Feminism: I’m doing it wrong?

Or am I doing it right? Should I be doing it at all? Is it something from a bygone era that’s fallen out of touch with modern society? Are we past its need altogether? I’ve decided to weigh in, so I’ve donned my Kevlar, grabbed a riot shield, and decided my biker boots work best with this outfit.

From what I’m seeing on social media lately, feminism has become a dirty word, so much so that it’s spawned an anti-feminist movement. Here’s one: Women Against Feminism. Yep, you read that right. According to their ‘about’ page it’s: Women’s voices against modern feminism and its toxic culture. Not an MRA page, sorry!

Confused? I know I am – as much about the ‘toxic culture of modern feminism’ as I am about the apology of it not being an MRA (Men’s Rights Activists) page. What you’ll find on the FB page are photo-posts of women holding placards stating why they ‘don’t need’ feminism. They appear to be strong, independent women prepared to stand up for their beliefs and their rights, which, ironically, is the foundation of feminism

Some of those placards are a little disturbing, and others are downright ridiculous. “I don’t need feminism to perpetuate the myth that 21st century women are oppressed.” I’m sorry, but what world are you living in? The world I’m living in is filled with oppressed women. It’s no myth. Let’s talk child brides, the denial of education for girls, and what of the the 234 Nigerian girls kidnapped earlier this year? Nope, move along, no oppression to see here.

nothing to see here

But maybe feminism only applies to those who live in ‘first-world’ countries, you know, ‘cause it’s hard to see beyond our borders, right? So let’s take a look the “myth” of oppression from that perspective. Feminism began as a movement and ideology for the rights and legal and social equality of women. Now call me a cynic, but that equality thing? We haven’t reached it. Equal pay? No. Workplace equality? Nope. Freedom from discrimination, harassment and violence? That gets a big hell to the no. Oppressed? Pfft!

Another placard that didn’t sit well with me was: “I don’t need feminism because my son should not be made to feel less of a person simply because of his gender.”

Yet feminism came into being because women were made to feel less of a person because of their gender.It’s not a movement against men, it’s a movement for equality.

As the mother of a girl and a boy, does my support of feminism mean devaluing my son? I call bullshit; I call a whole lot of bullshit.

bullshit

Both my children deserve the same opportunities, the same rights. My daughter, however, is the one who may need to fight for those basic rights. I know the kind of crap she will encounter because of her gender. And no, I’m not being fatalistic. I’ve lived it. Most women have – #yesallwomen.

Will my daughter be whistled at and/or cat-called as she walks down the street? Will she be asked to take a drink order “honey” when she’s a journalist at a convention? (True story). Will someone believe it well within their rights to grab her arse while she’s out with friends? Will she be called a slut or a lesbian if she refuses another’s advances? It breaks my heart that she will encounter something that objectifies her, dehumanises her, reduces her to a particular sum of her parts. It also enrages me.

Statistically, my son sits much lower on that probability scale. Is that fair? No. Is it reality? Yes. Both my children have been taught their gender doesn’t matter when it comes to who they are or what they can achieve. There is nothing they can’t do if they apply themselves. Anyone that tells them different is full of shit (and will get my foot lodged firmly up their arse). Anyone who treats my children differently because of their gender will also get my foot firmly lodged up their arse.

My children are taught tolerance; they’re taught that we’re all equal; they’re taught to stand up for their rights and the rights of others. They know that words that marginalise another based on gender, race, appearance, faith, will not be tolerated in our home. They also understand that the world around them is filled with unfairness. It’s filled with bias, discrimination, wrong-doing and injustice. They also understand that neither of them has to be okay with that – not for themselves, and not for others.

As for those against feminism, and especially those women against feminism, you keep standing up for your beliefs, for your right to say what you feel and what you think, I applaud your absolute right to do so. Just as I applaud the absolute right I have to disagree with you. Feminism fought for those rights, along with so many other rights for women. (Check out this post for a great summation).

Me? I’m proud to be a feminist, and my husband and I are proud to be raising two more. Being a feminist doesn’t mean I hate men — I’m married to one and raising another. Being a feminist doesn’t mean I want to subjugate men. Author Mary Shelley said it best: “I do not wish for women to have power over men, but over themselves.”

feminism 1

So when I ask myself if I’m doing feminism the “right” way or the “wrong” way, I look at my daughter and my son, and I see the kind, compassionate people they are, and you bet your arse my answer is “the right way”.

 

14 thoughts on “Feminism: I’m doing it wrong?”

  1. You are doing “Feminism” right, but equality very very wrong.

    Equal pay? Well 21 cents of the 23 cent wage gap is due to a gender segregated workforce. To desegregate the workforce we need to focus on the most important sectors and the most segregated sectors. This is not STEM or CEO or Senators. The most important sectors to desegregate that are also the most segregated are Teaching, Nursing and child care.

    Women in the western have laws protecting them from discrimination. The “discrimination” against women we still see isn’t discrimination against women but the affects of clustering, a side affect of the still legal discrimination against men.

    No one is ever free from “harassment”. As a sexually reproductive species you are sexually attractive to others, and this will be expressed poorly at times.

    Violence? Men are more likely to be the victims of every type of violent crime including rape (More rape of men in prison that rapes outside of prison) so gender equality would be fighting to protect MEN from violence.

    You are doing Feminism great. You are doing equality horribly horribly wrong.

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    1. Thanks for the comment, and thanks for taking the time to read.

      I’d have to say, though, that I can’t see where I’m doing equality horribly, horribly wrong. In Australia, there is a 17.1% gender pay gap (across the board) that doesn’t look to be resolved any time soon. This is discrimination, not a result of clustering that leads to legal discrimination against men. And I’m not sure I quite understand what you mean by ‘legal discrimination against men’.

      I don’t advocate violence in any way shape or form, be it against women, men or those who identify as genderless. Your assertion that fighting to protect men from violence means gender equality, doesn’t hold water with me. Fighting to protect all people against violence, does. The same applies with rape. Statistically, women are more likely to be raped than men. If you want to include the stats of men raped in prison (I read that report, too), it skews the figures when one is confined to a single-gender prison — men are both perpetrator and victim.

      Me being “sexually attractive” as a species doesn’t rate a comment from me.

      Feminism, I’m doing it right. Equality? Yeah, I’m doing that right, too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So you can link programs to help boys do better in school. You can link activism to create gender equality in nursing teaching and child care. You can link the “Stop Violence” (Not “Stop Violence against Women”) campaign you support. You can link support groups and advocacy for male victims of workplace harassment (according to your link this is 18% of workplace harassment and 18% is far from insignificant) I mean if your actually for equality then you should have these sites bookmarked for easy reference.

        Lastly Rape is Rape. Trying to say that Rape is not Rape because (insert bullshit). is simply sexist. It doesn’t matter who the rapist is. Rape is Rape. It doesn’t matter where the rape happens. Rape is Rape. It doesn’t matter if the victim was a bad person. Rape is Rape. That men are the perps in prison rape does NOTHING to minimize or mitigate or diminish the number or affect on the male victims of rape. Rape is Rape. (Do you see how your doing equality wrong here?)

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      2. How about the Odyssey Program for boys? Big Brother programs? Mentoring programs run through youth organisations? Support groups run through local council and victims’ advocate groups. There’s support out there for anyone who needs it, be they female, male, or non-gender specific.

        Nowhere did I say that male harassment in the workplace was insignificant. Why would I belittle someone’s pain and suffering? Why would I make a mockery of someone being marginalised? I also don’t recall me ever saying that rape was not rape. I specifically said that rape was abhorrent regardless of whether the victim is female, male or non-gender specific.

        And no, I’m not doing equality wrong, I’m doing equality wrong according to you because I don’t bookmark gender-specific organisations.

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      3. You are actually doing equality much better than most feminists. While you didn’t provide links I am familiar with myself support many of the programs you mentioned. You are one of the few feminist that could actually reasonably answer the question. What I was expecting was “I don’t have to answer you, your just a rape supporter” or something along the lines of that.

        I asked about male harassment support structures because harassment of men looks different than harassment of women and there needs to be different types of support and assistance to male victims than female victims. Also because workplace harassment was one of the issues you brought up as a women’s issue.

        You did say that prison rape was male on male as if this was actually a significant consideration. The numbers are the numbers. Nothing is skewed or distorted.

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  2. I’m weighing in here to say that someone whose blog is subtitled ‘The Poisonous Language of Feminism’ is not one who can talk about equality in way, shape or form.
    Sounds like another MRA group to me…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It annoys the hell out of me when people expect feminism to fix men’s problems. Uh, that’s not how it works. Do boys and men face gender specific problems? Absolutely. And maybe if MRA groups stopped trolling feminists they might have time to, for example, combat the patriarchal concept that women are natural caregivers which leads to women being granted custody in divorce hearings, or fight against the societal stigma associated with male rape victims.

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  4. A curious trend is the Women Against Feminism using a #Poland hashtag. Suggesting that they are possibly Polish? Is that technically a Western country (I would have said pretty close to Eastern Europe myself).

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  5. And to comment on the more important points made by AJ…

    Feminism is like religion – it can be interpreted and practiced in so many different ways. Everyone believes that their version is the only correct dogma. It’s based on their experience, culture, perspectives, and all the other factors that make us individuals.

    Yes, men get raped and I know this from personal experience.

    I also know that I don’t feel the same fear that women do when they are walking alone at night, or in the company of a male friend of stranger. I don’t worry that if I go out and get drunk that I’m going to be sexually assaulted by another guy. Even if went into a gay bar and passed out drunk, I’d not have any concerns about being sexually assaulted.

    The closest I can come to having an understanding of what women deal with on a daily basis – if the police. I have had some really shit experiences with police.

    I know that not all police are bad. I know that not all police are going to assault me, arrest me, accuse me of doing things I did not do and charge me with crimes they did not commit.

    However, they have that power and I know from experience that this can happen. So I distrust police in general. I don’t draw attention to myself when the police are around. I get tense and hyper-aware. I can’t relax when their are cops around.

    If I was a woman, I might have that sense of caution with every male. It’s a pretty grim situation to live in.

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      1. It is where the MRA idiots lose any credibility. They have no idea what it must be like to have that awareness of potential threat.
        Instead, they manufacture a threat by women against them that they must somehow defend themselves against.

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