How many of us have seen modern feminism in action and thought: “This doesn’t serve me”? Well, if you have, and in that moment have felt alone, know that you are not alone at all. As things ramp up in this country and all over the world, women will have to start fighting harder and harder to regain the freedom we had (ironically) fifty-plus years ago.
In the Words of Feminists
The only people who ever told us we can’t be or do something, are feminists. Think about it. Unless you had judgemental and generally unpleasant family members and friends, then you most likely didn’t experience misogynistic and anti-woman sentiments from your fathers, brothers, uncles or male cousins. It was feminists. How many of these sound familiar?
“The world is male-dominated, you won’t be allowed to be a [insert profession here].”
“The patriarchy doesn’t think you’re a valuable contributor to the world and wants to pay you $0.75 on the dollar!”
“Men think you’re stupid and try and explain everything to you in a degrading way.”
“You are a second-class citizen.”
All of these things fall out of the mouths of feminists without anything actually backing them up and no real solution to the imagined problems. Actually, scratch that, their solution is to rage against men and flip the tables by making men suffer just as much as women (imaginatively) have. It’s childish and in the fray of cursing men, feminists have forgotten about the one thing they should actually be thinking about: women.
But First, A Lengthy Aside
I am one of three kids, and one of two daughters. My dad isn’t a construction worker, but he is pretty handy and often opts to fix things before replacing them and, if it seems doable, build things before buying them. I remember seeing a woke commercial (before woke commercials were the norm) where a dad and his son and daughter are building something. In the commercial, the dad rips the hammer out of the daughter’s hand and gives it to his son, shooting a scolding side-eye look at the daughter.
This was meant to represent the majority of suburban fathers, and all I could think about as I watched this commercial was how my family had built our own playset in our backyard, how it was expected that if my dad was making or fixing something for us, we would help. That my dad and I have built shelves (plural) together, and fixed car things together, and painted rooms together, and hauled mulch together, and moved furniture together, and snaked drains together. That if my sister or I showed any degree of interest in anything my dad was building, we were handed the hammer or drill or paintbrush or staining cloth and shown exactly how to do it properly and safely.
In short, there was nothing about this modern headspace of feminism – the one where little girls are treated like outcasts and half-people by their own fathers – that was even remotely relatable. Not to me, at least. It was a dark fantasy, and one that apparently a lot of people bought into. Because, now the fantasy has become a perceived “reality” for so many and feminism has lost it’s direction and purpose altogether – we’d won the battle in the early 1900s and feminists were chomping at the bit for something to “champion.” So they targeted their own.
And the Winner Is…
No one. The short answer is that the winner is no one in this situation. Men: zilch; Women: zilch. Men, because they cannot possible appease feminists enough, ever, for the rest of time. And women, because they are fading away into a thing that people fight over and box up, and womanhood is being claimed left and right by anyone who fancies they might like it. What it is to be a woman is losing its definition in the pop culture sphere, femininity has become a dirty word, and one of womankind’s most miraculous abilities – childbearing and rearing – has been demeaned and belittled by those with the loudest voices. There are so many things happening today that should make us all cry out in anger with “Where are the feminists!?” Seriously, where are they?
When biological men trounce their female competitors in sports (sometimes bloodying them in the process). Where are the feminists?
When abortion clinics tell women that they are incapable of raising children and attending school/working/graduating/living happily/[insert literally anything else here]. Where are the feminists?
When biological men are declared the Woman of the Year. Where are the feminists?
When biological men who are convicted rapists are sentenced to prison and, very conveniently, start calling themselves a woman and so are sent to a women’s prison. Where are the feminists?
When baby girls are more likely to be aborted, specifically because they are girls – a phenomenon seen around the world. Where are the feminists?
When young girls are raped in school bathrooms by their male classmates or forced to change in front of male classmates. Where are the feminists?
When women are selected for roles in government and companies purely because they are women and not because of any sort of merit or skill. Where are the feminists?
This list could go on. The point is, feminism at its beginnings had a clear purpose: allow women the same opportunities as men, balance out the laws regarding inheritance, allow women to vote and work where they like, and make sure women were seen as capable of being something besides wives and mothers.
To look at it now, it’s hard to say if feminism is for anyone at all. No matter what it’s advocating for, it somehow simultaneously advocates against women in some way. It re-objectifies them while being angry about objectification (remember the pink hats at the “Women’s” March?), and tells them all the things they can’t do while hiding the statistics and data that prove them wrong. They do not show up when it’s most crucial and when there is an actual, tangible injustice against women happening. So, we ask again: Where are the feminists?
Has feminism served you in the last 20 or 30 years? How can we make feminism work for women again?