘man-haters’, ‘feminazis’ (a hideous term which marries the word ‘feminine’ with Nazi-ism) and ‘radicals’ (which by definition means ‘favoring or effecting fundamental or revolutionary changes in current practices, conditions, or institutions’, but which also has a distinctly negative connotation in the realm of feminism). One female blogger wrote, “feminists are trying to make us believe there is this ghastly patriarchy that is ruling the land and that women need special treatment.”
Allow me to address this comment. First, the part about ‘making us believe.’
I would argue that feminists are not ‘trying to make anyone believe anything.’ In fact, I would surmise that what feminists do is not based on a belief system at all. It’s based on fact – like the fact that we breathe oxygen or that cows exhibit behavioral expressions of excitement when they solve a problem.
Fair treatment is not the same thing as special treatment.
Elizabeth Blackwell didn’t want special treatment. She wanted to be a doctor without being hounded and mistreated (which she did, and when ousted by her male colleagues [because she was female], opened her own clinic and also, the door to other female physicians). Simone de Beauvoir, who did not ‘try’ to be anything other than what she was, said, “I wish that every human life might be pure transparent freedom.” This is the point. To be allowed to live freely, as you are, without having to live under a label.
Now for the second part: the part which insinuates that there is no ‘ghastly patriarchy that is ruling the land.’ Historical fact: men have made the rules. Women were not even considered people in Canada until 1929, and in some parts of the world, as we speak, the freedoms and safety of women are limited to whatever the male population allows. But even in places like Canada and the United States, where women are considered people, and have purportedly the same opportunities as men, we continue to be defined by ‘his story’.
Women are still not paid the same wage as a man for doing the same job. In the Military, women are considered ‘objects to be fucked.’ Check out ‘The Invisible War‘. And an obscene but telling fact is that the female obsession with enhancing appearance has less to do with personal pride and more to do with competition for male attention. Sex, and pornography in particular, largely revolves around the male gaze; the money shot.
Onward to the negative connotations attached to the word ‘Feminist’. Perhaps some people, like Taylor Swift and Katy Perry, proclaim they ‘are not feminists’ because they don’t like to be labeled. Doesn’t matter what the label (even if, in the case of feminism, I tend to think the fear of this particular label stems from a skewed vision of what feminism really is). But maybe it goes beyond misconceptions. Perhaps social conditioning, and a rampant obsession with superficiality – with fitting in as opposed to standing out – plays a crucial role in how we present and evolve socially and culturally.
The powers that be would have us believe, of course, that confronting the system regarding any injustice – be it a patriarchy, matriarchy, monarchy, fraternity, oligarchy or what have you – will result in some form of social pariah-ism. People who speak up about injustice are often painted as radicals; minority groups who like to complain. But why is this? Is it because it’s easier to follow, rather than lead? Easier to ‘not getting involved’? Preferable to remain part of the majority (even when it does not resonate with us) rather than becoming part of a ‘radical minority’?
In any case, despite all obstacles – labels, hate, violence, and things no one in this relatively free continent could fathom – some people, like our fore mothers – were uniquely brave and strong women who stood their ground, amid enormous social pressure, labeling and marginalized, archaic ideologies about ‘what people will think’.
In short, these women chose humanity over popularity.
In my opinion, this whole argument stems from the same source as pretty much every debate humans have: a lack of insight into what it means to exist. We have become too comfortable in the Western world, in particular: Apathetic. Taking for granted what we have and why. Everything from freedom to food.
And speaking of freedom and food, what might a problem solving, sentient cow say? ‘Stop eating me you egocentric, ignoramus! I have feelings! I want to live! Independence is happiness!” Actually, Susan B. Anthony said that. The last part anyway.
Living beings are living beings, and unless harming others, should be allowed exist freely. To me, that is what Feminism is about, and nothing more.
Feminism Not A Dirty Word @ Flickr
Dirty Word @ Tales Of A Fumbling Feminist