I got dragged into another debate about feminism recently. In some ways it annoys me because I consider I am very much a feminist in principle; but I just find the agenda and tone of modern feminism is something that belongs in a different age, maybe a different dimension… It seems to have no connection with my life or experience. The main thrust of my debate can be found in the comments and replies to the following article. In The News-A feminism Survey In The UK.
Putting things as simply as possible I believe that the world has a very long way to go before we can claim that men and women have equal rights and opportunities. We should strive to rectify this. However the amount of equality that women and men have varies considerably in different parts of the world. In the western world there are still things to be done and loose ends to be tied up but women have made significant progress and many if not most of us have the possibility to live full and equal lives. In other parts of the world women have much further to go and they need the help and support of all women and men who values justice and equality. A recent example of this was the shooting (with intent to kill) of 14 year old Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan simply because she advocated and campaigned to a small degree for girls to have the right to a proper education. While it is clear that the perpetrators of this sick crime, The Taliban, are barbarians who insult the name of the religion and society they claim to represent; there are many parts of the world where girls don’t have access to a proper education or any of the rights those of us in the West usually do. This is where feminism should be aiming it’s venom.
However those of us who live in parts of the world where some of the basic rights and freedoms have already been won need to be vigilant and thoughtful about protecting what we have and deciding what more we want and need. It worries me that conservatives and reactionaries are dominating the intellectual side of the debate and are in fact in danger of reducing the rights and pleasures that women like myself enjoy. I don’t know how many people I am speaking for but I suspect we are a significant minority of women if not perhaps a silent majority.
Personally I want a future where all people are treated equally and have equal rights and I think feminism needs to move beyond the idea that it is only representing women in some eternal fight against patriarchy. The time to move on is so overdue. Feminism needs to represent the real lives, hopes and aspirations of women AND MEN whatever their race, creed or colour,regardless of gender identification, sexual orientation or preferences.
In matters of sex, most of us these days ENJOY it, let’s not go back to an age where we we are afraid or embarrassed to admit that. The success of rather tame books such as the Fifty Shades series also gives testimony to the fact that we are not content to stay in the missionary position and or have our relationships governed by patriarchal laws and religious morals we no longer believe in. Feminism should be fully supportive not only of the rights of homosexuals to have legally recognized relationships, but also for laws relating to relationships to be fluid enough to cater for bisexuals, poly-amorous and other types of adult liaisons.
In the debate I referred to at the beginning of this post I kept getting the impression that the feminist agenda is too rigid and based on ideas and concepts that actually stereotype women in a way that I rebel against… Here is an example of an answer Nancy Vedder-Shults gave to me in that debate.
Our society is both sexist and heterosexist. Children are raised believing (because their parents believe and their grandparents before them) that a) girls aren’t as significant as boys (we pay them 71% to men’s 100%), and b) that women and men should marry (why do you think that when we try to change the laws to allow LGBTQ people to marry that other people push back?). As a result, women grow up believing that their meal ticket is a man, i.e. they want to catch a man and are afraid that becoming feminist will lessen their chances.
For context see article quoted earlier.
I find that incredibly patronizing to myself and to women in general and just out of touch with reality. I (like many women) grew up in that same society and do not have that attitude to men or relationships at all. As it happens I am bisexual and presently involved with another women but I have had plenty of relationships with men and I can honestly say that none of my relationships have even vaguely had anything to do with trying to find a meal ticket. I find the fact that this insult was uttered by a self professed feminist quite disturbing. I also detest the idea that we don’t know our own minds or motivations until some learned intellectual points it out to us.
It is time for modern, independent women and men to reclaim feminism for ourselves and work towards a future that is more free and equal for all of us and our children. A libertarian and socially permissive society that is more reflective of our true desires and nature and less dependent on anti male and anti sex dogmas of the past.