Feminism is a political theory. It concerns understanding how gender imbalance came about, how it is maintained and how it can be overcome. When we talk about feminism, we don’t mean to say that any person be regarded less-so than anyone else, but, that in order to reach equality, we have to equalise opportunity and treatment – of all genders.
So, while the world has recognised various types of prejudice and discrimination, and have begun to overcome them collectively, we remain tied with gender due to the fact that women have been conditioned to think of their position as something of which it is not. By passing legislation that confirms gender equality, some unfortunately believe that we have achieved it, and while we may well be on our way, it is not even remotely in sight. What does all of this mean? Why do we even need feminism?
Briefly, think about your life – whatever gender you may be. Think about how you may be represented in the media, politics, education, law… society. Are you recognised positively… and enough? Is your choice and freedom of expression monitored, how about restricted? What can you do without fear of reprisals? I know that being a woman, these questions riot in the mind at near enough every circumstance I find myself in.
My body isn’t really mine. It has been crafted by me (granted), to what I know I don’t really want to be but am striving for anyway. I see what my body should be like. This body is slim, but curvy; tall, but not short; tanned, but not too dark; white; a small waist, hairless, confined, scrubbed and delicate in movement. It is a result of Kim’s “Don’t call me fat!” and “The Ultimate Celeb Body and How to Get It” that have consequently produced a range of diet plans, working nutritionists and an epidemic of global eating disorders – notably, television in Fiji. Bodies are idealistic in movie, where the male gaze shines an awful light upon the domineering characteristic of female subordination, and male libido, of which is all too overrepresented and imbalanced.
To politics, where female representation is woeful, and only ever certified when women possess masculine qualities that have been wrongly associated with good leadership – find me a female politician who has escaped her body being used in some fashion, her speech not commented on, and her decisions not in correlation with menstruation. That too, why is the subject of menstruation adverts always hidden and trivialised? Is the female body too much for some circumstance, and not enough for others? All of this pain, ridicule and angst and I am still absent from history, objectified in religion and lacking any significant meaning in education. Why were there sixty-three male composers on the Edexcel A Level Music course before a student had to campaign against such annihilation? Why is women’s football not really branded as a legitimate game? Why is sexual violence a light issue to the authorities? Is gender violence essential? You can go about everyday life ignoring many of the seemingly irrelevant (perhaps) questions that I propose, or think deeply about them, and their root cause. Is this how things must be, or is this simply how things are? Yes Kourtney, “there are people that are dying” but another’s circumstances do not reduce my own to nothingness. Gender issues are valid. They have systematically reduced women to exist as an Other, to be defined only by their relationship to men, to exist underpaid, to be commodified, to be embarrassed, to be navigated into domestic roles. Is this fair? Because feminism is about fairness.
What about gender-on-gender… this girls hate girls culture? You ought to converse with a ‘I have to shave because it is the girls who would say something’. And, rightly so. What we forget is that, patriarchy does not share power equally, but it does share knowledge equally. By this I mean, we are all conditioned, indoctrinated and passive to the cruel, seemingly endless tradition of sexism – but this also means that it is a system we are accustomed to, hair on women is bad, therefore little can come about in efforts of resistance among girls of whom know nothing more. If I am informed of one narrative, without the access to reach other platforms of thinking, why must you expect differently of me, because I am a woman? For instance, men cannot be emotional. Thus, when we, even feminists, see men being melodramatic, it is with abidance to social norms that we must ridicule or sanction him accordingly. What I propose is this: There is a problem identified. Should we want to overcome it, unity is required. Speak up and educate. Those who have led social change only ever used their voice. I encourage you to do the same.
Some people hate the idea: feminism. It is about hating man, of course. And, to play the role-reversal of what women have been suffering from is something only solved through sexual/death threats online. Think: Where does your information from feminism come from? The Media? Or, feminists themselves? What is problematic here?
Undoubtedly, you will have to engage in conversation with resolute and headstrong characters who do not want to engage in conversation, but simply want to hurl unproductive slur. What do you do? There isn’t a right answer. Just be sure to use your voice. “Are you wanting a conversation?”, “What is so bad about gender equality?”, “Are you feeling very attacked?”.