I’m a 20 year old woman living in a western society and I’m not a feminist. And I’m not ashamed to say it.
The true definition of feminism is often clouded by extreme feminist views, leaving feminism lost in a whirlpool of male-hate, equality and confusion. And it seems as though the initial goals it set out to achieve have now been abandoned.
Feminism is sometimes seen in a bad light, especially by men but also by women. And I can tell you why I’m not a feminist.
There are many different kinds of feminism. Social feminism, radical feminism, liberal feminism and Marxist feminism. And what’s confusing is that a lot of these kinds of feminism can actually oppose one another and they all have different views.
Some feminism is even anti-female – namely white-feminism which strives for equal rights for white women and puts white western women at the top of the hierarchy. For those of you who consider yourself a feminist, do you even know what kind of feminist you are? I question whether some women actually believe in what they think they believe in.
There are a lot of women who view celebrities as role models. Let’s take Beyoncé for example. For women around the world she is the embodiment of feminism and a lot of women will follow and copy her every move and attitude towards life. Some will identify with feminism because she’s seen as this strong, powerful woman.
But no one nowadays really has an understanding of what feminism actually is or what it aims to do. And a lot of them jump on the feminism bandwagon because it’s the trendy thing to do or because a celebrity such as Bey is endorsing it.
Some strong self-confessed ‘feminists’ take their views to the extreme and are of the opinion that women are in fact superior to men. But as far as I know this totally contradicts the feminism movement which actually views women and men on equal standings. Therefore is it really feminism to believe women are better than men – I think this is an entirely different kettle of fish.
Who knows what to believe anymore?
When you open your eyes up to the real world you notice the ideals that are being drip fed to us on a daily basis, especially by the media and consumer industries. All these products and advertisements that are either male or female orientated, when really anyone can use the product they’re selling.
Take skin care products for example, the majority of the adverts for moisturiser are aimed at women but of course men moisturise too. But because of the cultural and stereotypical assumption that women look after their appearance, they almost always feature in adverts such as this.
Advertising campaigns base their adverts on society’s assumptions of who we expect to be using the product and how we expect them to use it – also like a mother changing a baby’s bum advertising a brand of baby wipes. You rarely see males depicted in similar adverts as this, because it’s a culturally bound expectation that women/mothers do the caregiving and nurturing. But if we’re faced with these ideas wherever we go, is it any wonder we assume them to be the only accepted way of living and behaving?
By recognising the ideals presented by the media we often accept them as the norm. But feminism recognises this as an issue and automatically categorises them as sexist issues, hitting out about the correct use of images or words towards women in the media. But at the end of the day, it’s just an advert.
Does it really matter if it’s a father or a mother changing a baby in an advert for baby wipes? If you need baby wipes you’re gonna go out and buy baby wipes no matter what their advert portrays, aren’t you? It’s not a personal attack on women, a company’s aim is to make money. And to do so they’ll do what’s necessary.
Some feminists even go as far as to petition for the ban of certain lyrics, words or images because they have the potential to offend women – c’mon now girls. Even at my university Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams’ Blurred Lines has been banned for its apparent ‘misogynistic’ nature. Yes banned. It’s no longer allowed to be played in the shops or in the clubs or bars around uni. I mean, it’s a song.
Don’t we need to think more about what’s actually important in the aim feminism is trying to achieve?
It is common for some feminists to express their views in a way that oppresses men, resulting in these anti-male attitudes. But this is so hypocritical because it’s just doing to men what men have supposedly (in their view) been doing to women for decades.
Feminism strives a lot for the freedom of women, hence the ‘Free the Nipple’ campaign. The campaign aims to empower women by petitioning for the right for women to be topless in all the places that men are allowed to be, as well as being able to post explicit pictures online without social media sites taking them down.
But being a woman I couldn’t think of anything worse than posting half-naked pictures online for all my friends, family and strangers to see. How is this giving me power? This would never empower me and there are some things I’d rather keep private. And equally I don’t want to log onto my social media and see pictures of other naked women all over my newsfeeds.
The film that accompanies the Free the Nipple campaign features women running naked through the streets of New York. But if this was a group of males running through the streets naked, we would be questioning their sanity and alcohol intake and brand them paedophiles. This is a major double standard for me. And again the meaning of feminism is lost here.
Author Meghann Foye recently stated her belief that ALL working women should get maternity leave, regardless of whether they are having a child or not. This is feminism gone mad, isn’t it? I’m struggling to get my head around the idea of why all women would be granted maternity leave so they can go and have a nice paid break from work.
For the record I think it’s an awful idea, and I don’t think it should be a right that all women expect to have any time soon. Maternity leave is supposed to be a special time and has one purpose – to care for a new born baby or newly adopted child. It’s not a few months off for a chill!
We already have the establishment of paternity leave for men when their partner has a baby or they adopt a child, which is great. So seen as though there is no baby involved in this ‘maternity leave for all women’, wouldn’t men be as equally entitled to this as women? Yet there’s been no mention of this.
It just demonstrates the fact that some feminists are all about how women can get to the top and have the upper hand over men, when really this is supposed to be equal. Instead they develop these double standard attitudes, as if it’s one rule for women and one rule for men. But isn’t this just defeating the object?
Not all men are rapists compared to some contrary feminist beliefs. And this very much relates to my previous anti-male point. Consent and rape are another issue amongst the feminist camp, with a large focus on asking the woman if they consent to sex. But, what about the men?
Antioch College, Ohio, have set up a consent policy and procedure in the case of any sexual encounter, which would be a great idea if aimed at use by both women and men. However at Antioch the policy consists of a series of questions that have to be asked by the MALE if he wants to do something to the woman.
Something along the lines of ‘If you want to take her top off, you have to ask’, and ‘If you want to kiss her you have to ask’… you get the picture. But I question why this is just aimed at the men. It assumes men are sexual predators so have to get permission off the woman. But what if a male is pressured into sexual activity just as much as a woman?
It often seems to be forgotten that in fact women are also just as capable of rape/sexual assault too. We live in a society that has made young women scared to leave the house when it’s dark at night, all for fear of being raped or attacked by the man that’s hid round the corner.
Don’t get me wrong I understand the implications and lasting damage rape can have on women. It’s undoubtedly a serious matter and I wouldn’t detract from that. But by point is that not all men are rapists. And equally they shouldn’t be made to feel as though they are by women forcing biased views onto others.
Women are taught to be vigilant when out and about at night. But shouldn’t everyone be vigilant? Anyone is at risk of rape, robbery or assault – man or woman. But yet it’s all men who are portrayed as villains and women the victim.
Something that puzzles me about some feminist’s is their argument that women are stronger than men. They obsess over women having the power and strength to do typically ‘men’s’ things/jobs.
But generally speaking, biologically men are naturally built stronger than women. That’s a biological fact, whether we like it or not. Men have a higher muscle mass due to higher levels of testosterone. And they have stronger bones, stronger tendons and stronger ligaments.
So women can’t really compete with that. Let’s take your average woman and your average man, whose lifting those heavy boxes up the stairs with plenty of ease? The man, of course.
Because of this it means that some men are just naturally more able to do some jobs than women are. Yes, I’ve said it. Employment is another biggie within feminism, whether it be equal pay, male-dominated work places or male/female specific roles.
But taking the male/female specific roles, does it really matter if we assume some jobs are ‘men’s’ jobs, like builders and bus drivers, and others are ‘women’s’ jobs like hairdressing and fashion design. Because it’s not stopping anyone doing the job they want, if someone has a dream career they’re going to go for it, aren’t they?
We’re not saying that women can’t be bus drivers and men can’t be fashion designers – some of the most successful fashion designers in the world are male. Equally this isn’t to say that women can’t become as strong as men. We all know putting the hours in at the gym pays off. And I know a few women my age that are bigger than the men I know – but of course you have to take into account their age, height and weight. There are always going to be exceptions to the rule.
Personally I don’t see the issue, but for some feminists it’s vital that we have this gender neutral-ness.
Why should I be a feminist just because I’m a woman? I don’t believe it’s doing women any good any more. Perhaps I’ve never cared because I’ve never felt discriminated against because I’m a woman. But when you question some ‘feminists’ what’s ever happened to them to make them feel so strongly, their stare burns right through to your soul. For one, they probably don’t know, and two they feel insulted that you’re a woman and don’t agree – I couldn’t possibly be a woman and not be feminist, could I? Well actually, yes.
I’ve got to say it though, I do in a way feel a small shred of sympathy for those feminists that just want a fair fight for equality; the ones who do truly see us all as equal. Because nowadays to call yourself a feminist people assume you’re a hairy armpit, nipple freeing lunatic with this poisonous ‘hate-males-women-rule-the-world’ attitude.
I don’t claim to know a lot about feminism but I know enough to know it’s lost all meaning and purpose. And some feminists reading this will probably be raging with disgust. But it’s just the observations of what I see from the outside looking into feminism.
I’d like to be able to believe in something that knows where it stands. But it seems that the women of our generation are just jumping on the bandwagon for this 21st century craze because it’s the ‘right’ thing to do for women; I think it’s time to take a different approach.