If you’ve been living in a cave wrapped in tin foil with cotton wool in your ears and eyes for the last six weeks then you are excused for not being aware of the blog that is “Women against Feminism”.
For the rest of us, let’s just take a moment to digest what the hell has just vandalised our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds.
The viral blog comprises of an open international forum where women and men alike can post photos of themselves, holding handwritten declarations as to why “modern feminism” is irrelevant and unnecessary in today’s society (accompanied by a plethora of webcam bedroom selfies featuring posters of Justin Bieber, in accordance with every good social media trend).
Scroll through the Tumblr’s constantly updated archive and you will be greeted with posts from pouting twelve year old girls proclaiming that they “actually quite like being in the kitchen” to middle aged men clutching at posters declaring “I need feminism because I am so lesbian that men disgust me”. After viewing the blog for the first time, I had to fight an overwhelming inner battle. I wanted to thank these keyboard crusaders for demonstrating so clearly why feminism is needed now more than ever, while at the same time wanting to defenestrate the laptop out the nearest open window. This alarming excuse for a ‘modern’ defence against feminism is an ironic representation of exactly why feminism is still very much relevant, and very much needed.
While some may see this site as an empowering answer to an outdated, even discriminatory concept; to those who take the time to understand what the basic ideals of feminism are, the site can begin to take shape as an ironic case study of exactly why we need to educate people on the divide among genders today.
Firstly, something which people need to understand is that I’m not trying to condemn the men, women, creators or the participants of the blog. It is simply about informing them. The sight is littered with unsupported and false statistics loosely based on the concept of feminism. The fact that a vast majority of these contributors appear to be unable to support their claims with any form of factual evidence makes the website both invalid but no less infuriating. Put simply, seeing these misled young people making such claims only added fuel to my feministic fire to promote the need for equal education.
Secondly, if you are willing to make such publicly offensive generalisations, surely you should be willing to take some time to understand what feminism actually is, and why those of us who support the concept choose to do so. It takes a single look at the first page of the site to see that this blatant condemnation of bra-burning, hairy arm-pitted feminism could not have been based on more stereotypes.
If they still disagree after walking in our shoes, then at least it’s based on information rather than trending Tumblr pics.
This “jumping on the bandwagon scenario” needs to be nipped in the bud, and I’ll be the first to say that we all should have just stuck to our ice bucket challenges and “neknominations”. Saying no to feminism is not cool, nor is it a healthy ideal to promote to young girls or boys. What people need to see is that “I don’t need feminism because I am strong enough to admit that I sometimes need help from men”, being one of the most recent posts on the website, is a perfect representation of how a misperception of feminism is sweeping the web.
Melbourne based writer and self appointed “pesky feminist” Amy Gray said of the participants: “Through personal experience and social conditioning, they have decided to deny the need for feminism. This denial gives them acceptance into structural sexism but, while many of them consider themselves as equals at the table, they don’t realise their acts actually show them for what they are: begging for table scraps from patriarchy.”
This exemplifies the irony of the whole thing—essentially, nobody is asking women to hate men. In fact, participating in feminism is a very effective way to show that you don’t hate men at all. A lack of patriarchy would benefit men as well, something which people tend to misunderstand. What is being asked for are equal rights. This includes the eradication of social norms, which men suffer under as well.
Gray suggests that family law systems say the mother can only look after her children, which is based on another restriction that “men cannot show emotion like a woman can” and in “a completely unrelated global pandemic on male suicide, for men who want to stay at home with the kids but can’t because statistically their female partner will earn less than them”. While men have a statistically higher chance of justice for sexual assault in Australia, it is so vastly underreported that it is impossible to say what the difference in this is. What we do know is that we have a woman die each week from violence in the home and that the gender pay gap is widening, contrary to our friend on the blog who says “If I’m unhappy with my male boss, I’ll find a new job”. It is difficult to think that this young woman has considered the complications which a pregnancy or the balance between motherhood and a career may bring to her in the next twenty years of her life.
Basically, I love boys. Bu that’s not what this is about. I’m just hoping that those who make the rules around here love us back enough to help a sister out. For good.
By Sarah Burt
Cover photo by Eva Ekeblad, via Flickr