I’ve recently become knackered with having the same arguments, with the same types of people, about the same points regarding Feminism.
Now, I’m not an expert, other than I come equipped with reproductive parts and therefore a propensity to get accidentally oppressed, but many other women are. They have studied and worked in the boggy, mine-covered field of feminism for years. And yet they are having to constantly re-tread the last 100 steps of the argument each time they want to begin to think about possibly tabling a motion to draw up an agenda for a meeting to scope out a workshop for the 101st flipping point.
And that workshop involves either a) having to achieve, ‘buy-in’ from all the men who will assume it’s their workshop (please see Ally Fogg’s entire body of work to illustrate this point) or b) watch your point get stolen from one of them. (consider how these women felt. Or the women who campaigned against the Rochdale sex-abuse cover-up before the male journalist ‘uncovered’ it. etc etc etc).
It’s taking too long and whilst we dick* about doing this, society is going to hell in a handcart. I’m not going to say, ‘women are suffering’, because I presume if you’re reading this, you’re as yet unconvinced. And even if you are convinced, it’s actually more than the women who suffer. The men who love them suffer. The men who don’t want to be cast into roles they don’t identify with suffer. But yes. Mainly it’s the women. So I’ll round up from AT LEAST 51% of the population to the nearest 100. Ok?
So, why the need to keep making the same points? If it affects over half the population, surely it’s self-evident? Let’s have a go.
The point of feminism is to liberate women from a patriarchal system that oppresses them, through relegating them to the subordinate ‘gender’.
Or, colloquially – males get to build and run the world, women get fucked and make the sandwiches.
And here we get to the rub.
‘Not all men!’
‘What about Margaret Thatcher?’
‘Just give it up. You’ve got equality. What more do you want?’
‘Some women like getting heckled in the street!’
‘Men die younger!’
And so, women again get worn down, repeating, repositioning, reframing the same arguments, and occasionally winning small** battles when the sheer logic of the argument, or the lack of any visible drawback leaves detractors nowhere to go. (Mothers’ names on marriage certificates is a good example here.)
But mostly, the battles are not won. We don’t have gender equality in the workplace** yet. We are suffering towering rates of sexual violence. We are being killed at a rate of more than two a week. Our girls are having their genitals mutilated. We aren’t anywhere near represented in the media, arts, politics, financial institutions or any other which shapes our lives.
But despite these injuries, we have to suffer the insult of explaining, not our methods for righting these wrongs, but THE FACT THAT WE EVEN WANT TO RIGHT THEM.
So. Given that we live in a gender-orientated world, I’m going to write this in the style I’ve been socialised to believe will appeal to my target audience – men. That’s right – it’s a list. If you like, it’s a list a bit like a takeaway menu.
And women – from now on, just quote a number on it and save your energy. We’ve got stacks to do.
|1||‘Not All Men’||
|2||‘Men don’t run the world. What About Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel or Hillary Clinton?’||
|3||‘You’ve got equal rights. What more do you want?’||
|4||‘Page 3 models are celebrating their bodies. Why shouldn’t they? Good luck to them.’||
|5||‘Violence isn’t gendered. What about men who get abused?’||
If you don’t like these facst, take it up with the Police, the CPS, the ONS or really knock yourself and take it to the UN. You’ll hear the same story.
|6||‘Don’t say you’re under-represented on telly. What about Loose Women?’||
|7||‘Why are you so obsessed with, ‘genitals’??’||
|8||‘You are though. That’s why you’re horrible to Trans Women.’||
|9||‘Why are you obsessed with language? It’s just words. Ffs.’||
|10||‘Why can’t men be feminists?’||
|11||‘Why can’t you respect Sex Workers? You’re trying to control female sexuality (you frigid bitch, delete as applicable)’||
|12||‘Yes but men are hardwired to be hunter gatherers. Women are biologically pre-set to raise babies’.||Three points.
|13||‘Why are you bothering with (insert campaign) when FGM is going on in this country?’||
– But the elements are getting in!
– Don’t worry about that, you daftie! You’ve got floors to lay, walls to strip, pipes to re-route.
– But now it’s all wet in there and everything’s gone to shit!
|14||‘You get it easy! I’d like to have drinks bought for me, doors held open, the opposite sex lusting after me!’||
|15||‘Oh come on. A wolf whistle in the street is flattering!’||Oy darling! Nice tits! OY. DARLING! What’s got up your nose? Fucking bitch. Old too. You should be gratefulFuck you. You deserve to be given a good seeing to. Take that look off your face.Not exactly Mr Bingley courting Jane Bennett, is it.|
|16||‘You’re taking it all too personally. Don’t get so overemotional.’||– See 14. Then stfu.|
|17||‘Oh God. You’re not a feminist are you? A grumpy man-hater?’||
This is a goddamn lazy argument that makes fuck all effort to engage with the points in number 14. Only in a deeply sexist society would women campaigning for equality be described as, ‘man-hating.’
|18||‘Why won’t you call yourself cis? It’s just a word. It’s Latin! It means, ‘over here’. It just means you identify with your gender assigned to you at birth! Do you object to, ‘heterosexual’ as well?’||
|19||‘If women are so at risk of attack, why don’t you take steps to protect yourself, like self-defence?’||
|20||‘It wasn’t real rape. She was inebriated. She asked for it. It wasn’t violent’.||
|21||‘Why do you call yourself a feminist, not an equalist?’||
This is a work in progress! Coming soon:
- What to say to mansplainers..
- Answers to, ‘why are you lot always fighting?’
- Any others you think I’ve missed…..
*notice I didn’t say, ‘Fanny’. More on this in point 9
** small, because despite the change in legislation, the gender gap is widening in the UK