Thursday, 21 March 2013

All men are evil rapists

Here is a fun experiment - try using the words "I am a feminist" in a few conversations today. I predict that in at least one of these conversations you'll have to defend yourself or are expected to laugh at a sexist joke to prove you have a sense of humour.The f-word is definitely not uncontroversial and there seems to be almost no grey area: Feminism is either infallible or intend upon enslaving anyone with a y-chromosome.

I will be using this entry for a shock revelation: I am broadly speaking in favour of equality. I think that it's a great development that I can work without having to ask permission from a husband, father, brother or uncle, I quite enjoy the fact that I wasn't married off aged 12 and I also think it's basically a good thing that I can vote/ run for political office. I think we could fairly blame these achievements on feminism. I would also like to point out that I agree with many modern day feminist demands like equal pay and opportunities for women and men. So, feminism has supported and is supporting good and important causes but somehow the brand is damaged these days.

Feminists, I'm afraid, are partly to blame for this development. There is an argumentation that runs along the lines of: Men have subjugated women for centuries, they should apologise ad infinitum/ make up for this/ be subjugated in turn. It's probably the same feminists that suggest that women are the better sex and should be put in charge of everything or turn issues like domestic violence and sex work into simple narratives with goodies and baddies.

There seems to be a perceived imbalance of power in some areas where women allegedly "win" more often than men.Women tend to "win" more easily in court when it comes to child custody and (accusations of) rape. Having said that, there are equally popular areas where according to popular perception men "win". The obvious example here being equal pay (it's one of my favourite examples and we will be using it throughout this post) or the fact that in most companies and institutions the top management is made up mostly of men. It's not my intention to verify either injustice, but you may employ Google yourself, if you wish. I find it worth noting that the system as it currently is unfair to both genders in different aspects of life. While the sensible thing to do as humanists would be to work together to make the system fairer overall, the system remains largely untouched providing both radical feminists and radical masculinist (if radmascs is not a word, it should be one) with claims to support their petty little agendas.

Personally, I am reluctant to refer to myself as a feminists.

Firstly, I find parts of humanity that organise themselves in groups highly suspicious. I realise that campaigning for a greater good (or evil) is easier, if you team up with a lot of other people who have roughly the same goal. Sadly well intentioned-groups will at some point be run-over by members who are so excited about the common goal that they turn into radicals. If I think about religions or political movements, I can't think of one movement that hasn't got a radical wing. It gets absurd when it comes to Liberalism, but of course there are plenty of radical Liberals out there who all write for The Guardian and of course radicalism is a massive PR problem for Feminism as we discovered above.

Group mentality, and therefore Feminism, place very little emphasis on personal responsibility. History is seen as a fight between MEN who have oppressed WOMEN out of collective meanness. As much as I like a great drama, this narrative doesn't help a lot when it comes to finding consensus. It is MEN who take away equal pay (...) rather than WOMEN who, to employ a sweeping generalisation, should be educated better about their own self-worth and negation skills. It might also be worth to start with the realisation that believing in yourself and negotiating for what you're worth doesn't have an impact on your femininity.

The name itself -feminism- might be the problem at the root. "Feminism" can, in the age were equality has been mostly achieved in our society, can very easily be read as promoting female oppression over men. Even though  this is probably not the declared aim of the overwhelming majority of feminists, I have come across people who suggested that it would be "fair" to launch into a few centuries of matriarchy.One could, of course, call it something else.But what? Humanism would be an obvious choice although this already is a movement - that hasn't necessarily always fought at the forefront for equal rights of men and women. Equalitism? Egalitarianism? Maybe, but then again feminism is a strong barnd - not a quite unproblematic one but it's established and has achieved a lot of 'good' under that banner.

So considering all that is wrong with Feminism (and most "Isms" in general), why do I still think it's a shame that many women and men (me included) are reluctant to call themselves feminists? I feel it is like most successfull Isms a movement with admirable intentions whose integrity has been compromised by some of the more eager followers.There are probably  "feminists" out there who would subscribe to my shamelessly atttention-grabbing title. Judging Feminism on the basis of the Loud Feminists is about as fair judging all of Christianity on the attitude of the Westboro Baptist Church.

I firmly believe that feminists are mostly sensible people who genuinely believe in making the world a fairer place. Why do we never hear anything from them?

Ask yourself, if you would have bothered opening an article entitled: Feminists are only human, men are only human, let's all get on.

1 comment:

  1. One part of the problem is that, as feminists have won the more important battles and major steps towards absolute gender equality have been taken in the developed world, the feminism's focus has become ever-narrower: enter a clique of white, middle class women, newly graduated and armed with the fashionable vocabulary of Gender Studies, ready to use feminism as a pretext to address their pet concerns - no matter how trivial they may be.

    Another is that, as the third wave of feminists address the world as it exists today (for good or ill - see above), the second wave largely hangs onto a worldview which no longer reflects reality accurately. One can see this tendency particularly amongst newspaper columnists (the Guardian and Observer are particularly guilty of airing their views, but it applies to most of the national press to some extent), although the the observation could also be applied to a number of 'celebrity' feminist authors and academics who receive regular media attention. It's notable that academic and author Camille Paglia has chosen to label herself 'postfeminist', and is highly critical of fellow members of feminism's second wave who have failed to modify their views in light of societal developments.

    On the topic of form of gender equality which affect men and boys adversely, the silence of public feminists is notable, although it's true that a few have acknowledged certain issues. Perhaps it's a reflection of the fact that feminism involves the pursuit of gender equality from a female perspective, meaning that many feminists don't view instances of discrimination against boys and men as their personal battle, but it does seem as though a fair few of them (with notable exceptions) are in denial of such problems.

    And finally, the idiotic bellowing and juvenile grandstanding of the radfems! The title of your piece sums up why they get attention at all: would, "Empty vessels make the most noise" or, "The squeaky wheel gets oiled first" be the most appropriate metaphor? Fortunately, they're beginning to attract the ridicule that they deserve on various public fora...which makes the emergence of self-styled 'masculinists' who seem to want to ape their ludicrous stances both puzzling and dismaying.