Sunday, 24 August 2014

We do still need feminism

Just recently it seems as if there has been an explosion of debate about whether feminism is still relevant or not. Coupled with an increase in visibility by men's rights groups and 'anti feminists', the movement is facing tough times.

Quite frankly, these so called men's rights groups can just do one. Most of them are made up of white men who sit at the top of the priviledge pyramid, therefore demonstrating no comprehension whatsoever of the actual struggles that people without all their priviledge and power face.

Then there are the white women who take to the internet to declare why they 'don't need feminism'. I don't know, is it because you are a white woman living in a developed country... although arguably there is still a chronic need for feminism in those contexts too, but just for different reasons perhaps than in other parts of the world.

I've talked about this before, but it definitely bears repeating. Feminism is not about the dominance of women. It is about the equality of everyone (ok, there are some branches of radical feminism who believe that men should be subservient, but you get fundamentalists in all walks of life). Why not call it equalism, or humanism then?

Well, probably because women find themselves so far behind they have to make extra pushes to even remotely level the playing field. There is just so much to overcome still that calling it humanism or equalism at this stage would dilute the message and weaken the fight.

The name doesn't stop it being about everyone though. Patriarchy hurts men too. Patriarchy is what keeps the image of masculinity binary, what feeds homo- and transphobia. Patriarchy is the force that leads to bullying and non acceptance of the other. Patriarchy contributes to war and conflict, which hurts everyone.

So how do we get more people on board, and educate those that are reluctant?

Sadly it won't be possible to capture everyone's imagination with the feminist debate. There will always be people who don't want to join in, most likely because they fear the loss of the power that they currently hold. In my opinion religion has a lot to answer for - most religions were formed in a time when patriarchy was at its strongest and therefore those roles are written into the texts and tomes. Breaking that level of inequality takes major will power and a lot of fighting. And while there are strict adherents to the letter of the religious law, there will still be inequality.

But that is ok, I'm not here to bash religions and wipe them out. Each to their own on that one. What I am against is those religions having a say in my non religious life. So we need to fight to keep religion out of the state.

We need to convince people that their lives really would be better if women were equal. There is a lot of work to do. We need to be nice to each other - women hating on other women was the downfall of a lot of great groups in the 80s, now is the time to stand together, despite our differences. This doesn't mean that we need to create a single message this time around. I think enough has been achieved in the developed world that we can create a nuanced message without it getting complicated.

Because really, at the heart of it all, don't we all deserve to be treated equally?

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