Feminism or scapegoating?

Feminism. Noun: the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes. Copy and pasted from google. Not that it was necessary to google it. Feminism is a growing movement. Growing in popularity; growing in attention and growing in coverage in the media. It’s empowering women across the world and I think it’s great. Who wouldn’t?

I’ve read Malala’s autobiography, watched documentaries, like Honor Diaries and Brave Girl Rising. These true eye-openers have made me realise the vital purpose of the feminism movement and the oppression it is battling. But you don’t even need to watch documentaries and read stories about people on the other side of world to see females being oppressed. It happens everyday, under our noses and behind our backs. In sport. On the street. On TV. At the age of 13, my observations prompted me to start a pitifully doomed ‘campaign’ to find 1000 people who would pay to watch women’s football, in the hope that it might spur it on… The list is still in progress, tucked away in a drawer somewhere… Come on, they were good intentions…

Therefore I would consider myself a feminist because I truly believe in equality between the two sexes. Right?

Well, I’m not sure I can really call myself a ‘feminist’, because I do not agree with the beliefs of some of the other ‘feminists’. They seem to think that by creating a wider void between men and women, by demonising men, by labelling them as sexist monsters, they will achieve equality. You’re probably thinking I’m delusional. Surely that is not happening. But it was only last week that a supposedly harmless tweet from the England FA account alit outrage. It read, ‘Our lionnesses go back to being mothers, partners and daughters today, but they have taken on another title – heroes’. In my perhaps innocent mind, I saw a wonderful picture of down-to-earth, fearless women returning to their families after doing their countries proud, rather like soldiers returning from the battlefield. I think I must have been alone because feminists responded with disgust, calling the FA ‘f***ing idiots’ to post such an ‘appalling’ ‘sexist’, ’patronising’ tweet. If it had been said sarcastically by some guy, clapping his hands half-heartedly, fair enough. But I genuinely believe the poor content editor had all good intentions, probably trying to please feminists by painting the ladies how I had pictured- down-to-earth, fearless women. At the end of the day, he himself called them ‘lionesses’ and ‘heroes’.

sexist tweet

Shocked and ashamed by the upset caused, he hastily deleted the tweet and reworded it. Was that necessary? Or has the fear and censorship instilled by some feminists on the media simply been taken too far?

A few days later, Andy Murray was conquered miserably by Roger Federer. As a man, who is seen as more resilient and easier to insult, the Daily Mail ridiculed him. Their article on the match was titled, ‘Blown it’, with an unfortunate shot of him blowing a raspberry. He was depicted as a bit of a loser, to be honest. Would you prefer Andy Murray’s reception or the reception the England ladies received, portrayed as gallant and fearless, back-handing the defeat effortlessly (something that Murray didn’t quite manage)? I’d certainly choose the latter.Andy Murray

Please don’t get me wrong. I am well-aware of the horrifying treatment of women across the world and the subtle indentations of the same oppression hidden in our lives everyday. But I just cannot take ‘feminism’ seriously when some seem to lose sight of the target. I thought feminism was the fight for equality, but it often appears to be overtaken some righteous ladies angrily charging into something, causing a problem rather than solving one and calling themselves ‘feminists’.

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5 comments

  1. The Arbourist · July 15, 2015

    @Ruthienugent

    “Noun: the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.”

    Feminism is the struggle to liberate women (and men) from the oppressive structures of a patriarchal society.

    The first definition ignores the class structure of society. Striving to be equal to the dominant class – thus replicating a dominant/oppressed societal structure – cannot be the goal of feminism.

    “Well, I’m not sure I can really call myself a ‘feminist’, because I do not agree with the beliefs of some of the other ‘feminists’.”

    Feminism is by no means monolithic. The tree of feminism has many branches and of course there is friction between the various points of view. One of the main fractures right now is between what has been called ‘liberal feminism’, that priorities personal choice, liberty and equality and ‘radical feminism’ that priorities the understanding, deconstructing and changing the structures of society that oppress women.

    Liberal feminism has a distinct neo-liberal flavour to it as it often frames women to be empowered when make choices. What is missing is the class analysis of the choices available to women – for instance you can make the choice to wear high heels because you feel it empowers you; however in reality you are still performing femininity and conforming to the accordances of the male-gaze. The end result of most lib-fem personal actions “empowerment” is the status-quo remains the same.

    “They seem to think that by creating a wider void between men and women, by demonising men, by labelling them as sexist monsters, they will achieve equality.”

    Differences exist between men and women. The society that has been set up by men, has been fine tuned to benefit men while disadvantaging women. It is a systemic feature of patriarchal society. Radical feminists that draw attention to these oppressive features of society are almost always demonized and taken out of context.

    Correctly identifying and labeling sexist behaviour is the first step in changing the societal paradigm that allows said behaviour to exist. The people who benefit from the status quite rightly are going to protest and attempt to frame these actions as man-hating etc.

    “calling the FA ‘f***ing idiots’ to post such an ‘appalling’ ‘sexist’, ’patronising’ tweet. If it had been said sarcastically by some guy, clapping his hands half-heartedly, fair enough. But I genuinely believe the poor content editor had all good intentions,”

    In the example tweet you posted – women don’t get the expectation of agency that men receive by default – they must go back to their feminine approved roles of mothers, caregivers, and daughters.

    Could it be that the feminists were calling attention to the fact that the tweet was framing them solidly within the acceptable patriarchal roles given to women? Do men strictly go back to be husbands, providers, and nurtures when coming back? Usually the answer is that men return home and continue on with whatever role that they choose for themselves not a predefined set of acceptable societal roles as the tweet implies for women.

    So, noting this feature, this expression of patriarchal norms, and criticizing it, is what radical feminists do to begin the process of reversing toxic societal norms that hurt women.

    “I thought feminism was the fight for equality, but it often appears to be overtaken some righteous ladies angrily charging into something, causing a problem rather than solving one and calling themselves ‘feminists’.”

    The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. Fighting for ‘equality’ in a societal structure that is inherently unequal will never work. Change in society comes from action based on class based analysis and a dedicated cadre of individuals who are will to challenge the status-quo despite the backlash and furor directed at them by the dominant society.

    Like

    • ruthienugent · July 15, 2015

      Thank you for the reply, but I’m going to be honest and admit that I don’t really understand what you are saying! Sorry if I have offended you, it is just my opinion because I feel some people take feminism a little too far.

      Like

  2. ScruffyDog · July 15, 2015

    I totally agree that feminism is important, but there will always be extremists who take it to the wrong level. Feminism is about equal rights, not being better than men! That’s why something called Meninism to protect the rights of men, which I think is really sad that it has got to that stage because men still deserve the same rights. Anyway, wanted to say I agree, but extremists have created a perspective of feminism which just isn’t true. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The Arbourist · July 16, 2015

    @ScruffyDog
    Meninism boils down to men whining about not being allowed to get away with sexist behaviour. Which, I suppose, might feel like a loss of rights to certain types of men.

    Like

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