Last week I became aware of the “Women Against Feminism” campaign, a backlash to the current groundswell of support for sexual equality, including the #YesAllWomen twitter storm, and the Everyday Sexism and No More Page 3 movements. It will hardly surprise you when I tell you that I was outraged, sickened, disgusted. In case you haven’t seen it, the group posts pictures of women holding up signs explaining why they are ‘not a feminist’.
Other commentators who have followed the feminism/counter-feminism/counter-counter-feminism arguments have tried to give a balanced view, or sympathise with the counter-feminists. I struggle with this, mainly because my overwhelming instinct is to scream: “SO YOU DON’T THINK YOU’VE BENEFITTED FROM FEMINISM? YOU THINK YOU CAN’T BE A FEMINIST BECAUSE YOU “HAVE A SON” OR BECAUSE YOU DON’T WANT TO GROW YOUR ARMPIT HAIR? I CAN’T EVEN HAVE AN ARGUMENT WITH YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE SO IGNORANT I WOULD END UP CHEWING OFF MY OWN ARM IN FRUSTRATION. ”
Clearly this is not the way to win people over. I do understand that not everyone who doesn’t self-identify as a feminist is not a window-licking crayon eater. However much it pains me to accept that people with even a single brain cell don’t feel the same way as me, it is the way it is. So how can I win people over? My blood boils when I read comments such as “…because I want to be a house wife” or “…because I don’t hate men” or “…because men and women have different strengths”. I am livid and frustrated that anyone thinks that these concepts are incompatible with feminism. Hey lady, these concepts ARE feminism.
You want to be a housewife? Well, you go and find a man who’s happy with for you to do that and you CHOOSE to be a housewife. In the same way that in a man wants to be a househusband he can find a woman who’s happy with that and he can CHOOSE to be a househusband. You LOVE a man, you think he’s delicious and want to caress and kiss him and make love to him ten times a day? You go girl! Guess what? Feminists can want all that too. What part of the word “EQUALITY” makes you think you CAN’T do that?
As for having different strengths, I’m with you on that one. My boyfriend is physically stronger than me and has these big sexy muscles. He’s also way better at intuiting how people are feeling or what they’re thinking than I am. Me, I’m better at Excel spreadsheets and I hold quite a large database of people’s birthdays in my brain. Look at me, calling myself a feminist, acknowledging that men and women have different strengths. EVERYONE has different qualities, it’s not just a man/woman thing. But it doesn’t need to stop us working for equality. You probably don’t think that we should discriminate against white people or straight people just because they’re not as good at some things as some non-white people or non-straight people. So why should we discriminate against women just because they’re better or worse at some things, just as men are better or worse at other things?
The answer (as I hope you now realise) is that we shouldn’t. That, my friends, is feminism.