Feminism – Equality or Hypocrisy?

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After finding myself typing a comment that nearly turned into an essay (here) I realised I wanted to turn it into a blog, So here it is. On Feminism. From a different angle.

“The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women,” said Pat Robertson, a television evangelist and former Baptist minister during his GOP convention speech in 1992. “It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians.”

A shocking statement. One that is no longer widely held but nevertheless one that does have a grain of insight to how society today sees feminism. I’ll start at the very beginning then. The word feminism is of French origin and it is a word that always has caused much controversy. It was first used by a philosopher who wanted to improve the status of women in society but did not care much for equality. Today the word is defined by Oxford Dictionaries as “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.” A reasonable ideology one would think.  So why the hatred towards Feminism?

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Common stereotypical views of feminists

The reason behind why people associate feminism with unpleasant attitudes and misdirected hate of men is because that is how it’s advocates portray it. In our modern societies..in the West and other, women have reached a place in time where they are no longer discriminated against. Where they indeed , in civil rights, humanitarian rights, are generally equal to men. The movement in this case is no longer really demanding any rights and is therefore waning. So what have they done to keep the movement going? Perhaps they have begun to address parts of the world where this has not yet been achieved. Perhaps they have been advocating and supporting people like Malala Yousafzai in campaigning for this equality to become universally accepted. But no, most haven’t.

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                                            Malala was shot in the head by the Taliban but continues to inspire by remaining adamant                                                 about campaigning for educational and women’s rights.

Today, feminists in modern society are more concerned with the media it seems. Here’s a link to an example of their preoccupations. The banning of a controversial yet popular song. These words of course do not apply to all feminists but what the movement to most people today represents. A diminishing ideology that finds itself without purpose within it’s own society and instead of moving on to others which need it, begins to attack any small form of sexism that still exist and latch on to it. So while I would proudly have identified myself a feminist in the past, I am now hesitant to use the term.

An example of another well-known feminist controversy  is the case of sexist remarks made off-air by Sky News Football commentator Andy Gray a couple of years ago – which caused a backlash so violent from feminists with no better cause, that he was sacked for it. I don’t mean to defend his remarks – of course they were inappropriate and overstepped a certain boundary. But then again, this is precisely the reason many people see feminism as an unwarranted and unneeded movement. There are simply more pressing matters that need to be addressed today than a sexist comment made by a man somewhere. It is illogical to begin campaigning against such things simply because they will continue to happen. Whether in private or in public.

We see people like Malal on TV and then switch to another channel to see Kate Walsh (here) debate a man over the insane injustice of calling a co-worker pretty and others often turning on other females for choosing a ‘non liberated path’ – the most recent headline stating “Model Attacked By Topless Protesters At Paris Fashion Week”. Feminism quickly then not only becomes unnecessary in the eyes of the general public but also becomes something of a fussy annoying sort of phenomenon that receives much more attention than is necessary.

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6 thoughts on “Feminism – Equality or Hypocrisy?

    theindulgentbludger said:
    October 25, 2013 at 4:27 am

    What I think you highlight is the need for feminism, like all movements, to go through constant intellectual and cultural change. There are still pockets of mal-treatment in western society – the GOP is a great example, as well as how the last Australian PM was treated – but when you look at it from an overall perspecitve the gains far outweigh the stuff still to go. I would be more impressed if a greater emphasis was placed on helping women in third world countries, Malala being a prime example. To me she is simply being used to salve our conscious, not actually drive change. I feel for her.

    Of course, I am a man so what would I know? I am still expected to open doors, say how nice they look and so on. On the other side, women still have the babies and share a far to disproportionate amount of the housework. It is not a just world, nor an equal world. Maybe there is no answer, only movements.

      madhatter245 responded:
      October 25, 2013 at 3:31 pm

      I’m not quite sure whether you’re saying that the way the movement acts today is just and needed or saying feminists are hypocrites in expecting you to still do the above mentioned..

      “Women still have the babies” ..I’m not sure where your argument is. Men aren’t forcing them to. Women, you know, sort of have the parts for it. It’s unreasonable to say that that’s somehow unfair and that men should do it when they physically can’t.

      Also on ‘the housework’, I don’t believe that that’s particularly unfair. It depends on the arrangement she has with her spouse. As long as she’s not forced to. Some women from all cultures still enjoy having that sort of domestic role while the husband is the ‘breadwinner’. A modern day educated, working woman, I have to say, is unlikely to let herself be forced into it.

        theindulgentbludger said:
        October 27, 2013 at 4:50 am

        On re-reading my comment, I think I have completely botched what I wanted to say. The movement is just and needed, and no, they are not hypocrites. No matter the era, certain standards are still necessary. As for the babies argument, what I was trying to say – clumsily as it tunrs out – is that there are certain differences between sexes that we cannot overcome. To argue otherwise would be counter-productive.

        I just think the feminist movement loses itself sometimes, looking for small issues, when, overall, the battle fo the west is mostly won. I would love to see them become more active in countries, such as Pakistan, where women really do have a problem.

        madhatter245 responded:
        October 27, 2013 at 2:34 pm

        Oh, well in that case, I don’t think there is anything we disagree about.

    paulaethans said:
    October 24, 2013 at 3:27 am

    Thank you for the link – I think it’s important for people to see both perspectives. This is an interesting post, and I agree that feminism (for a myriad of reasons) has a detrimental image to many people.
    But I do have two fundamental objections.
    1) You have argued that “The West” has essentially achieved equality, but you provide no figures to support this. This is a big assumption; North America is far from realizing true equality with all genders.
    2) You say that it is petty for people to get upset at sexist comments. Is it petty if someone takes a stand against racist comments? Just because North America has made some ground on gender equality does not mean it is complete. It’s important to challenge these actions or comments because inaction allows people to continue as they are, perpetuating the inequalities.

      madhatter245 responded:
      October 24, 2013 at 8:31 am

      You are right about the supporting figures. I’ll have to add some later.
      The second point however I disagree with. I wasn’t implying here that sexism was acceptable or should not at all be addressed, but rather that the intense focus that is put on it and the exaggerated and violent reaction it gets are part of what puts people off about identifying as feminists.

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