What does a feminist appear like? | Opinions
What’s at present handed off as feminism in universities and different elite establishments is definitely by no means the case. Take a look at all the lads scurrying round campuses, workplaces, and metropolis streets sporting “That is what feminists appear like” T-shirts who, at finest, didn’t carry a finger in help of the ladies’s motion, however actively brought about it the best hurt. It appears now that anybody can cross for an actual individual simply by sporting a product.
And it is not simply males making an attempt to rebrand feminism as something: there’s additionally a brand new wave of conservative-minded girls who name themselves “feminists” at the same time as they promote the regressive function of ladies in Nineteen Fifties fashion each within the residence and within the office. .
Mary Harrington, a author I do know and respect so much, is an instance of this. In her new ebook, Feminism Towards Progress, she rightly criticizes how liberal “feminism” promotes the commercialization of ladies’s our bodies by prostitution and surrogacy. She additionally argues that up to date feminism undermines motherhood as a substitute for independence.
Nonetheless, the potential options Harrington proposes in her ebook usually are not within the least feminist: she means that the continued dehumanization of ladies will be countered by monogamous marriage to a superb man. Harrington is essential of contraception drugs as a result of they permit males to demand informal intercourse, which I consider is the work of patriarchy and a sexist authorized system. And though she doesn’t oppose abortion, it clearly worries her.
Amongst all these new kinds of “feminism,” there may be additionally the notion that ladies subjected to misogyny ought to mechanically earn the honour of being known as robust feminists. Take, for instance, Madonna and the nasty, ugly remarks about her use of Botox and beauty surgical procedure. Are we condemning the wonder trade (which runs the danger of encouraging vicious misogynists)? Or are we defending Madonna and her alternative and branding that alternative as “feminist” (thus validating beauty surgical procedure as a device of liberation)?
We do neither as a result of we can not settle for the concept Madonna is making an empowered feminist alternative right here.
I do not advocate feminism that condemns and excludes girls, as a result of my sort of motion kinds a dedication to finish the oppression of all girls, whether or not we like them or not and whether or not we agree with them or not. The oppression of ladies below patriarchy takes many kinds, and solely collectively can we confront and overcome atrocities equivalent to male violence.
Feminism is a mass motion, not a person standpoint. It is a battle for liberation. Combating for girls’s “rights” is just not the identical as combating for girls’s liberation. For many years, I’ve witnessed efforts to undermine, dilute, and discredit this definition, by each women and men. They’ve all the time been motivated by the need to take care of the established order, not rock the boat, make males glad, and hold girls of their place.
The objective of ladies’s liberation appears to have been changed by the objective of equality, measured by damaged glass ceilings, whereas the ladies on the backside of the steps had been ignored.
Why is it acceptable to outline feminism in a manner that utterly subverts its broad underlying objectives and goals? No different political motion has been subverted (by these hostile to its unique objectives and goals) to imply the precise reverse.
Whether or not it takes the type of “progressive” males main “feminist” communities at universities telling girls that porn is liberating, or conservative girls suggesting girls keep away from sexual abuse by returning to conventional marriage and parenting, it is all rebranded as feminism. when this isn’t the case in any respect.
The final decade has seen a shift in the direction of what I name “feminism for males” or “enjoyable feminism.” Prostitution and pornography have been rebranded as “alternative” and “empowerment,” and dangerous, degrading sexual practices at the moment are labeled “perversions” and thought of liberating for girls.
Feminist and misogynist males usually are not the one ones who hate feminism, nor are those that problem girls who criticize their sense of entitlement or their use of pornography. The response to feminism is harsh and fixed. Ladies are prosecuted on false allegations of rape, but the speed of rape convictions within the UK is just one per cent of these reported to the police. Some household courts haven’t acknowledged marital rape as a criminal offense in England and Wales since 1992. And each three days a lady is killed by a person as a result of she is a lady, most frequently a violent male associate.
Because of feminists, we now hear about males perpetrating acts of home and sexual violence towards girls and ladies. Each time I hear somebody say, “A girl was raped,” I need to hear, “A person raped a lady.” We can not fulfill our potential by residing in concern. Younger girls should be given hope that each the road and the home shall be secure for them in life. The objective of feminism must be to finish male violence. And but there are individuals who name themselves “feminists.” [the] fingertips,” however appear keen to place girls in danger for brownie glasses.
Former Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has pushed by a invoice that will permit any man, together with convicted rapists and little one molesters, to establish as a lady and thus acquire entry to girls’s same-sex areas in prisons, shelters and rape disaster centres. How can a so-called feminist prioritize the wants and “emotions” of males over the security of ladies and ladies?
Younger feminists should face hostility and bullying, particularly from the so-called progressives of their technology. They’re left scratching their heads in dismay and bewilderment within the face of prostitution propaganda (renamed “intercourse work”), violations of ladies’s hard-earned sexual rights below the guise of “transgender rights propaganda” and harmful sexual practices offered as “feminist causes”. They’ve seen porn used as a type of sexual harassment and to justify sexual assault. Many of those younger girls are returning to pre-Web campaigning strategies and acknowledge the necessity to work together with actual girls and one another, be bodily current and communicate out extra actively by campaigning outdoors of on-line boards (a lot of which have developed into misogynistic areas) . . These girls give me hope.
For feminism to succeed, we should be vigilant of those that want to hurt the motion whereas making themselves recognized. And once we spot a wolf dressed as a lamb, we should be courageous sufficient to level the finger at it.
The views expressed on this article are these of the writer and don’t essentially mirror the editorial place of Al Jazeera.