Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Things I often hear

But women have the vote and equal pay and all that! What's the point of feminism now?
Women might be legally entitled to equal pay, but they don't actually get it. There have been some extremely welcome changes to the law in the last 100 years, but changing people's attitudes and opinions still needs to happen.

But what's the point of bitching about people telling you you can't drive and harrassing you in the street when millions of women all over the world are really oppressed?
It's true, women suffer much more elsewhere than they do here. Women are held responsible for being raped, stoned for adultery whilst the men involved walk free, banned from working, dying from pregnancy-related complications in countries in which abortion is illegal under any circumstances. 100,000 little girls every year have their genitals butchered to ensure their chastity by preventing them from enjoying sex. I'm not suggesting for a moment that I don't have it pretty damn easy here in comparison. But just because I've been granted the privilege of keeping my clitoris, doesn't mean I shouldn't be able to be respected in the workplace, walk down the street without being harrassed, or be valued for anything other than my physical appearance and sexual availability.

All men are bastards
Try going out with someone nice for a change

All women are bitches

Get your tits out
They're mine. I'll get them out if I want to. And I definitely won't get them out for you.

You're so slim, you can eat anything
You can eat anything too. There's no "Thou shalt not eat carbs if thy waist is bigger than 26 inches" in any legal or religious text that I know of.

She's waaaay too skinny
Oh, mind your own business and get a life. The "size zero debate" is about pressuring a poisonous industry to stop exploitating teenage catwalk models, not about bitching about other women who are either naturally skinny or ill, neither of which really deserve your scorn.

She should not be wearing that
Again, mind your own business and get a life.

But men and women are different
They sure are - just take a look in your pants if you don't believe me. I wouldn't be at all surprised if there were meaningful differences in brain anatomy too. But using that as an excuse for blatant discrimination? Making lazy, unsubstantiated assumptions about individuals based on some bollocks survey you read about on a very slow news day? Fuck off.

Feminists are sexist
I admit that the actual word "feminism" is a bit unfortunate. There are some women who call themselves feminists who actully hate men or are prejudiced against them, and this particularly annoys me because they reinforce this stereotype. Equally, there are some men who call themselves feminist/pro-feminist who are actually very sexist. I know a few of these and they are some of the most punchable people you will ever meet. I've heard people say things like, "I'm not a feminist - I'm a humanist" but I think it's pretty much impossible to be a humanist without also being a feminist. Feminism is just one of a set of ideologies that promote respect for one's fellow human beings. The reason that it is so needed as a separate ideology is that it is so often ignored. It's not that feminism is more important than anything else, just that it needs to shout louder to be heard.