Tuesday, 1 December 2015

知觉 | Surprise! You’re a feminist.

Posted by: Dom Lowth

Here’s the great thing about posting on the internet: I don’t actually know who’s reading the stuff I write. This website can show me some rough information about the types of people that open up thunk (their genders, ages, countries etc.) but no names. I don’t have a clue who you are. You could be someone I know from school, a friend from out of school, or my mum. More likely, though, I probably don’t know you at all.

But whoever you are, you’re probably a feminist.

I’d be willing to bet that you’ve recoiled a little at that word, as I probably would if someone labelled me with the F word. Feminism is a dirty word isn’t it? Something to be kept at low volume. Inside voices.

No, actually. Feminism isn’t what the majority of people think it is. The media shows us the actions of people driven by feminism, without explaining the real beliefs themselves. The headline ‘Man realises women should probably be paid the same as him’ wouldn’t sell much, so they chase up the stories in which feminism drives people to deviance and crime in order to get their message across. My Facebook timeline will have at least one video every day of women shouting and spitting about how evil men are. I found out from one woman in a video that all men view females as sex symbols. Another day it was revealed that all men actually hate women and exist to make their lives hell. News to me.

The irony is that these ‘feminists’ that we’re exposed to in the media aren’t really feminists at all.

Here’s what feminism actually is (according to the Cambridge Dictionary):

‘The belief that women should be allowed the same rights and opportunities as men and be treated in the same way’

That’s what real feminists believe, and if you disagree with any part of that I can only assume you’ve never met a female; had a mum, or a sister. To be blunt: if you’re not a feminist, you’re a sexist. However weird it still feels to say it, I am a feminist because I see no reason why having the very slightly different body I do as a male should put me any higher up in society than women, as a default. Status should be awarded for talent and determination, not because someone wears boxers instead of knickers, dresses instead of trousers.

I don’t need to shout in public places and throw things at men to make me a feminist. The women that do this may well hold feminist beliefs, but they are doing more to whip up resentment rather than support for their cause, and in reality only make up the smallest proportion of feminists; usually ‘radical’ feminists. But with so much media coverage of their demonstrations, it’s clear to see why this is what many people imagine when they hear the F word. A man hears ‘feminism’ and imagines red-faced hate for their half of the population. And believe it or not, for women to make real progress in gaining truer equality in society, it’s the support of men that they need.

An article I read online explained the issue better than I can ever hope to:

‘For many people, the term feminism has a negative connotation. People imagine a stereotypical image of an angry, man-hating, unattractive woman with hairy armpits screaming irrationally about imagined insults. As a result, women find themselves prefacing statements about the need for equality and civil rights for women with the caveat, “I'm not a feminist, but…”

… Feminism is about equality and better lives for women, not about female dominance.’

As with any belief, it’s not something I can force you into agreeing with. I’m not expecting this short post to sway the minds of every reader, and cause every man that reads it to start preaching about rights for women. Accepting that you’re a feminist shouldn’t be like a diagnosis to an illness. If I can at least get a few people to understand that I’ll feel like I’ve achieved something here.

Maybe women are from another planet, but they’re on the same one as us for the time being, so let’s try and make them feel welcome eh?

Dom's listening to: 'Freazy' by Wolf Alice

Big up my main g Callum for giving me the idea for this post. I bet you’re a feminist too really. Lol.

Read my previous post here.

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